Love is Love

I’ve always felt love toward the animals in my life (though it’s a bit more difficultIn rural areas, children who love animals Royalty Free Stock Photography with my current dog, but that’s potentially another post; I’m sure she’s here to teach me something) and maybe toward the people in my life. Loving people, though, has often had a dangerous aspect of one kind or another that probably prevented me from loving as much or as well as I might have.

A lot of people feel this way about their animals, I think, especially when the posts on Facebook are taken into account. From cat photos to snarky pictures of “I like animals better than people,” it seems I’m not alone in the way I feel about animals.

For most of my life I felt guilty about that. I mean, people are the top of the line, Charity wristbands Stock Imagesright? We’re supposed to care about them more than anything else. Well, I care about people but more in the abstract than in the particular. I support charities that help the unfortunate and that feed hungry children and that protest bombings of civilian homes, etc. I open my pocketbook and at least a part of my heart.

But it’s a lot more difficult for me to open my heart, if not my pocketbook, for specific people in my life. I’m not sure when this sense of danger in loving people came into my life but it was very, very early. I can remember times when I was preverbal – yes, I can remember that far back – and the sense of danger was already there. But not toward the dog and cat and horses that were a part of my life on the farm. We moved from there when I was just past three years old. Only the cat came with us and then because he sneaked into the trailer. The dog was gone, the horses sold. And there went my opportunities to learn to love. Too painful.

We grow up looking for love, being told that we all look for love, believe that we Looking For Love Royalty Free Stock Photosneed love, believing that we can’t live without it. All of this is more or less true. But sometime in the past decade or decade and a half I had an AHA moment. It may have been forestalled as a result of the pain and rejection I felt with the divorce, or it may have been held off as a result of being too busy to think about things like love, or maybe it held off just because I wasn’t ready. But it happened and it was an epiphany.

I realized it wasn’t to get love that I was hoping for, it was to give love. I didn’t feel it was safe to give my love to the people I should have most wanted to give it to, like parents. And, of course, the divorce just verified that, so it took me a lot longer to understand love than it might otherwise have. My love was rejected and thrown back at me and me being me, I didn’t have enough courage to say, “Well, it’s his loss,” and go on with my life of finding someone to love. I found someone in spite of myself, though,and it’s challenging.

Horse lover Royalty Free Stock PhotoBut I never had to be concerned about giving love to my animals, whether dogs, cats, or horses. They all received it without judgment or complaint and, of course, gave it back. You haven’t been hugged until you find yourself being hugged by a horse, by the way. We’re told that we love animals because they love us unconditionally. That’s probably true. But they also accept love unconditionally. How many people can we say that about? Not me, for one. I don’t easily let love into my life. It’s painful to let yourself be loved and then have that love ripped away.

Unconditional Love Royalty Free Stock PhotosSo now I’m trying to learn how to give and receive love unconditionally. I’m like most people, darn it, in that I don’t do a very good job of that, I’m afraid. I am afraid. Literally. I’m still afraid that if I give my love it will be rejected and thrown back at me. That if I accept love wholeheartedly my heart will be torn out. But that doesn’t mean I should give up. It takes courage to give love even if it’s not recognized or returned but that’s what we’re here for. To learn to give love. Getting love is nice, is important; giving love is imperative.

It’s difficult in these times to give unconditional love even in the abstract, what with polarizing politics and judgmental attitudes about any subject you can think of. It makes me want to be a hermit. I can’t do that, of course, and still make an effort to love unconditionally. It’s not likely that I’ll be loved, either, then.

Happy baby boy learning to walk on grass Stock PhotographyAnd maybe I don’t have to do it perfectly all at once, though that’s my default position. Maybe if I just keep on trying, keep on stretching, keep on learning, it will be enough. At my age I’m still a baby at learning this stuff.

Ancaro Imparo. It’s a phrase allegedly attributed to Michaelangelo that means “I am still learning.”

Hard to Believe…

Today would be my 49th wedding anniversary – if I hadn’t been divorced after the statistically significant seven years, at which time the fabled itch seems to have struck my husband.

