Life: Twists, Turns, and Trainwrecks

Defeated Life has been a complete toss of a train wreck and roller coaster over the past few years. Many life changes have happened at once, many of which I had no control over. I have moved six times in three years, got divorced, had some pretty horrible dating experiences, lost two jobs as a result of downsizing (which also resulted in a piling amount of debt), changed careers, and I’ve been dealing with illnesses and fibromyalgia flare-ups for the first time in many years. On top of emotional aches and pains, the physical pain has taken its toll on me both mentally and physically. Taking two stress tests revealed a score of 594, with over 300 being on the high end. As you can imagine, I’ve become extremely depressed and hopeless.

I’ve done little writing the way I used to, except for some poetry here and there. I’ve stopped doing many of the things I used to enjoy, either out of boredom or time restraints or lack of funds. Or sometimes just loss of interest altogether. I feel as if I’ve lost in the game of life. Many times I think what is the point of this?

Last night I came to the conclusion that sometimes the game of life isn’t made to win; often, it is made to be defeated, no matter what you do to try to make things better. How did I come to this conclusion? By playing a video game that I know is always intended for the game to win. Only by luck or by chance can it be beat. And in life, sometimes luck and chance is the only thing we have by our side; others are just made to sit and suffer along the sidelines, only wishing we can make our dreams come true.

For weeks, I tried to get through not just one but two different (but similar games) without any luck. I grew frustrated and bored, because no matter what I did, the end result was always the same. No matter how I carefully made my next move, I was beat. In fact, no matter what I did to “get ahead” in the actual game, without even knowing it, I was somehow setting up the game itself for an even bigger win. Why does this keep happening to me? I thought. To make matters worse, the game would remind me that I had failed to succeed in beating it. No shit. What a negative way to announce something to someone that’s already fighting depression, I thought. This game sucks, I kept repeating to myself. But I knew I had to keep playing.

Failure. Defeat. That is exactly how I’ve been feeling about life.

For. Three. Fucking. Years. Straight.

Three years of feeling this way is a really awful way to live. I have talked to some of my friends about everything, but I’m sure they’re tired of hearing it, so I have mostly stopped and keep to myself. Talking to a professional seems to be a waste of time, since I want to talk to someone at a certain moment, not wait for an appointment weeks later when I may already be doing something that makes me feel better for free. I don’t think I need to be medicated, like a lot of people who jump to conclusions might suggest. I just wish for things to happen in my benefit for once, to make my life easier and more enjoyable… to feel better, to wake up in the morning and actually feel like getting out of bed to seize the day. But that hasn’t happened in a very long time.

I find it difficult to get excited about anything at all anymore until it actually happens, even if it’s a simple meeting with friends. There are just certain things in life I’d always dreamed of and it just doesn’t happen, no matter how hard I work or the many directions I take. Just when I get my hopes up about anything, they get dashed right back down… as if I’m put into my place by the universe saying, who do you think you are? You’re not going anywhere. You’re no one special.

I watch others’ dreams come true without even trying, which often pisses me off and makes me realize the game of life is all about luck and chance. I suppose I will just have to accept I’m not one of those people. I know I can’t be alone in feeling this way. I know many people in worse circumstances. But right now I’m just living in my own head and dealing with my own misery and pain, the only way I know how to live anymore.

Ratt & Roll – Stephen Pearcy’s Memoir – Book Review

pearcyThe first time I’d heard the band Ratt was sometime during 7th grade. “Round and Round” was a catchy song, but being a 12-year-old that wasn’t allowed to purchase rock cassette tapes at the time, I didn’t mind that it was overplayed on the radio. I listened to Ratt throughout my junior high and high school days, purchasing whichever cassettes I could or at least duplicating tapes from friends.

Last week at the library, I found Ratt’s founder/lead singer Stephen Pearcy’s memoir: Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll – My Life in Rock. First I have to say that the book is very well written, flows nicely, and is easy to understand. It’s interesting to read from a fan’s point of view how Pearcy grew up, his struggle with having two broken legs after being hit by a car, heartbreak, his rise to fame, his downward spiral after the band broke up, and his newfound sobriety after the birth of his daughter. Some of the book tells pieces of his therapy sessions, most of which he seems to reveal his blatantly trampy sexual history. Pearcy does not sugar coat anything.

