Ocdbloggergirl's Blog: OCD, Life, and Other Misunderstandings

More Mental Malaise, Less Donald Trump

Filling the Hole — November 20, 2014

Filling the Hole

babymotherdeathPerhaps “Filling the Hole” is not a wise choice of name preceding my last post, but what the hell.

I am fine physically, in spite of my lifelong belief otherwise. Now I need to know why I’m alive. After my mother’s death, my life’s purpose croaked too.   My organs were supposed to shut down, one after the other, in solidarity with my mother. Until the age of 33, I had one identity: daughter. My identity died September 13, 2011. My family was dead except for a few distant relatives. I called my mother’s first cousin, Charles, but he was still angry at my mother for distancing herself from the family after my grandmother died. Cold in the morgue or not,  them there mountain grudges die hard. He was nice in that he never said he was mad at my mom, but it was a “don’t call us, we’ll call you,” scenario. I wonder if sometimes he and his sister wonder whatever happened to me. Now I was no one’s daughter, no one’s family member. I didn’t belong anywhere. It made me even more certain that God overlooked me the day my mother died.

Now look at me. Almost 37, and once again reminded that for no particular reason, I’m still alive. I played the hand dealt, and I’m the only one holding my cards now. I did pretty well for myself considering all the blows that came that first year. My mother died and I gained the love of my life. Then the love of my life, gay man that he was, used my love for him against me. I’m still in love with the illusion he painted. The one person in the world who understood me, who saw me as brilliant, who shared the same interests as me, and the same ideals. He told me I got him on a level no one else did, that we would be friends forever. He’d hold me in bed at night, nothing overtly sexual, but he must have known the feelings he sparked within me. His abused past, how he got his disease, made him all the more mesmerizing to me. The one thing I’m certain we both shared, was low self-esteem. I only saw it once in a restaurant when he teared up because he thought the restaurant manager was staring him down. The rest of the puzzle came in the stories he told. Men who were also in love with him, friends he had that never materialized, stories I knew were lies.The stories may have been true in his past, but not now. One guy he spoke of was in a foreign country when he spoke of going to give him a hand job. Another guy was a cop. In fact he used the pretense of writing an email to Cop, but it went to me instead, and I think I was the target anyway. The email was titled, “Pig in a Blanket.”  The email told his lover that I was the pig who never did anything and freeloaded on them. It’s true I wasn’t good at chores (or doing them at all) and I did eat them out of house and home for just 250.00 in rent/ later 475.00 their pain and suffering rate after my botched suicide attempt. My bad.

But the point is, I do what I got to do now. I live alone and it’s such a blessing to have no one to tell me what to do, to not be fearful of being thrown out by one wrong step, to just be. I tend to my cats, I help out a friend, and I have my hobbies. I have internet friends. I read, occasionally write, I’m a gamer, I swim in season, and I go places, and I eat a lot of burgers. La dolce vita. And I dumpster dive. But that deserves a post of its own. 

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Fourth Blogoversary: March 25th — March 26, 2014

Fourth Blogoversary: March 25th

 

Strange fate. Why God, or the universe, or a great nothingness conspires or throws events at random to some and misses others. The Wheel of Fortune keeps spinning. Some folks buy a vowel while others go bankrupt.

There was a blurb on the news yesterday: A fire at my old apartment complex. Then it announced the address. My building. I asked my friend to drive me ‘round the hood. I wanted to see if it was their apartment since their apartment was in the same building as the apartment I shared with my mother. Ye Old Shitville Ghetto Apartment Complex looked the same as ever: dilapidated, half-assed put together, just all that charm of a coastal town sunk into hell. Home sweet home. Roachy, bedbuggy, home. Mom and I lived 9 relatively happy years here. Four Years ago yesterday, March 25, 2010 I started my blog there. In 2011 my mother was taken to the hospital from there never to return again.