I’m only bringing up how long ago I was married for the firstBud and Sam after wedding Jul 65 and, apparently, the last time because it boggles my mind. Like many, I had aspirations of maybe reaching that 50th anniversary but, of course, I didn’t expect to reach it by myself. And technically I haven’t, of course, but how can it have been so long ago, when all of the events around my marriage and its dissolution seem so relatively fresh?

I suppose some might say I haven’t moved on, that I’m still embroiled in the emotions and feelings that came up around all that. First, there was knowledge of the affair; then there followed the long drawn out but seemingly inevitable divorce even though I tried to avoid it; then there was my former husband’s death in a plane crash barely a year after the divorce. It was a lot to cope with. I think I have, though.

I’ve now been with my SO for 36 years, our not-marriage lasting more than five times as long as I was married. Just shows to go ya that maybe all the hoopla around marriage licenses and certificates and such doesn’t mean quite as much as we make it all out to be. Also, I’m not convinced that there wasn’t some sort of plan or something at the level of Higher Selves that made my marriage and divIMG_0054orce a prelude to my current status. There certainly seems to have been a pretty incongruous plan about even getting married when we did, as unlikely as it seems. I could write a novel about how that happened and people would say “unrealistic.” But it happened. It was real. And,  of course, my ex’s Higher Self may have had a plan for his life, too. Shoot, for all I know “we” planned it together before we were even born.

I never know how to figure out if there is a real “plan” or if I’ve learned to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear more often than not so that it sorta feels like it was planned. There’s been a lot in my life that, once I had enough distance from events, showed evidence of something coming together no matter how implausible. I speak mostly about my ownBusiness action plan Royalty Free Stock Image sense of that, however; I can’t speak for others, though it sometimes seems that “it’s” at work in their lives, too. What was it that A-team leader used to say? “I love it when it all comes together.” Something like that. I love it when I have enough age and hindsight to see that it seems to have come together. Maybe I wish it could have been less painful or whatever, but, well, I’m pretty pleased where I am now.

I just can’t get over the idea that it was nearly a half century ago that I was married. A half century! For some folks that’s a lifetime. Or longer. My former husband was only 30 when that plane crashed.

A short lifetime.

OK, So I Lied…

I said I’d not mention things about the tumor and such again but I have a bit of a different slant on it that might not make it such a bore. At least I hope some of you might see it that way.

I think I mentioned that many of the supplements I’m taking and have taken for years turn out to be natural forms of the anti-hormone pills I’m supposed to take for the next five years. And that I won’t be taking them any more. The pills, that is. I’m continuing the supplements, maybe even adding to them.

I wonder if the fact that I’ve been using the supplements had anything to do with the fact that the tumor was pretty much confined to one locale and hadn’t spread to lymph nodes, etc. There’s no way to be sure about that, of course, but I can’t help but wonder. My intuition suggests it’s possible.

Every so often I sort of wonder about doing something different, dropping a certain supplementSupplements for healthy life concept Royalty Free Stock Image or increasing the dose or taking a new one, and that suggests to me that my Higher Self may be hinting at something new. Trouble is, Higher Self isn’t always clear; it seems to want to make me make the decision, to grow up, be an adult. I’m not real good at listening to Higher Self yet, though sooner or later I’ll often do something "impulsive" that’s been cooking silently on the back burner and it seems to turn out OK. Maybe Higher Self is acting then.

Since natural and plant supplements often provide much lower dosages than the synthetic stuff, I’ve thought that maybe I should increase the amounts that I use but since I’m already over many of the recommended amounts I’m being very careful what I do. Decisions, decisions. Growth.

What this post is leading up to is that I think the world is iSteep learning curve drawn on a blackboard. Royalty Free Stock Photon an evolutionary "learning curve" that’s rapidly rising and things like cancer and world disruptions and such have a purpose, though I’m not sure exactly what that might be. I suspect it’s to help us learn to make difficult decisions, to become co-creators of the world we live in. I think my cancer is to give me the chance to learn to pay attention to something I’ve often given short shrift. Intuition, listening to my heart. I’ve long lived in my head.

We like to think of growth as something orderly and controlled but Mother Nature doesn’t always see things the same way we do. We’re being given a chance to learn and participate in something most of us have long believed to take ages and eons and to happen more or less accidentally and beyond our control, beyond our lifetime.

