Oldie but goodie

As I sit here watching Dumb & Dumber, one of my absolute favorite movies ever, I realize two things are true.  This cult classic is an oldie but goodie and so is Hugo.  After nearly sixteen years together, this man is my cult classic.  I provide his cult following and he is the classic example of a loving human being with a kind, beautiful heart.  He is enjoying a new video game for a few minutes before we watch tonight’s new episode of Saturday Night Live (another one of my all-time loves).

I find it funny when people say they don’t enjoy SNL.  Right now I happen to work with several people who claim the humor on the show doesn’t appeal to them, which I really can’t understand.  When they say such riot-inciting nonsense, I find it difficult to believe they aren’t a little stupid because they just don’t understand the jokes, skit dialogue and overall concepts.  Maybe that is just because I have grown up with the show, watching the early 90s seasons with my father.  We basked in the glory of Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, and Will Ferrell, as they all started their careers there.  As the years went on, I watched the likes of Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig develop strong and hysterical female characters.  Now, Hugo and I religiously watch every season, enjoying some more than others, but always appreciating the history and nostalgia associated with Lorne Michaels’ baby.

So tonight, I will enjoy a night of smiling and laughing, alongside my best friend.  Can’t ask for a better Saturday night ♥

I am on fire

So mad right now.

Starting to get mad about allowing work issues to get me this mad.  Getting even more mad about being mad this late at night, on the eve of the start of my weekend.

All I can say is that I am thankful I will not be at work for the upcoming four days (three of the days are my regular days off while the additional day is my gratis ‘work from home’ day).  If I had to go in tomorrow, I might just drive right past the hell hole and never look back.  Instead, I will enjoy coffee with Hugo and hugs by my dream team, comprised of a kick-ass husband and two pooches to boot.

So, here we go and before we do, might I add that I had a feeling it would go down like this.  Just last night, as I sat at home anticipating an uncomfortable confrontation between the members of my work team the following morning, I told Hugo how I felt like it wouldn’t go well.  I hate to say it but I fucking nailed that one.  Something inside of me knew my partners and I had issues that had begun to simmer months ago.  Those very issues were now boiling over and someone was about to be burned.

As 7:30 am rolled around this morning, five male coworkers, one female coworker and I took our seats in our conference room and shut the door.  Our objective – discuss a couple matters that affect all of us, such as recent changes to carpooling with our communal work vehicles, schedule changes and the needs of our organization, and a variety of other relatively small, yet critical, tasks.  Right out of the gate, it went bad.

As my coworker Jim (obviously not his real name), who was sitting directly to the right of me, began speaking on our first matter, some of our work adversaries were chomping at the bit to attack.  Just as soon as Jim finished explaining that we need to share vehicles in a more friendly and equitable fashion, Robert (also not anything even close to his name) and Stacie (you get the point) started yelling about all of the things they had pent up inside of them for the greater part of the past year on the issue.  They rudely condescended Jim, another partner and I as they pressed their point even further.

The discussion/argument/battle royal continued as time and topics passed, with my face further reddening and the divide widening among my formerly close-knit group.  They weren’t open to change, our concerns, or compromising in the least.  They wanted all of the perks and none of the teamwork involved.  They also felt as if any of the issues we were experiencing in our work environment were a direct result of Jim’s and my arrival a year ago.  To paint a better portrait of the rude dynamic of our morning meeting, during the entirety of Jim’s speaking points (which were necessary because he facilitated the meeting, unbiased, eloquent given the circumstances, and straight to the point), Stacie slouched in her chair, armed crossed at her chest, with her eyes completely shut.  Everyone in the room could feel her closed eyelids giving Jim the finger as he spoke.  It was a rude, bitchy move and, to be honest, rather embarrassing behavior for a 48-year-old professional to engage in.

My biggest take-aways from the event include the following:  First, I am not friends with several people I work with and they made that very clear based on the way they spoke to me during that meeting.  That decision is mine and mine alone because I make a very conscious choice to not engage or entertain sharing any moments in my life with those who are rude or disrespectful as well as anyone who treats me less than how I deserve to be treated.  Bottom line, I am kind so I don’t deserve to be shit on.

