A Man in Winter by Katie Marie is a horror story on more than one level, weaving murder in with the tragedy of loss of oneself through dementia. My heart broke for Arthur as his mind took him away from the world, leaving him vulnerable and confused and desperate for justice for his beloved wife Molly. Treating the subject matter sensitively, this writer has created a tale whose horror lies in it’s very real possibility.
– Stephanie Ellis, author of Bottled and The Five Turns of the Wheel
Is there such a thing as tender hearted horror? Well, there is now. Katie Marie’s ghost story, A Man in Winter, connected with me on such an emotional level. In my opinion, the world of fiction needs more stories told from the POV of the elderly, and Katie Marie certainly delivers on that score.
I hope like heck, they will read this. What I like and don’t like.
First of all, I want to say, up until recently I’ve loved driving. Unfortunately things have changed.
It’s not, for the most part, the people. Yes, on rare occasions I will get a flake and/or an intoxicated person, but overall, my people have been wonderful. Almost always, they are why I drive.
They listen to my stupid stories of the history of our city as I recall it, sharing with them out of the ordinary trivia, not found in history books or archival data, but from my own memories. I think, based on the questions they ask and their responses and feedback to the company, in general, they love it.
If I take them down to Little Italy, downtown San Diego, I share with them how before that district even existed, my dad, being friends with one of the early restaurant owners of Fillipi’s which is still there, would take us kids down there and the original owners would take us to sit in a back room on a long table and we’d have our own private sitting with huge plates of pasta. Something, I’m sure the current owners know nothing about. I was possibly 10 then, so that would make that about 65 years ago.
Then there is our Highway 5 freeway , which was just being built when I was a child. Then, the freeway was only a total of four lanes. Now, it’s more than 8 lanes! I remember the big dozers clearing a swathe of land for the new highway. I remember our ducks crossing the newly graded lanes to cross over to the other side with their ducklings filed behind them. Then there was the time one Halloween where we kids, not being freeway saavy, tried to cross the lanes and my mask kept slipping down and I couldn’t see clearly but seeing what appeared to be headlights coming straight at me. A very scary time, as we are lead by one of the local teens. Why my parents let him take charge I’ll never know. We could have been killed!!
I tell them about our San Diego based airline and how I was one of the cutesie flight attendants of that local commuter airline, wearing mini skirts and a tri-cornered hat. It was very sexist, before we knew what that was. Some of my passengers remember those days, or have heard tell about them, most don’t. I recall the big crash we had downtown. How those were people I knew well and lost.
What was and what no longer is. Areas now populated with new houses that are now old were once farmland or orchards and two lane roads. I tell them of places to visit and places to eat, nightspots and where not to venture at night, though it may be popular. I delight in their stories of where they are from, what they do. Even though politics and religion are two things not to introduce, it can come up, but it often more in relation to how things have changed. Never arguments or debates. If someone expresses a dogmatic point of view, perhaps contrary to my own, I’m okay with it. Sometimes, in this day and age, there really is nowhere to vent safely, so I give them that. It very rarely happens though.
WHY I DRIVE
For the most part, I lead a very lonely life. Since my sister died, I live for the conversations with strangers.
They tell me their stories and I tell them mine. Mostly, in relation to the growth of our city. It is therapeutic. Sometimes too, I can be their therapist for the time they are with me, if just listening can be called “therapy”. It’s a win win.
THE DOWN SIDE
However, of late, since Covid 19, lockdown, masks, now no masks, it hasn’t been quite the same. Things have changed. The apps have changed. Many times my navigation doesn’t work right. I can’t get reception downtown or outlying areas like I used to or in apartment complexes, which has always been an issue. It makes my job challenging and frustrating.
Gas prices have escalated and both companies seem to think a $.50 surcharge is compensation enough, when our gas prices in California went over $6 a gallon in most places and no change in fare compensation it feels like rape. There have been no rate increases to the consumer and many of them have said they expected there would be. They are aware of the $.50 surcharge, which Lyft and Uber have said will drop by next month. Where does that leave us then?
I went to the HUB to complain, but no one has an answer.
The other day, I accepted an Uber ride that when it popped up said 6.6 miles. I thought it would be the pickup distance which I was fine with, however when I clicked it, they were sending me 35 miles for a 6 mile ride? Hell no! I only get paid for the 6 miles, so there was no way in hell I was taking that, so I cancelled. Or rides that take 1 1/2 hours for 30 miles or ones that take us like to Riverside or San Bernadino, far away from home and no paid rides back? For real?
Then Lyft is famous for sending us on a ride only to re-route us sometimes 2, 3 or 4 times zig-zagging all over the place wasting time, gas and energy. I’ve even had them send me 20 miles only to reassign me back to where I just came from for a short ride.
To be honest, I don’t know how they can keep drivers driving. When my day starts out like that, I’ll close the app and go home. I can’t suffer through that, because it’s like getting beat up each time and I want to be happy when I pick up my rider, not grumpy and sour.
One time, I accidentally started my app while I was doing my workout and suddenly got a call. Here I was all stinky from working out, but it was nearby and I felt bad for the passenger, so I hightailed it to my car and went to the pickup and drove them where they needed to be. That’s how I feel about my riders. They are important to me and I try to be very considerate of their time as I hope they appreciate my efforts.
Another thing that has changed since Covid, is the tempers of the drivers on the road. I have seen more road rage and aggressive inconsiderate driving since lockdown was lifted. It’s like a mean bug was injected into all these people from being cooped up and isolated. There are times I’ve had drivers barely miss me zig-zagging in and out of lanes at high speeds. It can be terrifying at times. When I am driving late at night and that begins, I shut down and go home. You can almost be sure those are drunk drivers on a testosterone high and I don’t want to be on the road with them.
One day, I was at an intersection at a stop light and a nice new BMW pulled up next to me. The light had just turned red, so we both stopped quickly. The car behind the BMW was not happy he had not run the light, I guess. He got out of his car screaming and shaking his fist at the driver next to me, who just happened to have his window rolled down. The man behind came up and literally yanked the guy out of the window (he should have had his seatbelt on or that might not have been so easy, I’m thinking) and pulled him to the ground and started beating on him right in the middle of the intersection. I was aghast. I saw a cop not far and beeped my horn several times to get his attention. Somehow or another my Lyft app picked up on my distress and asked if I was okay. Pretty neat feature I might say.
