If I invite You In

If I invite you in,

Will you be hungry?

I’m Italian you know.

If I invite you in,

Will you look me in the eye?

And really hear what I say?

If I invite you in,

Will my words be nothing to you?

Or will you take my words with you

Paired with yours….

And tuck them safely away in your pocket;

How can I make my company a momento of time?

If I invite you in, will you “one up” my stories,

Selfishly reload, fixate on you, admonish me in your every expression?

Or will you have grace and poise and polished shoes,

Will you raise your arms to frame up my words,

Will you be the lead while I be the follow?

If I invite you in,

Will you promise to scour away at the bitter in my world,

And make me prefer your company

To being alone?

Facebook is “Fun”

Facebook is fun, juggling flames is “fun” too.    I tried to duck out for a while-but I felt clueless.   Facebook keeps you feeling as if you’ve been served a slice of the world.    Yes it’s a wee bit voyeuristic and admittedly some of us have HAD to take a break, we addictive personalities should keep it in check.  There are ways to use it properly. We should be spot-on with our editing, checking it as seriously and as closely as we check the mirror after we’ve eaten spinach salad, sometimes we do miss it the first time.  Facebook can be a bit like an odor when it’s bad it can linger and when it’s good it can stir the olfactory senses.   A picture posted can be powerful, you can plan next year’s vacation based on them or, dig up your old yearbooks because of them-Take Throwback Thursday for instance.  It can take you back to moments like your first kiss at Skate King or rekindle that memory of an entire summer spent with that dreamy hippie boy/girl.  A simple post, a few words can impart the smell of Nag Champa, Drakar Noir, salty sea air, or stale beer, which trips up another memory….that one club, do you or don’t you search his name,  the guy in the band,  to see if he “Facebooks.”   Do you peek, just to see if he aged well….or do you just search Youtube for that band that ALWAYS played there, you know that surf band that you loved, what was it, Man or Astro Man…. who was it?

Facebook can trip up memories, it can invite self-affirming discussions or it can create a divide as blatant as a childish game of Red Rover, showing favoritism or weak spots.    Frankly, It’s exciting to flesh out “forbidden topics” like “how do gay men really feel about having bachelorette parties and their “near” brides doing shots of Yeager at “THEIR” neighborhood gay bar?”  It calls things out into the discussion arena like a bull and a man in tight pants.  It’s open season, sometimes there are boastful antics which raise eyebrows,  “how dare she post that bikini shot-who does she think she is!”  “At least you can tell she hasn’t had her boobs done, how dreadful…….”  “Perhaps no one ever takes her picture, she was lucky to have even just that one of her for her profile-maybe she is always the one behind the camera?”  Perception is a personal and powerful thing.    One person may say “Fucking well-Good for her, for liking herself, for having a moment on her lawn chair and in a bikini at 40!”    Another may be stirred to madness.   I don’t KNOW who will interpret a simple profile picture, a meaningless summer shot in my lounge chair- yes in my bikini as showing off-some will be seething with jealousy that I was at a swanky hotel pool or it will stir their own sensitivities, “shit, I have never owned a bikini….” or worse- I mean, I cannot possibly KNOW who on Facebook has an eating disorder?  In 2015 you have to be so darned CAREFUL….like apologies are so 1999, or something.   I have my own baggage to weigh me down.    I feel offended when people post fucking cocktail pictures!…..but I quietly try and reconcile how lucky they are, that it still works for them, that they can still socialize and drink without consuming too many, without having a visit from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the duration of one Happy Hour?  Yes, Facebook invites conflict like trivial pursuit invites answers.   In this highly monitored Facebook life, we must’nt develop new neurosis over it.  Just like real life, we must practice balance, be weary of reinterpretation, be oh so careful not interpret things toooooo seriously, keep it light and entertaining,  and remember, while one person’s amusement is a good book, anothers’ is streaking?  So-think of it like mudswrestling,  join in, cheer them on, but don’t sit so close, you get spattered with mud. It is, what it is

