Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, January 31, 2011


You know...from a purely sociological standpoint, Facebook is incredibly interesting.

I'm sure there are studies being done as we speak and in twenty years when results are published, we'll find out that human beings en masse behave exactly the same online as they do in real life. That is to say, they are largely social lemmings (though of course, exceptions do exist);  following the example of established leaders, going with the flow, not rocking the boat. Newcomers seek to ingratiate themselves by quickly adopting the customs and mores of their chosen group, behaving deferentially, and rarely drawing attention to themselves by opposing the dictates of that group.

Pretty standard social strategem.

The only problem with this, is that Facebook is a huge amalgamation of groups within groups within groups. It's a vast bubbling stew of sociological, theological and philosophical ideology.

That adds an entirely new dimension to the game of interpersonal relationships and makes it a veritable minefield of missteps and blunders.

Why? Well, for example...on my friends list, I have feminists and misogynists. I have gays and homophobes. I have unapologetic racists and those who are assertively colorblind. I have avowed Atheists and highly devout Christians. I have Republicans and Democrats. I have Eco-Warriors and I have those deeply committed to conspicuous consumption. I have fitness types and professional types and intellectual types and creative types and beauty queen types and domestic types. I have...(and these two groups might just be the most divergent of all) and women.

Now, given the fact that one is able to hand select the people on one's own friend list, one would think that Facebookers would be aware of the very diverse nature of the friends list. And yet, strangely enough...most Facebookers seem to be under the impression that everyone on their friends list thinks EXACTLY LIKE THEM!

I tend to think of Facebook the way that many folks do; as a cocktail party type environment that is meant to be fun and frivolous. The interaction is largely superficial, but on occasion meaningful and satisfying.  I keep it light, I keep it fun, and I like to think I keep it interesting. If I manage to help or inspire somebody along the way, so much the better. Do I sometimes express a deeply felt emotion or convey a genuine concern? Yes, I do. I think everybody does, because we all need to feel like somebody hears us and cares. Do I ever use it to make a point? Well sure. But I do not use it to further my personal platforms, I do not use it to pander my political beliefs and I do not use it to proselytize.

Because I'll be blunt: it irks the living hell out of me when other people do it. Now those of you who've been long time readers can guess which of the above three irks me the most. Mmmhmm. That's right. I can ignore the political posturing and the pandering of personal causes. It does annoy me, but it's stuff that I hear on the news everyday, standing in line at the grocery store or passively eavesdropping at Starbuck's. I can tune it out easily enough, just as I do in real life.

But people, there's a reason I don't go church. And it is very, very simple. I do not wish to be ministered to.

I know Jesus. He and I grew up together. I read his biography. Very entertaining, if not entirely plausible. A few holes in the plot here and there, but nothing that impacts the ending. I know his work, I understand his agenda, and I respect them both. But I don't want to be part of his army. Though I think he's a pretty okay dude and our belief systems are amazingly similar, I just can't get behind certain aspects of his....philosophy.

Since I am thusly informed, and since there are no current comings and goings of which I need or want to stay apprised, I do not need him as a friend on Facebook. But you can be sure I got him anyway. Oh yes. Jesus shows up on my homepage multiple times a day.

Now, I am not the boss of Facebook, but seriously...c'mon. I doubt very much Mark Zuckberberg intended Facebook to be the internet version of televangalism. That's just not what it's for.

If I sent you a friend request or accepted one from you, it's because I want to keep in touch with YOU. I want to know what is going on with YOU. I want to hear what's new and exciting in YOUR life. I want to know what cracks you up, what enterntains you, what speaks to your heart, what feeds your soul, what inspires you, what gives you hope, what makes your spirits soar......

If that's Jesus, then good for you! I think that's great and I really do want to hear about it now and then. But not every day. Not every post. And frankly, posting scripture does absolutely nothing to let me know how God is at work in your life. It tells me nothing except that you couldn't be bothered post an original thought; to really be a witness to the ways God touches you. It tells me nothing except that you can copy and paste. Does that kind of thing really get you in good stead with the big guy? I can't imagine that it does.

