Paranoia at its finest

So I thought I'd talk a little about one of my PTSD symptoms since its one of the things that is taking up my life right now.  It started out with little things; things that I didn't even realize I was doing and they weren't completely overboard so no one else really even noticed either.  I wouldn't let anyone that wasn't family or someone I trusted drive a vehicle I was in, thus making public transportation out of the question.  This evolved into - I would only drive myself, this didn't set off too many alarms as I also one of those people who gets extremely sick in any type of vehicle.  Yes, I know I joined the Navy, and yes, I know it doesn't make any kind of sense.  This was just the first signs of my paranoia.

It would be years later before my paranoid behavior would get worse.  Keep in mind that I'm only focusing on the PTSD paranoia and not those symptoms associated with my personality disorders.  Right before getting out of the Navy, I was dealt a blow to my psyche, self-efficacy, pride, what was left of my self-esteem, and most importantly my self-worth.  This was done by my superiors, not an attacker, but it caused a regression and thus a heightening of my symptoms.  From that point, everything just got worse as time went on.  I had better moments of course, but the damage had been done and I wasn't aware of what was going on inside.

Let me also explain that the Navy is to blame for some of the paranoia as well because of the type of job I had when I first went in.  I was a Cryptologist.  I was chosen for various reasons, one of which was because I'm very good at noticing patterns - this translates into noticing behaviors and habits.  Once you are in this field, you are taught to be careful about your own movements, behaviors, and habits.  Don't go to work the same way every day.  Don't go to the same place for breakfast, etc.  See what I mean?  Anyway, I began having days where I thought someone was following me home in the car.  I would go out of my way to make sure they weren't.  I would get lost doing this.  This would happen a lot in Macon which is where my rapes took place.  I would get so tense and prepare myself for a confrontation that it would take the rest of the day to decompress.  When I moved into a house that was close to downtown, I didn't have my dogs so I was walking by myself. I didn't have to use my cane but I would take it with me because again, I was in Macon.  I couldn't enjoy the walks because I was constantly preparing for someone to attack me.  One of these days, one of my rapists happened to drive by while I was walking and said something and asked that I wait while he drove around.  I froze because 1 - I couldn't believe he had the nerve and 2 - I wanted to kill him.  I actually stood there trying to think of how I could kill him.  I knew I couldn't do it right there but I had lost a lot of my physical strength so luring him elsewhere was probably not a good idea.  So while I was I standing there contemplating how I was going to murder this man, he had had time to come back around the block.  He stopped the vehicle and got out and even though I wanted to run, I couldn't because the part of me that wanted him dead was bigger.  Basically, the rest of it is that he said he wanted to apologize.  I said something like he doesn't get to apologize or I don't forgive him, I don't remember.  Amy can tell you, I told her about it right after it happened.  I didn't tell her about wanting to kill him.  This is the first time I've admitted it.  The other guy, the one who raped me twice, the one who actually abducted me;  he was working at the mall when I was Macon, piece of shit.  I avoided the mall because I knew; I knew I would plot.

The paranoia now has me not able to walk down the street unless I have my dogs or someone else and even then, I'm looking over my shoulder.  When I go to get back in my car, I'm checking the back seat, the back floorboard, the cars on either side and if it doesn't feel right, I keep walking.  This means that it may take 30 minutes for me to get into my car.  I know the comings and goings and habits of everyone in my building and the building beside me.  I know their cars and how they sound.  I know everyone's dogs and if they have a dog, I probably know a lot more about that person (it's a club).  Once I know your habits, I have a good idea of what kind of job you have and if you're doing something illegal.  For example, the people across the hall from me are producing meth.  They'll be taken out next week.  The old people in the next building are selling pills.  The police need more evidence.  Anyway, you get the idea, right?

The part of this that is the worst is when I think someone is in the apartment.  It started after I finished a.......tryst.  It didn't go well.  I didn't want to get into anything with anyone, he talked me into it.  It wasn't supposed to be anything serious.  He lied.  I found out some other crazy shit.  I left him a letter telling him to not contact me again, lo and behold, a wife finds it.  She wasn't happy, he wasn't happy.  Anyway, I happened to fall asleep on the couch one night.  I swear I thought he was in the apartment, I was preparing for a fight as soon as he got near me.  I even heard him shooshing the dogs.  I could smell chemical, like ether, so I slide to the floor and then I hear him leave.  When I got up, nothing was moved, door was still locked and chained.  I still got the locks changed and he still fucked up my tires.  I think someone is in my apartment about once a week, not him, just someone.  And I always have the fight response.  Do you know how hard it is to come down from that?  I know some of you reading this do.  It's a lot of adrenaline and you want to go fuck or hit someone or jump out of an airplane or something.  It's crazy.

