“I’m not alone cuz the TVs on yeah…”

“I’m not crazy cuz I take the right pills everyday…”
One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands. When Jimmy Eat World released their album “Bleed American”, it was a week or two before 9/11. Heightened sensitivities of the American public after that led the band to pull the original album off shelves and immediately re-release it as self-titled. My copy still says “Bleed American”.

The Veterans Administration has a Vocational Rehabilitation program to help vets either separating from the military prepare for the civilian sector, help vets who are struggling to find work in general, or help vets find a different line of work which does not ‘aggravate their disabilities’. I have been saying for years that I need another ‘do over’. I’ve had the fun jobs, the rewarding jobs. The first doesn’t pay and the latter gives me nightmares and none are what I call ‘stable’ work. So I showed up with DD-214s, resume, and a stack of VA jobs that I have applied for over the years through usajobs so that I could ask why I never got so much as an interview from any of them. But first, the eligibility screening…

The Career Counselor—I suppose that’s what she is although she’s really a Social Worker—had access to my VA medical records and reviewed them prior to our appointment. Fine. She needs to ask some questions to determine my eligibility so she asked about my back, my knees, my neck…let’s face it, no one who served more than two terms of service walks away without bumps and bruises. By our 30’s,m ost of us have the back and knees of someone twice that age. She asked about my asthma, she asked about my history of depression…now here is where it starts to go downhill: She’s looking at my medications. “Are you still taking the Wellbutron?”

Yes.

When was the last time you were seen by the psychiatrist?

Last year.

Why so long?

Because she said I was doing fine and to come back and see her whenever I needed to. Otherwise, I’ll check in once a year. I was going to ask her about stepping down off the Wellbutron too.

But I see here you are also on Xanax. She didn’t prescribe that to you did she?

No, my civilian doctor did.

Why?

Because I told him I was heading back overseas and I wanted to make sure that if I needed it, I would have it.

Why woud you need it?

Because it’s AFGHANISTAN.

“Xanax is just a band-aid”

I just look at her.

She continues, “You stopped going to counseling a few years ago. Why?”

Because when my original therapist left, I was transferred to someone with whom I didn’t…click.

Why didn’t you ask for a different therapist?

Because I felt fine UNTIL I came for counseling and then I felt like shit for days afterwards. It was an emotional blood-letting and I was tired of it.

But that’s what it’s about. Talking it out. Eventually you feel better.

I felt better without it.

But now youre on Xanax.

(I’m getting angry now) “The VA prescribes pre-Vietnam era formulary and refuses to equip Veterans with anything better. My civilian doctor gave me a 2 month supply of Xanax. That was the first week in February. It’s November 20th and I still have at least 12 pills left.”

Good so you aren’t abusing it. Do you drink?

(No, but I’m going to start after this, I thought) Yes, usually a glass of wine at night.

That’s all?

“That’s all” I smiled “Try not to look surprised.”

I still think you need to come off the Xanax and consider rturning to therapy.

For what?

To finish what you started.

Are you a therapist?

Yes, actually I am but not so much in this job.

(Then why are you practicing on me? I wanted to ask)

She continues “Tell me a bit about why you were in counseling and why you are on WEllbutron.”

I stared “You have my medical records in front of you”

Yes but I want you to tell me.

That’s not what I came here for. I don’t want to talk about it.

(She gets a bit red in the face) Well, you have to tell me something. This is part of the screening. You don’t have to get specific. Just in general.

I take a breath…”Death, abandonment, betrayal, guilt and the burden of taking care of everyone else except myself.” I paused. “And loneliness. A great big cake of burden frosted in loneliness.”

She writes all this down and to my relief, moves on to the next health question. The pituitary tumors. Yes, Im still on medication, will be the rest of my life, MRI’s twice annually, bloodwork every three months…then she hits me again “I see in your records that this condition can affect your ability to get pregnant. Do you want children?”

I almost choke! I just HAD this conversation with someone about how I wanted kids and probably couldn’t have them. Instead of answering I asked a question in return, “Why did you ask me that?”