And the Judgy McJudgerson stuff? Just cut it out. Unless you can say with 100% certainty that everybody on your friend's list believes as you do, then you are bound to anger, offend or hurt somebody with judgmental rantings and blanket statements about the morality of those who believe differently. I know you don't want to hurt or offend me, because I'm a friend...right? Stands to reason if I'm on your friends list. And if you honestly believe that I'm not as pure and moral and just as you, then why am I on your friends list? If that's the way you really feel, then please unfriend me right now. I'll wait.

I'll admit to being completely baffled as to the purpose of such posts. Is it to show everybody what a good little Christian soldier one is? That's the only thing that I can come up with, because scripture posted on Facebook sure isn't going to save anybody. Nobody is going to accept Jesus into their heart because of a hastily typed snippet on Facebook. GOD IS GOOD!!! looks very emphatic, but it does nothing to further my opinion of him, frankly. I can't speak for everybody of course, but it does nothing to stir my soul or feed my hunger for meaning and purpose.

I don't know...maybe those who don't live in the South don't have to deal with this kind of thing. I've always asserted that Southerners are far more overt with their beliefs than people in other geographical locales. It's woven into the very fabric of everyday life here; a way to identify, quantify and indemnify within the very complex strictures of Southern heritage and culture. Sometimes it seems like it's not even really about religion, but about social heirarchy. It's very, very alien to me, even after twenty years here.

Is there a point to this post? Um, no, I guess not really. I just needed to vent. And since I can say what I want here, then I shall. See, that way, I can avoid hurting or offending someone on my friends list. I'm not even going to link this on my Facebook page, which I sometimes do.

SIGH. I like Facebook a lot. I resisted the Facebook siren song for a long time. I scoffed at the lemmings who scrambled to sign up. I rolled my eyes when anyone mentioned it, even in passing. I guess I considered myself above something so....gauche. It really did seem that way to me. But I admit, I was wrong. It's a great way to reconnect, keep in touch, make new friends. It's fun and lighthearted...for the most part. I guess I resent it  when someone makes it not fun and lighthearted for me. Cause I have plenty of not fun and lighthearted right here in the trenches, and I think most of you do too.

Well, if nothing else, the YAY GOD! posts are elucidating in terms of understanding humankind and man's eternal quest for validation, approval and belonging.

I hope the sociologists are keeping good notes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mama Says "Boo-Ya" Baby

There's a lot of pressure when it comes to being a Mom. Not only are we responsible for our childrens' physical well-being, but their mental, emotional and moral development as well. That's a pretty big load to shoulder. Sometimes, I think I'm doing an adequate job. Sometimes, I'm sure I am failing on every level. I never feel like I am a good Mom or a great Mom.

Many of you know the struggles I've faced parenting my Diminutive One. He's smart, funny, sensitive, outgoing and kind. He's also stubborn, persistent, argumentative, impulsive and extraordinarily single minded. I often do not feel equipped to be entrusted with the Herculean task of parenting him. Every day I feel that I'm doing more damage than guiding and molding.

But I do have moments of greatness. They're rare. They're isolated. They're usually unexpected. They're always welcome. I had one of those moments  recently and it was unbelievably sweet.

Diminutive One got suspended just before Christimas for being involved in a physical altercation with a kid who has been bullying him relentlessly all year. This time he was the aggresssor. He had decided enough was enough and he cold cocked the kid as he was exiting a classroom. The other kid threw a couple weak slap punches but otherwise, laid there and cowered like a rabbit looking down the barrel of a shotgun.

But that's not how the bully spun it. Oh no. You see...he had an advantage. With Diminutive One out of the picture a week, the bully took the opportunity to revise the story and make himself out to be the ass kick-er instead of the ass kick-ee. And he knows the secret. All you really have to do to sell a story is tell it convincingly. Just look at Hitler. He was a master of propoganda. And so is this kid.

Diminutive One knew this would happen and thought he was prepared. But when he returned to school the barrage of taunts and teasing was more than he had bargained for. He returned home that day disspirited and angry. He had taken a suspension to make a stand and prove a point, only to have it get lost in a landslide of half truth and hyperbole.

So I did what any Mother would do. I taught him to fight dirty. I told him to take the bully's own weapon; words...and use it against him.

"If he can lie about what happened, so can you." I said.

Diminutive One's eyes grew wide at the idea of his mother sanctioning a lie.