I’ve had people go around me when I didn’t take a right turn fast enough for them. Sometimes, the only thing protecting the person in the crosswalk in front of me is me. I never saw such behavior before.
I’ve been told by some of my riders that because of Covid, there are people who once relied on Uber and Lyft to commute, who now drive. Because of Covid, when Uber and Lyft drivers became scarce, they bought cars and began driving. No wonder they’re angry. Perhaps that is why they are so grumpy. I really don’t know, but if that’s the case, they need to take a chill pill and get back to using us.
However, before that happens, Uber and Lyft are going to have to take better care of their drivers. Uber offers incentives, but mostly if you drive in San Diego, which I don’t like. In many areas, navigational reception is horrible as are the street conditions. On one occasion, I drove over 30 miles with no directionals and the young lady I picked up, being from Latvia had no local phone access, so she couldn’t pull up navigation on her phone as some have done for me. Fortunately, Uber does include the address and I knew the area. Fortunately, she had the number of the young man who’d ordered the ride and was able to input his number in my phone to let him know we were nearing. Normally, that would be a NO-NO, since all calls made between rider and drivers are rerouted through a ghost number. This is a safeguard for both parties but I made an exception, since I wanted to be sure she arrived safely and to the right person, since downtowns anywhere can be generally spurious and one never knows. I’m sure neither of us held onto each others phone numbers. When there was positive recognition, I unlocked my doors. Had she indicated otherwise, I would not have left her. I’m not sure what I would have done, actually, but I would have wanted to know she was safe.
Then there are dicier neighborhoods to venture in to pick people up in. I carry mace, pepper spray and a Tazer, but I don’t want to ever have to use them. If I have any doubt, I keep it handy just under my leg. It’s never been a problem. My new car has auto lock, so I don’t worry someone will open the door while I’m at an intersection and I can roll the window down just enough to talk briefly to my passenger before unlocking it. Visibility at night in many areas is poor. One time another driver ran a stop and disabled my car a half a block from my rider. When the police came and my car was being towed, even the police didn’t want to stay with me until my ride came to pick me up. The tow truck driver took pity on me and drove me to my sisters. I live 45 miles away so that was too far. He said it wasn’t out of his way, but when I went to the tow site the next day, it really was. Out of his way, I mean. I was appreciative.
Needless to say, I don’t drive at night anymore and it is unfortunate, because nights are more profitable.
Things to consider. Sometimes, at night, despite the photos on the apps of the person requesting the ride, being able to see them well enough to know it’s them can be difficult. In those cases, before unlocking any doors, I verify who they are first. Not all include photos. Plus, unfortunately, not all those who request rides are the ones taking the ride. Sometimes they tell us, sometimes they don’t until the last minute. Both companies give us the option to decline a ride if it feels unsafe. My Spidey senses are generally pretty good. I’ve never had anyone get out of hand. I did have a group of drunk men once, who’s conversation was distasteful. What got me was that it was the older men, not the young man who had ordered the ride who were obnoxious. I let the young man know that in the future, it would be up to him to keep his companions in line or he could lose his privileges. He thanked me for the warning and for not arbitrarily penalizing him for his companions.
I’m of the mind that todays environment is too quick to cry foul, when they could just as easily just say, “that is unacceptable and I don’t appreciate …” this or that behavior, language or whatever. For Pete’s sake, just call them out on it.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Lyft is good about giving me mostly women, especially at night. Uber does not. Unfortunately, sometimes I expect a woman and at the last minute, I’ll get a text telling me I will be picking up a “boyfriend” or spouse. I love it when they give me a name. It should be required.
One such time, a guy covered in tattoos approached the car, I wasn’t too sure, so I rolled the window down a few inches. Within a couple of sentences, I knew he was going to be okay. Simultaneously she texted that he was the husband. It turns out he is a chef and restaurant owner. We talked about restaurants and ethnic food dishes we liked and places to go try. We had an hour together and he kept me entertained, talking the whole way and it was very pleasant.
I had a couple once that at first glance, were terribly unkempt and looked as though water had not hit their bodies in some time. They reeked of cigarettes. I mean a weeks worth, at least. I was not looking forward to being with them at all. However, they surprised me with pleasant, intelligent conversation. It was a mother and son and they were so kind and sweet. I told myself not to judge a book by it’s cover.
Another time, I went to pick up a couple in a nice area. I had to wait a bit for them to show. First to come out was the man, an Adonis cut figure of a man that should be on the cover of a magazine. He was looking away when he came around the corner and as he looked up brushed his hair back and as he looked up, I’m thinking, “Holy shit! That’s getting into my car?” I’m glad he couldn’t hear me suck in my breath, because I was stunned at how beautiful he was. Then, the woman comes out, looking like a Greek Goddess herself and I’m thinking Damn! How did that happen? I had no idea what this married, power couple would be like, but they were animated and as personable and likable as anyone could wish for. A double wow! He turned out to be one of the architects of the span bridges on the highways being constructed all over the place. She was a pediatric nurse.
One guy I picked up said he was the AP or associate producer for Maroon 5’s most recent video. To be honest, when I saw the video, I’m thinking uh no, he was Maroon 5, but I could be wrong, because that guy I saw sure looked like the same guy. Only he would know or admit to it. What did we talk about? You’ll never guess. Bathrooms. Yup! Bathrooms and music of course. We both knew where all the best bathrooms are and what businesses you could depend on for them. In his case, because he has little ones and with little ones you got to know the best places to stop when needed. With my driving, I have to plan for bathrooms and sometimes those can be hard to find. They have to be clean and safe. We also talked about Maroon 5’s longevity and formula and then strayed over to K-pop music, comparing groups and what we liked.
I’ve gotten young people who are dumbstruck that I know so much about K-pop.
Before Covid, I got a group of four young men, three in back and one in the front seat. There was an oldie song that came on the radio and the guy in front took it upon himself to crank it up and they (we) all rocked out and sang along the way to their destination, one song after another. That was a first and never happened again.
Can you picture it? An old lady and a bunch of kids in animated song. I’m sure we were a sight. Of course, I was limited to just singing.
I LEARN STUFF TOO
I learn so much from my passengers. I don’t just talk, though I must admit, I do the majority of it, but for the most part, it’s an even exchange of knowledge and that’s what I like the best.