Because it’s in your record…

No, I mean why did you ask me if I want children?

As if realizing she has no good excuse, she backpedals and says “Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you” and moves on. Didn’t mean to upset me? Too late!

My next stop was another woman who reviewed my resume. It was to her that I handed over the stack of VA jobs that I had applied for and asked “What am I missing? Do I not qualify?” She studies my resume and the jobs and determines that although I may have to ‘dumb down’ my resume for some of the non-military types reviewing it, she says I am more than qualified. I said I just wanted to get my foot in the door. “Oh your Counselor should be able to help you with job placement.”

“She said they don’t do job placement.”

The woman looks confused, “Why would she say that?”

(Because I’m on Xanax and she hates me) “I don’t know”

“Maybe it was a misunderstanding.”

“What is there to misunderstand about ‘we don’t do job placement’?”

So! Another score for the VA! To my doctors, Nurse Nancy, my mom who goes to great lengths to take care of her patients and those like her… I thank you! To No Names Mentioned Wanna Be Therapist Pushing Paper in the Vocational Program, go to hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $100.

Advertisements

Aint no sunshine when hes gone

He came to visit me for the weekend. To wrap my arms around someone I was convinced I would never see again, it was the first time in my life that ive ever cried with happiness. It was more than wonderful.  I slept soundly and through the night wrapped in his arms. Like the boogeyman dare not enter with him beside me. It was the happiest I had been in years,  maybe ever. The morning he had to leave, I lay there breathing in his scent and thinking “I love you, I love you…please G-d dont tAke him from me…”  That’s not to say that I’ve never been in love or cried over a man before him, Im saying I have never felt THIS. His spirit speaks to mine. His nature is perfectly complimentary to mine. In one another, we could find rest at last. Not perfection and all-roses, not without challenges,  but a peace and satisfaction that few have ever enjoyed. Certainly neither of us. Not with anyone else.
His only fault may be communication. He sucks at it.  And he has more baggage than any man Ive ever met. But I told him I was not afraid of that weight. The only reason I would walk away is because unless he takes care of…things…there will come a time that I will want more than he give. I already want more.
I dont know if hes in love with me yet. Hes not vocal about his feelings, unlike me (there’s that communication issue again) but he is working to get his life in order and he says he wants me to be part of it. And I love him beyond words so I wait. For now. I hope to see him again a few times over the next three weeks but after that, when he goes home, a couple thousand miles between us, will he forget me? When he wrapped me up and said “I forgot how good you feel” I replied “I didn’t forget you. Not any part of you.” 

“I’m nobody’s baby” ~Judy Garland

Its not always a sex related fantasy. For instance, today…I go to work, then to a dance class, then the grocery store. And I imagine as I drive home that you and kids are waiting for me there. You help me with the groceries and I give you a deep grateful kiss with a promise of more to come. I pour a glass of wine amd start preparing dinner for everyone…its so blissfully domestic! Of course the daydream stars you because you are who I want but if that isn’t in the cards then someone else who is exactly like you might suffice. Maybe even a couple inches taller 😉

Im home and the moon is enormous. Lights up the entire yard. I light candles and put on a Judy Garland record and start dinner. Its just me and the fur alone in this big house. Im relaxed, content, a Mona Lisa smile on my lips. But lonely. I wish I had someone to talk to, sing to, crack jokes with, dance with, cook for, come home to…Is that so much to ask? I send that one up to G-d quite a bit these days.

This picture does the moon no justice. Its shining through the palms and reflecting off the water.

Im just being sentimental.