I know this isn't a really good picture, it's pretty old.  It's me.  I'm rappelling aussie down a rock in Puerto Rico.  I bought a car that was manual and taught myself to drive it.  I raced my motorcycle through Sabana Seca from the police to base so they couldn't pull me over.  I was the only female in my SERE school group.  I qualified on the S-3B Viking. That's who I was, that was the type of stuff I did.  I did stuff like that without asking questions and with no hesitation.  I had the mental and physical strength to back myself up.  Now I'm this scared, housebound weakling.  I don't know myself and that woman in that picture wouldn't like me now.


Confessions, Conversations, and Confusion

The purpose of this blog entry is to get some information out there that most of my friends and family don't know.  I've only divulged bits and pieces to certain people but very few know the full story and unfortunately, the ones that know the most, have chosen to ignore what's wrong with me which has really hurt me.  Please understand that I'm not looking for pity.  I'm just hoping that this will help everyone understand some of my actions, irrationalities, and odd behaviors.  I, by no means, have everything figured out and it's definitely a work in progress but I at least am getting a handle on things and am able to put a name to some of what's wrong with me.  This isn't the whole she-bang but enough to give you an idea of what I'm dealing with.  I guess I should start with what I know to be the beginning and also give my family dynamics for those that don't know.

I am the only child from my Mama and Daddy.  They divorced when I was three years old.  Mama moved to Kentucky, remarried when I was fourish to my stepfather Kevin.  They had four children to whom I was extremely close and we never considered ourselves to be half-siblings.  Daddy remarried my stepmother Surelle and they had John-David.

I've been told that Daddy was an alcoholic at one time but went sober before or when I was born.  I do know that he only drinks a couple of times a year and each time it's only one beer or one margarita.  On Mama's side of the house, it's a completely different story.  Alcohol and drugs have always been a part of our lives except for a short stint when Mama and Kevin became religious fanatics.  Substance abuse was something they genetically passed on.  I have memories as far back as two years old; memories such as Mama driving drunk in Daddy's car and hitting a mailbox while I was in the back in my carseat.  I can also remember sitting on a bar stool while Mama and Kevin were on the dance floor on one of their dates.

Before moving on, I think it should be noted that Mama and her sisters were physically abused by their father and sexually abused by their stepfather.  Their mother knew of all this.  This plays into my story as Mama's baggage became our baggage.

Growing up, we regularly visited Mama's sister's family.  She had a son my age.  Often, our other cousin was there and he was a year older.  Both cousins were named Chris.  There were other cousins but everyone was younger.  We all played together and watched TV.  When I was nine years old, or thereabout, the two Chris's molested me in Chris's bedroom.  While I never felt comfortable in that house nor around them ever again, I repressed the memory until a few years ago.  By the way, the younger Chris grew up to be a psychotic criminal and the older Chris went through some trouble but has straightened up.  I also should clarify that while I know something happened, the entire memory has not surfaced.  I didn't share any of this until I came home for Shadonna's funeral.  I was concerned that the Chris's would be there and I expressed this to Mama.  I decided it was probably time to tell her what happened.  Mama then told me that Shadonna had admitted to Noah, our brother, that the Chris's had raped her.  So, not only had my cousins managed to make me feel dirty and bad about myself, they took my sister's innocence and I couldn't protect her.  Why didn't she share this with me?  Now that these things have been brought out, I'm not sure if things are better or worse.  The older Chris denies anything happened.  Grandma (Mama's mother) doesn't believe it happened (surprise, surprise.)  Mama doesn't really want to deal with it because she's working on her relationships with her sisters, their mothers.

The days we spent growing up in Demossville, KY were not all good.  Mama suffered from her own depression and there were days we bore the brunt of it.  There were times I went to school with knots on my head from Mama banging it into the wall.  The times my siblings were left with me, I saw that side of my Mama come out in me and I would hit one of them.  So, I decided at a very early age I would not have children.  There's no way I was going to pass that on.  She still tells stories about beating Shadonna or Noah and laughs about it; laughs.  When I had to find homes for Junior, Lexi and Cisco, It was because I was going through a psychotic break and I was scared I was going to hurt them, I felt that dark side coming out again.  I can't tell you how hard it was to make that decision or how bad it hurt.

