Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mourning #RobinWilliams - But Not My Father

Robin Williams and Pam Dawber as Mork and Mindy
Robin Williams and Pam Dawber
as Mork and Mindy
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I know that a lot of people who didn't know him personally felt trashed by Robin Williams' suicide. As did I.

But it bugged me. Why?

And I felt guilty, because a few years ago this month, my father passed, and mostly, my reaction was "Good riddance to bad rubbish!"

Which is not entirely fair, as my father did have his good qualities, even if it doesn't take more than one handful of fingers to enumerate them.

Still. I loved Robin Williams. My heart still aches with what his loss means to me, and what it must mean to his kids, his wives (past and present), and to his friends.

But he wouldn't have known ME if I'd gone up to him on the street and bit him in the ass.

What dawned on me was something another amazing, recently passed person said.
You see, on rare occasions, my father made me feel happy or good about myself. Mostly, he made me feel like crap, an inconvenience, a burden, something in the way.

Robin Williams Made Me Happy

From Mork & Mindy to Genie from Aladdin, Robin Williams made me laugh. The first non-musical album I blew my rent and grocery money on was his: "Reality... What a Concept."

List of Disney's Aladdin characters
List of Disney's Aladdin characters
Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sometimes he made me cry, in works like The Fisher King and Dead Poets Society and What Dreams May Come, but it was always a good kind of crying, if that makes sense.

I probably spent more hours, total, with Robin Williams than I did with my father. And unlike time with my father, my time with Robin was always positive. His innate kindness always shone through everything he did. I always looked forward to the next movie or show or comedy routine or video clip.

And so, I'm re-examining my own life. As my oldest sister recovers from cancer - she's currently considered in full remission, yay, I think about her, and my other sister, and who I want to be.

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy-- Comedian Robin Willia...
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy-- Comedian Robin Williams
performs as part of a USO holiday show held for
the Aviano community, Dec. 22, 2007.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of my sisters always uses a cheery tone, a smile you can hear in her voice, and will say, "Hello, my sister! It's so good to hear your voice."

The other sister often begins a litany of complaints within minutes, if not upon first greeting, which at least half of the time sounds tense, as if the call is an annoyance.

Guess which sister I want to emulate?

While I don't plan on dying any time soon, and am taking various steps to better care for myself, I want to be like Robin Williams and my happy-voice sister. I want people to be trashed when I die, because they're going to miss me.

Because I made them feel good.

How did you feel about the death of Robin Williams,
when you first heard?
How do you feel about it now?
Do you make people feel more good, than otherwise,
or are you not sure?
You thoughts?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Purge, Baby, Purge!

I've always had a sneaking sympathy toward hoarders, because in my own life, it's often, very, very hard for me to get rid of material possessions.

Every object has bound up in it a thousand memories, or so it seems. If I throw them away, it feels like I am ripping away a part of myself.

Take these programs. Many, many moons ago, I was falling deeply in love with This Guy, and This Guy and I went to these shows together.

Are we together now? No.

Are we likely together to be together anytime in the foreseeable future? No.

What is the feeling when I look at them? Pain, rejection, regret.

So I was holding onto them because....? Who knows - I'm a stupid masochist?

Will I forget the good times we shared, if I don't have the keepsakes any longer? Unless I get Altzheimers, not damn likely.

So I am cluttering up my home with them because...?

Hello, shredder, goodbye, flyers.

I have this towel, that every time I look at it, gives me a twinge of pain.

Goodbye, towel that I bought for Guy to use when we went camping together. Hello, Goodwill donation!

All those pictures of me and (another) ex in my family photos frames? Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Part of this hoarding thing, of course, is inertia.  It takes a fair amount of work to take the photo collages off the wall, to choose new photographs that already are or can be resized to replace the old ones. Easier to just let the old ones stay hanging out on the wall. And, bite me, I gotta go buy new INK cartridges before I can print out my new photos!

Yet. If I want, someday, to bring a new lover into my life (and I do), it's not a real promising start if I am bringing him into an environment overflowing with pictures and keepsakes from ex-boyfriends.

I wouldn't react very positively if the situation was reversed. *I* don't want to visit a new flame's home and feel like it is so crowded with keepsakes and memorabilia of bitches from his prior life that I would have to wedge myself into a small, unobtrusive corner.

Everybody i carrying around baggage, But do we have to keep it on display in the living room?

Prolly not.

In other personal news:

My sister's cancer is officially in remission.  Yay!

A second "celebration of life" was held for my brother-in-love in Sequoia National Forest. It was beautiful, and sometimes fraught with small personal dramas, and many tears. I miss him, and it hurts.

All my loved ones are all now moving forward with life, love, and dealing with our personal angels and demons.

As do we all, every day.

Hugs and healing to you.
Your thoughts?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Back in the Saddle?

April 15-3
April 15-3 (Photo credit: cj&erson)
Not quite, but soon. This spring has been one that has been overwhelming, as I coped with:

  • Extremely demanding day job (hint: no let-up until April 15).
  • Oldest sister undergoing chemo treatment for a rare form of cancer.
  • Her husband simultaneously declining in health due to a stroke combined with a failing liver. He required 24/7 nursing care, and was released from the hospital in February. While I was mostly only able to help on the weekends, I also became airport shuttle for family members flying in to help care for him.

    He passed on April 19.

Since this ordeal began, I've not had the time, energy, nor motivation to write, neither here nor elsewhere, but I am beginning to feel "stirrings" again.

