Friday, September 29, 2006

Extreme Makeover, Do-It-Yourself Edition

I recently was accused of having a mid-life crisis.
Those who know me might think I'm acting a little more strange than usual. Wearing makeup. Being flirty. Socializing. Getting it on more with the old man (OK, tmi.)
But I'm going to let you in on what I've been going through for years: depression.
Some of this is going to sound odd, but that's OK. It all seems odd to me, too.
I met a spiritual/energy healer in 2002. I visit him roughly 2-3 times a year. He has enabled me to get off all my prescription medications (especially the evil Effexor) and get my body working better. I have 75 percent fewer aches and pains. I've slowly lost weight and have kept it off.
He helps get my energy/chi/whateveryouwannacallit going in the right direction, and he tells me things about my life that I need to keep an eye out for. And I've experienced some things that make me think this is more than just a parlor trick. Actually, I don't care what it is ... he has been an interesting and a very positive presence in my life.
It's all very new-agey "Woman, Heal Thyself" kind of stuff.
When I met him, he said I had a lot of anger inside and that I was not in balance with my male and female selves. This was the cause of my depression, which manifested in sleeping too much and generally not doing much at all. No passion about what I did, just going through the motions. And not letting myself enjoy life when things were good (which they've been pretty much all along.)
With an awful lot of work on my part, he said I'd know when I had moved toward balance and again gotten in touch with my female self. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) He says I've been a tomboy (for lack of a better term) since I was young. Not like gay/tomboy, but just un-feminine. I suppose he was spot on: I hated dolls, dresses, other little girls. When I got my period, I tried to hide it. As a child, a lot of my friends were boys, and then I had lots of boyfriends (and the drama really began!) I got a little crazy when I was in my teens and honestly overdid the makeup, the hair, etc. I had no idea what I was doing with all that womanpower. Luckily, I survived relatively unscathed and settled down with a saint.
But I've fallen back into tomboy mode and have really let myself go. The I'll-just-throw-on-a-ballcap-and-be-out-the-door kind of letting go. Can't say I've felt all that attractive in many years. Ricky constantly has told me I am, but he'd usually get a "you're nuts" look from me.
I'm still trying to sort out the "why" of the tomboy thing, but I think it could have something to do with my observations of women and society. Since I was about 3, I've had a strong sense of justice and couldn't understand why I had to be different, act different, look different than my brothers. A born feminist. Yoikes.
Not sure when the tide turned but for the first time in my life I began to like myself, what I've become, who I will become. I'm finally, hallelujah, moving toward being centered. And others seemed to have noticed that I'm more comfortable in my skin. People come up and talk to me now. Before, they seemed to be afraid of me. (Gee, coulda been the permanent scowl.) I smile more. I look people in the eye more. I'm also the one who says "Hi, how are you?" first now.
So, after I've figured out how to put on makeup again, why not be a HOT feminist, right?
I'm growing my hair long again. I want babe hair, dammit. I'm going to have babe hair when I'm an old woman, too. I want to look better in my 40s than I did in my 20s. You know, a MILF with no kids.
Oh, I'm still definitely me. Don't intend to change THAT much.
I'm still the earthy chick who can belch with the best of 'em.
"I am woman, hear me (buuuuuuuuuurp) roar. "

Monday, September 11, 2006

Something smells gooooood

After watching this, and having a 40-year-old friend tell me about how her stash was discovered by her husband, I've been reminiscing about my smoking days. I haven't touched the stuff in about 15 years and don't intend to again (I like clarity), but I won't deny I have fond memories.
Well, except for the time I accepted an offering from a guy on the beach during my wild-to-mild teenage years and surprise! the stuff wasn't very "natural." I wound up in the ER freaking out while the cops looked for the dude, who was a dead-ringer for Anthony Kiedis. Still not sure exactly what was in that funny cigarette, but let's just say I took a trip to another planet for a couple hours. That, however, is a story for another day.
Ricky never has touched it and probably never will. He probably fears he would really like it and prefers not to get started on it!
I've had friends who have used it for various medicinal purposes and it's really a helpful substance. I can't say I've known any belligerent smokers, but I've known plenty of belligerent drinkers. It's too bad it has that "gateway" reputation, which I feel is not totally deserved. The people who get into the hardcore stuff still would be addicts even if the plant never existed.
My first memories of it are of sitting around with Jay, a friend in high school, who always was very kind to me and never tried to get in my pants. He was one of those guys I really trusted, and probably would have dated him if he had ever made a move. We did, however, talk for hours about life in general, and shared a smoke now and then. Once we were left cracking up over a garden hose. That's right, I almost peed myself over a garden hose. The adventure also was free as he grew the stuff himself on his roof behind a fence that surrounded the A/C unit. His family either didn't know about it, or didn't care. His mother was sick and blind from diabetes; his dad was a far-gone alcoholic; and his sister was a slutty cheerleader who was into far more dangerous substances. She really changed my perception of what it meant to be one of the "popular kids."
I don't know what happened to Jay, but I hope he turned out OK. Addiciton obviously ran in his family. He seemed to be the only one in his family to have their head screwed on correctly. I hope he got the hell out of there and made a life for himself.
It's funny the people you run into who partake of the herb, and some that are seemingly extremely unlikey users. I had a boss who lived near work and would go home a couple times a night to "check on his dog." I think the stuff probably kept his sanity as he could tend to get very nervous. Not paranoid nervous, just high-strung and worried about doing a good job. You'd never in a million years would guess he was a smoker. He looked more like a banker.
I like to study people who've been doing this stuff for long periods of time, just to see what happens to them. I've heard how it destroys the brain and causes other health problems, but I don't know. It would depend on what else might be in there. But just the plant alone in its natural form, I don't see any evidence from my observations that it does lasting harm.
Yep, it's funny stuff. There are tons of studies out there to read about and it's finally getting some serious attention among mainstream medicine. It just comes down to the politics of the stuff, unfortunately.

Bionic Mom

My mom had her hip completely replaced after breaking it yesterday while walking her dog. A neighor's dog got loose and her little corgi mix tried to protect her but she fell and got hurt in the process. I just got off the phone with her and she's got push-button morphine. The pain must be incredible. The physical therapist is going to have her standing today. This is normal, though. The Mayo Clinic site says she should be able to resume normal albeit somewhat limited activities in six weeks. No more aerobics, pilates and yoga for her, but now water exercise and lots of walking. I read that cross-country skiing even is a good exercise for people with new parts. This is something she's wanted to do, so maybe ...
It's odd the thing with the dogs. We have a dog that was given to us after a friend's mom had almost the exact same thing happen to her. The dog has good walking manners but something got her hackles up and caused a wreck.