My second learning lesson from my awful Thursday morning was something I already knew but simply had reinforced – people are selfish jerks, a lot of which only care if and how something affects their lives.  If their world is not interrupted at all, then they are fine, but as soon as a decision, compromise or change may alter their perfect little existence, then they have zero tolerance.  The problem with these people (and sadly, there are way too many of them out there) is they are not team players because they only want to take and seldom give.  By definition, a team is founded on taking fair parts of good and bad, so that everyone gets a little of everything as we all work towards success.  In my workplace example, I happened to be giving and taking with a 90/10 split, while others reaped the rewards and always failed to compromise for the greater good.  I wasn’t the only one who was being treated less than stellar so Jim addressed it in the meeting on behalf of us. Sadly, his points fell on deaf ears, as Stacie and Robert defensively yelled and completely failed to grasp his simple point.

In the end, I am the one who is suffering from this nasty work encounter because I take my work home with me.  Case in point – I’m still sitting here bubbling over with frustration and anger.  While I am not quite on the verge of having a heart attack yet, I can see how additional years of allowing work stress to fester in my chest could ultimately lead to my demise. Hugo cautions me about it whenever I vent to him and I love him for it.  I love him even more (if that is possible) for always supporting and defending me, despite not being present or involved.  It feels so good to know my significant other trusts my opinion and believes in my heart to the point that he knows, deep in his gut, that my words are true and intentions pure.

I can’t help it but I am sensitive and I expect more from people, so when those around me disappoint or disrespect me, I take it to heart.  Thinking about it right afterwards, through lunch, all afternoon, on the drive home, as I watch TV, and later, as I begin writing this, is a typical example of how I am not only hard on myself but sad for these types of negative situations that transpire in life.  I would much rather exist in happiness and love, even if we need to have tough conversations.  Everything that occurred this morning, between the hours of 7:30-8:30 am, could have happened with mature, professional individuals discussing their issues, while maintaining composure and actively listening to their coworkers’ concerns.  When the maturity, professionalism, composure, and attempt to listen were thrown out, we all lost the opportunity to actually make progress.  And, although they don’t know it, those people lost me as a friend.  Life is too short for nonsense and bullshit – I have never engaged in any of it in my personal and professional life and I sure as fuck am not about to start now.  But regardless, I am still sad about the whole mess and I can’t wait to move on.

Speaking of moving on, it may come sooner than later.  Just before midnight yesterday, my cell phone buzzed with an incoming email from the California Department of Real Estate – my application has been approved and I am clear to schedule my state exam.  So I did.  Now, tonight, as I sit here typing about all the things that upset me today, I realize that this couldn’t have come at a better time.  Onward and upward my friends ♥

The Costco Effect

Oddly enough, the title of this post was something I have mulled over for awhile and tonight felt like the appropriate time to discuss it.  The reason being – developers are breaking ground on a new, very sizable Costco complex in our city as I type.  My ignorant coworkers are wildly excited for even better access to awful food and useless crap.  I am sickened by the sum of its parts, from the food, to the hoards of dolts the establishment attracts, and let’s not forget the heinous ripple effect of traffic congestion on our surrounding streets.  Finally, I realize more and more how we have completely lost sight of what real, good food is, where it comes from, how it is grown and why the fuck all of the answers to those questions are actually important to our bodies and our world.

I could go on and on about the importance of organic food, sustainable farming, the benefits of primarily eating plant-based, and the need for major changes in our world.  In fact, I think I already have in prior posts.  My heart aches for anything less than success in all of those realms, for all of our animals and all of our people, primarily the little ones that are being born into a world that is slowly killing itself.  Because of all this, the idea of yet another Costco, where the wool is pulled over the mass consumer’s eyes even further, makes me sad and a bit ill.

