Fear…

“I must not fear.  Fear is the mind-killer.  Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.  I will face my fear.  I will permit it to pass over me and through me.  And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.  Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.  Only I will remain.”

Bene-Gesserit Litany against Fear from Frank Herbert’s Dune

Fear…we all experience it.  There is some aspect within our lives that leaves us frightened and maybe even trembling.  Me?  I’m frightened of critters aka insects especially spiders, heavy winds, blackouts…and rejection.  In the past, my sister and I were rejected by extended family.  We grew up in a very small, insular familial group and currently have very few close blood-relatives.  Several moons ago, I was rejected by someone I loved very deeply.  I couldn’t place one foot in front of the other for several years until I was ready.  The new path lead me to my husband!  Most recently I was rejected by my long-term employer.  I provided 16 years of loyal, unwavering service to this company all for what?  A severance package not equal to the number of years I worked and a verbal promise of a good reference.  I FEAR!  I fear being unable to find new employment.  I fear finding a new position.  I fear starting all over.  I fear TRUSTING a new employer and remaining loyal to a company that may choose to reject me as soon as an acceptance letter is drafted.  I FEAR!  Fear is not logical; it is emotional.  I know I need to move past this point and walk into my future.  This isn’t easy to accomplish but I KNOW I must do this!  Fifteen months is long enough!  I will face my fear and only I will remain!

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Friendship…

Friendship takes many forms.  In the past there was the Rat Pack and later the Brat Pack.  On television there were the “Friends” who gathered at Central Perk.  Recently, the silver screen presented the audience with the escapades of Harry, Ron and Hermione.  In reality, an individual is considered very lucky to have and maintain long-term friendships whether it is with one specific person or a group.  I am fortunate.  I have a trio of women I consider my friends and sisters!  The first I met many moons ago in nursery school when we had barely passed through toddler-hood!  She had a head of hair consisting of beautiful curls (now straightened) whereas mine was baby fine and stick-straight!  We gravitated toward each other and have been a part of each others lives since then.  We lift each other up when we’re down, call to laugh and run to the other when we scream “HELP!”  A few lunar cycles passed and I met the other two ladies.  Our sorority brought us together as friends.  One is a displaced Southerner who moved with her family as a child to New England and the other is a native New Englander and is my little Sorority sister.  The Southerner is blunt.  She aims right at the bullseye and speaks from the head and the heart!  My little and I had a similar upbringing.  Conversation has always been easy between the two of us.  We don’t all share similar likes.  My oldest friend and I share similar political views as opposed to my two sorority sisters.  The Southerner and I have similar religious values.  My little and I agree upon family and familial relationships.  The traits they have in common are giving great hugs, being phenomenal listeners and providing much-needed advice!  I can go on and extol upon their virtues but they have seen inside my heart.  These are my friends…my sisters!  I love them from here to the moon and back!

Go Fund Me…

This week will make 15 months that I have been unemployed.  I have reached out to potential permanent employers, contract positions as well as temporary assignments and store positions without a bite.  I have had my ups and downs and during this time I have been supported by my sister and husband as well as a trio of friends I have known and loved forever.  One of these friends a few months ago set up a Go Fund Me account on my behalf to save my Mother’s belongings that were in storage.  She succeeded and I will forever be in her debt!  My husband was let go from his job early in June.  His employer was slow to pay him what was owed for a final paycheck plus vacation pay and unemployment would not kick in for a while.  My husband created a Go Fund Me account to assist with monthly bills – car payments, insurance, cell phones, etc.  The money was not used for anything luxurious – no evenings out, fancy dinners, theater, travel…  It was totally dedicated to our monthly bills.  The reason for this post?  I found a reference on FaceBook today which was quite denigrating to individuals who have set up Go Fund Me accounts.  The insinuation was that we need to work and, if necessary, more than one job.  Yes, if possible we would hold down more than one job IF WE COULD EVEN FIND A COMPANY WILLING TO OFFER US EMPLOYMENT!  My husband is fortunate and will be starting a new position next week.  I have spent this week reaching out to recruiters and companies that I have applied to without any results.  On behalf of my husband and myself, I do thank the individuals who have assisted us.  For those who are “pointing fingers,” please tuck your soapbox away and speak to the two of us directly.

