Coming soon…

I’ve been meaning to write. I have a lot that I need to catch up on and I have much that I’ve been wanting to share. Timing (with a capital “T”), it seems is an art I’ve yet to master. (As it turns out, life with 2 babies IS a lot more chaotic than life with just one.) Throw in a handful of other children, a husband, a playdate group, running a household, and gearing up for an awesome writing gig with my mentor, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of why I haven’t been updating nearly as much as I’d like. But fear not! I’ll be back.

I will not bow.

I totally just remembered that the depth of my stubbornness is deeper than the deepest, darkest part of the Marianas Trench.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, y’all.

You will not see me waving a white flag on this one. I’m much stronger than that.

Besides, it’s always a little fun to prove the masses wrong.

Time has a way of demonstrating that the most stubborn are the most intelligent.

– Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Where was I?

Every time I think I reach my limit as far as physical pain is concerned, it goes on to surprise me. It’s like magic. Horrible, agonizing magic.
Chronic pain changes the way you interact with people; your limits get shorter, your exhaustion goes up, you are always at the end of your fuse and running on empty. If I was always the person I am when I’m in pain, I would be alone the rest of my life, and that scares the shit out of me. I fear that one day I’ll become so afraid of taking my medications that I’ll take far less than I need to get by – or none at all – and I will drive everyone away. I don’t know that it’s possible to describe it to someone who has not experienced it…constant pain can turn a kind, sympathetic and patient person into goddamn sociopath. Existing while in pain requires considerable mental strength, so emotional upset generally increases pain levels.

Taken from Heather (aka Babyslime) here.

I’ve not been very interested in writing recently, largely due to the amount of physical pain I’ve been in (for months now). At this point, the pubic symphysis pain is the least painful out of all of the ailments I’m enduring. That said, I’ve learned (and relearned) a few lessons taken from previous pregnancies:

  • Bronchitis always sucks, but it sucks even harder if you are so pregnant that you’ve got feet or a head jammed into the bottom of your rib cage. If the coughing doesn’t wind you, then the contractions caused by coughing will surely make you wish you were dead.
  • Mild to moderate edema (swelling) is perfectly normal during pregnancy, especially as you get closer to your due date. Severe edema (where you literally gain approximately 10 pounds every week) is just wrong. I’ve never weighed this much (even at my heaviest!). I’m easily carrying around about 40 extra pounds of fluid and it is killing the joints in my hips, legs, feet, and back. Because every inch of my body is so swollen, it has also made me lose about 90% of the functionality in my right hand/arm. I can’t write for longer than a few seconds at a time before the bending of my fingers causes this shooting pain that radiates up my arm into my elbow. My fingers and hands on both sides constantly have a pins and needles feeling in them and that alone just sucks balls.
  • Just because you are horribly disfigured from swelling and weight gain doesn’t mean that your libido magically goes away. This sucks because OBVIOUSLY.
  • People are assholes and can be rude as shit, even if they aren’t intentionally trying to be rude as shit. Whenever I’m out in public, it never fails that at least once someone will ask me when I’m due. As soon as I respond it never fails that their follow up question is whether I’m carrying twins. I’ve given up being polite in my response and about a month ago started being honest in answering that this pregnancy started out that way. This usually makes the person asking uncomfortable enough to stop and walk away. The other night though as I was hobbling around the grocery, a well-intentioned gal (I’m sure) asked me if I was carrying twins and my knee-jerk reaction to the question was to simply state that it was incredibly rude to ask a complete stranger such a personal question. I clearly made her feel ashamed for asking and I almost felt badly about it, but come on. I mean, I get it. I’m fucking huge. I could easily pass for carrying triplets at this point. But does that give anyone the right to ask such a thing? It’s just effing rude.

