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Don’t recall that phobia? Have no fear. I just made it up. Even as book and blog ideas have been rolling around in my head like loose marbles on an interstate for a while now, I have not been able to gather enough thoughts at one time to form a complete sentence. And, if I could, I tend to forget where they are by the second sentence or word, thus watching helplessly as the marbles roll in and subsequently out of my noggin. Until today. So, now what?
This whole time, I’ve been under the influence of Sonowwhatophobia. Those who have MS can certainly understand the concept. The question, “So, now what?” becomes as knee-jerk as punching the pizza delivery speed dial button. With each annoying symptom, new attack, battery of tests, onslaught of information, doctor visits, or medication changes and additions, the chance of developing Sonowwhatophobia increases. Nice, huh? So, now what?
I have noticed people living with MS have more than a few phobias in common and these fears usually come as packaged deals for many of “us”. Polyphobia. (Multiple fears) Oddly, while researching phobias, some MS fears did not appear along with the predictable ones. I was ready to call the Wikipedia people. The following a short listing the missing phobias those of us with MS can accrue:
Bendophobia: the fear of bending over, becoming dizzy, off-balance and busting your butt. Walmartophobia: the fear of being in Walmart on one end of that monstrous store and needing something on the other end, thus having to maneuver the length of a football field. Usually, just for masking tape or a can of soup. Knockophobia: the fear of running, walking or knocking into random stuff and people. Furniturephobia usually coincides with this one. Mysterybruiseophobia is a long one, but self explainatory: the fear of finding some odd new bruise and having to wonder for days just where in the world it came from. Attireophobia: the fear of clothing with back zippers, the notion of stepping into pants, hose or underwear without a face plant or hanging a toe, and anything which needs to be tied. Charadeophobia: the fear of having to act out the words you forgot.Butyoulooksogoodophobia: the fear of feeling like a gigantic cat hairball and having someone say, “But your MS can’t be that bad, because you look so good.” Thus, prompting a sarcastic reply, the urge to throw a shoe (slip-on, of course), or, if you are inclined to be a nice person, smile, cringe and go on. Believe me, depending on the course of my MS and the symptoms, more fears are probably lurking…So, what now?
I did discover some professionally acknowledged phobias which MS can prompt. These are very real, can be grouped into the polyphobic arena yet nonetheless scary: Basophobia, the fear of falling down. Thermophobia, the fear of heat. Getting hot turns “us” into concrete, triggering kopophobia, the fear of fatigue and also, asthenophobia, the fear of bodily weakness. Bathomophobia: the fear of stairs, even just one. Elevators, escalators, muscle stimulators, canes and wheelchairs ease this one unless you are boneheaded enough to risk atychiphobia, the fear of failure, just to prove a point. Ankylophobia: the fear of immobility and needing help. Put a star by that one. Glossophobia: the fear of speaking. MS can affect speech. Sometimes, by slurring words or by the inability to get out the words desired. Trust me, talking and walking like a drunk college freshman is only amusing to a drunk college freshman and most Reality TV stars. This phobia worsens when you aren’t drunk and have no dibs on a TV contract with “Snooky”. Trypanophobic: the fear of injections. I don’t have this one, but I have see those who do…it’s not pretty and can be traumatizing to the ones enduring shots or IVs. Soteriophobia, the fear of having to depend on others. That one hits a personal nerve. Gelotophobia: the fear of being laughed at. Nuff said. Macrophobia: the fear of long waits. If you have ever had to wait on a doctor or struggle with endless patience, plastered with “red tape” while your insurance play tidily winks to decide if they might cover a needed medication or procedure, label yourself macrophobic.
H.P. Lovecraft stated, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is of the unknown.” Well said. Wish I could have thought of that while all of my random marbles were rolling around chaotically.
So, now, you’ve probably guessed what. EVERYONE has fears. The healthy, the happy-go-lucky, the rich, everyday Joes, children, caregivers, NASCAR drivers, cancer and other disease patients, families and survivors. There are also those who cannot pay their mortgage or feed their families. Everyone is afraid at some point. Afraid of holes? There’s a fear for that. Afraid of nose pickers? There’s a fear for that. Afraid of knees? Yes, there’s a fear for that. Wasps? There’s a fear for that because I have it.It’s huge; Spheksophobia.
