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Just forget for a minute that you have spectacles on your nose and autumn in your heart

I’ve failed and made some major mistakes in my life, but that’s what happens when you’re out here trying new things and pushing yourself to the limit. I’ve always wanted a great life and was willing to work hard to get it. I’ve tasted the bitter taste of defeat and it makes victory that much sweeter. Quitting was never an option for me. When you have a spirit that never quits you are a champion.

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Fighting The Battle In Silence

“How can I put this? There’s a kind of gap between what I think is real and what’s really real. I get this feeling like some kind of little something-or-other is there, somewhere inside me… like a burglar is in the house, hiding in a wardrobe… and it comes out every once in a while and messes up whatever order or logic I’ve established for myself. The way a magnet can make a machine go crazy.” ― Haruki Murakami

Only those who are in the same boat (or those who made the journey) would understand what Haruki Murakami is talking about. Even immediate family close as they are could impossibly fathom out the full extent of how it truly is unless they walk in the shoes of someone who is suffering from mental illness.

Bystanders will never understand. How could they if you yourself cannot make sense of what’s happening to you. It’s difficult when you cannot explain because words seem woefully inadequate to describe what’s going on inside your head which prompts those unexplainable actions that society frowns upon and made you an outsider.

How can you tell them you feel like___

You are a warrior in a dark forest, with no compass and are unable to tell who the actual enemy is, So you never feel safe.

You are in constant fight or flight mode.

I compare it with what one specialist said to me about my condition: That my body is like that of someone who is running a marathon but 24/7. I wonder what he would say if he could take a glimpse of what’s going on inside my head. I’m sure he will send me home with an instruction never to come back again.

I always have known that I would be an interesting subject for head doctors. I imagine some kind of role reversal happening. Me asking questions instead of the other way around. That would be fun I guess.

Like in real life when people always assume that I’m an open book but the truth is, I let them talk and I listen. Just listen. Without disclosing anything personal/private about myself. But they always come away with the same conclusion: That I’m an open person and we created some bond by telling each other our utmost secrets. I never correct their wrong assumptions. It is better that way.

Because___

“The majority of people dismiss those things that lie beyond the bounds of their own understanding as absurd and not worth thinking about. I myself can only wish that my stories were, indeed, nothing but incredible fabrications. I have stayed alive all these years clinging to the frail hope that these memories of mine were nothing but a dream or a delusion. I have struggled to convince myself that they never happened. But each time I tried to push them into the dark, they came back stronger and more vivid than ever. Like cancer cells, these memories have taken root in my mind and eaten into my flesh.” ― Haruki Murakami

How could I tell them the truth? How can I share to them what’s really bothering me? How can I disclose my utmost secret without scaring the hell out of them?

That’s why I never reach out to anyone and always decline offers of close friendships.

The very reason why I didn’t accept the invitations for coffee by that woman who lives across the street. I know for sure she is a good person. I see it, I sense it, I feel it. Despite my refusals when she saw that my husband hang a tarpaulin outside in honor of my becoming golden, she sent me a beautiful card and she didn’t even know my name. She just wrote Madam on the top of her message inside the card. She never failed to hand-delivered Christmas cards either. I see to it that I answered her effort and that is the only form of communication we have and she lives just across the street from me. It is a very big busy street with a lot of traffic but just across just the same.

Am I bad?

I think not.

In my eyes/mind, I’m saving her from oncoming disappointments, when I can’t/won’t deliver what expected of me. You see, any form of relationship is a two-way traffic. A series of give and take have to exist in order for the association to work out. It cannot be always coming from one side alone it’s understandable. And that’s why I have to keep a distance. To protect them from possible disillusionment.

Sometimes I wonder what she makes of me. If she takes it as a personal offense my continuing refusal to be closer to her. Does she have even a tiny inclination of how I really am? She must be aware that I like to be left alone judging by the lack of visitors knocking on my door. But I can say the same about her. At least I go out and work in the garden. I never saw her leave her place. She only comes outside to clean the windows and that’s it. Her husband is the one tending their front yard. Perhaps she thinks we are a kindred spirit. Who knows?