Stress…

Some days are good; some days not so good.  I am making my sister physically ill.  This lady has been my absolute ROCK since I was laid off last year.  She has sent out my resume for me when my computer has acted up…performed job searches…ferreted out names and contact information for recruiters…  I can’t thank her enough!  So far all her efforts and mine have been for naught.  I have had NO NIBBLES over the course of the past 15 months!  Last week her stomach started acting up.  We are both prone to nervous stomachs but she had a severe ulcer shortly after graduating from college.  With a great deal of perseverance, the stomach healed and she was pain-free until recently.  All weekend long, she has looked pale and was barely picking at her meals.  In my heart, I knew she was worrying over my lack of employment and household bills but she remained quiet until an hour ago.  Her words poured out of her like water over a cataract.  They tumbled and boiled.  The intention was not to wound but to make me realize that my lack of employment is affecting those who love me.  Yes, I am frightened of rejection!  I spent 16 years with the former employer and it was all for NOTHING!  I question every resume I send out, wondering if I’m up to the task.  I know that whoever hires me will be quite fortunate as I am erudite and loyal.  I perform my job superbly!  I just wish companies could see beyond the paper; read between the lines.  How do I compete with a Millennial as most employers seem gung-ho to hire these chippies?  I don’t know but I do realize I need to in order to keep my sister happy and healthy!

RLS…

The initials may not be familiar to you but, unfortunately, I have been living with this for over 20 years.  RLS is Restless Leg Syndrome.  Some doctors believe there is a genetic predisposition for this; however, I am the only one in my immediate family that suffers from it.  RLS is not fun but it is not life-threatening.  What does it feel like?  As though my legs have a mind of their own.  My lower limbs start feeling “antsy” in the evening.  It feels as though my legs want to take off and walk or run while I am trying to rest.  I am exhausted but I am up for a good portion of the night, walking through the house, hoping the feelings will dissipate or I attempt to rest with a heating pad alternating between the limbs depending upon which one is giving me the most grief.  I wind up sleeping later into the morning as the “twitches” ease up.  For the remainder of the day, my extremities feel like lead.  Not much can be done to alleviate the symptoms.  There are some drugs on the market that help with RLS; however, one of the side effects is potential liver damage according to my doctor.  I can live without a drug in my life for my legs.  There are other mitigating factors – anemia (which I have had since I was a teenager), low magnesium and zinc levels.  I do supplement with these items but this week has been ROUGH!  Most nights I have not fallen asleep until between 3 and 4 AM!  Last night was between 5 and 6 AM!  If you also happen to suffer from RLS, I found a lot of great information through a FaceBook group Restless Leg Syndrome RLS (Willis-Eckbom Disease) and the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation or rls.org.  There is no cure but I am putting one foot in front of the other and am moving on!

