Second Daith and A New Tattoo

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter, Video

There was supposed to be a vow renewal ceremony with our full family and closest friends. Then the guy that we long planned to officiate moved on to greater adventures, beyond this world. 

Still, I really wish you were here, P.G. I know any words you’d haven given us would have been perfectly grumpy. And perfectly wonderful. 

We figure he’d approve of our revised plan – saving vow renewal ceremony/reception money to spend instead on a spontaneous, bonding-heavy, anything goes vacation with our kids and family. We did that a few weeks ago, and I lost yet another wedding bond.

I have been using cheap fake wedding rings for years, since I lost my engagement ring. Big, chunky and silly, but very clearly representative of being married. The real deal is locked up. Fibromyalgia “fog” and medications to fight pain make my memory horrible. No matter how crucial the memory, I have no power over whether I retain it or not. It’s truly crushing sometimes.

So FINALLY, before this big hop from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Sandia Mountains, we’ve ensured that I can’t lose my wedding ring again. The original will stay locked up and safe for the duration of the move. It’s perfect.

 The design we settled on is a “rupee” (gem) found in the Nintendo game, Legend of Zelda. It’s outline-only, in dark purple. (Purple is my favorite color, and my skin grabs it nicely.) Plus, dodging black for now gives me more options later.

No,
Chooch did not get one because he’s our financial provider and who knows when employers that can’t see beyond the exterior may come in to play?
But he designed it along with me, just like our original wedding rings. #DayJobSecurityFTW #FamilyLife #FamilyLove
Now, because it’s a finger tattoo, it will blur and muddy over time more than other tattoos, as is often reported. Since that news, it’s taken us years to decide on the design, deciding to embrace that imperfections inherent, rather than abandon it something we love.
 
With this in mind, wanting more than just the rupee itself, there are little dots and bigger dots making up a disconnected “band” below the stone.
 
Happily, over the years together, we’ll get to watch as the natural process of aging blurs the series of dots into a strong, solid yet imperfect band. The longer we live, the stronger our bond and our band, as has happened all this time.
#ArmouringUp#EndingThisEra #StartingANewOne #FinallyWedding Ring Tattoo and new daith piercing. +200 to armour and mystery roll on migraine relief.

Today, A Puscifist

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: /rant/, Music, No Whining, Whining

Cradle to grave, every day of my life I’m a pacifist. But today I’m a Puscifist, thanks to Chooch sharing a new fave song.

I keep things on the bright side and assume the best of people I meet, regardless of their reputation. It often results in great times and greater friendships. But I’m also often mistaking people wanting something from me as being the beginning, or continuation, of a true friendship. I won’t let clown shoes change my attitude, zero bad apples will change my hope in humanity.

But today, I less than three Puscifer soooo hard for again making sense of my confusion (and hurt and misrepresentations of me and others, resulting in feelings of shame and guilt) and giving it a voice.

I have such a hard time giving up on people, no matter how shitty they treat me or lie or use passive aggression like a weapon, knowing that it cuts me deeper than most because of my neurological challenges.
Once in my heart, always in my heart, sadly.
But I’m working on it since it’s plain stupid and is keeping me depleted and unable to explore beneficial possibilities.

At the very least, I’m “untethering” from the ones that are detrimental to my health/stress.

So, things to remember with me…
…just because the lies or harsh words aren’t knives or bullets, they still cut deeply and/or can bleed for a long time;
…just because you didn’t say it to my face, it doesn’t mean I don’t know;
…just because I’ve kept your secrets so far, know that your treatment of me and mine can change that;
…just because I’ve taken the high road, it doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten how different our morals are;
…just because I stood by you in dark times, it doesn’t mean I will tolerate childish punishments for being a reminder of those same times;
…just because I’m above smacking your face, don’t mistake me for being weak.
#BeyondPainCranky #PainStabby #NotToday

NSFW

PUSCIFER
“The Remedy”
Lyrics at AZLyrics.com

Peace.

Don’t Be “That Guy/Girl” at Balticon, M’kay?

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Friends, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter

Balticon folks, please look over the Harassment Policy posted on the Baltimore Science Fiction Society site.

There have been issues in previous years, as most folks know. I like to think we all want to gather and have fun together with folks that genuinely share interests, but either alcohol or missed social cues can and have created issues in the past.