"Seriously, Dude. People believe him because he can lie convincingly. Which means he tells lies that are believable and he tells them with absolute sincerity. So you have to do the same thing. Don't embellish too much, don't rewrite history. Just make it clear that you kicked his ass so badly he begged to be taken out of your classes (which is true). But above all, you have to play it cool when someone tells you they heard he kicked your ass. Just shrug and say something like...."Dude, I'm the one who kicked his ass. He's nothing but a little pussy with a big mouth."

Again Diminutive One's eyes widened at my blatant profanity and my implicit permission for him to use it as well. might think that's awful. But I know how boys think, I know how boys handle conflict and I know how boys talk. It's all about bravado, machismo, and dirty words. You want to solve a 12 year old boy's problem, you  have to think like one and talk like one. The dirtier, the better.

So I told Diminutive One that it might make some time, but that if he kept it up, the stories would start to change in his favor. But above all, he had to be absolutely unflappable. That's the key. That's why Pubescent One never gets picked on. He has learned to ooze nonchalance.

So a couple of weeks have gone by and I've been on the lookout for signs that things were not improving. But Diminutive One has been pretty happy go lucky, so I didn't ask. I just waited.

Yesterday, he came home grinning from ear to ear.

"Hey Mom, guess what happened today."

I couldn't guess, and he could scarcely wait for me to finish telling him I couldn't guess before the words came tumbling out in a rush.

"A kid came up to me today and said 'Hey Dude, I heard YOU kicked Bully's ass!' You were right Mom. It worked. It actually worked!"

I admit, I danced a little jig in my heart. I can't do anything about his Asperger's or his ADHD or his difficulties navigating life, but by God I can give him some great lines to use against a bully.

Was it my shining moment as a Mother? Well..probably not. But I was damn happy about it all the same. He had a problem and I solved it. And that doesn't happen often once they get older. When they're babies they cry for one of three reasons; hunger, fatigue, soiled diaper. I can fix those. When they get to be toddlers, the problems are a little more complicated (the struggle for autonomy...oy) but can usually be fixed with a cookie or a trip to McDonald's playland. Even in grade school, the issues are fairly straightforward.

But with puberty, everything changes and your child must walk the minefield that is Middle School. Suddenly you find  yourself with absolutely no idea how to fix the problems that your children are facing. That girl doesn't know he's alive, that teacher hates him, that kid won't stop picking on him, he doesn't have pubic hair yet and all the other kids do, peer pressure, drugs, brand consciousness, media influences....the list is endless. And you do your best, but you never really know if you did the right thing or made any kind of difference for your child.

But this time? I fixed it. And I made a difference. BOO-Ya, baby.

Friday, January 14, 2011

By Popular Request

Oh, my dear readers. How I love you. First, because you take such unabashed delight in my shame, but also because you have proven that you are a bunch of bawdy, randy, raunchy old broads like me. We should form a club!

It seems that my post yesterday spawned a barrage of requests for my naughty songs playlist. And I will gladly share it with you, because my day is not complete until I have contributed to the debasement and debauchery of western civilization. Truly, I think the world would be a better place if everybody could get laid with the same frequency as the Latin Lover crooner types and the buxom but oblivous Lolita types.

So, without further ado, I give you, in no particular order...the "Naughty Song"s playlist. It's a pretty eclectic mix; some are slow and sultry, some are loud and raucous. Some are overtly sexual, some are subtly sensual. All will do the job nicely if you need to ahem...set the stage, so to speak. Note: these are not sweet, evocative romantic songs. I have a seperate playlist for that. These songs are about sex. Period.

1. Oh My God ~ Pink
2. Light You Up ~ Shawn Mullinis
3. Tonight I'm Fucking You ~ Enrique Iglesias
4. Love You To Death ~ Type O Negative
5. Closer ~ Nine Inch Nails
6. Crazy Bitch ~ Buck Cherry
7. Bad Girlfriend ~ Theory of A Deadman
8. Bedroom Toys ~ Duran Duran
9 Skin Divers ~ Duran Duran
10. Hungry Like the Wolf ~ Duran Duran
11. I Like The Way You Move ~ Bodyrockers
12. Love to Love You Baby ~ Donna Summer
13. Erotica ~ Madonna
14. Justify My Love ~Madonna
15. Master And Servant ~ Depeche Mode
16. Principles of Lust ~ Enigma
17. Original Sin ~ INXS
18. Darlin' Nikki ~ Prince
19. Wicked Game ~ Chris Isaak
20. Wet ~ Snoop Dog
21. Something In Your Mouth ~ Nickelback
22. Slutgarden ~ Marilyn Manson
23. Glory Box ~ Portishead
24. Lick ~ Joi (XXX Soundtrack)
25. Let's Go To Bed ~ The Cure
26. Sex I'm A....~ Berlin
27. I Want Your Sex ~ George Michael
28. Slow ~ Minogue
29. I Touch Myself ~ Divinyls
30. I Wanna Kiss You All Over ~ Exile