I’ve tried my best not to complain about it all, especially because there’s an end in sight. I just have to make it through a few more weeks and it’ll all be over. Heck, I may not even have to wait that long if the contractions I’ve been having for the last few days are any indication. My next appointment is tomorrow morning and I’m sure my OBGYN will check for any effacement and/or dilation while he’s poking around down there doing my Group B Strep test. With any luck he’ll tell me I’m already in labour and we can go ahead and get this show on the road.

An open letter to USAA: Isn’t that cute? (BUT IT’S WRONG.)

Dear USAA,

On the morning of May 12, 2011, I took my two eldest children to school, just like any other school day. I dropped my son (then aged 9) off first, because he was (is) still in primary school. Afterwards, I drove my daughter (aged 12) to middle school. After dropping two of my children off at their respective schools, I would have normally been on my way into the office but because I was on short-term disability at that time, instead I started to make my way back home. If you are curious as to why I was taking a paid leave of absence from work, it was because on May 12, 2011 I was officially 38 weeks pregnant. Now, I know it’s not all that uncommon for someone that far along to have already started maternity leave, but you see during that particular pregnancy (technically with all but the first of my pregnancies) I suffer from what is known as pubic symphysis diastasis.

If you’ve never experienced this condition before, let me try and describe it to you. Once I reach about 20 weeks in pregnancy, I suffer through Every. Single. Waking. Moment. with what feels like an ax wedged squarely in the middle of my pubic bone. As you can probably imagine, I was greatly looking forward to returning home so that I could crawl (literally!) back into bed to try and sleep my way through at least part of the day. Unfortunately, because of what happened next, I didn’t get the opportunity to realize any kind of respite from the physical agony I had been for months by that point. In addition to being prevented from any kind of anticipated sleep-induced time away from the severe pain I courted as a constant companion, that mid-May morning I was also forced to endure one of the worst thoughts that I, an expectant mother, could ever possibly have to consider — whether or not the baby growing inside of me was dead or alive. All because one of the motorists you insure was in such an obvious hurry that morning that she didn’t bother to stop (or even slow down) before she rear ended me while I was completely stopped at a yield sign in order to let oncoming traffic pass through the intersection.

If you’ve ever experienced the joy of preparing for your own flesh and blood to enter the world (as either a mother or a father), I’m confident that you’ll be able to empathize with me when I say that within a matter of nanoseconds I was terrified, shaking violently and uncontrollably due to the flood of adrenaline coursing through my veins. I had never been involved in an automobile accident (and I’d certainly never been in an accident while being 38 weeks pregnant). I knew immediately that I had been hurt, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t focused on myself. Instead, I was overwhelmingly sick, consumed with unrelenting worry and absolute distress at the thought of the baby girl in my womb being injured. I was in a state of shock and sheer panic and all I wanted to do was finish my journey home so I could ask my (then) fiance to drive me to the hospital. Nothing mattered to me more at that moment than to ensure my baby wasn’t hurt or worse.

Bordering on hysteria, I called my future husband who (thankfully) arrived on the scene within minutes. I was too afraid to even get out of my vehicle so he attempted to take charge of the situation by speaking with the woman who hit me. He provided her with our contact details and insurance information and in turn, requested the same from the driver you insure. I was so afraid that we were wasting time. Valuable time that would have been better spent getting checked out at the hospital. However, to add insult to injury, the motorist you insure refused to give any of her insurance information. Instead, she decided to call her husband (rather than you, USAA) so we ended up having to call 911 in order to have a police officer arrive on the scene to collect the details. Here I was, completely freaked out and then had to wait even longer because the driver that you insure flat out refused to provide her policy information.