Today, I learned that these fancy colors you see on high end vehicles are actually “skins” or Carmeleon wraps to protect their paint job. Some running into thousands of dollars. Some of you may not know what I’m talking about because it probably has more to do with where I live. I just happened to mention to one passenger how I’d seen a Range Rover in a purple pearlescent color that as I went by changed colors almost like a peacocks plume. I’d never seen anything like it. He told me they are referred to as skins and they are a thin film to protect the paint and value of the vehicle. They are mostly found in high end vehicles because they can be quite pricey. They can be washed and when they start to peel or whatever it is that happens to them, they peel it off and the paint underneath is like brand new.
I know my posts tend to be, “woe is me-ish”. but I’d like to hopefully depart from that… sort of.
I wish I could insert pictures, but for some reason that hasn’t been working for me of late. Pics seem to want to accumulate at the bottom of the post. I’d like to change my site photo, but I’ve yet to figure how to access that feature as well.
So, until I figure out the changes WordPress made two years ago, I keep posting, as is. I know I might start out sounding like I’m in despair, but that is not my intention. So, this post I hope will end up being a departure from that.
I survived my abusive childhood listening to music, you could find me singing out in the wilderness to my hearts content and at the top of my lungs. That’s how I got through life and interestingly it was enough to brighten my day and lift me up. I salute the artists who wrote the songs and the many artists who produced the many films I sought refuge in. In life, if you met me, you would not see a down spirited person. I’m always upbeat and cheerful. I used the tools and gifts God gave me and that is why.
Religion and church offered me sanctuary, a safe haven. Attending meant I wasn’t home and God was pretty neat to talk to. I prayed so much as a child. I was baptized Catholic only to have mother adopt the Jehovah’s Witness religion when I was five, I didn’t grow up learning Christian Hymns, but I love singing hymns. I didn’t learn those until I was in my 50’s when I joined the choir in Alabama. Southerners love to sing. In high school, I snuck out and attended the Catholic Church with my Catholic friends. Being a Jehovah’s Witness was not easy, but it provided me a place to feel like I belonged. The downside of attending the Catholic church then was that everything was in Latin, so not easy to sing to. I attended a Pentecostal Church once as a child when I was being babysat by a neighbor and that was totally different. I would go on to study the LDS faith. Church was my safe place and God my protector. Even as a child, I’d sit in a corner and daily, close my eyes, open the bible and point and that’s where my lesson or bible readings would start and I did this on my own. God and I were buddies.
When I was in Alabama, a friend I’d made there introduced me to jamming in country barns where all the farmers gathered with whatever instrument they played. Those who didn’t play, sang. Then she took me to a FaSoLa gathering. I guess knowing I grew up in California, she oughta teach me my heritage and get a taste of the south. Once a year in summer, there would be this remote, really remote church in the middle of nowhere, where followers would meet, some coming from all over the states and globally. FaSoLa, also referred by some as Sacred Harp or Shape Note singing, uses basically just those shape notes and it is acapella. The one in Alabama would take a whole weekend where everyone brings a dish for potluck. It’s very old timey and the origin of Shape note singing is heartwarming. Dang! I sure wish I could transfer my clips. No matter, check it out.
MUSICALS AND OTHER SONGS –
If you want to know my favorite songs and the early ones I remember singing often, were those that talked about escape. The Wayward Wind, was a favorite. I’d climb a tree and belt it out. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Someday My Prince Will Come, Singing in the Rain, to name a few. I love the To Kill a Mockingbird soundtrack, as well as many animated Disney soundtracks. Soundtracks of the old musicals in general were so cool. Even if I didn’t know the words, I’d love to sing loudly with the one or two words or phrases and lines I knew well. Usually the refrains. Ever done that? I even sang to foreign singers such as Yma Sumac and Miyoshi Umeki.
I got a picture in. lol. A sunrise from my backyard Yay!
When Daddy had his electronic set up, I could sing using the microphone and blast the neighbors, when no one was home of course. I especially liked the vocal range of Yma Sumac and would challenge myself to mimic her songs and hit all those notes. I almost had them, but my voice was still young and I managed fairly well, but not well enough. Still, it was an outlet and it served me well in school, because I always got to do the solos, no one else could handle.
Rock songs were for fun. Musicals like Westside Story, with the typical youth misunderstood lyrics, were sad but catchy and passionate. South Pacific, Oklahoma and sadly, My Fair Lady were just a few I loved. I hate to say and wish it wasn’t true, but I’m horrible at memorizing words, so as much as I would have loved to sing professionally, I’d fail… but I follow along well. I can’t carry a tune on my own but I can read music, so if you give me a sheet of music, I can do it. Some people can belt a song out without anyone giving them that first note, but I can’t. Just so you know, I know my limitations.
If it was a musical, be it with Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Gypsy, Music Man, the King and I, Guys and Dolls, Meet me in St. Louis and Porgy and Bess. Summertime was a favorite and for fun, oldies like Oh Susanna! I can’t dance well, but I can pretend I do.
I remember once embarrassing the hell out of my step-dad when, after watching Westside Story, I was hanging out the window on a warm summer day, singing Officer Cruptke and shouting, “I got a social disease!” and summarily being yanked back into the car, not knowing what it meant, of course. I still get a chuckle out of that memory. When I learned what a social disease was, I too, was deeply humiliated. How could they put that in a song? I will admit, that even though mother was prone to much verbal abuse, my step father was much loved. To see him, he looked kinda grumpy, but when he smiled, it was like sunshine and even though we had a rocky start, he turned out to be a good guy. I can say I loved and respected him and even though I was, by then in my late teens, I at least had enough time to appreciate him and his endurance and care for mother, who was so difficult.
Later in life, of course there were many tunes that I took shelter in. Music and song are my sanctuary.
Phantom of the Opera got me through many a long trip, but didn’t show up in my life until I was older. My son, Ian and I would split the vocals. I’d do Christine and other female parts and he’d do the Phantom and any male parts. He has a beautiful voice. I miss singing with him. We used to have the best time in Alabama because people were always fighting over him to carry the tenors. I’ll never forget his first time, he sat with someone that was so flat, that he had a hard time tuning the poor guy out and we went home laughing so hard. He eventually got strong enough. Singing in parts is hard at first, but we both loved singing enough to give it all we had. It was fun.