While we're on family, I might as well bring up my Daddy.  I grew up wanting nothing more than to be with my Daddy.  As a matter of fact, as soon as I was legally allowed, I chose to live with Daddy.  It didn't occur to me that I would need to ask or that he would not immediately say yes.  This really hurt me but I shoved it down.  And after thinking about it, he did say yes.  Daddy has never shown emotion.  Whether he meant to or not, he taught me to not show emotion.  He also taught to never ask for help; to be independent enough so that I would never have to depend on anyone else.  All of this, along with his actions and words led me to believe that emotions and things like depression were weaknesses.  Over the years, Daddy's inability to show emotion, his lack of emotional support, has hurt me, still does.  When I left home/got kicked out, he didn't even put down his paper.  Over the last several years, he's offered me no emotional or financial support even though I've been one night away from homelessness and I've lost my car among other things.  I made excuses for Daddy in my head until the last year or so.  I finally had to see him for what he is and my role is in his life.  Unfortunately, I'm not Daddy's girl.  He did pay for my plane ticket so that I could go to my sister's funeral but I have a feeling that was more Surelle's doing.  I have a closer relationship with Surelle than I do with Daddy.

Moving on, in high school, I was raped three times.  The third time was an abduction and I was threatened with violence.  I couldn't escape as there were no inner doorknobs, just deadbolts.  When I was let go, I couldn't go home because I knew I would get in trouble.  I knew Daddy and Surelle would think I was lying.  I went to Mercer to stay with some friends.  Of course, eventually, I had to go home.  I was made to think that the rapes were my fault.  So, I stuffed them way down; didn't talk about them again for a long time.

I've dealt with a lot of sexual harassment  from people I know and people I don't know.  It happened to me in the military and instead of my Chiefs correcting the issue, I would get moved to another division.  I was the one to be inconvenienced or indirectly punished.  I was never a "victim" type of person.  I was always strong, I never put myself in positions that put me in danger.  Yet , it seems I had a sign on my forehead that said  " Harass me please.  I enjoy it."  or  "Even though I'm saying I don't like you, I really mean I want you."

Let's leave the sexual trauma history.  As I've mentioned, substance abuse is a huge issue on my Mama's side of the house, including my siblings.  I'm the only one who hasn't had a problem with drugs or alcohol.  However, I do have Binge Eating Disorder which is an addiction in its own right.  This was set off, along with other mental health problems, when Nathan died.  Basically, up to that point, I had been using all my energy to function on a normal level everyday.  So, when Nathan died, I had no energy left to deal.  I spiraled down, hard.

Since then, everything that was shoved down has come back.  I won't bore you with details.  My current diagnoses are Bipolar, PTSD (sexual trauma), Personality Disorders (OCPD, Paranoid, Borderline), Binge Eating Disorder, Anxiety Disorder.  Some of this stuff has been there ever since I was a kid, it just wasn't apparent or it took a traumatic event (Nathans's death) to come out.  I can't hold down a job because of the personality disorders, there were major problems my last two years in the Navy but I didn't realize I was the problem until recently.  I've had several psychotic breaks and a few hospitalizations   I stay holed up in my apartment for the most part because of the paranoia, but a lot of times I even think someone is in the apartment.  Medication has managed my Bipolar from going to the extreme but I still have both depressive and manic episodes.  Unfortunately, my manic episodes aren't the happy, go really fast kind.  They're the angry, irritable kind.  My in betweens aren't extremely happy either.  We're working with lithium to see if that helps.  Luckily, my bingeing has been controlled by medication.  My dogs are service dogs.  I trained Miley to detect my panic attacks and to stop them.  I'm working with Hickory to anticipate my depressive episodes so I can head off the suicidal/homicidal ideations.  I get really anxious if I have to leave them.  I can't even walk down the street and forget riding the bus.

I've mended my relationships with my family on my Mama's side but the relationships have gone as far as they're going to go as there are still substance abuse issues.  My Daddy......I'm angry and hurt and I don't think he much cares.  It's difficult to find people who truly understand, especially considering it's difficult to explain a lot of these things.  Even when I try to explain things to doctors, they don't completely get it.  It's also hard to get across my workplace difficulties.

So, to reiterate, I'm not looking for pity.  I also realize there are people who have it WAY worse than I do.  I'm lucky in that I have Surelle to help navigate talks between me and Daddy even if I don't see much of a future there.  Surelle has been amazing in her roles as stepmother, friend, and support system.  I don't know what I would do without her.  I'm also very lucky to have an Aunt Nancy and a Gigi who were willing to step in and help me when I really needed it.  I have some amazing cousins, biological and adopted, who have shown a tremendous amount of caring.  Lastly, my friends have really been invaluable, surprising me around every little turn.  Facebook has definitely been helpful in keeping me in touch with all these people, even when I disappear.  :)


The true religion......just kidding - really, I'm kidding

Been doing some thinking lately, about life in general but also about my place in this world and what exactly I'm doing to make this world a better place.  I started thinking about what I believed in and this is what I came up with.  Please excuse my grammar mistakes, I know there are many.