The Blessing The Curse Summer and Chronic Illness

Living with a chronic illness is both a blessing and a curse. Pain free days are a beam of light from above, those are the days I feel a gentle rapping on my shoulder, the tap is not invasive or jarring but a tap like a “hey you” tap.  Then a symphony quietly builds in my ear, then the rush, like when you witnessed the first concert that made you feel glad to be alive, a pain free day makes your skin feel pink again, a warm brisk burst of oxygen moves up your middle forcing you to smile.  It’s weird, not like that one when you are on new meds and you get that bizarre, worrisome ripple of heat up under your armpit….this time it’s good weird.   When you awake with no pain it feels right.    Something supremely wondrously in charge has whispered to you.   Hey you, “take the day off from pain.”   You practically buckle to your knees……yes, yes I will, I will make my list of top ten things for which I am grateful for.  I won’t put it off again. I will let go of the anger I have towards my pharmacist for making me ration the last of my pills so I must be UNDER rather than over medicated on my summer trip.  I mean….. it’s not that nice Asian man’s fault.  You are not like clockwork on anything lately, least of all checking in to make doc appointments.   You prefer not to be center of attention, you don’t want to admit once every month that you are a sick person, damaged goods, you live trying to shed that realization daily, so whose in a hurry for blood work?  The clincher of course,  you have no refills and leave for your trip tomorrow.  ARGHHHH!!!  And trust me, although he refills those six little orange bottles so frequently for me and knows way too much about me, he, my pharmacist, is not in the business of taking pity on me.  He isn’t allowed to dispense a little pocket sample just cause I emphatically plead my case- yeah, I tried.   What person with a chronic illness excitedly books new doctor appointments in their iPhone a year in advance….live and learn.     I don’t pity myself a moment-I look healthy for the most part, save for those dark shadows under my eyes.   I mean…. Like, everyone has had an occasional transfusion or two right? Or a drug that has made their liver fail….right? And here’s the best part-Those of us who thought we could doctor ourselves are pleasantly trained in asking for help now, that is once you get over having to finally surrender and admit you feel quite betrayed by your body, of which you thought you were in charge of…..yes…your doctor owns you now.   Chin up, you’re not alone, and being sick is one thing, but being sick and alone is entirely another.

Motherhood

Motherhood;
The Mother of all,
A transfusion, a cotillion,
A parade, A free fall,
Bring the armor,
The restraints,
A steel mind…
With its’ own trap door
Are you averse to forever?
tears of who knows what-
Pain or joy?

Smoke Break, a cure for ADHD?

My mother kept a tidy house, albeit smoky, it was immaculate tidy, nothing askew, a nervous habit with her to constantly keep moving and I suspect, not keeping things tidy would make her less efficient, looking into blank eyes, very seldom was she ever really present, she had plenty of clutter upstairs….in her whirring constantly thinking brain.   She had her good traits. She was a loyal friend, tough, a well behaved drinker.   She kept secrets where they belonged.   Her work ethic was unmatched and she taught us to always be unafraid. Although she was consumed with constant panic daily.

It always impressed me that my mom mowed our huge corner lot of green perfect grass…and as a kid I could cartwheel endlessly with the soft touch of grass at my fingertips.    Not a day in my dad’s life did he ever mow our lawn. Later, much later, it occurred to me,  perhaps he knew she could do it better, faster and what a waste it’d be to try and convince her otherwise.   She had no time to sit and listen or watch anyone do a job that she could easily do herself.   Late in life, in my twenties when my live-in boyfriend taught me how to make the bed, it came to me….she butt in and took over every task….my whole life.