And then as if reading my thoughts, Judy starts singing “I’m Nobody’s Baby”…

“I’m nobody’s baby
I wonder why
Each night and day I pray the Lord up above
Please send me down somebody to love
But nobody wants me
I’m blue somehow
Won’t someone hear my plea and take a chance with me
Because I’m nobody’s baby now”

I miss you already

I’m breaking the rules of Anonymity by reposting this. It comes dangerously close to revealing my friend behind the curtain. It comes dangerously close to revealing me.
But I am blessed to have him. Everyone should be so lucky as to have at least ONE person they can count on without question; One who does not judge (much 😉 One who will (and has…and against the wishes of their wife) dropped everything to rush to rescue their friend in their darkest hour; Drive them to her mother’s house for safe-keeping when she is so spiritually and emotionally exhausted that she’s on the verge of doing something unrepentant and very final. We keep each others secrets and our fingers crossed for each other. There is nothing I can say or do that will frighten him away. And he may be the first man–excepting my father–that I can say that about. Unflinching, this one. Okay, maybe a wince.
But I am grateful. Daily. Thank you.

“I am getting older. And it’s starting to show” The Broods

“I don’t want to wake up lonely
I don’t want to “just be fine”

A line in this song made me think of my father. My dad passed away in 2004. Just before Christmas. Suddenly. Three days after his 45th birthday. Ten years and I think I miss him more than ever. That was the mark of a real blow to my faith. Because I BELIEVED my father would be fine! Faith that should have moved a mountain, according to what I had been told.

My father reminded me of what I deserved. Better than what the men I had been settling for were willing to give. I try to keep his advice in mind but…

There is a new guy at work. Special Forces type of course bearing the mark of the recently retired: mandatory facial hair and a haircut that was now brushing the ears. He made himself known immediately. Alpha-male type who is looking for an in, like ‘him’ when we first met. I feel his eyes on me in meetings. And when we do talk in passing, there is an intensity—a predatory challenge in his gaze. It’s blatant to me. Does he sense the passivity and vulnerability in me? He doesn’t wear a ring but neither did ‘he’. It means nothing. With or without the ring, it means nothing. He remarked that he liked my ‘rockabilly look’ which I found odd because it has been months since I wore crinoline and victory rolls to work (too tired to bother in the morning these days). So I dress conservative out of laziness but he picked it up somehow. I laughed and told him he had a ‘look’ too. Pale blue collared dress shirt the same shade as his eyes, pushed up the forearms to reveal full sleeve tattoos. You can take us out of the uniform and dress us up but we’re not fooling anyone. He was exiting his truck when I rolled into the parking lot with the new Gerard Way album playing so loudly that his teeth were probably rattling like mine. He waited to open the door for me and in the span of a short conversation said (not asked. Said.) “We should go to lunch sometime”. I said “Not unless youre talking a sandwich from the base gas station. I only get 20 minutes for lunch.”

“We’ll figure something out” was his confident, off-hand reply. I almost want to tell ‘him’ about it. I tell ‘him’ about my other dates sometimes like “See? I’m not waiting for you” (WIN!) and then in the same email, admit that none of them stand a chance because he’s all I can think about is him (FAIL!). The SF community is so small, they probably know each other. So no, I wont mention names. Although I would love to say “You have some competition”. Except that he knows it’s a lie. I pray for the day that it’s the truth.

Because my dad told me I deserve better.

“She’s got the moon in her eyes” The Eagles

altarBy the time I landed Saturday night, I was depleted. So fried, I couldn’t remember where I parked at the airport. Not the floor, not the color-code, nor the space number…blank. I wandered the aisles dragging my luggage for half an hour before I called for help. An elderly janitor in a John Deere cart with a broom and bucket in the back pulled up and drove me up and down, floor to floor, aisle to aisle until I found my car. From there, I drove straight out to a Metaphysical shop 45 minutes away. Not a metaphysical shop but a Witch Shop. My friend goes there regularly and as the shop I frequented near my house was always running out of what I needed, I decided to pay this place a visit. Besides, I was in beyond desperate need of some positive energy and they just happened to be open late for a Samhain Ritual that evening. I bought a few oils, a few stones, a few candles but really, I just browsed and found excuses to hang-out and mooch off their chi. I guess you could say I was being a ‘psychic vampire’, which I am usually a victim of, not an offender myself. I debated on staying for the ritual—not as a participant but a curious spectator. It’s a purely pagan ritual and I felt a bit strange as they donned rich colored, hooded robes and pentacles as I stood there with my Star of David intersected with a cross burning into my throat. To each her own but I have tread carefully so far to ensure my practice aligned with my Faith. I certainly did not want to do anything to offend G-d but neither did I want to look ignorant and insult these people in their House. I did not ask to what diety (if any) they intended to call upon in this ritual because I was afraid of looking obtuse and I certainly did not want to join hands with them only to break the circle later. I left before the ritual started.

