Depression, Vertigo, and Social Awkwardness

As someone who finds it quite difficult to keep up a blog when they feel like they are on fire and are constantly on Stop. Drop. and Roll status… I have not been blogging through my latest and greatest breakdown {I mean, obvi.}. I remember my favorite religion professor once said, I forget who he was quoting… “The mind is like a drunken monkey, in a cage, with his tail on fire.” Dr. Fort, I am going to have to agree with whoever first said that, and you, of course.

Since not having a job, losing friends, a fiancé, flying all over the country and fighting with my parents, I thought, hmmm… Maybe it is me. NO. Certainly that cannot be right. Oh, but it was. It was {said in my best Dateline voice}. I have spent a fair amount of the fall and winter apologizing to all of the above, and people who didn’t quite deserve it, like when I kept apologizing to the lady behind me at the grocery store for having so many groceries. I really don’t feel so bad about that, but I digress.

At the beginning of February I got really sick, and more depressed. Not having a job is no bueno for me. I need and crave structure and this was not cutting it. I started getting blurry vision. My stomach hurt all the time, and then came the wretched vomiting. I know, TMI, but that week sucked. Then it started sucking worse the following week. In addition to my weak stomach, and now dry heaving, every time I rolled over on my left hand side the room would start spinning like I’d had two pitchers of Joe T’s margaritas on my own, but oddly, I hadn’t. I had had a glass of wine, but being able to handle much more, this was freaking me out. The next night there was no drinking, but I took a Xanax. Same as the night before, except now it was happening no matter which direction I rolled.

Then I thought, Holy Crap! Maybe this is 40. Shit, I really am totally falling apart. I see double and now I have vertigo at night. Maybe it’s a brain tumor, as that would explain my episodes this fall… but I decided maybe I needed to take two Xanax and not drink. Vertigo all night.

I woke up the next morning and thought, okay, no drinking, no Xanax… Just make the room stop spinning. That night I took nothing and the Vertigo became much worse. The following morning I woke up, and  after I ran into the wall and fell over I started screaming for my boyfriend. He hopped up and whisked me off the nearest ER facility.

Turns out, there was no brain tumor. Just a double inner ear infection, some nasty looking nasal and sinus cavities. Then the doctor explained that was what was causing the vomiting and the added anxiety I was definitely having.

I went home, took my meds, prayed for the spinning to stop as it was now happening as I was sitting up and walking as well. About 8 hours later I am feeling a lot better. Not 100 percent, but not 24 percent either, so things are looking way better. I could actually watch TV and focus!!! So I rented the movie “The Edge of Seventeen,” which I had remembered wanting to see in the theater, so I flipped it on. And then it happened… I started laughing. The writing and character development is so on point, it really is the greatest coming of age film since Juno, and before that, all John Hughes films. And I really started relating to the main character. Who is seventeen.

She is socially awkward. I, am hugely socially awkward. Many people would probably not believe this, and I have come a long way since middle school, but I’m still socially awkward. I live in Texas and glow in the dark because I’m so white. I have red hair and freckles. Apparently, these were not good characteristics back in lower and middle school.

In the sixth grade, “The Dooney and Burke” incident occurred cinching and putting on full blast that I was friendless, as was the girl in the movie. It was my birthday week and I got to go skiing and take a friend. Mind you, I only got to take a friend because I am an only child, and this made life much better for my parents on vacay. I had ask for the same red drawstring Dooney and Burke that one of my friends had gotten for her birthday a couple of months earlier. I remember getting the purse and taking it to school the week before skiing.

When I came home I had no friends. Like, zero. A girl, that I had been friends with, was apparently jealous that I didn’t invite her skiing, so she took the week I was gone to convince everyone I was a spoiled bitch, and that everyone should never speak to me again. And it worked. She was a cheerleader and very well liked. For a year and a half. It was brutal. I’ll never forget that year and a half, and still refer to it as “life changing” because after that, I lost myself.

I was so scared of pissing off an entire grade of girls that I definitely became that girl that was all, you like blueberry and chocolate ice cream mixed together with gummy bears? How weird, cause that is… ONLY LIKE MY FAVORITE!  I was now devoid of any opinion. I just didn’t want an entire grade of girls to turn on me again. I avoided school dances and people in general for that year and a half, until one day… I met another socially awkward girl!!! We would beg our parents to let us stay home from dances, birthday parties, and any social function in order to watch “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Golden Girls” where I felt a nice mix of Rose {Betty White} and Bea Arthurs character, what was her name? I probably don’t remember as I definitely identified more with Rose.

