Electric Can Openers, Keyboards, and RA

I have never cared for electric can openers. They make a whole lot of noise and do a job in the same amount of time it takes me to open cans with a few twists of a handle.

I don't believe I have ever actually had one in my kitchen. Oh, I have purchased them. They just never get taken out of the box and used. I wind up giving them away.

Now this may seem random but one year ago this month I hurt my hand. I whopped it on something and it hurt like hell. Well, in the ensuing year I have had hell opening cans. I am ambidextrous so I figured I could use my left hand to open them and quickly realized it hurt, too.

I am also a writer who ONLY writes with my right hand thanks to my kindergarten teacher taping my left hand shut because the left hand is a "sign of the devil." It was 1970. I have always preferred to write by hand and then put it in the computer. It relaxes me. That hurts like hell right now, too.

Last Thursday I went to the ortho for my hand and was under the misguided impression it would require surgery and it would be fixed so when the doctor said it was Rheumatoid Arthritis I lost it. I was so not prepared.

I am certain that I completely freaked out my ortho because I have always been jocular and upbeat. When I left his office I called my Sissy (Euvah Bryant) bawling like a 2 year old.

I know it will be okay. But in the moment it felt like a death sentence. Stupid and an over-reaction but there you go.

I saw the electric can opener and computer keyboard as my future and it really hurt.

I am okay now and will buy the damn can opener on the first but man it really bites.

Rethinking Homelessness

In 1987/88 I was homeless. I did not sleep on the street, I slept in my car, a car without insurance and that my mom "sold" me for $1. I had a job, I don't think I have never *not* had a job, actually.

I had friends so I could go shower but I washed and died my uniform at work, I owned one pair of jeans, 2 tips, 1 pair of underwear, one bra, a pair of hose (they were required for my job and while I don't remember who paid for them, I know it was not me), and a pair of socks.

The shoes were also purchased by who knows ejected, maybe Moma, angry were the cheapest shoes that matched the job requirements.

My job was at Luby's when there was a Luby's at 5 1st and Memorial in Tulsa.

I see so many homeless videos now and they virtually always show the people who have less than I did.  The people who have shopping carts, not cars, the clothes on their backs and, if ther they are lucky, shoes that may or may not be in one piece.

What about the ones like me? The ones that are waiting on you while you eat? Or are checking you out at the grocery store?

The ones that deliberately work at a restaurant because they get at least one meal a day on work days and if they are lucky,  they can charge a meal to their check on their days off?

Sometimes they sleep in a friend's driveway and sometimes they don't get in trouble for sleeping in the work parking lot.

If all else fails, if they have fuel they can drive to a truck stop and sleep there and if it is a good week, do a load of laundry and shower.

They make just enough to cover the basics but really, food is a considered a necessity they can skip as often as necessary.

Homelessness is definitely an epidemic. But it is also more than the bag people you see. Sometimes, it's the person next to you.

Bipolar {is a} Bitch!

In 1987 I was diagnosed Manic Depressive which was later changed to Bipolar Disorder.  In 1991 it was changed to Schyzo-affective Bipolar Disorder.  My current diagnoses are that ^ and OCD, PTSD, and possible IED and ADD. You are certainly familiar with all save IED which is Intermittent Explosive Disorder.  ADD is, of course, Attention Deficit Disorder without the hyperactivity... I could not be hyper if I tried!!!

There a few schools of thought on ANY Mental Illness.  Mostly, even now, they can be summed up by saying, "What is your problem?  Just push through it." or the ever-ready, "Yeah, I have that.  I got over it though. You should too."

I get it.  I get that the first thing worked and you are strong enough to get through/over/under it. One of my mottoes in life was, "Get over it, get around it, get under it.  Whatever you do, just get ON with it!" it didn't help nor did it work.

I love the people who find out I have mental illness and immediately distance themselves.  Or the pastor that said, "There is no such thing as bipolaritis." I walked out.  You think I *like* having the brain I have??

Most people never have a clue.  If I see you at church, you might THINK you know me, but you don't.  We might be best buddies but unless you SEE me in cycle you do not have a clue.  Being me is NOT fun... for anyone.

I get told how nice I am and How much of people person I am.  No, I have people skills because it is rude to blurt out, "Please.  Just shut up so I am not forced to choke you with your tongue." People just do not understand when that comes out!

I am HORRIBLE about taking my meds. The meds I NEVER miss are my mental health meds. I have been on and off of them soooo many times.  It took raising my children unmedicated for me to SEE what that whether *I* thought I needed them or not, I did.

After Moma died, I got the help I so desperately needed.  I was at appointments in Muskogee almost every day for quite a while.  They wanted to admit me to "get (me) started," which a euphemism for, "Hey, how about we admit you, take away the money you live on, medicate you until you are stoned and do not care and take control of your life." No, thank you!

I usually know the meds are no longer working but this time I had no idea.  Nobody ended up in the hospital, I had not lost my mind on anyone so I thought all was well.  It took some pretty serious issues before I finally realized I was in major trouble.

Once I realized what was going on I sought help.  We are working on finding the right combination of meds now and I am back in therapy.  Having someone to talk to is amazing.  Especially since I have seen him off and on since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

Being in  my brain right is terrifying.  I am literally staying away from people I do not like or do not know so that I do not have issues.

