Sunday, September 21, 2014

Confessions of a Guilty Mommy

I thought I knew everything I needed to know about my illness.

I take my medicines.
I see my therapist.
Some days I'm more happy.
Other days I'm a bit sadder.
Sometimes I'm really hyper but that's usually when I've forgotten to take my medicines for 2 days in a row.
I tell myself to calm the fuck down, take my meds, and then clean the house like the Queen is coming for a visit.

I understood being bipolar.

But then my son went out of town for a month and I told my therapist that I wanted to work hard on some of the things I've kept buried for 30 years. And not knowing that you can't undo 30 years of pain in 30 days I plunged into the murky sea.

I soon began experiencing rapid, wild mood swings. Bouts of anger, coupled with a deep desire to physically harm myself worse than I have before; these new emotions frightened and overwhelmed me.

21 days passed, my son begged to stay down in Fl longer. He was enjoying playing with his cousins, aunts, and uncles. That was fine. He had flown on a one-way ticket, so I didn't need worry about plane change fees.

A month and a half went by. "Mom, I'm having so much fun. I'm sorry, I know you miss me but can I stay longer?"

"As long as you are having fun. You can come home whenever you want."

We talk at least once, sometimes 3 times a day. I email him every night links to funny cat videos, pictures, jokes, random articles about subjects he likes.

The mood swings have continued to be unpredictable. I'll have 48 hours of stability followed by 36 hours of pain, fear, hatred, and crushing loneliness. Then a week ago, thoughts of engaging in risky behaviors filled my head. Things I haven't done since before I had my son.

These thoughts filled me with so much sorrow and confusion. Why was I wanting to backslide? Intellectually I knew those would be bad decisions, but why was I filled with these desires.

All Tuesday I was curled on the couch crying. All fucking day. I felt so lost, so confused, wondering if I was going through a nervous breakdown and everyone was just too nice to tell me that I've lost my shit entirely. I couldn't open my eyes completely when I happened to answer a phone call.

I spilled my guts to my friend. She's understanding of mental illness and I figured if anyone could possibly identify with the feelings I was having it would be her. She pointed out that it's been six years since my meds have been adjusted and my body probably doesn't find the drugs or dosages useful. She said that my desire to devolve into risky behaviors were a side effect of hypermania.

I hadn't thought about that. My shrink asks each visit if I had been taking my meds which I have. But I didn't think they would stop working on me. I quickly emailed my shrink, "PLEASE, HELP ME. I NEED HELP NOW. I NEED A DOCTOR."

I have an appointment for October 8. Waiting these next 18 days will feel like an eternity, but coupled with hope. Hope that I can get closer to getting stable again.

It's not something I want to recognize, but some family and friends have pointed out that I'm not entirely well enough to take care of my son yet. I'm not a harm to him, others, or myself, but point out that switching up medications can be difficult. As the body adjusts, no one can firmly predict the outcome. All the labels say in some cases usual thoughts or thoughts of suicide may occur.

I'm torn. Do I try to pull back on the progress that I'm making, put on a brave face, and undertake the reins of single motherhood again? Or do I accept the suggestion that my son stays in Fl for a bit longer while my meds kick into place and my moods get under control?

A mother cares for her child, providing the best she can: food, water, shelter, love, affirmation. I know my son is having these needs met. He's continuing his unschooling while he's down in Fl. He's so excited that next week he'll be making a paper mache replica of Stonehenge. He's not unhappy. He's surviving without me.

But I'm his Mommy. I fear that this time apart will render me inconsequential to his life. I know I need to take care of myself. So why do I feel guilty if I decide to continue fighting my illness?

It's now 2 months, 7 days since I last saw my son. And it hurts like hell.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pandora's Box - Fear

My therapist has asked me to write about one of the emotions that has been holding me back. I fear that if I dig deeper I will find that I'm an imposter and that I'm really not bipolar. That I'm making things up.