During the 1980s, my friends and I wanted to be like the girls in rock videos – hot and sexy and appealing to band members, but we hadn’t a clue what these band guys were really all about. While I was a 13- to 16-year-old virgin around the time I was a huge Ratt fan and drooling over Stephen Pearcy in MTV videos, he was getting screwed or blown by everything in a skirt or was nursing a bad case of gonorrhea. Pearcy’s constant reminder of how often and to what extent women wanted him is a bit nauseating. He also often reveals sexual escapades of his own band mates (particularly those of Bobby Blotzer and Robbin Crosby) and members of other popular glam rock bands that I listened to at the time (Van Halen, Poison, and Motley Crue, for instance).

Just a few examples – and these are tame:

“… there was so much goddamn trim around in those days, it didn’t make much sense to any of us to stick to one woman.”

“Our bus was a motorized fuck factory on wheels…”

“I pulled my pants down around my ankles and received the blow job of a lifetime while losing to Blotzer at Pong.”

“… one of our best tricks was to find a tall, slutty groupie with dyed blond hair and black roots… and have her suck off as many crew guys as possible; ideally, the ones who never showered. Then we’d steer her over to Blotz.”

So far the only thing that’s been blown for me is my image of the bands I used to love so much. Not that I ever thought they were innocent – but I didn’t expect them to live up to the name of a rodent by doing gaggable offenses (no pun intended).

But in the end, however, Pearcy redeems himself by admitting that (as he was older) he wanted something different – real love. That came after the birth of his daughter, Jewel, and his road to sobriety.

Some of the things that impressed me:

  • Pearcy himself seemed to steer the band to stardom. He wouldn’t stop until it happened.
  • Pearcy convinced the band to have their own look (something he describes as similar to pirates), including eye makeup – to the dismay of some of the other guys. He made his own costumes and even painted his own spandex pants.
  • Pearcy seemed to get along with others easily and make friends and connections quickly (before the downward spiral).

If you were ever a Ratt fan, this book is a must-read and difficult to put down. Oh – and it sure as hell beats 50 Shades of Grey.

To reminisce some of Ratt – here are some Youtube videos.

A Stolen Life – Jaycee Dugard’s Memoir

If you’re looking to read a great story, continue reading.

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I just finished the life story of Jaycee Lee Dugard – her memoir titled A Stolen Life. I checked the book out from the library on Thursday and finished it last night. It was difficult to put down. There were also many difficult and emotionally disturbing parts to read without tearing up.

Jaycee was kidnapped in 1991 when she was only 11 years old. Her kidnapper was a convicted rapist whose wife helped him with the kidnapping. (I won’t even mention their names in this because they don’t deserve to be on my blog.) Jaycee was basically enslaved for the next 18 years, enduring rape and sexual abuse, mental and emotional abuse, and manipulation. Unfortunately, the legal system failed her, as there were several instances in which she could have been rescued. In the book, Jaycee recounts everything she remembered about the day of her kidnapping and what she remembered in between. She was rescued in 2009, along with the two girls she’d given birth to during her captivity. But Jaycee’s story wasn’t over even after her rescue. She was subjected to media scrutiny and paparazzi harassment. Imagine spending 18 years of your life as a prisoner and then having to deal with those heartless idiots!

I was surprised that Jaycee seemed as intelligent as she was, especially since her education stopped at fifth grade. She seems to have a heart of gold and still has the innocence of that 11 year old girl that was kidnapped years ago. Surprisingly, Jaycee is incredibly forgiving of what was done to her, which is something that all of us could learn to do.

Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatique Syndrome – Eating Habits – Part 3

In my first blog on this topic, I discussed how I had been diagnosed with these strange illnesses and how massage helped many of the problems. In my second blog entry, I discussed the food allergies I discovered and took control of.

Now I will discuss more about my eating habits. I grew up eating and loving Chef Boy Ardee and Spaghettio’s. In fact, I would have eaten it every day if I was allowed to – or anything with tomato sauce for that matter. Vegetables were nothing I would touch, unless it was a tomato or maybe a cucumber. Even as an adult, my eating habits didn’t change much until about a year or so ago when I was sick of feeling sick five or six out of seven days a week. So I began educating myself.

First, I started by finding out what may be the cause of aches, pains, and general feelings of discomfort. I began visiting health food stores and talking with others just like me who made some suggestions. One of them happened to mention the link between the pH in the body and the growth of disease. It reminded me of taking those little litmus test papers in school science class, but I was now beginning to understand what that was all about.