After what felt like forever, the officer arrived on the scene and completed the accident report and only then were we free to leave so that I could FINALLY HEAD TO THE HOSPITAL. But the worst was left to come. I made it to the hospital and proceeded to be evaluated. The wonderful nurses and doctors treating me requested that an ER doctor come up to L&D so that the excruciating pain in my neck could be evaluated. After physically examining me, he advised that the only way they’d be able to truly understand the scope of my injuries was if I had x-rays done. Clearly, being 38 weeks pregnant and still waiting on the news as to whether my baby was OK, I refused the ER doctor’s offer. As I waited hour after hour in the Labour and Delivery ward of the hospital, all I could do was sit there and cry. My mind kept going back to the worst-case scenario I was facing. The thought of my baby girl, who only had a few short weeks to continue growing and developing, potentially dying inside of me was beyond brutal. We spent all day in the hospital but were finally given the news we wanted to hear. The baby was uninjured, and we were medically cleared for discharge. I couldn’t have been more relieved. Even though I was still in an incredible amount of pain (and was obviously NOT prescribed any type of pain medication because of the pregnancy), I was more than willing to suffer through however long it took for my body to heal. So, I waited, and exactly 2 weeks and 1 day later, or baby girl was born, healthy and beautiful. I hope this isn’t too much information, but I think it’s important to note that I delivered her without the assistance of an epidural. I feel like this is important to point out because in pushing a baby out of my vagina, not only was the lower half of my body doing a bunch of work (obviously), but putting my chin to my chest was no easy feat. All because of the car accident that your insured motorist caused.

Following the momentous birth of our daughter, we were discharged about a day and a half later. Yes, the pain in my neck (literally) was still bothering me; however, the pain in my underwear place was my primary focus. Clearly I still had a lot of healing to do. Weeks went by and I felt as though my body was getting better. On my own I decided that perhaps a better pillow would solve the issues I was still experiencing with my neck. I tried several pillows, each more expensive than the last and finally in mid-August found one that helped at least a little. I have to say that I’m a little proud of my high tolerance to pain (hello? giving birth without an epidural?) and with so much going on within our household (e.g., me resigning from work in order to stay home with the baby, me and the two eldest children returning to school full time, taking care of a newborn who was Baby #4 for us) I simply could not justify spending the time or the money to see a doctor about the issues with my neck. Oh, and on top of ALL of that, in mid-August, we found out that we were expecting Baby #5. My fate was sealed at that point. I simply felt as though I had no choice but to live with my injury, because I knew that the first thing any doctor was going to want was an x-ray. (If you’re interested in why I am so adamantly opposed to x-rays in pregnancy, it was because of a miscarriage I suffered many years ago while I was 10 weeks pregnant after I had sprained an ankle and subsequently had x-rays done to confirm there was no fracture.) I’ll never know if there was any correlation between the two, but since then I’ve been strongly against having any kind of x-rays done while pregnant.

By mid-September though, I couldn’t take it any more. I finally made the decision to seek treatment for my injuries. This was no easy decision, partly because I felt guilty for taking any time away from my everyday responsibilities (you know, the full-time mom, full-time student, full-time wife gig). The other reason it took me so long to finally do something about my pain is because from May 12, 2011, (the date your insured driver hit me), I (and MY insurance company) paid for almost EVERYTHING out of pocket. Yes, that means that I paid my required co-pays and MY insurance footed the rest of the bill for:

  • The trip to L&D, including:
  1. Each physician’s charge for seeing me.
  2. The ultrasound performed that my insurance didn’t cover AT ALL (because they deemed it “experimental” – a rant for another time).
  3. The rental car I needed while my vehicle was being repaired (because it’s not like I could just be without a car since I was full term and could have given birth at any time).

As you can see, seeking treatment wasn’t as simple as just finding a doctor. I knew upfront that I was going to have to pay for it all (“it” of course being any type of treatment I could find that would provide even a tiny measure of relief), and that my insurance would (again) cover the rest of the costs.

Since I had already provided proof of the above costs (on August 30, 2011), the USAA claims adjuster offered me a lump-sum payment of $3,500. He explained that this would cover the reimbursement owed to my insurance company, as well as reimbursement for the money I had paid out of pocket. This lump-sum payment also included some money to account for any “pain and distress” caused by the accident. During that phone call (in mid-September if memory serves correctly), I politely explained to him that I would consider USAA’s offer but that there were going to be additional bills because I had decided to go ahead and seek treatment for my injuries. He indicated that because there were going to be additional bills, that I should wait until treatment had concluded so that I could submit these additional expenses to be included in the lump-sum payment from your company.