The truth is you never know what people think because like with every kind of illness which doesn’t show on the outside look could be deceiving.

If you are like me___

“You always look so cool, like no matter what happens, it’s got nothing to do with you, but you’re not really like that. In your own way, you’re out there fighting as hard as you can, even if other people can’t tell by looking at you.” ― Haruki Murakami

How to explain?

And even if you can, would they understand? Would they be willing to understand? Could you really open up about what’s really happening to you without being judged and your virtue torn to shreds? I think not. Our visually oriented society may not take the time to look beyond appearances. People tend to believe what they see; and if it can’t be seen, it simply doesn’t exist. Right?

Make that double when it comes to me. I made no secret of what’s going on with me mentally and physically. But I’ve warned you already about the iceberg theory. What you see is only the tip. There is a lot more going on underneath.

But that’s not for public viewing.

I’m honest about the skeletons in the closet and like I said I occasionally let them out to dance but I’m afraid you will never see them all at once having a ball. Not in this lifetime.

So what do I do with my self-imposed isolation?

Dream and fantasize.

I am a kind of expert in that. I’ve learned it early on when I want to escape the horror that is called home-where everything bad happens- done by the ones you trust and supposed to be having your back-family.

You see___

“The better you were able to imagine what you wanted to imagine, the farther you could flee from reality.” 
― Haruki Murakami

I don’t stay in my dream world. I’m too sober for that. I visited certain places in my head and talk to some people there only when necessary. Contrary to popular belief that those who are suffering from a mental disorder turn inwards because they don’t want to be cured- I do it to stay sane. To keep my sanity I have to go back to my core and get acquainted with who I really am so I can continue the pretense of being normal for the outside world so they don’t bother me too much.

And sleep.

Sleep is my cure for everything. I don’t get much that’s why maybe it becomes a sort of a treat. Everything is possible after I sleep.

But it seldom comes naturally. Most of the time if I’m lucky___

“I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. But it was not until much later that I was able to get any real sleep. In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment.” 
― Haruki Murakami

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Mr. Right

If someone would ask me which part in a movie I would like to play, that would be of Bathsheba Everdene, the heroine in Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd. And like Carey Mulligan, who insisted and got what she wanted, I would love Matthias Schoenaerts to play Gabriel Oak. Heck, I would play any part opposite him. Physically, the guy has everything I don’t fancy in a man but there is something about him that makes him so irresistible and he is a Belgian which makes him more accessible to me. Dream big right?

On the other hand, the storyline isn’t new to me. Move over Bathsheba, if you got three suitors vying for your attention, I once had five if not an entire basketball team.

But that was once upon a time.

Dreaming of Matthias Schoenaerts is what’s now left of my once technicolor life.

Still, dream big right?

And keep dreaming…

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How can be a potential disaster looks so inviting? 

“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
— Mark Twain

Everything in nature is early this year.

My flowering trees are flowering whole year! And deciduous plants become evergreen! Even my sage survived the frost and snow but died when the sun hit it during those exceptional winter days that felt and looked like late Spring or early Summer.

How can be a potential disaster looks so inviting?

That’s why perhaps no one except a few think the seriousness of global warming?

It’s nice to see plants waking up this early and those that never sleeps is like balm to the wounds during cold dreary dark winter days but still…

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Low Maintenance

My father once told me that I need to marry a rich man.

When he said this, I didn’t quite grasp what he meant or what he was trying to imply. It took me five decades to understand where he was coming from but it doesn’t mean I agree with his implication.

True, when I was young they had to coat me with baby oil before I could walk the six kilometers wasteland between our house and the only primary school in the neighborhood. I was or rather my skin was and still is allergic to grasses of any kind among so many other things. Even to these days, my naked skin cannot have direct contact with any surfaces that meant for public use like park benches, restaurants tables and chairs, buses seats and so on. I get itchy bubbles on my skin the very minute I come in contact with I think full of germs surfaces even though at first glance they look spotless. I bruise easily as well.