So there ya go. Enjoy. And if you have any additions, please shout them out. You all know how much I love a really good song that's really baaaaaad.

DISCLAIMER: Blog Antagonist is not responsible for any embarrassment, humiliation, shame or chagrin that might result from singing these songs in a public domain. The user agrees that by viewing this list, he or she is accepting the risk that downloading the songs herein may entail.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When Generations Collide

Being 40 is sometimes a little surreal, I find. Not that I can't believe I'm forty; I see the evidence in the mirror every day. I like to think that I'm aging well, but I see the fine lines beneath my eyes and a certain softness around my jawline that wasn't there ten years ago. I look down and see my grandmother's hands at the ends of my wrists. And I mourn the loss of resilience and bounce that once was the hallmark of my twenty something backside. Oh I lunge and I squat and I curtsy...but still my buttocks seem intent upon creeping down the backs of my now dimpled thighs.

But the things is...I don't FEEL forty. There is a mind-body disconnect that sometimes smacks me right upside the head; usually when I'm acting the age that I feel, which is somewhere between 18 and 25. Such a thing happened the other day, and to be perfectly honest, I'm still blushing over it.

I still like loud music you see. I like to get down, I like to shake my groove thang. direct opposition to my moral, upstanding suburban Mom and housewife persona....I like songs with naughty lyrics. Mabye it's some kind of unconscious rebellion against my upbringing; which when it came to matters of sexuality, was conservative in the extreme. We didn't say "sex", we didn't allude to "sex" and we certainly didn't practice "sex".

When I was somewhere around 18, my boyfriend and I were caught in flagrante delicto by my parents, when they arrived home early from their restaurant, which they had closed early due to inclement weather. My mother was beside herself. She wanted to lecture me. She felt obligated to lecture me. She really tried to lecture me. But the impact of her words was drastically diminished by the fact that she could not bring herself to say the word "sex".

She referred to it as "that behavior." As in, "That behavior is not appropriate for a girl your age" and "That behavior will not be tolerated under this roof." and my favorite, "Girls who engage in that behavior often find themselves in trouble." She was a wonderful mother in so many ways but she was the reigning Queen Of Euphemism.

So anyway...I attribute my love of the ribald, the risque, the vulgar and the profane to my Mother, who did everything she could to achieve the opposite. Sorry Mom.

Thus, I have been absolutely delighted lately to have happened upon a number of songs that fit that bill quite nicely. I wasn't looking for naughty songs in particular (though I'll admit that I sometimes do); just something new to add to my ever growing "newer new" playlist. Stumbling upon them in the vast musical rabbit hole that is iTunes was a decidedly happy accident. The fact that my current favorite is sung by a young, handsome Latin Lover type, with smoldering black eyes and a body that has obviously been carefully cultivated to make legions of adoring female fans weep, drool and pledge their evelasting just icing on the cake. As is the rather steamy video that accompanies it.

When I become enamored of a new song, I tend to play it over and over and over, until it has leached into the cellular matter of my brain and cemented every note, every lyric, every breathe before every phrase within. This is a habit that annoys my husband and children to no end. Fortunatley or unfortunately, depending upon one's point of view, this is not a habit I can readily indulge when it comes to the bawdier selections I so enjoy.

Which is why I recently found myself on a beautiful sunny day, high on an exercise rush, brimming with uncharacteristic optimism and good cheer, driving down the highway at breakneck speed in my big blue cliche, playing my naughty song playlist and relishing the freedom to sing all the racy words at the top of my lungs.

I know. I'm the epitome of class and good taste.

