Pretending to be “Normal”

 

Epilepsy is a funny thing. I can go weeks without an “episode.” I love those times. It’s when I feel most normal, like I can do anything, like I’m just like the woman standing beside me at the grocery store (except that she probably drove herself there – I can’t drive…thanks epilepsy).

And then it only takes a 30 second “episode” to change all that.

My confidence (and my brain) gets shaken, and I suddenly get that apprehensive feeling that hangs over me like a dark cloud. When I was little, before I was diagnosed, I used to tell me mom that it was “going to be a bad day.” Neither one of us knew why I said it, I just had this feeling of doom that hung around.

Fast forward some 35+ years later, and I know exactly what I was getting at: the anxiety that accompanies seizures.

It was so much easier when I was younger and fearless. But as you get older, you get wiser, more cautious…almost to a fault.

Every time I have a seizure, it sets my confidence back a step. And depending on how strong the seizure, it sets my confidence back A LOT of steps.

It makes me question my independence: Should I go places alone? Should I take public transportation alone? Should I even try to cross the street alone?

I will always be the “weird girl in the corner,” I’ve gotten used to that. But I hate that my kids are now old enough to see me as the weird girl in the corner.

It’s hard to portray confidence, and show them that they need to work through their challenges whatever they may be, when some days I don’t even believe it myself.

Life will always through curve balls that you may not be prepared for, you just need to decide if you’re going to swing or duck. Today I feel like ducking.

I just want my confidence back. Tomorrow’s another day. Maybe it will be a good one. It certainly will never be a “normal” one.

Thanks for listening. I wish I had some grand epiphany to share, about how I’ve learned something wonderful from having epilepsy, but today my brain is tired. Today epilepsy sucks.

Countdown to Summer

 

Three more weeks until Summer Vacation!

Most years I have some apprehension about summer vacation…and what to do with the kids. In years past, I would have already been planning out their summer, trying to come up with ideas to fill their days. But not this year.

I think I am almost as burnt out on school as they are (though they would disagree). I am so tired of checking the Parent Portal. I’m done nagging, ooops, I mean “encouraging,” them to do their homework and study for the that test. I’m tired of helping them study for a German vocabulary test that I will never use in my life.

I’m tired of the speeches that start with “I’m sorry you don’t like school, but…”

The truth? I’m not sure when you will ever need to prove the Alternate Segment Theorem of a Circle, or if the Quadradic Equation will ever save your life. Probably not. But you still have to learn it because you signed up for the class and you have to finish what you start. And yes, you have to pass the class too.

I’m tired of getting up at the crack of dawn and making lunches, being sure to cut the crust off of one sandwich, and that this one likes Cheetos, but this one doesn’t. Frankly I’m amazed that no one ever went without a lunch or was late for the bus all year long. (Albeit we still have 3 weeks left -there’s still a chance).

I’m tired of remembering everyone’s schedule, or buying a purple shirt and polka dot socks at the very last minute that they’ll never wear again just because it’s Twin Day tomorrow. And don’t get me started on money for last minute pizza parties or missing library books that are later found on another shelf at the school library.

I’m tired of arguing over taking a shower (yes…you have to do it). I’m done with arguing over what time to go to bed – you know you get cranky when you stay up too late. I don’t care if your friends stay up until midnight on a school night…I don’t stay up that late so neither do you.

Stick a fork in me…I’M DONE! #readyforsummer

I’m ready for sleeping until noon (okay, not me, I have to work), I’m ready for staying in pajamas until 3pm. And I won’t even criticize if they don’t brush their hair everyday – at least for the first few weeks of vacation.

They are finally at an age where I am stepping back a little. It’s time they start taking control of their own time and how they use it. Just don’t expect to spend 12 hours a day on the computer or the cell phone. That’s NEVER going to happen.

But let’s relax…go outside…eat dinner late…play outside after dark with friends…have water fights, and sleepovers…go to the library…go to the pool…sleep some more…stay up until midnight (just don’t expect me to stay up with you)…go to the movies in the middle of the week…skip breakfast…hang out with friends (in person, not on line)…

Summer is coming, and I’m ready this year!

What a “Selfie” did to my self-image

 

I’ve never been one to pay much attention to looks. I’ve always had more confidence in my personality than my looks. I’m just average. I’ve always been the tallest in my friend groups, which worked against me all through high school, college and early adulthood. Face it – if there is a group of girls hanging out together, most of them under 5’6”, then the one over 5’10” is not going to be the pick of the litter. And I would DEFINITELY not win any awards for “most photogenic.” (Thus the reason for my lack of a profile picture). I can’t take a good picture to save my life! Really…I’m not exaggerating. I even dreaded taking wedding photos!

