It’s Better, It’s Worse… It’s Both

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I joined Oprah’s Lifeclass a few weeks ago and I have to say… I love it.  I am about ten classes in and am learning a lot about myself by answering thought-provoking questions that only I can see the answers to.  There is also a Daily Life Question that we have the option of answering.  It is linked to the users Twitter account.

As I read some of the answers (a lot of them anonymous) I shuddered at some of the things a lot of people have been through usually in great part by their parents.  I saw remnants of abuse, both physical and sexual, mental anguish, alcoholism, abandonment… 😦

It just got me thinking.. like.. what the hell do I have to bitch about?  Ok, yeah.. my childhood wasn’t the greatest.. I have always been socially awkward and put a lot of my worth on my physical beauty (but am too lazy to do any upkeep on it).  I tend to talk way too much when I get nervous and yes.. I am an alcoholic.

BUT – I am sober!  I AM beautiful!  I grew up poor.. but I have character.  I have small boobs.. but I have a great butt!  I can be very indecisive, but when I know what I want.. no one is stopping me.

It is so important for me (and you!) to look at the silver lining in the dark, looming clouds that hover over our heads from time to time.

We have all been through our own share of hell.  I remember years of self-pity, beating my head against the wall as I cursed and screamed “WHY ME?!”

Well, why not me?  Bad things have happened to me because I have the ability to help others.  If all I can do is take my experiences and share them with another, then whatever I have been through is not in vain.

Whatever doesn’t kill you – makes you stronger. 

What experiences have made you stronger?

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Ooh Ooh.. Growing Up..

When I was a teenager I thought I knew everything.. I guess most teenagers feel this way. I have a teenage daughter, and I see a lot of myself in her.

Remember when we were fourteen or fifteen and we thought our parents were idiots, totally uncool and basically, had no idea what they were talking about?  Yeah, that’s where I am now.  I find myself repeating a lot of the ideals that were told to me at that fork in the road age.

I remember my first heartbreak.  Ugh.  I was so devastated! I was totally head over heels in love with a boy that lived around the corner.. he was kind of cocky, super cute and really wanted nothing to do with me.. I am not sure why it was this last quality that attracted me most to this boy.  Perhaps it was the fact that my father ignored me for most of my childhood and since I couldn’t get his attention, I could try to get a boy’s attention.

Needless to say, he wanted nothing to do with me.  So I decided to date his older brother.  Yeah, not the best idea.  He was a really nice guy (ack!) and I just didn’t pine for him like I pined for his brother.  Strike one.  I dated the older brother for about three weeks and then the kid I crushed on decided to test my loyalties to his older brother.  He told his brother (I came to find out later) that he was going to flirt with me and that I would ditch older brother.  Younger brother nailed it.   He was pretty smart for a sixteen year old, and I was devastated when he said to me, “I knew you didn’t like my brother, so I tricked you.”  Nice, eh?  However, I did like his older brother.  He was tall and he made me laugh with his Peter Gabriel and Kinks impressions.  But his brother liked me too.

I was so crushed by the “trick” played on me (which was one of a few different boys played on me) that I had enough and decided that it was time to get on with it.  It was time to die.

I went into my room, I put on some Pink Floyd, took the razor blade I got from my dad’s top drawer and slit my wrists.  Extreme, I know.  But no one knew who I was.  No one understood me.  No one got what I was going through.  Certainly not my parents.  They were never really around at that crucial teen stage and it didn’t matter anyway.  I felt it was too late for me. I was screwed.

I still have those scars on my wrists.  They are a haunting reminder of how unhappy I was.  The pictures of me around that time (none of which I am smiling in) are haunting reminders as well. I now use those scars to remind people about depression and suicidal thoughts should they ask.  Not many do.

If I could go back and talk to myself, I would tell me that it was all going to be okay.  That I was going to grow up and be a beautiful woman so smart and too wise.  I would tell myself that everyone goes through  a heartbreak or two and that it is the heartbreaks, failures and things that don’t work out that make us wiser and keep us strong.  It is those things that help us to grow into strong, resilient individuals.  I would tell me to have faith, it will all work out.

It always does.

Picture courtesy of www.weheartit.com

Hell Above

When I was an upstairs neighbor, I never realized how much power I had until I became the downstairs neighbor.  The upstairs neighbor has the power to put anyone living below through hell.

Add a two year old kid, a surround sound television and the fact that neither adult has a job, and you’ve dropped down a few levels in hell which is now painful on a tangible level. Oh, and steps; can’t forget about the steps.

I cannot figure out why they have to stomp up and down the steps that lead up to their lair.  Neither one of them weighs close to two hundred pounds.  Yet, every opportunity I get to sleep, the screen door bangs open and there goes one of Satan’s disciples down the stairs.  Bang, bang, bang, bang!  They must always forget something because back up they go.  Bang, bang, bang, bang!  And… back down again.

I am convinced that they have external speakers on a television with surround sound and that they lay them down on the floor above my bedroom while they blast some ridiculous program every time I need to lay down before I go to job number two.  It must sound better.  Perhaps I’ll try it.

The kid got a walker.  When kids should be sleeping, this kid is having the time of her life rolling back and forth on their wretched hardwood floors.  This coupled with the melody of what seems body slams from above is great to add to my night time television watching.

In the wee hours of the winter mornings they park in front of the building (I suppose because it is just too cold to walk the extra twenty feet to where everyone else parks) which is right outside our bedroom window.  The car idles for twenty minutes or so, allowing me to waking up to the smell of exhaust in the morning.    It’s a good thing I love coffee.

White cigarette butts sprinkle the dark stone drive outside.  I try to convince myself that they look like white rectangular pebbles, but my sense prohibits my imagination from entertaining the thought.

Finally, let us not forget about their little dog named Annie.  Annie is a small, fluffy white dog.  The female demon spawn likes to chant “treat, treat, treat, treat, treat!” whenever the dog doesn’t feel like coming in.  She does this at least six or seven times in a row louder and louder.  The dog is not a barker and is the most polite member of their boorish family, now that I give it some thought.  I am convinced the dog is looking for a way out.