Stop! Thief!

So it rained early in the day in Glendale, just like I thought it would, and by 5 p.m. in Agoura Hills, it was sunny and beautiful for the wedding of duckierose and godofunder. It was, truly, one of the most beautiful and best weddings that I’ve ever been to because it showed the true character of them as a couple AND the cruelty/humor of the Universe at the same time.

You see, for his introduction music, godofunder chose the theme song to “Superman,” and while he was coming down the aisle, he was running, triumphantly, arms stretched above his head in the classic pose… that is, until he tripped. That’s right, folks. Rose’s strong, beautiful (and hilarious) Clark Kent look-alike groom fell and chipped his two his front teeth darn near in half about halfway through his entrance to the wedding. To the theme song for “Superman.”

And he still went to the front before the song was over to happily get married to the woman he loves. πŸ™‚ Sure, he was bleeding. People helped him out. And when Rose got up there, it was her reactions to the situation (genuine laughter at the absurdity of the situation instead of a tantrum, kindness to the man who, while obviously in pain was smiling and even singing to her through it, a sweet reminder not to suck on his broken teeth because pictures are important and everyone will be taking them all day) and the way that they carried on together, lovingly, happily, and as a team for the next several hours that showed exactly why their marriage is meant to last.

It was at Rose and Or’s wedding and reception that I saw tons of friends that I haven’t really seen or talked to in the last couple of years because I haven’t been able to get out and socialize. I was actually shocked by the number of them who asked me how law school was going.

I graduated law school in May of 2008, which was 2 years ago. This was a *major* accomplishment for me, because I attained my juris doctor despite the fact that I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during my 4th semester of the 6 semester program. I got the seizure disorder that made it so that I couldn’t hang out with anyone anymore or drive really on July 11, 2008. I remember the date because, well, you just do. You remember the date that you were admitted to a hospital and it was the last time you were allowed to drive. It was the day that my whole life changed forever.

But I realized that I never had a real party to celebrate me graduating law school because I went straight into bar prep mode. The plan was always to have a party when I was done taking the test. So there was/is this whole contingency of people that I used to be close to who I thought read my journal or my Facebook or were in touch with me, who apparently aren’t, who have let me know that I have failed to appropriately celebrate my accomplishments and share the good news with people who care about me but have lives off the computer.

Because if I could have graduated law school and taken the bar exam twice without people who are social friends even knowing about it, either I’m extremely quiet about it (uh no), they’re not paying attention (not everyone needs to be subscribed to my rss feed – I’m not that narcissistic.), or my life is simply eventless (hardly). The only other option is that MS, Seizure Disorder, and Arthritis conspired to steal even more of the joy from my life. (Much more likely. Those bitches!)

They were also surprised to hear that I moved back to Glendale. I guess that’s what I get for not throwing a Housewarming Party.

Thing is, I used to throw parties *all* the time. Seriously. It just takes effort and energy to clean the house and to entertain people… and to let yourself and your house be judged. And when you’re dealing with *multiple* chronic illnesses, energy (even the kind that comes in cans), isn’t easy to come by.

I miss Party Rae — that part of myself that used to be able to get buckwild and hang out with everyone at a party. I know she’s still in me. She wants out. She misses the life. It’s just an endurance thing.

I pretty much spent the whole wedding reception with electricia because I haven’t seen her in years and she has no online presence at all right now and I miss her like crazy. It was like someone from Memphis (who I never really hung out with in person back when I lived in Memphis, oddly enough) had flown in. It was good to talk with her because I we get one another on a couple of different levels, and sometimes that’s a rare thing. So I feel like I practically ditched a massive contingency of friends, which is uncool, but it is what it is. Time is a bitch goddess like that.

So, officially, to everyone not seated at table ManBearPig, my deepest apologies for not hanging out. Once I’m in a chair, I am a comfy, mostly happy girl. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I’ve decided that I’m not going to let these illnesses take away any other big-deal celebrations. They might have stolen the law school graduation party because I thought it didn’t mean anything without a license (which is silly), but from here on out I’m harvesting joy like it’s a crop that’s goin’ out of season.

…and while I hate myself a just a little for having played enough Farmville to have written that, it doesn’t make it any less of a good idea. πŸ˜‰

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It is going to rain today, and that’s okay.

No question about it, it is going to rain today in Glendale, CA. I can tell you this not only because of the incredibly overcast skies, but because my ankles, knees, wrists, elbows, and hips say so. πŸ™‚ YAY FOR ARTHRITIS! I am a human barometer! m/ (That’s my “metal” emoticon, like I’m throwing up horns. Like it, Dad?)