In the meantime, we have held the first of two memorials/"celebrations of life" for my brother-in-lawlove. He was a beautiful, if damaged soul, who entered my life when I was four, so, yes, I am deeply grieving, even if also relieved he is no longer in pain nor struggling for breath. And our family awaits word on the latest tests that may indicate whether my sister's cancer is in remission... Or not.

In the meantime, I'm reading "Your Mind is What Your Brain Does For a Living" which offers a mix of memoir, CBT, mindfulness exercises, and transactional analysis.  So far, it is neither blowing me out of the water with new insight, nor gluing me to the page with the brilliance of the writing; HOWEVER, for those battling ocpd, it may offer important tips for you.

Sometimes it just takes looking at something from a different angle for the light bulbs to go off. There's a heavy focus on computer programming analogies and understanding how the brain is wired, and can be REwired, that could potentially be helpful.

Wishing health and healing to all my readers, and their loved ones. I'll be back when I can.
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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Olympic Twizzles vs. OCPD

Figure Skating Queen YUNA KIM
Figure Skating Queen YUNA KIM
(Photo credit: { QUEEN YUNA })
As I write this, I'm enjoying the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Years ago, I fell in love with figure skating and ice dancing. I attended actual in-person ice shows. Watched the Nationals on TV, and every bit of the Olympics for these sports. Bought videotapes so I could watch performances over and over again.

I admired all the other Winter Olympic sports, too, from short track racing to ski jumping and moguls, even the weird stuff like the biathlon, because doesn't everyone need to ski, then target shoot?

I'm reflecting now, about the very first Olympics I remember watching as a child. At some point, as I watched the Opening Ceremonies, as I watched the tears roll down the face of the athletes from other countries on the medal platforms when their national anthems were played, I realized that they loved their native countries as much as I loved the USA.

Up to that point, I always "knew" that the best country in the world to live in was the USA, and I felt a kind of smug compassion for all those unfortunate people in inferior countries who couldn't also be Americans.

Suddenly I was faced with the idea that were people who believed that they lived in the best country in the world  (however mistaken they might be).

And I realized that my perspective was just that: MY perspective.

One that others didn't always share.

Four years ago when the last Winter Olympics were held, I was still "with" my OCPD ex. As I was for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

It's okay that my ex didn't love ice dancing.

I fell in love, some years after their incredible performance, with Torvill and Dean. I always loved (and never felt competent at) dancing, in any form. But the two of them left me breathless.

But ice dancing, and in second place in my heart, all the other artistic ice sports: individual female and male competition pairs figure skating, I couldn't get enough of.

I "got" that he didn't want to watch it, 24/7, as would have made me happy.

The problem was, he wouldn't let me watch any of it.

When I wanted to enjoy these programs, something always came up. sex; he "wasn't in the mood" for it right now; he had something else he wanted to watch (like a "Cops" rerun he could've watched any time).

It was like Alice at the Mad Tea Party: Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today.

When I pressed to watch ice dancing, or figure skating, on "our" TV via the cable I was paying for, that never happened.

Because, not knowing any better, I initially gave in... Certainly he was more important to me than watching some sports program on TV. Even one I loved. Even though I put up with and tried hard to love the NASCAR races that he loved, and it seemed only fair that he would try to like something I loved, or at least, to tolerate it.

Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic f...
Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic flag.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I'm happy, now, watching these competitions. And I'm sad.

I still think ice dancing and figure skating are breathtaking and beautiful, and I love watching them. But I am sad, too, thinking of my ex.

I don't know why my ex couldn't "let me" enjoy something I loved. Did he feel that he was robbed of something, was he jealous? Was it demand resistance - because he knew he "owed it to me" to be as tolerant as I was of his love for NASCAR, did that unspoken expectation get in the way? Did he have some secret ice skating trauma he never shared with me?

Ashley Wagner skated her short program to Pink Floyd's Shine On, You Crazy Diamond. He loves Pink Floyd... you'd think it wouldn't be that far a stretch for him, for anyone who loves music, to appreciate an artistic interpretation of some of his favorite music.

But it was.

OCPD, its rigidity, control issues, and demand resistance, means those who suffer from it - and their loved ones - miss out of so many of the pleasurable things in life, because they are not on the list, not permitted, too frivolous...

And in other news...

My sister is in the middle of her chemotherapy. Although my brother-in-law has been diagnosed as being in end-stage liver disease (in addition to his stroke), we hope he'll be discharged this week. Family well-being has occupied much of my time and energy, but this blog is NOT abandoned.

Thanks for for love and support.

Your thoughts?

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Neglected, Not Abandoned

Greetings, my long-neglected friends.

I have not abandoned this blog.

I have, however, been dealing with some personal issues, from frozen shoulder (still healing) to more serious family issues. Just days after my sister underwent major surgery for gall bladder cancer, her husband suffered a major stroke. He is still hospitalized, and she begins heavy-duty chemo-therapy later this month. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And another family member experienced his first bi-polar manic episode, a baddie. Yep, it does feel like it's all being piled on for our family right now. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, it's putting us all to the test. Have enjoyed, even in this rough time, a sense of family cohesion and support that is truly beautiful and a blessing.

I can now don a disposable hospital gown and a set of gloves in seconds flat, and discuss the good and bad points for both USC-Keck and UCLA-Ronald Reagan ICU and regular hospital rooms. Staff at both facilities has been both skilled and supportive.

Lessons I've learned and shared here will continue to help me, and I am making sure to get enough water, as much rest as possible (lately having a lot of dreams, some good, some horrifying), and eating well, and drinking juices full of anti-oxidants.

Hope you are likewise taking the best care of yourself possible. I'll be back when time/energy permits.


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