Oh…yeah
My skin is like a map, where my heart has been
And I can’t hide the marks, but it’s not a negative thing
So I lay down my guard, drop my defenses, down by my clothes
I’m learning to fall, with no safety net, to cushion the blow
I bruise easily, so be gentle when you handle me
There’s a mark you leave, like a love heart carved on a tree
I bruise easily, can’t scratch the surface without moving me
Underneath I bruise easily.
No, just kidding.

Prolonged contact with hard surfaces always resulted in bruises that never fade but turn into leathery skin like an elephant hide.

And I don’t know why.

I could not help our mother to wash our clothes either for I was allergic to any laundry detergent, liquid or powder. They made my hands look like raw meat. Which reminds me of the time I was on a cruise and tried Yves Saint Laurent products from the ship’s cosmetic sections. That was a big mistake. My eyes looked like someone had punched me and my lips will pass for a Botox treatment that had gone horribly wrong.

Another thing is I cannot sleep with someone next to me. Not then, not now. I always get the only bedroom in the house when we were growing up. That or I stayed awake whole night fiddling with the priceless possession of my father, the radio. Two husbands and I never managed to share a bed/room with any of them. I can’t stand the smell of another person on the pillows and bedsheets. I can’t stand them breathing next to me. I can’t stand their presence in the room. In short, I want to sleep alone.

Someone once remarked that I remind her of the story about the Princess and the Pea because I can feel every single tiny grain of whatever on the bed whether it is particles of dust or one single crumb.

How much I love working in the garden I could not do it without surgical gloves under ordinary garden mittens. I can’t stand the feel of soil between my fingers but not as much as I hate dust under my feet. Anywhere but not under my feet and between my toes.

Again, I don’t know why.

You might say my father is right. I have to marry a wealthy man, but let me tell you the other side of the story.

I am low maintenance.

Lower you cannot get.

First of all, I don’t like bling-bling or branded items. Don’t get me wrong I have them for sure but I hardly or don’t use them at all. They are given to me as gifts, from people who thought like most women, I wanted to own few if not all. I don’t go to the hair salon. I cut my own hair using ordinary household scissors that meant to be for papers. I do it in just three moves. I bend down, cut my hair straight, then trim both sides to frame my face. That’s all. I don’t wear make-up and just discovered lipstick when I was forty-eight. I don’t polish my nails, either. Heck, I don’t even shave my legs.

I don’t even need sex.

I don’t go out, rarely drink alcohol, I hate restaurants and dislike parties. I don’t even have to tan my hide, literally. I know… I know… I am already tanned by nature, so…

I don’t gamble or smoke, no expensive hobbies because my hobbies are reading, walking, writing and gardening. The last one is probably the only thing I splurge money on. When it comes to plants… I will gladly skip dinner.

So, how can my father say I have to marry a millionaire? I refuse to believe that was the (only) reason why he sold me to the highest bidder. That bidder once told me that simple things make me happy, and that is the most difficult thing to achieve because simple things are hard to come by. For him at least. When another bidder who outbid him confirmed this, I begin to consider the possibility that probably there is some truth in that claim. I am not convinced so far.

And I don’t know what to write anymore because it is a full moon and I can’t sleep and my thoughts are muddled and I want to take a bath but it’s midnight and my hair will not dry properly and I’m against using a hair dryer because it dries my hair and if I lie down with semi-wet hair I will wake up with semi-dry flat hair that is so brittle I have to take a bath again.

That’s all for now and till the next full moon.

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Trip Down Memory Lane

I was so excited when I came across this image.

It catapulted me back to that one summer day many years ago when I was driving a Porsche, his Porsche, and his hand slowly crept up along my thigh. 

I could not do anything. 

I could hardly let go of the wheel so, I said:

“Yeah baby, a little bit higher.”

Suddenly, he withdrew his hand and didn’t utter a single word anymore for the rest of the journey.

He dropped me off at the village church and I never saw him again.

27 years old, blond blue-eyed and an only son of a wealthy factory owner.

No regrets though. Besides, I’m not into blond.

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I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul

“I picked up each fragmented piece of me and studied it. Where did it belong? Did I need it anymore?”

If I start doing that, I may end up with nothing but the core.

Which is not bad I guess because that’s all we need to build and rebuild ourselves.

