I have no idea what I am doing.

Week 41. That’s where I am with my Friday writers’ group. Today, we’re supposed to craft an essay around our favorite childhood memories. I have, instead, opted to actually post in this blog — something I haven’t felt called to do in quite some time. My inner child was all about some good stories, so I’m certain she’d approve of my choice to pick up my digital pen in a place where someone else might actually get the chance to read the work.

Today is October 8, 2021. There’s nothing particularly special about today. It’s beautiful outside. 67 and partly sunny. Things are joyfully normal at the moment. Henry and Gabrielle are upstairs with Adam, and I’m in the basement on a Zoom call with some of the best people I know, writing together, separately.

I’m 2 days out from having taken a 6-day medrol dose pack for what appears to be a near-yearly beginning-of-October MS relapse. This is knowledge I came to thanks to FB memories. Reviewing my memories earlier this week showed me that I had a MS relapse 6 out of the last 10 years around this time. So, it looks like better than 50/50 odds that, in the future, I’m going to be feeling like shit on my anniversary. Considering that I had a flu-like virus and seizures at my wedding and still sang and danced and had the best day of my life, it only figures that our anniversary would remind me that having a good time has more to do with attitude than anything.

At the moment, my body feels normal. I’m no longer dealing with crushing fatigue or numbness on parts of my left side (back of the arm and chest most pronounced, which were the first symptoms that caused me to go to urgent care and end up with a diagnosis in 2007), and I haven’t noticed any seizure activity yet today.

Earlier this week, was, if I’m going to be honest, a total shitshow of pain (physical and emotional), memory issues, PTSD flashbacks, nightmares, and personal growth. I’m so grateful for corticosteroids, EMDR home practice techniques, and music.

And I’m grateful for TikTok, though I’m terribly slow to figure it out.

Recently, I’ve been watching it in the mornings and at night while medicating. (I smoke MMJ these days to help with seizures, MS pain and muscle spasms, and PTSD/anxiety/depression. It helps more than other medications have, but I’m strongly considering starting to buy RSO and making coconut oil capsules because I want to feel more in control of the dosage of my medication and to not be causing my voice damage. I’d buy the edibles at the dispensary that are already ready, but they all contain sugar. WTF is up with that? Like, if you’re making medicine for people with seizures, maybe, like, consider their potential diets. Just a thought.)

Anyway, TikTok has been an amazing resource for meditation. So many people make singing bowl videos or affirmation videos. I haven’t bought into the “Law of Attraction” (and I never will, because I understand the victim blaming part of that mentality, and I am not buying into a spiritual way to berate myself for existing in a way other than I would prefer), but affirmations are a science-backed way to help yourself create new neural pathways when you’re choosing to improve your self-esteem and change how you talk to yourself.

Sure, I don’t believe that “I am healthy, I am wealthy, I’m the shit, I am that bitch” –YET, but one day, I’ll get there. One TikTok video suggested putting “What If” before affirmations that feel like bullshit to help you consider the possibilities.

What if I am a bad bitch? What if I am, in fact, the baddest?

There are also a double fuckton of people just busking on there. I’m not going to pretend otherwise: it makes me want to do the same thing. I mean, could I go live, practice an instrument, and just let people send me money? Can life be that easy? IS THAT ALLOWED??? More importantly, can I allow myself to do so? I haven’t busked since Berklee.

One of the biggest downsides of being diagnosed with CVID has been a fear of crowds. I mean, it’s hard to want to perform in a venue (even not during a global pandemic), for an open mic night when you’re immune compromised. But where’s my excuse when I can perform from home whenever I want?

Of course, it also helps to have a seemingly endless parade of videos in my FYP (For You Page) encouraging me to make and post content. Need a pep talk? TikTok has your back. I have saved some of my favorites. I know they don’t know me! Do I care? NO! DIVINE ENERGY IS TELLING ME GOOD THINGS, AND I ACCEPT THE MESSAGE.

Do I love and interact with every single singer-songwriter, harmony stacker, poet, artist, or D&D nerd that comes across my feed? YOU BET YOUR ASS I DO.

Do I make ridiculous 1-shot videos with a goofy beauty filter to help encourage other people too? Um, yes. I very much do. In fact, I am low-key cosplaying as a bejeweled goddess of inspiration because it makes me laugh. Who needs a book and dice to play make believe? The whimsy is strong in me when I see the filter. It makes me feel playful, so I let myself play. And allowing for play? That’s sort of new to me – and a sure sign that I am conquering depression in the moment.