So, now what? No one is perfect. (Yes, there is a fear of non-perfection.) My best advice is to seek that which can guide you. Hunt for people with whom you can honestly commiserate, support and be supported. I am a part of a group of people, all of whom happen to have MS. We talk. We guide. We listen. We share. We gripe. We care. This blog is for them. You know who you are. So, now what? I’m gonna get outa here and hang with my family and MS family. Don’t be afraid to tag along and, as always, be kind in whatever you do.
When asked if I would like to go out last night to The Melting Pot, a fairly new milieu in which those in the know go and play with hot pots, long forks and food, I immediately said yes! Remembering my mother preparing different types of fondue for party guests when I was a child, warm fuzzy mental pictures began to surface as I wondered how the new generation of fonduers managed to pull off an entire restaurant concept around melted cheese and hot broths. I even have my own fondue pot, complete with the funny looking pitch forks. I also have my mother’s old 70s avocado green ones with psychedelic tips. I attempted to make chocolate fondue years ago for my family. Attempted. The small burner under the pot not only melted the chocolate, but burned it into a bitter sticky mud. My son said it looked like dog doo. He was right. With my dislike of sweets anyway, the smell was consistent with camper fuel and the odor was gag inducing. Somehow, in my enthusiasm to entertain and impress my family, I failed miserably. Oh, and set off my smoke alarm. I hung my head disappointed, scoured the pot and put the whole concept back in the box.
Last night, a whole new beginning with the concept began for me. A very poised and proper young girl greeted us and we were led around a maze of dark walls and tables. I’m glad she walked slow because I was lost by the second turn. Once to our table, tucked away in a corner, far far from the door, we were handed menus which when opened, resembled the Ten Commandment tablets. Huge. The table was granite and had a flat heating unit flush with the table top. That was cool. One seemingly 15 watt bulb hung down in a small globe, which projected a wasp nest effect onto the dark walls of our little cubby hole table. I was nosey and instead of looking at the menu, I looked under the table to see how that heat unit was set up. It looked like I had found a hidden bomb with all of the trimmings. Technology astounds me.
Have I mentioned dark? Yep. There’s a theme here. The restaurant was dark. The walls were dark. The servers wore black. The Moses menu was dark. I couldn’t see a blasted thing but the whites of our server’s eyes and his teeth. I had stupidly forgotten my reading glasses. I was ill prepared. Oops. You guessed it. I couldn’t read one thing on that menu. I made a joke with the server about my age and eyesight and he magically produced a small flashlight. Ahhhh. There were the words and he did have a body. He vanished, again, and we huddled over one menu with the light, amazed with all of the choices. Lobster? Shrimp? Mushrooms? Potatoes? 5 different meats? Garlic? Apples? Wow! Stainless pots with inserts. Sushi style divided plates. Tiny square cups with Barbie sized spoons…Fondue has come a long way from crusty bread, grainy cheese and scorched chocolate. I was ecstatic.
I was also, too much of a kid. Not only had the space age “stove top” intrigued me, but so did the flashlight. It was black, red, small and semi see-through. I poked the top button again. Just cause I could. Now, our little cubby table had turned into a disco strobe booth. The light was flashing fast in the dark and I couldn’t get it to stop. Then, I couldn’t stop laughing, so I really couldn’t stop it. In this light-challenged, elegant place it was if somehow, I had begun transmitting signals to aliens with this Yoda sabre. I noticed a few heads peer around their dark pod walls. I don’t think they were as amused as I was, but at least I knew there was someone else in there.
Finally, with the light situation figured out and laughs stifled, we ordered. We ate. We ate for 2 hours. We slung cheese all over the table and dripped oil onto our clothes. Well, mostly me, cause of MS, I get a little shaky and slightly disoriented in the dark. We lost track of what we were cooking with our pitchforks at times and either completely fried whatever it was or had to fish it out from the bottom with the “rescue spoon” we were given. There is still a row of my taste buds laying burned off in the floor. I couldn’t find them. The floor was dark, too. I did manage to make it to and from the restroom only missing one turn. I had thought very seriously about snagging some of the bread to scatter on the floor to find my way back, but, guess what? The bread was dark. It was dark rye.