I mean, when my friend and I finally got up the balls to go to the Halloween costume dance in eight grade, we were not dressed as cheerleaders, or anything involving short skirts and attention. We… went as the Golden Girls, and I’m fairly confident I spent half the evening talking to the janitor about how cool it was to be eating strawberry ice cream, because, I really liked strawberry ice cream, but because of all the calories I had to switch to cottage cheese with strawberries, which wasn’t the same, but wasn’t all bad either.

Yep. I was the epitome of cool. The janitor avoided me from that day on.

Somehow I survived high school, had acquired a lot more of my old friends, and some of them taught me how to drink and smoke cigarettes, and even not turn and walk away when a boy said hi, which helped greatly with my anxiety and awkwardness. High school was much better, college, even more so.

So… I’m feeling like I might be back. Back to blogging. I’m not on fire anymore but still dealing with a lot of wounds that I caused. That is to be expected. Apparently you can’t act like a seventeen year old at age 40. It’s just not working for me anymore. I realized what a complete and total ass I have been, and I’ve been making changes and working with a therapist, and low and behold… It’s actually been helping. A work in progress if you will.

Gotta love an excellent therapist. And the forgivness of those you have wronged.

Sticks and Stones

So until right now, I totally thought that saying was “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Which never made sense. And is totally stupid. So, a few minutes ago, I googled it to find out that the poem actually says, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can also hurt me.” Well fuck me. I learned that a little too late.

I came into this world as a total bitch. I was born on Thanksgiving in 1976. My mother loves to tell the story of how I ruined her Thanksgiving dinner. Her favorite meal. My grandmother, God rest her soul, use to love to tell the story of how right after I was born the nurses were weighing me and what not, and I flipped over on my stomach (clearly also an over achiever at birth) and gave everyone in the room a go-to-hell look.

Around third grade I broke and I became a Republican and a people pleaser. I was eight, let’s not pass judgement, okay? I people-pleased my way into my 30’s. And then I stopped. Sort of. One of my friends had really pissed me off, and I had just had it. I’d never stood up to this girl. I called her, and I say, “Look, I’m sure we are not going to be friends after this conversation, but I have about 487 problems with you and we are going to start with one and I am going to work my way through.” To her great credit, she listened to all 842 reasons (I thought of more reasons as I bawled her out). I mean, I guess she could have put the phone down and gone shopping, but I’m going to go with the fact that she actually listened.

After my tirade she admitted her flaws and we actually became much much closer. I love that girl.

That, however, was not a great lesson for me. Basically I learned that if I told someone to go fuck themselves, they’d like me better. That plus the ‘sticks and stones’ poem to back me up… And I was fearless.

I lost my shit in the Denver airport when an older gentleman aggressively rolled his suitcase over my foot to cut in line. I told him he was a piece of shit and that he would NOT be getting on the airplane in front of me. Naturally he was sitting in the seat next to me. And naturally I immediately put my arm on his arm rest and even if my arm went numb from gripping that arm rest, so help me God, I was not moving my arm. My stubborn gene is actually my strongest gene. Which explains Luke, my seven year old. My mom could not stop laughing and I’m pretty sure she peed in her pants. Actually… I moved my arm 30 minutes into the plane ride when he apologized and offered to buy me a drink. I ordered four and smiled sweetly at him.

Another time we were checking out in Napa and yet another male idiot pissed me off. There was a HUGE line to check out. My BFF and I were standing in said line while her husband and my then husband talked (probably about how they had had too much together time with their wives) and this dumbass walks in front of all of us to the “Express Checkout for Preferred Guest” and I was all, “Oh HELL NO.”

I walked up and tapped him on the back and said, “Um, excuse me, did you see this huge line? Or are you just blind and stupid?”

He replied by saying he was a Preferred Guest. I shook my head.

“You are a fucking moron. We’re all Preferred Guest. That’s why they gave us that stupid speech when we walked in and a bottle of wine. I’m sure you were too drunk or just stupid to remember that, but get to the back of the line JackAss.”

Seven months later my friends, God bless their souls, and I, were planning a baby shower for my BFF because she got wasted and had sex with her husband in Napa. Their were five of us throwing the shower and we had divided into two groups. Three against two. And one of the ones I was against was, like, one of my best friends. unfortunately she just mentioned having a shower some place I didn’t agree with and I said something along the lines of… I’m sorry, but no one wants to eat salmon and egg salad at 10:30 on a Saturday morning. And for the love of God, we’re having alcohol. It’s a BABY shower. You have to have alcohol at a baby shower. For one, everyone is either A) Hungover B) Had an abortion and we are making them feel guilty C) Desperately wants a baby and can’t get pregnant or D) Have NO desire to EVER have a baby and need alcohol to get through the event. Except I was way harsher in my dissertation. I also said that only a fucking moron would spend $5 A PIECE for a “gift” to give people who came. The gift is alcohol. DUH.