Yesterday, I read some of my first entries from this blog, and they made me laugh and have bittersweet feelings. I have grown and changed so much. I’ve been deeply committed to being who I am and doing what I can with life, despite my limitations, and that hasn’t changed.

In fact, it’s really cool to be able to look back over it. I wish I could send a love-bomb back in time to the Rae who was coming off of Cymbalta and Abilify at this time in 2012. That shit was super hard. It caused nearly constant suicidal ideation — but I’ve learned to treat the persistent, unwanted thought like sneezes most times. It doesn’t feel like an emergency. Probably because of the number of times my inner response to it has been, “Thanks for your suggestion. Our operator is currently busy. Death is inevitable. We thank you for your patience.”

I could never have envisioned the life I live today back then. Sure, I’ve had a lot of setbacks, but ultimately, I’ve been so successful. It’s impossible to look into my children’s eyes and feel any other way.

Gabrielle blowing raspberries.
Awwww, raspberries!!!

For all that are gone and those yet to be

When I was in my 1st year of law school, I was very active on LiveJournal. And when I say “very active,” I mean that I posted a blog entry at least daily, if not multiple times per day.

Truthfully, I miss the platform terribly — not just as a repository for my thoughts, but because of the intimacy that it fostered among the people who used it. We weren’t resharing memes. That wasn’t a thing yet. We were actually sharing important, unspoken parts of our selves.

And, in that vein, when my boyfriend at the time asked, “You know, you can write in a private journal, right? You’re aware that’s an option?” I responded with an “of course.” But the truth was more complicated than that. The truth always is. Unspoken was the thought, “But what’s the fuckin’ point?”

I recognize that some people believe that I “overshare” from time to time. Occasionally, I’m one of them. But they’re missing out on a couple of incredibly important beliefs that I hold dear.  The first is that we are all one being.  And by “we,” I mean everything and everyone in all of time and space.  And by “one being,” I mean the divine.  By that logic, I’m always just writing to myself.  Separate consciousness itself seems like some kind of cruel parlor trick necessitated by material form.

To be frank,  it is my greatest hope and belief that my experiences enrich more than just me, and that by taking the time to write and to share, I empower those thoughts and experiences to be internalized by others in a way that helps them have a different understanding both of their existence and existence on the whole.

At the same time, I recognize that, all metaphysical bullshit aside, the “other” is a reality of life that can’t be escaped. Just like we all have an inner critic, being one with an outer bully doesn’t make them any less dangerous.

(I also would like to take this moment to assure you, dear reader, that I’m not high on anything right now. I’m 26 weeks pregnant and almost painfully introspective. While I miss the help with managing pain and PTSD, I’ve made it 6 months without weed, and I’m low-key proud of myself for it — both for putting this child’s needs first and for regaining a certain amount of endurance for being uncomfortable.)

Recently, I erased all traces of this blog from my Twitter account after a friend got doxxed by neo-nazis. These douchebags have made her life a living hell because she had the unmitigated gall to complain about being discriminated against by Uber drivers because she is disabled, in a wheelchair, and with a service dog — while also being a well-educated, non-binary, loud, feminist Jew.  I wanted to loudly support her, but I found that I couldn’t. I was afraid for my family’s safety. And I loathe that in that quiet, I let the fascists win.

I contemplated taking this blog down entirely. To be honest, the only reason I haven’t taken it down at this point is that more than a handful of friends and loved ones told me that it would be a shame to do so, and I still hope that Past Rae’s words help some folks in some way.

But I find it hard to write here, recently. It’s easier to share memes. It’s easier to post a one or two line response to an article talking about how ICE standards are meaningless or to remind friends sharing information about the atrocities in our concentration camps that they have been going on for over a year now, while nearly the entire American public has had so much shit political news thrown at them daily that they can’t possibly have the mental or emotional bandwidth necessary to carry this pain with them all the time. Especially not when there ain’t shit we can do about it, and the Supreme Court is busy affirming this sort of racist, classist behavior.

don't give up

So, I’ve been minding my hula hoop — focusing on self-care and then on care of my family and then on care of my friends — before contemplating trying to care, in earnest, about anyone else. That is, until earlier today, I came across this meme, and realized that despite all of my silence, I still have quite a bit to say, and quite a bit of self-care that I’ve been neglecting.