1.  Everything is connected
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." -John Muir

Evidently, this isn't exactly what John Muir said but he said it several different ways and it gets the point across, http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/writings/misquotes.aspx .  When you destroy one thing, you are affecting something else, maybe a million something elses (don't know if that's a word.)  I can't think about it too long because I get overwhelmed.  But, when you think about it in a positive way, it's better.  Take a smile, it's contagious.  If you smile at one person walking down the street and that person smiles at another, and so on and so forth, the smile realistically could travel around the world.  If one person each picked up a piece of trash every day, think of the good that could come of it.  For me, this breaks it down into doable terms and I don't get overwhelmed.  :)

2.  Humans are not the pinnacle of creation but one of many creations on planet Earth and among planet Earth that have the right to exist and who need each other.

Just because we evolved beyond other species in terms of speech, technology, etc. does not mean that we do not need the other species.  It does not mean we can just destroy them at will.  Doing so will lead to our own undoing.  It may not be immediate, but it will happen.  For one very small example, look at the blight that took out the American Chestnut trees in the Appalachians.  Not only did it devastate those living in that area but it changed their history.  That was just one species of tree in one minute area of the world.  For more on the blight and the American Chestnut tree go to http://www.acf.org/ .

3.  Higher being

I think arguing about whether or not there is a god, or how many gods, if it's a he or she, or which god is right is useless.  I think the concept of a higher being is much bigger than what any of us can really comprehend.  Putting it into comprehensible terms is fine because I think some people need that tangible form but that form is going to be different for different people.  There's not going to be a right or wrong.  To me, the universe itself is the higher power; that's where the know all/be all comes in.

4.  Everything happens for a reason.

I know this is very cliche and people say it all the time but it resonates in me.  It goes back to everything being connected and using a form of karma (cause and effect, not necessarily reincarnation.)  There's a fabric within the universe, when a corner is pulled, the rest of the fabric moves.  When a fold is smoothed, another is formed.  There are a ton of stories where someone had some minor, unfortunate thing befall them only to find out later that they were saved from a major disaster of some kind.  I know the cynics will say that you can always look back an find some coincidence or whatever but I've had it happen to me too many times.

5.  Karma

I do believe that what you put into this world comes back to you.  I am extremely judgmental and have often found myself in situations where I had judged someone else's actions harshly and I turned around and had to do the same thing.  So, while I unfortunately still have a judgmental side, I also know how to be humble.  I remind myself never to wish bad things on people because 1, they may be having a bad day and 2, they may be doing the same to me.  We've all been there in one way or another; no matter how much someone tries to hide it.

6.  Afterlife

I don't know if there's an afterlife.  Honestly, whatever higher being is out there, I am sure that he/she/it/them would not want us living our lives worrying about what is going to happen to us when we die.  We should be living our lives.  We should be striving to make each day count.  Now, I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been walking the talk, but that's one of the reasons I started thinking about all of this and writing it down.  We were made with an innate moral center.  Of course, people debate where that comes from; whatever, I don't care.  I just know it's there.  Using that moral center, which may differ slightly person to person, we should be striving to make this world a better place.  I don't mean by pushing our philosophies, politics, or religions on other people.  I mean by blowing bubbles at the park, taking groceries in for an elderly person, doing a flash mob at a town square, smiling at someone who looks down, saving a snake in the middle of the road, teaching the Mexican janitor an English word a day, laughing with a baby.....you get the point.  If there's an afterlife, it won't matter because you've lived your life to the best of your ability with what you were given.  If you use religion along the way to guide you, that's awesome!  If there are pearly gates in the end and I'm questioned as to why I should be allowed in, I would much rather say it was because I was loving, accepting, and I tried to make myself and others happy than that I adhered to one religion and tried to get everyone else around me to believe the same.

7.  Peace is possible.

I really think it is.  Do I think it will happen?  No, because we will never be able to get everyone to believe #2.  (heehee, I said number 2)

8.  There is always a balance.

OK, so the universe does this balancing act.  You can't have one thing without the other.  This kind of pulls from some of my other points.  You can't have good without evil.  With that said, there's not this huge battle between good and evil because again, you have to have one for the other to exist; you can't have light without dark, there's no up without down, etc.  So, for me, this knocks out the idea of heaven and hell. There may be other planes, other existences, but not this splitting of good people and bad people.

This balance also refers to the energy in the universe.  This energy is what sustains everything.  Energy can be transferred from one thing to another but it cannot be generated from nothing, or at last not in the terms that I'm talking about here.  So, if something dies out, its energy goes somewhere, something else gains energy ----> tug at one thing, something else is affected.  One thing is certain, nature will always set things straight in the end.

In our lives, isn't it balance that we typically are trying to achieve?  In terms of World Peace, what would that involve - a balance of power; no one could have the upper hand or that would not be true peace.  All of this mimics the bigger picture.