I know I'm broken, but I fear that I will find that I'm more broken than I expected. That no one will ever see past my brokenness to love me.

I fear I will always be alone. Alone like when I was pregnant and fell violently ill. When I told my son's father that I was pregnant, he never touched me again. Not so much as a hug. 

Women's bodies are strong, but pregnancy is so mysterious and confusing. You inhabit a body that becomes quite foreign. There were times I thought I was miscarrying because I had no idea what was supposed to be normal. I needed someone to hold my hand, even if I wasn't going to be alright. I wanted someone to hold me. 

I was so lonely, sick, and frightened.

I had to drive myself to the ER three separate times because I was so violently ill. My ex couldn't be bothered to drive me. 

The first time I was admitted to the ER, a tube was shoved down my throat and the vacuum switch thrown. The nurse left the room. I was alone watching the blood that had pooled in my stomach come flying out into a container on the wall. The machine should have been switched off after 2 or 3 minutes, but the clock in front of me showed each painful minute that went by. When the nurse finally came back in 10 minutes later, I was hysterical. She offered me a sedative but I refused it afraid that I'd caused so much damage to my unborn child, he probably couldn't stand the extra stress on his system.


I was sent to the high risk maternity ward where I promptly forgotten. No breakfast or lunch was delivered to me because no one remembered I was there. No one remembered me. The buzzer was broken so I stumbled down the hall, dragging a long empty IV bag behind me. The doctor didn't come until the evening of the second day because no one had told him I had been admitted.

In those three days I was in the hospital my son's father visited me once for an hour before stealing a box of gloves so he could paint his model figurines.

I had the love and comfort of friends and family at that time, like I do now. But you can't curl up at night in your friend's bed. And I stopped seeking refuge from nightmares in my parent's bed by the time I was 7.
Jeremiah's first Christmas. All six pounds of him.
I want someone to love me, someone who wouldn't be repelled at hearing the words, "I'm pregnant." Someone to talk with, to laugh with me and at me. To argue with. Someone to say, "I love you and I want to be with you."

But I fear that I will never hear those words. I am afraid that my illness will prevent anyone from ever loving me.

I was robbed of a happy pregnancy. Yes, I was fortunate to have a great joy once my son was born. My life was forever changed. But that vast loneliness was so painful.

It sounds strange and a bit perverse, but on some level  my ex's repulsion of me was more painful than my rapist's obsession with me. At least he had the courtesy to stalk me for 4 years.

I fear that I will always be alone.
My fear isn't irrational. I was left alone once. I fear I will be left alone forever because I'm not fixed. 



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1-800-273-TALK

These past 2.5 months have been brutal since my son has gone down to visit my family. Without the responsibility of him around my therapist has been pushing me to dig deeper into the recesses of my cluttered, dark mind.

And there are emotions in there.

So many emotions.

Some emotions welling up are so new, frightening, and overwhelming that my chest physically aches. So much so that the one night I found it necessary to make a phone call to help me get through the night.
Source: http://wonderbandalice.deviantart.com/
Not all self-harming is obvious to the naked eye. I've struggled with this illness for over 24 years and up until 2 years ago, I've never had the courage to admit this problem openly. Over the past three months I have worked extremely hard with my therapist to develop cognitive behavioral coping skills and calming techniques that I have used successfully to stem the tide of crazy that swirls in my brain at times.

But that night, the night before Robin Williams would end his life, I had so many painful emotions bubble to the surface that for the first time in years I was scared of myself. Each coping skill I tried to implement failed to have a desired impact; I grew more anxious. I couldn't breathe.

All I could think about was hurting myself. Badly. Really, really badly. I wanted the trapped pain to be outside of me. The pain was so bad this time I wanted to drive a knife in my thigh. Stab and twist. Because a twisted wound can't heal on it's own.

I've never had feelings that intense before.

I had no desire, no intention, no plan to end my life.