I shared the above meme this morning, when I read it — and my comment was simply, “Sometimes that someone is yourself.”

But what I wanted to say was that reading that short paragraph simultaneously shattered me and helped me find the strength in the ways that I’ve already rebuilt.

See, recently, I’ve been gutted about not being who I thought I was going to be. Past Rae had a lot of ambition… and beyond that ambition, she had a crazy work ethic.  When I think about how I would spend 3-5 hours a day practicing multiple instruments while at Berklee, I sort of blink in disbelief, especially since reading music is so hard for me nowadays.  When I think about how I would read a minimum of 300 pages a night of SCOTUS opinions or explanations in treatises while in law school, my brow furrows.  When I remember the nights I didn’t sleep while I was working on business plans and making websites for people in order to make a semblance of a living on my own, I shake my head — because compared to all of those Past Raes, I feel like I am almost intolerably lazy and entitled now.

Except, that I’m really not. I’m on 24/7 as a stay-at-home mom who is homeschooling a gifted 4 year old and gestating a second child.  Nevermind the “living with multiple chronic illnesses” bullshit. A healthy Rae would still be valuable in this situation. More than 5 times more financially valuable, according to Salary.com than healthy Rae ever was in the workplace. The only real difference, I imagine, would be that all the trim in my house would be painted to match, my son would be in more out-of-the-house activities, and the clothes might be folded.  (I say “might” because I honestly think that in all of creation, the idea that folding and putting away clean clothes is necessary for a person who almost never leaves the house is some kind of perverse cultural torture.)

I’ve found that I somehow manage to negate all that I do unless I have documented it… and even then, I brush it aside.  And really, I think that’s the only way I was able to achieve all the insane shit that I did when I was younger, too.  I remember, when I was applying to college, when I printed out the list of all of my extra-curricular endeavors, my guidance counselor laughed and didn’t think it was possible for any one person to do all those things, let alone to do them while maintaining a 3.8.  I really think the trick is not to think about it, and just do as much as you can with the opportunities you’ve got.

And in that line of thinking, these days, I rarely if ever take the time to mourn the old me. Or to mourn my hopes for who I’d be. It feels too much like pity, and I have yet to see the value in it. I think the years where I was actively suicidal were all the self-pity I can handle. Maybe that’s what grief looked like for me. *shrug*

Either way, I worry about how my son or my daughter will see me as they grow up. I think any parent does.  And I hope that they are able to see that no matter what life has thrown in my way, I’ve done my best. That even yelling into the void of the internet about suicide is better than following through… that resilience is a skill paid for, dearly, by pain and persistence, and that grit is a trait you can only build up by facing disappointment again and again… and the same is true of compassion.

Anyway, this was a long ramble, and I’ve just about lost the thread of where I was going with it, except to say, if you’re struggling, please keep it up and look for the value in it. And if you’re not, enjoy the short respite. It doesn’t seem to come frequently in life.  You don’t need to judge yourself, especially not for your feelings, and insecurity is just what ambition looks like when it’s mixed up with fear.  You’re more than enough, exactly as you are, at every moment — even your worst ones. You’re doing the best you can. We all are.

Remember: if you can encourage others, you can encourage yourself. If you can love others, you can love yourself.

letting lizzo down


Out Of Control, And That’s OK

There’s been a lot going on recently that has been anxiety-producing…an unusual amount of mass murder, a trainwreck of a political circus, and, of course, personal stuff.  There are so many things that I would change if I could. The inherent unfairness of life weighs on my spirit.  I desperately want to help make the world a better place — or at least a kinder one… but I am one Rachael. I can only do so much.

