This thing called love…

This thing called love is a fickle beast. It’s warm and gentle. It’s hurtful and rude at times. It’s sweet and innocent or jealous and spiteful. Loving someone can hurt, if it’s unrequited. Sometimes even requited love can hurt. Love teaches us about ourselves and others. It, also, shows our loved ones how we feel. Love has many different faces, words, and actions. Sometimes love looks like a mom tying her child’s shoe, or a dad teaching his son to catch. It’s a parent making their young adult child learn from their own mistakes and supporting them in their decisions afterwards. It’s a girlfriend holding her boyfriend’s hand during hard times. It’s a husband holding his wife’s hand during childbirth. It’s a friend telling you that you’ve made a big mistake. It’s your child wiping the tears away when they catch you crying…over spilled milk, of course. It’s giving your loved one space when needed, and being with them when you know they shouldn’t be alone. 

The most important thing about love is that it is. Love is. 

Love is. 


The Feel Me Poem

City lights neon clatter

Fucking type what I said

We both speak as we listen

On the other side of the partition

These conversations are always best undressed, free of arbitrary thoughts

Who’s to say what is and what’s naught 

Who’s to guess and who’s to dream

If you leave again, I’ll scream

Into the wind,

Apart the flame. Into the kite 

A run from it’s string. 

A cry into the night is all I’ll bring

What makes you think you’ll cry?

Stringing me along, can you even try? I want to die. 

I’ll resuscitate you

And I’ll kick you til I’m blue…can’t say it isn’t true

Fuck it all, undo

Like the cries in the night? Her eyes filled with fright

She’s confused, it’s the light

As she burns in the bright rays, her skin tight

Taught, wrist bound but soul not

She pulls and tugs, but her blood does not clot

But touch can repair all that is not

Touch repairs her wounds, but not what’s in her heart
By Rev. Brenna Carnevale & Richard Huggins, RN

How Adulting Almost Killed Me…

For the past couple of days, I have been wracking my brain thinking about what I was going to write about this week. Then, I almost got in a car accident yesterday and I’ve been a wreck since. 

I have found my topic. 

I hate the rain. Detest the cold, wetness when it soaks into my clothes and dampens me through my skin, straight to my bones…instantly. 

Yet, somehow for some reason, I was energized by the rain and decided to  do some adulting. So, I did the dishes & laundry, then went to the grocery store. 

Everything went perfectly at the store, even though I forgot my grocery list at home. I did my best to remember what I needed, and, thankfully, remembered the most important items. 

Loading the groceries in the car and putting the carriage in the corral went smoothly. Even getting gas went off without a hitch, and usually I end up having to go in because my card hates the gas pumps. 

Something was very wrong, and I had no idea. 

When I got up yesterday, I wanted to stay in bed all day long, but I didn’t want it to lead to another battle with depression. So, I forced myself to get dressed and live life, instead of letting it just pass me by. 

I wish I had listened to myself. 

On my way home, I went the same route I always do. I wanted to avoid the highway because, you know…accidents. 

I drove past the police station, high school and nursing home, then turned left. Drove by the church, the run down building I want to turn into a book store and the tavern right next door. 

I was almost home…about five minutes away. 

There was a car in front of me, and another car at the end of a side street on my right. It was a goldish/brown Oldsmobile, with a white male wearing a hoodie, and a beard. He looked my way, looked right, and then started to pull out to make his left turn right as I was approaching him. Before I knew it, he wasn’t stopping…he continued to make his turn as if my car didn’t even exist. 

No one was in the oncoming lane of traffic, so I swerved as hard as I could. In my mind’s eye, I felt the impact of his front passenger side colliding with the rear passenger side of my car. I saw my car spinning, possibly flipping over, and my son being lost and left on his own until someone figured out what to do with him…how to contact his father. I saw our lives flash before my eyes and I began shaking uncontrollably. 

I couldn’t breathe. 

It wasn’t from my asthma. It was my anxiety, and it all happened in the blink of an eye. 

I pulled over right away. I couldn’t regain control over my breathing, my mind was racing, I was crying, and my hands…my whole body…would NOT stop shaking. I tried deep breaths. I tried redirecting my thinking. I even tried changing the music on the radio to something more calming. Grounding myself didn’t even work. 