I’ll never forget the time, I tried to keep from falling asleep while driving cross country by rehearsing songs from our upcoming Easter pageant. I’m singing at the top of my lungs thinking I’d stay awake. Trust me, it doesn’t work, you can sing while asleep. Unfortunately, it was raining and I spun out and ended up in a ditch. I remember facing oncoming traffic and thinking, “oh shit, I’m dead!’ as this huge semi, looking like it was coming at me, went past me. Nothing wakes you up quicker. Another thing, my life didn’t pass before me. No, it was just, “oh shit, I’m dead”. Not funny, but funny.
Today, I get lost in songs by Keith Urban, Ed Sheeran and yes even Justin Bieber. I love Maroon 5, the Weekend and have added them to the many old artists, I used to listen to. Peter and Gordon, Beatles, Elvis, Animals, Dave Clark Five, Petula Clark, Louis Armstrong and more.
For awhile I was collecting vinyls and one time I got the mother lode of vinyl at a yard sale, but before I could go through them, when I awoke the next morning, my grandson had already tagged the ones he wanted. Music has given me life, dreams and sustained me through three marriages, raising children, grandchildren and now three great grands. What’s interesting is how much music transcends our generations. It’s something we can all share and love.
Yeah, I want to say, sometimes I sound like I live on the dark side of the moon, but truly I have a lot of good in my life. My life isn’t Donna Reed or Leave it to Beaverish, but I have great kids, siblings and family. Despite some of our rough patches, love does abound, we love to sing and dance in our own fashion and I’m grateful. There’s nothing like it when we get together and Tina tells Alexa to play 60’s 70’s favorites that we don’t all break out in song.
Is there someone in my life? Too soon to tell how that will work out, but who knows? I’m taking a page form my friend Caralyn of Beauty Beyond Bones who always says, “trust God” and how it got her through tough times and how, in so doing, she’s now got her happy.
I’m doing my best to “Be Optimistic”… and not be a grumpy – Another great song (Shirley Temple) did I ever tell you about my nice visit with Shirley Temple Black? And so it goes. There’s always going to be a memory attached, right?
I get much uplifting support from my fellow bloggers, some old, tried and trues and new ones now. I thank you all!
Try singing and I’ll keep singing because it’s how I get through the tough times. Try it!
If you want to be inspired, try some of the songs from The Greatest Showman, I love A Million Dreams, Never Enough and well, all of them!!
The workman on my street, love it when I walk by belting these songs and Keith Urban’s Blue Aint’ your Color or Wild Hearts. They tell me I have a good voice. I guess anything they can hear over their jackhammers has got to entertain, lol. These are easy songs to download and walk and sing. I’ve been known to get a few Kpop tunes out as well. Free yourself up!
I was reading an article on Quora about a woman who discovered the past of an odd uncle she barely knew. In going over his belongings after his passing, the family discovered his hidden past. He had been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. The why of the idiosyncrasies and oddities of this relative came to light. Her putting the pieces together after going through his stuff was a feat in of itself. She says about his life: “It was a lousy life filled with sadness, failure, misplaced loyalty, an inability to nurture relationships. ” The person writing felt guilty even though she had not even been born at the time all the abuse transpired and obviously had nothing to do with it. Why is it, abuse makes the victim feel guilt when the guilt is not theirs? Sometimes this carries over to others who care about us. It’s a hard thing to wrap your head around, isn’t it? Please understand, I am not a therapist. My observations are that of a former victim.
Guilt. It is a sad burden to carry, why does it torture us? I can’t imagine her why. Perhaps, because of their shared DNA, she felt compelled to shoulder some of his pain? I can’t say because I just don’t know.
Some people can overcome the trauma of abuse even if not forgotten. Some cannot. I can only imagine the suppressed anger and guilt, he must have kept inside all those years which stymied his growth, kept him from successful relationships and contributed to his reclusive later life. One never knows what was in the mind of this person.
What many people don’t know is how much guilt is shouldered by victims and how that guilt affects all facets of their life. Guilt? Yes, guilt.
I have been doing my three pages every morning as my assignment and as I study the book, The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. My assignment in Chapter Three is to describe my childhood room and what it was I liked best about it and what my favorite things were. I had none. NONE! No memories. I could not describe my room! After stretching my memories a while, I could only remember a bunkbed that we kids would roll off the top of and that’s it! Did the room have windows? Were there other beds? I don’t remember anything other than my dad sneaking into the room at night to single me out for his perversity. I’ve always wondered, where were my siblings? I couldn’t say. I couldn’t sleep tonight, mourning the loss of innocence, the loss of not having a fond memory, no special toy or anything. My loss. The earliest images I have of a bedroom, were later as a teen and not of my room, but my brothers and his model airplanes suspended from the ceiling. I have been searching my brain for a memory, but obviously I blocked it out. All of it. It’s no wonder my only fond memories as a child were being outdoors, far away from the house.
I’m not a therapist and I can only speak from experience, but a victim always wonders what it is about them that abusers seek out. What did they do to “invite” the abuse? Did they do it intentionally or is there an invisible brand on their forehead that tells others they are easy targets? Do they trigger something in certain personalities that draws the perpetrators?
Victims experience so many false starts in life others cannot understand. Their self talk tells them they are not worthy. Even when things start to look up and success looks like it’s coming their way, they inadvertently do something to self sabotage. It is not the same for everyone and it doesn’t just relate to sexual abuse. Like the uncle above, a life of constant fails seem to follow them.
They can be accusatory and suspicious. But, it all stems from their own guilty feelings.
I had an attorney tell me once, while I was going through my divorce and in regards to my ex-husband’s philandering and infidelity, he said “you can’t put guilt unless guilt is there”. I now think back on that statement and wonder if perhaps that wasn’t just to make me feel better but a narrow and prejudicial view of his own?
Let me back track a bit here. His comment was in response to me telling him that my husband, who was a constant cheater, blamed me for his affairs, saying I always made him feel guilty, as if to excuse his cheating. I couldn’t understand it at the time, but the issue between us was obviously more complex than any of us knew.
Knowing what I know now and years after the fact, there were several dynamics going on. We were both broken and because we were broken, and neither of us knew to what extent, we couldn’t help each other.
His background: I don’t know his early, early years, but I do know his father was a womanizing alcoholic and was gone a lot. He died the year we were married of cirrhosis of the liver. The ex was a middle child, with an older sister and younger brother. His mother was a nurse and worked hard to provide for her family. She was obviously depressed because one day she shot herself. She was found by his younger brother. That young man suffered tremendous trauma and died at a fairly early age of drugs and alcohol.