I cannot:

  • Stop complete strangers from shooting, stabbing, or running over people.
  • End systemic racism.
  • Fix end-stage capitalism or neo-feudalism.
  • Make the geopolitical landscape either make sense or work the way that I want it to.
  • Force anybody’s political ideals or morals to match my own.
  • Make any decisions about American domestic or foreign policy.
  • Disarm all the nuclear bombs in the world.
  • Make teething less painful for my son.
  • Force the higher-ups at anyone’s place of employment to make wise decisions for the health and morale of their workers.
  • Make it any easier or more fun for anyone to look for a job.
  • Know whether or not the estriol treatment is having a positive effect on my MS.
  • Know whether or not it would be more beneficial for me to get back on Copaxone or if I should try to convince my neurologist to let me try Lemtrada or Ocrevus… or if I should just keep doing Vitamin D and estriol.
  • Know when the optimal time actually is to have a second child. (I have been thinking about this particular question way too much recently.)
  • Make Humana stop messing up my medical billing from over a year ago.
  • Make the muscles in my arms and legs stop randomly, painfully spasming (though cannabis does a good job of quieting it down for a few hours at a time)
  • Cure MS or seizure disorder… or any other medical condition, for that matter.
  • Blow thousands of dollars and hire a full staff.  All I want is a maid, a gardener, a contractor to renovate our home, a nanny, a full-time driver, and an on-call masseuse, so that I can get all the things done that I feel need to be done. Totally reasonable, right?

Panic and despair don’t help anything, and no one else can “fix” life either.


I recognize that I’m not helpless to be at the effect of these worries and situations.

I can:

  • Meditate and let the fear pass.
  • Exercise.
  • Take all my prescribed medicines as scheduled.
  • Talk with my therapist when I need to.
  • Hold my baby tight, love him with all my heart, and teach him to be compassionate to himself and others.
  • Do as much housework as possible to help relieve some stress for my husband while also showing myself in a clear way that I make a visible difference in the world around me.
  • Make healthy food choices for my family.
  • Comfort friends who are sad.
  • Find a way to compliment or show appreciation to every person I talk to.
  • Make music and art.
  • Share my experiences so that others who face similar challenges don’t feel so alone.
  • Be an ally, an advocate, and involve myself in the community
  • Do my best to both give myself credit for what I already do and still be ambitious.
  • Choose optimism.
  • Focus on gratitude.
  • Consciously look for the good in life.
  • Remember that I don’t have to read my FB newsfeed like it’s my part-time job. I don’t need to internalize anyone else’s stress.

My mantra for the last few weeks has been this, and it’s serving me very well:





So, David Bowie died yesterday… and today we all found out about it. It sucks.  He sparkled — sometimes literally.  Hell, the work he left us to enjoy for the rest of time still sparkles.

It was 4 p.m. before I checked Facebook today, and the first thing that I learned was that David Bowie not only had passed away at the age of 69 (which, let’s be fair, is the age that I think he would have wanted by his name for all time – based entirely on how cheeky it is), but he had managed to release an album saying goodbye to his fans that he put together while battling terminal cancer. He even made one specific music video as a “finale.” Check it out.

If that doesn’t say, “Keep creating art, no matter what,” nothing does.

That’s why I’m writing right now, even though I know I’m not at my best.  These words, and whatever I manage to scratch down on paper or record to video or sound, will one day be all that is left of me for everyone else. All that will be left for Henry.

You don’t have to be terribly creative to leave important parts of yourself behind for others. My Poppy put together several scrapbooks, for example. They’re filled with comics and poetry and articles that meant something to him. I’m lucky enough to have 3. And when I miss him, the contents of those scrapbooks feel like a conversation that I get to have with him through space and time. They, in many ways, remind me of Facebook, and that similarity makes me hope that when I’m gone, Henry will be able to look through the thousands of posts on my timeline when he is missing me and feel like I’m still here for him.

They also make me wish that my other grandparents had kept journals or scrapbooks. And they make me hope that my parents might have the foresight and the time to do so as well.

Today, I had so many time-travel seizures that I honestly don’t remember the day, aside from Adam letting me know that I’d found out about Bowie’s death at least 9 times. Personally, that’s 9 times too many. But, hey, if I’ve got to be shocked and saddened at someone’s demise, at least it’s an artist whose work I have enjoyed since I was a small child.

He didn’t let cancer stop him from being the artist that he was — from giving all of us fans more music and poetry to enjoy for the rest of our lives… so, I’m not going to let MS and seizure disorder stop me from creating either — even if what I’m creating seems completely mundane to me at the time. I have to remember: it’s not mental masturbation; it’s not just for me; and no one else has my point of view. It’s exactly as true for you.