Enter “The Selfie.” This last week, I met up with some friends that I’ve known since elementary school. We only had a few hours to catch up, but it was fun seeing them. We decided to take a picture to document the occasion, and since I have the longest arms (a blessing if I want to reach the top shelf, a curse if I’m competing for most petite), I was the one to hold the phone and take the Selfie.

I knew as I pushed the button, it wasn’t going to be pretty. And boy I was right. #selfiefail

My friends look fabulous in the picture. But since I was holding the camera, and straining to get everyone in the picture, I was already at a disadvantage. My head was tipped back slightly, and while I had my hair pulled back (big mistake), the grey hair across my hairline virtually DISAPPEARED in the photo and I look like I’m going BALD! I already have a big forehead, but…my God…IT WAS HUGE!

And then there’s my nose – you can see right up that honker! And it’s now on Facebook, for all our childhood friends to see!

As I said, I generally don’t care about looks. I’m fairly low maintenance…AND IT SHOWED IN THAT SELFIE!

I was using root touch-up on my hairline to cover up the grey, but sadly, that simply will not suffice anymore. The grey is taking over! So I’m faced with a dilemma:

Do I gracefully grow grey or do I do like most every other woman in my area and COLOR….COLOR…COLOR!

I admit that I hate to get stuck in the color trap. I don’t WANT to color. It’s inconvenient and a pain in the you-know-what.

I thought I was okay with my grey hair. I thought I was a confident woman. UNTIL THAT SELFIE!!! I really hate that it shook my confidence.

I guess it’s time to break out the hair color. Any recommendations? I’m not the type of woman to spend money and time at the hair salon every three weeks re-coloring, so it looks like I’m going to have to go the home hair color route. I’ll take any helpful hints you have.

The Sky Is Falling…or is it?

The world seems to be living by standards set by Chicken Little…The Sky is Falling!

It feels like we’re all on edge…no matter what your belief system, your political affiliation, your socioeconomic influence, we all seem to be living like that animated chicken who sadly mistook an acorn falling on his head for the ENTIRE sky falling.

It’s all about the extreme headlines, the ratings, who can get there (where ever ‘there’ is) first. We’re all in a panic! It’s not about whether or not you’ll reach your goal, it’s about reaching your goal FIRST!

And when things don’t go our way we immediately run to the extreme of anticipating the sky to fall. We’re absolutely sure of it! And if we can just scream louder than the next guy, then we’re convinced WE can hold up the sky one more day.

I’ve got news for you…the sky is NOT falling…at least not today. And you CAN’T hold it up ON YOUR OWN.

I’m not suggesting we don’t try to change the world. I’m a writer…it’s why I write. But I am suggesting that we don’t forget to breathe. We calm down. We don’t forget ALL of our manners. Whatever happened to “if you can’t say something nice…?”

I swear there are days that I think we’ve lost our collective mind!

And I am no better than the next guy – I find myself sucked into the mania at times too. And it depresses the hell out of me. And I can’t live like that. Can you? It’s exhausting!

We’ve gotten mean-spirited. Or maybe it’s just the headlines focus on the ugly parts of our world. My soul begs for “feel good” stories most days.

So to prove the sky is NOT falling, please share a brief inspirational story below. Tell me something good, something uniting, something kind. I really need to hear it.

They broke my doorbell!

Several months ago I blogged about how our tiny neighborhood has suddenly exploded with kids – all boys, and one brave tomboy girl. Every time I see the group of them coming down the street, I smile at the gang of trouble headed my way.

And trouble is what I got.

The typical afternoon starts with my doorbell ringing. But it isn’t the simple ring that you or I would do. It sounds more like this: ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong…pause about 30 seconds then repeat…ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong and continues until someone comes to the door.

I might be a little more tolerant if the kids were toddlers and didn’t know any better, but they are 10 and 11 years old! Even my son is frustrated by the time he answers the door.

Then when my son tells them he has to finish his homework, they are back at the door in 10 minutes repeating the same doorbell pattern. Ugh!

When my son is finally finished with homework, he’s allowed to go out and play. We live in a condo area, so the rules for him are fairly tight – no playing on people’s driveways, stay out of the bushes (residents pay for upkeep through the HOA, and it’s only a matter of time before a bush or flower gets broken and the kids get blamed by one of the residents without kids).

One Saturday morning, an adult came to our door, and rang the doorbell (as it should be rung) and it broke…IN HALF! No kidding! The actual button broke in half! The adult felt very bad, but I actually thanked him and told him it wasn’t his fault. It was only a matter of time. And that he actually did me a favor! Now they can’t ring the doorbell like crazy people!

