Selfish Suicide – Part One

Suicide is selfish.  Truer words have never been spoken.  Okay, truer words have been spoken.  But on the topic of suicide, there is no other way to really describe it.  I can say that I have been truly selfish once in my life.

It was a hot day in the middle of July 1996.  A whole host of events had led up to that day.  I was upset; disgusted. I really felt there was no other option.  How could I go on?  What shot did I have at a decent life?  I felt hopeless and weak.

I stood above the sink with a bottle of prescription muscle relaxers. The tap flowed as I put my plastic cup under the cold water. With a pile of pills in my hand and tears streaming my artificially tanned cheeks, I begged for a sign that I didn’t need to do this; that it would all be okay.   The telephone didn’t ring.  My cat didn’t meow. There was just the steady sound of running water.

I took the pills and chugged from the plastic cup.  There.  It was done.  I didn’t have to suffer anymore.  As I walked crying into the other room it hit me like a bolt of lightning. My life; others lives flashed before my eyes.  What the fuck was I doing?

I ran to the kitchen to take it back.  I put my head over the sink and rammed my fingers down my throat.  The harder I tried to make myself throw up the weaker I became.  It was in that moment that I begged God to forgive my sins.  I stumbled into the living room and collapsed on the floor.  That was the last thing I remembered.

I woke up in the hospital days later with no recollection of what I had done.  My mother was by my bedside and I asked her where I was.  She told me I had suffered a stroke and that my oldest daughter had found me dead.  Rescue was called that day I collapsed on the floor and they had worked on me for roughly twenty minutes before getting a pulse.

That day was July 19, 1996.  My mom would call on the nineteenth of July every year for the next eight to remind me of the progress I had made since I fell apart.

The stress of being a young mother of four children with a dead beat husband would make anyone fall apart.  My family was masterful at the cover up.

At about year six, I started to remember pieces of things. Events that seemed almost dream like flooded my mind.  As I remembered them, they overlapped each other like a poorly dubbed cassette tape.  I would mention these thoughts, these pieces of a movie almost, to my mother.  She would side step my notions quite gracefully.

At year seven I had called my mother.  I was excited.  I had a dream.  A violent dream, but nonetheless, a dream.  Now, you might think, so what?  We all dream.  And I know that I had dreamed every night since that hot day in July, but when I awoke from my sleep every morning, I had nothing.  A glimpse of anything that had run through my subconscious mind during the night never resurfaced in my head.

That dream meant so much to me.  It meant normalcy.  To dream meant that I was going to be okay.

I wish I could say that my life and the lives of my children returned to normal after that night in July.  I wish I could pretend that a glass of water and a bottle of muscle relaxers coupled with a dark state of mind didn’t alter so many paths.

The lives of my children would never be the same after that day.  My life warped into what seemed a strip of bad scene selections from a sub-par movie.

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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.

Putting Some Clothes On

I was walking into the bank yesterday in my leggings and long form fitting sweater. The leggings were black.  The sweater gray with black horizontal stripes; black belt and black flats accessorizing my look.  My butt and boobs were tucked away.

This gentlemen – I use the term loosely – passed me and was looking at me oddly.  He then says, “Wow.  Look at that outfit.  Look at that outfit.”  Since I was having a less than secure day I kind of freaked out inside. What does that mean?  Do I look bad?  Do I look good?  Is my look mediocre?  Have you looked in the mirror lately pal? It seemed as though he had more to say, but before he could utter another word from his seemingly seedy lips, I ducked into the vestibule.

The rest of the day entailed me telling everyone who would listen about my momentary encounter with the stranger.  I suppose I was looking for validation.  I desperately needed someone to say, “your outfit is awesome! Nice! Super! ”

This was not the first time I have been in the presence of someone who thought it was necessary to let me know his or her feelings (which he didn’t really – he left it open to interpretation) about something that was really none of their business.

But maybe we need more of this.  I mean, have you looked around lately?

Men in muscle shirts two sizes too small with very little muscle, women wearing clothes that leave nothing to the imagination and on some of these women imagination is needed.