It wasn’t their apartment that caught fire, that is, my ex-roommates. Not the man who I miss to this day. My mother’s cook book is still on their shelf, and whatever else I gave them or they kept as theirs did not catch alight in some Waiting to Exhale diva style fashion. I’m glad they’re safe, and I hear they’re moving far away in about a week. 

No, there was the apartment my mother and I shared gutted by fire. So far they say “cause undetermined,” but I’d bet the house (pun intended) that it was shitty wiring. First that wiring was older than I am, I’m pretty certain, secondly if I remember correctly, sometimes it did act funky.
If it was a malfunction in the wiring or appliances, and had my mother lived, I’m certain we would still live there and it would be us left with nothing. Did God deliberately spare us that fate? Why?

In my more philosophical mode, I think, “Did my mother die at 68 to be spared going downhill physically, possibly ending up an oxygen-bound invalid like her mother or near blind from macular degeneration like her father? Did God cut my mother a break, or was he being cruel? My mother’s illness was two weeks total, only one day of which was  in the hospital. Also God knew that as long as my mom lived, my OCD would’ve been at her side trying to keep her alive. I’d never have lived alone were she still alive. I’d be too afraid she’d die. And now our apartment is charred. My mother’s essence burned out of the walls it feels like to me. Would we have died in the fire? Did God kill my mother to protect us from a worse fate? Why didn’t He just stop the fire in the first place and spared whoever lived there.? Ugh, I just don’t get it. Maybe my not being there was just the luck of the draw, and numerous calamities are about to befall me. Stay tuned!

 

What Happened to My Mom and Me Part III — October 27, 2011

What Happened to My Mom and Me Part III

You are tired of waiting. You try to pull yourself together. You WILL NOT sob in front of people. Making your way to the visitor’s desk, your best friend is coming through the sliding glass doors. You will look back at this later as fate and good fortune entwined since you have never felt so alone in your life. You don’t want to do this alone. Now you have an ally. You both are brought back, but intercepted and sat down in a waiting area within the ER. “I will come back in about 15 minutes,” says the nurse, but you know hospital time is different from the world outside, and aren’t surprised that fifteen minutes becomes a half hour. You and your bestie watch a mini drama unfolding between a woman, her grown son, and a couple of nurses. Waiting with dignity intact is not brain surgery, but apparently this gent has actually had brain surgery in the past and fainting or some such has brought his presence in this ER. He, along with his mother, are arguing his place in triage and are showing their proverbial asses. You look and listen with disdain. You want to say, Hey asshat, at least you aren’t dying, but your mother raised you better. Instead you passive aggressively give the pair the evil eye.

Once again you tire of waiting. You are careful not to act impatient as you ask for an update, explain you don’t mean to seem impatient, and apologize.  At last you are both brought back to your mother. The ventilator is in place, your mother is unconscious from the sedation. Does she hear? You and your friend say hello to her. You’ve seen two other people on ventilators before haven’t you? What happened to them, Lisa? Your grandfather, later your grandmother. You were 15 when you watched your grandfather die in the ICU, 23 when your grandmother died in the Respiratory Care Unit when they pulled the plug. Yet you still hope. It seems important to you to let your friend know this isn’t her fault.  She’s crying. You tell her, “It will be OK. If it’s her time to go, she would have caught that cold anywhere. God makes no mistakes and she could have caught it somewhere else.” You find it almost funny that it’s your mother dying, but you’re trying to comfort someone else. A switch has turned on in your head. You are nice, but steeled. The mental midget you, anxious and alert for trouble at all times, has walked away, until you need her again.  You need to thank her, for it was Mental Midget You that always thought something awful was about to happen to your mother. She was the one who told you your mother is dying if she was late picking you up, was a victim of crime, had a heart attack. Or that you would die while you were away from your mother. Mental Midget You’s scenarios are always worse than fighting for life in a hospital. It is an advantage of having fear as your constant companion that anything bad that happens has already been imagined in far more extreme circumstances, so that you are anesthetized to reality.