I just didn't know how to cope. It was 1 AM and I needed to talk to someone. I just needed to say the words, "I'm in a lot of pain right now. My therapist is helping me work through some difficult things and these feelings make me feel like hurting myself. I'm not suicidal, I'm not going to hurt myself. I just need to tell someone I'm having these feelings."

And the voice on the other end of the line, Noelle, listened patiently to me. I rambled for a few minutes and felt so much of the tension flow out of my body. It was as if allowing myself to say these things out loud took the power away from overwhelming feelings. My pulse returned to normal and I thanked Noelle for her kindness.

I sent a text to a couple of friends letting them know that I had been feeling harmful, but I had made a call and was feeling better. One night owl friend called me within minutes and kept me on the phone for the following hour and a half. We spent the time criticizing and deconstructing The Silver Chalice, Paul Newman's debut film. (If you are sad and need a laugh, I highly recommend this film. From the Sharpie drawn sets and bending metal swords to the costume department's liberal use of drapery tassels, there is not one part of the movie that isn't hysterical.).

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day. If you or a loved one needs help please call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. I am so fortunate that there was a voice on the other end of the line.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I've Seen the Devil and He Looks Like a Camel Cricket

Send help! 
I repeat, send help!
This is not a drill.

 I am currently trapped in the bathroom by a cricket from hell. My smashing shoe is on the other side of the house.



In the meantime I'll be doing my scaredy-pants-bitch-dance


Friday, June 20, 2014

I think my subconscious is planning a murder

I find that when I go old school and write out my thoughts on paper I find my groove a lot sooner. Otherwise, I can sit and stare at the screen for hours, distracting  myself every 45 seconds to take a Buzzfeed quiz or see if there are any Facebook posts where I can leave snarky comments.

So the other day as I was not working on my novel, I came across this image on Pintrest and realized it captured a lot of issues that I have when I find randoms scraps of paper I have scribbled on. And even though I was in the middle of cleaning my living room not 15 minutes ago, when I found this paper I decided it's both hysterical and disturbing that I had to share it.

Maybe I was trying to write a one-liner opening for a murder mystery hidden in the depths of my brain or maybe it's a Hemingway six word story entry.
  • Depression era dancer winner takes all.
  • Be sure to grind the bones.
  • Her body entwined the lobster trap.
  • His dying speech was sesquipedalian.
  • The gallows, hungry for another neck.
  • Henry died; the psych ward silenced.
Not too sure where to go with that. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

No One Addresses the Pope as Frankie

Being Bipolar can be so weird and frustrating.

On the upside, when I'm on a creative roll nothing can stop me. Not the endless chatter or pleas from my 8 year old nor the prospect of watching an independent movie staring my favorite actor while sipping on a hard cider. 

The downside comes when my brain won't turn off and let me go to sleep. My eyes are sore, achy, and dry. My wrists have feel spikey and my butt has become one with the kitchen chair. I've taken to writing in a yellow spiral-bound mini notebook, words spilling out of my head, and pages rapidly filling up.  

I desperately want to sleep but fear that if I put down my pen in favor of slumber I'll lose the muse.

I have the plot story-boarded across my bedroom wall, so I realized the other day that I could write chapters independent of each other. While soaking in the tub or as I like to call it the "Writer's-Block-Away-inator" I came up with the name and back-story for an integral character.

So for a exerpt into Chapter (Number TBD) "No One Addresses the Pope as Frankie"