Wahoo! Fondue! Who knew? I love it! I found a new hope in mastering this ancient style cuisine by starting over from the beginning of what I had known. I am even gonna dig out my fondue pot, look for ways to heat cheese and different broths and oils, without the inferno effect. I have countless cookbooks, so I’m sure there’s a decent recipe or 2 in those.
I learned, laughed and was inspired. I was able to turn my old thoughts into new, fun ones. Have you ever done that? Had an idea of what or how something or someone is and then, wahoo! There’s a change of mind, heart, an awesome experience or new idea. I highly recommend it. I was in the dark with writers’ block. I have not blogged or worked on my book in over a week. Fondue cured me. It melted the darkness of a dimly lite brain. I’m happy. And, still full. Let something unexpected enlighten you. Inspire you. Melt you. Enjoy a new beginning and as always, be kind.
Church today blew me away. Moons ago, I used to listen to a Christian group of 2 sisters and a brother called The Second Chapter of Acts. They were a tad on the pentecostal side and slightly hippie, however, their album “Mansion Builder” still plays in my mind as much as I still play that 33 LP record in my office. I was raised rather “conservative”, so there were not many of my friends who listened to this group. I didn’t care. Leave it to me to not be mainstream. I was fascinated with these siblings’ ability to harmonize as well as with the words to their sometimes quirky sounding music as they sang their thoughts on the Holy Spirit and on the book of Acts in general. I found myself humming this morning. Today, we Cumberland Presbyterians celebrated Pentecost. Our church was draped in the dancing colors of fire and wind socks blew in the invisible movement of the air conditioning. One little 3 yr. old boy said it was “be-oo-tee-ful”. It was. Can’t describe it any better.
I’ve heard the words to Acts Chapter 2 for years. The wind, the flames, the tongues, the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the body of believers never ceases to captivate my imagination. Check it out. People chillin’ and waiting, probably impatiently, for what God was gonna do next after Jesus skeedaddled, then feeling as if they were suddenly catapulted into a new world as the doors and windows blew open one day. That was just the beginning. Their stuff was tossed around and I’m sure someone was trying to catch flying scrolls and pillows whirling about. Every hair was out of place and my guess, sticking straight up. (Enter the Phyllis Diller look.) Lives were never the same. Still aren’t. (I sorta swiped that from my preacher, but I just love it.)
The drastic and dramatic had to make eyes bug out and heads shake. What was God doing? Shaking things up. What were the people doing? Shaking in their sandals, but being given intelligible direction. Being blown to the far ends of the earth, but guided along the way. The Holy Spirit. God got personal within each and every one, blowing new zeal all up in their faces and a jet stream of fresh urgency into their hearts.
Pentecost. Totally awesome. Totally unpredictable and wonderful. Totally “be-oo-tee-ful.” When was the last time God moved over you, messin’ up your Sunday “doo”, asking you to play in the dirt..the dirt of humanness? When was the last time you wondered, “what now?” Let the wind blow. When was the last time you looked into unfamiliar places and questioned if you can make a difference? Let the wind blow. When have you been wind-blown, Holy Spirit style, tossed into a situation, different or even uncomfortable and left your hair spray at home? Let the wind blow.
The wind howled my direction 10 yrs. ago with the diagnosis of MS. It blew me off of my feet and onto my knees when my dad was diagnosed with bone cancer. I suddenly found my sense of direction magnetically drawn to something new, different and many times rather frightening and sad. I let the wind blow. I’ve never looked back or tried to hide from it because I knew from where this “new” wind came. It came from God. It came from a personal and very real Holy Spirit. I never expected my life to be like this. But, I let the wind blow me into writing again. I never assume my life will stay like this. I will let the wind blow me into whatever, wherever I’m needed. Being a guided, loved and useful “Phyllis Diller” is a great gift and I keep digging in the dirt finding new stuff to do and to be.