I recall later telling my then husband, “You’re just like your father who you’ve always hated”. Even though he admitted it was true, did my saying it aloud reinforce his own lack or self talk of not being worthy? I don’t know.
I wonder if for some, like myself, guilt comes from not doing something or the inability to notice that others might need help and perhaps fall short of helping them?
It is my belief that broken people can’t help broken people, yet we tend to gravitate to one another. I truly believe that. Not because they don’t want to but because they just don’t know how. They’ve not had the template of what a successful relationship looks like to go by. So, guess what? I felt guilty. I really didn’t have the tools to help him. This person married several times since and once before me and each time, he created circumstances that obligated all the women in his life to leave or give up on him. He is now living a loveless life with no one. He even pushes our children away from him.
I also always wondered how much is genetics. I think genetics plays a part in our temperament to receive and counter information. Perhaps its a conditioning from the womb, environmental absorption pre-birth? Theory.
Perhaps not though. My father beat mother, he beat us, but there was no way in hell I’d let anyone do that to me. When the ex raised his hand to me one time, I stood straight up, my 5’2″ to his 6’1″ and looked him straight in the eyes with my finger pointed at him and said, “Don’t you dare!” He backed down immediately. The memory of that day still makes me chuckle. He apologized. It apparently wasn’t in his DNA to be a hitter. Yet, he sabotaged every relationship he ever had and drove people out of his life. Sad.
For some time, I felt guilt and a sense of obligation to not give up trying, despite the fact I did take him back three times. Since that marriage and before this one and after the last one, I had extensive therapy and realized I was in no position to have helped him. At the time, I was too broken. It took a while to learn and realize that.
When my sister died and after her diagnosis, I shared with all of you the burden of guilt I felt that fortunately has lifted since. I just couldn’t shake it for a long while. The guilt of not having been around to help her and/or recognize her illness. At some point, we have to let people make their own decisions. We cannot force them to see the doctor, which I tried to convince her to do. The guilt is not mine. Resentment? Yes. I miss her and I am angry she left me too soon, but I will not feel guilty. I believe her choice was intentional and the consequences of that choice was realized long ago.
I think of myself as broken china mended with gold. Each crack makes me more valuable.
I am okay, but then… maybe not yet, but I will be.
Let me counter what I said earlier on about broken people not being able to help broken people… the truth is many therapists are former broken people, so I think broken people may be able to help other broken people once they’ve been fixed . I could be wrong.
Guilt and shame prevents growth. I’m digging deep and though I may not have many years left, I intend to clear out the junk and live wholly.
Like I said, I AM NOT A THERAPIST and this is not therapy. I’m only sharing this because I’ve had to come to terms with a few things in the last few months and I can tell with this new workbook, I will be delving deep and as I grow, I’m sharing. I hope you don’t mind. It’s MY therapy.
When I was a teen, I was hit on by a married man. He was a guy I’d known in school ( a senior- I was a freshman) and I’d always had a tremendous crush on him. We hadn’t seen each other in several years. I’d moved away and forgotten about him.
Suddenly, I find him when I’d gotten a job at the same place. Needless to say, when he showed interest in me, I fell seriously hard. I DID NOT KNOW HE WAS MARRIED, nor did I even consider he would be since I’d just graduated and very few of my friends had yet married. It turns out he got this girl pregnant and married her. We only had one “date” before someone at work saw us together and told me. I did not go out with him again. A choice.
So you have to consider, on occasion there is the unknowing OW (other woman). I also know that sometimes there are men (and women) who lead two lives and there can be an “innocent” OW or OM out there somewhere.
Since I met many men as a flight attendant, I had to be smart in how I dealt with a male pax (passenger), especially since I saw many of them as frequent flyers and yes, I went out with a few. I was single. Still, I wouldn’t knowingly sleep with a married man.
The stews and I got real good at checking out the indentation of a recently removed ring. Did they think we were idiots? Of course, not all men wear rings, so even that was no guarantee.
Above are the various uniforms of the airline i worked for. I wore the third one from the left.
If it turned out the man I was out with was married (and some would say “separated”), I had and would give him my set of favorite lines and questions that would stop them in their tracks. The first was “I don’t use birth control” (that was the best because it usually took the wind out of their sails, if you get my meaning.) and finally “Will you leave your wife and marry me?”, not that I was encouraging that but it lets him know Where I stood. So then I followed it with, “I want a serious relationship with a future.”
Then there were fellow crew. Since we would often go out with fellow crew members after a flight, it wasn’t unusual to find oneself getting comfortable with someone you hadn’t oughta, id take a step back and… same thing, I’d resort to “the lines”. It worked most of the time, although I did have one guy say he was sterile, so I had to follow it up with the “would you leave your wife and marry me?”, which got him. LOL
The above, I will admit were only necessary when the chemistry was too right and it helped me to squelch the fire with the other party. For most, it didn’t matter anyway, I think for some, they thought it part of the job description so they were glad to be off the hook and we could continue having a good time on trips together with no expectations. Just friendship.
It became apparent with all the sites I discovered online that despite todays free thinking, and woke mentality, not everything goes. Fidelity is still a major concern. People still hate being cheated on. Cheating still hurts.
Yes, being true to another human being is still important.
I’ve heard of stumbles and falls and one time only’s but an OW in my day was regarded as one with little self esteem/respect, conscience or both. To continue in a generally go nowhere relationship tends to hurt one partner more than the other. I’ve talked to people who don’t feel that way. They believe as long as two or more people consent, it can work. Huh!
Well, I’ve met polyamorous couples who did get hurt.
There was another woman in my life. My OW ended up with my man after each of them divorced their respective mates, that marriage lasted a few years until he cheated on her later. In my opinion, it was to be expected and I predicted it would be so. Sure, I was angry and it may have possibly been wishful thinking at the time, but it happened.
Angrily I said, “what you did to me, one of you will do to the other” and they did.
I could leave you with that, but the truth is, we’re all human.
This is when reliance on God comes into the equation.
If you have no faith as mine can tend to waiver at times, perhaps it’s time then to draw on what we knew before we became jaded by the things of this world. Go back to what you once believed. There is strength in doing so and coupled with prayer, it can be done. There are different levels of faith and if yours doesn’t sustain you then apply “the golden rule”.