Hopefully, it will be over before duckierose and godofunder‘s wedding this late afternoon!

Still, even if it isn’t, and they are forced to move indoors, it is very good luck for there to be rain on your wedding day. It means fertility! Considering how rare rain is in the sunny Los Angeles area, I hope they both know that, since they’re clearly part of the winning “forever” 50% and they’re both equally supar-hawt. πŸ™‚ No one would argue against a good omen for lots of cute bebes! πŸ™‚

duckierose and godofunder are two of my favorite people in this town. Heck, two of my favorite people, period. They’re down-to-earth, fun folks who take life only as seriously as they must, and who find creative ways to enjoy themselves and to include others in it. Truthfully, this will be the first party thrown by them that doesn’t involve a costume that I will be attending in years. (This is, of course, partially due to my not attending parties for some time, and partially due to the awesomeness and plethora of costume parties they’ve thrown.)

In either event, the joi de vivre they both exhibit is what makes them both wonderful friends.

The friends you keep can make all the difference in your life. They can pick you up when you’re feeling bad, help you remember what’s good about you, introduce you to new ways of exercising and eating, and give you a million different reasons to smile and keep going when things are tough. They are the family you choose.

I would choose both of them again and again. πŸ™‚

I’m so glad I’m not photosensitive anymore! Tonight we’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, I know! Guess I oughta shower or something. Ha! πŸ™‚

Remembering some important things.

So for several days now, I’ve been wanting to get back to writing. I’ve thought about In It For The Parking every day, and for whatever reason haven’t allowed myself to write, though I have no trouble responding on message boards elsewhere. (lame!)

There are a million things that I want to talk about, but what finally got me to come to the site and post was accidentally stumbling upon something I had already written that hadn’t been shared here, and that happened to be very timely for me.

I think, sometimes, it’s a good idea to look back on our diaries/blogs/journals and see the things we’ve said – find the wisdom we’ve left behind. Maybe here and there, there’s a recipe for awesomeness you’d forgotten how to cook up. Here’s the one I found today.
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1.) Happiness is not an accident.

Happiness happens because of a series of choices that you make. You don’t have to be happy with the choices when you make them, and what they are doesn’t have to make you happy. It just has to be on the way to a goal that makes you smile. Happiness is doing things that move you towards something positive.

If you want to be healthier, choose to work out, even if it’s for 10 minutes and it’s really hard. Choose to eat well, even if it’s easier to grab McDonalds. Choose to floss your teeth. Choose to take your medicines on time, every day. Choose to go to therapy if you need it. Choose to ask for help when you need it instead of being too proud.

“It ain’t about how hard you can hit – it’s about how hard you can *get* hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.” –Rocky Balboa

2.) You don’t have to owe something in order to get something.

Gifts and friendship and love are not the cause and effect of doing things for people. You can give the most important gifts to others by simply living your life and letting them bear witness. You can receive the most important gifts simply by letting others give of themselves, of their time, and of their love to you.

I have the hardest time accepting kindness from people who I haven’t given to. I have to bake or give a gift or improve their career or lovelife, or somehow give of myself before I can accept that someone wants to do something nice for me.

That’s not the way life works. That’s not how it has to be. Certainly, it’s good in life to give of yourself and of your possessions to those who need it, and sharing is caring – but so is accepting love and help when you need it.

If you can’t let others give back to you, it can make them feel small, and you will be left wanting. Let yourself experience life, friendship, love, kindness, charity, goodness — all the things you would give to others — allow yourself to get those things too.

3.) You deserve to give yourself at least the level care you would give anyone else.

You are born alone. You die alone. No one is responsible for your happiness, your health, or your future the way that you are. Even children have to take personal responsibility for the choices in their lives.

Character is not something you have to work at. Character is what shows up when you are forced to make decisions you don’t want to make. You get to see what you’re made of.

Some days, I’m made of tough stuff. Other days I think I’m not.

The most important things to remember are these:

Just because you don’t know your life’s purpose doesn’t mean that your life lacks purpose.

Just because you don’t feel strong doesn’t mean that you’re weak.

Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you’re a disabled person.

Just because you can’t see the forest for the trees doesn’t mean there’s no forest there, and it doesn’t mean the trees you’re looking at aren’t important and/or beautiful.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, I’m pretty damned sure that it still makes a sound.

Oh joy! Another auto-immune disorder!

Well, boys and girls, we have another party member chowing down on the sweet, delicious buffet that is my body.

MS is eating my nervous system. Arthritis is eating my bones. Apparently, I am good noms!

The lumbar MRI showed that I’ve got arthritis on both sides of joints on my spine above my sacrum.

.