9.  Prayer

It has been proven scientifically that when a group of people gather and think together upon a single thought, there is a measurable rise in energy.  If there is a rise in energy, that means something is taking place and that something is probably something beyond what we can fathom.  We may not be able to fathom the outcome of prayer but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of the power of mass thought/prayer.  Not everyone believes in the word "prayer" but you don't have to.  Prayer can be meditation, moment of silence, drumming, anything that allows people to bring their thoughts together to the same purpose.

10.  Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - http://www.chopra.com/dailyinspiration

While these laws are for success (one of Chopra's books), I've been using them for meditation and to generally live by.  Some of them are actually fairly difficult for me but not because they are complex, because they require me to actually be aware not only of my surroundings, but of myself.  If I use the laws as guidance, I can't just flow through life unwittingly, I have to actually pay attention.  Aha!

11.  What do I actually believe?

None of what I have written is new.  It is a mixture of things I have picked up along the way that have made sense, spoken to me and guided me to be a better person.  I don't have the final solution and I don't think anyone does.  You have to go with what your mind, heart, body and soul tell you to do; and it has to be a balance (there's that word again) of those entities.  The right way to live and the way to happiness is not going to be the same for each person.

Even after writing all of this, I know that I can change my mind; it's a never ending quest.  That's the beauty of it all.
        -That which stops growing and changing..........dies.

  • I can and do laugh at myself.
  • I am capable of having intelligent and rational conversations regarding politics and religion without any agenda but rarely do because most people are not capable of this.
  • I've learned more from my pets than than anyone else.
  • I laugh when people fall.  I laugh when I fall, which I do often.  :)
  • I'm very sarcastic and I like to play pranks on people.
  • I was in the Navy for 10 years.  Yes, I want peace but I'm also realistic.  I would not give up my time in the service for anything.
  • I get angry, especially when I see things like bigotry, hate, malice, and all those other bad words.  But, I try to turn my anger to action when I can, even if it's in a small way and I'm getting better at it (watch Ellen, http://www.ellentv.com/ , it helps.)
  • I never try to stop someone from learning more about a religion, philosophy, way of life, whatever.  I may throw in a cautionary word to always look at all options but I don't stop anyone.  My life is where it is because of different doctrines and belief systems.
  • I talk to a higher being.  I'm not sure who I think I'm talking to - the universe, maybe.  I don't think it matters though.  I just know that I try to make sure it's not always a request or to shout in anger.  I try to throw some thanks in there too.  And I'll be honest, I get angry.  I got angry when my brother died. I got angry when my sister died.  I got angry when my brother lost his legs.  I said a LOT of fuck you's.  Did those things happen for a reason?  Absolutely.  Am I angry about it?  You better fucking believe it.
  • I say all this to say that I am human which makes me a hypocrite, it means I make mistakes, it means I will not always follow my own rules.  However, with my belief system and inner monologues, I'm going to wake up each day and try to do my best.  Am I going to achieve this every day?  Nope.  But that's ok.  It'll make for some damn good stories, right?  :)

I'll end with this:

Blow bubbles
Sleep in
Play in the leaves
Get angry
Lay in the sun
Put your feet in the sand
Make your voice echo
Show some passion
Play with your pets
         -they've got all the answers


We're not in Kansas anymore, well, Utah, nor Vegas.....nor California

A little update for those that don't know, I'm in Kentucky.  Short synopsis - was fired from my job in Utah, got stuck in Vegas, moved to San Diego, Shadonna died in May 2011, Noah went into the hospital July 6, 2011, I decided to move to Kentucky in August 2011.  There you go.  I'm on a leave of absence from Home Depot awaiting an answer from Social Security on a disability status and on the VA to up me from 70% to 100%, both of which are promising.  I'll explain some of the disability stuff on the way.  I have some apologies to make and some confessions to make.  This is going to be hard but I've gone through some inspiring stuff lately and it has given me strength.  Also, I've realized that I've told my family nothing and so they don't realize what's going on and it seems to be causing some problems.  I have to warn you, the next few posts are not going to be real happy.  I guess they will be informative for the people who care about what has happened to me and what's going on with me.  But, some of the posts might be helpful for those people who have felt alone in their head or in their sadness or in their panic; for those who have felt let down by the very people they love and thought would never make them feel that way;  for those people who have had to explain mental illness to a loved one and received silence in return.....you are not alone.

I think I need to go ahead and address Shadonna's death.  Let me back up and remind everyone that we lost Nathan (our middle brother) in 2002, in a tragic car accident.  He was 17 years old; weed and alcohol were involved.  The last time I talked to Nathan was on my birthday, I was on my cell phone as I drove back from Louisville and I didn't have my charger.  My phone died and it cut us off.  It was late when I got home so I didn't call him back.  He died the next day.