Let the wind blow in and thru your life. You’ll be amazed where you’ll end up and where you will be guided next. It’s simply “be-oo-tee-ful”. Wherever you go or go thru, allow yourself to be blown around a bit. And, always, be kind. Messed up “doo” or not.
“What will this day be like? I wonder. What will my future be? I wonder.” Yes, I have most of “The Sound of Music” music memorized. That musical is one of my truly all time “go tos”. (And then, I don’t feel so bad…) As a little girl, I was mesmerized with the story, the songs, the clothes, characters, scenery..I could go on. At different times in my life, I’ve wondered what it would be like to be each character, depending on my life circumstances. Yes,the guys included. They all had so much humanity in common. I related to different ones at different times.Even the extras and the “villains”. Remembering watching this movie with my parents and other family over and over , I am able to recall how they related to some of the different characters, too. (Note: my children have endured this movie with me for the last 24 yrs or so. I wonder to which character they have relate to at times? I wonder which one I have resembled in their minds, at times?)
The song list and even the story saga would be from my perspective, of course, because I was never a candidate for nunship, but wanted to belong and at times, hide, in a particular religious denomination. I was not thrust into a large sibling family, however, I have more relatives than I truly can count. My family did not endure a war when I was a child, but there were some heated moments in our country and even within some family issues. At times, I resembled one of the kids hanging out of a tree because I was a self-proclaimed monkey and was allowed to be. Other times, I was the big sister, protective of my brother. I’ve felt like a mediator, (Max) and I was most definately a daddy’s girl. Life. All were different “life” moments for me. I had a hard time figuring out if I could relate to the rich -vamp- almost- step-mother, but when I saw some of my selfishness…ouch. I hate that.
The story and songs have always stuck with me. Mostly, the songs. Now, with MS as a fellow actor in my life, I’ve adapted some of the lyrics to MS. Why not? Here are a few:
“How do you solve a problem like MS? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down…” You don’t. Or someone hasn’t, yet. I accept MS for what it is and make the best of it. Many thing I know I’d like to tell people. Many things I know they won’t understand.
“Rain drops on roses..” (This is explained in my “About” section of this blog.)
“I must have done something good”…or bad. Well, no, not necessarily. Even in my wild, bad days, my innocent days, my days where things may have been out of my control as a child for good or bad, didn’t cause MS to hook up with me and dance, or fall, in the rain or shelter me. It just happened. It’s just happening. It will continue to happen until a cure is found. I choose it for something good, whether I’m in the arms of Christopher Plummer or the grasp of awkwardness.
“Doe, ray me..” The first few words you happen to hear..”You have MS”., when diagnosed. .Rather crappy words, but I have had the joy of watching the rest of that song ( news) sound beautiful. That’s another God thing. I’m going as “fa” with this as life will take me. Fa is a long long way to run, stumble or hold onto. Glad I’ve got a great family and awesome MS family in this with me for the long haul!
“So long, farewell”. To MS? One day, but not to you. I may be or go “coo-coo”, but, I’m not saying “goodbye”, just yet. The hills I’ll have to climb with this disease are still alive with the sound of joy and of MS; the sound of music. My music. I’m not finished with my life lyrics just yet. God’s not either.
Of course, I don’t have all of the original titles just so. I did that on purpose. This blog is not deep in perspective, God, moments, family or even casseroles. (ha). I merely want you to fill in the holes, the blanks, I leave behind, with your songs. With your life. When you wonder what your day will be like? Fill in your blanks. When you wonder what your future will be? Let God or whatever or whoever can, for you, fill in the holes. I’m not judgemental. Just observant. When the sound my MS sings, my God will have me practiced and ready to finish the song. Hopefully, I’ll be an old chick in a nursing home in Fiji, sipping a “porch rocker” then. Or, maybe, on my porch, rocking great grandbabies of mine or a friend’s.