You are allowed to see your mother before they cart her away to ICU. They tell you to wait an hour before trying to see her in her intensive care room, because “setting her up” takes a long time and the doctors will want to see her.

OK. You go to the café, the alternative to the bland cafeteria. You can’t eat a sandwich, so you stick to Reese’s Peanut Butter  Cups. This still isn’t real. You feel hyped. The world is different. Then you go to the ICU. Outside the door is a red phone that only connects to the Medical ICU when you pick up the receiver. You are told to come back later, the doctors are still working on her. Oh.

You and the bestie go to the elaborate waiting room for this ICU. It is two floors big, plenty room to spread out, even little nooks for families to huddle together. All fine, but you need to update Elsie and Bob, and your phone can’t get reception, so you go outside. Someone is outside stealing a smoke, stealing because the Smoke Nazis won’t even let a soul smoke in the parking lot. Funny. Your mother is dying, no doubt in part due to her smoking since she was 17, weakening her lungs to infection – yet you find it ridiculous that you can’t light up in the open air. Later, when your mother is no more than ashes in a plastic box, you will still think this.

You call Elsie. You tell her that there is a good chance of your mom dying and Elsie still can’t believe it. You can’t either, but that other you is there, and she will face it while Mental Midget You takes a vacation. But now you are alone. Steeled You’s armor is let down a bit when you are alone. You feel a tear, but you need to get back inside. Your friend will worry, so you gather your armor again for the battle inside.

Another hour passes and you return to the red phone. Doctors are still in with your mother. You thank the nurse, you are just so polite aren’t you? They will not know you are getting impatient. They have free Wi-fi for the people waiting for family members to give up the ghost. Among the advantages of being obsessive-compulsive is you bring virtually everything you own with you if you might be waiting awhile. You and your bestie play Pac-Mania on your netbook, but you are fine turning the computer over to your friend. Someone’s family is here, including a young girl on her netbook. They seem upbeat. You doubt their family member will die, or maybe it’s because it’s a big family supporting each other.

Thursday Poets Rally: Dear Adam and Eve — September 2, 2011

Thursday Poets Rally: Dear Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve
Image via Wikipedia Art Nouveau Carpet Matching Drapes

 

This poem was supposed to be for week 1 of the Poetry Picnic, but I didn’t get it done on time, so instead I humbly submit it to Thursday Poet’s Rally (two weeks later). Let me know what you think!

 

Dear Adam and Eve

 

Dear Adam and Eve,

 

Are you real or make-believe?

Did you exist in connubial bliss,

in a garden where only peace exists?

 

Or were you a seed implanted in

imperfect man’s head 

to explain all  the living and dead?

 

Myths spread to the ears of babes,

generation upon generation, 

a scribe writes and it passes to nations.

Did fiction become truth?

 

Was it 6 thousand -or 6 million-years ago,

you clothed yourselves in tree leaves

and from paradise told to go?

Why today your children suffer the same?

Our forebears’ sin forever our bane.

 

Or were you not Adam and Eve,

of dust and rib conceived?

Instead bang and poof, 

apes learn to live under a roof.

A new world constantly changing,

new insects for the naming.

Life made by God either way?

Only God and fossils can really say.

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Day V: Jesus Saves — June 9, 2011

Day V: Jesus Saves

Lily remembers. You must be Christ-like, they  told her. Ugly, scrawny little girl. Those were the days before she became a hopeless heifer. Save someone, they said, but who would save her?

(Author’s note: Here’s 50 cents. Call someone who cares. You are depressing me. Write about bunnies and kittens, Lisa, or go home).

(Author’s more profound note: No, I ain’t dissing Jesus).

Poetry Pot Luck: The Perfectionist — January 11, 2011

Poetry Pot Luck: The Perfectionist

 

Yay! Another OCD poem!