Apples & Oranges

Week 15!

week15-2I’m currently very amused by the fact that some websites say our baby is the size of an apple and others say s/he is the size of an orange. There’s something poetic and hilarious about it because it means that you really can compare apples an oranges, at least as far as size is concerned. 🙂

week15 For all interested parties, I am now showing!  Most of my clothes, though, are loose, so unless you felt my belly, you still wouldn’t know.  One of the perks of losing ~20 pounds before conception has been that most of my clothes still fit very comfortably, jeans aside.  I basically am living in my pajama pants and t-shirts. That hasn’t stopped me from falling in love with maternity clothing, however.  I honestly believe that belly panels and shirred sides on shirts are some things that plus-sized women’s fashion has been desperately needing for a long time.

And can I just say how totally bizarre it feels to have all of your organs shifted around and up, and for your lower abdomen to start feeling kind of like an inflated ball?  Because it’s straight-up weird. And it’s occasionally acutely painful.  The best way I can describe it for guys or ladies who haven’t experienced it yet is that sometimes you get cramps that feel sort of like the cramps you get when you are super constipated and really have to make a bowel movement, but slightly higher in your abdomen… and no amount of pooping is going to make anything better, so eating a big handful of prunes, while great for its fiber and nutrients, is ultimately folly.

This week has been much better in the realm of tummy issues, though. Only 1 day where I got sick – otherwise, things are alright!

One thing that has been a bit disturbing to me is that I’ve had a few seizures.  Not like, a ton or anything – heck, it’s nowhere close to what I dealt with prior to pregnancy, but it still freaks me out when it happens.  I got so used to not seizing! I got some tinglies in my feet and back yesterday too, so I’m willing to bet money that I’m fighting off some kind of ickyness. It’s nothing to be worried about, just so you know. My epileptologist told me that as long as I continue breathing through the seizures and am not falling, it’s not likely to harm the baby. Her biggest concern is making sure that me and Hush Puppy have sufficient oxygen at all times.

Pre-Birth (or “Soul”) Contracts


So, one thing that Facebook is really great for is introducing me to concepts that are second-nature to friends of friends but are totally unusual and bizarre to me.  One of these things is the concept of the Pre-Birth Contract.

A quick summary: Before you were born, you and a bunch of spirit guides got together, reviewed your last lives for what was good and bad, and decided a path or “destiny” for yourself to move towards enlightenment — to better understand what life is all about — to better understand how you are a part of God.  This solidifies the idea that there are no coincidences or accidents — this was all part of God’s (and your) plan. The curve ball?  You forget all about the contract you made upon incarnation and have to experience it without the knowledge that you’ve chosen your path for your higher self’s greater good. That’s the only way for you to experience free will and the ability to creatively problem solve.

At first blush, this notion made me angry (It seemed like the cruelest form of victim blaming I’d ever seen.) and then it amused me greatly. My response to my friend’s friend was, “If I planned the life I’ve gone through for my greatest good, I am a serious pain in my own ass.”

I mentioned it to Adam, who is an even bigger fan of table-top roleplaying games than I am, and his immediate response was, “What a neat idea! It’s like cosmic character creation.” He made a joke about how there’s got to be real estate in Heaven, and that we’re all just trying to get to the de-luxe apartment in the sky — that folks with harder lives get better quarters.  Imagining that I’d get better digs because of MS and seizure disorder gave me the giggles.  When I said, “I’m doin’ it all for us,” he was quick to remind me that we’re only married until death, so he’d have his own place.  I asked him a moment later if my eyes were actually shooting laser beams into his face or if I was just imagining it. 🙂

I wondered if Hush Puppy was currently in negotiations, or if that happened before conception.  Then I wondered, with all the things I’ve endured (and continue to endure), what enlightenment my soul was after.

Why NOT me?

whynotmeYesterday, my friend Erika wrote a great blog entry about how she deals with self-pity in regard to having MS. Her tactic is not to say, “Why me?” but rather “Why not me?”  She reminded us all that everybody’s got their burdens to bear, and that it’s better to do so without unnecessary sadness over the hand you’ve been dealt — but then she said something that I’ve seen many, many folks with MS say.  She said, “I want my ‘old’ life back.”

For whatever reason, when I read that, it made me think about those Pre-Birth Contracts. It made me wonder, “What am I trying to learn?” I can’t count the number of times over the last 7 years that I’ve wished that I never developed MS… the number of times I thought about how much better life would be if I were still able to drive… to be a full-time attorney and to still perform musically without fear of experiencing seizures on stage… the number of times I have shamed myself for not being an equal financial contributor to our household… the number of times that I worried about being a burden to the people I love, or worried about frightening children with my seizures… the number of times I’ve had to fight suicidal ideation.