My friend is a Wiccan—pentacle and all—and we decided to co-host a Winter Solstice ritual disguised as a party at my place. Or vice versa. Inviting a select few open-minded friends and keeping it as faith-neutral as a military church service (if you’ve ever attended one, you know exactly what I mean). We will light a bonfire, burn herbs, candles, make sachets (I include a handwritten prayer in mine), blend oils and pass out ‘recipe books’ in which everyone can write down how they created their personal oil. And of course, carb load on my baked ziti and drink massive amounts of wine. We’re still working out the details but the folks at the “Witch Shop” kindly reminded me “Don’t forget the Yule log!”

“Whiskey and wine, night after night, you haunt me” ~Sir Sly

(Rated R- for sexual content and adult language)

I awoke with the taste of him between my teeth. My lips resting against the bare skin of his back. Breathing him in, his warmth. Was it really only three months ago? I ache for him more than I ever thought possible. I beg for strength, for release, for G-d to bring us back together: If it could be then let it be! I beg and pray and they are one and the same.

He communicates in spurts. I was a normal functioning human being last week because I heard from him daily. Several times a day. So often that it was almost like having a real conversation. He said he was helping his son with a report on ISIS. I said “I refer to that organization as the Prom Queen: So popular this year and everyone wants a piece of their ass.” He told his son, who thought it was the funniest thing ever. I said “I’ll give him $10 to put it in his report”. He came back “Make it $20 and he will say it in front of the class”.

Later when his son went to bed, we continued to ‘chat’ while he drank whiskey out of a coffee mug. He admittedly had been drinking every night since he got back home from overseas. Still, we don’t talk about her although I hint and jab. When he told me his son broke up with a “moody, manipulative bitch” of a girlfriend and got himself a sweet, cute, normal girl, I said “You could take a lesson from your son.” No comment. Our ‘conversation’ turned erotic. I was never much for ‘sexting’ or cyber sex until him. I fantasize about him constantly and like to give him the details. It’s no exaggeration when I say I can go from zero to orgasm in less than a minute thinking of him. I tell him to think of me on my knees, his hands in my hair while I worship him with my mouth. I tell him to think of how wet and hot I am as he’s deep inside me and I ride him hard. Later as he’s cleaning himself up, I think: How sad is this? That this man is masturbating to me alone in his living room while his wife is..where? Sleeping upstairs? Where the hell is she? Does he get rid of her somehow while he’s got the kids around? I said “Things must be okay between you and the wife since the kids are staying with you at the house this weekend rather than a hotel.” No comment.

Later, I get him worked up again and when he explodes, I tell him “Good boy…” He laughs “Now should I get my ass to the kitchen and do the dishes?” I said “No, baby, your job is to fuck me from behind while I do the dishes”. I like to remind him that I am truly domestic and old fashioned, like a sex crazed June Cleaver meets a Kat Von D-looking Rachel Ray. He jokes “Wait, so I don’t have to do all the cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry…and I still get sex? What movie is this??” I replied quickly and firmly “It’s called ‘Fourth Times a Charm’”. I like to remind him of all the ways I am not like her or anyone else he has ever met before.