I decided to reward myself for burning calories by indulging in more calories, so I pulled into a local Starbuck's drivethrough, grateful for the fact that the driver's side window had spontaneously and inexplicably started functioning again the week before, so I wouldn't have to venture inside in my sweaty and dishevelled state.

I placed my order; grande skinny caramel latte; no whip, and patiently waited for the rather lengthy line of mini-vans to advance. 

When finally I pulled around to the service window, the shushing hydrolic doors parted to reveal a handsome twenty something male barista who was gazing at me with a peculiar but inscrutible expression on his wistfully whiskered face. I looked down at myself, wondering if somethinig was amiss or askew or on display. Nope, nothing.  I glanced back at the barista who now bore a look that was decidedly smirk-ish. Yes. He was definitely smirking at me. Puzzled, I handed over my debit card and accepted the proferred cup, mentally shrugging to myself.  He handed me the reciept and said "Have a nice evening Ma'am", which I thought was odd given the fact that it was high noon. And then he snickered, though it was the type of snicker that was obviously not meant to escape. How rude! I thought.

Pulling away, I placed my steaming drink in the cupholder; brushing my hand against the iPod, which was precariously balanced in the change tray, knocking it to the floor. As I bent to retrieve it, I noticed the Latin Lover's face gazing at me seductively from the rectangular screen. And that's when it hit me.

My naughty songs playlist was still playing at full volume. Oblivious to the fact that I was still within earshot of the speaker owing to the slow progress of the qeue, I had been belting out the saucy lyrics at top volume while waiting in line. Which really wouldn't have been a problem except that being as yet unaccustomed to having a fully functioning window once again, I had failed to roll it back up after placing my order.

Yes folks, I, forty something wife and mother of two, sedate suburban housewife and all around upstanding citizen, had been serenading the entire staff of Starbuck's with the following refrain:

"Please excuse me I don't mean to be rude, but tonight I'm fucking you. Whoa-oh-oh. Oh-whoa-oh. Oh."

Oh. The. Shame.

I felt my cheeks blazing as I was overcome by an odd, squirmy feeling that I hadn't experienced in a very long time. Being forty does have it's advantages, one of which is that not a lot discommodes a person of our age; we are not easily abashed or chagrined. But right then and there, the twenty something who resides in my soul and the forty something who commands my psyche collided into one with a cataclysmic onlsaught of horrified humiliation.

For the first time in a very long time, I was well and truly embarrassed.

I drove away trying to tell myself that I would likely never see that young man again, and even if I did, I would simply be another in the tide of faces that he sees every day. But the reassurances to myself were overridden by the creeping suspicion that I've now been branded into his awareness as the Saucy Song Singing Siren of Suburbia.

Sweet Weeping Jesus.

(WARNING: Explicit lyrics, nudity and sexual imagery)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sharing my Flaming June on a Freezing January day.

This painting is called "Flaming June" and even the name makes me feel light-hearted. It warms me body and soul to look upon her. Thanks to my husband, she now hangs above my bed, where I can visit her any time I like. She never fails to make me smile. And now, on this cold, frozen January day, I want to share her with you. May she give you the warmth and comfort that she gives me.

The color of her gown is vibrant and liquid; juicky like overripe Mediterranean fruit. I can almost feel the gossamer folds running like water between her thighs; cool and silky on her fevered skin. The ocean breeze carries the faint, delicious promise of summer rain. It caresses her, whispering through her hair and coaxing forth the aroma of jonquils and baking bread that has settled there; her own personal perfume.

I wonder about June. Is it the sun that has warmed her, or was it a loverrs touch? Is it the exhaustion of ardor that tranquilizes her or just the limpid peace of a perfect day?

I am brimming with contemporary disquiet; loaded with cares and concerns that June would find bewildering. I long for her contenment and langour. Sometimes I think that if I lie as still as she and imagine the tang of salt on my lips, I can steal her serenity for just a moment. Its a thought that cheers me and I find solace in her.

June...I feel like she could be my friend. I think we would talk about books and babies, life and lovers, poetry and politics.

June doesn't betray my confidences, twist my words, or exploit my weaknesses.

June doesn't take from me just because she can.

June doesn't mistake my happiness as disregard for her sadness.

June doesn't play guessing games.

June doesn't hold me to a higher standard of behavior than she holds herself.

June doesn't pretend everything is perfectly fine while secretly harboring anger and resentment.