Sure, there may be people who don’t understand me nor MS. I may get drenched in a rain of bad symptoms. I may sit, for a while or for life, on something painful.(the pine cone scene) I may be haunted or hunted by MS and have to go places I’ve never been and if I had my preference, not. The sound of my MS, is a choir of notes. If we all sing, together, our world will be alive with the sound of….US!
World MS day was yesterday. Life MS is day is today. Wanna sing with me? Always, find your song. Always know your song is relatable to others. Always, be kind.
I’ve had the distinct annoyance of a disease named Multiple Sclerosis for a while now. It goes everywhere I do and royally bothers me. It may slightly behave some days, but other days it stomps around on my nerves like a determined but bratty 2 yr. old. Literally. When it “pitches a fit”, as we Southerners so often say, I seem to cave into its demands as a tired parent, spoiling a loud mouthed, hollering kid. MS isn’t wanting cookies or another book. It’s wanting the “Twizzler” like wrappings around my nerve cells. It’s wanting to toy with my speech, my walking and my ability to think straight. In this toddler mode, it can quickly go from docile to disaster and embarrass the crap out of me. It gets my attention and the unwanted attention of others. I believe the Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka’s little factory summed up misbehavior well in their songs, but sadly, I can’t “doo pa de doo”, permanently send MS into a boiler, garbage dump or tear it into a thousand pieces.
When people ask me what it is like to have MS it’s hard to know exactly what to say. First, I have to think of who is asking, if I can remember their name at the moment. Then I must sort through my lesioned ladened brain, if I can think of the words. Because, I must be aware of my audience as I have to come up with movie rating replies from “G”, “PG”, “PG-13″ (which, I’ve never understood that one) to “R”. (I do understand that one very well, unfortunately.)
The best way to describe MS is it is a BRAT. An unnerving, (pardon the pun), volatile and unpredictable BRAT. I was raised in the South where manners are as paramount as big hair and fried food. MS doesn’t have any manners. It greedily chews my nerves with its greedy mouth open. It interrupts me while I’m trying to talk by making me forget my words or say something stupid. It hurts my feelings by making me numb and clumsy. It’s a pain in the butt. My butt. One day, there will be a cure and it will move out of my life. For now, there are only pacifiers; meditations, medications and therapies to help curtail some of the tantrums.
My kids went through the “terrible 2s”. One at 2yrs., the other at 3yrs. Thankfully, many lessons in manners and corners full of time-outs, they got over it and grew up. Even when they were fit pitchin’, stomping, hollering or embarrassingly fascinated with bathroom humor, I still loved them. My children are precious gifts to me. Guess what? As eye-rolling as MS can be, I consider it a gift to me as well. WHAT? You heard me. I choose to see it and use it as a gift. If I didn’t have MS, I would have missed out on a lot of life because before MS, I was always “go go go”and hardly still enough to absorb life. I would not have had the honor of meeting and making some of the greatest new friends. I would not have the good feeling of being able to encourage and support them. And, I may not have had the courage nor time to find me and what makes me, well, me. Would I have been writing? Wow. Probably, but not to the extent I can now and I know certainly not with the insight I have into life and the perspective I have been given about what matters. No, I don’t “love” MS. But, I’ve learned from it. I’ve grown because of it. I’m grateful. Annoyed a lot, but grateful nonetheless.
MS is a brat. I can be, too. So can you. Everything and everyone has the tendency to be frustrating and bratty. Instruction manuals are frustrating. Rude drivers are brats. It’s how we choose to be, even with a disease attached to your name, nerves, muscles or organs, is what matters. Choose to see gifts in unexpected ways. And, always, be kind.
Most who have the blessing of being a full-time home manager cringe when asked, “What do you do?” First with fear then with defiance or with an Eyore complex before they answer. The usual answer is as predictable as the question. “House wife, house husband, or even a pitiful “Nothing; I stay home.” Oh! Good grief! Call this nit picky, but, hopefully, you’ll see where I’m going with this. The question, first, is phrased with the word “do”, not the word “are”. There seems to be a ridiculous concept floating around which equates what a person does with who they are. ”What are you?” would be a really fun question to pose to someone. I don’t think that answer would be quite so predictable. Wonder what it would be? ”Human”? I know some where that answer would raise doubts, so I’ll leave that alone for now.
