The Daily Me (Journal) Family Role – 12/10/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

What role do you play in your family?

My first response is nonexistent, but that is not altogether true. Growing up, I was the mediator in the family. Squabbles occurred frequently between my parents and my siblings. I never enjoyed confrontations and hated arguments. I would wait for everyone to go to neutral corners of the house and then attempt to work out amicable deals. I just wanted everyone to get along. My dad was always the first to break. Like myself, he didn’t like confrontations. My brother, although quite a hot-head, would usually break next. My mother and sister were equally stubborn. Neither wanted to give in. Depending on which one started the arguments with others in the family, they both usually got their ways. If it was an argument between mother and sister, mother usually got the upper-hand. Usually.

Around the age of 14 and until I left home at 18, I became less noticeable at home, often ignored outright. No one wanted to hear my opinions or allowed me to mediate. I became aloof, quiet and often spent most of my time avoiding the entire family. This would continue on throughout my life. I lived away from them, generally doing my own thing and tried not to get involved with family feuds. There was a huge feud once between my brother and sister and they did try to drag me into it. Each wanted me to take their side. I refused and went on with my life. They did eventually work it out, although there is still some tension between them to this day. And right before mother died, dad and my sister had a bit of a tussle over mother’s care. I know dad still resents her a bit, even though now he makes excuses for her behavior back then.

Even now, living once again with Dad and my brother, the three of us mostly get along. I’ve been home just over two years and we’ve only had three brief squabbles. Once between dad and I, and twice between my brother and I. Although he has a lot of reasons to do so, dad never confronts my brother about anything. He’s expressed his frustration to me, but doesn’t say anything to my brother. We’ve all apologized to one another over our little scuffles and let the arguments go. It’s hard to stay mad when we live in such tight proximity to one another. I don’t speak much to my sister, and we’ve had no real disagreements since I’ve returned home. I’ve been upset with her a couple of times, but I haven’t made big issues out of them or confronted her about them. I think mother was the main instigator for most of the family conflicts and the reason some of them lasted so long. Since she’s passed, a bit of peace has returned to the family.

Creative Question 19 –Road Trips


CQ 19:  Share an interesting road trip you have been on or are planning

Back in the late 90s, I was living with my then-lover JK. She was a hysterically witty woman from New Jersey who came down to Virginia in the early 90s to visit a childhood friend, fell in love with our mountains and decided to stay. We met through a mutual friend (her then-lover and my high school friend LC) and I began tutoring JK in Algebra and creative writing. We were both taking classes at the local community college. By the time JK and I became lovers, her mother in New Jersey had become seriously ill. It was time for a road trip to visit her.

By this time in my life, I was 25 and taking classes at Hollins College (now Hollins University). The only times I’d ever been out of Virginia were in my late teens when I lived in Burlington NC during my brief first marriage and during my early 20s when I partied with some friends in White Sulphur Springs WV. It was spring break of my first year at Hollins and I was thrilled to be going on this road trip.

Our route took us through Northern VA, into Maryland, a small corner of Pennsylvania and into New Jersey. I think I slept all through Virginia, but I remember JK waking me up when we went through Maryland. We didn’t stop there, just kept driving across the interstate. I remember us listening to the Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge and some 70s rock, and the sing alongs. We did a lot of laughing and tossed some witty banter back and forth. We also spent some quiet time. It was easy to be silent around her and not worry about awkwardness. By the time we reached PA, we did stop at a road-side Amish Farmers’ Market. We bought some homemade cheese, bread,  and a gallon of fresh tea. We made a meal of it while we drove on to Livingston NJ.

I was pretty amazed at how calm and collected JK was. This would be the last time she would ever see her mother alive, but she never became overly emotional about it. When we arrived at her childhood home, JK’s mother was out of the hospital and relaxing at home. Mrs. K was a lovely woman, cheerful and inviting. She made me feel welcomed right away. It was nearing Easter and since we’d come up for a visit, the K-family decided to celebrate early. Easter meant a special kind of cake (I still don’t remember what it was called) and the only place to purchase this cake was from a small bakery in New York City. I would finally get to see the Big Apple!

We set off extremely early the next day for New York. The bakery was in Brooklyn, but JK wanted me to see ALL of NY City. We went to Manhattan, the Bronx, Long Island and finally to Brooklyn. It was an all day trip and she drove the entire time. No small feat for NY City. While there, we saw the Twin Towers, the Brooklyn Bridge, rode the ferry to Long Island and even saw a live taping of The Late Show with David Letterman. I was in the audience! I couldn’t believe it. When we finally arrived at the little bakery, we bought that cake, tons of bread, and some other desserts. By the time we arrived back at JK’s house, her mother had fallen ill again and was at the hospital.