    I woke up days later. Or was it hours? I tried to piece together what had happened. It turns out when you come into a hospital unconscious with a head injury standard protocol demands that all clothing is cut off ensuring your last shred of dignity won’t stand in the way of all the diagnostic tests to be run. Sticky monitoring pads are Krazy-glued to your chest, neck, and scalp while various tubes are inserted to either pull out or push in fluids.
   I appeared to be in a private room. The shades were drawn but a dull light filtered under the door. A toilet flushed and the running tap suggested that someone was in a bathroom connected to this room.
    The light extinguished and the door swung outwards slowly. This person was taking great pains to be discreet, but the shrill squeal of the hinges gave it away.
    “I’m so sorry. I’ve woken you.”
    “No. . .it’s. . .it’s. Wait, am I dead?”
    “Why would you think that?”
    I looked at the man standing next to me. His voice was like warm butter, sliding across the top of a fresh baked biscuit. Stubborn auburn curls tumbled across his forehead. He attempted to tuck a stray ringlet behind his ear, but it bounced free like a naughty child escaping the confines of a smothering hug.
    His eyes. Those eyes alone I could talk about for hours. Magazine articles said that his eyes were slate blue. In TV interviews his eyes seemed to be green. But as I stared up at him, I realized his eyes were like the color an angry sea. I thought about the summer afternoons I would watch the afternoon showers roll in across the Gulf of Mexico. As the waves churned and pounded the sea wall, I could see colors of grayed sand, purple bruised waves, silvery minnows, and green mermaid foam.
    What?
    What the what?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sending the Enemy Within, Out

Over the past two days I have worked out a lot of stuff with my therapist. I cried a lot in session yesterday, sobbed myself to sleep, and proceeded to cry a lot in session today. I'll probably cry a bit more tonight, but it's a good thing.

What I've been working on is this: For years, more than I can count, I have viewed myself as a burden to others. I have convinced myself that friends, family merely tolerate my presence because I believe that I bring so little into their lives.

Time to move out, Dwight.
I have always felt like I've been in debt, that in the balance of life I was severely in the negative. To most everyone. Not that anyone has ever told me I'm in their debt. It's my messed up head telling me that I will never be able to help out as much as others have helped me.

Up until about 5 this afternoon, I had convinced myself that in the race of life all my friends were winners, with their happy families, steady incomes, settled emotional issues, and me, well I was the big loser.

But I found peace today, as I sat in a stuffy room pretzeled up on a chair that was probably swiped from the waiting room of Purgatory.

There's no monetary measurement in friendship. And with my shrink's help, I have realized that I do bring some good things into others lives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Making a SNAP Decision

My shrinky-dink says that I needed to write out my (numerous) problems because as a writer, I process things once they are written down. I have difficultly judging things that are free floating in my head. This is what came out last night. I put my thoughts out into an open forum where anyone can read because I believe that a burden shared is a burden halved. Even if no one really comes to read this.

It's 11:45pm and I'm writing. I should be in bed, but I've put this off all day as I didn't want Jeremiah to see me upset should I lose control of my emotions. Here's what today looked like: I fixed three meals and washed up after those meals. I folded a load of laundry, did some school work with The Kiddo without him devolving into self-injuring because of an incorrect answer, took him to the park to run out all his pent up nervous energy, and then got him an Epson salt bath so he could detox from the meds he is on. 
In addition, I wrote a letter to his father.

It took me four hours, sometimes I was interrupted by Jeremiah and sometimes I surfed around on Facebook and Buzzfeed because I needed a break from what I was doing.

I was having to swallow my pride and ask Jeremiah's absent father if he could "out of the goodness of his heart" do something extra to help out with expenses. I'm embarrassed because I recall a person telling me, "You really should not be dependent on him or child support. You should be making enough to take care of yourself. You chose this life, not him."

Also yesterday, I started an application for food stamps. And I am filled with so much shame. "[It's pathetic] that you are living on handouts and food stamps."

Have you any idea how degraded I feel? I am doing my best to take care of my son, a child that I never expected, was scared to have, was afraid that I couldn't love. A child that has turned my life around.

Jeremiah is a child with special needs. No, he's not in a wheelchair or is undergoing horrible rounds of chemo. He has an invisible illness. No one sees him freaking out when I move the dish drain to the opposite side of the sink. No one sees him screaming when he encounters bugs or his inability to vacuum because the loud noise hurts him.