June doesn't expect me to just know why.

June doesn't judge or dismiss me simply because some of our views differ.

June doesn't doesn't expect me to listen without giving me an opportunity to be heard.

June doesn't make me her whipping boy.

June doesn't find our friendship dispensable or disposable.

June doesn't hurt me.

June offers me comfort, never asking any for herself.

June willingly shares her tranquility; selflessly telegraphing warm solace through the very canvas of her presence.
June is constant. June is dependable. June is steadfast.

My June asks for nothing, expects nothing, and offers everything.

Sometimes, I don't care that June is silent, because she can soothe me without a word. Sometimes, I don't care that I will never feel the warmth of her cheek against mine. Her value is no less for the lack of arms to wrap around my shoulders.

But sometimes...

Sometimes I think that it would be good to hear her laugh. It would be good to see the light in her eyes. It would be good to feel the warmth of her grasp and the silk of her hair in my mouth when the wind blows. Sometimes I wonder if the risk of heartbreak is the price of a warm embrace, and if, ultimately, it's worth the cost. I risk nothing loving June. Her friendship is not prefaced by a dollar sign. She does not demand a pound of flesh as collateral.

For all those reasons and more...she is Flaming Perfect

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's All An Illusion Charlie Brown

I guys think I've got all my shit together. I am a confident, well adjusted, organized, now healthy person with purpose, goals and an awesome husband who supports them. Why wouldn't my life be completely idyllic, right?

God...where to begin.

First let me say, the purpose of this post is not to gain sympathy. It really isn't. But I like to think that I keep it real here at BAS, and the reason I do that is so that maybe someone out there will feel less alone, less crazy, less hopeless if they know someone else is grappling with the same things they are. I've talked about my loss of identity, my struggle to find myself, my feelings of inadquacy when it comes to parenting my Diminutive One, who has several issues that make even good days a challenge. I've talked about all the little bumps in the road that I think we all encounter at some point; a myriad of petty annoyances that really make adulthood suck ass sometimes. And I talk about these things because I want you to see me as the real person I am, with  flaws and neuroses and problems and glitches like everybody else. It makes me relatable. I hope.

Also, personally speaking, I think blogs that are all sweetness and light and Hallmark perfect are perfectly nauseating. You know the ones I'm talking about; perfect children, perfect job, perfect spouse, perfect life. They craft and cook and decorate and volunteer all with good cheer and effusive gratitude. Blech.

Life is hard, people. And it's not for wimps. You can't deal with it if you're not willing to acknowledge that perfection is an illusion. Pretending everything is perfect does not make it so. But maybe it does make life a little less excruciating. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at ignoring or sugar coating or pretending. see, my super power is examining, obsessing and magnifying. Its one I have honed to absolute perfection over the years. And that, dear readers, is where my problem lies.

At this point, you are doubtless wondering what the hell I'm talking about, so I'll just say it.


I  have an anxiety disorder. Whew. There. I said it.

I've been ignoring it for quite a number of years, you see. I realized long ago that my tendency to worry goes way beyond being a "worrywart", but I wasn't quite ready to admit that I might have a clinical disorder. So I practiced deep breathing, I counted to myself, I wrote or created elaborate fictitious scenarios in my head; all in an effort to stop my heart racing, the room spinning, my stomach churning, my knees trembling, the cold sweat, the inexplicable sense of doom, the sheer unadulterated panic that would occur for no apparent reason.

I sort of got used to it. Once I realized I wasn't dying of a heart attack, I learned to recognize the symptoms for what they were and I learned to cope. I learned to live with the constant knot of dread resting like a stone in the pit of my stomach. It became my normal.

But once my strokes were discovered, my brain turned things up a notch. It became harder and harder to live with the fear and dread that had become my constant companion, because it had become harder and harder talk myself out of panicking. Every time I had a migraine, I worried I was having another stroke. Every time I worked out a little too hard and it took a smidge longer for my heart rate to come down, I worried I was having a heart attack. Every time I found my car keys in the refrigerator or my purse in the kitchen cupboard, I worried I was developing early onset Alzheimer's. Every time I lost a word in the middle of a sentence, stuttered, twitched or repeated myself, I worried that something was gravely wrong with the organ I most cherished; my brain.