I decided to make an appointment with my primary care physician because I figured that would be an appropriate way to begin this process. Unfortunately, my physician said he couldn’t treat me, because I was currently pregnant and therefore wasn’t comfortable with ordering x-rays or prescribing pain medication. In the midst of attempting to discover another route for treatment, I was forced to take a few trips to urgent care on a couple of nights when the pain was so terrible that I didn’t want to continue living. The urgent care doctors prescribed several pain medications and referred me to a neurologist, telling me that because the pain was so bad I really should consider just sucking it up and have an MRI done to see what the root of the problem was. Because I had indicated that the reason for my visit was due to being involved in a car accident, my urgent care office refused to bill my insurance company since the accident was the fault of your motorist. So, I got to pay for all of that out of my own pocket. In desperation, I called my OBGYN to get some advice on what to do next. She advised me to follow the recommendation of the urgent care physicians and see a neurologist, but that when I did, that I could only have an MRI done (no x-rays or CT scan), if and only if my abdomen was double shielded.

The neurologist that I was finally able to see in mid-November (apparently all of the San Antonio area neurologists that accepted my insurance have considerable waiting lists for new patients) refused to do an MRI (or anything else for that matter) because even if an MRI confirmed a ruptured or slipped disc in my cervical spine, there wasn’t going to be anything he could do about it because I was pregnant. He did prescribe some muscle relaxers though that were safe to take while pregnant. Unfortunately, it was a fruitless endeavor in getting that prescription filled (again, something I had to pay for out of pocket!) because they didn’t help at all.

After waiting for WEEKS (in constant pain) to even see the neurologist (all the while living with profound anxiety because I had been conditioned to believe that x-rays and an MRI was going to be an absolute requirement in order to obtain treatment), I felt ultimately defeated. I didn’t know what else to do. I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I was just going to have to live with the issues in my neck.

One of the best decisions I made throughout this entire ordeal was finally looking into “alternative” types of treatment. It took some time and work, but by mid-October I finally found a wonderful chiropractor who agreed to treat me. I was thrilled when she recommended an aggressive treatment plan that included ultrasound therapy, massage therapy, physical therapy, and adjustments to my cervical spine. Relief didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took 3-4 visits each WEEK for a full month before I started to feel normal again. In the beginning, I had my doubts about how effective a chiropractor was even going to be. Especially because each and every visit cost me a $35 copay (again, with MY insurance footing the remainder of the bill). Slowly but surely though, I was finally getting better.

Out of the blue, a day or two before Christmas, I received a phone call from the claims adjuster. I wasn’t able to call him back until 2 days ago (in part because of the holidays and also because a week and a half ago we moved our entire household over 100 miles away from the San Antonio area). I’m not entirely sure he was looking at the correct claim because he seemed way too enthusiastic when he exclaimed that USAA was prepared to offer me a lump-sum settlement payment of $1,200. He then prattled on about how this amount was to reimburse what my insurance company had spent, and would also cover all of my out of pocket expenses, and included some additional money to cover “pain and distress.”

