Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex (Part One)

I was awakened last night with a kind of scary epiphany. I think I have become a-sexual. As in, I have an utter lack of concern with sex. I could care less. I don't want it, I am doing fine without it, and I cannot imagine a situation in which it would be desirable. That is really scary. Prior to marriage I was very comfortable with my sexuality. I enjoyed sex, a LOT. I pursued, I enjoyed being pursued. There were the occasional one-night stands, testing of the waters. I didn't have sex for the first time until I was 19 and a freshman in college. I was going to save myself for "the one" and guys that age seemed to run pretty fast when they realized they were not getting the goods, so "the one" was impossible to find.

Enter my first real boyfriend. We started as friends. Over time I noticed that I was attracted to him though he wasn't the norm for me. He was a large, dreadlocked black man which was a huge no-no in my part of Texas. But we shrugged off the cold stares and hateful comments. He was a sophomore, older and wiser. Once he admitted that he had a thing for me, we carefully began feeling our way around a relationship. I was absolutely terrified because I knew that he had had sex before. I had to take Valerian root - a natural sedative - just to spend time with him. I was nauseated any time I was with him alone because I didn't know what was coming.

One night, while we were feeling each other out, quite literally, I felt something in no-man's land. I immediately jerked to attention and told him that nothing could happen and he told me to relax, it was only his thumb. Maybe a minute or two of cringing discomfort later he said, "I guess I should carve my name in your heart".

"What?" I asked.

"We just made love," he replied ever so sweetly.

That was it. That was my first time. I didn't even know that it happened. Now, because I felt that I had to stay with him because he was now "the one", after about a month of making him keep his distance I decided to let him be my teacher. He took that on with great joy. For the next four years, on and off, he taught me everything I know about sex. He was a wonderful, spiritual teacher and I was an eager student.

From that introduction came what was very nearly an addiction to sex. I cheated on every boyfriend I had because if an opportunity came along, I was not about to turn it down. I relished each guy as an important life experience. They made my life richer or taught me that looks didn't equal capability in bed. And from 19-25, sensuality was a defining aspect of my persona. I exuded it, as I was told by so many.

Fast forward to now...

I haven't had sex in probably a year or so, and a year and a half before that, but I don't miss it. I'm no longer sensual in any way. I let myself go, gained weight, lost my self-confidence. And now I have an actual physical reaction to the thought of having sex with my husband. I literally shudder. I don't think that it has anything to do with Patrick. He is a kind man and we are getting along spectacularly. I know that I am doing a grave disservice to our marriage by not having sex with him. There are so many possibilities for why I don't. We have spent our entire marriage trying to figure out why one or the other didn't want to have sex. In the beginning, say...the first five years, I wanted it and he didn't. And now, he wants it and I don't.

Now I have to figure out why. Just the intro to this topic has gotten rather long, so I will continue later with some of my rationalizations. In the meantime, have any of you ever gone for long periods without desire? Did you have a valid reason or was it a social drought? How do you feel about sexuality as a defining feature of yourself?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Do you guys ever feel like you simply can't write enough?  There are so many things on your mind, scratching and clawing their way to the surface, begging for resolution.  Well, now is not that time for me.  It seems like my life is pathetically boring.  Mind you, I am grateful for the lack of upheaval, but it does leave little about which to write.

Right now I am taking time to check out other blogs and I am endlessly entertained by the voyeurism that allows us to partake in their lives' events.  Here are my favorites...

as well as those listed on my blogroll.  What I am noticing is that my life is incredibly tame, lame even.  Everyone is out there living their dreams and experiencing life to the fullest.  If I had blogged years ago when I was flying, ohhhh...the stories I could tell.  Trust me, you guys would be endlessly entertained.  But now...nothing.  I feel like I am doing a disservice to the blogosphere by wasting space.

Nonetheless, I appreciate you all.  Thank you for taking the time to read my mundane and confused musings.  I am grateful to you, each and every one.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dr. Feelbad

It's been a crappy weekend filled with illness at my house.  We went to a skate party (roller skates!!) on Friday and the birthday boy had stayed home that day with pinkeye.  Now, I have an immune deficiency, so this wasn't wise to begin with.  In fact, me going around sniveling kids is never a good idea.  I catch a cold when a fly sneezes. 