Then, it dawned on me. 

I was fine. My son was fine. No one got hurt…thank God. 

So, I took a deep breath (still shaking), put my blinker on, checked if the lane was clear, then I pulled into traffic and drove home. 

I couldn’t afford to get myself some weed this month, so I had no anxiety medicine. No way to calm down my nervous system and stop the shaking, other than riding it out. 

That was the worst part about the whole thing. When the situation is completely over and all of the disgusting feelings linger longer than is necessary. When just the thought of getting in my car makes my heart race and my hands shake. 

 Now imagine feeling that a million times every second of every day for almost twelve years. 

That’s just a glimpse of what CPTSD can feel like. 

Imagine adding visual flashbacks of every traumatic event you’ve ever experienced in your life to the physical symptoms I described above. Imagine what that must be like to live with every time you even see something as simple as a cauliflower in the grocery store. 

That’s what happens when I’m triggered, and that’s what I fear every time I walk out the door of my comfy home. 

I should have stayed in bed yesterday, but I didn’t let that stop me from leaving the house today. 

The fear will never leave me, but I will never let it stop me from living my life. 

Love Endures

I see so many people posting memes and saying things like “I want this”, “why can’t this be us”, and “my boo doesn’t do this for me” and it irritates the fuck outta me. I spent an entire marriage, a pretty good marriage, wishing for my husband to be like other guys. What I should have been doing was appreciating MY husband for what he did for me. 

The grass is always greener. If you’re looking at other couples and being jealous, it’s probably because you’re too blind to see that you have exactly what you want right in front of you. What you’re too ignorant to realize is that your love looks different than others, because you’re different people than those who you’re jealous of. 

Their story is different. Their love is different. Their personalities are different. They have different lifestyles. 

None of that means that you don’t have the same kind of love as they do. So stop and think about YOUR love. Stop and think about how YOUR love is awesome. Stop and think about how YOUR love is loyal to the end. Stop and think about how YOUR love is everything you want and need. Then embrace it for what it is and never let that shit go. 

If you don’t open your eyes and pay attention to what’s in front of you, then you’re going to miss out on something beautiful. Love isn’t peaches & roses when you’re first starting out. Love is hard. Love will test you in ways you never imagined. Love will push you to your limits…and then push you some more. Love is a choice you make every single day. Love takes hard work. Love takes honest & open communication. Love takes trust. Love takes time. 

It takes time to build up to those extravagant proposals you see posted online. It takes time to build up to the comfort level you desire. It takes time to earn everything you want *right now*. 

Most of all…love endures. 

Love the person who is right in front of you, NOT the person you want them to be. If you want that person to change this and that about them, then you’re better off loving them without you. Don’t try to change the person, because that’s not TRUE love. True love doesn’t try to change anyone. True love says “I love you as you are.”

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how it has effected my life…

Hello, all.  I know it has been quite a long time since I have last posted here, and I apologize.  There have been SO many things going on over the last two years and I am finally ready to “talk” about it.

In my last blog post, I mentioned PTSD and some of the things I had been experiencing in connection to that. Well, about two weeks after that blog post, I was diagnosted with CPTSD.  That’s Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. What makes it complex, you ask? Well, first PTSD is contacted when a person experiences a traumatic event that causes flashbacks, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and various related symptoms. The complex part comes when a person experiences multiple traumatic events, each of which causing PTSD by themselves. What sometimes happens is I’m triggered by something & I begin having flashbacks from one of the traumatic events, which in turn triggers flashbacks from another traumatic event. So, basically, the flashbacks can piggy back on each other, if you will. It’s like reliving each trauma all at once. It’s scary as fuck, let me tell you.

Then, about a month and a half after my diagnosis, my mother was diagnosed with mandibular cancer that metastasized to her head and neck.

I was in school at the time, working, dealing with how to cope with my triggers, learning about my own disability, and then trying to figure out how to cope with my mother’s diagnosis. Things didn’t go very well.

Before my mother could begin her radiatin & chemotherapy treatments, she had two or three surgeries…one of which was emergent as she had spontaneously begun hemmorhaging from the tumor site in her jaw.  Things just weren’t going well at all for her, and I had no idea how to help her.  I had no idea how to help myself.