But evolution is now happening even as we observe it (though it may not be clear that’s what it is at the time) and it may seem more like a “world of hurt” than growth, which is what evolution is. Many of us want to return to life as it was, as it used to be, but a state that’s characterized by no growth is called death. It’s our choice. Scary, huh?

Diverging Paths Royalty Free Stock PhotoWe’re no longer following paths that have been laid out by those who went before us who, we believe, might have been wiser than we are. We’re making new paths where there are none and we’re becoming "the ones that have gone before."

When it’s only you that’s involved with your intuitive choices and decisions it’s easier than when it also involves others. It’s often painful and exhausting and worrisome when we understand that what we feel is right may simply be opinion, and biased, at that. How can we be sure it’s our intuition and correct?

Follow your heart. Intuition, like the Higher Self, doesn’t shout. But then, good teachers don’t have to shout, they gently guide, and let you learn at your own speed and in yoFollow Your Heart - Two-Way Street Sign Royalty Free Stock Imagesur own way. Dam’! LOL

That intuition thing is tricky, isn’t it? There’s a feeling of “right,” – not righteousness – when we get it, though. I think we have to learn to trust it by trusting it and by learning when we get it wrong. We may feel more confident and comfortable when we follow our head but if we let our heart inform our head we can have it all. That’s pretty much the way we grow up, become adults, by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes and living with the consequences, painful and/or sad though they may be.

But if we don’t start at least giving half an ear to intuition and the Higher Self we may not have the chance to grow or have a planet to grow on.

I wonder what the new human being will be like.

I’ve beeTag with Sorry Stock Photographyn terribly remiss about writing here of late. My apologies.

It’s not as if I write much of anything deep and/or thoughtful, but I like to think I at least have something to say now and then that might make you think or take a different look at something you’ve taken for granted or just to fill up a blank page.Laziness Stock Image

But I haven’t. It’s not that I haven’t had ideas and thoughts about things I could write about. I simply haven’t had the energy. I don’t know if I can blame the anti-hormone pills (maybe) or just my innate laziness (could be).  I sit down and look at the computer screen and suddenly an hour or more has gone by and it’s time to make supper (if I have the energy) or pay bills or something.

I’m about out of the pills and I’ve made the definite decision to not take any Pills Stock Imagemore. I’m not convinced I need them and, it turns out, a lot of the supplements I take and have taken for years are natural inhibitors. Maybe that’s why the tumor hadn’t spread to the lymph nodes but had just stayed where it started.Decision Stock Photography

In any event, I’m going to stop the pills and continue the supplements and not worry about the outcome. My decision is either “wrong” or “right” but in any case it’s my decision and I’ll live with the outcome.

And today’s post is the last one about my medical condition. You’ve put up with enough about it. I’ll try to find more interesting subjects in the future.

Thanks for sticking with me through all of this.

I haven’t had much energy to keep up with posting here. I’d thought I’d be able to post yesterday and then it turned out to be one of my most difficult days yet. Today is a bit better so I figured I’d try again.

I owed an email to my foster daughter and when I was finished it occurred to me that, with a bit of editing, it might do as a post.

So, here it is.


The surgeries to remove the tumor weren’t fun but they were a piece of cake compared to what followed. The surgeries showed that there was no lymph node involvement, for which I was very grateful. The surgical reports appeared such that they got all of the tumor but you know how they always want as much guarantee as possible so I had a bout of radiation for five days a week, four weeks. It’s difficult for me to get myself put together and get out the door though I can manage it once a week for grocery shopping. But every day just for a 2 or 3 minute session of radiation was much harder. Thank goodness I didn’t have to go to Temple, forty miles one way. They have a clinic about ten miles from here. Still hard but not as much. Took all the energy I could dredge up just the same.

