Category Archives: COVID-19

Blurry, clear, blurry, clear

***Trigger warning, some content might be upsetting***

I wonder what I was thinking that night fifteen years ago today. Not the surface thoughts, those I think I can recreate with some accuracy. ‘I think I want to sing that Gretchen Wilson song.’ Or ‘I hope he buys another pitcher.’ Or ‘Everyone is watching me as I walk across the bar to the bathroom.’ Those surface, ego thoughts. What I wonder though, is what were the thoughts beneath the noise. Beneath the cigarette smoke and sharp tang of whiskey, the yeasty bubbly beer scent of the bar. What were those trembling thoughts as I wanted to hide beneath the makeup. Don’t look at me. Don’t see me. I’m here with a married man and I’m not a wife. Don’t know me. I’m a ghost.

I wonder what I felt while alone in the bathroom stall. I wonder if I vomited there. The chances are good; I nearly always purged in bars. At home. Make room for more. Fill those voids with booze, with men, with cigarettes. Add a side of nachos and karaoke. What did I think while alone in the bathroom stall, while women primped and preened in the mirrors and gossiped about the guy standing at the bar in the tight jeans and cowboy hat or the bitch at the pool tables in the red heels. What if one of those women was like another woman on another night, who finally left the baby with her mom so she could enjoy a night out with her friends, what if she suffered nights at home while her husband was out with his buddies…and another woman.

Today it’s not hard for me to imagine the underlying pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization running like a program in the background, as yet unidentified by the user. What was I thinking after holding a hand over one eye in order to focus on the lyrics of White Trash Woman on the screen, microphone clutched in my fingers. What forced the intuitive thought–the moment of clarity–which I vocalized to the married man I was with, “Ya know, we should quit drinking and go to a meeting”.

Today I know what I’m thinking. I am grateful I listened.

I hadn’t intended to combine these to anniversaries with the following but they are forever combined.:

Twelve years ago today, a Wednesday, I stared at the golf shop’s sign through the window of the eyeglass place, moving the lenses up and down to compare and contrast. Blurry, clear, blurry, clear. Grandma had urged me to see the eye doctor after my remaining sighted eye had gone all TV-fuzz-like on Monday and landed me in the ER. She would leave me a voicemail the following day, a Thursday, asking me if I still liked my boyfriend after seeing him through my new pair of glasses. That day I would stare at him as my vision slowly faded to gray.

We watched I Am Legend Wednesday night, April 23, 2008. My last sighted movie. Bummer, right? Oh, you liked it? That’s cool. As I write this today, I am isolated like Will Smith’s character. Am I legend? In my own mind sometimes, sure.

The following day , Thursday, April 24, 2008, Instead of answering Gamma’s question, I would spend my three years sober anniversary memorizing my boyfriend’s face in the emergency room. I told him I was going blind and he didn’t want to believe it. Who would? We are still distantly acquainted. I continue to see his face the way it looked that day. We are both frozen in my memory twelve years younger than we are now. I’ve often joked, morbidly some might say, that the way I used to live I never thought I’d see thirty, pause a beat, I went blind at twenty-nine.

Today I am sad. Today I cannot seem to grab on to gratitude the way I usually can around these twin anniversaries, the way I did yesterday. Today I feel the twinge of the self pity I pray for help with daily. I want hugs tomorrow on my fifteen year sobriety anniversary. We’ll celebrate on Zoom. My best friend in Colorado will attend. Silver lining. Today is day thirty-eight of isolation. Just me and my cat, thank God for my cat, in my tiny apartment. Thank God for my tiny apartment, a safe place to shelter, away from others, away from human touch. Away from the man I started dating in January. I’m sad. I’m sad for the millions of people who don’t have the security that my disabilities afford me. I’m sad for the people who have died and for those who loved them. I’m sad for myself and everyone else who’s sad. I’m just sad.

It’s ok to feel feelings today.

Note: Usually I’m much sunnier about my sobriety. Sobriety is freaking awesome and is the foundation of how I’m getting through this isolation one day at a time. If you are struggling with drinking what you feel is too much, even though in-person things are shut down, there is still help out there. You can reach out privately by leaving me a comment and I won’t publish it, or follow the contact link above and I can direct you toward that help.