On Saturday I woke up with a grossly sore throat.  I still cleaned house and did all the crap I was supposed to like a good mom.  Sunday I woke up barely able to swallow.  And my son, his eyes were a puffy mess.  They were matted shut, we were all scratching.  Mess.  By Sunday night Cade was crying because his throat hurt him so badly.

So, I took my child to the doctor today.  We couldn't get in to my normal GP or his pediatrician, so we went to the local PromptCare clinic.  Bad idea, I know.  We waited for almost two hours to see the doctor who then breezed in, looked at Cade's throat, his ears, listened to his heart, wrote a script and walked out.  With insurance, it cost us $65.00.  He never looked at his eyes, never gave me a diagnosis.  Nothing.  He wrote a prescription for antibiotics and eye drops and was done.  

WTH is wrong with our health care system?  Do doctors even care anymore?  Do they try to find what ails us or just throw the first pill that has come to mind since the pretty pharmaceutical rep left? I have long believed that they are pretty much guessing.  I have had so many tests and so many diagnosis in regards to my lupus (if THAT'S what it really is).  I am so frustrated that we have to pay so much, money that is budgeted and set aside for other things, to have these people throw some crap at you as they cram in as many patients as possible to pad their bottom line. Mind you, I have seen this doctor before and he was attentive and kind.  Today though, as we were paying out, another woman stormed out saying that the doctor wasn't worth a shit and she wouldn't pay.  I tried to lighten the mood with the nurses by joking, but I agree with the woman 100%.  I had to pay this guy to SERIOUSLY do nothing more than write a script and kick us out.

Anyhow, we are heading back to work and school tomorrow.  I'm hoping that we will not be spreading illness to everyone we come in contact with (yeah, Savannah, I wouldn't come too close).  The nurse asked if I was sending him to school tomorrow and I said that I guessed I would since the doctor didn't say anything about it.  I still can't swallow, but I figure that is overrated anyway.

Good times.  Now, to get ready for my 5k on Saturday...

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Big Question

I mentioned a while back that something was bugging me.  I want some outside perspective on the issue.  I know that religion will always be something that no one will ever agree on, but I am so torn since deciding last year to transition from agnostic to Baptist.  Allow me a little back story...

I was raised in a non-denominational Christian church.  That can mean many, many things to many, many different churches.  In the church in which I grew up one of the things it meant was that we believed in the manifestations of spirits.  That went for the Holy Spirit (i.e., talking in tongues, being slain in the spirit, etc.) as well as demonic spirits.  There was a phase in our small church where they cast out demons of everything from pornography to laziness (I was on the receiving end of that laziness one).  I was told one summer at church camp that I was molested by a warlock and had his evil spirits passed on to me.  I am pretty sure that the "evil spirits" of which they spoke were related to my sense of defiance based on rationality.  When they would push on my forehead to slay me in the spirit I would dig in and push back.  One thing they did manage to do was instill a deep fear of the dark side.  I was told that opening my mind to meditation, for something like yoga, opened the doors to allow spirits to inhabit me.  

Knowing that history, you might be able to see why I turned my back on religion altogether as soon as I got out of my parents' house.  Religion was confining and scary and hypocritical.  There was always the nagging in the back of my mind that God did exist, I was simply too pragmatic to fully buy in.  To this day, I still have so many questions and concerns and realities that counteract my intentions of being a Christian.

I was talking to Savannah at work today.  She is a relatively new Catholic.  I asked her about some of the finer points of Catholicism.  One of my questions is why there is so much weight given to Mary and the other saints.  Unfortunately, she has not been a student of the religion long enough to answer those questions.  She is, however, going to find resources for both of us to better understand.  It's not that I think that one religion has the answers that the rest do not, I just want to know the answers of all religions so I can decide whether or not I think they are all fatally flawed.

It comes down to this; I don't know how to accept Christianity in my life.  When I raise these issues to my pastor he says to focus on my relationship with God.  But then I go to church and they tell me that in order to have a relationship with God I have to follow His word.  Then I start reading His word and there are contradictions left and right.  He is a loving God vs. He is a wrathful God.  He understands your heart vs. He will spit you out of his mouth like vile water if you are lukewarm in your relationship with him.  And don't even get me started on the social issues.  I simply cannot accept that Jesus wanted us to use shame, isolation, and harsh words in order to show people the ways of their sin.  Prop 8 anyone?