When I am cycling like this, I become evil.  No other word for it.  I go from "Hi, how are you?" to "I hope your obituary is written." in the blink of an eye.  I am not a nice person folks.  I am really not a nice person.  The folks who know me best know that there comes a point when all bets are off and it is time to get the h-e-double-toothpicks out of Dodge. Right now, Dodge is a very bad place to be.

I have planned the perfect murder.  Several times.  Using different methods.  Yes, that is where my brain goes.  The really scary part is that normally, meaning when I have this under control, I settle for using my words or staying in my head.  Outside I am all, "Hi!  So good to see you!!!" Inside, I am like, "Hmmmm, ripping out their throat is probably a bad idea."

I wish I could control it.  The doctor who added the Schyzo-effective diagnosis actually asked me at least 20 times how many people I had killed while reassuring me it was okay.

Every psych I see is astounded that I have not yet killed someone or committed suicide.  I can only thank the good Lord for that.  He has given me a very strong sense of what I can and cannot do.  But because I have not killed anyone, simply means that I have been stopped.  Four times.  The first was in 9th grade in high school before I left for Alabama.  No one was told and I am still not sure why.  Four teeth were surgically removed from her throat.

The second time was a guy who popped me on the butt one tooo many times.  Seventy plus stitches was his reward.  No one stopped me that time.  I only hit him once.  Not my fault the Foosball table was there.

Number 3 was a kid at Westside in Selma right after I enrolled.  My math teacher stepped out for a minute and a guy called me honky whore or something along those lines and shoved a table at me. I hurdled the table and grabbed him by the front of shirt and shoved him out a window... on the second floor.  When I looked out the window I saw that an administrator at the school that I did not like was walking under him.  I *really* wanted to drop him.

Mr Morrow came back in and told me that I did not really want to to do that.  My response? "That is where you are wrong Mr Morrow.  I really want to do this and since Mr Dallas is down there it would be a "twofer." Needless to say, Mr Morrow talked me out of it. I once woke astraddle my boyfriend with a 10" chefs knife at his throat and remember wishing I had slept 30 seconds longer. Sometimes I still do.

I normally believe that causing injury to another person should be reserved for war and protection but when I am like I am now, death is the preferred option.

Mental ILLNESS, folks.  It is called an illness because it IS an illness... just like diabetes or high blood pressure.  Some people can be helped easier than others.  It just so happens that when I am not receiving the correct medication cocktail, I become a horrid person.

I am mad when I screaming and crying but God help the poor soul that causes me to dry my eyes and lower my voice.

All of this is about the fact that we do not CHOOSE to be ill.  It is not something we enjoy.  It is not contagious, we cannot just snap out of it, get over it, move on or otherwise choose a better path.  When we are n that path, it is because it is the only path we see... even when we see the train coming!

Please, be kind.  To everyone.

What Might Have Been

Most people know that I have lived virtually my whole life at my current address. Yes, I have lived other places as far flung as Florida and North Dakota but this has always been my permanent address, as the military calls it.

It occurred to me today that if my life were laid out in strings the widest and most pronounced line would be a less than one mile line from my home to my grandparents in Okmulgee.
To be fair, the second closest would be the one that encompasses the area from the 700 block of N Central to the 800 block of N Alabama, but a vast chunk of my life is on Alabama avenue.
Some of my earliest memories are of Sissy (Euvah) taking my hand as I insisted on toddling from our home to our grandparents home five blocks north. We had the same numbers in our address (Can't say either for fear of some psycho hunting me down and killing me!  LOL). They lived on the west side of the road, we lived on the east, but regardless, it was nothing for us to wonder out the front door of one house with nary a word and up to the other house.

I was spoiled completely rotten for the first 2 years, 5 months and 13 days of my life. I just figured that up, BTW. My sister and 5 male cousins were all 8 or more years older than me and the cousin closest to me in age was 2 or 3 years older (What year were you born, LaRaine?}. Between them, Moma, Dad,  3 aunts and and uncles, and my grandparents, there was no hope for me not being spoiled. Then the twins came along :-O.

I am sure it could be said that they saved me but who doesn't like being spoiled?
One block north of our home was my elementary school and 2 blocks south was(is) the high school.
Most folks don't want to be here or, if they are here, they work in the city, Tulsa for those not from here, and commute. (Side note, not only did I live on Alabama Ave in Okmulgee, OK and move to Selma, AL near Ocmulgee Creek but both towns were similar in other ways includng having a T-town close by!)

I have always known I would come home to stay and I can thank my sisters for making it possible. My neighbors to the north have been my neighbors my whole life. It is nice to know your neighbors. I cannot imagine going back to not knowing the folks around me like when I lived in Atlanta or Louisiana.

My friends were, as they say, the neighborhood kids. Of those kids, 2 are deceased now that I know of and the rest have moved on. Some are still in contact and others did what they promised, they grew up and moved away and stayed away. Still others are here in Okmulgee plugging in and trying their best to help bring back the Okmulgee of yesteryear.  (Scott Fetgatter, I am looking at you!)

In 1972 the oil refinery was shut down and Okmulgee began to die. In the following years, some more far flung than others, we lost both Ball Brother's and Anchor Glass as well as any other large companies to other communities furthering the decline. Now a small town of 12,000 (maybe 15,000 when the colleges are in session) it is trying to make a comeback.

I know that our hometown had a long way to go, but I also know that it can happen if we join together and say no more.