Despite not trying to be that person at work (you know, the one who has strong opinions and pushes them on others), my coworkers periodically ask me questions.  These questions usually stem from them observing me eating, drinking, or doing something that appears foreign to them.  They normally look and watch, then either ask what it is or make fun of it for what it isn’t.  Either way, I respond with the facts and I always make sure to use that brief moment to teach them a little something about food and its source, without coming off as a cocky, know-it-all bitch!  Sounds easy but you straddle a fine line while doing so.  Sadly, despite the age, formal education or income bracket of the inquiring party, the statistics I have observed are as follows – plain and simple, the vast majority of people are completely clueless about their food.  They couldn’t tell you how it is grown, what chemicals are applied, what the hidden words in their ingredient list mean, and they certainly couldn’t explain the difference between the terms natural and organic.

I don’t write this to mock anyone and I sure hope it doesn’t come across that way.  To be honest, my heart breaks for this lack of knowledge among the masses because those are the consumers that support poor farming practices, by purchasing heavily sprayed veggies, and sickening animal welfare standards, by stocking up on bargain meat from Sam’s Club and the like.  To think, those animals were raised in captivity, provided with pathetic living conditions with the cheapest, nutritionally-absent food, confined to small spaces without bright sunlight or free movement of their bodies, and possibly never knowing what touching grass to their hooves or toes feels like in their lives.  Those are the same cows and pigs you may see piled high in the stainless cargo compartment of the tractor trailers speeding down the freeway past you during your morning commute.  Next time you see them on their first and final trip out into the world, take a moment to think of what their life was like and how it impacts yours.  After those animals have experienced that life (if you can call it that), you purchase their meat on sale by the pound for consumption by your entire family.  Imagine what you are putting into your body and to be honest, it is almost all in vain.  Not only did that poor soul give their life to ‘you’, but you don’t even understand it, you don’t appreciate it, you don’t deserve it and even if you did, it wasn’t good for you.  The whole thing wasn’t good for anyone and that makes me cry.  When I see the tractor trailer on the freeway, I cry for them and I continue to pledge to never support that sickening cycle.

Ok, I ranted.  I promised I wouldn’t rant but I can’t help that I care so deeply about these topics.  As my mom and I always say, if we won the lottery we would buy a huuuuuuuuuuuge piece of land, adopt all of the shelter pets and set them free.  After writing the above paragraph, maybe I would try to educate people just a little bit more.  Rather than allowing people to idly muddle through life, uneducated about the very choices they are making on a bi-weekly basis at Costco, maybe I could offer a little glimpse into a solution.  To me, the solution is a combination of better choices regarding how we farm, better choices with what we regularly eat, and better thinking about this planet we are slowly killing.

Needless to say, Hugo and I won’t be getting a new Costco platinum membership upon our new store’s grand opening.

Oops, I almost forget.  I didn’t totally explain what ‘The Costco Effect’ meant to me.  So not only do my coworkers frequently ask me about my kombucha, spinach-powder colored pasta, or fermented hot sauce, but they also constantly flaunt the outstanding ribs they grilled (Costco brand), chicken they baked (Costco brand), or cake they devoured (Costco brand).  Somehow these people brag about this food as if it was not only delicious (which it isn’t, I have tried it guys), but it was also the best choice solely due to the price tag attached to it.  Somehow people have become so blinded by a price that quality and content have not just fallen at the wayside, they are not even present judgement factors during a purchase for them.  If the chicken is $2/pound, then it must be the best chicken.  That fucking chicken could be soaked in cyanide but if it is $2/pound, it will always beat my $10/pound organic, heirloom chicken any day.  I laugh at it for many reasons, one of which includes my argument that if you are going to ingest such low quality food, whether that is meat or not, you also always have the choice of opting out of eating crap and opting in to eating something else.  In this case, rather than the chicken, you could just eat a veggie salad with tofu or beans (I always choose beans).  That would require breaking this weird addiction many people have to eating meat in almost every meal, as the center of these meals, and that is an entirely different blog post (or book) all together.

I may be preaching to the choir and I may be preaching to no one that cares.  But I don’t care.  I just wanted to write about something I think about every day because my heart is in it.  I also know that I would rather spend $10/pound on anything in life, than compromise my body and the body of the man I love by cooking and eating garbage.  I also sleep soundly knowing I respect the land we all call home, my choices provide for healthy farming practices, and my $10/pound chicken gets to feel the sunshine on her beautiful feathers during her time on earth.

