An Epiphany Triggered By Friends?!?!

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, Friends, Hauntings, Mental, Too Long For Twitter

I am loved.

Deeply.

By more than one person.

It doesn’t matter who doesn’t love me, so I will no longer waste time on that.

It only matters who does love me, on some level, regardless of whether marriage, friendship or bloodline is the reason for our connection.

I don’t even care if it sound like bragging. I’ve spent my entire life talking myself down and struggling to find anything positive to say about myself. So, if it is bragging, fuck it. I’ve earned it.

I am going to now cast a suspicious eye towards all my insecurities, self-loathing, shame and guilt and do an honest assessment. If I’m as awful as I think, why do such amazing and fascinating humans think I’m not? I trust their opinion on everything else- events, movies, books, foods — why not their opinion of me? Oh, right… a life time of conditioning (according to T-Pain, my therapist) leaving me with the core belief of, “I am not, and never will be, worthy.”

I have grown bored with carrying this belief around and constantly measuring myself with it. So I now choose to measure my inner beasties by the same logic I use when considering other people, rather than the much harsher scale I use for my own actions/inactions.

I’ll also be granting myself benefit of the doubt, as I do for everyone else. Hell, even those that have “wronged” me whether in person, verbally or on the ‘Net.  I pick up on things that people think I won’t, and I know more than people think. Still, I’ll be choosing my battles more carefully and only expend energy in areas that merit it.

Is it odd that it hasn’t even occurred to me before to give myself the benefit of the doubt? Regardless, I’m not wasting time on wondering why not, I’m just going to do it from now on. Now, it must become the standard. I know my motivations. They are to leave a positive imprint wherever I go. I may or may not be successful, as I am a puny human, but I must try to make things a little better for my fellow Earth-trapped neighbors.

I also choose to be more selective where I spend my time and to plan less. One of the simplest ways to gauge a relationship, after all, is if people make an effort to spend time with you. Not while they are in the midst of a crisis or busy time of their own, but besides that. Friendship is a two-way, sometime three-way (or more) street.

I am releasing myself from the burden of believing it is all on my shoulders to feed and water friendships on my own, except in extremely rare friendships (you know who you are), where I am not the only one that appears to be doing the heavy lifting. I am rich in True Friendship and will not criticize or judge those that don’t reside there. I choose to try and have fun every where I go. I want to laugh as hard and as often as possible and make deep connections with people. You do your thing, I’ll do my thing, and hey — let’s have fun when we’re together, regardless of possible past drama! Life is too short not to be snorting in laughter more than is considered Appropriate.

I choose to make no time for hate, manipulation or lies in my day. How others choose to spend their finite time on this Earth? Beyond my control, so letting it go.

I am humbly grateful for the things that led me to this today, for it is a good day to know. The path ahead appears to be mired in confusion, sadness and chaos.

Luckily, there are some people showing up to help us find our way in the dark, as we have tried to do for them in the past, so we will eventually be right as rain*.

Now, off I go to scale Mt. Laundry and clean LT’s now-empty room. (Sidebar: Boys are gross. But damned if I don’t love ’em!) Counting down to Wednesday evening, when I get to see him again for a few days before he returns to his distant home.

Today Shall Not Be Wasted. **

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Note: After typing that long used phrase, I immediately wondered what circumstance “right as rain” came from. Here’s what I found, for those interested.

**And if you are unfamiliar with the humble battle cry of heavenly hobos, I again recommend Mur Lafferty’s Afterlife Series. The quote is, I think, from book 3, called ‘Wasteland’. But you must start with the first one, I insist,  called ‘Heaven’. It has helped me embrace the Universe in a different way since the devastating loss of my mother six years ago. Plus, her phrase, “Turtle Tits” from one of the books, is in my top 5 curse word phrases.

Time Heals All Wounds? Meh.

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Cancer, Family, Mom, No Whining, Whining

Today is my Mom’s birthday.  Somehow, the math shows that she would have been 70. It doesn’t seem possible for her birthday and not her to make it to a new decade and new things that the public would allow for her to complain about. Aches, pains, less patience with the horrible people that you encounter during a random day. All the stuff society deafens an ear to, but doesn’t disrespect them for. She would have met her first two great-grandchildren and would be rubbing her granddaughter’s belly in anticipation of the one on the way. It’s unfathomable to me that these beloved children were never held in her arms. Surreal.

