Can’t TRUST This!

June 17, 2009

Trust is earned.  You can’t just go handing it out all willy nilly like a bowl of dinner mints.  Trust has to mean something.  It has to make sense.  Otherwise, it’s just comedy.

I don’t know where (or why) my mind started down this path…I was probably cracking a joke (#1) and came to the conclusion — nah can’t trust that lol.  And now I have this offbeat list…all for fun.  Feel free to add to it, question my motives, or second that emotion :).

CAN’T TRUST THIS (Da na na na)!

  1. A dentist with cavities
  2. A blind gynecologist
  3. Dick Chaney
  4. A bank president with a 520 personal credit score
  5. A pre-opened parachute
  6. Cheesecake with zero transfat
  7. Whoopings that hurt the parent more than the child (and I’m a parent)
  8. “You’re going to feel a tiny prick”…before blood work
  9. Pharmaceuticals that address 1 symptom, but “may cause heart attack, stroke, nausea, migraines, stomach ulcers, in-grown toenails, and death — only in rare cases.”
  10. Single friends who tell married friends, “I wouldn’t put up with that…you oughtta leave him/her.”
  11. Cops who pull over ambulances with patients
  12. Hotel wake-up calls before a big meeting
  13. A politician with a criminal record
  14. Drinking water recycled from waste water
  15. Management that passes my knowledge/work off as their own
  16. A sharp shooter with one glass eye
  17. A vet who’s allergic to dander
  18. Financial counselors facing foreclosure
  19. Mortgage loans with “no hidden fees”
  20. The scale in my bathroom lol
  21. A chef/cook with dirty fingernails
  22. Fast talking car salesmen with wet armpits
  23. E-purchasers from Nigeria using PayPal
  24. Buffet bars without adequate glass shields
  25. 1-ply tissue
  26. {your turn}
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Freedom Neophyte

June 6, 2009

I’ve watched him for years now, unnoticed…cloaked by the height and privacy of my rear deck.  Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of him while pulling into the driveway.  Other times through half-drawn blinds while rinsing a cup or bowl at the kitchen sink.   It wasn’t like I was spying the other day.  Things are just — different now.  Noticeably.  And something about him was mysterious, yet strangely familiar.  He seemed awkward, confused, almost lost, but in a drunken ecstatic sort of way, like he’d sprung a leak, and couldn’t quite keep the happy drops from squirting out.  I actually felt my heart smile for him — and I don’t even really like dogs.

His name is Redd. His former name is “the black and white dog tied up behind the house”.  He’s held that title for the past three and a half years…until last week, when our neighbors installed a fence, and let old Redd roam free.

The day I saw him, I thought he was choaking on something.  He was staggering around the fence, jerking…and then, he just fell out in the grass, rolling, tossing and turning.  And I thought…

Maybe he had never felt that patch of grass before.  Did that old, mean, rusty chain ever allow him to reach that far?  Funny.  I stood there watching him wiggle and roll, and it didn’t take long before I saw something else — Me.

Have you ever experienced any type of lock down, bondage, stronghold?  Ever been stuck on stuck?  Whether it’s a dead end job that stifled your creativity…an unhealthy relationship you wanted out of, but insanely craved more…ever had a vice, a character flaw that was sure to break you before you broke it? And then, one day, without notice or warning — Freedom arrives and sweeps you off your feet.

Man, have I been there…’bout as long as I can remember Redd and that old rusty chain.  But, thanks be to God — I am newly free.  Me and Redd lol.  Neophytes of Freedom (I’ll save maintaining freedom for another post).

I couldn’t help but wonder…if people see me, like I saw Redd that day.  “She’s different now…awkward….weird…kinda goofy happy LOL!”  Yeah, I’m rocking all of that and more.  We can share, write about a journey all day, but it’s virtually impossible for others to fully grasp its impact — if they haven’t lived it, felt it for themselves…for real.