JK’s mom passed away a day later. We attended her funeral. Mrs. K had left money to this posh Italian restaurant to feed everyone who attended the funeral. It was a lavish affair. No one cried during or after the funeral. We ate, laughed, sang, and danced in honor of Mrs. K. I had never experienced anything like that.

The drive back to VA was a quiet one. JK’s father had loaded us up with tons of food to take back home. We made a brief stop in PA again at the same Farmers’ Market and bought more cheese. We also stopped in MD briefly, but I don’t recall why now. Maybe just a pit stop. By the time we arrived back home in VA, we didn’t get to talk about the trip or her mother. Spring break was over for me and I had to go back to Roanoke VA. I stayed there during the week with a college friend and only came back home to the house I shared with JK on the weekends.

This was the most fun I’d ever had on a road trip, even if it ended in tragedy. Previous ones had always been short trips around VA, WV and NC. I would go on to a brief trip to Georgia once with my college friend for another spring break a couple years later. After that, the longest trip I would take would be with my then-husband from VA to OK. That one was not enjoyable at all. I still hope someday to make two more road trips – one to California and another to Maine.

The Daily Me (Journal) Pride – 12/09/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Something about yourself that you’re most proud of.

This is a difficult self-exploration moment for me. Years ago, long before the deep depression, suicide attempts and turbulent 13-year marriage, I would have said my determination. I had goals then. Definitive paths I wanted to take. That determination got side-lined by the college money issue, which lead to the deep depression and the downward spiral that has killed those plans completely. Needless to say, I no longer have that burning determination.

I am most definitely not proud of my health. Some of it is my own fault, like the diabetes and not taking care of myself when I was first diagnosed. Some of it was happenstance, like the cancer and the chemo which left me with neuropathy in my feet. And the other is well, I suppose part genetic and part environmental, like the mental illnesses that have plagued me for the duration of my life.

These days, I find it difficult to be proud of almost anything about myself. I am 50, estranged from my spouse, living on disability, and sharing a home with my elderly father and brother. My life is nothing like I’d hoped all those years ago when I had a vision of where my life would be by the age of 50. I wanted to be a college professor, writing novels and books of poetry, and living somewhere in New England, preferably Maine. I wanted a small house, tons of cats and maybe a lover or two. That is not the life I have now.

The only thing I am still proud of myself about is my creativity. Although I still have periods of inactivity due to my health and mental illnesses, I have not given up my love of writing, nor my love of art. I am less interested these days in publication. Now I just write because I love it and I enjoy the small audience I have here on WordPress. I still dabble with watercolor painting and charcoal sketches now and again. I am relatively content with what I am able to do these days creatively, even if I am discontent by the life I am living.

The Daily Me (Journal) & CQ 18: Bucket List – 12/08/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom



I realized that Kate over at aroused was still doing her Creative Questions and CQ 18 is the same as this one from The Mogul Mom. So, I am linking the two together today (and I will be catching up on Kate’s other CQs in the upcoming days!)

Your bucket list

I confess, I was actually going to skip this prompt from The Mogul Mom because I don’t have an official Bucket List, but when I was exploring Kate’s blog and realized the topics were the same, I figured maybe this was a sign that I should explore this. After all, how many times must the Universe beat me over the head until I submit? This comes up a lot. Apparently everyone wants to know what’s on someone else’s bucket list.

So, why have I never created a Bucket List? I mean, I am the Queen of Lists, right? I should have one of these. What the frig is wrong with me that I’ve never sat down and explored this phenomenon? I think it is because I know why this ‘bucket list’ thing is so popular (and the rebel in me detests anything popular). It’s a wish list of things to do before you ‘kick the bucket’. And for someone like myself who has attempted suicide 7 times, my only response to this is usually: To Live. I fight the Suicide Demon every day of my life. It is exhausting and I don’t have time to wish for other things. But perhaps that really is an excuse and the rebel in me, well.. is rebelling, because the truth is, there are a few things I would like to do before I am finished with living. And so, for the first time ever, I am actually going to create this friggin’ bucket list. Yes, you are welcome *laughs*