I was going to choose today as my first time intentionally not going to her grave on a significant day. (I certainly haven’t made it for every birthday, Mother’s Day, death day and Christmas, so don’t try and paint me with a Sainted Daughter brush. Illness or other issues sprang up and prevented me on those occasions that I did not make it. This is just the first time I made a decision to not go.)  Kind of a tip of the hat to all the progress I’ve made in therapy, by honoring her here instead of at her graveside, where it honors her death, not her life. But LT wants to go, so we’ll go.

As for the title of the post, I was reflecting on how we had to do math to figure out how old she would’ve been. And we did it several more times because the milestone aspect of the year was like a kick to the babymaker. So, I guess time “heals” all wounds, if you mean that you forget just enough to feel a bit guilty. I’ve also recently discovered that I couldn’t remember the final chemo (clinical trials) primary drug name that I believe shortened her life by at least 3 months, so good was it at destroying every living thing in its path, including most of my Mom’s remaining abilities. (No, I’m not litigious, she knew what she was signing up for. But I remain pissed.) I remember it now, but the fact that for even a few weeks, I couldn’t recall it –I was stunned.

Whether because of time or my terrible memory lapses, I’m forgetting things about her. Hopefully just the unpleasant things, but even if I do lose more, there are a kajillion wonderful and loving memories there. I really only need a few, preferably the ones with her arms squeezing me in a tight hug. That and her laughter are the things I miss most. I guess I’ve reverted back to being a little girl where she is concerned. It really is the stuff I miss most. Hugs and giggles from a woman long gone, but wow, did she leave a mark on those that loved her.

I write this guiltily, as I have loved ones that have lost their Moms, too. Some that have been grieving as long as I have and may still be in or just coming out of the denial phase and some who are just starting to fear the grief coming their way.

A little girl, far too young, that has found maternal nurturing in her step-mother, Thank God. I still miss her Mom, tho’, as our friendship was only just reaching full bloom. The young girl is immeasurably happy in her new life, and the memory of her mother is respected and kept alive.

A beloved friend of mine, with the loss of her Mom so fresh that I am at a loss on what to say and can only seemingly give physical comfort. I remember what that feels like when you have a bond as close as theirs, and I remember that nothing anyone could say could soften the blow. All I can suss out to do is hug her a lot and say, ‘I love you,’ as much as possible.

Another loved one, who lost her Mom around when I lost mine, is a Mom herself. She had a biopsy yesterday, so we are praying and waiting out test results. Additional prayers are welcome!

A childhood friend and former sister-in-law has had a recurrence of breast cancer, she’s a Mom of two and their Dad died previously this year. The cancer is spreading quick and I don’t even know what to pray for anymore, other than peace and no-pain for her and her family. Okay, and a miracle that cures her. (Dream big or go home.) My Mom loved this woman, too, and I know she’s fighting for those babies to keep their Mommy as long as possible.  Any positive energy you can spare her way would be immensely appreciated.

If the urge strikes, maybe you could throw out a prayer, energy, vibes, best wishes or whatever you feel appropriate to any or all I’ve listed, or to women or men in your life struggling with loss. It’s pretty fucking ridiculous that I know this many, but in truth, I know of even more fighting for their lives or supporting someone in the fight to survive. Having been a support system during such a time, I know it takes a toll. I’m sending out positive energy, strength and peace your way. And hey, don’t wait as long as I did to get help with all you are seeing/experiencing. It’s a real mother fucker to dig out from under years later.

Tonight we honor her by having dessert first. LT has requested an ice cream cake, and we are picking it up on our way back from Arlington Cemetery. Today we celebrate her life, laughter, joy and love for her family.

I’m the wee one in the middle of the picture. It’s the earliest I have been able to find of her holding me, with my adorable brother happily taking the Big Brother moniker.

The mimosas are indeed in bloom. Love you forever, Pocket Mom.

 

**Apologies for any spelling or grammatical errors. I don’t have it in me to proofread this.

Communal Living

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, Friends, Health, Household, Our Kids

Every once in a while, I find myself in a discussion about our living space being in another, completely separate family’s basement. And while it was nothing any of us sought out specifically, after almost a year of living here almost exclusively, I have found great comfort and happiness here.

We have benefited financially, paying less than we would have for a living space. And also by sharing communal groceries and shopping in bulk to save money.

We have benefited materially, by paring down our piles of junk into lesser piles of junk.

I have benefited from the companionship. When you had been a mom for two decades and suddenly you are stuck alone in your silent home for almost 2 years, just hearing footsteps in another part of the house is a comfort. There is life here. I can hear it. And so I feel a little less isolated and lonely when trapped inside by my Health Blahs.