20190712_153110

PS – Thanks for listening because I really enjoyed writing that.  It felt like a therapy session and I could cry today, just as easily as I have many times before, about the poor animals.  Because of this, I included a picture of a truly beautiful little lady in this world, my mom’s mini pony named Brownie.  I took this picture during a trip to visit my parents last year.  She lives on their ten acre, organic farm, with her horse sister (from another mister) Shasta.  The two ladies cruise for fresh alfalfa grass in spring and summer and get doted on by my mom all year long.  Brownie, as all animals do, deserve every minute of it.

Leap of faith

Something came over me today while sitting idly at work on a gloomy Thursday morning in downtown Los Angeles.  After a brief group meeting with my coworkers and supervisor regarding a couple issues on our team, I decided to pull the trigger by submitting my transfer request to actually make a move I have been contemplating over the past several months.  I realize I am constantly marinating in entrepreneurial juices and dreaming of more independence, a shorter (or non-existent) drive to work, and more personal satisfaction so today I chose to throw my name in the theoretical transfer hat.  By doing so, I am now eligible to relocate my work location to our local office, which is all of 17 minutes from Hugo’s and my humble abode.  Additional, hugely positive perks to this move for me include not having to drive on a freeway, should I choose to avoid it, being centrally located just a few short blocks from Whole Foods and other stores we frequent, and working in a more stimulating and rewarding environment.  You can’t go wrong with any of those points.

Once I announced this radical change to my closest coworkers, I received a lot of kind backlash about my decision.  As one of my dearest partners physically ripped up and destroyed my original paperwork, in a loving gesture to avoid my departure, my other friends expressed their anger at my decision and sadness about my future absence.  Not going to lie – it felt really nice to realize just how loved I am amongst my small, close-knit group.  It is pretty cool how we travel through these small circles in life, inside some of which we form true bonds and friendships with a select few special people we encounter.  I also shared my plans via text with my other friends from my prior work assignments; they shared in my excitement and reflected on the fun times we have had working together in the past.  While I sometimes grow frustrated with work in general, it is nice when these sweet moments creep in, humbly reminding me of the good that does exist in this environment.

Just prior to submitting my transfer paperwork today, I knocked on my supervisor’s office door and stepped inside.  I asked him if he had a moment to chat, to which he agreed, so I stepped forward to approach his desk.  I was nervous because of the nature of the situation.  I could feel my heart pounding heavy in my chest, neck and jaw, leading me to believe it was visible from those around me.  I pressed on because I wanted to take a moment to explain why I was about to submit this surprising piece of paperwork to this man that sat at his desk before me, respecting the fact that he deserved a short explanation rather than silence on my part.

I told him how I had been contemplating the career move for quite a while and today’s meeting made the decision for me, as he, being my supervisor, was now implementing some drastic procedural changes that negatively affected our work schedule and conditions.  Because of this, during today’s meeting, the decision was easy and essentially made for me.  Since then, Hugo has expressed how proud he is of me, for being bold by voicing my reasoning for requesting a change to my supervisor, which was no easy task.  I too am proud of myself, mainly for making this morning the last moment I dealt with being upset about things I had the ability to change – instead, I made this morning the time I made a bold move to improve my life, one less crappy, Los Angeles rush hour commute at a time.

Fear of failure

After arriving home from a morning work meeting, that ended up lasting over four hours and sucking the literal life out of me, I just flipped on my favorite local radio station, which is 88.5 FM in the greater Los Angeles area.  It is by far the best radio station Hugo and I have ever come across, throughout our life journey in several different states.  Great local shows that feature fun and progressive new music, as well as classic tribute hours devoted to the likes of the Beatles, Grateful Dead, and more.  If you trust me and click the above link, shows to check out include Americana Matinee and Saturday Morning with the Beatles.

