A Year in Reflection

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On August 23rd of last year, I was in the hospital undergoing the biggest decision I have ever made in my entire life…prophylactic double mastectomy/breast reconstruction. At the time it seemed like the obvious choice, in hindsight, it was the most intensive rite of passage that ever plagued womankind.

 

I’m a strong woman. I know women claim that every day and then something trivial throws them into a panic attack of mega-proportions. I, myself, have been there. Where do you think the words Drama Queen came from. But, I digress. I AM STRONG! And as a woman who has idly strolled through several neighborhoods of Hell, I tell you I was not prepared for the emotional torture I would be facing during this reconstruction. It turns out even strong women can have weak moments.

 

They say, “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.” I hate that saying with the entirety of my being, not because it isn’t true but because it is quoted repeatedly by people who have not been through a sliver of what I have. Am I comparing my struggles to the lack of theirs? No, I’m just reflecting on those moments that transpired along the way. Like I said in the previous paragraph…“Weak. “Drama Queen.” “Hell.”

 

Feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, comparisons, bouts of deep depression… just a few of the bullshit moments I had in the past year. After all of that work I put into myself in the last few years I was undone by my f**king breasts. That’s right, like a teenage boy, I lost my ever-loving mind over breasts. Apparently, my vanity knows no bounds.

 

When did I, the woman’s woman, turn into an exceedingly breast-obsessed man? If I had to pinpoint it, I’d say roughly between birth and the total hysterectomy 12 years ago but, I am just guessing here. Seriously, though, why the hell are we as a society so obsessed with oddly placed sacks of fat hanging off of one gender’s chest? And why did I get sucked into that absurdity? Because, that is what happens when you make a choice to save your life but still want to have some sort of normalcy… and FFS, I just want to be a woman, something I feel like PCOS, being raised as a boy, and an early hysterectomy robbed from me.

 

But, have I been robbed or have I just fallen victim willingly into the societal princess programming that all females are force-fed?! I’d like to think I am no victim let alone a willing one. But, yes I fell into the world’s biggest trap, allowing society to dictate their idea of what a woman is. Funny, I don’t remember signing up for that in my contract. Yet there it is in all its hideousness.

 

My surgeon told me this was a journey. I knew what I was in for, well, I thought I knew what I was in for. But, I was not ready for all of that. I didn’t know that my breasts were directly tied to my emotional core. An explosive core that was clearly ticking and this “journey” was the detonation. That’s what I get for holding on to 40 years of trauma. There has to be a better way to “let it go.” I’ll work on that.

 

So on Tuesday, I’ll be in my surgeon’s office getting the final touches on my breast reconstruction…purple glitter tattoos on my reconstructed nipples. Because why not? A girl should be a girl any way that she sees fit, not forced into being what society tells her she should be. And that is how you become a strong woman!

 

 

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Thank You: A Friendship Day Poem

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To the friends who’ve been here and never leave….thank you.
To the friends who just arrived….thank you.
To the friends that I now grieve….thank you.
To the frenemies I’ve survived…thank you.
To the friends who still believe….thank you.
For the friendships that have been revived….thank you.
Here’s to ALL of you. Happy Friendship Day! ~ InJensMind

The Mice Before Christmas

The Mice Before Christmas

Read the story of the three mice brothers reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. Will they finish the book before Santa comes?

A Friday Moment

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A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

Copyrighted: InjensMind

#BlogTagYouAreIt ‘Sometimes I Wish…’

One of the blogging groups I am in is having a blog hop, we are calling it “Blog Tag…You’re It.” For those of you who don’t know what a blog hop is, let me explain. It is several different bloggers blogging on their own blog all about the same topic but done in their own unique ways. Phew! Say that 3 times fast. LOL This specific hop will feature 28 bloggers from around the globe. The essence of what World Wide Web stands for if you ask me. We each will have our own day to post about the topic ‘Sometimes I Wish…’ During this time, one blogger thanks the previous blogger for the introduction to their post and then writes a mini introduction for the blogger who follows them.

So here goes…

A very big thank you to Brenda, who writes at Passionate Pusuits. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and sharing the  blogosphere world with you. Here’s to many more blog hops, posts, and getting to know a variety of bloggers inside and outside the group. You can click here to see her blog hop post on this subject.

Now for the introduction I am to give for our next blogger in line:

Say hello to Sili, who writes at My Mamihood. She writes about her life and the non-stop misadventures of her “Frog Princess”, which is the adorable nickname she uses for her young daughter.

Please take some time (after finishing my post of course) to visit both of these ladies.

Sometimes I Wish…

For somebody, aka me, to publicly acknowledge my wishes, I would first have to believe in them. But, I don’t believe in wishes or wishing for that matter. However, I did…once; a very long time ago when I was an impressionable youngster, back before I knew any better, back before the reality of what my life was hit me like a ton of bricks. It was during a time when wishes and dreams were what young children would thrive on, that is, until they realized either as teenagers or adults that wishes just don’t come true, no matter how much you wish on them or pray for them, beg, scream, plead, cry, or fuss about them, no matter how many times the people at Disney tell you they do… They just don’t come true!