 

Okay, I will try not to write more  ‘kill a buzz’ poetry next time, though y’all were awesome about the last one. It even got published on http://katemclaughlin.net, a successful author’s mental health blog. Coolest. Thing. Ever. Y’all won’t hold it against me if I break out into a stirring rendition of “Fame! I’m gonna live forever!” Shoot, I even feel as though I’ve got “Bette Davis Eyes” and that “I’m Walking on Sunshine, baby, yeah.”

I’m feeling so magnanimous today that I’m going to share one of the things that OCD does to virtually everyone who has it:  Rabid perfectionism. Cujo-trying-to-attack-style. Just when my mind thinks I’ve figured out a way to do something, that I’ve planned it out perfectly, Nervous Nelly will interject, “Nah girl, you ain’t doing that right. Try harder, loserrr.” If it ain’t Nervous Nelly in my head saying such, my mother is apt to say something that I will misconstrue as a criticism, which will turn me all ‘Sybilish’ and my mom and I end up having words. I want to be perfect and as good as everyone else, but my standards for myself are wayyyyyyyy too high. The really fun part is therapy and antidepressants just dampen it a tad. I can’t seem to stop. Irksome! But anyway, here I drop a rhyme about it for this week’s Poetry Pot Luck at http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com . Tell me the truth if you don’t like it , in a nice way, of course!

 

Some people ask me why do you do such a thing?

Can it really be a comfort, or are you just not listening?

Nah, it's you. Definitely you. Or maybe me.

 

Are you just being difficult?

Are you just trying to make us mad?

 

No, I’m not. Yes, I am.

No. Yes. Maybe.

I’m not sure? I hope not.

I don’t think so…

 

I am difficult  and I am crazy

in my own convoluted way.

Well, you should stop, they say.

 

I don’t think you understand.

All people are driven forward by their minds.

I move forward but I’m three steps behind.

You go your way, but I must stay and listen to my mind.

 

It started around the age of six.

Staring at a piece of paper,

I knew I was in a fix.

Your name. Write your name.

No, no, it has to feel just right.

Instead I just sat there,

and the teacher marveled at how

I could be so dumb.

I didn’t know how to explain,

not to anyone.

 

In religion, I made the decision

to be as perfect as Jesus.

No everlasting flames for me!

But if I prayed once,

soon I’d pray again.

Oh Jesus, too much is a sin!

 

But you know better now, right?

You know you can’t ever be

a freaking deity?

 

Do I?

Yes, but maybe no.

Maybe I always knew,

but I was just a kid.

 

Now I’m an adult.

I only want to be as good as everyone else,

Perfect that without  completely erasing me.

So to myself I say,

Today will be the day I do nothing wrong.

I’ll please everyone, even you.

I might see the forest,

but all those trees are blocking my view.

 

Then tears, screams, I must begin anew.

A Rememberance of Things Past: Remembering 9-11 Through My First Post — September 11, 2010

A Rememberance of Things Past: Remembering 9-11 Through My First Post

I’ve been blogging now since March, and since my very first post mentioned 9-11, I’m going to excerpt it, but also give you a link to the whole post should you not have read it. Here is the link to the whole post:

https://ocdbloggergirl.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/in-which-nervous-nelly-explains-how-ocd-thinking-isnt-always-a-bad-thing/

For those of you who would rather not read my whole post, here is the part pertaining to 9-11, plus some background from my childhood:

Example Two – Lisa in “Well, At Least the World Isn’t Ending”

When I was little I was afraid of the world ending, and particularly that either my mom or I  would be roasting in hell-fire for eternity. I went to a Christian school, mainly because the school had afterschool care, and Mom figured I would mainly be saying my prayers and learning about Jesus.  Um wrong.

I learned that I was A SINNER and God spared only those who were true Christians and had the Lord in their hearts.

But I was a SINNER, EVIL, EVIL SINNER and off to Hell I would go where I would suffer eternal agony. Forever and ever. This is a tad much to swallow at the age of 6. Especially when our teacher would say such comforting things like, “If you think you see or hear things in the dark it’s just the devil trying to scare you, but if you’re a Christian he can’t hurt you.” Well joy to the world.  It would have been a comfort to me IF I was sure I was really a Christian. BUT WHAT IF I WASN’T  REALLY A CHRISTIAN???  What if I wasn’t saved? Maybe I didn’t say the prayer right? Maybe I might not love Jesus as much as I am supposed to love Him?