It got me thinking: what good has come out of dealing with MS and seizures?  And the answer was, “Quite a lot.”

The Upside of Down

findthegoodHaving MS and seizures has caused me to learn many lessons that I would not have otherwise have learned.

  • It’s absolutely forced me to learn the importance of regular meditation and/or prayer for physical and mental health.
  • It has highlighted the need for self-compassion and made me learn how to practice it.
  • It’s made me question the way that I think about everything – and to constantly examine those thoughts for truth and rationality.
  • It’s made me wildly change my expectations of myself and others.
  • It’s made me face some of my biggest fears (like spending huge amounts of time alone or being locked up in a mental hospital against my will) and to learn how, not only to cope, but to thrive in situations that prior to seizures, I would have avoided at any cost.
  • It’s required me to face demons of past abuse and to do the hard work to move as far past those memories as possible by both growing as a person and learning to forgive the people who caused me harm to begin with.
  • It’s made me take a long, hard look at what I thought was important and to reassess my priorities.
  • It’s made me redefine what love means, and to see how vital it is to not only feel gratitude, but to express it loudly and regularly.
  • It’s made me a more kind, empathetic, compassionate person to others.
  • It’s made me much, much more patient. (Which isn’t saying much, since, emotionally, I’m still wildly impatient – especially with myself. Still, 2014 Rae is way more patient than 2006 Rae.)
  • It’s made me redefine what it means to be a good friend, and to more fully appreciate the people who are willing to be on this ride with me.
  • It’s made me painfully aware of mortality, of the importance of never taking any aspect of your body or health for granted, and of the fact that doctors are just people who are doing their best to help people with the knowledge that they currently possess.
  • It’s helped me to recognize what’s really important versus what society and advertisers suggest are the things we should be focused on.

If it weren’t for my disability, I wouldn’t have the privilege of staying at home with my future children. I wouldn’t know, deep down, that the most important work I will do in my life will be to raise kind, emotionally intelligent, community-minded, curious kids. I would be trapped in the Quest for More Stuff and More Power.

I wouldn’t know the joy of the double-nap day or the freedom that comes with being able to say, “The dishes and laundry will be there tomorrow.”  I wouldn’t be able to laugh about people who are genuinely fretting over fashion or other “first world problems.”

Does that mean that I’m grateful for my challenges?  OF COURSE NOT. That would be silly. Challenges suck! Nobody’s genuinely grateful for disability.  But I am genuinely grateful that there’s gold to mine from the rubble. I am genuinely grateful for growth that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred.

When I think about my “old” life and my current existence, it really feels like looking at two very different people… sort of like comparing apples and oranges. 🙂

But either way, the fruit is sweet. Life is good.

Everyday Earbug

And just because life is amusing in its serendipity, while I was writing this, I found out that one of my favorite bands (Marina and the Diamonds) has released a new single.  The name? “Froot.”  I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to. 🙂 Hope you enjoy.

Happy Friday!

Disability & Your Relationships With Your Self And Others

Judgment. It’s not just for other people to place on you. Every one of us has certain standards and ideals that we hold ourselves to. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have read a statement that goes like this: “I’m not the [wife/sister/mother/friend] that I want to be.”  This is almost always placed in the context of disability, suggesting that MS, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, a cancer of some kind, or even seizures are to blame for the reason that the writer does not feel good about themselves.

It’s Not About What You Do. It’s About Who You Are.

If there’s anything truly helpful that I’ve learned over the last 7 years of battling MS and the last 5 battling seizure disorder, it’s this: You are not your disease(s). To everyone else in the world, you are the victim of your disease(s), and anyone who loves you wants to fight the disease itself because they see how it negatively affects you.

I had a particularly hard time differentiating my self from my ailments for a very long time. I thought that because I had these afflictions that they were a part of me – and that maybe they even existed as proof that I wasn’t good enough as a person. (Otherwise, why would God let me end up this way?) I considered myself a burden on my family and my husband. I hated myself for having MS, a seizure disorder, PTSD, and depression. I consistently put myself down for not having a job, for not doing the cleaning around the house, and for not being “my best self,” thinking inaccurately that “my best self” existed free from the challenges of disease. I became suicidal because I thought that the only way to end not only my suffering, but the suffering of anyone who had to care for me or bear witness to my pain, was to end my life.