Shadonna died on May 26, 2011.  The last time I had talked to her was Mother's Day 2010.  She called me to remind me to call Mama.  She was extremely drunk.  I had been working up the courage to tell her I was not going to continue to enable her; she was an alcoholic and smoked weed every day.  She had done every other drug before then but by that time, she was only smoking weed.  I remember her saying, "Pam, you're not happy.  I want you to be happy."  I wouldn't listen because she was drunk and she had become one of those drunks that would try to get all "deep" with you but usually wound not making any sense at all.  She had made it difficult for any of us to be around her or talk to her.  So, I told her that I would not talk to her if she was drunk or high anymore because I didn't like who she was when she was intoxicated.  I told her not to call me if she was intoxicated in any way, if she was, I would hang up on her.  I told her I loved her very much and I hung up on her.  Shadonna was 31 years old.  She died of an undiagnosed heart problem.  It was made worse by a pancreatic infection and we believe this was caused by the alcohol and drug use.  Shadonna was my only sister, there is a very special bond between sisters.  I've lost a piece of me.

It's kind of weird because after Nathan died, I saw him a few times.  I don't know what everyone else believes, hell, I don't even know what I believe on this but I just saw flashes.  It's kind of hard to explain.  I would just see a flash and it was kind of like a reminder that he was still with me in a way.  I didn't get that with Shadonna until this last week.  On her birthday, I went through the pictures of her.  I had pulled one of me and her and put it on the windowsill in my bedroom.  Well, it sat there for two weeks or so and then, all of a sudden, it kept falling off; and every time it fell, it was face side up.  Now, I believe in signs but I wasn't looking at this as a sign until it happened like the sixth time and there was no reason for it to keep falling, especially for it to land like that each time.  So, now the picture is in the kitchen, where I spend a lot of time, and it's where I can "talk" to her sometimes.  Again, I don't know what I think of all this; I'm just kind of doing what my gut is telling me.  Does that make sense?

I want to add something.  When Shadonna died, I was in San Diego.  I didn't have the money to go to Kentucky for the funeral, no one did.  My Daddy came through and paid for the plane ticket.  Now, those of you that know my Daddy, pick yourselves up off the floor.  I'm trying to analyze it.  I don't know if Surelle talked him into it or if it had something to do with his fascination with death as of late.  I definitely am not looking a gift horse in the mouth.  I am EXTREMELY grateful.  I wouldn't have been able to go without the help and it's the first time I've gotten help from him like that.  I'm just wondering about all the little psychological goodies floating around it.

Speaking of the funeral, it was odd; even odder than Nathan's.  I just kept expecting her to get up and join us in socializing.  She didn't look right.  There was only 2 or 3 people there that I wanted to beat down so that was about average.  Someone didn't show so I was one of the pallbearers.  When I said I would do it, the country-ass men surrounding me ignored me and started to go find someone else and I said rather loudly, "I was in the fucking color guard in the Navy, I can do it!"  Everyone looked at me and then nothing else was said or done.  :)  Don't fuck with me when I'm grieving.  The music had Frank Sinatra's - My Way, Dave Matthews' - Where Are You Going, Bob Marley's - Three Birds, and Bruno Mars' - Just the You Are to name a few.  The music was very fitting.  Of course, we had some people there that didn't get it.  They should have been at Nathan's funeral, they would have flipped out when they heard Master P.  I was ok until the end.  I had to tuck my baby sister into her coffin before they shut it.  Take that in........

I had to tuck my baby sister into her coffin.....

I hope none of you ever have to experience that.  If you have, I'm with you.  I'm going to quit for now.  I won't leave you on a such a sad note though.  Here's a happy pic of Shadonna:


Things I have learned

There are a ton of things that have happened and still happening but I'm going to tackle each topic separately and in order.  Today's is "Things I have learned from May 2010 to August 2011":

1.  Do not drive cross-country in an old RV by yourself.

2.  Sometimes, a good ol' boy network can be a good thing.
3.  Do NOT share with that same good ol' boy network that you are traveling alone because they will lecture you on why women should not travel alone.
4.  RV'ers are in their own special club and most of them are really good people.
5.  There's absolutely NOTHING in New Mexico.
6.  Utah is friggin' HOT!

7.  You should follow your gut even if it is taking you from your planned path.
8.  If you put your mind to it, you can get rid of stuff and it won't be the end of the world.
9.  No matter how tough and independent I am, I do need people.
10.  There are people out there who are crazier than me that are negatively impacting people's lives in a major way.
1.  Best Friends Animal Society is awesome!
12.  I REALLY miss my babies and don't know that I will ever be the same.

13.  Fat people have libidos too.
14.  Sometimes you meet people because you are supposed to meet their friends, with whom you will get along much better.
15.  Vegas has more to offer than just the strip.