So, that took a lot out of me. Then, after I finished my last session on a Monday in April I went to a three day writers convention the next weekend in Austin. I’d signed up for that long before the radiation stuff so I didn’t want to miss it. I didn’t count on the "wet peel," as they called it, which was the skin coming off in large swaths leaving a lot of weeping tissue to cope with as well as getting myself around the hotel in my wheelchair for three days. Fortunately – and here’s a nice surprise – I had plenty of incontinence pads in my luggage so instead of using them for urine, I used them to absorb the wetness under my breast and nothing ever showed through my clothing. Who would have guessed? LOL

The day after my last radiation session I started taking the hormone pills that, if everything goes as planned, could be expected to go on for five years. Those pills are the pits! Not as bad as chemo, I suppose, but who needs hot flashes and night sweats twenty years after you’ve already had them? Not to mention other side effects like depression and weight gain and desperate sleepiness and muscle aches and joint aches (with fibro, who needs more of that?) and nasty stuff I’ve already been through.

I’ve got about another month of my first prescription taking them and then, I told the doc, I’d consider stopping them. If my situation was different I might consider keeping them up but with no lymph node involvement and a pretty clear case of getting all the tumor and the radiation killing any other cells in the area, I feel pretty confident in dropping them.

Yesterday, as I said, was an unusually difficult day and if I hadn’t fallen asleep shortly after I had my coffee (!) I was planning on emailing my doc and telling her I quit. It was a really tough day, energetically.

Today is some better and I decided I’ll finish the prescription after all. That’s today. Who knows what tomorrow might bring? *G*

SO’s been really good through all of this, taking off work to help me get to where I need to go, bringing home carry out when I can’t even think of something to cook much less cook it, and trying very hard to make it as easy for me as possible. I worry about the stress on him, too, since things are pretty tough at his job.

I just want it to be over and go back to at least where I was even with "just" the fibro. At least I could think then, and do some things I don’t have energy for now.

So, that brings us up to date. While it’s far from as bad as it could have been or could be, it’s not been easy. I’m trying to listen to my body and if it says "enough" of something, I do that. Thus, I’m not sure about the prescription as yet. If I get the message – and I usually have to get the message multiple times ’cause I’m not always sure – then it’ll be dropped when I’m sure.

I’m just grateful that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Mother’s Day

I’m having a bit of difficulty with this subject. I know all about the lovely sentiments that make the rounds on this day, and at one time I helped them to circulate. But I think they were more about what I wished than what I experienced or at least what I took to be my reality.

My mother died twenty-two years ago. I would like to say I miss her, and I do, in some ways, but not in the ways those sentimental cards and Facebook posts might suggest.

We didn’t have a bad relationship or an abusive one; we barely had one at all, it seems. I’ve been trying for a long, long time to figure out what that meant to me. I did live with her for seventeen years so there was a relationship but I’m having trouble defining it.

I mean, I had food, a place to live, new clothes upon occasion – when they weren’t hand-me-downs from my cousin – and I think she really tried once in a while to be the mother that society said she should be. Not often, but once in a while. Or maybe all the time. Who can know, now?

And when she tried to “help” me, I most often felt it as a suggestion, even a criticism, that I was not all I could be, was even a disappointment, perhaps. Like the time when I was about fifteen and she “helped” me go on a diet of cottage cheese and peaches. I hadn’t considered myself fat until that happened but for the rest of my life I “knew” I was fat and would have to fight that. Looking back on old pictures I can see I was never fat. Ever. But my mind said otherwise.

I can only ascribe to her what I now think was going on with her because then we didn’t discuss things that many mothers and daughters seem to do, like sex, for one. When she realized it was time for me to learn about it, she gave me a book to read, one I doubt even she really understood. I actually learned more from the Encyclopedia Britannica in study hall than I did from that book.

I don’t remember her teaching me to cook, though she made sure ILittle Girl Cleaning Pots and Dishes Stock Image did the dishes. The only ironing I recall doing was handkerchiefs but I didn’t really learn to do the more difficult things like shirts and such. Most of what I know how to do today I learned from books and women’s magazines and just plain flying by the seat of my pants. So I’m not a good cook and I don’t really do well at housecleaning, though some things are obvious in what has to be done, like scrubbing bathtubs and such.

I suspect, but can’t really know, that she didn’t know much Children skinned knee Stock Imageabout being a different kind of mother, the kind who hugs and makes you feel warm and loved and cared about when you skin your knees or something. Mostly she just said, on such occasions, “Don’t cry. It doesn’t hurt.” Yes, it did hurt, and I needed that to be acknowledged so I could heal. Housework always took precedence. Housework wouldn’t do itself but skinned knees would heal themselves.