Sadly, not everyone realizes how their actions can be seen as harassment. Consider reading this over to ensure you don’t cause upset to your fellow con-goers AND/OR how to handle behavior you deem as harassment you see or experience.

Also, if you see someone giving cues that there are in need of “rescue” please consider giving a distraction and/or exit assist. If you are not comfortable, please summon assistance as instructed in the policy. (Yup, gonna make you click that link and read it. #CliffHanger

Of note:
Other people or their personal effects should not be touched–this includes hair, clothing, assistive devices, bags, and service animals–without an express invitation.

If physical contact is wished, express this verbally or with a friendly gesture, and do not proceed without a positive verbal or physical response.

Holding a hand out for a handshake and waiting for the other person to reciprocate is good example.”

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After seeing hotel renovations last week, I say this can be a fantastic experience yet again as our community gathers together to share, learn, contribute and geek out with our dice out!

Hair Donations, Finally!

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: #BecausePGH, Chooch, Fibromyalgia, No Whining

After our hair donations yesterday, I tried to figure out how to write about it. I knew that to some, it would sound weird, no matter what, so after a lot of revisions, I’m simply writing it as a letter to our best friend, P.G. Holyfield. We lost him last August to a horrifyingly fast-growing and hidden cancer.  I’ve probably written it poorly and with bad punctuation or pronouns, but I don’t have time to take another pass.

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

Chooch and I found it to be complete and total bullshit that you were diagnosed with cancer and were going to lose your gorgeous hair to chemo. The only form of rebellion against it was to join you in baldness. How better to show you that we all needed you to fight? That you were worthy of the love and respect that you ended up showered with by family, friends, coworkers, peers and fans.

So, surprise, P.G., we decided to shave our heads whenever you were ready to shave yours. We decided it even before you had your first chemo treatment and were due another one on Friday, our arrival date. And, as only he can, Chooch even thought up a way that was pretty cool to do it.

It was going to be easy, really, since we already had the plan for me to be your goofy, pig-tailed chemo buddy, so Kim could still work and none of us would worry over you by yourself at home. We’d simply planned for me to be disabled in Charlotte instead of Ashburn. At the very least, I would be with you and would know when your hair started to fall out and when we’d offer our solidarity.

As an aside, I delighted in the chance to be truly useful for the first time in five years. My inability to work meant I could give you companionship. You were still so strong that we just knew you wouldn’t need physical help, so it was fine that I couldn’t provide it. I’d just someone in the house, in case you suddenly didn’t feel well.

And while we thought it too soon for you to want to shave your gorgeous hair, we wanted to be ready for whenever it you chose to shave it. By us doing it too, we hoped to take the sadness and empower you with it. Clippers and a wig awaited us in my suitcase during those days as we altered our drive from Charlotte to Durham, to meet you where you were getting a second opinion.

I can’t even remember if it was Chooch or I who first brought up shaving our heads with you. But, as was so true with all four of us, the question was answered before it was asked. To hell with vanity, we needed you to know how much we wanted you to fight and that we were committed to your fight, too. Roomies for Life, and all that. And since you’d always complimented our hair and the length, and with yours getting long enough that you were becoming pleased with it, it was the obvious rallying point for us in the days approaching what ended up being our last drive to visit you and Kim.

We quickly decided not to bring it up, because, who the hell cared after the second opinion? Shaving it then would have just taken us time away from you and possibly upset you. And there were so many more important things to say and do for you and your family and friends.

I kept my hair in pigtails 5 or so days instead, at your side with wonderful people that love you so much. Thanks again for letting us be there with you and them. Peace would be much more difficult to find without knowing just how overwhelmingly smothered in love you were during your last days.

We decided to wait to shave our heads until after your memorial service, 2 months later. It just seemed not to have been cool to do. And those months packed a punch with serious grief processing over my Mom’s death years before, while two other of our family members were/had been battling cancer. Putting it off was fine, because it just meant our donations were growing longer.

The wig stayed in my suitcase through October. I liked having it close, back then. It was a tangible representation of what we would have done for you, all the while praying our plans might turn sadness into laughter.