The girl, my good friend, and I, didn’t really speak for two years after that shower. She emailed me and said that no one had ever spoken to her like that, much less a friend, and she went on to make more valid points… I would like to report she and I are also friends now, and I love her to death. She is hilarious. And the best mom. And thin and gorgeous of course. Even though her sister does have better hair… That Becky…

But, while I have you on the subject of showers, may I purpose something? Never, ever, EVER open gifts at the event. No one cares. And that one person that does care, can go fuck themselves and walk around Buy Buy Baby. You’ll get the gist. You’re probably part of Group C anyway, and no one needs to see you cry while the girl that shouldn’t have alcohol opens pacifiers.

After all of that, I still never googled the poem. I just thought, if you can’t handle some mamby pamby words, you are a fucking pussy.

Then on Friday, my beloved nanny’s last day, when I was already quite emotional and into my Champs, my fiance and I had a fight. He said things, and then he got to hear a real diatribe. I woke up Saturday still licking my wounds and just started attacking again.

Turns out, there are some things you cannot take back. Words are extremely hurtful. And I must learn to use mine better. And not out of anger. Gee, I’m almost 40. Glad I’m picking up that kindergarten lesson now. Wonder what else I will learn this year? Endless possibilities.

I saw a sign… Except I didn’t.

Have you ever thought… If only there was a sign from God. Or the guy at 7-11. Anyone… Just give me a sign. Before I got married, there were a *few* signs that maybe this union was not blessed by the stars. Here, are  just a few of those signs. Those that led up to the day of our wedding.

Our wedding was in Las Vegas. I wanted it to be in Bora Bora, or Saint Something, or Haiti, but my mother, who claimed I could plan the wedding I wanted when I had a girl and she was getting married, vetoed all my choices and chose Vegas. She claimed that because she  was paying for a decent portion of the wedding that she got to pick everything. Turns out, I didn’t have a girl, I had a divorce, so I guess I’ll get to plan my second wedding. It all worked out in the wash. *Sidenote, I did put my foot down when she was insisting I be married by not one, but several asian Elvis impersonators.

Funny story about my wedding date… I knew four girls getting married that day. Myself, and three girls from high school. To prove the divorce rate of 50:50, yes, two of the four couples are divorced, and two are still together. By the time I learned of the fourth girl getting married on the same day I was, it was practically an eye roll… I’d run into someone, see a diamond on their ring finger, and I’d say, “Let me just guess when you are getting married…” I was at Neiman’s, at a Barnaby party, {does Barnaby still exist?}, and I ran into my friend Erica. She showed me her diamond and told me she was getting married April 24th, and I replied, ‘who isn’t’ and told her about Laura and Leigh, also getting married that day, and how Leigh was already trying to steal a bridesmaid… “Well that won’t happen to me,” Erica laughed. “I’m not getting married here.” “Where are you getting married,” I ask. “Las Vegas.” “Where?” I enquired with enthusiasm. “Bellagio.” “What time?” I screeched. “8:00” “Erica! I am the wedding before you!” Yeah. How crazy is that? And she is one of the ones still married. Let me find the picture of us in our dresses…


Okay, back to the signs… I purchase the airline tickets for Vegas months in advance, of course, and even though it was way back in 2004 p.i.p. {pre iPhone} electronic airline tickets were still all the rage. But for some reason, we had paper tickets. I had tacked them to our bulletin board that had nothing  else on it in our kitchen. Unfortunately, when we were dropped off by my almost father-in-law at the airport, I had forgotten about those paper tickets, and we missed our flight. We had to go home to get said paper tickets to turn them in for other tickets and during that time, my cat Leah escaped and we had to leave for Vegas while she was outside. I cried the whole way back to the airport.

We get to the hotel to check in, and, an hour and a half later, we go to our room and my parents luggage is in it. They checked us in to my parents room. We go back downstairs and they check us into another, much smaller room then we were supposed to have, so they sent us to get our marriage license while they worked it out. We got our license by the same lady who issued Britney Spears hers y’all. Yet another sign. When we got back to the hotel I laid the marriage license on the desk in the room. Then they called to move us into our final room. I left the license on the desk. I called about an hour later when I realized this. It was gone. No trace of it. We had to go get a second license…

I think some of us see the first sign and get it. Some of us are beat over the head with signs and ignore all of them. For years. Decades. History will repeat itself until you change it yo.