I attempted to stop him in order to clarify why the settlement amount was over $2,000 less than the original amount offered. I received no explanation. I attempted to explain that in addition to the expenses and bills he had received
from me previously that I had more that I would be submitting. I was told that any time there was lapse in time between the date of injury and treatment that this “raises a red flag” and that I would have to get a letter from my doctor that explains why so much time passed between the two events. When I attempted to remind him that the reason I didn’t get immediate treatment was due to the fact that I couldn’t BECAUSE A DRIVER YOU INSURE HIT ME ON THE DAY I OFFICIALLY STARTED THE 38TH WEEK OF PREGNANCY he only stated that my claim would have to be “carefully evaluated” because USAA generally won’t cover expenses for treatment that extend as long as mine have. Then, he explained that not only would I need to provide all EOBs from my insurance company that pertain to medical attention received due to the accident but that I would also need a letter from my doctor explaining why there had been such a gap in treatment. When I asked him which doctor this letter would need to be from, he finally indicated that it should be from my chiropractor. He then said that he would follow up with me in “about a month” to see where I was in gathering all of this documentation. I decided to leave it at that and let him know that I would print and scan every single EOB and I also let him know that I would call the chiropractor in an attempt to get such a letter. 48 hours later, I have the EOBs requested. However, in speaking with my chiropractor’s office, the receptionist stated that the chiropractor was on vacation until next week but that it wasn’t likely that she was going to be able to produce such a letter because ultimately, the chiropractor would not be able to fully explain this whole ordeal since I only started seeing her in mid-October. It would be too much of a “liability” she explained.

And truthfully, I understand the logic. For my chiro to try and explain this whole ordeal would be impossible. Hell, it’s taken me a few days now to finish this “letter” myself. So here we are. I’ll have everything scanned in as soon as we finish unpacking so that I can get my scanner hooked up. When I submit all of the EOBs, I’ll also be sure to include a copy of this letter. And then, I’ll give USAA a reasonable time to evaluate all of the information. But be forewarned that if each and every expense my insurance company has paid, and each and every expense that I have paid, along with a reasonable amount for “pain and distress” isn’t included in the next settlement amount you have to offer, you’ll be hearing from a personal representative on behalf. I will not sit idly by and continue to be insulted.

Sincerely,

— Julie

Aye <3

Despite everything, I was thinking the other day about how glad I was that things have happened as they have.

I would hate to have spent the rest of my life wondering what could have been and thinking of you as the one who got away.

I love you Derek Marshall Dukes. ♥

Sumo San Antonio – A Review

We recently bought a new car from Carmax and because we ended up having to visit the dealership a few times, I noticed a new Japanese steakhouse where the old Benihana used to be. I was thrilled because future husband had never been to a place like that before and I wanted to take him since I knew he’d enjoy it. Imagine my delight when I saw an email from Groupon a few days later with a deal on a teppanyaki-style dinner for 2 for the crazy price of only $35.00. Earlier this evening I decided that it would be fun to go and try it out with the family.

When we arrived at Sumo San Antonio, we were warmly greeted by the hostess and were seated at a table with a younger couple. They didn’t seem to mind at all that we were there with 3 of our children (ages 12, 10, and 4 months). It wasn’t too long before our server (Zachary) came to take our drink orders. He asked upfront if any of use were using any coupons and as it turns out, the couple seated at our table was also redeeming a Groupon voucher. It took a little while for our drinks to arrive. I ordered a Dr. Pepper, the two eldest children ordered root beer, and future husband ordered a pint of Sapporo. After our drinks arrived, our server took our order. I decided on the steak and chicken combo, future husband got the steak and shrimp, the boy child didn’t want anything from the grill and opted for a salmon (sushi) roll, and girl child ordered the kid’s terriyaki chicken. Dinner was pretty typical. Our chef was this Peruvian gal who interacted with all of us in a lighthearted and charming way. The kids really enjoyed her but since I’ve been to places like this before, I wasn’t completely blown away. Still, the children and future husband thought it was neat. At some point during our meal, my drink (remember – a Dr. Pepper) was refilled and our server finally came back after our dinner was almost over with a second beer for future husband. Not long after, he brought us our bill.

Now here’s where a relatively nice dinner starts to go downhill. I glanced over it and saw that our Groupon voucher had been applied to our total (an automatic discount of $81.00) so I was immediately puzzled as to why our final total was still over $53.00. Then I saw it.