As always, I strayed from my reason for this post with my side thoughts.  The meeting drained me to the point that I am sitting on the couch, enjoying a piece of Costa Rican mint chocolate, all while wrapped in my favorite Coyuchi wrapped in a blanket.  Mind you, it is only 2:21pm on a Tuesday but I don’t care.  After turning the radio on before, I was thankful to have tuned in at that exact moment (right around 2pm) because I got to hear the new Sea Wolf song entitled Fear of Failure.  Got me thinkin’, as these things tend to do – I no longer possess a strong fear of failure in life and I have to say, it is a very satisfying realization.

Maybe that isn’t completely true, because we are humans and we all have an inherent fear of true failure in life, at work or in love.  But I guess what I mean is this – I have reached a point both personally and professionally where I feel like I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  It might also have to do with the fact that I am ready to transition into a new career, so the thought of saying the wrong thing at my work meetings, pissing someone off or messing something up to the point of no redemption (which is incredibly difficult, if not nearly impossible in my government-run line of work), doesn’t frighten me in the least.  In fact, I might welcome it!  I also have a sense of comfort and confidence in my work ethic and work product, which takes a lot of the fear out of it.  I know I can do the job and I know I do it better than a lot of my counterparts, so what should I be afraid of?

Personally, I have no fear either.  Hugo and I have reached a momentous point in our marriage, which isn’t characterized by a huge moment in time where we reached “the top” or the successful equivalent.  I think we collectively understand, appreciate and respect one another better than most relationships we have ever seen and we find solace in being firmly rooted in the happy and loving nest we are in.  There is a warm sense of comfort and peace there, one that doesn’t allow for fear to creep in.

So it was a little ironic when Sea Wolf’s new song came on today because I had to take pause as I connected with the lyrics for a moment, and then quickly realized they don’t resonate with me as much as they used to.  While heavy nerves about the impending unknown used to bog me down and tangle my insides, now I notice myself not really giving a shit.  I don’t care what anyone else thinks – the only other souls on this earth that phase me are in my house right now (Hugo, Koa and Gunner) and at our family’s houses across the country.  Everyone else I can either take or leave…and between you and I, I do a lot of leaving ♥

All while watching the Golden Globes

“Who are you wearing?”

The question of the red carpet Golden Globes pre-show.  It’s all about what designer, what accessories and what arm candy.  I have to admit (just between you and I) – I happen to love awards pre-shows, quite possibly more than the actual awards shows.  In addition, I love anything on E! and Bravo (yes, Real Housewives of ANYWHERE fans, I am with you).  Sorry if your respect for me just went down a rung.  You can’t help who you love, just as you can’t help what awful reality shows you get sucked into.

The funny thing about all this is, as I was about to begin my post for the evening, I realized I have the polar opposite concept occurring on my TV screen right now.  As Ryan Seacrest interviews Dior-clad celebrities, many of whom are dipped in Harry Winston-like jewels, I was about to delve into my 3am thoughts from a recent early morning in Costa Rica.  Since Hugo and I got married in 2009, we have visited Costa Rica once, sometimes twice, a year, to visit my parents, who also fly in, or my aunt and uncle who live down there post-retirement as ex-Pats.  During our annual trip this past December, I lay awake one night, restless and thinking as I find myself from time to time.  On this particular occasion, I found myself gazing through the window shade crack, out into the full moon night sky of the Guanacaste Province.  As I did so, I thought of myself as an ant.  A single, minuscule ant, clinging to this overwhelmingly large planet, as we hurl through space and time, chasing the sun and being followed by the moon.  The ant is so small, as we all are, not only on our own planet but in the greater scope of the universe and well beyond.  I enjoy this concept and here’s why.

Life can be too much at times.  Too much good and hopefully not too often, too much bad.  Most of the time we ride somewhere comfortably in between, but even then we can feel a little suffocated by things that, quite frankly, really don’t matter.  The unnecessary stress we put on ourselves, whether it is because we are too critical or because the world isn’t always nice, can be burdensome and difficult to navigate.  We are also less important than we make ourselves out to be and no better or worse than any other creature on earth.  I am sick of watching those around me operate as if they supersede an insect on their window screen or an animal trying to cross the street through traffic.  That’s why I like to always remember that I am the ant.