I was a friggen' mess. But I didn't let on to anybody just how anxiety ridden I had actually become. I hid it even from my husband; my closest friend and the person upon whom I counted to call an ambulance and deliver mouth to mouth in the event that I actually did keel over.

Still I didn't seek help. And I really can't say exactly why. But I suspect that it is my inherent perfectionism that kept me from admitting that I had a real, clinical problem that needed to be treated. I considered myself a strong person; a survivor, dammit. Survivors are not pussies and survivors do not wimp out by taking pills.

I would just have to try harder.

But then my Mom died. And that's when things really got bad. Because one minute she was here and the next she was gone and if it could happen to her it could happen to me and dear God how I fear the cold , dark nothingness of death. Which is why I think that faith is not a choice. Yes, that's another post for another day, but I just want to say that if it was....and believing in Jesus and asking him into my heart would take care of my anxiety, (which it may or may not do, but I think there's a good chance that some kind of definitive belief about death would help) I would choose to believe in him right the fuck now.

So anyway...I had a wicked stomach bug over the weekend. But even after my symptoms had passed and I was able to keep food and fluids on traditional route through my digestive tract, I just didn't feel right. I was weak, shaky, and dizzy. Just to make myself feel better, I took my blood pressure at the drug store. That plan, unfortunately, backfired most spectacularly when the reading was 132/120. Right then and there, certain that a stroke was imminent, I had the worst panic attack of my life. I don't even know how I made it home. It was the first time I actually felt like I might lose consciousness and that scared the living shit out of me.

I decided enough was enough. I called our family doctor's office and begged them to get me in as soon as possible. Amazingly, they fit me in at 9:15 the following morning. I told myself that I just had to stay alive for eighteen hours. Just eighteen hours. Seventeen. Sixteen. And so on....

It was touch and go for a while, but I made it through the night.

And then I found myself in the doctor's office, spilling my guts, though I hadn't planned to do anything of the sort. I was just going to ask for some drugs and be done with it.

"The problem is doctor, that I don't trust anything my body tells me. I mean, almost every day my body tells me its dying someway somehow, but I know its probably not. But what if it is? What if I miss something important because I'm dismissing the symptoms as anxiety? Or, what if I end up in the ER with the entire staff laughing at me because I came in with an acute case of gas? I just don't know what to believe and I. Can't. Handle. That."

My doctor, bless him, first told me that with all I've had to deal with this year, he'd be surprised if I wasn't having anxiety issues. He also said that women in today's world are under an enormous amount of pressure; pressure that men just are not subjected to. I think I got a little teary at that point, and he gave my arm a kindly pat with a reassuring little squeeze at the end. Then he said,

"But there are some things you CAN count on. You are young, you don't smoke, you exercise regularly, you are at a healthy weight and you eat a healthy diet. Your cholesterol levels are some of the best I've seen, all your hormone levels are normal and your sed rates and white counts are perfect. In other words, you are a very healthy person who happens to have experienced a fairly serious, but I believe, isolated, health crisis."

He paused to let that sink in and then continued.

"The problem is, that by telling you these things, I am speaking to the right side of your brain. Anxiety comes from the left side of the brain. So. What we have to do, is make both sides feel better."

I could have kissed him then. I really could have. He got it. He understood that I was asking for help that would allow me to function right now, today; to handle all the stuff I have to handle and not let anybody down. Something that would allow me to feel like normal competent me again. But he also understood that medication can only do so much. And I knew that going in. I knew that I had some things that needed addressing on a psychological level and some issues to work through related to my mother's death and the upheaval it caused in our lives. He gave me a referral to a trusted colleague who specializes in anxiety disorders, and, as it happens, grief and bereavement.

I feel better just having some kind of plan in place. I have some drugs, yes. And I will use them. If that makes me a pussy, so be it. I'll be a happy one. But I've also made an appointment with the therapist and I find that I'm looking forward to it. I need to talk to someone. Oh, my husband would listen to me, but I need someone who doesn't love me, or count on me, or idealize me. I need someone completely neutral and unbiased who can tell me frankly how screwed up I am, but also, how to fix it.

And maybe, just maybe, I can avoid becoming one of those people who is afraid of milk or feels compelled to brush their teeth one by one in sequential order, or can't part with pet hair.

Wish me luck.