In September of 2015, I dropped all of my classes and took the entire month off of work so I could bring my mother to her radiation and chemotherapy appointments. I was with her as often as I possibly could be, but it still wasn’t enough for those in my immediate family.

Tension built between myself and my siblings & dad. It got to the point where I felt unwanted in my mother’s house. I felt as if I wasn’t allowed to even visit my mother, and God forbit I talk to her about my life.

No one was communicating with me, and I had no idea that her cancer had spread or that she was getting worse. I was spreading myself so thin and no one told me the most important information I needed to know. That hurt like hell.

In October of 2015, my engagement to my fiance ended, and I was forced to live with a friend.  Not a week after living there, he began verbally and emotionally abusing me…especially after a few drinks of whiskey. I had no one to talk to about anything, because my mother was the one I talked to about these things. I was lost, confused, and alone. My sisters weren’t talking to me, and my father threatened to cut me off from my mother’s last days if I continued to tell her what was going on in my life. I had never experienced anything like this before. I had no fucking clue, really, what was expected of me…and I was punished for it.

I began drinking alone in my bedroom and isolating myself from the other cohabitants in the house, except for my son. My son, who is high functioning Autistic, was also a part of the abuse from my roommate…albeit indirectly. He would constantly complain about my son, no matter what he did or didn’t do. I could never do anything right as a parent, either.

No matter where I went or who I spoke with, I was wrong or not good enough. Depression weighed on me and I drank away the pain every night.

Then, on January 25, 2016, my mother passed away. Never have I ever imagined a pain so deep. Depression took me over and I drank…A LOT.

Then, one day around mid February 2016, I decided I was sick of contributing to my own depression. I was, also, sick of feeling extreme anxiety to the point where it made me physically ill. I stopped drinking alcohol & coffee old turkey. Just like that.

Oddly, that was the absolute worst part of my life. As of April 1, 2016, my son and I were homeless. Exactly two months after my mother’s funeral, my son and I were living out of my car and sleeping in a hotel (thank you, tax refund). That only lasted about a week, before a friend of mine offered to pay for another week. Praise Jesus! …but it was only one week, and we were on a waiting list for housing still. I have never been so scared on my life.

At the end of the second week, my very dear friend, Selynda, allowed us to stay with her. She will never understand the gratitude I feel for what she did for my son and I.

To break up all of the depressing parts of life for my son, he stayed with my cousin in Newport for a week. Man, did he have a blast! He hung out with his cousins, learned some boy stuff, and began to grow into a fine young man. During this time, I got the phone call that we had an apartment. FINALLY, a break from it all! Twenty five days of being homeless was coming to an end. Thank, God!!

I surprised him after school the following week, after I had gotten the keys and cleaned it up. (Not a good idea, btw 😉)  Finally, our own place that we could call home. A place to relax and just…be.

All we had for furniture was my son’s twin bunk beds, an end table, a bar, a Hoosier, and a deep freezer. The rest of our belongings were odds and ends, clothes, and boxes I hadn’t gone through in about four years. Everything fit in the apartment…even my 60 gallon fish tank & stand.

I was elated to have my own place, but that ended abruptly one day. I honestly have no idea what happened, or what triggered it, but I just started crying uncontrollably. I cried every day for the first month or so. Then summer began to rear its ugly head and the heat on the third floor became intense quickly.

Before I knew it I was having kidney issues, my son was having difficulty adjusting to everything, and I was ready to throw it all in. Just fucking quit life and die. All of the wrong people were helping me, at this point, and the depression got a hold of me again.

It took me too many months to become aware enough of the situation to do something about it. However, it was getting there. I could see it, but there was soooooo much other crap in the way. I was clawing my way out, suffocating in the dirt on the way out, but I never quit. I never gave up. Not for anyone or anything. Not even for my son.

I did it because I had the support of my friends, and my therapist. I even had my son in my corner, but he was going through a battle of his own…a battle that he couldn’t control. So, I had to be there for him and myself. Then Christmas came. Fuck. My. Life.

My first Christmas without my mother, or really any semblance of a family, and I was unemployed. Oh, and I had received an eviction notice, unless I paid the rent I owed before January first. No idea if or when I would be approved to the disability I had applied for during the summer.