Actually we are all the ants.  The clothes and jewelry don’t matter.  The silly comments don’t matter.  And the worries that seem important at the time, but easily fade after a little time has passed, really don’t matter.  What truly matters is who we are as human beings and fellow species on this planet, how we love one another and what we choose to do with our lives.  I like to remember the importance of this perspective as often as possible because it centers me and allows me to quickly prioritize my feelings about whatever is happening in my life.  If I am overwhelmed with nonsense, I remember that I am one of many ants on this giant planet, just trying to survive and thrive, and none of the chaos really matters.

 

Keepin’ it 100

While some of my posts are short and sweet (maybe just a quick thought or short poem), I reached 100 posts and I am proud♥  I am proud of myself for engaging in something I passionately love, writing.  And I am thankful for anyone out there reading this, anyone in this universe (or maybe another universe) that connects with my voice and the words I write.  Those same words that mold my thoughts and feelings into sentences, later paragraphs and stories of my life.  Sometimes I feel like my life is simple and uneventful but as I review my first 100 posts, I realize something – my life is wild and amazing, filled with love and adventure, and my brain is alive and well, pumping with thoughts that are chomping at the bit to be put to paper.  It feels really good to sit and write either about whatever comes to mind or about a topic I have been dwelling on for days.  It feels even better to realize you have found something in life that makes you happy and feel like yourself when you do it.  The definition of contentment, to me, is when I am both happy and relaxed as I dive deeper into a passion project such as this.

So please join me as I continue into the next one hundred posts during this 35th year of my life.  My mind is still brewing up more writing ideas, including one of my larger goals of writing either a series of short stories or a book of the three loves I know of and admire.  The first love story is that of my neighbor Pat and her husband Mark.  Mark, as you may know from my recent updates, passed away from this earth, relieved from his painful bone cancer battle.  The best of friends in every way, Mark and Pat were a beautiful couple who we enjoyed having in our lives for the past eight years as neighbors.

The second love story is that of Hugo’s grandparents, Polly and Bob.  Married for over seventy-five years, they weathered every type of storm imaginable, with both of them living into their mid-nineties (Polly is still chugging along at 95!).  As husband and wife, they traveled, raised their four children into confident, successful adults, and worked in various industries, including Bob’s time in the Navy during World War II.

The third and final love story is my fairy tale with Hugo.  In my opinion, this is the most beautiful love story of all.  We are the best of friends and he is the true puzzle piece to my life.  As I reflect on the three stories, side by side, I can see the common threads of friendship, trust, loyalty, and deep love running through them all.  Stand by for my series of love stories, coming soon to a blog near you ♥

What is socially acceptable?

Hugo and I have always found it rather funny how drinking alcohol to excess is completely socially acceptable yet using and abusing other drugs, or other destructive behavior, is absolutely not.  It is laughable and strange yet I believe this phenomenon only exists in this country, and possibly a few others.  In the United States of America, I can buy beer at 6am and start my day.  I can arrive for an outbound flight and enjoy a mimosa or two at the airport bar.  I can giggle about it being ‘happy hour somewhere’, as I pop a bottle of wine mid-afternoon in reference to it not being too early to start drinking if I were in another time zone.  And I can crawl into work or to a kindergarten conference the next morning, chalking up my hangover to a rough office party or night on the town, all while everyone looks on, doesn’t judge and understands because they have most likely been there before themselves.

Now just imagine if all of my above scenarios involved heroin.  If I hit the street at 6am to score a bag of heroin or shot up in the airport lounge before boarding my plane, we might not be giggling about it being ‘happy hour somewhere’.  Or worse, if you dragged your ass into your children’s school, with a hoodie and dark shades on, looking like hell because you used too much heroin last night and your body was struggling to come back to life.  What would the commentary be then?

Well, for starters, I bet those children at that kindergarten conference would be taken away from you.  And your employer for the office party may not be your employer for much longer.  And every relationship would suffer and all respect would be lost as you were now labeled as a heroin addict with a pathetic problem.  A gross person who had slid below the moral and ethical threshold, who lacks common decency and is completely socially unacceptable in the upper middle-class, suburban bubble.