And so I prayed.  And then I prayed, and when I got done with that pretty soon I prayed some more.  Same thing every time. ”Please come into my heart, please forgive me of my sins.”  I didn’t feel Him inside my heart literally or figuratively.

One day, when I was safely delivered from the good teacher and her views of the devil, etc., the end of  the world occurred.  We had a new teacher because thankfully our first teacher got mad and walked out in the middle of class  when her best friend got fired. I  was so happy. God was in His heaven and all was right with the world. This woman actually liked me, where as the previous teacher despised me. In fact, this teacher almost worshipped me. Never before and never since has anyone liked me that much (I don’t think she could have children and me being the odd one out, I sparked an overwhelming  desire to have a child , and my mom worried she would kidnap me -but all that’s another story for another time). Yes, she loved me and it was wonderful, so I doubt it was artifice and she really did think the world had ended.

One day the sky seemed thick and cloudy, and an orange haze filled the air. In fact, there was even big ashes snowing down at intervals. Everyone speculated that the world was ending in our little school, and if the teachers believed it, then it was true, right? I remember being very afraid. What if I never saw my mom again?

Yes, the world was ending…..That is until the principal’s husband showed up and told how there was a bad forest fire in the next county and the wind was blowing ashes and smoke all the way over here.  Jeez, I was a stupid kid, but at least the adults were dumbasses too.


Well enough of this childhood trauma stuff and fast forward to being 24. By that time I had made my peace with Jesus. I now believed that Hell didn’t exist, that a loving God would not condemn  the world to being rotisseried for eternity. I had no interest in judging others when I was such a flawed person myself and believed (and believe now too) that Jesus was a bleeding heart liberal like me though he was cool with the Republicans too.  We’re all people, right? (Except Ann Coulter maybe, heh).  So this is my mindset on that awful day of September 11, 2001, though I still prayed to excess on my simple goal of being perfect, the world ending got filed in the back of my mental filing cabinet of fears.

We hadn’t had the TV on all morning. It was now around 1:30pm and my mom was driving me to class, so I turned on the radio to listen to some music. I had it on an R&B station, but instead of the usual waiting to hear a half-way decent song,  the announcers were talking about praying for the nation and how Washington was under full alert.  No planes in the air, they told, and they don’t know if we’re being invaded or how many thousands might be dead.

Now may it never be said that I claim to be the sharpest nail in the toolbox. What did I think was happening? I had no idea, but it was awful. The sky was finally falling, Chicken Little, like you always knew it would. It flashed in my mind that the world was ending. I felt like that 6 year-old I once was, waiting to be left to hell in the final judgement.   So when I heard what had actually happened, that the world had not ended, Lord help me at the relief I felt.  It was like “Oh, thank God the world isn’t ending. It’s just a terrorist attack!” And in this way. my OCD once again spared me from reality by expecting the worst of the worst and numbing me to the thing that was almost the worst of the worst. I stayed home from school for a couple  days since the state port and federal courthouse are near the community college, but I remember no real panic on my part for myself, but I also could have been in shock. I didn’t have to think the  horror until it was a little easier to take. Numbed by my joy that the world was not ending I didn’t have to think about the things that would later become vivid and terrible in my mind. The terror of the passengers on those planes.  The picture I would see of the priest being carried out lifeless when he had been there giving the last rites to the dying.  Not knowing whether your family and friends were alive. Would I have followed orders and stayed in the second tower like bosses had told their employees?  And the worst one…..having to decide between death by falling out of a window or being burned alive. So I’m grateful for the OCD and/or stupidity that spared me a bit on that awful day.