Yes, one of my Housies moved out recently. Yes, I miss her terribly. Our relationship remains untouched by distance, and I will always treasure the house because it gave me that deep bond and friendship and several others. Nothing lasts forever, Kittens, and it’s the bonds that last that matter the most. I pray that our friendship continues, but I only have so much control over that. I will grieve it if it doesn’t survive but am learning to accept the fact that no matter how much I want something, I cannot always make it happen. Progress?

In spite of the change and in spite of the chaos that comes along with sharing a home with a family with young children, this is a place where my family fits, at least for right now.  I never know what I’m going to see when I head to the kitchen at mealtime, and it’s usually something ridiculously adorable. Honestly, I feel so much younger for playing and cooking with these little girls, I feel like I should pay them!

Examples:

  • What, Tiny Expert? You want us all to watch while you perform a magic show? Count me in!
  • Now Feral Dancer’s doing a magic show? Yes, please!
  • What, Jen? You have errands to run and want to take me with you? Yes! I get to knock out my errands, too! (I don’t drive anymore.)
  • What, Phil? You want to write a song on your guitar while I’m cooking dinner? Sure! (I’m a lifelong music geek.)

These are all things I wouldn’t experience if we didn’t live here.

I am happy to say that regardless of what others may believe, this is a place where sunbeams and bubbles are chased while others erupt in delighted laughter. Real laughter, to the extent that tears are rolling and/or you get the unstoppable little girl giggle going and end up gasping for air. Children of all ages laugh and play here, comfortably and safely. Of our kids that have visited us here so far, they have been safe and (allegedly) happy. There is always someone to chat with if bored and Mom is down with a migraine and Chooch is at work. There is always a pet nearby with ears just dying to be skritched.

If it is something you are considering, do it with eyes wide open. You will be eating, sleeping, drinking, pooping (everybody does, and apparently mine is the only poo that smells like rose petals!), sick/healing, exhausted, laughing and cleaning up after each other and those that accompany them. It’s not a decision to take lightly, as both sides are made extremely vulnerable for the duration. Everyone’s pet peeve button will get jammed countless times, and compromise will become your motto, as all here have compromised in one way or another to accommodate the others. But in our case, we really lucked out and it was as near a perfect fit as possible. And although the fit has changed now, I remain happy here.

Whether we are here until September of 2012 or September of 2022, I will always treasure my Housie family and our times together, some magnificent and some heart-breaking. But damn you, Laughter, and the wrinkles you bring when one is lucky enough to laugh this much!

We’re In This Together

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Music

Chooch and I have had countless issues and a ton of mischief to manage. Hard times, yo.  But he stopped me in my tracks the other day, and insisted that I listen to these lyrics. After the first few lines, convinced Chooch himself had written this about our recent experiences and journey, I held tight to him, crying, and listened as he read.

Color me shocked that not only did he not write the angry yet devoted song, but once he played it for me,  I immediately recognized it as one of my “faves I don’t know the name of” from one of the Nine Inch Nails concerts that I attended with Chooch.

I’m just grateful he shared it with me, as we slowly dig out and begin plans for our vow renewal sometime in the next year or so. It speaks so much to our current life.

“We’re In This Together”
Nine Inch Nails
Circa 1999-ish

I’ve become impossible
holding on to when
when everything seemed to matter more
the two of us
all used and beaten up
watching fate as it flows down the path we
have chose

you and me
we’re in this together now
none of them can stop us now
we will make it through somehow
you and me
if the world should break in two
until the very end of me
until the very end of you

awake to the sound as they peel apart the skin
they pick and they pull
trying to get their fingers in
well they’ve got to kill what we’ve found
well they’ve got to hate what they fear
well they’ve got to make it go away
well they’ve got to make it disappear

the farther I fall I’m beside you
as lost as I get I will find you
the deeper the wound I’m inside you
for ever and ever I’m a part of

you and me
we’re in this together now
none of them can stop us now
we will make it through somehow
you and me
if the world should break in two
until the very end of me
until the very end of you

all that we were is gone we have to hold on
when all our hope is gone we have to hold on
all that we were is gone but we can hold on

you and me
we’re in this together now
none of them can stop us now
we will make it through somehow
you and me
even after everything
you’re the queen and I’m the king
nothing else means anything.

The Nine Inch Nails video posted on their Youtube Channel


Pledge my turtle love, baby.

Overheard On New Year’s Eve

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Friends, Too Long For Twitter

Edit: I have 24 draft posts. July is the month for catching up and clearing out the buffer, because I have New Thoughts. This is one of them, six months later than intended, but whatevs. It’s been a real mother fucker of a year so far, so I chose this one since it is HILARIOUS to me and anyone that may remember what they said.