  1. Visit India
  2. Meet the Dalai Lama while in India
  3. Visit the Smithsonian Museum in DC
  4. Visit the Holocaust Museum in DC
  5. See the Lincoln Memorial in DC
  6. Go to San Diego
  7. See the San Francisco Bridge in person
  8. Ride the London Eye
  9. Go to a NY Mets game
  10.  Travel in South America and visit the ancient ruins of the Mayans and the Incas
  11. See the wild horses of NC’s Outer Banks
  12. Visit Isle of Man
  13. Eat authentic food in Italy
  14. Hear whales’ songs somewhere, anywhere in person
  15. Go on an archaeological dig somewhere

Okay, now I see why this is so addictive. I could probably list hundreds of things I want to do before I leave this planet, but I will stop for now. Those are some of the more interesting things I’d like to do. I may continue to explore this, now that I’ve opened myself up to it. Of course, most of these are a pipe dream. I would have to be wealthy to do most of them, and I don’t see that happening any time in the near future.

The Daily Me (Journal) Forgiveness – 12/07/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Who do you need to forgive? Why?

The one person I truly need to forgive is my mother. The fact that she is deceased makes it harder to do. I cannot get the answers to questions that have plagued me the majority of my life. Questions like, why did you ignore me? why wasn’t I as important as my sister and brother? and why did you never tell me you were proud of me?

My mother was a very difficult person. She was physically and mentally abused as a child – as was her entire family – by a drunken, cruel father. As a result of her childhood, mother was distant and sometimes cold. I rarely saw her smile or heard her laughing. She was a serious woman and often volatile. She was also a perfectionist and hard to please. She never praised us for the things we did well, but was hyper-critical of things we did wrong. She stayed home most of the time by choice, but would argue with my dad if he went somewhere. She was extremely passive-aggressive, codependent and probably had PTSD.

I’ve tried many times to forgive my mother when she was alive and since her passing. I still harbor a lot of animosity toward her for how she treated me. I could never tell her what bothered me about her behavior because if I attempted it, she would say things like “If you think I am such a bad mother, you should have lived the kind of childhood I did.” That was always her answer to everything… her bad childhood. I did inherit some of her traits – aloofness, seriousness, and perfectionism. I do try to praise people, but I can also be a bit overly critical as well.

I know that in order for me to heal, I have to stop blaming her, let it go and move on. It’s just one of the most difficult things for me to do. Sometimes, I think I hold onto the bitterness because it is all I have left of her. Still, I wish I had good memories of her, but sadly, most of my memories of the past are negative ones.

The Daily Me (Journal) Fears – 12/06/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Your biggest fear & how to conquer it.

My biggest fear is that I will develop Alzheimer’s in the near future. I am already showing early symptoms, but I do not know if this is true Alzheimer’s or just the progressive memory loss I’ve had since childhood.

I used to worry about my long term memory. It is very selective. I tend to remember negative events and very few positive ones. I struggle with names of people from my past and even locations. Lately, my short term memory seems to be affected. Sometimes, I cannot remember the names of people like celebrities (actors, musicians, artists, etc.) and if I cannot remember their names, everything associated with them seems to be wiped out as well. I have to double checks things that I do because moments after I’ve done them, I cannot remember if I actually did do them. If someone asks me to do something, I have to do it right then and there because if I let even a few minutes pass, I will completely forget to do whatever it was. Even reading has become more difficult for me. I have to re-read passages often because I will forget what I’ve just read. And I constantly misplace things, something that I never had many problems with in the past.

The most troubling memory lapse is not being able to come up with the right words to express myself. I know what I want to say, I just cannot find the words. It’s as if all the vocabulary I’ve learned throughout my life has holes in it. Sometimes the right words will fall through and other times they are lost in the void. This is frustrating for me as a writer. I have to play word association games with myself sometimes to find the actual word(s) that I want to use.

I honestly don’t know if there is any means of conquering this. When the memory lapses happen, I panic. I’ve even had full-blown anxiety attacks because I cannot remember something. The fear and frustration is all too real. I’ve always been a list maker, but these days, lists are my salvation. And I have notebooks filled with just things I need to remember, sometimes people’s names and how I know them, and sometimes words I have tried to remember many times and when I finally remember, I write them down. My life has changed a lot over the years as I deal with these memory issues, but the one constant is fear.

The Daily Me (Journal) Wishes – 12/05/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

I secretly wish I ___…

I secretly wish I were a photo journalist. I’ve always wanted to travel the world and take photos of interesting places and people. I’d have to overcome my fear of flying and take photography lessons, but that was always one of my alternate career choices.