For now, I’m enjoying this year of “reboot“, with all its challenges and lessons learned thus far (is it really June already?).  And every time I look out back and see Redd, I’ll probably smile, remembering how far we’ve come.  I don’t speak dog, Redd, but I’m happy for ya…Freedom feels so good to me too :-)!

asheselah

I dunno….  Is Triumph a spirit?  Alive?  An energy we can feel?  Does it exhale and the sweetness of its breath intoxicates the senses, soothes every angst we have, even the ones we pretend we don’t?  Gotta have it too, cos there’s enough Triumph to go around…available without respect of person?

Well, yes to all the above for me.  I feel  it…when I read and hear your stories.  Exuberant endings after extreme struggles — Triumph!  You know the ones…stories of overcoming despite the odds, your way out when you were outta options and time, episodes of defiant survival (sometimes against your own will), your still here-ness…

I believe in miracles.  Last second shots before the buzzer.  It’s all about the familiarity of experiences.  Nothing new under the sun, right?  If you can make it, I can make it too.  I love that….esp. the vice versa.

God whispers through the words of our stories…revealing the possibilities of Triumph through small pieces of Himself at work in others.  Funny how your piece/peace may fit my puzzled life..and vice versa.  It’s electric.  Contagious.  The only way Triumph becomes ineffective and stale is through silence.  So, don’t neglect to tell the story….

asheselah

My first short story ever, ever.  Gentle, constructive criticism welcome *smile*.

“Jessica!  Jessie, I know you’re in there!”

Lights out, blinds closed, Jessica sits motionless in the corner behind the door, clenching a wad of her long, black hair in both fists.  Her forearms hide her baggy eyes, but the tear drops splattered across Niagara Falls expose her devastation.  Jessica forgets nothing, not even the souvenir shop where he’d bought the sweatshirt.  Jason told her then, “You’ll get more wear and tear out of it than I will.”

“Jessieeee!  Jessie, please open up!”

Jason pounds the door with one hand.  The other stays warm in his pocket grabbling a small package, a new Metro card, and his car keys.  He stops a moment to rest an ear against the door, holding what little breath he has left to hear the slightest sound of life inside — his life inside.

The frigid temperatures have been cruel to him on an already wickedly cruel night.  First, a stalled car.  Next, the midnight Metro Bus to Union Park gone.  And now, the more he bites his lips, the more Jack Frost seems to crack them open. His only salvation to reach her tonight was the ride.  Thank goodness for the ride!  He purposed to return the favor to the Wymm family, show appreciation for the ram in the bush.

Thirty-seven minutes into her resistance, Jessica’s mind grows weary of hyperactive questions with no clear, honest answers.  “What in the world was he thinking?”  “Why would he do something so stupid?”  “How could he break his promise?”  “When will I ever be able to trust him again?”

And then, a question picks the lock on a secret place in her heart, crashing her pity party.

“Didn’t he promise never to make a mistake?!”

Holding and rocking herself, Jessica winces not only at the question’s absurdity, but at the only answer that is both clear and honest.

“Did I ever promise to do the same?”

“Jessieee!”

Jessica crawls to her feet, carefully peeks through the living room blinds, then leans against the wall with more questions.  “Strange. Where’s the old Honda? How’d he…”

“Jessica, c’mon!”

She peeks again and surveys the quiet street in vain for an accomplice hiding in a parked car.
At first, her swollen eyes squint right past it.  Finally, over in the grass where the driveway and sidewalk intersect, she sees it; an old bicycle lays on its side.  “He didn’t. He didn’t.”

Jessica’s heart sinks as she calculates the distance from Jason’s house to hers, plus late-October temperatures in Buffalo.  She realizes the entire night could be summed up as simple as this: after two years, she still has a lot to learn about Jason’s heart, and more importantly — her own.

Jessica almost didn’t recognize the sudden silence.  The yelling and pounding stopped, as if synchronized with the blue and white lights now circling her living room walls. “Oh no, the neighbors!”  Jessica scrambles to the door, fumbles through the locks, and swings the door open to rush Jason inside.  She’s too late.

Jason glares a hole into the police car hood, where his hands remain in plain sight.  “How could she call the police?”  Over in the grass, the officer lifts the bicycle, examines it, and lays it back down.  “This your bike, sir?”