My mother, well let’s be honest, as loyal and pleasant to look as she was, was also a control freak. To say she is a control freak, is like saying the Pope is holy. My wavering indifference towards her was constant.   She was only encouraging when it was showing me off or dressing me up……like a doll, to look at.    For many, like my mother with hyperactivity and SEVERE anxiety, the excess energy, the abundance of hutzpah seems welcome.   Then I realize that she really doesn’t come with an off switch. She has to smoke to take a break?       Like clockwork, she awakens to each day completely refreshed, nary a yawn. On my recent ten day camping trip with her in her cozy but small trailer- I was reminded……of what an anomaly she is,  a robot.   She awakes readied like sleep never happened.   She goes from horizontal to vertical she could take on for her first round of questioning in Jeopardy when moments before she was dead to the world.   A train wouldn’t wake her.   She’s smart too, she may win, but she’s risky in the end she might wager too much.

When I start to thinking…….. how little she requires, a little rest upstairs in the old brain I wonder what her brain was like at 15 pre-nicotine saturation. 51 years of it, and like many of that era, the entire time I was in the womb.   She smokes like an old Indian Chief…and indeed it is her peace pipe.  Other 50’s women may have smoked like her, I knew them, they have all stopped.  It got me to thinking…she needs it.  So, indeed rather than be bitter by the thought that her cigarettes were clearly chosen over her own children, cigarettes, more near and dear than a best friend.  I thought about it.      There must be something more to addiction than ritual and a quick perk?    So I did some research, and things started making real sense.   http://discovermagazine.com/2014/march/13-nicotine-fix           Something must appease the person who must channel all the extra muck between the ears? I was right, she has to remedy her brain, she HAS to smoke.

Whether it was mowing or cooking or sheet folding or driving, as a child I recall thinking I was simply no good…..but really her energy spilled over to me .  After a while I didn’t even bother to try anything, I let my mother do it.  At the age of 44, where my mother and I are concerned, still nothing I did or do is any good. I know this to be true as hurtful as it is.   In May I wrote a mother’s day poem for her and won a bouquet of roses delivered to her door, never did she ask to hear my winning poem.    On the camping trip we all took this summer I was overtly re-aware of how powerfully stifling that familiar smell was for me.    Her cigarettes, how could I forget came along…..their effect stirred me- taking me back to my fogged in childhood home. It scared me as much as her affinity for the morbid.    To turn the most cheerful of all subject sour almost seemed, an excuse so she had reason to dip into the pack and wander about with her truest savior a smoke.     A long shut wound had opened for me. The olfactory senses damned me…. drudging up the depths of the charcoal in my heart that remained of my childhood.   That smell, that indescribably bingo parlor “pairs so well with half-drunk stale beer in the morning” smell……. that impossible to shed,  clings to your hair, smell had triggered a bout of anger only a Siberian tiger could accommodate in his chest. Since I don’t drink anymore for fear of being addicted…… I avoid casinos, bars, trendy hip or seedy streets, China….. in the last 20 years I haven’t  had to smell cigarette smoke for ten days in a row…….I watched her, as she nervously sucked away at her American Spirits, that for my whole childhood had always been Winston Lights.   I can still see the Gold Packet and the white and Gold Cartons that she’d a get when we crossed the border to see her Canadian family. What a world my kids never knew, how can I explain to them the disdain, the pent up anger,  the volcano this induces, this smell doesn’t attach meaning for them.   They’d never get into a car and have people sneer and curl their noses up……”your parents smoke.”   I wasn’t alone, others smoked, but I smelled like I came from the trailer park and never once picked up a newspaper or rode my bike. I was saturated.          The rainbow of sturdy plastic colored ashtrays would never be a decorative feature for my kids home.   Butt after butt piling up until they took a ride through the dishwasher cause who wouldn’t need a fresh ashtray?   My stepfather and she would smoke, as if for sport, sucking away one after the other, until only the tan nub was left. I can taste it. My mother once put her cigarette out in my McDonalds cup filled with ice, I slurped the remains, yes I have tasted it. I can still hear my dad tap, tap tapping his Pal Malls at the edge of the bar, white paper sticks the kind that today are perfect for stuffing some green into. I grew fond of the sound pressing up against his teeth, shooting spurts of air and dislodging tobacco that looked like fine loose tea. Dualing cigarettes, no reprieve.   Thankfully it didn’t occur to me back then why I could only run the 50 yard dash in gym class, and never finish the 600 despite how fast my legs could go.   I’d topple midway guffawing desperately at the air like a donkey with his teeth bared and his chin up hoping the embarrassment and the whinnying would stop. The incline on my hikes through Glacier last week reminded me. my legs didn’t suffer, my lungs haunt me still with their inability to fill fully with pristine mountain air.