When I was younger, I never let obstacles bother me to the point of giving up. In fact, I never entertained the notion of throwing the towel in. Something inherent in me never allows those kinds of thoughts to even cross my mind.

Fell down?

No worries.

Get up, dust myself and walk on. Forward. Always forward and never look back if you don’t want to go that way again. I never question. I never blame.

I thought: It’s okay if I lose everything. As long as I have myself, I can start all over again.

Only when I reached a certain age I started thinking about things. Wondering about the hows and whys the ins and outs and doubts began to creep in.

I’m not anymore shoulder on charge it to experience and forget about it.

Suddenly I want explanations, justifications, and answers.

Never get it though.

I started to be scared too. Fear of the future and what it may bring.

I guess if you have nothing, you are not afraid of losing.

On the other hand, if you build and become used to a certain way of life, then you have everything to be afraid of.

You see, there is a limit. An expiration date to all you could do and tolerate before. You realized that your energy, your vigor, your optimism, and enthusiasm are not bottomless. Your ability and strength to bounce back are not that superelastic anymore. Not only the time (your time) is running out, but also your patience and perseverance. You will wake up one morning to find out that you are tired of running and want to rest, declutter your life in every way and embrace minimalism.

You are ready to settle and enjoy the fruit of your labor.

But what if life is not done with you yet?

What if it decided to test you all over again, toss you around to see if you are still as resilient as before?

Then, my friend, you got a problem.

What to do about it?

Nothing.

There is nothing you can do if fate wants to play.

Either you sign in or___

You sign out.

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Mr. Sandman Is A Creepy Boogey Guy

I’m obsessed with sleep. You all know that by now.

Just recently my GP prescribed me Diazepam for muscles spasm and -you guessed it right- insomnia.

It doesn’t work.

What it did was gave me nightmares.

My nightmares like my dreams are in technicolor and complete. Beginning.  Middle.  End.

Like a movie.

And

They are either this or this.

But mostly it is just Sleep paralysis.

You know… the

…sounds such as humming, hissing, static, zapping and buzzing noises. Voices, whispers, and roars. Fear and panic. Sensations of being dragged out of bed or of flying, numbness, and feelings of electric tingles or vibrations running through the body. Hypnogogic hallucinations, such as a supernatural creature suffocating or terrifying me accompanied by a feeling of pressure on my chest and difficulty breathing. A menacing shadowy figure entering the room or lurking outside the window, while yours truly is paralyzed.

That, and a lot more.

Like I’m about to change into something else and I can feel my skin and bones splitting, forming and rearranging.

Tempting though to let it happen and see where it brings me, I have a strong inkling that if I let that happen, there is no way back, so, I have to wake up.

Mostly this happens when there is a full moon or when the moon is waning or waxing. Basically, all the time.

My sister called me a Lunatic.

Funny coming from here. But I took no offense. She called me also a paper doll.

Family.

They say

Either you hate them or love them.

I’m neutral.

I don’t feel anything.

What about you?

Do you have a similar experience?

Nightmares. Not family.

Well, do you?

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Crab Mentality

“When emerging from humble beginnings, those around you tend to underestimate your authenticity because they knew you before you were ‘somebody’.”

― Criss Jami, Killosophy

And often times, they will never forgive you for escaping, for managing to change your life in spite of… and most of all, for not bringing them with you. They will expect (demand) you to haul them out from the pit without their help because you made it. Therefore, if you can do it for yourself, you can do it for them. And if you refuse or fail for lack of cooperation, then you must be a very, very bad guy who doesn’t want anyone to succeed for the fear of losing your own sparkle. They will revel in your failure. They will hate you no matter what because you escaped.

They will spread lies about you to ruin your reputation and to establish themselves in the eyes of the public as victims. Lies are easier to believe than truths especially amongst those who are in the same boat. They seek solace and validation with one another. And for the others who are on the other side of the fence, underdogs tend to get the sympathy of the public, aren’t they? It is hard to pity someone who doesn’t want/crave pity and above all, fortunate.

People are blind.

How else they can overlook the fact that those who are condemning you are the ones who are guilty of the very crime they are accusing you of?