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, anniversary, cats, COVID-19, faith, Gamma, gratitude, humor as coping skill, mental health, My story, on this date, sobriety

…then the pandemic happened and man has this blog been on my mind.

Tap tap tap. Tap tap. Tap tap tap tap! Ok, that’s me tapping on the inside of your screen. What up? It’s been awhile, right? I think I’m back. At least I want to be back. I am a rider who writes things and those things collect dust in my computer. I remember the days of old, way back in ’09 and a few years after that when I wrote here all the time. I’ve been talking to a few friends about those very years when there were tales of Insert who became Jayden, calls for nouns to spark ideas which became calls for Sparks which became short stories, conversations in the comments, random stories about life as I adjusted to being blind. Some of the happiest times. Then Blogger broke accessibility and I came here
and I’ve been paying way too much money to host all this content that I don’t want to lose but I no longer want to pay so much for so I’ve been looking into ways to not lose my content but also not pay as much and then the pandemic happened and man has this blog been on my mind. So here I am. How are you? Like really, how are you?

Since before Corona, I have been trying to find my thing. That thing that we humans need, whatever it is, to feel like we’re contributing to the world. At least I need that thing. After I discovered back in ’10 that writing is something I could still do after going blind, I thought that my dream was to work towards publishing novels and memoirs. I’ve studied the publishing industry, done what I could to teach myself the craft of writing, read books, signed up for seminars and online classes, and finally decided to attempt earning a Bachelor of Art in an online degree program, which failed. Using brain power to access the online learning environment, which is optimized for Windows computers and Jaws when I use a Mac and Voiceover, all while meeting weekly deadlines, proved to be way too much to handle while working to stay healthy with MS. Do you know what is not a bad word? Failure. Trying, really trying something and failing shows me what works and what doesn’t, and committing to anything on other people’s schedules doesn’t work right now.

In December, I began intensive trauma therapy once a week and my therapist utilizes a treatment modality called EMDR. It has been incredibly clarifying! What came out in my last session is that writing on this blog used to bring me great joy. The school experiment failing has reminded me, with therapy, that what worked for me a decade ago is where I’m feeling called now. To my blog. To be able to share my writing with the world, on my own schedule and by my own terms. The blog has been on my mind, and then I decided to send a random tweet and I got a response from one of my long ago readers and friends, Torie. I took that as a sign. I mean, because of this blog I created a character based on her in a scene in a novel that I still work on from time-to-time, that’s what a big role this place used to play in my life. So here we are! I’m hashing out the details of what this will become and for starters, I’m going to get help fixing the colors and fonts and stuff, since my uncle pointed out awhile ago that it’s not very pleasing to the eye, also a new look to better reflect who I am today. I knew that I wanted to post here for anyone who might still be subscribed before I start sharing on the socials, just to get back in touch and check in before the changes happen. I’m considering adding some dreaded ads so that maybe I can supplement my food stamps, ha! I missed blogging! However I also know me, and I know that I tend to run headlong into new projects and then discover that it doesn’t work for me, so who knows. I’ve been feeling called for a long time now to write about facing life’s challenges and the things that I’ve learned about how to do that over the years thanks to recovery from alcohol abuse, and living through MS blinding me. I want to share my courage and tools and right now feels like the exact right time. I began writing this post on the 13th, so hopefully I’ll get into a better and faster habit and keep writing.

We will get through this COVID-19 or Corona virus pandemic, whichever name you like best. We just don’t know what it will look like. None of us knows. But I have faith that the human race as a whole will come together, is coming together, to get through this. While we wait to find out what comes next, how about we do what we can, by putting the oxygen masks on ourselves first and then turning to help whomever needs help?One thing’s for sure, there will be stories! I will be resurrecting the calls for Sparks, absolutle!

So really, how are you?

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Filed under COVID-19, gratitude, in the news, Insert, Jaws, Jayden, sobriety, therapy, Voiceover, writing