The Various Trials of Nervous Nelly, from a Visit with her Therapist to Nearly Being Locked in a Cemetary Overnight — April 27, 2010

The Various Trials of Nervous Nelly, from a Visit with her Therapist to Nearly Being Locked in a Cemetary Overnight

(This post was started April 16 and only finished today, the 27th. Segments, Lisa. You must learn to write in small segments. )

Dear most appreciated blog reader,

Regarding my “Can’t Say No” post, I have yet to be hauled away for the crimes of Little Hippie /Fundamentalist  Woman, so perhaps she wasn’t a criminal after all and just  a gal who really needed to write an email or two. I have a vivid, abominable  imagination.  So for now we must file this worry away and send our neurotic heroine Nelly on to other fabulous adventures, like chasing windmills and shit.

It’s Wednesday and I’m late as always to my therapist. I can’t for the life of me be on time for anything. One day I will be late to my own funeral, you just wait and see.  Assuming I don’t die penniless and bereft of friends and family, I will be cleaned and dressed sans my rituals and won’t try to do 3 or 4 things at the same time. Then, since you can’t take it with you when you go, I won’t be searching frantically for whatever the ‘it’ is of the day that I wanted to take. So who knows? I might make it on time for my funeral sometime in the  future (hopefully the distant future), but as it stands I won’t to the therapist. And the ‘it’ that I need to take with me is my fucking purse, which I forget at home, and helpfully  remember 15 minutes down the road. We debate on returning for the purse. I didn’t pay my Medicaid co-pay the last time because it was the end of the month and money was mega tight in March, but to  let the payment go twice in a row is positively horrifying to me, especially since now I can pay for it just fine.

Nervous Nelly here is a dependent personality if ever there was one. I can’t bear the thought of telling the sweet, non-threatening receptionist to ‘put it on my tab.’  I can say hi warmly, flash something akin to  a smile, politely answer questions, set up an appointment, pay, and wish her a good day each time I see her, all the while  avoiding eye contact as much as I can. But the words, “I’m really sorry, but I forgot my purse at home. Could I please pay you next time?” like someone climbing Mt. Everest to me. Not impossible, but who wants to be so high up in the atmosphere you can barely breathe?  Not I. Hellll no.

“If I have to not pay my $3.00 twice in a row, will you please tell her,” I beg my mother.

Ok, seeing this in print is really showing how stupid this is. Oh, man. There is inside this woman, me, a little girl who never grew up and she wants her mommy.  She fights with adult me, who is a bit of an old lady.  So this perhaps is why I don’t ever quite fit in, can’t be 32…I can have the emotional maturity of a 6 year-old and sometimes  I’m 62 (I am so screwed).

What clenches the purse-fetching debate is the gas tank is almost on empty and we will need to get gas pretty soon. I feel my frustration scale about to go through the roof. I hate messing up, hate it. I regard forgetting  my purse as some terrible flaw in my character, a sign that I’m a total fool. How disgusting. How ridiculous. How abnormal. How imperfect! The little things in life get me, as I’ve told you before,  and this little thing has sent me into a rage at myself. I covertly pinch my arm hard trying to get a grip. I tell myself under my breath what exactly I am. “Stupid, worthless piece of shit.”

Ok, let me step back a sec. That’s embarrassing to relate, dear reader. I wouldn’t say that to anyone else or pinch anyone but myself.  I am my own worst enemy.  In situations like these I don’t just dislike myself, I loathe myself. I don’t hate other people and seldom get really mad at others. Guess I save it all for myself. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy. I don’t hear voices, see things, or think I’m Joan of Arc. I know it’s  totally irrational and yet I can’t seem to stop.

Ok, intermission over. Back to the story.

Back at the apartment, I grab my purse, all the time berating myself.  I pop an ativan (those are only for emergencies and I deem this fit an emergency) and back out I go.  At the therapist’s, I go in with extra apprehension for being almost 15 minutes late.  I am supposed to meet the eyes of my therapist, but I’m ashamed for being late, and ever since my antidepressants  seemed to start failing me ( a couple of months now), I can’t make the effort for her or anyone. I’m ashamed and afraid for being.