None is so blind than those who refuse to see.

And to watch while passing judgment is by far the safest option.

No matter what__ Life goes on.

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Color Blind

What if one day we wake up in a world without color?

Would it change our perception of everything?

Would we see people from all walks of life equals?

Could we resurrect respect and appreciate more?

Could it make us more tolerant friendly and forgiving?

Would our lives be more simple and joyful?

They say

When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls.

Is it true?

I remember one rule of design.

If you want to know what’s wrong about a room (inside or outside) photograph them in black and white.

BUT

C. JoyBell C. said:

We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colors and all cultures are distinct & individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We don’t share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive. I will not blind myself and say that my black brother is not different from me. I will not blind myself and say that my brown sister is not different from me. But my black brother is he as much as I am me. But my brown sister is she as much as I am me.

The downfall of the attempts of governments and leaders to unite mankind is found in this- in the wrong message that we should see everyone as the same. This is the root of the failure of harmony. Because the truth is, we should not all see everyone as the same! We are not the same! We are made in different colors and we have different cultures. We are all different! But the key to this door is to look at these differences, respect these differences, learn from and about these differences, and grow in and with these differences. We are all different. We are not the same. But that’s beautiful. And that’s okay. In the quest for unity and peace, we cannot blind ourselves and expect to be all the same. Because in this, we all have an underlying belief that everyone should be the same as us at some point. We are not on a journey to become the same or to be the same. But we are on a journey to see that in all of our differences, that is what makes us beautiful as a human race, and if we are ever to grow, we ought to learn and always learn some more.

It is when we think we can act like God, that all respect is lost, and I think this is the downfall of peace. We lie if we say we do not see color and culture and difference. We fool ourselves and cheat ourselves when we say that all of us are the same. We should not want to be the same as others and we should not want others to be the same as us. Rather, we ought to glory and shine in all of our differences, flaunting them fabulously for all to see! It is never a conformity that we need! We need not to conform! What we need is to burst out into all these beautiful colors!

What do you think?

Me personally, like Mark Rothko when it comes to humans

I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.

Wherever of the spectrum you’re in, I hope you’ll do what’s right. Not only for yourself but for everyone concerned.

Till next time.

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Listening To My Body

I have yet to learn.

I must have told you already in one of my so many blog posts that I feel guilty when I am not doing something. A day without anything tangible created is a day wasted. That’s my motto. I didn’t know when did the habit begun and where I’ve learned it. As long as I can remember, it is part of my life. Nobody taught me to feel guilty. If someone did I don’t remember.

The result is: I never rest unless I fall down dead. So to speak. As long as I can put one foot in front of the other, I’m up and running.

Some people run on reserve. I run on empty.

I go on and on till I collapsed out of sheer exhaustion. Sick for me means I passed out or delirious and can’t get out of bed. 40°C fever means I am still gallivanting out there and throwing up is part of life. I will lie in bed yes if I’m so dizzy I see stars or can’t open my eyes because of blinding headache. But the moment I can stand, I’m in the garage, on the floor repotting plants that don’t need repotting especially in the middle of the winter when they lay dormant and agitating them means risking their fragile life but still doing it all the while saying to myself: they don’t need moving, they don’t need water, wait till spring when they have the best chance to grow and flourish.

I’m crazy I know.

Look at me.

I still have a fever and didn’t sleep. I was up the whole night with my head in the loo yet I am here sitting in front of the computer typing nonsensical arguments with myself.

Why I do it?

I don’t know.

Bad habits.

Habits I really (really) have to unlearn.

I have to start listening to my body. (My mother-in-law said)

I’m not getting any younger. I have to accept that the way of life I gotten used to doesn’t fit/applies anymore to my present self. I have (there are so many I and have in this post) to take my foot off the gas pedal and stop before I crash. (As if I’m not crashing daily lately) There is no shame in being lazy every once in a while. Stop, smell the flowers (not roses, I hate roses especially red, they are so common) learn to sit and enjoy the moment instead of running a race. Chew your food, savor the drink, close your eyes and take pleasure from doing nothing.

Listen to your body and relax.

Relax.

Relax.

Relax.

Yeah.