16.  Friends
a.  I have more than I thought.
b.  You know it's a true friend when you haven't spoken in years but they still care.
c.  Some family members make really good friends and make up for the shitty part of the family.
d.  I need my friends more than I will ever be able to admit.
e.  I am fiercely loyal and if needed, will demolish anyone who hurts my friends or family.

17.  California will always be my home even  if I am not physically there.
18.  Someone who loves you will always forgive you even if it isn't right away.
19.  I'm hug deficient.
20.  Even though I don't like children, I am good with them and I enjoy working with them.  I would do absolutely ANYTHING for my nephew.
21.  Life can be cut short.  Even knowing this doesn't always make people live their lives.

22.  Everyone has something to contribute.
23.  Everything is better with a Chipotle and Starbucks nearby.
24.  I have the capacity to love and can finally admit to it.  Just don't tell anyone.  :)
25.  Going to the beach makes everything better.

26.  Girls can play full contact football just as well as the boys.

27.  There are places where I fit in.
28.  Craigslist is wonderful.
29.  I have a lot left to learn.


It's been a while

Sorry for the delay in an update.  Things got crazy for a little while and I didn’t want to spread negativity.  Since my last submission, I was fired from my job at Kanab, got stuck in Vegas, and have moved to San Diego.

Unfortunately, I had to get rid of Verlene.  She gradually developed more and more problems and I didn’t have the money to put into fixing her.  I was working at Abundant Life Academy, a boarding school for troubled teens.  I was living with my supervisor and friends, Dave and Rachel, with the intention of moving into their casita.  To those on the east coast, a casita is very similar to the mother-in-law suite.   I really enjoyed my job at ALA and was told that I was very good at it.  Even though those that fired me denied it, I’m pretty sure that I was fired because of the owner of the school.  While I made a mistake, it was my first.  I was fired very shortly after the owner spent more than five minutes in the same vicinity as me.  I have a feeling that we differed on our views of women and their place in this world.  Luckily, since I was living with Dave and Rachel, I was able to get another perspective on my termination.  Dave and I have similar issues and how we deal/dealt with them.  Remember at the beginning of my journey when I said that I needed to work on myself?  I had sort of strayed from that in my job at ALA.  Dave and Rachel pointed this out and suggested I take this time to work on myself and then come back to the industry.  I was so lucky to have friends like Dave and Rachel.  I’m not sure how things would have turned out if I didn’t have them.  They helped me realize that I’m on the cusp of something grand.  Since then, I have been lucky enough to see that it was definitely a blessing that I was fired.  I’ll leave it at that.

After getting fired, I heard from a friend about a job in Long Beach.  I decided I had nothing to lose other than having to leave Best Friends.  I figured I would stop in Vegas on the way to Long Beach to visit with Lia.  While at Lia’s, the job lead in Long Beach fell through.  I panicked.  So, I stayed in Vegas; I at least knew Lia.  Lia was very gracious to let me stay with her for a couple of weeks.  I didn’t know until then that Vegas has the highest unemployment rate in the US.  It took me three months to find a job.  During that time, I felt emasculated and useless.  When I get down like that, I tend to disappear from my friends.  While looking for a job, I rented a room from a woman and her two kids.  That turned out to be a disaster.  I rented another place the last month I was in Vegas.

I finally found a job at The Home Depot.  Not my first choice but it will do.  I don’t have to think too much and I can’t overwork or take work home.  This allows me to work on myself which I have also been doing.  I started out at a store in Vegas and things were going well.  I found out that I could get better care from the VA in San Diego than in Vegas.  Also, I had a friend in San Diego that needed a roommate.  So, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask to transfer even though I hadn’t been with the company for very long.  They said yes!  So, now I’m in San Diego.  I live with a friend that I met in 1996 in Monterey.  She was in the Navy for five years.  So far, it’s going really well and I’m excited to see what is down the road.  I’m still pulling out of this depression and can’t quite see the light at the end of the tunnel but I’m in a better place.

Sorry this post is so dismal and boring.  Hopefully, I’ll start to have better things to write about so stay tuned.  J


And I have a job!

Started my new job.  I don't want to post on the blog where that is for privacy purposes but I have a job and that's the main thing.  I definitely am breathing a little easier.  Today is my first day and have learned quite a bit.  I'll be working Monday through Thursday, which is great because that means I can volunteer at Best Friends on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Speaking of volunteering, I was able to get to Best Friends last week.  I worked in parrots on Tuesday morning, feral bunnies on Tuesday afternoon, cats on Wednesday morning and back to parrots on Wednesday afternoon.