Smooches,
Me

~~~~~
After our New Year’s Eve celebrations began, I decided to play a game with the Twitter abbreviation “OH:” meaning that you are repeating something that you overheard.  It may also mean that I said it, but find it funnier to attribute to someone else. Who can tell with me? So, for those with little kids at home on the traditional gathering night, I thought it would be fun for folks to identify whether it was something that I actually overheard or something that I said.

From my Twitter stream on NYE: “Play along or not: I say “OH:”, you guess if I actually overheard it or if I said it myself. Note: If you are with me you cannot play.”

  • OH: “I have been bowtied by John.” (This had an insanely appropriate auto-correct “I have been nurtured by John.”)
  • OH: I am not responsible if you have a bowel movement.
  • OH: It is important that you stay inebriated at all times.
  • OH: I got so excited, I lost my sponge!
  • OH: I have the beaver on my desk!
  • OH: Your armpit was fantastic.
  • OH: It’s true! He sniffed my pimp cup to make sure!
  • OH: Yes, I need a man’s touch. Definitely.
  • Too many OH:’s to type. If anyone is interested I’ll blog them all.

I got a yes, so here are the “Overheard”‘s from my journal that night (wrote them as they were said):

  • I go for the center of the Yin and Yang.
  • If it has to come, it’s best from the butt.
  • I looked at the (microwave) clock to see what time it was, and it said “Ready”.
  • Paraphrased Buddhist saying – He who focuses on how much more he can have misses how good he has it.
  • Scritchin’ and yippin’!
  • I don’t know – something about your stance makes me want to spank you.
  • Wait, my left hand’s not giving you justice.
  • I’ve eaten things most people don’t consider food. Just sayin’.
  • I mean, you can’t not give a blow job.
  • Oh. My. God. He just constricted on me for the 100th time.
  • You know it’s a good party when you can’t find your shoes.
  • I never banana-ed the chocolate (fountain).
  • I’m like the golem of the chocolate fountain. My preciousssssss.
  • It’s all for me, merrrrowwww!
  • I will eat you, bitches!
  • Candy evokes midget, I’m sorry!
  • Who made this bread? Nobilis and Dee? I LOVE them!
  • …(drunken unintelligible muttering overheard)… but that Nobilis sure can make some pepperoni bread…
  • I thought it was okay when it was her hands, not his.

Better late than never? New Years Eve in July is cool, right?

Whaddya Mean I Gotta Stop Using ‘Absorb Pain’?!

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Computer, Mental

 

So therapy has been interesting. As I hit more and more health snags, hubby’s frustration in various areas grows stronger and I finally take on some losses and some progress on my stirred-up past, we are also surrounded by some of the most important people in our lives going through such pain, grief and turmoil as to be unbelievable.

All of this has caused many unknown Dark and Uglies to surface. Strangely and understandably given the circumstances, my City of Heroes gamer girl training kicks in, and I use the various tools available to me in the given situation to try and “heal” or “buff” the troubled person or animal. For those that never played a Defender archetype in the specific MMORPG I’m talking about, you can find the entry from the City of Heroes Wiki below my blatherings.

Essentially, one of the most powerful heals you can deliver using the empath defender powerset is “Absorb Pain.”  I played the powerset almost exclusively as a “Healer” for several years and learned through many failed Atlas Park sewer runs or missions scattered across the Hollows — that you never, ever take Absorb Pain as early as it is offered (level 2, FFS).

Ever.

Unless you are well-practiced, you are just likely setting up your team for at least one complete wipe, if not countless wipes because you targeted and fired off AP on someone in trouble right before a Vahzi or street thug hit you from behind. Down you went, no longer able to keep your heals going to power the team. No buffs. Nuthin’ but “Sry guys!”  They are disastrous, confusing, hilarious team wipes, if you are lucky and have good team mates. (I was quite lucky in the team mates that we played with the most often and I learned all the most fun ways to end a battle in a cataclysmic way that left us laughing and w00t’ing long after went back for another attempt.)

This was especially true because, not surprisingly if your moniker is T-Pain (pseudonym of my therapist), I would watch everyone else’s health bars except my own. My hubby’s most frequent statement during a balls-to-the-wall battle royale? “Watch your bar, Shuro (my main’s shortened name)!” Everyone else would have full bars, but I’d be on the edge of wiping. I finally had to rearrange my entire screen layout, to ensure that my wipes were less frequent, and to prevent from negatively impacting the team.