He is a child that is constantly worried, no matter how much I try to calm his fears. He always announces when he goes to the bathroom, can hardly stand to have me out of his sight, who tonight worried that he had committed a mortal sin. He still won't tell me what it is that makes him think that because "it's stupid and embarrassing and I don't know how to say it and never mind I'm just a stupid idiot."  This coming from a child that can give you an accurate synopsis of Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and A Winter's Tale.

This is not a child that I can toss into school for 8 hrs a day while I work 40 hrs. Sure, I would be making more than enough money to pay all the bills, but at what cost? Him being bullied about his bug problems? When a friend babysat him last summer while the cicadas were out, a girl his own age threw dead cicadas at him for an hour. When I picked him up, he was twitching and stuttering. He said he wanted to punch her but knew that you can't hit girls and he was too scared to tell the adults in charge because "sometimes they yell at their kids and I don't want them to yell at me."

Maybe I should let him punch himself in the face every time he messes up a workbook problem while I photocopy memos. His OCD demands that he do everything perfectly the first time around. He has trouble making simple decisions, like what he should eat for breakfast, because he's "afraid of making a mistake."

So I try to work from home or pick up odd jobs. I probably spend 75% of the day worrying how much money is in my account, but I can take solace knowing that Jeremiah is in a safer environment.

So I have to sacrifice my pride and deal with some extra anxiety to take care of my son. Isn't that what parenthood is about? I do my best to keep him out from knowing about our money issues.

I know as I write this I am saying it for my benefit alone, that I am trying to reassure myself that I am making  the right decision. So why does it still hurt?
 
Why do I feel so much shame, disapproval, and judgements when news reports showcase people like California surfer and aspiring musician Jason Greenslate. Greenslate, drives an Escalade and frequents strip clubs, shows how he supports his beach-bum lifestyle with food stamps, while dismissing the idea of holding down a regular, steady job. I know I'm not that person.
Media Matters reports:
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, the fraud and waste rate in SNAP is roughly 1 percent, contrary to recent Fox claims that the program is rife with fraud.

Unlike Greenslate, 41 percent of food stamp recipients live "in a household with earnings," and use SNAP benefits to supplement their primary source of income. Furthermore, the USDA reports that most food stamp recipients stay in the program for only a short period of time:
Half of all new SNAP participants received benefits for 10 months or less in the mid 2000s, up from 8 months in the early 2000s. Single parent families and elderly individuals tended to stay in the program longer than did working poor individuals, childless adults without disabilities, and non-citizens. Seventy-four percent of new participants left the program within two years. This is an increase from 71 percent in the early 1990s.
I work. I pay taxes. But why do I still feel like a failure in my own eyes?

It's 1:15am and I'm exhausted.

This fucking sucks. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Found My Happy

I learn a lot of TV history while care-taking my 90 y.o. patient.  I've seen plenty semi-racist episodes of "In The Heat of the Night," heard enough horrible dialogue from  "Murder, She Wrote" to want to time travel back to punch the writers, and several 1972 porn-staches in "Emergency" to turn me off of body hair for a while.

Way to go, me!
But despite the spate of crappy TV shows I'm watching every weekend, I'm thrilled.  I've been able to find my happy again.  I'm back on track with my meds, had a few weeks of productive therapy, and furthered the storyline in my novel.  I've got more confident, have a better perception of my ability as a mother.  Great friends rallied around me, reminding me that "Those that love you are proud of you; we don't see a prescription, we see a beautiful, funny, and loving woman. . . .for everything you do I am proud of you."

So even though I have to wipe up some drool and other body functions at times, I can do it with a sincere smile, not a faked grin.  I understand now how much better my life is, now that I've made peace with my drugs.   