Shit.

How to do it?

Can someone, anyone tell me?

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Quick Recap

Right after the New Year, I got the flu and took to bed.

I was so ill I could not stand up for five consecutive days, not even to pee. I forgot what time of the day it was or what day it was. I did not even mind if the doors were open or if the lights were on or not. I was shaking violently under two layers of duvet, sweating like a dog but freezing at the same time. I could not swallow food or tolerate even a sip of water. I was miserable.

On the fifth day, though shaky on my legs, I managed a trip to the doctor. The time I spent in the waiting room was torturous. Every sound magnified by tenfolds and the lights! The lights hurt my brain and the smell made me want to puke violently.

I got medicine for my sinusitis but the flu, you know the flu__ there is no cure for it.

I am still shaky but I can go downstairs now and gulp fruits, the only type of food I can tolerate so far. I managed to take a bath yesterday. It took me two hours and by the time I’m finished I was so exhausted, I had to sleep.

I didn’t leave the house for three weeks now and if I spend another day inside I will be crazy so, sick or not I’m going somewhere, anywhere.

I hope to be back on my feet before February 1st because I have to attend a corporate reception/party of some sort. I don’t want to but duty calls.

Wish me well.

Quick Recap:

Two more trips to the doctor and two different antibiotics later and I’m still ill.

The dizziness,  the nauseousness and vomiting, the never-ending coughs,  the excessive amount of phlegm and the headaches never leave me. I’m out of my wits! What to do, what to do!

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getting Through The Cracks

I grew up where, when a door closed, a window didn’t open. The only thing I had was cracks. I’d do everything to get through those cracks – scratch, claw, bite, push, bleed. ~Dwayne Johnson

Only I didn’t do all those things. I was not aware of the cracks. I thought they were doors. I didn’t want to escape, I was happy where I was. I guess if you don’t know any better… I knew there were people who were dissimilar from us but to me, they were just people. I never envy them nor aspire to be like them. Though they behaved differently towards me and my family, their attitude never made me feel inferior or less fortunate. It should have been. Perhaps if it was the case I would try harder getting through the cracks instead of___ what are the right words to describe what I was thinking/doing back then___ going through life one day at a time, more or less happy (in my own way) making the most of how little there was.

I don’t believe in destiny like I don’t believe in supernatural even though I had enough experience to write a dozen books about both. Things happen and that’s all there is to it. I got through the cracks somehow and stay out. No amount of coincidences, conspiracies and risky endeavors catapult me back where I came from. If I believe in luck I would say I am probably lucky.

Lucky that even though I follow my heart most of the time and pride is my greatest sin and I seem to be fond of illogical thinking, I’m still alive and in one piece and far from destitute. Hmmm… maybe the last one is debatable since I am not rich in my own right. Sometimes it is good to be a woman.

There are people who want nothing in their life than to get through the cracks but if offered a lifeline they use it to strangle themselves. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. Watched it happening from the ringside often enough to know that those cases are classified as lost causes. No one can help them unless one is willing to commit suicide. Try to teach them to fish and they will hate you for not just giving them the bounty on a silver platter spoon and all. They want to eat fish but they don’t want to go fishing. They expect you to feed them through the cracks. Day by day, year by year. All their lives.

I guess it could have gone wrong for me also if I didn’t make certain choices. I tried it for size and those few times are the only decisions I ever regret making. No harm done. No course altering or life-changing events but still… those deliberate error of judgment is not to be repeated. Shameful they are.

Chances that could stir my life towards the one I had dreamed of never happened. Not for the lack of trying. It just didn’t happen. Everything I had envisioned for myself never materialized. It reminds me of the saying about God gives us not what we want but what we need. Who needs decades of nightmares I wonder.

If I could choose my own destiny I would choose to be a successful career woman ( what I mean by this is I work as a bestselling author/painter, Broadway/actress, an FBI agent ala Mulder and Scully, food/restaurant critic, travel photographer/journalist, a psychologist or even a pirate) unmarried, childless and enjoying one night stands in every city. Like a man.

Too much to ask?

Or

Maybe I just have to be content that I got through the cracks in one piece.

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