If your relationship is that bad…
I believe there are legitimate reasons for a dissolution and not everyone has the same set of circumstances. I’ve known people who cheated out of desperation, feeling that it was the only way the other party would set them free. However, before you contemplate such a drastic measure as to cheat, Communicate. If you can and if that seems formidable, there are counselors and pastors/priests that can intercede.
I want to dedicate this post to my granddaughter’s love, Benjamin Polson, who died January 13 when the roof of a home he and two other firefighters in St. Louis, had gone into collapsed. The other two sustained injuries, but survived. He was only 33 years old.
I wish, I could have met him, since I always felt he was instrumental in impacting my granddaughter’s life in a positive way.
Every day, Firefighter’s and Police risk their lives to save and rescue our towns and communities, but somehow get taken for granted. Shortly after Ben died, three other firefighters in New Jersey did not.
Firefighters hold a special place in our hearts because, my brother was a firefighter before becoming an airline pilot and even after becoming a pilot, he would serve as a volunteer, in Virginia, I think it was. So, firefighting is lauded in our family.
Because I didn’t know Ben, I can only share pictures of him and my granddaughter and wish my friends will at least say a silent prayer for his loved ones who are grieving and all firefighters and police.
I was kind of late in posting this because I didn’t know how to access the photos, but here it is. I hope you enjoy. Portia is back in Vail, Colorado. From what I gather, she’s doing okay. I know when I lost my sister, it took so long for it to hit hard. This little gal has cried heart and soul out, which I was unable to do for Diana, so I hope her healing will come quicker. Thank you for reading.
I got to talking to a friend of mine who was having difficulty coming into her own. Like myself, I believe this person selects partners that though may be verbally encouraging, are in fact enablers.
I have felt that way on more than one occasion.
Then I thought of this one couple in particular, but I’ve seen it in others as well, who had, what appeared to be the same level of fame or success in their careers, until they married.
Suddenly one of them skyrockets with success and the other is relegated to living in the background, their identity and success, no longer a priority. Is it a choice or did they find themselves relegated to being great cheerleaders? Did it just happen? It could destroy some marriages.
I have often said, when I see someone who failed and that includes me, “they just didn’t want it bad enough.” There’s also a saying, you can’t have two roosters in a hen house.
I don’t see this as much when two people already famous get together, but more so when they are on the rise. (then, you might have the competitive ego to contend with) <big smile> I could be wrong.
With this one couple, who will remain nameless, the famous spouse is always pushing the other front and center by including them in their shots or commending them in one way or another. for being part of their support system They, for all intense and purposes, appear to be heroic and admirable. Perhaps they are. Guilt can play a part in this is my guess. How can they not know their partner lost their luster? If I, and possibly others, can see it in their partners face and demeanor, why don’t they?
I have often wondered, how did I get here? How did I not see what I was doing? Because the reality of it is, we choose these people. The enabelers. The crazymakers.
I told a special friend, that my biggest fear is losing self. For many years, I forfeited self in all my relationships and family. Me. I made that choice. Was it fear? Was I afraid to live my life honestly?
Sometimes that’s all it is. I was talking to a loved one and she admits to doing poorly in relationships. Sounds like me. It’s too easy to lose self and one’s goals in a relationship. Without even thinking about it we find ourselves working toward their goals, while ours get abandoned. Then there’s the person with no goals but is not there for yours either. There’s always going to be someone unfulfilled. Would we know it? Retrospection is not something new, but it is only in this day and age that it is being permitted to have and/or express. Dissatisfaction, was something we accepted, not exclusive to but mostly in women. There has always been the guy who when learning that his girlfriend was pregnant, didn’t run away, but sucked it up and did right by her and the child. You don’t see that as much anymore, but there was a time. There was also the woman, who gave up her career choice to stay home and raise kids. What about the woman, who was hoping once her kids were grown to live her dream finding herself suddenly caring for the child of her unwed daughter or son? Like I said this is not exclusive to one gender over another. Men are doing that now as well, when the woman becomes the highest income earner, he can sometimes, especially once the family is started, giving up his career choice. I could go on, and on. The thing about it is, are we asking too much to want to be fulfilled? To want what we want?
My sister and I started writing a few years before our parents required our attention. She wrote stories and did crayon art. I wrote stories and screenplays and sang in the choir. It was great. Once they were gone we went different ways, but not a day went by that we weren’t on the phone cheering each other on.
My sister’s passing left me feeling less than whole and unable to express myself like the two of us together could. I felt often that I no longer cared and I received no such interaction from anyone else. It was crippling.
After a bout with Covid, it took all the energy I had to stay here. I often wished to be with my sister. It was like get it over with by golly! I’m still tired a lot but I now want to get back to writing. I have so many ideas overflowing out of my brain, but … and there goes my but. I’d love to have someone to talk to and bounce these ideas off of. I’d like someone to interact with about what works and what doesn’t. I haven’t found that. Oh, I had one such online person that started out like that and he sounded excited about my stories, but not having someone live makes a difference. Online, it’s hard to tell sincerity. It’s hard to say, yeah, that could work but no it won’t work and hear the intonation of their voices, their laugh.
Oh, to have someone live to share these moments. Someone, who will free me and not steal from me, my spirit and my joy.
This is a post I started two years ago. I was in a contemplative mood apparently and to be honest, I have no idea where I intended to take it or where it could have gone, <big smile> but here it is.
What if I had my life to do over again, would I find myself in a different time and place or would I be where I am today as an inevitability of FATE?
My childhood, I know, I cannot change because my parents would have been the same, having endowed me with the same hangups and insecurities I have now so that when I finally grew up, which would later influence the decisions I made in life. Wow!, that was a mouthful. Yet, there were turning points in their life that could have been different. In those known cases, my childhood could have taken another turn.
Turning point #1
What if when mother left my dad early on in their marriage and fled back to Mexico only to learn that she was pregnant with me and had decided NOT to go back to her abusive husband but instead stayed where she was and do her best by me and her life in Mexico? What would my life have been like then? For sure I know I would not have had the three siblings that followed. For sure I would not have suffered an abusive father or would that have been a destiny either way? Curious thought. Would I have managed to end up back in the states? Would my mother have married a Mexican fisherman or farmer, or would she have managed to hook a rich guy somewhere else? Had she been an educated woman, perhaps, but she wasn’t.