Just before the new year, I got a letter from the VA detailing my disability payment and other pertinent information. In the next envelope was a check for my first payment, which included retroactive pay to the date of my application.

Things were beginning to look up 😊

For the first time since I moved in, I was able to make my rent payment in completion and on time. I was definitely starting 2017 off on a positive note. So, I decided to build on that and gave that one action some serious thought. What else could I do that can set me up for success?

I took care of some small things with the remainder of that VA check (new boots & sneakers, clothes, bills), so I was back to broke…but I felt so much BETTER! I had more energy and my outlook began to change. My thoughts became more positive and my body followed through by being more active and maintaining a good diet.

I’ve been detoxifying my home and my mind, and replacing it with only people and things that bring me joy. I am focusing on joy.

I still go to therapy every week…even when I loathe leaving the house or putting on pants. I still make the choice every single day to be happy and productive. I still fight like hell to maintain peace within my heart, and mind. I still struggle with sleep (although it has improved), and anxiety.  I still struggle. However, I still choose not to let it defeat me. It’s not an easy choice to make when I open my eyes and all I want to do is keep sleeping and allow the day to pass right on by. It’s not an easy choice when I forget about all of the good and positive things that I have in my life…like supportive friends, an amazing son, and the gift of life.

Where am I now? Four sizes smaller, sleeping well most nights, severe drop in depression and anxiety, my son is improving academically & behaviorally, we have furniture, I’m writing consistently, and I’m going back to school this summer. I’d say our lives have done a complete 180 from where we were two years ago. However, in the words of my illustrious sixth grade teacher, Mrs. White, “There’s always room for improvement.”

Life can only get better from here 😊❤🙏

Is it PTSD?

Hello all! It has been a while since I’ve posted, and I do apologize for that. Life has been happening, and so much has changed. However, what brings me to you today is what happened to me the other day…Tuesday to be precise. To preface this, this day started off basically okay. Once again, I had to deal with some other bitch fucking up my day, so I figured I’d vent to my boyfriend just to get it off my chest. His response was the catalyst to the rest of the day. (It was all misunderstanding on his part, as it is difficult to portray tone over text.) I wrote about it on a page I have on Facebook called “I Am Thor, He Is My Hammer,” and its contents is what follows. I will, also, include my posts from yesterday & today. I will probably continue doing that every day as it gives me an outlet to express my experience, because someone else out there might need to hear my words if they’re experiencing the same thing, and it will give another perspective for those who don’t know anything about it other than what you read about it in the media.

March 10, 2015:

Today has been an interesting day. It started off pretty great, then went to shit in the blink of an eye. All of a sudden, my mind is racing, my chest hurts, and flashes of that horrible day begin flooding my brain. (This is a military related thing, so I’ll spare you all the gory details.)
It was Veteran’s Day in 2013, when I had my first flashback. The trigger was something commonplace and unnoticeable to most anyone in attendance. I was at a Veteran’s Day parade in my home town, and there was always a little after thing at the Baptist church. The Commander of the Ambulance Corps always leads the ceremony, and acknowledges the local veterans.
Something about one of the veterans announcing where he was stationed & his service dates caused my mind to go back to the single most significant moment in my Navy career. It is the only one that I can remember in great detail, and it’s the only one I wish I could forget.
So, here I am, sitting at the kitchen table, just staring. All I can see is “the bad thing,” and I can’t make it stop. Then, the other thoughts/stressors enter my mind, and before I know it I crying uncontrollably. At that moment, I felt completely helpless, lost, beyond comprehension, and beyond reality. I had finally reached my breaking point and I did something that should have been done on November 11, 2013. I picked up the phone, and dialed the number to the VA. When they asked why I needed to see a doc, I told them that I think I have PTSD, then told them what happened. For the first time in about 10 years, I formally asked for help on my own, I didn’t worry about speaking formally, and I wasn’t afraid of being broken. Most importantly, I was heard.
The most important step is always the first. Challenge completed.

March 11, 2015:

Well, this is day 2 and I’m feeling a tiny bit better. I have zero motivation, zero want or drive to smile or be happy, zero want or need to be miserable or pissed off. I’m just…here. My heart feels heavy, but I’m not sad. It’s a very strange feeling, really. My anxiety is sky high, yet all I want to do is sleep. Tomorrow, I’ll call the VA again to follow up on me seeing a doctor. I don’t like feeling like this.