“No, officer.  I can explain. See, first of all, I love that woman inside, and…uhh…I was halfway here for our big night…on time mind you…when my battery died…that’s my Civic back on Elmwood…did you come Elmwood?”

Police dispatch interrupts the officer’s next question.  He motions Jason to continue as he returns a ten-code into his shoulder mic.

Jason presses his story, unaware of Jessica’s approach.

“Anyway, I missed the last Metro…it was cold…and…umm…I saw this old bike laying in the bushes near a mailbox on 3rd, and…I knew for sure my prayers were answered…I rushed right over here…and I…”

“It’s ok, ma’am.  I’m going to have to ask you to stand there.” The officer shines his light on Jessica, and continues communication with dispatch.

Jason didn’t know whether to smile or cry, eyes fixed on Jessica in his favorite sweatshirt.

“…I…I promise I was going to bring the bike back in the morning…”

“Is there a problem, officer?  This is my boyfriend.”

“..It’s not like I’m some kind of bike thief or anything….thought maybe they were throwing it away, but…”

The officer ends transmission with dispatch. “Riight. OK. Look son, I would love to hear more about your undying love and bad luck, but the owners don’t want to press charges, they just want their bike back.  Some story about their grandfather rode it across two counties to propose to their grandmother.”

The officer directs Jason and Jessica to the bicycle, and picks it up by the handle bars.

“See here?  Wymm. Will. You. Marry.  Me.  That’s extreme sentimental value, son…and lucky for you, eh? Why don’t you give me a hand.”

Jason and the officer maneuver the bike’s wheels to fit neatly in the trunk.

“Looks like you couldn’tve picked a better bike to borrow.  But don’t press your luck, understand?”

“Understood, sir.”

The officer’s right turn signal disappears from view as Jason and Jessica walk back to the house arm-in-arm.  Jason reaches into his pocket to find the small package.

“Jessie, there’s something I’ve been dying to ask you all night.”

Jessica places her finger on Jason’s lips and smiles.

“The bicycle said it all.”

Copyright (c) 2008-2009. ashe.selah.  All rights reserved.

Here..Here..Present!

May 21, 2009

Remember the smart-alic kids in elementary school during roll call?  The entire class would say “Here!” when their name was called…except the few bent on being cute who said, “Present!”  I don’t know what made me think of that for this post lol.  All I know is — both responses feel GREAT right now!!…to be both Here and Present!

First, I want to thank all my blog friends again for the kind words, the cheers, the prayers, and positive thoughts during this time.  I send you all abundant love and appreciation.  I’m slowly up and about after surgery, waiting for the last remnants of soreness and dizziness to bid adieu.

Looks like I’m not a general anesthesia virgin anymore lol, and what I previously thought was a problem with awareness, was really a problem of expectations (the docs had only given me the “cocktail“, not full-blown anesthesia).  This time, they got me good lol… “Just take deep breaths of the oxygen.”  After 3-4 breaths, the next thing I remember was waking up with what felt like a pipe up my right nostril.  So, now I’m nursing my throat and neck where they also inserted the breathing tube into my chest….a tell-tale sign of past unconsciousness.

Another sign? Nausea.  This throwing up business happened with my “cocktail” episode too.  Only then, I wasn’t in front of the hospital in a wheelchair, upchucking into one of those small hospital basins.  Not a very cuteful moment LOL….but anyway…*smile*

Fibes and polyps?  Well, the latter was all removed (pathology report soon), and the former were no where to be found!  This could mean the fibes are in a deeper place, or healed altogether.  Wouldn’t that be fab?!  I’ll keep tabs on it with another ultrasound this year some time….

Overall people?  God has been super gracious to me!!  Little to no pain, blessed to have a job and paid time off from that job, hubby has been my hero, moms has been my shero, support from friends and fam, and I survived the what ifs that had caused me great angst.  Don’t laugh, but when you’re new to sickness, surgery, etc….you think about it.  Is this my time?