I have an implicit trust in my therapist and can tell her anything. I knew her when I was 15 and in a group for teens with various problems. I saw another therapist one on one in those days, but my current therapist was one of the leaders of the group, and to be honest, I liked her much more than him.  My male therapist, besides the fact he was a man  and I distrust men, I felt was too critical of me. He wanted to change my personality and I felt he secretly didn’t like me much. But I can thank him for many things, one is I knew where to go when I needed help again, my current therapist. Another, is I met my best friend of 17 years there and half the time she’s more neurotic than I am, though hers is more from her life experiences and not an anxiety disorder. Yet another is that I learned that no matter how bad things are, there’s someone who is in a far worse situation than I am. You never know what someone is going through or what made someone become who she/he is , and it is vital to realize and be compassionate. I wonder what happened to those kids. Did that girl who kept a knife under her bed for when she decided to make another suicide attempt live to adulthood? I hope she is alive and well, the poor thing was only 14, and no child deserves such unhappiness. My best friend and I were the poster girls for good mental health compared to the overwhelming majority of those kids.  So awful.

But anyway….

My therapist says I must stop beating myself up for simple mistakes. NO ONE IS PERFECT. FORGETTING STUFF IS NORMAL. It’s hard for me to not try to do things just right, though, because I’ve done this in one form or another since about the age of 6.  She tells me to continue going for walks everyday. Besides being good excercise, she thinks if I’m out among people I will become less nervous around others. I’m just so afraid of making an ass out of myself , of committing the great social blunder of 2010, and I feel they’re thinking about how I look.

Lastly, my therapist tells me to remember to do more stuff that will make me more independent. I am peaceful as I hand my money over to the receptionist. She tries to schedule my next appointment still in April, but I say best make it May since it’s getting toward the end of the month and money is tight. To which the receptionist answered, “If you ever need to see her, it’s ok to wait until later to pay.”

Note to self: Lisa Ann B., you’re an idiot.


It is Thursday, a beautiful spring day in the southeastern coastal town where I live. The flowers have burst forth. Spring’s trademark is stamped everywhere. Dogwoods, other flowering trees, and  azaleas are exploding with color. There is no more beautiful time of the year as when the azaleas pop out, but don’t blink too much because within two weeks they will have wilted away until the next year. All this renewal of life freed from the clutches of  winter by Mother Nature makes me want to…..makes me want to plant a garden? No! ……Makes me want to go to the cemetary!

Well, this is not just any cemetary. This one goes back to antebellum days. I don’t actually like to think about those times (except for the beautiful Scarlet O’Hara dresses)  because I hate to think of the atrocities done to slaves . But I mega dig Victoriana. And anyway it’s  not so much the graves that  attract one to the cemetary, it’s the azaleas. The azaleas are everywhere  in the background of the monument-like graves of  the élite families of our town.

In fact, this cemetary, and the two others next to it, give a glimpse of society from around the Civil War to the present. The azalea-ridden cemetary with its monumental graves is a  memorial to what wealth will buy. It’s rich, white, and prestigious. Filled with people with interesting lives and even more interesting deaths.  Just a few:

The Sea Captain’s daughter who gave up the ghost while far away from home, so they nailed a chair down inside a barrel.  Then they tied her mortal remains to the chair and filled the barrel with liquor. When back home, they buried her still in the barrel. If that keg is made of wood, I bet she is no longer pickled. If it is metal, maybe she’s down there still sitting in her chair if it hasn’t rusted away (which somehow is even more creepy to me than her just being bones).  And to add to the sorrowful tale is that 4 months after his daughter died, the sea captain’s  son washed overboard and drowned. Now talk about your bad luck!

The Confederate spy who  put her bag of  gold  coins (royalties from her memoir) around her neck so she wouldn’t lose them when the boat she was on capsized. Unfortunately she didn’t lose her gold when her lifeboat flipped and she was weighed down and finis.