The wig was a cartoon-y blue, because it’s Chooch’s favorite color and I thought it was yours, too. But I’d only need it if you let us shave it. You’d have had veto power, natch. I worried my bald and ginormous pumpkin head might be upsetting, so I quickly ordered it.

But now, winter hits hard enough to make my hands and other joints more and more miserable. Caring for my long thick hair became more and more problematic. Chooch and I were sure we still wanted cut our hair, but as a donation instead.

We started debating bald vs. short styles and ones that would give the most length to the charity we chose. I feared that shaving bald would just make me sad, as a constant reminder of your loss. Chooch was on the fence and considering shaving down to bald to honor you as we initially planned. He understood that I couldn’t go there because I already fear my reflection because of the resemblance to my Mom and I didn’t want a bald headed reminder of her during her cancer battles every time I looked in the mirror.

And truthfully, we didn’t think a hair cut was a big deal, especially since I’d already been plotting a cut similar to J.R. Blackwell’s after Balticon last year to ease the burden of styling my hair, which you agreed was brilliant. And, as Nutty mentioned, the first few years of Chooch and I going to Balticon were years we had short hair.

In our growing excitement, we shared our plans with various friends and family. They were not very well received and nearly every person seemed to advise against it. We decided to wait a little longer so that folks that love you or love us would know it wasn’t spontaneous or a crazed expression of grief. It’s just a hair donation and it’s done a lot. In fact, there was literally one being done by another stylist in the salon at the same time we were doing ours.

We’ve been looking forward to doing it for 6 or 7 months now, considered tons of hairstyles and off we went to our one and only stylist, Bree, at Rain in Ashburn, VA. It was nothing to donate my hair to the charity in your name, P.G., other than an honor.

You made the length of my hair so immediately meaningless, compared to all that you faced as well as how your loss cut so many so deeply. The shearing brought us much joy, and I think, to Bree as well, as we’ve been discussing a shorter cut for years. She really enjoyed that we insisted that only she could do the transformation for us, especially since she’d been hearing our tales before and after returning from our shenanigans.

So, as another winter storm bore down on us and with our grandson approximately 42 days away from arriving, we drove around three hours to keep our scheduled appointment. You know us and our love of road trips. And I decided that if our friends know us, they’ll trust us. The crazy lady time passed awhile ago. I am fine. Chooch is fine. We are fine.

Thank you for inspiring me to cut the hair that hurts too much to maintain, in spite of how many compliments I got or the threats I’d get when I’d talk about cutting it off. Jokingly, of course, but there was some pressure, too.

Lookit, our grandson, Codename: Little Bear, arrives soon and I’d rather snuggle with him instead of wrangling all that hair. Besides, it’s only a haircut, which is only one drop in an ocean of tiny kindnesses we all grant in this world. And I vowed to pay it forward every chance I’m able.

I will miss you, always. Know that this one remains grateful for the friendship that healed so many broken things in me.

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Pix to prove it happened. More to come when there’s time for styling, we were literally racing a snowstorm and this was a recovery day.

 

Hilarious to Me: Drunk History’s Second Season – NSFWoK!

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Cool Links / Clicky Linky, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter, TV

A few years ago, we came across Derek Waters’ series called, Drunk History, on the web.

It’s now in its HILARIOUS second season on Comedy Central. It’s lost a bit of the charm of the original, but have more than made up for it in other ways.

And after just watching a Daily Show interview with him, I’m happy to say, that he can at the very least, very convincingly play the humble and thoughtful guy.

 

Check it out, and here’s a link to my original posting from April 7, 201?.  It will hopefully explain WTF I’m talking about, lol.

 

3 Year Old Girl Dancing to Sia’s Song, “Chandelier”

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Health, Music, No Whining, Soulful

I think it’s safe to say I’m at least mildly obsessed with this song and have a sisterly crush on the artist herself, at this point. I’ve already posted once about this song, have another half written in my head, but since I just came across this YouTube vid, tweeted from @Sia’s verified twitter account, I had to stop and share immediately. It now has me wanting to play Sia’s video for our Wee Flowers (housemate Jen’s daughters, nearly ages 7 and 5), since they love to dance so much.

It would be bittersweet, because of their skill and epic cuteness and the downer reason that is the reason  I relate to the lyrics so much. Coming from the aspect of being broken physically to the point that physical or even emotional stress can trigger the worst of my Health Blahs’ symptoms, as I explained previously, the efforts I have to take to go out and about in public can be pretty Herculean. That means, when I am able to get out and am having fun, I typically resort to any means necessary to stay in motion and keep on making memories.