However, later that day, they came to the door and knocked. But when I say “knock” it was actually more of a pound. You would have thought that someone was being chased by a crazed person with a chainsaw and desperately need help. Knock-knock-knock-knock-knock…or pound-pound-pound-pound-pound-pound…pause and repeat. You get the idea.

I’d had it! After all, I work at home, and with summer coming up, this can’t continue! So I answered the door, and politely but sternly, demonstrated how to properly knock on a door. Another parent happened to be standing in front of their house (the one whose kid is the main perpetrator), and backed me up. He also offered to repair my doorbell.

We haven’t had any obnoxious knockers since. Sometimes I think kids just need to be reminded of good manners, or be taught in the first place. Wish me luck over the summer.

Oh, and I don’t plan on fixing my doorbell anytime soon.

Let It Go…Again

Let It Go.

It’s not just an overplayed Disney song (my apologies if you’re singing it now), it should be a way of life.

I am guilty of obsessing over trying to fix things that I may not be able to fix. I spent my morning doing just that.

Ever since my husband’s employment status changed last year, our income took a hit. We were living comfortably until then. Not richly, but comfortably. Taking a vacation was not out of the equation. Paying for the unexpected car repair wasn’t a choice between eating steak or ground round. Fortunately he found work within two months, but at a significant pay cut. And we feel it.

I can easily fall into the trap of juggling numbers and stressing over bills, and trying to pay for the dentist bill, the cable bill, and our children’s college all at once. By the way, my oldest won’t start college for 4 more years, but that won’t stop me from pretending that Rush Week starts on Monday.

I could get two more jobs, reinvent myself, put the kids to work (not really), or I could keep on trucking. I mean, we aren’t poor by any measure. We get by just fine, it’s just that the budget is tight and we have to account for every penny. Mostly that’s because of my own fear. I’m the penny pincher. My husband is much more relaxed about our provisions than I am. But I think that’s the difference in our personalities.

That’s where Elsa’s song comes to mind. But before Elsa knew to sing about letting your fears go, Jesus knew it. In fact, he instructs us to do it. He wants us to come to Him and lay our burdens at His feet. So why does it take me so long to figure it out? Why do I let it go only to pick it right back up again?

I think it happens most often when I’m not walking beside Him. When I’m not seeking Him daily. When I don’t hear His voice in my ear, then I tend to fill it in with my own voice. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s that my voice can NEVER replace God’s. But isn’t that exactly what I’m doing while I’m obsessing and stressing? I just need to trust, to listen, to let go and let God.

I need to work on that. What things in your life do you keep picking up that you really should let go?

Head-Hopping is Making My Head Spin!

 

There are hundreds of rules when writing a novel that a writer has to follow to get through the slush pile. Rules that I would venture to say most readers have never heard of (unless they are writers themselves).

Head-hopping seems to be the LATEST ‘NO-NO’ on a really long list of Taboos that writers MUST follow. But even a lot of editor’s CAN’T AGREE on when it occurs, especially in Third Person Omniscient POV, which is the POV I generally use. So how am I supposed to avoid it when I can’t even get a straight answer?

Head-hopping is my biggest pet-peeve and is probably why I will never be published. Head-hopping is when the writer suddenly changes the character point of view. There are obvious instances, but it’s the subtle changes that trip me up. I just don’t see it.

As a reader, it doesn’t bother me, or at least it didn’t until I heard about it.

I read a book and if I like it, then fabulous! And chances are, I have probably run across lots of head-hopping and never even noticed.

Take apart any work of fiction and you’re going to find it: Stephen King, Hemingway, Nora Roberts…the list goes on. They’ve all been guilty of head-hopping and survived the critics. The caveat I’ve heard is “that they’ve done it well, and the reader doesn’t even notice.” Huh?

But it’s supposed to be a cardinal rule! A giant mistake! It will get your manuscript tossed in the trash can at the first instance (or so I’ve read).

Here’s the way I look at it (and I’m probably wrong, so don’t listen to me – I’m not published):

Head-hopping is a guideline…A GUIDELINE. There are lots of editors and bloggers that will tell you that it’s a cardinal sin and will ruin your career before it’s even started. And they may be right. I mean, they’re the gatekeepers, right? They make the rules and as writers we have to follow them. But like I said before, even THEY can’t completely agree on it!

I understand that they are just doing their job, following their protocol. I’ve just gotten so frustrated with the publishing process lately. As soon as I think, “okay, I’ve got this,” I find out something else that I’m totally missing. Getting published seems further and further away every time I go deeper into that rabbit hole.

Back to the drawing board.

Head-Hopping…Ugh!

What’s your two cents on head-hopping? And if you aren’t a writer, have you ever noticed it when reading?