I’ve been passionate about photography since childhood – other people’s photography. I never thought I had a good eye, but then, I rarely had an opportunity to take many photos. We only owned one of those instant cameras and it was only used on special occasions. I did try to take the family photos, but most of the time, my sister complained and she got the camera.

I remember going to the bookstore and sifting through Time and National Geographic to see what photographers were shooting. I’d study their angles and try to figure out what filters they used. Black and Whites became my favorite because I could always find shadows and interesting details, things that seemed to be missing in color photos.

In college, I wanted to take a photography class, but couldn’t afford a proper camera. Now, I have a proper camera, but no real understanding of photography to help me become a decent photographer. Ah well, like most of my dream careers, this one was never to come to fruition.

The Daily Me (Journal) Affected – 12/04/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Someone who has profoundly affected you.

There have been a lot of people who’ve affected my life – some negatively and some positively, but there is one person who came along in a desperate time of my life and actually listened to me and encouraged me to make changes in my life. Her name is Kathryn and she was my therapist from early 2012 through late 2013.

Prior to Kathryn, I had been trying to get therapists and my p-docs to believe me when I talked about how my then-husband treated me. They would call him into sessions with me and he would be oh-so charming and innocent-acting. He would say all the right things and show only love and devotion toward me. My claims weren’t believed and it was all in my head.

When Kathryn became my therapist, I was apprehensive. I didn’t want to go through the long process of explaining how I’d been treated only to have another therapist not believe me. After weeks of sessions, I finally opened up to her. She said she believed me and said let’s bring him in on the next session. I was mortified. He would completely snow-ball her and my hopes of having anyone believe me would be dashed again. During that session, she asked him questions about our relationship, listening closely to his answers and taking notes. At the end, she asked us to do an exercise. We were to list five things that we loved about one another and bring it to our next joint session. I said I would do it, but when she asked my then-husband, he hemmed and hawed about it and wouldn’t commit. In fact, he never did the exercise and we never had anymore joint sessions. He claimed therapy was hogwash and a waste of time. Kathryn said he had many traits of Narcissism and she would help me to counter him, which she did over the course of six months. She also taught me Mindfulness as a means to alleviate my anxiety.

I learned so much from Kathryn. She encouraged me to begin writing again after a long three-year drought. I’d bring in my poems and she would read them. We would analyze my feelings over them and she praised my work and success. I honestly believe if she hadn’t come into my life, I would be dead by now.

The Daily Me (Journal) Admiration – 12/03/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

And it comes from… well, you know where by now….

Who is someone you admire? Why?

Right now, I have a lot of admiration for Leah Remini. Not sure if many of my readers know who she is, but she is an actress and recently left the Church of Scientology and is working to expose some of its bad practices. She has a new 8-part docuseries that just began on Nov 29th on A&E called Aftermath. As many of my readers know, I love research, and I have always been fascinated with Scientology (my dirty little secret is a Scientologist). I have read and watched reports of ex-Scientologists for years now. When Remini left, I knew she would shake things up. That’s just the kind of person she is. And believe me, it isn’t easy to be critical of this organization. They are brutal toward ex-Scientologists. They basically have a scorched-earth policy toward anyone who criticizes them. When you go to the Aftermath page, be sure to read the letters CoS sent to the producers of the show. The smear campaign is horrendous. People tell Auditors every secret they’ve ever kept and the CoS uses those secrets against them if/when they leave. Remini is brave for exposing them and I sincerely fear for her life.

The Daily Me (Journal) Goals – 12/02/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

And as from yesterday, this also comes from my death bed. Yes, I still feel like I am dying. And yes, I know that’s not true. So with what little time I am awake, I am trying to schedule a few of these ahead of time because I am taking a complete break from all of this over the weekend to hopefully heal. So onward to this prompt while my brain is semi-functioning….

A goal you’ve been putting off. What’s stopping you?

I have several writing goals that I keep putting on the back burner. One of them involves a vampire story that I eventually want to complete. It’s the story of a 600-year-old vampiress. Lots of intricate details need to be worked out, which means it will be tedious. I’ve been shelving it for years now.

Another writing goal is to edit two novellas, maybe put them on .pdf and make them available in their entirety as a book. Again, this would be tedious work and I would have to learn some technical stuff.

And my last writing goal is to finish the binders that contain some of my writing and include recent work from the last two years. More tedious work.

I keep shelving all of these because they require a lot of attention and painstaking busyness that I just don’t have the energy for these days. I think I need a secretary.