The person asking that spine-stiffening question is usually under the assumption they are asking about someone’s job. I don’t like it, but, no one has consulted me on that point. The person answering, usually assumes the same thing, therefore, the cringe happens for most of the house managers, hopeful artists, writers or unemployed I know. And, people with MS or other disabilities. A deflated sense of self rises up in defense spouting a whirl of daily activities, volunteer positions, club memberships “works in progress” and family stuff. Or, it relinquishes in defeat by using the word “just” in front of “stay at home”, like that’s the equivalent to someone under a bridge with a cardboard sign.
A while back, I was posed the same “And, what do you do?” question. I will admit, after working “real jobs” for a long time, I almost had a cringe crisis, but it passed quickly. My answer? “I happily clean toilets in my monkey pajamas.” Then, I smiled. I really do clean toilets in my pajamas. My toilets. In my house. In gloriously tacky pajamas. And,with no time clock, unless someone has a bout of death by Mexican food….I would have answered a bit less sarcastically to someone else, probably. However, I know this person well asking me that dart-filled question. He has a seemingly very busy job in a very important and very busy office with other important, very busy “doers”. I can read people pretty well. I knew he knew I do not work outside of my home anymore. He knows I have written for a few papers and magazines, which in his mind, doesn’t count because I’m not famous. I knew his elevated social status and golf swing are major sources of bragging to him and oddly, to his wife. Who, by the way, lunches with other golf swinger wives and she has a full-time housekeeper. I doubt his wife knows how to swing a toilet brush. These people are not hard to spot. With my sarcasm in 5th gear, I began to imagine I was looking into the face of some “Alpha Male”, beating his chest, showing his crooked yellow teeth driving his Lexus. My pajama answer got a long, funny silence as a response. Then, an awkward yellow grin as he pompously told me all he did in his “monkey suit”. (He didn’t use the words “monkey suit”, but he was wearing one at the time…)
I do a lot more than scrub nastiness. I cook. I write. I hug on my family. I have slumber parties with my mom. I scoop cat poo. I buy groceries, light bulbs and underwear when needed. With MS, some days, all I can “do” is hug my family and watch them scoop the liter box. Everything I do combined is not who I am and is wonderfully untangled from my self-esteem. I am a very blessed human who happens to be grateful about being home, scooping poo,writing for free and being me.
Please realize you are NOT what you do. You are, period. The verb “to be”. You are valuable. You are loved. You are amazing and I’m thinking you are more than amazing in the eyes of your friends and family. I am not on a tirade to knock anyone’s job, position or the effort it took to get it. I simply want to encourage you to think of who you are, based on being. Because, when you can think that way, what you do…will be just gravy. Be a spectacular you. And, always, be kind.
*Note: I did “do” something after my encounter with “Monkey Man”, though. I prayed for forgiveness for having a smart mouth. I seem to need to do that fairly often. Oops.
Being from a family of laughter, I simply cannot wrap my brain around the notion of taking life, much less yourself, so serious all the time. Seriousness has its place, but I vaguely remember where I left mine. I’m glad I don’t “get it”, because people who are all gloomy doomy and whiney seem to lick all of the red off of my lollypop and that’s not nice. If “misery loves company”, don’t leave the light on cause I’m not visiting.
And, why am I so “chippery Pollyanna” sounding? Because I can. Because I have learned to. Because I choose to. With all of the bad news, disasters and uncertainty popping up in our faces like rude “Jack-in-the-boxes”, insanity seems imminent to many and the end of the world is just after the next blink. Chicken Little has been watching the sky fall for decades. It may whack him in the head. I kinda wish it would, just so he’d be put out of his misery and leave me alone.
Laughter is the best medicine. Not a snicker. Not a grin. Not a wimpy little “hehe”. I’m talking about a wall slapping, can’t breathe, just about wet your britches belly laugh! You know the kind, I hope. The kind that makes tears roll uncontrollably down your cheeks. The kind that makes your face hurt. The kind you can’t suppress no matter what you do.