PS-- A special thank you to The Bloggess for sharing her struggles.  She inspires me daily and I want to give her a big, squishy hug.  "Die Vampire Die!" has become my mantra.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Just a Baby Step

My mind is gray and empty.  I'm so frustrated with it.  I want to laugh or smile and have pleasant conversations, but it's so exhausting.  I want to work on my book, but I can't put the words down.  Thoughts that that flowed from my imagination down my fingers at the start of January, are now locked behind a trasnparent door.

I can hear the sarcasm laden dialogue, picture the perfect modifiers that convey Norma Jeanne's anger, and almost touch the pretty prepositions that would couple up next to Gams fat English bulldog.

But they won't come out and play with me.  Until I can get the key, in the shape of a horse-sized bitter pill, all I do is sit and stare at the empty word document.  And check on Facebook to see which people have updated their status in the last three minutes.  And stare at the screen, while the pointer mockingly blinks at me.  And check Pintrest because there might be a new picture to see in the last five minutes since I was on there.  And then back to the empty screen.

A lot of artistic friends I have - writers, artists, musicians, - who suffer from forms of depression/anxiety/mania, don't like to be on medication b/c they feel it stifles their ability to create.  And up until 3 weeks ago, I wondered if that was the case with me.  Would I discover more creative freedom if I didn't have my meds swimming in my blood stream?  Was there another side of me that could improve on what I am doing now?

Michael Scott will tell you the answer is a resounding 



As many years as I have been ashamed with myself for being dependent on my drugs, I guess that maybe this situation has now I helped me achieve some peace.  Quite plainly, I can't function without my meds.  I become a very depressive person.  My ability to see beauty in the mundane, to find the story of the person with a past in the eyes of a homeless beggar, to see the humor in the instances where fear or tears would be an understandable response is all gone.  I lack sympathy. 

For you worried about The Kiddo, I'm fortunate that in these past few weeks my Bipolar II Disorder hasn't affected my son.  If anything, I've been hyper-aware of the fact that I need to keep my sad emotions away from him.  I've had him cook with me and we've actually accomplished more workbook pages in this time frame than we have before (much to his chagrin). 

It's now just a waiting game.  Waiting to get to the doctor tomorrow.  Waiting to make the 1.5 hr drive to pick up the meds on Tuesday.  And waiting for them to get swimming back in my blood stream.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ugly

I put myself back into therapy last month because I am trying desperately to work out the last kinks in my head.  I've decided that after six years on the bench I'm ready to seek out a relationship, but before I do that I know I've got a few more things to work out.

I don't want to write about this.  But I need to write this out. 

This is the constant chatter in my brain:
  • You really don't have friends.  These people tolerate you out of pity.
  • No one approves of your decisions and all are waiting for you to admit defeat.
  • Your child is going to grow up broken because you are broken.
  • You don't have any talent.  
  • You're not bi-polar.  You are making it up.  You just need to work harder and stop being lazy.
  • Why do you think that person would ever want to have a cup of coffee with you?  They're accomplished/written a book/not two paychecks away from homelessness/done something important.  Do you know just how dumb your daydreams are?
  • No one really loves you because you disappoint them and don't do what they tell you to do.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Frustration: Level Six

Up until a week ago, I was fine.
I could write on my novel and write up articles for my social media job.
But two weeks ago I ran out of one of my drugs.
And now I'm off balance.

I can't focus on writing.  I'll sit down and nothing comes.
The waters are muddy.
If I were to peer into my brain, I think I'd find a hollow gray room.

I can't get to the doctor to get a prescription and I can't fill the prescription until I can find the time to drive 1.5 hrs away b/c the closest pharmacy to fill this drug is in Front Royal!

No, I don't have health insurance.  And Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act is just not going to fix my problem.  Seeing as it would cost me $235/mo to be insured.  Fail to see how that is "affordable."

Luckily, I live in a state that won't penalize me for not having health insurance.

I'm so angry.  I want to write and it's just not happening.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Once Upon A Southern Fairy Tale

I could have sworn that I printed up a passage from my novel.  But it appears that I haven't.  Maybe I put up a spoiler back on Facebook some time ago.