So, am I not really a Christian?  If I doubt or dislike some of the fundamentals of the Christian faith (take the whole Old Testament for instance), how can I truly live for Him?  I am a skeptic at best and a hypocrite at worst.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Free To A Good Home

Here is a brief snippet from an email I got from Cade's teacher.  It was a lengthy email that fully chronicled a day in the life of a carefree little boy.  He is so carefree that he cannot be bothered with silly things like limits and rules.  Keep in mind, this snippet was about paragraph five of an essay ticking off his bad behavior.
During instruction time he interrupted nearly every three minutes by talking, shaking his art box, throwing something, crawling under the tables, standing on his head with his feet on the desk, or flipping his chair over and pretending the legs were a steering wheel. I tried moving him, isolating him, talking both firm and gentle, making him move his bus...but nothing seemed to work today. I spent a majority of the seven hour school day saying the name "Cade" over and over again. 
Standing on his head?  Really? Yes, Cade is hyperactive.  He is also very intelligent and tends to get bored towards the end of a school year (preschool in years past), but he knows better than to behave like this.  And at home, his behavior is simply defiant.  He could care less that his father or I am talking to him.  He will not do anything that he doesn't want to without a huge fit.  With both Patrick and I being non confrontational in nature, this means that Cade runs the house.  We spend most of our time asking, then begging him to do things.  He is naturally manipulative, a trait that I never managed and will knowingly cave to when it is used on me.  He has our numbers and he is cashing in.

I entered this parenting thing with a lot of idealism, as I guess we all do.  I would never spank.  I would address him as a competent human being from day one.  I wouldn't raise my voice or lose control of a situation, allowing him to gain what I had lost.  I would be understanding and, above all, I would listen.  Everyone knows that the key to good communication is listening.

Yeah, that's a bunch of crap when the person you are dealing with doesn't care one whit about you.  Sure, I am a soft place to hide when things aren't going his way.  Sure, he loves me because I am always there for him.  But I see something new in my little boy with whom, for all these years, I have had an alliance.  He sees his control slipping.  Mommy and Daddy are becoming a united front.  Mommy no longer second guesses Daddy to make sure that Cade is happy.  And quite frankly, I don't like what I see from this child.  He is wily, but more ominously, he is a master manipulator.  All kids have that tendency to step their toes over the line to see just with what they can get away.  But Cade, at the ripe old age of six, doesn't care if the answer is no.  He will look you boldly in the eye and continue with the actions and behavior that are outraging those around him.

I think that I have created a monster and I have no idea how to wrest control away from him.  I will tell you right now, his will is stronger than mine.  He feels more passion in a fight than I can muster.  His father is just the same as me. Patrick and I don't argue because neither of us like unpleasantries.  In the past (say...last night), we have punished Austin with tickles.  Rather than a timeout, which honestly has NO AFFECT whatsoever on Cade, we tickle him to distract him from the negative behavior.  Better laughs than screams, right?  But now we have this handsome, smart little boy that knows exactly what buttons to push with everyone in his world to get what he wants.

I know I have to get it under control now before he becomes a sociopath in his teens (okay, maybe I'm overreacting).  However, in a battle of the wills, he will win every time.  Maybe it's time to call in Supernanny.  I am at my wit's end with this child.  

I find myself asking over and over again, why in the hell do people have kids?  I understand the biological need to continue our race, but other than that, I simply do not see the lure.  At least 80% of the time I have spent with Cade in the last week, neigh, the last six years, have been a struggle.  And these are the good times?  And then he marries and leaves me for his wife and the time when I would enjoy him, I become the outsider who is intruding on his new family unit.  So I spend my time doing everything for this child, worrying day and night about every last decision that I make in my life and how it pertains to him.  And if my parents are any indication, I will continue into old age worrying day and night about him.  Sure, I love his tiny hand holding mine.  I love the smell of his head when he nestles in my lap.  I love his sighs, his remarks, his wit.  And oh, do I love to watch him sleep.  But really, the weight of this responsibility is tearing me up.  I can account for myself.  I do great work.  I excel.  But Cade, the most important and momentous extension of myself, I cannot vouch for him.  I cannot impress my moral characteristics onto him.  How do parents carry that weight?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ctrl + Alt + Del