But no, she did go back to my dad and she did have three more children by him.
Turning point #2
What if my parents had not divorced when I was 15 and I had been able to stay in Hollywood, auditioning for parts to be an actor. Would I have made it? Did I even have a chance? I never got to find out one way or another. I never got to know.
Again no, they did get divorced and she married a man with four kids of his own and had another child between them, so I became “mother” to 8 younger siblings and Hollywood was no more.
Turning point # 3
What if I’d not been abused and looking for love in all the wrong places but instead paid attention to my studies, where would I be? According to testing done in the short time I was in college, (before I got pregnant) I scored high for an aptitude in scientific research studies and/or teaching. I would have loved to have pursued those as a career. Scientific research, I mean. Perhaps even become an archaeologist, a botanist or in lieu of current events, a research scientist. Except for the math part, I loved science.
Turning point #4
What if I’d married my college sweetheart? Where would my life be? Would the marriage have lasted? Given each of our backgrounds as they were, probably not. Once again, if we could change the baggage we were each carrying, could we have made it work, who knows? Also, had I become an actress and/or a research scientist, I would not have gotten pregnant in the first place. LOL Worse than that, I wouldn’t have my(our) sweet, loving daughter, who I love immeasurably.
(I tried to find a picture of the SST to put here, but failed miserably, so look it up, it’s an amazing obsolete jet). Picture that.
Turning point #5
If I’d taken up the offer to become a mistress to one of the French designers of the Concord SST, what would my life have been like? Let me make it clear, it was never a consideration but… what if it had been?
For one, I would have compromised my ideals of marrying for love for money. I was taken aback by the proposition in the first place because I thought a mistress had to have certain “talents” and we had not bedded. He said in his country (France) it was customary for a man of means to take one. There was no leering or unseemly behavior before the offer was made. His offer was all business-like and respectful if you can believe that. He said he liked me because I was “an innocent” despite the fact I was an unwed mother. He offered me a villa on the Riviera and of course more children and a place for my family and he would accept my daughter as his own and she would attend the finest schools in France, as would our children. I would be his courtesan to events. What a temptation, you might think. NOT! There was so much more to our conversation but I firmly told him I could not deliberately enter into a relationship that was in conflict with my beliefs. We parted and that was it. I sometimes wonder if he ever found his “innocent”. I might add, this man was extremely handsome. Movie star handsome but I turned him down anyway, but I never forgot it. Keep in mind I am an American Girl, so such a proposition couldn’t be anything but memorable. LOL
Turning point # 6
What would my life had been like had I not walked away from a good man who just happened to get drafted and sent to Vietnam? Would he have made it home safe and sound? Would we have made a happy family? Would I have been able to deal with his horrid mother? Why didn’t I wait? But sometimes destiny takes a different turn. Think about it, all those in my life now would not have been. Weird huh?
Turning point #7
What would my life have been like had I not been raped and had I not married the man that raped me? She was a gift and though she and I had a rocky start, we love each other dearly today. Yes, it is possible to love a man who hurt you repeatedly and it is hard to love the child that was a reflection of him, but anyone determined to, can. Had we not married he would not have adopted my eldest nor become the father she never knew and he was good to her. It also, however, would not have caused a deep seated rivalry and competition between the two sisters vying for his love, as we all were at the time, but I got over my effort and they are still working through theirs.
Turning point #8
What if I’d never married husband number two?
Turning point #9
What if I’d never married husband number three?
I’m sure we can take each of our what if’s and visualize the best and worst that could have been and imagine it’s possible results. Mine are as follow:
#1 would have been drastic. It would have been a life I can’t even fathom. I know mother would have worked hard to give me a life free of the burdens she endured as a child. She hated being a beggar and being poor, so those were things she would have never settled for. I could possibly have ended up a street urchin, or working and running a restaurant? Mother was a determined woman and always had the entrepreneurial spirit and liked to cook, so that was a viable option. I know I would not have been barefoot, because shoes for some reason were important to her. I, for sure would have gone to school (she was big on education) and maybe she would have managed to return to the states. She did it once before, so there was that. But… would her husband there have stifled that? Nope! She was too strong natured, even for that culture to let a man stop her, which is interesting because, I let everyone stop me. Beyond that I can’t really imagine what it would have been like.
#2 Had I had the opportunity to be an actress, I think I would have been a great one. I say that because the other night, working with a film group, no female actors showed up, so I got to read the part. It was a dramatic scene, where I pleaded and cried and I could see the camera man nearly crying with me!!! It was the best complement ever. And… I am now making my own films, such as they are and I’m not great but the fire still burns.
#3 Had I kept my head on straight and finished college, I would have loved being a research scientist. I love animals , so there’s a good chance I would have found a critter to advocate for. Maybe I could have made a profound discovery or two. The cure for Covid, maybe?
#4 If those elements that would have destined us to fail had not existed, I imagine we could have perhaps had one or two more children, lived in a number of foreign countries and continued our travels, exploring the world together today, living happily ever after. He got to live that dream and is now retired in Bali, lol.
#5 I think had I chosen 5, my children may have been happy, well placed, but I doubt that I would have been happy. Any time you go against your true nature, you cannot be happy and my true nature is what it is and likely to continue to death. Isn’t there a song, “you gotta stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”. – Aaron Tippin/John Mellencamp
#6 So many things could have changed the dynamics of this relationship. It was the Vietnam Era and it may have turned out fine, but it could have gone south. I really have no ideal speculation other than perhaps I would have given this young man something to come home to.
#7 In pretty much all the above cases, I would not have had the children or life I have today had things been different. I think our experiences make us who we are. The compassion I have today may have come from the pain I went through before. It’s a tough call. Our history is who we are.
#8. It’s interesting but husband number 2, being the religious man that he was, actually turned me away from God. It was ten years after that I would even pick up a Bible to even look at it. There is so much wisdom in the bible but when it’s used as a whipping tool, it can sour the stomach. Yes, there are verses about reproof, but I like to think of it as forming. Yet, that’s not how it was. If my values seem conflicted sometimes, it’s because of that. A part of me longs for the faith I used to have.