And, no, it’s not about the alcohol, other than as a metaphor (and because I used to be able to drink socially before recent medications) for the assumption people make about me and how I always have to be altered by medication to get out of isolation and to where people are. It’s not like or want, it’s need and must. I am no alcoholic, never have been. I used to drink socially, and now if I have more than one or two drinks, I risk immediate migraines and life-threatening liver damage, because of the work my liver has to already do for all the meds. Not looking to die quite yet.

Enjoy the cuteness! I completely adore the singer, more on why I relate so much later, but it totally plays to my desire to live vicariously through those that can do the things I wish I could do.

To view the original music video, you can view it here. It’s what the 3 yo is dancing to.

Sia’s Chandelier, Because “Tomorrow” is Recovery Day

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Health, Mental, Music, No Whining, Soulful, Too Long For Twitter

 

Chandelier by Sia

Just saw this video and was drawn out of hunting airline bargains for T’s summer visit and tha socialz from Balticon 48. The song grabbed me and then the video compelled me to rewatch from the beginning, and WOW does it resonate with me! Only after the second viewing, with tears running down my eyes, did I realize I should read the lyrics because I was clearly having a visceral reaction, so I decided to find them and when it resonated further, I chose to steal a selfish moment for this post.

The next thought, thanks to my “distortion filter” (per T-Pain, my nickname for my therapist)? What if I had continued in dance instead of wussing out when the toe shoes came out? Maybe staying in motion would have prevented at least SOME of my health issues. Did I cause or worsen my current and chronic pain conditions? Or did I prevent an earlier onset? Was I too undisciplined for too long? Luckily, since I’ll likely never know the answer, I’m letting the blame and guilt go on that since I can’t go back in time to fix it.

I feel a physical yearning, a hardly irrepressible urge to leap up and start dancing (I was sort of a dancer in my younger days.). I have to immediately squelch it because of Health Blahs. It resonated so deeply that I’m sharing both the original video, the artist’s lyric video and the lyrics, in case you don’t want the data hit to watch the videos.

Note that I specifically interpret “tomorrow” as what I call The Reckoning, or recovery day(s) I’m “prescribed” to take after stressful periods. Good stress or bad stress, emotional or physical, it doesn’t matter the type of stress or stressor, they all deplete my body to the point I can’t control it. Adrenaline and cabin-fever-driven needs to spend time in the sunshine (or moonlight) with friends and/or family are my favorite of all the stressors.

“Chandelier”
by Sia

Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn
I push it down, push it down
I’m the one “for a good time call”
Phone’s blowin’ up, ringin’ my doorbell
I feel the love, feel the love
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
Throw ’em back, till I lose countI’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelierAnd I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight

Sun is up, I’m a mess
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

Throw ’em back till I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

And I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight

 

And NO. I’m not relating “drink” to alcohol. I’m referring to all the tricks I use and the “mask” I try so hard to use to hide it when the pain gets overwhelming because it’s such a downer for those around me.  Besides, I have to take heavy medication to be able to leave the house/hotel room at all, and it makes me feel just as wasted as anything. It’s just without the pesky side effect of triggering my death by adding alcohol to prescription medications. You know it’s serious when I repeatedly turn down anything but a sip from Alchemist Extraordinaire, John Taylor Williams, aka @wryneckstudio on Twitter.

Instead of “drinks” or alcohol, I’m actually referring to fun, friends, love, giggles and adrenaline, and what I choose to sacrifice with a “rally hour (or 2)” for less resting and more socializing or for actually being coherent for the Beyond the Wall Live! show at Balticon and actually remembering the experience this year through a better balance with my medication and minimal alcohol, if any.

(Tip: Carry a full drink with you to prevent friends from surprise-buying you old faves. It seems to only occur to people when you have an empty glass! I have such generous friends that this is actually a problem!)

Miss you already, Balticonners, and all the chandeliers to swing from. <3

Chandelier by Sia
(Video with lyrics)

The State of The Muse Address

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, Hauntings, Health, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter

Chooch and I have been at a marathon pace of giggles (and pain) the last few months, with a nice 2 week bout of illness in there. We are trying to regain balance in our lives after, essentially a three week uprooting of our schedules.