Working in parrots was awesome!  Most of them are there because the owners didn't know what they were getting into; whether that refers to the noise level, messiness, or amount of attention needed.  It's really sad.  These guys have so much personality and are so smart.  A good portion of them are self-pluckers.  This is usually due to stress.  Charlie is a very, very pretty girl.  She has to wear a sweater over some bandages to keep her from continuing to pluck her chest.  She usually greets people with a smile and a head tilt that says, "Love on me please."  Cody is a type of African Gray and has a really extensive vocabulary.  He also has a sense of humor.  I got to give the birds that were outside a shower on the afternoon that I worked there.  As I started Cody's shower, he started "coughing" and when I was getting ready to finish, he gave me a good, "ACHOO!"  The environment at the parrot garden is wonderful.  The birds have cages on the inside but usually get to go outside during the day.  Those birds that don't have as many issues get to hang out in aviaries with their buddies.  These aviaries are really big and are equipped with misters.  Remember, the natural habitat for these birds is usually a humid jungle or rain forest.  The cages on the outside are around a fountain and have their own shade.  There's also a gazebo in the middle of the aviaries and outside cages.  All of the birds have plenty in their homes to keep them busy.  I even got to make some foraging toys while I was there.  If anyone is interested in helping, they could always use foraging toys.  You can get ideas if you google foraging toys for parrots.  Just make sure to use unshelled raw almonds.  Let me know if you're interested, I'll get you an address.

The feral bunnies were interesting.  They came from a hoarding situation where a woman not only had a whole lot of bunnies, she wasn't taking care of them.  They were not interested in being pet but some were curious and would come check me out while I was helping clean one of the runs.  I found out that all bunnies have a parasite that attacks their nervous system; it just lays dormant until triggered.  Most bunnies can go through life and never trigger this parasite.  The most common trigger is stress.  So, needless to say, some of these bunnies had triggered their parasite.  The way this manifests is a head tilt or loss of control of their back legs.  The head tilt causes problems with balance and being able to see where they are going.  The loss of control of their back legs means they usually are dragging themselves through their own waste.  These bunnies along with some of the other medical-needs bunnies are in a yurt while the others are outside in runs.  The runs are actually pretty cool.  They're set up so that the bunnies can be as normal as possible but they can't dig out (they try) and they have things to burrow under like straw bales, little igloo doghouses, etc.  They get fed very nutritional rabbit food but they also get fresh vegetables of some kind each day.  These guys are separate from the other bunnies but are still adoptable.

I got to work with two different rooms of cats.  There are several building in Cat World.  Each has indoor and outdoor areas for all of the cats with a centralized kitchen/laundry area.  These areas are all equipped with lots of comfy beds, plenty of things to climb on, and even rafters for the cats who aren't ready to socialize.  The first room in which I worked was the cats with "special" personalities.  Really, they're just moody cats.  I fit right in.  :)  I helped clean but got to help socialize the cats as I went.  Some were more vocal than others.  Miss Dot usually has to be the first to be loved and gets upset if she's not.  She's not quite blind but pretty close.  You would never know.  She is so pretty and has these huge eyes.  You just have to look for the telltale tail switch to know when to stop petting.  After I was there for about an hour, some of the other cats decided I was ok and asked for some attention.  Kyra is this dainty, mostly black cat that looks like the cats in the Egyptian hieroglyphics; long, thin face with this amazingly long tail that is usually straight up in the air.  She meowed at me from a cat tree.  As soon as I got close enough, she was climbing on my shoulder.  I sat with her for about ten minutes and meanwhile, even the shy kitties were coming up to get loving.  Kyra was VERY upset when I put her down.  I also noticed she was an instigator.  She knew each cat's buttons and was not afraid to push them.  There was another cat, I unfortunately don't remember his name, he had no control of his back legs.  This did not stop him at all.  As a matter of fact, when we were playing, he was faster than most of the others.

Next, I went to the "incontinent" room.  These cats either can't make it to the litterbox or choose not to use it. That's fine, that's their choice.  We just have to clean a little more.  Anyway, I went outside and immediately Pounce decided I was going to sit down and pet him.  He almost made me cry; he could not get close enough to me even though he was in my lap and on my chest.  He had his paws around my neck and his head on my shoulder.  After about 15 minutes, it was time for his medicine.  About the time I put him down, I was told he sometimes pees on people when he's being pet.  I kind of had expected that but luckily, he did not pee on me.  :)  All of these cats are so special and all they want is someone to pay attention to them.

I figured out that I can hit each section within three days of each week.  I learned that it's best to work in dogs on morning and cats in the afternoons (air-conditioning).  So, that's the plan for the next few weeks at least.  I'll hit dogs, cats, parrots, horses, piggies, and bunnies.  I'm very excited.  There are no pictures right now but be sure I'll post some soon.  That's it for now.  Talk to everyone soon!!