I’ll admit it.  When I was 20, 25, 30 and even 35 I walked around showing off as much of me as I possibly could.  I had a great belly at one time and every chance I got, out came the midriff.  I’d be at the bar or even the local corner store and I would get hit on or whistled at.  After this came my incensement as to why no one took me seriously and why guys only just wanted to have sex with me.

Really? It took me all those years to finally get it.  To get why the girls at the bar in the jeans and baggy t-shirts had boyfriends or husbands.  To get why there never was a phone call the next day, or week or month for that matter, after having sex with someone less than twenty four hours after meeting.

I was nothing more than eye candy.  If I had sex with you, then I was eye candy with the prize inside.  But all in all, just something nice to look at. Like that freaky shirt in the window that looks awesome with it’s shiny studs and peacock colors, but the beige shirt is more practical and so that is the one we buy.

I can still wear clothes like that but I don’t want to.  I realized that dressing like I am ready for my meeting at the local street corner still left me empty inside when I went home.

Men still check me out, and yeah, that feels nice sometimes.  But men also take me seriously.  More importantly, women take me seriously.  I never had female friends in my twenties and early thirties.  I thought it was because they were all bitches.  Then I thought it was because I was unlikable.  After I started putting some clothes on, I realized it was probably because I was unapproachable.

Ideas (unedited rant on writing)

I’ve read in a lot of books about writing that in order to get anywhere with writing it is necessary to write at least a page a day.  I was at one time trying to break into the fiction market.  I was writing at least five pages a day about whatever popped in my head and I would not stop until I reached five pages.  This type of writing is called free writing.

I stopped writing for a couple of years.  Life happened and I had to buckle down.  Being practical superseded trying to live my dream.  I am trying to break back into the market again.  However, this time I am going down a different road.  That is the article road.

I find this to be a lot more challenging than fiction writing.  See, in fiction writing, I could write whatever I wanted.  There is little requirement for facts in fiction writing.

Article writing requires a lot of facts.  Facts are not hard to come by.  Finding facts that are indeed facts and not an interpretation of the facts is the difficult part.

So I get out my notebook and I write a list of all of the things I would like to write about. Then I write facts in big bold letters next to each idea.

Sports, Motorcycles, Women, Abuse, Alcoholism, Running, Eating right.  These are some of the ideas I have jotted down.  Some of these ideas are articles in progress which may make it to my blog or may be a victim of the delete button.

I was fortunate enough to get a response when I posted a link to my blog here on my Facebook page.  A writer guy I am friends with on there gave me some good advice.  I have to love it and I have to keep writing.

Ideas come from living.  I have to reach deeper and pull out some of the stuff that may make me a little uncomfortable to write about.  This world certainly wasn’t built on playing it safe.   My writing won’t be built on playing it safe either, it seems.

Staying On A Cardio Regimen

The beginning week of January is always crammed in the gym.  Resolutions are made to get in shape and be healthy so you run to the gym to sign up for their special membership prices. You might even get that free t-shirt that ends up becoming a cleaning rag.  You leave feeling accomplished!  You did it!  You took the first step!  Hats off to you, my friend.  However, there is a sequence of steps that come after that very first important one that need to be maintained or your dream of looking like the hot chic in apartment 8 will be squashed.

You need an action plan.  If you walk through those doors to the upbeat music and clanking of weights without a plan, you’re going to be all over the place.

So where do you start?

Get out your fave fitness mag or hop on the computer and find a plan that fits you.  Although you are anxious to look like Jessica Simpson a few years back or the brand new Britney, the reality is that they didn’t get their rocking bods overnight and neither will you.

You want to make sure you do not overdo it in the beginning.

The experts say that you need to maintain at least twenty minutes at a certain level to burn fat, but for the moment you need to build endurance.  Start off doing fifteen minutes of light cardio.  You can start this at about 3 times a week.

If you’re at the gym, pick the treadmill and try to do a pace of 2.5 to 3.5 mph.   If you aren’t a big fan of the tread, then hop on the elliptical and go at a steady pace.  The elliptical works your legs a little more so you may want to start off a little lighter.