March 12, 2015:

Okay, so today is day #3. So far, I’m doing okay. I’ve had a few cups of coffee, gotten laundry going, vacuumed a little, and taken care of Hammer’s meds (he just needed his script filled). The best part about today is the conversation I had with a friend of mine who needed some help figuring out how to go about beginning the process to write for money. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE talking to people about writing. Everything about it gets me excited. To see (or read) someone excited about writing, using words for their creative outlet, the process, finding their own process, etc. makes me so happy! It also motivates me to stay focused on my educational goals. When the person I’m talking to is so inspired that they begin writing right away, or I see their published book for sale, that is the best reward I could ever hope for. This is why I’m in school. I’ve always wanted to help people find what inspires them, then help them put it into words. Although I can do that with my friends (thanks, guys wink emoticon ), I know there are many more people who need/want the same thing. What I really want, though, is to be able to help those who want to use writing as their therapy…and make some money doing so.
So today, right now, I am happy-er than I was yesterday and the day before. It doesn’t hurt to smile or laugh, and doing so doesn’t make me want to break down in tears…so far. Fingers, toes, and everything else crossed in hopes that it stays this way…or gets better.
I hope you all are having a good day today. If not, tell the world to fuck off, then do what makes YOU happy 🙂

This morning’s shenanigans…

I haven’t posted in a while…this semester has been pretty crazy, and loaded with work. Four English classes will do that to ya. Anywho, I had a few minutes and thought I’d share a funny little thing that happened this morning. This isn’t my usual stuff, so I won’t take offense if you don’t like it. I promise to post some poetry or one of my papers soon.

As if this day couldn’t get any more weird. I’m sitting here watching television and I had to blow my nose, so I go into the kitchen to refill my coffee cup. I get there, turn around, go back to the living room where I just was, and grab a tissue to blow my nose. Then, I return to the kitchen to refill my coffee, and grab my cup then proceed back to the couch…coffee cup not full. All of this after waking up around 0430, and being fully awake…ya know, like a guy is first thing in the morning. So, I wake up my boyfriend (fill in the blank however you wish), then we talk until the alarm goes off at 0545. At this point, I’m still wide awake. The weather is pretty crappy outside, and normally I’d be dead to the world on a day like this…yet, somehow, I’m wide-the-fuck-awake and feel like drinking some coffee and watching the news. I send my man off to work and finish making the coffee. Then the boy wakes up and wants to cuddle on the couch with me as I watch the news. Fine, I can live with that. So I get us some cereal, because, let’s face it, at this point the dreariness of the weather is beginning to set in and now I’m feeling pretty lazy. So we sit and eat our cereal. I begin drinking my coffee…one sip. I got as far as one single, solitary sip. Then, it hit me. The comfort of the couch, the cuddliness of the blankets, the warmth of the coffee, and the relaxation of the early morning festivities finally smack me in the face and say, “Go back to sleep you idiot.” Then, my body succumbs to it all and I pass out. I’m talking drool falling from my mouth, snoring, dead to the world kind of passed out. It was some hardcore shit…and I loved it. Until the alarm went off at 0730. Ugh, what the fuck? I don’t want to get up. I turn the alarm off and wipe the sleep out of my eyes as I look around and get my equilibrium back. Yes, I remember this…oh look, coffee. I’ll take some of that…and I relish that cold sip as if it were just poured from the thermal carafe. I dwell on the awesomeness that is the flavor swimming around in my mouth, then the phone rings. It’s my sweetie. Then, at that moment, all is right in the world and suddenly being exhausted beyond belief is perfectly okay, and I light up. We talk for a minute or two, then he arrives to work and lets me go. That two minute phone call is always the best part of my day. Actually, I must correct myself, it’s the best start of my day. I have never felt this kind of happiness in my life…except when I had my kids, but that’s a different kind of love and commitment. When you have someone in your life that makes every crappy thing (no matter how small or big) in your life okay, that’s true love and a true connection. I don’t know what I did to deserve a man like him, but I’m glad I did it and I will never take him or his love for granted. He is my rock, my other half, my corn.