There will be many posts about Hawaii, if I haven’t said so already. I have many thoughts and house rules now, because of my love of the natural beauty they protect so well on the island of Kaua’i, if not all the islands of Hawai’i.

Our middle son T, now 17 years old, looking out over the beauty of Hawai'i as we drove through Waimea Canyon.

Our middle son T, now 17 years old, looking out over the beauty of Hawai’i as we drove through Waimea Canyon.

Until I can manage the mischief, I am doing a lot of picture posting (visuals are my best communication tool at the moment) at my Flickr site, and because I haven’t bothered my most wonderful husband to help me get this blog, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook to update. And prolly G+ since I am resigned to our future Skynet overlords.

My handle at Flickr and most other sites is Vivid Muse (with or without spaces). I do filter pix of our kids and of the minor children of friends. You have to ask for me to not let a solo photo of your child be public, it truly is a big exception. If anyone finds that I’ve slipped, please message me and I’ll correct asap.

In case you haven’t seen elsewhere, I stopped all assistance to Ditched by Kate in April of last year. I finally admitted that I simply was not physically or mentally able to be representative of their image, so I resigned. Chooch also left the band, months later, for unrelated reasons. Our friendships with the band remain, which was a goal from the very beginning. I’m very grateful that’s happened. I will never forget my part of DBKhaos and wish them all the best, sincerely.

I have so many things to express, but am needing to organize them. The biggest thing I have to say is about the Charity Cancer Anthology, (title TBD) and my inability to publish it.

I have been battling ever-worsening invisible (mostly) chronic pain for four years now. There are different aspects and associated issues, but basically, my body is hindered by pain, and my mind is hindered by fog and long periods of inability to focus, remember and/or communicate coherently. I am not the person to do this job the way it deserves to be done. However, it must happen. For my Mother’s piece and the other pieces that will be included have amazing messages to share. And because cancer will not stop, neither can those that fight it.

Because my Health Blahs, as I call them, are chronic and not alleviating, I must assume that I must find someone willing to take this on. Chooch is unable to do it for work schedule and personal reasons of his own. Cancer is a common word in our lives, suffice it to say. Too soon, doesn’t begin to cover it.

I will be reaching out and seeking advice on getting someone else to re-promote, take additional submissions, edit, publish and market the book along with Chooch. I have stipulations, because of the excruciating personal nature of this publication, but he will be the one in charge of those.

Please contact Chooch or I at Viv@VividMuseCreations.com if you have suggestions, criticisms, or services you’d like to donate, since this is a non-profit charity book, and also if you have services that you think will help us spread the word far and wide to raise the greatest funds possible to wish this evil disease into the cornfield.

My deepest and most sincere apologies to those that in some case have been waiting years for this anthology to be published. It is in your honor that I show my gratitude with this public apology and embarrassing level of detail of by failings. Please direct any response to Viv@VividMuseCreations.com with ideas, criticisms, requests to add more selections, alter/add to your current submission or any other matter.

Please know that I’ve let myself down more than I’ve let anyone else down. In moving out of cocoon-mode, things have to be completed this year. Nothing that lingers because of fear/embarrassment/pain will see the dawn of 2015. This is my goal. (Warning: As part of my typical foolishness, I will be channeling Mabel Pines from *cough*Disney’s*cough* animated series, “Gravity Falls,” by embracing awkward and embarrassing things and putting them in my rearview mirror. I’m human. I make mistakes. I’m moving on. Feel free to join me.)

As a result, I have something similar to Write or Die in mind for this blog. I have to schedule the post when I begin writing it. I have 1 to 4 hours to hone it, since I get lost in Fibromyalgia Fog frequently or migraines take me down. If necessary, that means posting before proofing. (I can’t wait to see if I screw that one up. Future half sentences ahead!)

And I’m tired of looking at super short thoughts that I’ve captured that I feel like I have to expand on into a more coherent post. I am rarely coherent. If you know me in real life, you know this already. So, my misfires are a part of my “voice” or POV. (We’ll see how long this lasts. I’m coming off a great weekend.)