Most likely she also needed but never experienced the kind of mother that was sympathetic, either. I think she maybe had an inkling of what was expected of her but no role model. I also suspect that she was likely trying for most of her life to do what she thought was expected of her, to be what was expected of her, even though she wasn’t quite sure what that might be, instead of just being who and what she was and being loved for it. I can relate to that.

So, like many women, I grew up vowing not to become my mother, much like she most likely also did. And like most women who swear they will never become their mothers, I have.

Not that I ever had kids. Early on I got the impression that kids were a hassle and a duty but not something that would ever deliberately be chosen or enjoyed. If necessary, I would have had kids if I’d had to, but it scares me to think that they might have turned out like me. I never got the chance to find out, though, and I think that’s probably a good thing.

Not that I’m cold or anything. I know I’m sensitive and have a kind and gentleStudio Portrait Of Mother Hugging Young Daughter Royalty Free Stock Images heart, but I can barely express that. I’m more of a hugger than my mother was, and I cry easily over harm and hurt done to children and animals, and I support charities that try to remedy those hurts. But, like her, I suspect, I rarely would be able to show that side of me to my children.

For what it’s worth, I was a foster parent for some time and I think I was a decent one but not a particularly good one. I was kind but not warm, I gave hugs but inexpert ones. And yet, I still have one foster daughter who keeps in contact with me, some forty years later. who called me “the best mother ever.” So maybe there is a place for mothers like mine – and me.

But it would be lovely to know and to be shown I was loved and wasn’t just an accidental duty to be attended to for the required number of years.

Still, I pretty much like myself even if I’m not perfect and will never be, either just generally perfect or the perfect mom. I can only hope that my mother came to that realization for herself, too. She was a good and decent woman and with all her faults, she was “mother” and without her I wouldn’t be writing this today.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Clutter? Or Hoarding?

My own clutter threatens to overwhelm me every day until my intendedness finally gives way and I sigh once again.

But my thought aMessy Bedroom Royalty Free Stock Photot the moment is about the people and the house recently written about in our local paper. The house was bought as a tax property, the people were evicted by the new owner, and over six hundred trash bags filled with what they left behind. Hoarders.

We drove by the house as we were on our way to go shopping and saw the trash bags piled on the curb. The pile was well over six feet high and probably fifteen or twenty feet long. And they weren’t even done cleaning up yet.

Where do we draw the line between clutter and hoarding? I comfort myself with the knowledge that at least I keep my bath and my kitchen cleaned up, not Woman In A Cluttered Cubicle Royalty Free Stock Imagesletting milk cartons and other trash become hoarded filth.

But I also sit in my office and look at the piles of books and magazines and papers and printers and computers that I’ve accumulated until I have only a sort of trail from the door to my desk.

Is that clutter? Or is it hoarding?

I have seven six-foot Books and bookshelves Stock Photosbookshelves filled with books (and that’s just in my office) and I can’t see that as hoarding. But is it? I know I’m not likely to ever read some of these books again but I keep them anyway. I know I’ll never read the computer printouts I’ve saved but "there’s something in there  that’s important," and that’s why I’ve saved them.

Large stack of computer floppy disks Stock PhotosI have stacks of 3.5" floppy disks that are so old they can barely be read by my current computer. Actually, my computer has no floppy disk drive so I’ve kept my old and very slow computer, "just in case." Clutter? Or hoarding?

I excuse a lot of this simply because when we moved here, much quicker than I expected to, I didn’t have time to organize as we moved in. There is a sort of organization to my mess, or at least it started that way, but I’m the only one that can see it, I suppose. But even for me stuff seemed to accumulate faster than my organization could keep up with it. Garbage bags Stock Photography

Add to that the chronic fatigue that has been the bane of my existence for at least the last twenty-five years, plus the fatigue currently left by the radiation therapy, and I can try to justify these piles. Try.

But as Yoda says, “There is no try. Only do or not do.” That Yoda, what a joker!

And now, after seeing that wall of packed trash bags, I have to ask myself – am I hoarding? I don’t know. Just because my clutter may not be as extreme as theirs was is no failsafe.

But something has to be done, either to the clutter or to the hoard.


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