A gratuity of 18% had automatically been applied to our bill. Thinking that our server had made a simple mistake, I waved him over to explain the issue. To my surprise and dismay, he stated that an 18% gratuity was automatically applied since we were redeeming a Groupon voucher but that this gratuity amount would have automatically been applied to our bill anyway since we were a “party of 4 or more.” I let him know that tipping wasn’t the issue. In fact, because I know that servers don’t even make minimum wage, I regularly tip around 20% anyway (and truthfully I’ll tip more than that if the service is better than “good”). Further, I would have at least tipped 20% on the amount of our total bill (before the voucher had been applied) because it’s just the right thing to do. He wasn’t going to budge though and because our youngest was starting to get really fussy because she was tired, I wasn’t going to argue. I simply handed over my card so we could go ahead and get out of there. Personally, I was insulted because he knew full well that we were using a Groupon voucher (even going so far as to explain before we even placed our drink orders that anything alcoholic would not be discounted), yet blatantly failed to mention that a required gratuity amount would be applied to our final bill. I was floored. Then, as if adding a mandatory gratuity to our bill wasn’t enough, the merchant copy of our receipt was delivered, complete with a neat little space to add an (optional) tip:



To make matters worse it was only after we arrived home that I realized we were charged for an item that the other couple ordered (a spicy tuna roll), AND that parties of 4 or more obviously weren’t “automatically” charged an 18% gratuity because our server had to input into the system that we were a party of 8 in order for the gratuity to even appear on the bill. Even if parties of 4 or more were charged an additional 18%, the boy child didn’t even order from the grill. He only wanted a sushi roll. Oh, and that Dr. Pepper refill that he so graciously brought me? Yeah, I was charged for that too. Not that I wouldn’t have paid for a refill, but if I had known that each glass was going to cost an additional $2.50, I would have simply finished my first glass and been fine.

Also, while we were there, future husband took Coraline so he could change her diaper while I finished eating. Since I didn’t witness the event, I’ll let him explain that little fiasco:

The diaper changing facilities at Sumo were the second-worst I’ve ever encountered (the worst being an airplane bathroom without a changing table).

Your standard changing platform will unfold from the wall and sit at a level 90-degree angle, often supported by at least one strap. The platform in the men’s room at Sumo, however, sits between 100 and 110 degrees, which is decidedly unsafe given the fact that you’re supposed to put an infant on there.

Baby C sensed there was something wrong with the platform and got upset the moment I laid her down. I had to change her one-handed, as I was using the other hand and my knee to attempt to hold the platform up.

I think the only more hazardous place to change a baby’s diaper in the whole restaurant would have been on the grill itself. And at least the grill was level.

Needless to say, we will not be going back. Next time we’re in the mood for teppanyaki, we’ll just drive across the street to Osaka. In addition, I’m sending this review to Groupon so hopefully anyone else who has purchase this “deal” will at least be forewarned.

Help The Band – Get Cool Stuff

As some of you may know, I’m a Brain Behind the Band. This means I get to work with a LOT of incredible, amazing (INCREDIMAZING!) people and collectively we all help keep Band Back Together running and growing. Part of our growth means that we’ve recently filed the federal paperwork required to become a 501(c)(3) (non-profit) organization. This is a HUGE step and requires a hefty sum of money to complete. That’s where you come in!

The Band has created a (SUPER!) (AWESOME!) auction site for anyone interested in bidding on a variety of items. There’s a lot to choose from, so I humbly ask that you take a look at what we have to offer and bid your heart out on whatever tickles your fancy. We’ve had an outpouring of people willing to donate items and services so there’s something for everyone.

Please, go. If only to take a look. It would mean a lot to me but it would mean even more to The Band. See all of the items up for auction at auction.bandbacktogether.com.

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The Badviser

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Wednesday Comes After Tuesday and Tuesdays are Blue but Never Pink

(Sidenote: I wrote this several years ago and stumbled across it again recently. I’m posting it here because I rather like it. Enjoy!)