I think this will help with the 70 or so pieces of thought and 4 journals full of thoughts. Lose all my baggage and keep our beloveds and keep our human and material treasures close.

Oh and we my do a new Into the Blender Podcast, soon-ish. We did a google hangout on Nov 1, 2013, our 10th and 11th anniversaries, but the audio isn’t up yet. We will hopefully be able to do an occasional episode the same as PG Holyfield and Chooch produce our SpecFicMedia.com shows. Record a live show in Google+, while broadcasting live to YouTube channel and then strip out the audio and post in our podcast feed.

And because of another kind nudge, this time from Dave Slusher, I’ll attempt to talk into a microphone soon for my stale, sporadic at best Girl’s Rules Podcast. I have little control over whether or not I’m physically able, but I will try.

Maybe something will come of it that others can relate to and also help with my successful-to-date fight against isolation.

Happy New Year, kittens.
*rooster crow*

Not One Moment More, aka, I Was Raped

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Mental, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter

Read more…

Humbly, I Gripe

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Health, No Whining, Our Kids

I just posted this in my twitter feed:

Waiting for a nerve in my neck to un-pinch and half a dozen hot spots to simmer down enough to get a shower. Especially my hands. #IAmAlive!

As soon as I hit send, I have an image and a conversation pop into my mind from errands with my son T (formerly LT).

We were clearing up his confusion about my health issues. What I have and what it means. Why I don’t have a cure that lets me return to ‘normal’ life. Fun stuff like that, but with the extra sting that comes from knowing you’re talking with someone attuned to the plights of others.

I had just finished explaining as we pulled into my parking space and hung my handicap placard from the rearview mirror.  I had just gotten to the part where I offer honest comfort — Yes, I have daily pain and I rarely get a total break from it. Yes, it’s maddening (Psychologically, to be clear. Anger worsens ALL THE THINGS, so I never linger there.). But it’s not cancer, it’s not going to kill me and it’s a hell of a lot luckier than some people have it.

His 16 year old mind was grappling and processing the concepts: anger that my diagnoses are what I call ‘diagnosis by default’; fear and concern at my pain levels; and I have no idea what else might have been going on in his head, as his face was a mask of compassion and worry. I reassured him as best I could that my doctors are vigilant and made sure he understands the scariest stuff I might have has been repeatedly ruled out. I want him not to worry and was taking more time to explain, and struggling how to do so. But then the Universe (or God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Not Applicable. Reader’s choice.) made my point for me in a horrific demonstration of humility and humanity.

Just as we were crossing into the store we saw a surrealistic and utterly humbling sight: an elderly disabled woman being helped across the parking lot and into a motorized cart at our local grocery store.  She wasn’t just elderly, she was unable to stand upright. And by that, I mean there was no attempt on her part or the part of her companion to help her stand upright. It wasn’t even considered as a possibility. They were just getting to the motorized cart as quickly as possible, for her to move more comfortably. Although the elderly woman was very nearly bent into a right angle, she didn’t fall. Her skilled companion held her purse, her hand and her other arm to assist in keeping her upright.

One of the first things that smacks you in the face when going through any kind of health crisis is the stripping away of any modesty or humility, so it wasn’t embarrassment I was worried about for her. It was just the saddest thing I’ve seen in awhile, what this woman’s existence was reduced to. Especially since it seemed routine.

And then the thought that always comes, a quiet and shameful whisper in the back of my mind: Thank God that’s not me.

My son and I watched in silence as the duo made their fiercely determined way into the store. We offered assistance but was assured that they were fine and the cart was ready and waiting. We passed out of their way and a moment later, I touched my son’s arm and said, paraphrasing as I’m struggling to remember details beyond the duo.

That’s why I am grateful. I am constantly reminded, as I move about the world with my invisible disabilities, that there are others FAR more worse off than I. And she’s likely grateful that she has this instead of something worse.

So, yes, today I griped. I may tomorrow, as well. I really try not to fatigue my loved ones and delete many things unsaid, because I want to laugh and chase giggles, not revel in misery and complaints. But I’m not going to beat myself up, as everyone gripes about something in both social media and meat space.

But I do so very humbly and with immense gratitude for what it’s not.

And besides, this is my family. What else could a gal ask for? They are bad ass and I couldn’t possibly love them more.

My Family, December 2012

 *bliss*