When I started telling this story the other day, I thought I could handle it.  I thought it was a story that I was ready to tell.  It ended with me calling my doctor to make sure I wasn't having a panic attack. My arms went numb, my head was spinning and confused.  I don't know what caused that and I truly hate to think that I am neurotic enough that going back in time to that point would cause such physical anguish.  Still, I can't help but think that I psyched myself out by revisiting what has been buried for a long time for good reason.

What really is important in all this is that I have only recently decided to completely let go of the past.  I am letting go of Andrew, of memories of how it was and what could have been.  It occurred to me that I never gave my marriage a chance because Patrick was simply not the man that I wanted him to be, and that man was Andrew. But lately, looking at him for who he is and can be, I really like the man that Patrick has become.  Our counseling sessions have gone incredibly well and ever since I packed the bags to leave (and then chickened out), Patrick has been a new man.  And in being so, he has shown me how unfair I have been to him since the day we met.  I never gave him a chance.

Now it's time.  It's time to look at the father of my son and erase all the expectations that someone else implanted in my mind and heart. Because Patrick is a good, kind man.  He is becoming an exceptional father and has been a patient husband/roommate.  And when I look at him now, I can see a future.

Maybe sometime down the road I will finish the story of Andrew for you all. Maybe someday soon.  I think it would be cathartic to lay it out there and be done.  Perhaps I will have a Xanax on standby for that day.  

Almost eight years have passed and it's time that I start to appreciate what I was given and say goodbye to what never was.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


While at work I listen to NPR through my computer.  Usually it's Morning Edition followed by All Things Considered from the previous day.  But at the beginning of the week my favorite show is new and I anxiously await listening to This American Life.  Today, I watched the page buffer wondering what gem of American life would be there for me to speed along my day.  But much to my dismay, it was a repeat from not so long ago.  But there was sweet relief.  They have archives.  I have been listening to the show since November 2001 and in my boredom over the years have listened to most of the shows in the archives.  Today I figured I would go back to before then and see what was going on in the world all those years ago.

For whatever grim reason, maybe because I have only lately been able to acknowledge the existence of the day, my mouse rested on the show from September 21st, 2001.  It was the first that they were able to produce with any information about the attacks on the 11th.  So I decided to listen.  Amazingly, I could listen with somewhat detached interest.  I still got the ache in my throat while listening to discussions of the escape from and subsequent fall of the towers.  But I wasn't overwhelmed.

You see, until only weeks ago I saw my life as "Before and After", ironically the name of this episode of This American Life.  "Before" that Tuesday my life was on a straight trajectory to success.  I loved my job as a flight attendant based out of Newark, NJ.  I had the perfect boyfriend and we were planning a trip to Hawaii at the beginning of October, around my birthday, where it was simply known that he would propose.  He was already wearing a ring on his left ring finger, a show of commitment for all of the vulturistic flight attendants.  He was a pilot, first officer on the 737, with a bright future. 

On September 9th, I had spent the night in Washington D.C. on a trip. I couldn't get a hold of Andrew that night.  He was heading out on a 4-day trip to L.A. from Newark late on the 10th and was supposed to be in his hometown of Toronto that night visiting his family.  I called his parent's home and they seemed surprised to hear from me.  He wasn't there.  His phone went straight to voicemail.  My phone rang at 3 a.m. and I answered with pounding heart after having cried myself to sleep, so relieved to hear from him.  But it wasn't him.  It was my college boyfriend, calling a year after I left him to yell at me for being so callous as to leave him with only a note.  My head was swimming from trying to drink away my concerns the night before.  I apologized, tried to figure out if I had drunk dialed him and thus received this call.  I hadn't. I looked at my call list after I hung up with my random caller and saw a 1 a.m. call to Andrew which was well after I had sworn not to call him again at 10 o'clock that night. I had caved, in an alcohol-induced haze of self-pity, but the short call time reminded me that he had still not answered.  I could vaguely remember myself standing in a small bar bathroom, some bar in D.C. that I still don't know how or with whom I ended up, plugging one ear to hear the ringing over the pounding music, hoping to hear his voice.  And I did, but it was voicemail. With my last shred of dignity, I hung up without leaving a pleading or angry message.