When I was in the mental health hospital, on a 5150 (involuntary psychiatric hold), my husband said something very important to me, that I hold in my heart to this day.  He said, “MS or no MS, seizures or no seizures, you are my wife and I will always be here for you – because I want to be. Nobody held a gun to my head and said I had to marry you.  If you kill yourself, that’s leaving me, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life without you.”

Prior to that, I hadn’t, even for a moment, considered that he wanted to care for me. I hadn’t let myself believe that I was desirable as a companion, regardless of ailments.  The delusional thinking that I was engaged in had me convinced that my disability made me bad for him, worthless as a person, and that by killing myself, I would be doing him (and the world) a favor. It never dawned on me that I was more than the sum of my problems. I was also me.

Finding Your Worth With Disabling Conditions

It has only been a few months since I started working with a therapist (Let’s call her “K”) to find out who it was that I had become and to get myself on a path towards who I want to be.

When we first met, K asked me the question “Who are you?”, the answer I gave was, “I’m a housewife who is on disability because of MS and seizure disorder. I failed the bar exam twice, so I am not a lawyer.” I defined myself strictly by my career and my disease. I ignored the fact that I am a woman first, a daughter, a wife, a person with a unique viewpoint on the universe. I forgot that there were other important aspects to my personality, like loving to sing and to cook and to help friends. I defined my worth by my ability to make a paycheck.

And that way of thinking had held true for a long time before I started working to change my way of being – for years, defining myself by what I could not do caused cyclical suicidal thinking.  I was, for a few years, a very miserable person.

It is only recently that I have come to realize that my worth as a person is not determined by how much money I can make, what things I can do, or what other people’s opinions of me might be.

She had me create a chart that said on one side “Worth =” and then I had to fill in the other side.  Together, we examined each statement that my “fill in the blank” chart created to see if the thought was rational or an ANT (Automatic Negative Thought) that we could challenge.

Sometimes, the statements were just plain silly – not even a believable negative thought, but just thinking that didn’t make sense.  Things like “Worth = Not Needing Help.”  I actually had let myself believe that I was only a worthy person if I never needed help. I had to ask myself, when confronted with that statement, “Who, in life, doesn’t need help from time to time? Does needing assistance actually negate a person’s innate worth?”  The clear answer was, “No.”

Then, there were other statements that were very true, like “Worth = Irreplaceable/Precious.”  “Precious” means that something is of great value and is not to be wasted or treated carelessly. It’s true that there is only one of you in the universe for all time. This makes your life immeasurably valuable. Because of that, you should not waste your life or treat yourself carelessly.


I was forced to admit to myself and to allow myself to really believe the truth: that being unique in all of time and space means that regardless of how I feel about myself, I am valuable and deserving of care. It’s objective truth.

What You Do Is Not Who You Are.

No matter what actions I take in life, it’s not going to change a few very basic things.  I will always be a human being (as opposed to “a piece of shit” – regardless of what my inner bully might want to shout at me). I will always be a daughter. Because I my parents chose to have another child, I will always be a sister. Because I have been lucky enough in this life to meet a man who loves me as deeply as I love him, I will always be a wife.  Nothing that I do or fail to do will change these designations.

So, I had to ask myself the really tough questions… “What does it mean to be a good human being? What does it mean to be a good daughter or good sister? What does it mean to be a good wife? What is goodness?

After reading through the dictionary and thesaurus and taking some time to really think about it, I’ve determined that a “good” person is one who is virtuous, genuine, and commendable; kind and benevolent.

Regardless of physical status, anyone can still be “good” and “worthy.”  Being “good” is a question of character, not whether or not you meet the arbitrary goals you set for yourself. It’s about being loving, sharing of yourself, and making the effort to connect with others, emotionally, on a genuine level.

So, stop confusing your worth or your goodness with your ability to do certain things.  A genuine connection with a precious person is all anyone could want out of a relationship.

The Tao of Rae – for Free! And – Rachael Ray’s Garlic Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon – Paleo!