For some of us the gym can seem like a monotonous display of testosterone and skimpy outfits.  If this isn’t really your thing then getting your cardio routine down at home is a great alternative.

The time of day is not really an issue since calories burn the same at 6 am as they do at 6 pm.  If you are not a morning person, trying to commit to waking at 5:30 a.m. is going to frustrate you and give you reasons to make excuses to bail out.  Start at a brisk walk for 10 – 15 minutes whatever time of day you choose.  Again, you are trying to build endurance.

Where to walk is not an issue either.  Do a search for parks in your area if you like the ambience of trees and babbling brooks.  If being alone amongst nature gives you the creeps, then stick to your neighborhood.  There are sites on-line that you can find a way to map a route in your area.

Please make sure to check with your health care professional before starting any fitness routine.

Example:

Week 1:  15 minutes light cardio 3 x a week

Week 2:  15 minutes light cardio 4 x a week

Week 3:  20 minutes cardio 3 x a week

Week 4: 20 minutes cardio 4 x a week

Week 5: 25 minutes of cardio 3 x a week

Week 6: 25 minutes of cardio 4 x a week

After you’ve built up your endurance after five to six weeks then your body at this point should have adjusted to your new workout.  You can now gradually turn up the speed and the length of your cardio.  If it feels like it is too much, knock it down a notch for a week and then come back up.

Remember to keep hydrated!

You Have What It Takes To Meditate

We as women stress out over the tiniest things because it is in our genetic make-up to take care of everyone and everything.  Kids, work, mates, money, exercise and the list goes on of all the things in our lives that stress us out.  And let’s add one more thing… ourselves!  Meditation can help us through these trying times of overreaction.

If you can sit quietly for ten minutes then you have what it takes to meditate.

There really is no big secret to meditating.  Breathing and having a peaceful focal point, which often times is your breathing, are really the only two things that are essential to meditating successfully.

The first and foremost step to meditation is breathing.  Once you learn how to focus on your breath you are well on your way to meditating.  So you’re thinking, ‘ well I already know how to breathe’. Well, yes, but this is a more focused breathing.  Try to imagine your breath as a physical entity.  You inhale the fresh air through your nose while you suck in your abdomen and then you push the bad air out of your mouth as you slowly relax your muscles.

You can meditate in your home.

Meditating at home is one of the easiest places to meditate.  Just knowing you are in a  familiar place can be relaxing.  Try to give yourself a good amount of time.  For some ten minutes works; others might need up to an hour.  If you can’t make a meditation room (and really – how many of us can?) then just find the most relaxing place in your home.  Sit in a relaxed position.  Close your eyes and inhale through your nose (good in!) and then exhale through your mouth (bad out!).  If your mind starts to wander take it back to the breath.  You cannot think about more than one thing simultaneously.  So if you are concentrating on your breathing there is nothing going on in that already over loaded brain of yours.

You can meditate outside.

Meditating outside in a park or even on your front porch or stoop in the quiet time of the day is another great place to meditate.  The noises of nature; chirping birds, the wind rustling the trees and perhaps even a close by trickling of water, are great accents to go along with your breathing.  If sitting on the grass makes you uncomfortable then go for a walk.  Still, be sure to focus on your breath while your senses take in the sights and sounds of the outdoors.  Feeling the wind brush your skin is an added bonus.

You can meditate in your car.

This is a tricky one.  However, focusing on your breathing and finding a happy space in your head while stuck in traffic is a good way to get through your commute without wanting to repeatedly bang your head on the steering wheel!   Instead of turning on the talk radio or cranking the tunes (which I am guilty of often) try being in the quiet with your breathing for .. yep!  Ten minutes!  Then put your radio on.

You can even meditate at work.

It’s true!  This is probably one of the top places we all need to learn to meditate.  When deadlines are crashing in on you and your boss won’t stop hitting the intercom button it is great to know how to focus on your breathing and getting to that happy place.  If you have to step away from your desk so be it.  You’ll collect yourself and be more productive when you get back to that intercom.

So remember.  As long as you can find yourself a happy place in the midst of the insanity of your day-to-day, and you can focus on your breathing then you have what it takes to meditate.