Having MS gnawing away at my nerves is frustrating. It has put a damper on my repelling and playing some sports. (Like I wasn’t a spaz to begin with…) MS is uncertain. Oh, dear! So is life at times. MS is embarrassing. Oh, my! So is life at times. MS is painful and annoying. Oh, crap! So, is life and weird relatives at times.
Do I get down in the mouth and feel like I should just crawl into a hole and eat worms? At times. But, that doesn’t last long. I won’t let it. I don’t like to frown because it gives me wrinkles and I don’t want to look like I have “puppet mouth”. Besides, I’m not keen on the taste of worms. (Yes, I’ve eaten them before on a dare.) When I start to feel that I’m headed for a pity party, I quickly uninvite myself and turn around. And, laugh. At something. At myself. At a silly tv commercial or a bow-legged frog hopping across my back patio.
Here are a few things I have learned, with MS in tow, that will always make me laugh and “lighten up” my mood: Cross-eyed looks the cat gives me when she’s up in my face sniffing my breath after a tuna fish sandwich. The 2 dogs in the “Aristocrats” Disney movie. The way my son and my brother can imitate anybody. Old people noises. Baby giggles. A squirrel trying to jump from tree to tree. Pictures of me during the 80′s. Pictures of anybody in the 80′s. People’s faces while they are on a roller coaster. People’s faces after a roller coaster. My dog trying to get peanut butter off of his nose. People who say they don’t make old people noises, but they do. And, yes, my wobbly self trying not to bust it on an icy spot near my mailbox. That’s hysterical.
Notice something? There’s nothing really major in this list. Nothing mountain-shaking. Just little stuff. Fun stuff. It’s not, usually, at anyone’s expense, but mine. I’m not one to think other’s pain is funny and I don’t get a kick out of stupidity, usually. I love the healing powers of laughter with friends and family. My family and wayyy into extended family is as full of love as it is laughter. I am a very blessed old hippie. I love the perspective laughing gives me and I adore those who can laugh without thinking about it.
I hope you find something that give you a good belly laugh today and in the days to come. Today? I’m gonna get my tank full of laughter. I’m going to have a slumber party with my mom. There will be no traces of mascara left and we’ll have indigestion from laughing so much. I’m already feeling a good laugh come on. Find your laugh. You’ll love it. And always, be kind.
Flashlights and sea shells
Buckets of sand
Funny little crabs run side to side
None can measure
The ocean’s calling, hop in for the ride.
Beach like sugar
Looks like heaven
Taste the salty in the air.
Assurance so sweet
Let’s soak it in and drown out all our cares.
Sunshine or rain
Weather don’t matter
I’m drawn to it like a moth to light.
Memories meet me
Wishes keep me
It’s where we’re meant to be, we’ll be alright.
This poem is dedicated to my son. Every year, for his birthday, he and I make a bee line down the interstate and don’t stop until we hit the sand! Literally. He loves waking up a year older to the birthday song only an ocean can sing. Soon, again, we will be making our way to the same beach. The same ocean. The same little bit of heaven. We play, fly kites, eat every oyster we can find, look for shells, write in the sand…many times without much conversation except for a funny glance at some of the sun bathers and cute babies wearing water-logged diapers.
MS can be quite tricky at the beach. I walk funny, but heck, who doesn’t hopping down a hot deck with a cooler into knee-high sand dunes? I have to be mindful of the heat and be careful of how far I go on a walk or into the water without becoming too tired to wag my book, towel and cooler back to the deck and up to the 9th floor to our condo. But, it’s worth it, for me. The ocean is a spectacular orator. She speaks to me in a way nothing else can. She listens to me in a way no one else will. I can tell her my struggles with MS or simply how amazing the oysters tasted that day. Traces of our conversations are quietly washed away and I am left with a shell or a sand dollar as a reminder of what was said.
My son and I come home, pouting we had to leave, but thankful we were able to inhale and exhale some sanity for a while and stuff our selves with oysters. On the way back, I begin stock piling stories to tell the waves when we visit her again the next year.