I finally got through my writer's block two weeks ago (it's only taken 2 years!) and have been able to make sufficient progress on this novel to announce that I aim to have it completed by the end of April and will launch it on the first day of summer.  This year!!!

I thought a good way to whet the appetite of potential readers (I hope) was to put up an excerpt from the first chapter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 1
 Morons in the Magnolia at Midnight
 
. . . .“How the hell did you manage to loop your jeans though this damn branch?”

“I knew this was a mistake.”

I snorted derisively and contemplated how to extricate my best friend from her leafy prison.  Seeing as she had backed herself onto a thin branch and couldn’t get a good footing to climb back up and off it, I set about trying to cut the limb with my pocket knife. 

Neither of us were aware that the mattress Olympics had come to an end and that we had become the noisier duo.  It seemed that Char had managed to snag the one green limb on the entire tree, which my knife was unable to sever.

I tried another approach.  “Char, I’m gonna cut up the belt loop.”

“The hell you are!  Do you know how long it took me to find a pair of jeans that didn’t make my ass look like I’ve birthed 10 kids?”

“Look, I’ll buy you a new pair,” I pleaded.  I wanted to get out of this tree and the hell away from his house.  The tears that I’d been fighting back were now rolling down my face.  “I’ll by you two pairs.”

As I continued to struggle, the widow flew open .  “I‘m not imagining things.  I hear something out there,“ said the man.  I went stock still, hoping that it was too dark for Eddie to make out our shapes in the branches of the Magnolia. 

“You’re being too paranoid,” drawled the female, her voice like molasses sliding across Saran Wrap.  “Now come back here.”

“I dunno, Missy.  This doesn’t seem right.”

“Where did these morals come from all of a sudden?  You didn’t say that last month.  I believe your words were, “Norma Jeane could use some lessons from you.”

That was so much to handle.  “BASTARD!” I bellowed.  Forgetting the possibility of deadwood, I propelled myself to my feet and heard an sharp crack.  Before I could react, the branch snapped and I shot down feet first.
My arms pin-wheeled, seeking purchase of tree limbs but finding none.   

Some say time slows to a crawl when bad things are happening, but a million thoughts raced through my head:
This is gonna hurt.
Dummy, you knew the answer before you climbed the tree.
I hope Char figures out how to get down.
Why didn’t he just dump me?
I will murder both of them if I’ve gotten an STD.  And no one in town will blame me.
Prison orange is really ugly.
Fuck.
Fuck.

And then my left knee took the full impact of my fall.  I can’t even begin to explain the pain.  Imagine a bowling ball made of concrete smashing into your nose.  Or an elephant flying a spaceship and landing it on your foot. 

The front door exploded open and the screen door shuddered violently as Eddie kicked at it.  Clad in ratty jeans, he stomped across the porch. I groaned as I tried to rise.  Eddie reached out an assisting hand, but I knocked it away.

“Don’t touch me, you filthy yard dog,” I growled, still dazed from the fall.  “I don’t want your whore hands on me.”

“Norma Jeane, I’m so sorry.  It was an accident.”

“Oh, really?!  What happened?  Did you trip and Missy just happened to break your fall with her hallway-sized vagina?”

“That’s uncalled for.”

“No, I’ll tell you what’s uncalled for,” I yelled.  The front porch light flickered on next door and Mrs. Ginny Crawford peered out the crack of the door.  I glared at her and she quickly shut the door.  To hell with the neighbors and their opinion of me.  They’d never see me on this side of town every again.

“Norma Jeane, you are causing a scene.  What are the neighbors going to think?  Come inside.”  Eddie grabbed my arm.

And then I did a horrible thing. . . . 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

PS-The juicing and weight loss (with only a few set backs) have been going great.  I've lost about 8lbs so far.  And that's a good thing because I have to be in a wedding in the fall.