My Karl Rove Story

Yeah. I have a Karl Rove story… What, you don’t? Interesting. Anyway, in 2004 I was awarded an amazing internship with the Detroit News. Score! I was the intern/assistant for the Washington Bureau Chief, Alison Bethel during the 2004 Republican National Convention. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life! I got to cover everything and everyone. I had two articles published and a photograph I took was on the front of the website for the Detroit News on the final day of the convention. I got to go to a luncheon with Laura Bush. I got to go to Wednesday Night Live hosted by Dick Cheney and the cast of Saturday Night Live! It was an amazing week, which was getting better and better, which was great, because it started off… rather terribly.

We were staying at the Hilton in mid-town New York. In the lobby checking in was quite a scene… John McCaa, our local news anchor was checking in right ahead of me. Texas delegates were everywhere. I remember feeling such a rush. I was really apart of something. Alison, my boss that I had never met, was in that lobby. We were both on our cell phones, trying to find each other in the crowd, and she started describing herself to me. My phone was cutting out, as was hers. I heard her say she was wearing all black. “That’s my favorite color!,” I proclaimed loudly. Turns out, she was standing right behind me. In a denim skirt and white shirt. “Oh my gosh! I… I…,” I couldn’t stop stammering… Because she was not wearing black. She was black. “I thought you said you were wearing all black!” “Well that explains one thing,” she said, looking me up and down. She had my application for the internship in her hand. “It says here you wanted to work for MTV.” “Yes mam,” I replied meekly. “Why the hell did they give me an intern that wanted to work for MTV?” “I’m sorry?” I was confused, why was that a bad thing? And why the hell did they give her my application that said I wanted to work at MTV, and ‘nowhere else’ thanks a lot internship program. Blow me.”You didn’t want to work for CNN. Or Fox News. Or any NEWS outlet. You wanted to work for MTV and they gave you to me. This is going to be a long week. Do you even know how to write?” So, to say the least, I did not make a great first impression.

“Go to your room, put your stuff down, and meet me at my room in 5 minutes,” she barked at me. “Yes mam.” “And don’t call me mam, call me Alison, I’m not your mother.” “Yes Alison,” I replied, and made a bee line for the elevators to drop my things off in my room.

Lucky for me, I charmed her at the bar that evening. We ended up meeting her friends and taking shots. At 1 am they decided to take the ‘white girl’ to Harlem to dance. We walked in a bar and ‘Crazy in Love’ was playing. I immediately ran to the dance floor and did my best Beyonce moves. Alison found me on the dance floor and died laughing, “What do you know,” she poked her friend Sarah in the side, “That white girl can shake it.”

Okay, okay, back to Karl Rove… It was Friday, the last day of the convention. And I was so hungover I thought I might die. Alison had taken me to a chamagne bar, Flute, the night before and bought a bottle of Veuve. It was the first time I had ever had it. The real deal. She thanked me for turning out to be an amazning intern. I thanked her for publishing two of my stories and giving me the by-line credit… I was in heavan. We talked and patted ourselves on the back and discussed the final day ahead of us. We would fly out Friday night when the convention ended and go our separate ways. Four bottles of Veuve between two of us later, we decided we had better go to bed since we were only going to get like, two hours of sleep.

When my alarm went off, about an hour and a half later, things… were not right. Spinning is an understatement. I started puking. Alison called and told me to meet her in the lobby in 5 minutes.

We got to Madison Square Garden, proceeded through security and made our way to our work station. There was a guy talking at the little ‘press room’ they had set up on the other side of our work station. “Go see if that’s important,” Alison said, nodding in the guy’s direction. I walked over, trying not to puke, and didn’t take notes. Who the hell was this guy? I’d never seen him before. Must be a nobody, I mused, as I didn’t listen to anything he said and tried not to puke on my shoes. When he finished, stood up, took pictures with people, and then walked off, I got up and went back to my ‘office’ {a table across the room} Alison ask if he said anything important. “No. Nothing good.” Alison gave me an odd look and left it at that. The rest of the day was amazing. Seeing George Bush, Cheney, the magnatism of the crowd… meeting the big guns… Anderson Cooper, Tim Russert, Wolf Blitzer, Larry King… it was a week I will never forget. I flew home and was sitting on the couch telling my {then} husband all about it, when Peter Jennings came on, to announce the person of the week. It was Karl Rove. The Architect of the Republican party, is what Jennings was calling him. And son of a bitch, if it wasn’t the guy I was supposed to be listening to that morning. Well Fuck me. #careerfail I blame Karl Rove though. If he had been a host on MTV, I totally would have known who he was.

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