Make no mistake, I’m a lapsed player and I have no idea if anyone even does those xp rich runs anymore. I’m sure there are better places now to muck about in my favorite way in that game. I miss the intense chaos and my pulse racing as we danced near the edge of a team wipe and Super Hero Greatness. And it was a full year at least before I risked my own health bar to vastly enrich a targeted player’s health bar. It sounded like suicide, and this was my only my second MMO. Once I finally girled up and chose Absorb Pain as a power, I never looked back and it became a game changing and favorite tool in my empath tool kit.

The point is, during therapy last week, T-Pain was trying to break through one of my core beliefs in a way that would allow me to reconstruct it in a healthier way.  As we talked, she expressed that instead of feeling bad for someone when something bad happens, I actually make myself feel their level of pain, as fully as possible. I’m not 100% convinced she’s right, but it is certainly seeming more and more likely.

Even just last night, I had to remind my immediately broken heart that the death of the grandmother of one of my best friends was not my death to grieve. This reportedly amazing woman that I never met was not my grandmother. I had to remind myself of this because I was shutting down and starting to deeply grieve the loss of a woman completely unconnected to me as if she were my own flesh and blood and lifelong source of love.

[Sidebar: I think the timing of our discovery of his grief is somewhat interesting. I had been having extremely intense feelings of loss and grief of closeness with the couple in question, so powerfully that I messaged them, trying to express that I loved them and hoped for more fun with them in the future.]

Hell, when watching Game of Thrones this season, I was beyond devastated by the death of Lommy, an inconsequential-yet-named character on the show. (Note: If that’s a spoiler, sorry. But when you read here, that may happen. Also, WTF, get caught up so you can listen to my GoT podcast, SpecFicMedia.com Presents – Beyond the Wall: A Game of Thrones Podcast! (Or as I like to call it, SFM.comP-BtW:AGoTP.)

Here’s the crazy lady part: My magnificent nephew has hair (when much younger) that was identical to Lommy’s. When they showed him, I would smile to myself and think of his blond curls and wonder how he’s doing. When he died, I lost my shit. This nephew, who I have always referred to as GK, is in the military and although stateside, my fears for him are not difficult to figure out. I cried and cried and cried and cried. Chooch heard me say, “They killed (GK)…”, and he said, forcefully, “That is not (GK). He is safe and fine.” I repeated that over and over until it sank into the dark corner it needed to, and then felt like a fool.

Well, when T-Pain finally made her point in a way I could process, I started laughing and said, “Holy shit. I’ve been using Absorb Pain instead of Ally Heal.”
T-Pain gave the expected puppy dog head tilt and I explained it to her quickly. She clapped her hands and said, “Yes! Exactly! That’s it!” She then leans forward in her rocking chair and says, serious as a heart attack, “Don’t do that anymore.” I cracked up, and a discussion followed on how to halt an (who knows how long) unhealthy habit.

While I’m proud of myself for catching those — a result of her making me examine every negative reaction to determine the appropriateness of my natural response –, I feel as though I short-changed the friend and the grief his family is experiencing. So in exchange for dodging possibly debilitating grief at a time when there are things in mid-air about to crash to the ground in some areas of our life, I ended up in a shame spiral. I still call it a win, because I caught and adjusted the framing of the loss. And I’ve finally worked through the shame, thanks to My Viking.

So, yeah. I’m going to burn a respec and drop Absorb Pain from my powerset, until T-Pain tells me otherwise.

And I need to see if I ever posted about my prison yard epiphany. It keeps getting proven true.

Happy July, Dear Readers!

~~~~

City of Heroes, Defender Archetype

The Empathy powerset is available as a primary set for Defenders. The following table shows which powers are available and at what level:

Power Level Effect
Empathy HealingAura.png Healing Aura 1 PBAoE, Team Heal
Empathy HealOther.png Heal Other 1 Ally Heal
Empathy AbsorbPain.png Absorb Pain 2 Ally Strong Heal, Self Moderate Damage (Special)
Empathy Resurrect.png Resurrect 6 Ally Resurrect
Empathy MindWall.png Clear Mind 8 Ally Resist Disorientation, Hold, Sleep, Immobilization, Fear, Confusion, +Perception
Empathy Fortitude.png Fortitude 12 Ally +Defense (All), +Damage, +Accuracy
Empathy RecoveryAura.png Recovery Aura 18 PBAoE, Ally +Recovery
Empathy RegenerationAura.png Regeneration Aura 26 PBAoE, Ally +Regeneration
Empathy AdrenalinBoost.png Adrenaline Boost 32 Ranged, Ally +Endurance, +Regeneration, +Recharge, Resist Slow