It seemed so fun, my parents lifestyle, music, laugher filling our basement, the neon beer signs my dad smiling telling  the stories of how he acquired each one.  It seemed like “the life” until their friends cleared away taking a back seat to their favorite pastime.  One day my wheezing must have made me light headed.   I went further than simply hiding her cigarettes. I would never hide my step dads, he scared me.   I must have been fourteen when I finally asked…..Can, you please, please, please stop smoking inside?   She looked at me briefly shaking her head, “oh Lisa, go outside.”   It didn’t end there.   She preceded to tell me that the very asthma attack I was having was psychosomatic. Anorexia is psychosomatic.   “It’s all in your head,” I would hear this several more times, yes, It was MY problem.   I am fourty four and I want desperately as desperately as I wanted to fill my lungs with air to forgive my mother.   I remember that day, and yes, I stepped outside.    At that moment, outside the sliding glass door, looking into the living room with the family sitting around, Star Trek on TV, happily puffing away, I could never predict I would carry this hatred, this betrayal, this feeling of not being chosen.   My point being…..I get it. I was that kid too.   I will forever have conflicted feelings of both hatred and love for my mother and it burdens my big fully pumping healthy heart to carry it still today,  triggered from a simple lingering smell.

Cliff’s Edge (A Free Write)

And she stood alone at the edge of the cliff overlooking the drop off that had recently formed after heavy rains.  Her tears washed over her face until her whole body was sobbing.   She willed the world to swallow her into it.  It didn’t matter if she were here, of this earth,  one more day, she was invisible at this moment anyway, he didn’t want her any more and she didn’t know if she even wanted herself.    Clearly she had to decide if what he saw in her was perhaps more than she saw in her own self?    IF she were so selfish as to hurl herself into the unknown feeling, and sucessfully disconnect from the physical world-ripped from the people that gave her the gift of heartache, would that day that they trickled holy water over her head….would that moment prevail?   Like a grand shield, negating her decision, simply by having waved a hand, and calling her life “symbolic” Frankincense and Myrhh inciting her first sneeze.. ..” God”  seeping into her infant pores through her angelic white satin dress, would that be the clincher?   Is that what does it-a hand reaches out through the air, just before her heart is pierced by some metal debris jutting out.  Would this crevice instead cradle her in a hug as luck would have  it?  She’d felt other-worldly embraces before-that summer as a child, she swam in two confused angry torrents of undertow pulling her under…..”deception pass,”   like that weren’t a red flag!  Eegads… this is true…. She would undoubtedly only puncture herself on the creamy skin of her face, her FACE….her best feature, and forever have to explain this awful puncture scar long after the bloody scabs had dropped away and the tears had dried and the twigs were removed from her hair-only her heart remaining forever bruised.   That is the story that could live inside her in shame?   How does one carry that secret with them? …..how would she tell that story- as luck would have it, she would indeed stay undiscovered for just enough time to realize she DID want to live and then some senior citizen dressed as if she were still middle aged in her designer matching sweat suit and pants in some unfathomable color like, turquoise, would come along with her perfectly manicured hands, matching her outfit, and her cloud of white toy poodle, whom she was just sharing the exquisite view with…she would be the one to find her!    That is how life works.   And  in her surprise she would have to befriend this woman who had  “saved her”   whose surprise didn’t show on her face due to the success of her  many Botox sessions-robbing her of any expression.   She’d peer out over the oblivious eagles and grand rolling hills in the distance and happen upon my body, twisted in a heap of despair on that cliff side,  leaning over she’d say to me in that perfect Betty White sugary tone ” oh honey, why do you let boys DO that to you?