No, I’m not joking. I now have multiple sclerosis, hypertension, seizure disorder, and arthritis prior to the age of 30. Oh, and depression. πŸ™‚ But that last one is just technical. I think, all things considered, that I’m handling the whole thing well.

I’ve decided that it is a good thing! I never would have gotten an MRI that quickly if I didn’t already have MS, and besides that, arthritis has been around FOREVER, so they totally know how to treat that.

Because these maladies often cause physical comedy in my life, and an unfortunate amount of loud complaining that ends in simultaneous tears and laughter, I’ve decided that I want to channel Lucille Ball and Carol Burnette, and remain a sassy red-head for life.

It’s been a while.

Hi there.

There’s been a bit of radio silence, and that’s not an accident.

I’m coming to realize that there’s a whole part of myself that I don’t understand. Maybe I can’t understand it. Maybe I don’t *want* to because it scares me too much.

Yesterday was a bad day for me.

And I can’t blame it on any new drug.

But there I was, once again, a crying mess, on the floor of the bathroom, in the dark, desperately trying to figure out what way I was going to kill myself. I was actually wondering what the quickest, cleanest way to go would be for the convenience of my family. I’m not even interested in my old plan of going somewhere like a hotel anymore. I wasn’t even concerned about the most painless way to go. Just the fastest and cleanest.

The level of physical pain that comes and goes is so severe now that I don’t feel Copaxone shots anymore. Those alone used to make me cry. Now, I barely feel pressure as the needle goes in.

It’s almost a given that I will be hurting at bedtime. Sure, the medical marijuana helps, but it doesn’t get rid of it. It really helps quiet the “freak out” behind it. Because for some reason pain makes you freak out. It turns you into something you think you’re not… but apparently, you are.

I kind of loathe Rae + pain. She can be cold and mean and unnecessarily judgmental. And apparently she smacks people when they don’t listen repeatedly. “Leave me alone,” *means* “Leave me alone and don’t touch me” when you’re dealing with a crying, shaking, out-of-sorts, not-in-her-right-mind Rachael Renee, just in case anyone’s wondering.

I try to be a nicer, kinder, more creative, fun person. More me. But pain really sucks my will to live. It sucks my essence right out of me.

And the worst part is that I don’t even fully trust that it’s all caused by MS. I mean, yes this is MS… but I think this is being exacerbated by chronic stress.

The body doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats. When you’re stressed over a busy schedule, an argument with a friend, a traffic jam, or a mountain of bills, your body reacts just as strongly as if you were facing a life-or-death situation. If you have a lot of responsibilities and worries, your emergency stress response may be β€œon” most of the time. The more your body’s stress system is activated, the easier it is to trip and the harder it is to shut off.

From: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

I don’t remember the last time something ZOMG-STRESSFUL wasn’t happening in my life. Divorce. Move to CA. Law School. Add MS to the mix. Preparing for Bar Exam. POOF Seizure Disorder. Preparing for Bar Exam Again. Fail. Prepare for Bar Exam Again. Fail. Planning My Wedding. Best In-town Girlfriend of 5 Years Dumps Me For *No* Good Reason And Drops Out Of The Bridal Party, Still Waiting on SSDI, and Adam’s Still Part of America’s 9.5% Unemployed…

I mean, I’m getting married, and life is good… We have our needs taken care of. We have a roof over our heads. We have food to eat. We have all the creature comforts we need. I have *no* reason to be suicidal. And yet I am *wickedly* depressed and can’t stop absolutely obsessing about how I think I’m not good enough. How I’m not earning money, how I’m not an attorney even though I’m not sure I want to be one because I think I only want to pass the test now because I couldn’t before (It’s like I have to prove something to myself.), how I talk about making music but can’t seem to get anything out, how fat I am, and how ugly I feel.

I feel like the meanest, grumpiest, nastiest, most awful burden that ever walked the earth, and despite how much love is showered on me, it makes no sense to me because I’m physically hurting so badly, and I think, even though I *logically know better* that somehow I deserve it because I’m that much of a worthless piece of shit.

So I spend every day of my life, fighting like mad just to keep a positive attitude. Just to be a normal person. Just to make choices that will bring me back to happiness.

I make myself shower at least every 3-4 days now. It’s better than I was doing. It’s easier to do now that I have a shower chair. I’m brushing my teeth every day again. Hell, I’ve even brought back out my “cue cards for life” that I made myself at one point. I’m reading them every morning.

But something’s gotta give.

I had an MRI last Friday of my lower lumbar region, and I have an appointment on Tuesday with my pain specialist. I hope so much that there’s something they can do.

I can’t keep going on like this.