Tao Square

Tao Square (Photo credit: Rosa Say)

The Tao of Rae

As many long-time readers know, I developed the Tao of Rae on this website.  I have finally compiled it and put it together in PDF format.  This morning I also published it for nook on Barnes & Noble‘s website and for Kindle on Amazon.com.

But here, it’s free.  Download The Tao of Rae in PDF format for free here and check it out.

I put a lot of work into it, and I hope that whoever downloads it enjoys it.

Speaking of things that I hope people enjoy — I’ve got another paleo friendly recipe from Food Network!

Rachael Ray’s Garlic Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon


  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves stripped from stems
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Seasoning) or, coarse salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Arrange chicken in a baking dish, 9 by 13-inch.
  3. Add garlic, rosemary, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest and grill seasoning or salt and pepper to the dish.
  4. Toss and coat the chicken with all ingredients, then place in oven.
  5. Roast 20 minutes.
  6. Add wine and lemon juice to the dish and combine with pan juices.
  7. Return to oven and turn oven off. Let stand 5 minutes longer, then remove chicken from the oven.
  8. Place baking dish on trivet and serve, spooning pan juices over the chicken pieces.
  9. Enjoy! 🙂

To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn.

Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finding Old Treasure

Well, for some reason, somebody thought it would be a good idea to read one of my better blog posts today.

It was the one about the lessons taught by Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda (the original) and how they related to me one Rosh Hashanah when I was preparing to take the California Bar Exam.

They were powerful lessons: the importance of knowing that you cannot make a peach tree bear other fruit (no matter how badly you wanted to), and that it would not bear fruit before its time.

Treasuring Today

My, how life has changed since then…  Nowadays, I prepare meals for myself and my husband rather than preparing for tests.  I am not an attorney. I do not plan to take the Illinois Bar Exam or have any designs on trying to be a lawyer.

I wrote then about how music was coming back into my life “whether I wanted it to or not.”  And that’s just a funny idea – music having a spirit of its own or a will to infiltrate your existence. Music has always been a spiritual salve for me, showing up when I need it most to express the ineffable when I could not otherwise find a way to express that which my soul was aching or screaming to say — and it remains such to this day.

I have simplified my life as much as possible to decrease stress and to improve my health. I still have seizures nearly daily. My MS still causes pain and fatigue, but I keep going – trying to live the best life that I possibly can.  I meditate daily. I exercise. I focus on living life healthfully.  I take responsibility for the things I choose to do — like blogging instead of cleaning or eating lunch.  And I wonder how and why someone came along to read one of my more spiritual pieces of writing like that.

Mining For Gold

I will tell you: I don’t understand blogging, though I’ve been doing it a very long time.  I don’t understand what brings eyeballs to pages, or how to separate the wheat from the chaff.  I don’t know what makes someone a good blogger versus a bad one, other than that good bloggers keep writing, and that they open their hearts to their audience.  But I know that it matters that I put my real self into it, and that I’m genuine.  I think that matters a lot in life too.

Today’s Chopra Center meditation centering thought is, “I place my intention into the vast ocean of all possibilities and allow the universe to work through me.”

It is always my intention to bring more love and understanding into the world, and so I hope that I do that through this blog.

Don’t worry: there’s still a recipe coming today.


Chapter 81: Conspicuous Substance

True words are not pleasant,
thus beautiful words should be distrusted.

Good folks don’t debate;
debaters are bad!
(Hey, what about attorneys, Lao Tzu?
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!)

Those who are aware don’t gamble;
those who gamble aren’t wise.

Saints don’t accumulate (stuff),
they believe that the more they help others
the more they help themselves.

Because he gives to others,
he will have much.

Heaven’s Way benefits without needing to do harm.
Saint’s Way acts without needing to struggle.

Chapter 80: To Be Independent

In a small country, there are few people.

To enable the country to run, there is one tenth
of the eldest gentlemen who are kept as a tool
without needing to be used;
to enable the people to endure the heavy burden of death
without needing to go far to change ones residence.

Although there is boat carriage,
it does not matter if you ride it,
although there is first in order, soldiers,
it does not matter the arrangement.

Enable the people to recover binding rope as well as to use it.

Sweet is their food;
Beautiful are their clothes;
Peaceful are their homes;
Vulgar is their laughter.

Neighboring countries gaze towards one another;
chicken and dog make noise and sniff at one another;
the citizenry arrive at old age and even death,
and have nothing to do with each other’s dealings.