Friday’s Child…

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I realize it is now Sunday, July 2nd but I was just musing about a child that was born on a beautiful, sunny morning.  It was July 1st several moons ago.  I was little, between toddler and pre-k, and my life was about to change monumentally!  The day before my Mother held me in her arms, gave me a HUGE hug (other than my Grandfather, she was the BEST hugger in the world!) and kiss and told me to behave myself for my Father and grandparents.  She said she would only be gone a week and when she returned, we would be a family of four!  With that, she handed me to my grandfather, entered the car and she and Dad drove away.  The next morning I woke up very early.  Dad was already awake and pacing around the house as far as the telephone cord would permit.  When he saw me, he ended the conversation and asked if I wanted breakfast.  I said yes and he replied he was going to make me something special – French Toast!  I had never had this before and, even though I was quite a picky eater, I was eager to try this new dish as I LOVED breakfast!  I watched my father prepare the toast – eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg mixed together.  He dunked the bread and placed it in melted butter on the griddle.  When it was brown on both sides, he put it on a plate with a pat of butter gently melting in the middle…nothing else!  It was delicious!  I asked for another slice and his face lit up!  As he was preparing my “order” the phone rang and he answered without saying hello.  “Uh huh…uh huh…uh huh.  You know what to do.  They’re both OK?  Thank You!  I’ll see you later!”  Click.  He hung up and turned to me with a BIG smile.  “You’re now a big sister!  Mommy and your baby sister are doing well!”  I put my fork down and asked when I could see them.  My Father responded that children are not allowed to visit people in the hospital but my Grandfather had an idea to sneak me in.  With that, we finished breakfast and he cleaned the plates and pan.  I played in the backyard for a little while until it was time to walk to my grandparents’ house.  My Father took my hand and we walked down the street to the brown and white house on the corner that my grandfather had built just before World War II started.  He left me with my Grandmother and I watched him walk back to our house, get into the car and drive away from the big picture window in the living room.  My Grandmother called me into the kitchen and on the table, in a huge yellow and white striped bowl, were potato chips!  “Have a little snack to tide you over,” my Grandmother said.  Tide me over?  I looked in the kitchen and down the hall to the bedroom but I didn’t see any water!  I didn’t understand and tried to ask my Grandmother but she was very distracted.  She drank cup after cup of coffee, smoked incessantly and played one game of Solitaire after another until my Aunt arrived.  Together they both drank cup after cup of coffee and smoked even more but my Grandmother responded more now that another adult was in the room.  I nibbled on potato chips and played on the porch until my Grandfather came home.  I ran into the kitchen and he was positively beaming!  “How are they?  Were there any complications?  How is the baby doing?  Is our daughter doing well?”  He was bombarded.  He picked me up and twirled me around shouting, “You’re now a BIG sister!  You’re going to meet your baby sister this afternoon!”  My Grandmother sat him down and gave him lunch.  In between bites, he answered all my Grandmother’s and Aunt’s questions.  “She looks just like Baby #1 but is slightly bigger.  If she had gone full-term, she would definitely have been MUCH larger!  She’s quiet for now but wait until her original due date.  Our daughter and son-in-law will not get any rest after that!”  I twirled the bowl of potato chips.  I so wish I had that bowl now – the memories of that day encapsulated in a serving dish!  My grandmother gave me some chicken and cucumbers but I was too excited to eat!  My Aunt was laughing every time my Grandmother attempted to sit me back down again.  “She’s eager to see her Mom and new sister!  Cut her some slack!”  My Grandfather finished his lunch, excused himself from the table (he always had impeccable manners) and headed off to wash up.  I followed him down the hallway and peaked into the bedroom that I slept in when I stayed over.  There was a crib in room that hadn’t been there yesterday.  “Why is there a crib in my room?”  My Grandmother responded that the baby and I would be sharing the room whenever we visited.  My Aunt started to giggle and said, “I see there is trouble on the horizon!”  I heard the hall closet open and close and my Grandfather reappeared with his winter coat in his hands.  “You’re going to sneak the baby into the hospital under THAT during the SUMMER?!?” both women shouted.  He nodded yes, gave each a peck on the cheek, took my hand and we walked out to his car.  I may now be the BIG SISTER but I still had to ride in the backseat!  When we arrived at the hospital, my Grandfather laid down the ground rules for the visit, “You stay with me at all times.  Do NOT run to your Mother or try to have her pick you up!  She just had a baby and her incision is healing.  You can hug her but GENTLY!”  With that, we exited the car, he put on his winter coat and buttoned me inside!   My Grandfather was a General Practitioner who had privileges at this hospital.  His second grandchild had been born that morning via Caesarian Section and he was in the room when his new granddaughter made her debut.  We passed what was considered Security for that time and he received quite a few chuckles.  “Doc, I don’t know if feet that tiny will help your balance!”  When we reached the Maternity Ward, my Grandfather unbuttoned the coat a little and told me to peek out.  “Do you see the pink door?”  I nodded.  “Push that door open.”  I did as he instructed me.  When the door opened, standing there in a pink bathrobe and slippers with a pink bow in her hair was my Mother!  My father was with her and they were GLOWING for lack of a better word!  I could tell my Mother as slightly annoyed at SOMETHING by the look in her eyes but I didn’t know what.  My Grandfather removed his coat.  I looked up to him and he nodded.  I walked SO SLOWLY to my Mother and wrapped my arms around her leg.  “Why aren’t you giving me one of your usual hugs?” my Mother asked.  I told her I didn’t want to hurt her.  “Sheynes Kind, you could NEVER hurt me!  Would you like to meet your baby sister?” I jumped up and down.  My parents each took my hand and walked me down the hall.  She looked at my Father and whispered to my Grandfather, “We will talk later!  You two have some explaining to do!”  I looked at everyone but didn’t understand “Adult Talk.”  As it turned out, my Grandfather and Father had changed my sister’s name but didn’t inform my Mother or me!  I only had one thing on my mind – my sister!  We stopped at a window and my Father picked me up.  A nurse on the other side of the window put her hand up to her mouth, let out a little gasp and immediately wheeled a bassinet to the front of the window.  “I knew this one was yours!  She looks identical to her sister!”  I stared.  She was sleeping.  I tried to knock on the window but my Grandfather stayed my hand.  “No, you’ll wake the other babies.”  There was only ONE baby I was interested in and she was sleeping in front of me!  To this day I don’t know if I willed it or if it was coincidence but she opened her eyes and appeared to look right into mine!  Her eyes were SAPPHIRE!  I had never seen anything so blue!  I raised my hand and waved to her through the window.  At the same time, she raised her little walnut of a hand and appeared to wave back.  She then yawned and fell back to sleep.  Was it love at first sight?  No, it was sibling rivalry pure and simple.  Our relationship totally changed when I went off to college.  She is the best gift my parents ever gave me!  I will never be able to express the love and respect I have for her!  She is my greatest sparring partner and chief supporter!  I was never meant to be an only child!  Mom, if you’re looking down from above…THANK YOU!