Where is your calm? What soothes you? I highly suggest a beach, but, the mountains, a river, a city or even your backyard can be a haven for you. MS is stressful. MS is not nice. MS can consume days and haunt nights. But, when your calm is found, you can understand the importance of being able to inhale and exhale. Rest your heart, your mind and your soul. Your body will thank you. Mine gives me kudos with each grain of sand between my toes and in my bed. Wherever you find yourself, whatever you do, be kind.
I’ll race ya to the beach!
Easter, dresses and shoes…oh my! Oh my word! The “fit” in outfit fits perfectly. So, I’m rubber necking, window shopping, rack glancing and watching some tv “fashion” segments on the Today Show hoping to see something I can get this silly MS body in…and out of for Easter. I’m not seeing anything that would hide old lady knees without going to the nursing home section of Kohls. Even the “misses” clothes and shoes are catastrophic. Bare arms, short hems, Kleenex thin skirts and dresses and to make my eyes roll even more, cause that’s gross,…roofing nail heels in the shoe departments. All I see are wedges, spikes and ballet style ankle rollers. I am, and never have been, “into” clothes. I wear what I like and what is comfortable. I wore out a Superman sweatshirt in high school…
I have 2 styles of clothes and shoes in my closet: one, Jimmy Buffett would appreciate, the other funeral home directors see daily. Not much in between. Not much need until…..EASTER! What is it about Easter that prompts designers to draw see-through stick people clothes? Here’s where the fit pitching comes in. Put MS on top of that hanger and I’ll walk away in a really really bad mood. Stuff MS into a pair of heels that make even someone without MS walk like a constipated duck and I’ll walk away, again, in a really really bad mood.
“Consider the lilies…” I know. I know. No worries about clothing or food, etc., I get all of that. My closet will attest to that. I normally don’t fall for trends or other weirdness unless, I happen to like it on rare occasions. I actually hate to shop for clothes except, well, when I have to, I have to. I hate even more the price tags, even clearance. That’s why God invented thrift stores. That’s personality talking, not just the MS.
So, I have been out one day looking, sorta. Eye roll. There are 17 days left to find something presentable for Easter Sunday. Will I make it? Probably not without a little “out-FIT” pitching. I’m on a mission. Dress and shoes this year. 17 days. This will be hilarious. Here we go!
Remember, whatever your mission, whatever you are after, go at it with a touch of insanity and laughter. And, always, be kind.
The hoarders whom you see on tv remind me of a lady near me.
One day I noticed her out in her yard furiously writing on some type of card.
I first thought she might be mailing a letter, but the closer I got, I quickly new better.
She stuffed the card into one of 10 pockets. I glanced in her house, my eyes out of sockets!
Boxes and boxes and bags of old stuff, things she had saved and never gave up.
She invited me in and I became scared. I could get lost in the junk that was there!
She opened one bag and became rather sad. “This bag is hurt feelings and thoughts when I’m mad.”
“This box is so full I must get another, it’s crammed to the edges with memories of Mother”.
I told her, ”It always hurts when a death has occured.” “Oh, she is not dead, I just can’t find her.”
She said it so bluntly, so matter of factly, my skin seemed to crawl, then I knew, exactly….
Her mom was still there, in a sack or a box!… Underneath unforgiveness, her mother… was lost.
In haste I began to look for the door the, the card she had scribbled on fell to the floor.
On the card was my name! Oh, what have I done?
“You stepped in my yard”, …and I started to run!
This poem is fictional, of course, but a very sad story. After watching only a few minutes of the show “Hoarders”, I started writing it. That show is creepy to me. But, don’t we all know people who will never forgive? Those that carry around baggage of hurt, anxiety, worry, rejection and other nasties that clutter up their brains and their hearts? I call them “Heart Hoarders”. Without letting go, the trash starts to build and we lose what is important or refuse to make room for something good. I’ll admit, I’ve hoarded, harbored and hated before.I’ve hated MS. I’ve harbored feelings of uselessness and envy. That is a messy and certainly not a happy place to live. Let’s all dig through the “junk” we don’t need and throw it away. A mental Spring cleaning, if you will. And, while we do this, we must remember to be kind.