I am behind at this because there hasn’t been anything to say, but really there’s been a lot to say and no time or motivation to write it down. Now it’s all just a lost block of events that will only be meaningless until one of them accidentally changes the world. This was supposed to be a Reflection paper, however, once I started writing, the words just wanted to come out without a label, and so… I allowed them.

Adrift as I may be, I am still moving. This has become my mantra. Without knowing any behind-the-scenes details about myself, you probably can’t appreciate how monumental feeling and believing this statement really is.

I never know things are out of hand until there are crumbs on my shoes. This makes no sense until you lean in a little.

I’ve come to know I am a reactor that takes in more than it refuses and I can still make everything unlivable for the rest of human history including the Sheik of Budapest.

And I wonder, of the things I’ve done, who among you really wants to know? I wonder, what absolution do you bring to the table? I don’t seek solace in churches I’ve never bowed in before and I’ve never asked anyone I don’t know for anything. So how dare you state, “Let’s at least hope you’re a better writer than you are a mother.”

I’d never admit it out-loud but my face felt sunburned on the inside when it was said.

If you want to know, I might tell you, but please remember I am under no obligation of the sort. Maybe I can accept being a gossip and maybe I can’t. What time is it?

That being said, I am doing fairly well in my own convictions for this year (thankyouverymuch) and I’m sorry there are people who don’t take me seriously… or they take me too seriously. I cannot comprehend their feeble minds.

The bottom line of anything that has to do with me is very simple: I don’t owe you anything and I expect that same amount of obligation in return from others. Why some people would expect me to so much as tell them it’s dark outside is beyond me. I am many things, but stupid is not a trait among them.

It’s kind of funny the sort of people who take me at the face value they assign to me and then get hunched over when I don’t give them what they want to hear.

I’m happier now than I think I have been in the last five years. Considering that last month I was borderline (no pun intended) miserable, I can see that it might seem like trompe l’esprit and I wonder that myself. If it is, then I’ll get over it eventually and start again. If it’s not, then this is what I’ve been waiting for and I pity the foggy bastard who schemes to take it from me.

I don’t know exactly what changed, or when, but it DID. Sometime, maybe while I was sleeping, a switch flipped in a closet somewhere over the international date line and there it was…

The point is, I feel different and I can feel a difference in things around me.

I am calmer and things are slower. I like that but I didn’t expect that I would. (To note, I like arrogance as much as the next girl but there has to be something there to be rightfully arrogant about.)

I have a lot of things to do and I don’t even remember when I stopped doing them… and in some cases, I never stopped, I just… let them go a little bit which was still too much. It was the catalyst that set me on a collision course that managed to encounter a few tailspins as well. I may regret that for the rest of my life but it won’t be the only thing.

If it’s worth so much to anyone to wag their tongues about what I am and what I’m not and what I say and what I don’t, then the generous thing to do would be to let them have at it. Obviously they have so much going for them that they have time to spare and who am I to fault anyone for that?

Of course I will fault them, because I can criticize anyone for anything, but I’m not going to put myself into a winch knot over that fact.

Not being liked, not holding the respect of people I don’t care about, and not fitting the criteria they themselves assigned me won’t make me vanish into thin air. I still exist and I want to say I’m sorry that’s such a bitter pill for people to swallow, but I’m really not sorry. I kind of gain gratification from knowing ten years from now, I’ll still prey upon their plural-but-very-singular minds and they’ll still have something nasty to say in my memory.

That, gentlemen and ladies, used to be what it was all about and nearly regretfully, it’s not anymore.

I didn’t see “the light” or find Jesus or get taken aboard Zenu’s alien spacecraft for probing… I am still me, I just really don’t have a problem with being “me,” (at the moment) and it feels like a good thing to be alive. And really, who wouldn’t I share that with?

It would be nothing short of criminal not to run it for all it is worth.