#9 Husband number three was an atheist, but that didn’t last because there was still enough belief in God for me to turn him into a believer, albeit it a weak one. He may go to church if I insist, but I never force anyone to do anything they are uncomfortable with, so I accepted the discomfort. I long to have someone at my side that shares my faith in God and who will encourage me and sit with me in church and sing praises as loudly as I do.
Since the previous information, so much has happened…
I fell out of a relationship and in love with someone I can’t imagine ever getting to be with and every day is painful. I am trying to accept this. My heart feels like that of a teenager trying to get over her first love. How can that be, I ask myself? Did I never really love before? I can’t imagine taking hold of my life deliberately and that’s where I want to be.
Now, my what if is, can I go for a life that is too unreal and be happy, like I’ve never known? Or am I looking at the grass is greener on the other side? Have you ever seen a picture of a pasture? Well, it looks green, even and beautiful, right? Wrong! My cousin’s cow pasture looked that way, but if you walked it, it had dips and cow pie obstacles you had to navigate through, so nothing is at seems and I haven’t lived this long not to know it.
It’s like the acting, my writing or any other endeavor anyone goes for, it’s not all smooth sailing. It all requires effort, but can I do it? ME! Can I? Do I have the guts to change my what if?
I have always gone with safe, but safe has left me wanting. I guess, I’m my mother’s daughter to the end. <big smile>
What are your what if’s or do you ever think about them?
When I was a girl, all my fairy tales had me believing that one day I could count on being rescued. They lied.
One of the selling points and one of my favorite lines from Pretty Woman, was her dream that she wanted the fairy tale. The prince on a white charger, who she would rescue back. Ah yes, the fairy tale.
Today’s young women are seeking to be empowered without a male. Society has emasculated the men of today. In some instances, it’s hard to tell gender. Men are being portrayed as either weak, idiots, suppressive, as well as oppressive. I grew up in a period where I was taught I am not complete without a male. It’s a hard habit to break, I must admit.
Since I made that decision to leave my husband, I did it not counting on being rescued.
That was one of the questions he posed at the time and a question I have pondered since. I think I’ve touched on this before but because I’m going through the trials presently, it’s back on my mind.
While I was on my walk, I thought of all the things I wanted say to him and believe it or not, I was quite witty and eloquent but now, head on, it’s gone, lol.
I think part of my problem is that I’m a negative nelly. I can see it in my son, but I have to admit, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I wonder if I don’t sabotage my relationships. I’m a pretty neat lady and lots of fun, but when it comes to relationships I fail miserably.
On that note, my intentions for this new year, is to give of myself abundantly, smile often and bring a smile to others whenever and if at all possible.
Easier said than done. Even though I’ve not driven often since my auto accident and because of Covid; I think I got it unknowingly though unconfirmed. How do I know? Well…
I did the unthinkable. I had my Covid test as required before my colonoscopy and it came out fine. Ideally, it would have been two days before but that would have had to be on Christmas day, so instead I had it done on Friday, the day before. ON Sunday my results were negative. By Monday, I had a horrible headache and some slight sniffles, so I did a nasal wash. I called the on-call nurse to verify and confirm the pre-day procedure. She noticed my congestion and was focusing on Covid rather than the questions I was asking, so I decided to hang up and talk to the doctors nurse.
How many of you have, like me wondered if colds and flu have been lumped together with supposed Covid cases? I thought she was making too much of it, I’m sorry to say, so I blew her off.
We spent Christmas with my mother in law.
After the colonoscopy, I went home and was miserable the next few days. I slept and ached nonstop.
The following weekend, New years day, we spent the day with mother in law and everything was fine.
Last weekend she did an at home test and tested positive. My daughter the nurse, says those are actually 90% accurate and, get this, do not have to be reported.
I’ve sent my doctor my symptoms and that information and gotten no response, so who knows? Did I have it? I don’t know. All I do know is how miserable I felt.
Being sick and miserable, I did ponder once again my intentions. Husband doesn’t want me to go. He figures 30 years were wasted, if I do. Hmmm. Something, I thought of as well, is, I’m no spring chicken, so what am I going to do out there in the big, bad world all alone? Would I be okay? Will I do better or worse? But… I’m not sure I want anyone. Right now I think, no.
We live modestly, but are by no means impoverished. We lack for nothing, really.
There are so many things I want to do. Can I do them with him? He’s not a bad person, but he never looks happy. He is fretting that he’ll never find a replacement, because he knows he’s not a handsome man. Which I find curious. Why do I need to be replaced? Which makes me wonder why he liked me to begin with. He has a dry wit and that can be cool. In sports and games, he just has to win. He has to be the best. Always. The men in my family like him fine, the women not so much, but then I come from a long line of free spirited women.
He once told me I was the foo-fooiest girl he ever dated. Most of the women before me were competitive cyclists and looked and acted like guys. When he spent $60 on our first date, he said he’d never spent that much on anyone! When we mountain-climbed and I had trouble keeping up, he never waited. It was always his friends that would stop and hold until I could catch up and then everyone would immediately pop up and keep going. They’d rested and snacked and I barely got a drink. I chalked it up to his toughening me up. I eventually got better and could keep up, but it always felt like I wasn’t important enough. Now, suddenly I am. It’s funny but the sport I was good at, rock climbing, he didn’t like as much and he was good at that too.
So, I’m at the crossroads. Do I settle for being the page and this is what the prince really looks like?
I’m saying this somewhat tongue in cheek, because I’ve talked to several couples who’ve made similar discoveries since Covid. It’s funny how when you live your day to day life, coming and going and interacting very little, you can put up with so much more. Suddenly confined, you realize, that’s what you’ve been doing. Putting up. For many couples, it went one of two ways, they either fell back in love or realized they had nothing in common.
In all fairness, I’ve noticed in myself, becoming a whiney bitch and that’s not me. Somewhat. I’ve always thought of myself as a glass half full kind of person and yet I find myself grumpy and fussy. I found myself picking at little things like whether or not after 8 years in this house, he still doesn’t know what dishes go where in the cupboard or that dishing the rice from the middle of the pot rather than neatly from the sides is irritating. Leaving the lid off when he dishes himself something to eat and letting it cool off is not considerate for whoever might come after for seconds. He loves to make up words, like a child would. Everything has an adulterated version of the real word. His mom thinks it’s cute. The thing is, I guess some women might actually find it funny or cute. Why is that? I find it annoying. Poor guy, he can’t win. He does have warm, comforting hugs though. I guess that’s something.