The volunteer fireman who was buried with his dog. The man and dog died together when he was pinned down in a fire and rather than leaving his master, the dog remained with him  and perished too while trying to drag his master to safety.


Next to Rich White Cemetery is the  African-American Cemetery, historical in its own merit because people were buried there since the days of slavery too. In the Black Cemetery, the socio-economic barriers that permeate the Rich White Cemetery do not seem to exist much. The poor people are differentiated by the quality, flourish, and size of stone on their graves. The Black Cemetery is kept up in a minimal way, the grass cut almost everywhere, the dirt path bumpy and hard to pass through but passable.  The edges of the cemetery are what screams lack of care. These parts of the cemetery have grown up with grass and brambles, with stones just peaking out showing someone is buried there. These are the people gone and long since forgotten. Shame on our city, when this graveyard is a part of our history as vital as Rich White Cemetery! I consider our coastal southern town fairly progressive, but some things are hidden just underneath the surface in our turbulent past. The city that I live in had a violent race riot in the  1970s and even a coup d’état in 1890s by overthrowing the majority black government in our city.

The third cemetery,  separated by the African-American Cemetery from its richer peer, is Poor to Middle Class White Cemetery. Well kept, small but dignified, it’s better cared for than her black neighbor, but not nearly as interesting.

Now, after that impromptu treatise on race relations, back to the story!

So we’re looking at the flowers and eerie beauty of Rich White Cemetery and getting a tad lost, because this cemetery has planted folks here for around 160 years and some of them have huge monuments, mausoleums,  and whatever it took to be funereal chic  in the Victorian era. Apparently, the good people of Rich White Cemetery in their good sense, believe a decent cemetery should expel all living patrons by 5pm sharp regardless of time of year.  But the fun part is locking the gates without a glimpse for suckers who failed to read closing time upon entering. I wasn’t too concerned, though, since I  had my cell phone, not to say that would be too fun a call to make to the cops. I suggest we walk around, that surely somewhere remained unlocked, especially since I saw a not-so-paranormal-looking couple  just a few minutes ago walking.

Two gates locked, we’re padlocked in Perdition. We  keep walking until a third gate. This one looks a tad different and I walk up to it, a side entrance and the damn thing opens like the pearly gates to Glory.  Mama walks back to our ghetto fabulous classic 1994 Mazda MPV, me waiting so no one locks this gate on us.  I look at this gorgeous azalea I remember from last year, a dark red-purple flower about the size of a common magenta azalea but much darker, so awesome. I take a peep at the graves near the gate, all the while keeping my eye on said gate. No one, not St. Peter, not the devil, not a grounds keeper, is gonna lock that damn gate without me at least screaming loud enough to wake the dead.

Safely delivered from captivity, we go downtown to have a look at the teabagger rally, I mean the Tea Party,  that has gone on all day. We listen to Sean Hannity on the radio waxing rhapsodic about the noble Tea Party activists nationwide and Reagan this, Reagan that. Every time I listen to Hannity, I tend to think if he could dig up Reagan and marry him he would, anti-gay marriage or no.

So the noble tea folk are down at the federal courthouse at the river. Good for them, I suppose, since the joy of being American is the ability to protest for what you believe.  It’s WASP Party 2010 downtown and rather fun to look at as long as you recall everyone is entitled to believe as they like, that is until I see this one woman and I have my What the Flying Fuck?! moment of the day. She has this sign, “Obama, Go Back to Kenya. I Will Buy the Plane Ticket!”  Now, I could be wrong, but to me it sounds like some racist saying no more than “Go back to Africa.”  Sure, I get the whole Birther rumor popular among some people. But honestly? Honestly. Could Obama be from Kenya and a closet Muslim? Could I be an Ethiopian albino  and  a closet Hare Krishna? Anything is possible, but probable? Um no.  She has a right to her opinion and I have the right to think she’s plumb ignorant with a limited touch on reality.

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