Balancing the acidity vs alkalinity in my body took on a whole new meaning of eating properly. I started to take notice of how my body felt when I craved and ate too much pasta. Without knowing how to fully describe it, I would say heavy, like a wet rag, and slightly achy – whatever it was wasn’t normal. I had no idea that pasta is considered acidic. Also, my love of tomatoes hasn’t died… add those to the pasta and what do you get? More acid in the body. My beloved morning coffee = more acid. So you get the picture. I was a walking body of acid. One conversation started to change that, however.

Having no idea what foods or drinks I had been consuming were acidic in nature, someone had informed me of taking an all-natural drink powder made with all organic green vegetables. Apparently, the powder is supposed to balance the acidity in the body and make it more alkaline. It wasn’t cheap, but it was well worth it when I discovered that this powder worked. The name of what I take is called Green Superfood, and it’s made by a company called Amazing Grass, runs for about $28 in the health food store for a 30-serving supply. One tiny scoop mixed with water looks pretty gross but the flavor really isn’t bad. I drink that if I tend to be consuming too much acidic food or drink and have noticed a huge difference in the aches.

Beating Fibromyalgia and CFS, Allergy Tests – Part 2

Sometime around 2002 someone finally convinced me to get tested for allergies. Thankfully, I had insurance so the visits and tests were covered. I discovered through an allergist that I was allergic to grass, ragweed, pine, and milk. The pine allergy would definitely explain much of the misery I felt in 1997-1999 because I lived in northern Florida in the middle of a pine forest! As I had stated in my last blog, this is when the joint popping and cracking issues began.

Basically, I could do nothing about the environmental pollens because they surrounded me. I was given various allergy medications, such as Claritin D, which helped relieve stuffiness and post nasal drip, but did not fix my issues with the aches. Being sensitive to medications, I noticed I started feeling “loopy” (although some people might agree that is just my natural state, lol) after taking it. I felt as if I had the flu about 5 days out of each week. I was completely and totally miserable and hopeless. Exercise seemed to do nothing to help with any of the symptoms either, however, I also noticed a huge correlation between the allergies, the amount of sunlight I received, and the fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.

Being a Florida girl, I grew up on the beach and the times when I did not get enough sunlight I noticed a difference in the way I felt. There were certain times when I would go for days without going out into the sun for at least 20 minutes, and I noticed if I did not go out at least every other day, by the third day I started feeling ill again. Anytime it rained, which is inevitable in a hurricane-fixated state, I could feel a huge amount of pressure in my joints.

I was eating better than before, but still not that well. Cutting milk out of my diet helped with phlegm and digestion issues, but I had a habit of eating bagels and cream cheese for breakfast or donuts because it was easy to make and I had a 45-minute drive to work every day. My diet consisted of that of the average working American, and we all know what that means.

Eventually, I decided to move to a more tropical area that wasn’t laden with trees and grass, which was a huge help on the environmental allergies. It really did make a difference, and I also started chiropractic care. The combination helped, but I was unaware that I had developed more food allergies over the years. In 2007, I had another series of tests and found out I was still allergic to all of the prior tested things, in addition to cedar and (of all things!) corn! (See blog about corn allergy here.) Corn was just about in everything in my diet, which meant having to completely change the way I was eating. That meant no more fast food, and it also meant that most things packaged in a box, can, or bag were also off the list. Even the things I thought were healthful contained corn ingredients of some form or another. I started feeling relief as soon as I cut those things out of my diet, and I could tell immediately when I ate or drank something that had a corn ingredient in it.

Unfortunately, I had to move away from the tropical area and back to the grass and trees. At least I knew what made me feel yucky and I am still learning to control it.

About two years after the corn allergy was discovered, I started to feel as if I were eating something else that wasn’t being nice to my system. I went back to an allergist and discovered through more tests that I now had an egg allergy. I had been eating eggs for breakfast almost daily! It was disappointing, to say the least, but cutting eggs out of my diet really has made a difference with the digestive issues and muscle aches I’d been having. Substitutions for eggs were a challenge as well.

Since all of these food allergy discoveries, I would say that it piqued a newfound interest in learning how to eat right. In my next blog, I will discuss in what ways I am educating myself on proper eating habits.

Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Part I

Shortly after my twenty-first birthday, I started noticing that I wasn’t feeling well most of the time. After visiting the doctor and coming back with normal blood work results, I was relieved that nothing “bad” showed up, but at the same time I was also disappointed that there was no explanation for my symptoms. The doctor I was seeing at the time diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a disorder that I hadn’t ever heard until then and knew nothing about. At the time, there was no internet access or much written information on the topic, but I did manage to find others that had the same problem. The more I learned about this incurable, debilitating disease, the more convinced I was that the doctor was wrong in his diagnosis. Since there was no exact way to test for this ailment, I convinced myself I didn’t have it. In my mind, I told myself there is no way in hell I’m going to give my life to this horrific disease.

Some time during some earlier college years I visited the doctor that had known me since I was born. (His office visits were only $30!) I kept having throat problems with swelling and chronic bronchitis. He shot me up with some sort of steroid, and I found immediate relief with the swelling issues. He suggested that I probably had allergies and suggested that I quit smoking (yes, I used to have that nasty habit!). At the time I had no health insurance so I wasn’t able to get the necessary testing done, but I did quit smoking for good. Shortly afterwards, I moved away to attend a university; in the meantime, my old doctor retired.

Fast forward about five years later. I was a full-time college student and single mom, and I regularly worked out at either the school’s gym or at home. One day at home I was lifting light weights with my arms. As I lifted one arm, I heard a snap that sounded much like my shoulder came out of its socket. It hurt but not bad enough to see a doctor, so I figured I’d just pulled a muscle. But the unexplained snapping and popping continued with each and every joint in my body, along with flu-like muscle aches and hasn’t stopped since 1997. Several doctor’s visits over a few years without any results, I finally had somewhat of an answer three years later.

Another highly controversial syndrome among the field of medicine, fibromyalgia was my next diagnosis. The only problem that I found was that even though the known “pressure points” of fibromyalgia were supposed to be painful to touch on the person, for me it brought relief. Again, I was not sure that I was properly diagnosed, but it was something that I could work with as far as the treatment went. By then, the internet was becoming popular and it was easy for me to find information on the topic.

Massage was a huge relief for the muscle aches. I’d been seeing an excellent but pricey massage therapist who later told me she took insurance. When I learned she accepted my insurance and to find out more about it, I immediately contacted my insurance company and was told that massage is covered if written by a physician as a prescription. I was thrilled! I immediately went to my doctor (who had been trying to put me on pills that I refused to take) and told him of the great news about massage therapy with my insurance company. But he refused to write the prescription! He wanted to shoot me up with cortisone shots and give me more prescriptions. He told me that massage is only a temporary relief, that it may last only about a week and was a waste of time. I was furious with him because we obviously did not see eye to eye when it came to holistic healing vs meds that harm the body (not to mention that they are also a temporary relief and not a cure-all). So I marched out of his office and found a new doctor that believed in massage therapy.

That was just the beginning of beating fibromyalgia.

Today I still have the same muscle aches and joint popping and cracking without any explanation for it whatsoever. I have found ways that relieve these issues, however, and I have noticed what makes them worse. I am also convinced that all of these symptoms are related to allergies and stress.

Backtrack to around my twenty-first birthday. Stress was an understatement of how to describe my life at the time. I was a new mom, going through a divorce, and working full time. My body was still adjusting to the birth of my daughter and my diet consisted of mostly microwavable foods – many with starches and sugars that I now know contributed to many of the health-related problems I was facing. To top it off, I was a smoker.

Go You Chicken Fat, Go Away! (Please Get Out of My Head!)

The strangest things have been happening lately with songs popping into my head at random times. Although most may not find this unusual, it’s unusual to me because these songs are ones I haven’t heard in years.

For instance, this morning I woke up with a song in my head from the fourth grade. Our quad of teachers made students do exercises each morning in order to get us (or them) fit. The tune was “Chicken Fat/The Youth Fitness Song” and it’s one that once heard, you will never, ever forget.

I found that someone had put this song on Youtube. I wasn’t aware of the history of this song. According to WFMU:


The song was commissioned by John Kennedy for his new Youth Fitness Program. A copy of this record was sent to every school in the U.S. with the idea that it would be played over the P.A. every morning while students did calisthenics.

I recall participating in these morning exercises (begrudgingly) and watching all of the other miserable faces following along. For some reason it only lasted a few weeks or so and we stopped doing it – probably a complaint to the administration put a quit halt to it.

So why was this song in my head when I woke up this morning? Was it the Universe telling me I needed to get out of bed and make that chicken fat go away? Or is it because “Chicken Fat” is one of those songs that no matter how many years down the road you will never, ever forget it?