On the morning of the 10th, I got up, threw up, hopped in the shower and climbed into yesterday's uniform.  I met up with my crew and headed to the plane where the saviour of a captain fed me oxygen to get me up and going again.  We flew out of Reagan Intl. and I completed my day, still never having heard from Andrew.  When I ended my trip at Newark International I decided to stay at his place instead of mine.  I was hoping I would catch him before he left on his trip to L.A.  But I fell asleep that night, in his apartment on the Hudson in Bayonne, New Jersey, with no idea of where he was.  His bags were packed, his uniforms were gone, but he never had called.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Here Comes The Sun...doo doo doo doo

Perhaps most of you have heard that one of the fascinating faults of those with bipolar disorder is their inability to take their medication as prescribed.  For many it is because they don't like the way it makes them feel or they enjoy the feeling of mania.  For others it is because they start feeling better and begin to believe that maybe they don't need it.  I am different, and even more confounding to myself and others.  My meds don't make me feel funny. I know that I need them in order to function normally, and I hate the way I act and feel in a manic state.  I don't take my medication regularly just...because.  I forget.  I am too tired to get up and get it.  It's not convenient at the time I remember.  And I've tried it all.  I've set the medication and water by my toothbrush, set an alarm, etc. For some reason I continue to take my meds rather sporadically.  When I start getting dizzy spells and feeling lethargic and nauseated I know that I have gone at least three days without.

Another writing.  As you may have noticed there has been very little positivity in my writing.  I have been in a dim place.  It's not dark, just tinged a dingy gray.  This last week I was so exhausted that I didn't run, at all.  Running rejuvenates me, but I couldn't pull myself up and get going.  Patrick was doing everything around me, including working 12 hour days with inventory, cooking, laundry, picking up Cade.  I was fading back into my hole.

But today...the sun is out!  I feel positivity!  I want to run.  I want to clean.  I even cooked dinner last night.  How's that for a change?  Patrick was even sweet enough to leave only one bite on his plate, that it was probably because he could no longer stomach it is irrelevant.  He ate it.  He thanked me for cooking and then put Cade to bed.  What a man!

And you know what else?  He worked until 11:30 p.m. on Monday night, then woke up at 4:30 a.m. yesterday to get to work so that he could get off early to take Cade to the dentist.  And he never. complained.  I can't tell you guys what a huge 180 that is for him.  He used to complain about reaching for the remote.  He is now going above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis.  And I really like him.  I'm enjoying our time together.  Things are good.  I'm even thinking about (gasp)...sleeping with him.  I know, I know.  Drastic.  But maybe I'll give it another try.

Things feel mostly good right now.  I do have one looming issue that is bothering me which I will write about soon.  But for now I want to see if I can get back on the track to self-improvement. The self-loathing is just so tiresome.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I'm tired...that's all I've got...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hometown Happenings

This is the ironically named "Tall City".  It is so named because the huge 13-story buildings tower over the incredibly flat landscape.
I'm up late listening to my hometown hockey team on the radio.  No, I'm not that fanatical, but it's the playoffs and it's going into overtime for the third game in a row on the series.  Good stuff. The thing I hate about hockey is that there is so much time between periods.  I want to sleep, but I hate to leave now.  Every time they drop the puck a fight breaks out, guys are getting ejected left and right.  I only wish I could be there to see it.  As you can tell, I'm a sports fan.

So, on my plate for this weekend, some great stuff.  In the morning (which is sneaking up on me really quickly) is trash pickup.  Cade and I will be joining the city-wide Keep Midland Beautiful campaign tomorrow with all the people from my office and their families.  I'm anxious to get Cade christened with his first community service project.  It's really a joke because Keep Midland Beautiful is a sad misnomer.  The combined metroplex of Midland/Odessa has 200,000 people and about one oilwell for each person.  The landscape is desert, mesquite and tumbleweeds.  We have miles and miles of flat, dry grass lined with barbed wire fences.  Those fences proudly display a wide array of plastic bags that flap wildly in the strong west Texas winds.  All of that to say, there is nothing now nor has there ever been anything beautiful about this city.  There is no keeping it beautiful, there is just minimizing the eye sore.  So, Cade and I will be Minimizing the Eyesore of Midland tomorrow.  More good times.