I am considered a ‘switch’ in certain circles but the truth is, no one has ever truly dominated me. Until him. He is an Alpha-male through and through and we compliment and satisfy each other perfectly, not only sexually but it creates a balanced relationship overall. We could be great together. We could be exactly what each other needs, not just wants. For the first time in my life, I have met my match. And he’s not available.
And I don’t know if he ever will be. I don’t know how he feels about me. I always tell him. But I don’t ask. I figure, when he’s ready…

But that was last Sunday. That’s what I get for feeling good for a moment. A few days goes by and I’m not only living out of a suitcase all week for work but I have a string of nightmares about him. I finally send a desperate message “Please just tell me you are okay”. He responded with “Im here, Im okay. I have just been extremely preoccupied these last few days. I’m so sorry. I’ll try to fill you in soon. In the meantime, get some sleep, no more nightmares!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Another few days has gone by since then. The nightmares have ceased for the moment but my mood has plummeted. It’s Halloween night –my favorite holiday—and I’m alone in a hotel room, wondering what he’s doing, who he’s with. Is he dressed up with his wife at some costume party? What is he ‘preoccupied’ with to the extent that he cant ‘talk to text’ into his phone and tell me what is going on? Was his wife out of town and now she’s not and he doesn’t have the privacy he did last week? Shit, then go sit on the toilet in the bathroom and write me then!

I’m worried. I’m anxious. I’m jealous. I’m lonely. And depressed.

Months ago, I applied for a few jobs on a whim that I figured I didn’t hae a shot in hell at. Ive been musing for years about needing a ‘do over’, about having been in one place too long, worn out my welcome with my old friends…but I’m not making an effort to leave. I apply for jobs I know I wont get. Then I got a phone call. Then they flew me out to one of my favorite spots—Savannah—to interview. They flew me in, got me a nice rental car, put me up in a suite and encouraged me to hang out all weekend and get the feel of the place. I have another commitment this weekend that prevents me from doing that but I AM impressed at the treatment. Ive never had a company court me before. My experience over the years is I am like a mortgage, passed off from one company to the next and rolling with the punches to the gut of pay cuts and a parade of shitty bosses. This job would mean stability. It would mean a pay cut, at least initially, but it would also mean swift promotion potential. The cost of living here is comparable to where I already live too. So what’s the hold up? I’m scared.

There are other things I must also consider for my own mental health, like the dancing and dating scene. The dance scene doesn’t seem to have as much to offer as I first thought, considering this is a town that is the home of an enormous fine arts university. And I did a little surfing on the dating sites and while the pool of single men is significantly smaller here, I remind myself that being in a large pond hasn’t done shit for me in the last decade. It’s about ratio of men to women. It hasn’t been in my favor and it only gets tougher as I get older. So I sent a message to 3 or 4 Savannah-based fellahs, introducing myself, saying that I was in the area and contemplating a move here and wanted to know if they might be interested in meeting for a drink or at least giving me some ideas of where to go to experience it like a Native; ie: get me off touristy River Street. None replied. I know that is a small sampling and I probably shouldn’t read TOO much into it but I didn’t take it as a good sign.

My interview went well this morning and I’m absolutely certain that theyw ill offer me the job so afterwards, I spent the rest of the day and night, driving and walking around, trying to figure out if I could live here. Being 10 minutes away from a beautiful beach at home, I made it a point to drive out to Tybee Ilsand here. But a beach is not a beach. The shore was limited and unimpressive. The sand coarse and gray rather than soft and white. The water deep, tumultuous and threatening, unlike the peaceful lapping at my beach. Such are the differences between the Atlantic and the Gulf. Then I drove back into downtown Savannah but found that the charm and awe I always felt on previous trips to this beautiful old city were lost in my loneliness. If I moved here, I would be leaving my entire support system. My family and a handful of friends who I (hope I) can rely on to rescue me from myself if things get ‘that bad’. Then I found out about the travel this job would require. A few weeks each month traveling to Boston, Texas, England, Hong Kong…part of me still longs to travel but that is quite a LOT of travel. Doesn’t leave time to cultivate relationships. And then I wouldn’t have anyone to watch my pets while I was away. If this job were local to where I live now, I have family who can care for my beloved Zoo but if I took this job here, I couldn’t bring them with me. So then I would be TRULY alone: no friends, no family, and no cuddly adoring critters to remind me daily that I am loved and needed. Oh but you’ll make new friends, you say. Not necessarily. Savannah is full of tourists and college kids. My potential future co-workers were all married with children. Moving here, I would be alone, alone, alone…Not a single soul, unless you count the one haunting wherever I’d live.