It doesn’t make sense, particularly when you look at how outrageously destructive alcohol is for everyone it touches.  From elevating some imbibers to yelling, fighting, violent individuals, to causing those behind the wheel to take another human being’s life, alcohol is an awful, oddly acceptable drug.  While it is perfectly legal in most areas of the US (I say most because there are still dry counties), it is also responsible for some of the most horrific domestic violence incidents and murders, whether by someone’s hand or a drunk someone’s car.

We have been affected by alcohol in our own family and this is partly why this topic comes to mind for me.  Hugo’s pregnant cousin and unborn child were killed by a drunk driver in Florida – she was just 22 years old with her whole life ahead of her.  Her father, a now-retired air traffic controller and Hugo’s uncle, never recovered from the loss.  Since that tragic night, he has begun and ended every day with a travel mug full of straight vodka.

Both of our families through the years have also been heavy drinkers, with some members of the family drinking more than others.  Hugo’s mom drinks vodka like water after 4pm every day and since she was raised in a drinking environment, she knows nothing different and thinks nothing of it.  My father, right before being diagnosed as a type II diabetic, was overweight, depressed and drinking heavily, at times to the point of passing out in his underwear while sitting on the basement stairs.  Or better yet, passing out while seated at the dinner table, resting his head on his hand, in front of 16 year old me, my mother and maybe a friend I had over for dinner that night.  Thankfully that embarrassing and sickening behavior came to an abrupt end when he became sober a few short years later.

Our close friend Andy has been a struggling alcoholic for almost two decades now.  Just this month (January of 2020) marks his 15th or so round of rehab and yet another shot at reaching and maintaining sobriety.  We hope and pray to our spaghetti god that Andy can make it out of his nightmare alive.  He deserves better than barricading himself in a cheap motel as he downs quarts of cheap clear liquor and nothing else for days on end.

And finally, as I believe I have written on before, Hugo and I were affected by the nasty effects of alcohol.  Luckily and thankfully our experiences were nothing more than arguments over nonsense when we drank.  Arguments that we didn’t want to have but somehow always found ourselves in.  We made the decision to treat one another better and not engage in that lifestyle so I can now proudly say we no longer drink to excess.  The occasional glass or two of wine or beer (and by occasional, I mean once or twice a year) is our new, healthy routine and it works well for us.

I bet if you looked at most American families, their stories would be littered with similar experiences about the devastating effects of alcohol.  Too many relationships have been compromised, too many lives have been lost and too many people have lost themselves to addiction, yet this drug is completely legal, readily available, and actually celebrated in many ways.  And it is all relative and based on geography because heroin, in contrast, is legal in other parts of the world.  I am sure people in those areas have tales of how heroin has affected their family members, but I imagine it isn’t quite as ‘Category 5 hurricane’ as alcohol is here.  While there are always extremes and every drug carries its own set of issues with it, I do believe that particular intoxicants are more devastating to human beings than others.  There is also something to be said about how drugs are craved, abused and respected when and once they are legalized.

 

 

The best panic attack

I can’t put words around my feelings

that fit the wholes inside my brain

I try so hard to find the meaning

of what is going on with him.

 

And then I lost my fucking mind and feared I’d never get it back

Crawling outta my god damn skin, caught in the best panic attack.

 

Sitting frozen on the couch

Waiting for him to come carry me

Out of the feelings that I’m feeling

and back to me just being me.

 

Thoughts flooding my confused emotion

A million fears keep creeping in

If I can’t stop this flooded ocean

I might drown right now, I’m dead.

 

And then I lost my fucking mind and feared I’d never get it back

Crawling outta my god damn skin, caught in the best panic attack.

 

Now several weeks have passed us by

And I still feel just all the same

Grateful for him beyond all words

Wouldn’t wanna thing to change.

 

Right before I lost my fucking mind and feared I’d never get it back

Crawling outta my god damn skin, I escaped the best panic attack.

 

 

Writer’s note:  This poem was written on November 29, 2019, in the midst of a very transformative experience with Hugo by my side.  I can still hear the music that goes to the words as I sing it out loud.  If you, the reader, happens to be a singer and/or musician capable of strumming a simple guitar chord, please message me.  I would love to hear this set to the beat I have in my head.