So grateful purpose still lives large in me, and I want to accomplish every purpose and dream predestined for my life, in a healthy body…hmm, like having other women read my story before they live my story.  Let the new day begin…

preopBlood pressure.  120 over 80.  Weight. 156.  Darn 30 is now darn 6 :).  Smoker. No.  Alcohol. Twice a year count?  No. Drugs. No.  Chronic disease? Diabetic. No.  Stroke. No.  TB. No. Chronic pain. No.  Acid reflux. No. Heart murmur. Heart disease. Heart attack. No, No, No.  Std. HIV. No, No.  Asthma. No.  High cholesterol.  Thyroid problems. Blood clots. Ulcers. Seizures. Arthritis………

The cute PA with the baby face checked off a laundry list of No’s for pre-op.  She finally ended the form with, “You’re a very healthy woman”.  Her smile was geniune.  Maybe it was me that projected the question in her eyes…”what are you doing here?”

I’ve been very blessed…thanks be to God!  Hearing those words made my soul smile, so grateful to say No to sooo many diseases others deal with on a day-to-day basis.  I have no clue.  But, her words sparked not only gratitude, but reflection.  The mirror of my past, and thoughts of my now. The journey that brought me to that very chair in the hospital room, discussing patient history, anesthesia options, and having blood drawn in case I need some during surgery tomorrow.

Never experienced serious illness before this journey.  The dis-ease they’ll remove symbolizes the dis-connection from pain and depression.  By the grace of God, we are strangers now, no longer intimate friends.  

Moms tried to refute my argument.  Probably a loving petition to take myself off the hook.  “Well, there are many people who haven’t experienced traumatic events…and they develop disease.”  This may very well be true.  But, I believe we underestimate the traumatic effects that prolonged anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, stress, and the like have on our bodies.  How do we respond and manage traumatic events?  The cells in our bodies aren’t hard of hearing, and they respond to every thought we have in our minds. 

I was researching psychosocial/psychological stress and its effect on health.  Stanford U has a very engaging site about stress & health…check it out.  Looks like the same physiological stress response early humans had while running from predators, is the same response modern humans have for taxes, divorce, or even public speaking.  The only difference is, when the predator is gone, our bodies return to a state of rest…we release the stress response.  Not so for stress in our daily lives.  Why do we keep the heightened state of madness going, changing, increasing?  Could it be cos our minds are so advanced, creative, imaginative now…that we’re smart enough to keep it going, foolish enough not to turn it off?

For me, this concept magnifies when I think about women.  We are creators, no?  The very essence of creativity, the center of life lies within us…our womb.  And when it comes to fibes, this goes triple for African-American women for some reason.  What happens when we carry seeds of unresolved hurts, pains, trauma…extensions of stress?  We do what we do naturally — we create!  We give life and bring forth chaos in our bodies. 

Moms asked me the other day, “Do you want to win?”  Health, peace, joyous life…insert any prize into the blank.  She’s never been to college, let alone read the Stanford U findings, but funny how they agree substantively.  After my resounding “Yes!”, she says, “Well, the battle begins in the mind.  Negative thoughts are like birds…you shoo them away before they land, don’t give them time to build a nest…that’s more than half the battle won.” 

Lord, help me to be smart enough to LET your mind be in me, and LET the beautiful birds of truth, love, purity, goodness, honesty, fairness, and praise dwell with me always.

Until soon….

asheselah

I wanna…

May 11, 2009

…write.  do.  something.  create some music.  finish some lyrics.  read. sleep. run. walk. instead.  i’m sitting here. thinking. nothing. everything. i’m really going through with it. still a week out. and you’re already starting to trip, girl. living wills. durable power of attorney. insurance cards. anesthesia options. every # and address you have. yeah. the hospital’s called twice today.  pre-op registration. whateva. as much as i’d like to trivialize this thing. tell myself it’s really not that serious.  or better yet, high-tail it from reality. it’s starting to feel. serious. like the one who “hates” docs and hospitals and forms and needles and bed gowns. is really gonna go through with it. sigh. where’s my well? who moved the light switch? positivity. any minute now, faith. real substance. jump start. switch me. shift me. to perfect peace. a mind. focused. that sees only Creator God. a stare. frozen in time. melting away. the nagging angst………..