After that I will be joining my parents and some friends to make some sandwiches and take them to the local park where the homeless hang out.  I can't decide whether I want to take Cade yet because he is still at that age where he asks embarrassing and inappropriate questions.  I don't want him to hurt anyone's feelings.  Plus, I am quite inclined to sit and talk with these people for ages.  They have the most interesting stories.  Their lives are little different in their starts from my own or anyone else's.  It's usually a tale of mental illness gone awry (which I understand all too well).  There are Vietnam veterans, wonderful men with incredible dogs and ingenious setups of grocery carts.  It's something I am really looking forward to.  The only thing is that my heart breaks and I want to do so much more than hand out one meal.  I want to bring them all home.  I want to spend every day just listening to the stories.  I want to fix their situations and I hate the helpless feeling that I am left with.  But I know that my helplessness holds no candle to what they live with daily.

Finally, I plan on a weekend of running.  I skipped a lot this week because I have been so worn out.  I have to get back on the horse.  Everything I have read mentions that the killer of marathon training is loss of motivation.  Initially my motivation was my new running shoes. There is nothing more fun than breaking in a new pair of shoes.  I wish I could get a pair a week. Ooh, and new running clothes!  I think that shallow tendency defeats the self-improvement aspect I am going for with the running, so I'll have to find something else.  

Well, my melatonin has clouded my mind and my team just won in sudden death, double overtime tying the series and heading to game five.  Good night to all and I hope you have wonderfully productive and exciting weekends!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Desolate Landscape of My Mind

I'm not feeling a lot of turmoil these days, and lack of turmoil usually means lack of inspiration for writing.  It's sad how that is.  I am sure there are all manner of happy things to write about, but I just don't feel it.  Yesterday, on this blog post, I replied about how medication makes me apathetic. I don't feel any emotion very intensely, which I assume is the medication because I used to feel everything like it was touching on raw nerves, electrifyingly painful.  It's like I just don't have the energy to give a crap about what is going on in my life.  I might be incensed on a logic level, but emotionally I simply don't process chaos any longer. I think this is why I have been through so much in my marriage and just kept going.  I am able to stay numb enough to exist in a nice, little bubble.  I'm not happy, but I'm not angry or hurt.

The things that I do feel are sadness and loneliness, which is apparently pretty common.  Not that I want to be around people, because I do tend towards hermitude, but I don't like not having people to be with were I to decide that's what I wanted.  How fickle?  My desire to do nothing more than climb in bed and sleep is an indication that perhaps the meds aren't working at full tilt.  But then again, maybe it is normal to be depressed in my circumstance.  I could chase my tail on this one all afternoon.

One of the things I hate most about being diagnosed with a mental illness is that I no longer know what is me, what is the medication, and what is the illness.  Am I depressed because of my situation or is my situation as it is because of my manic/depression?  Could my husband be a good man who is doing his best with a loony bird who doesn't cook, clean or have sex with him and occasionally looses her mind altogether for a good week or so?  Lately we have really gotten along well and he has been quite fun to be around.  He is chipping in with Cade and has become quite the great father.  He has to cook every night else we all eat PB&J because I would rather scrub a toilet bare-handed than cook a meal.  He does dishes daily and I...ummm, I... Well, I take Cade to school every day and do homework with him for the most part.  I work and make almost twice what he does, so the provider aspect is covered.  But really, what do I give to this relationship other than instability?  Perhaps our counselor was right when he said no man in his right mind would sign on with me.  What do I have to offer?

I'm starting to feel a real sense fault for the possible demise of our marriage.  I have never been fair to Patrick.  I have kept feelings for another man all these years, the infamous soul mate. I have always complained about him to friends and family.  It has always been me and him, never us.  I have been selling him short.  It's no surprise he has done the same.  But which came first, the chicken or the egg? 

Sorry for the pity party.  I think when I don't write it might be for the best, because when I start to think I pick myself apart.  I've gotta work on that.