I was approximately 5-years-old when I would lay in bed and stare at the night sky, wishing on the bright stars that illuminated my room. I was just as much a raging insomniac back then as I am now. (No doubt due to the volatile lifestyle I lived from a super-young age.) I even tossed several wishes to the man in the moon for good measure, then patiently awaited the entire night for somebody/anybody to magically swoop in and rescue me. I have yet to stop staring at the night sky (or learned how to fall asleep when the rest of the world does) but, I have stopped sending wishes out there, and I have most certainly stopped waiting for someone to ride in on their white horse and rescue me.

  • I wish my daddy and mommy didn’t fight so much.
  • I wish my daddy loved me.
  • I wish that “they” hadn’t touched me like that.
  • I wish those touching’s would stop happening.
  • I wish I could stay out of the principal’s office for fighting.
  • I wish people would just leave me alone.
  • I wish people would stop touching me. Why do they keep touching me?
  • I wish my mommy would come and pick me up more often.
  • I wish I could play outside with the other kids and not have to be in bed while the sun is still out.
  • I wish I didn’t have to sit in the corner so long every day.
  • I wish my step-mom loved me.
  • I wish I wasn’t hated so much by my daddy and step-mom.
  • I wish my mommy hadn’t moved so far away. Does she hate me now too?
  • I wish I didn’t have to sit behind furniture when we visited with family and friends.
  • I wish I could play with my cousins.
  • I wish my grandma didn’t get drunk and push my grandfather into the bookcase.
  • I wish my daddy didn’t get drunk and pass out in the truck.
  • I wish I didn’t know about alcoholism and its effects.
  • I wish my step-mom didn’t take out her insecurities about my mommy on me.
  • I wish my daddy would stop talking bad about my mommy.
  • I wish my step-mom didn’t talk badly about my mommy.
  • I wish I wasn’t talked about badly to my face.
  • I wish I could be loved like my little sister.
  • I wish my daddy didn’t move us so far away when my mommy moved back to town.
  • I wish I could see my baby brother every day.
  • I wish I didn’t have to see a school counselor for “my problems.”
  • I wish my step-mom didn’t take away things my mommy and grandma bought for me.
  • I wish I didn’t cry so hard every time I came back home to my daddy’s house.
  • I wish I didn’t get punished for vomiting after I cried so hard.
  • I wish I didn’t know what soap tastes like.
  • I wish my daddy and step-mom didn’t use a thick wooden paddle with holes drilled in it on me.
  • I wish I could sit down.
  • I wish I didn’t have to show the friend of the court my butt and all the still purple welts that hadn’t yet gone away after several weeks.
  • I wish somebody would help me.
  • I wish somebody would listen.
  • I wish the counselor would stop asking other types of social workers, guidance people, therapists, and groups to talk to me. Every time they give me a card or tell me how my life should be I am punished more severely.
  • I wish my school counselor didn’t call my step-mom and tell her everything I had confided in her.
  • I wish I didn’t get punished so much.
  • I wish I could go to friends’ houses and not always be grounded.
  • I wish I had friends who I could talk to.
  • I wish my “big sisters” in the sister program would do more with me.
  • I wish my “big sister” didn’t move away.
  • I wish I didn’t cry myself to sleep every night.
  • I wish I could fall asleep.
  • I wish I could stay asleep.
  • I wish I didn’t hear and see things in the dark.
  • I wish I wasn’t called crazy for seeing dead people.
  • I wish my step-mom didn’t force me to stand in a red ant hill while she yelled at me.
  • I wish the pain would go away.
  • I wish my grandfather who protected me as best as he could didn’t die.
  • I wish I died.
  • I wish I didn’t know what pain is.
  • I wish I didn’t bleed all over my clothes.
  • I wish my belongings didn’t get take away.
  • I wish someone would stand up for me.
  • I wish someone would save me.
  • I wish my sister would stop doing things that I get punished for.
  • I wish I didn’t have to come home.
  • I wish I didn’t go to school.
  • I wish I didn’t live in a small town.
  • I wish people would understand me.
  • I wish they’d all stop making fun of me.
  • I wish I could have long hair.
  • I wish I could wear new girl’s clothes.
  • I wish I wasn’t such a disappointment.
  • I wish I knew what I did wrong.
  • I wish I knew why I was born.
  • I wish I were never born.
  • I wish my mommy would come and pick us up on her weeks.
  • I wish my daddy didn’t tell me he doesn’t think I am his.
  • I wish he’d stop throwing things at my head.
  • I wish he’d stop hitting me.
  • I wish they’d stop touching me.
  • I wish I could get out of here.
  • I wish I had somewhere to go.
  • I wish someone would see the truth.
  • I wish they’d stop lying and calling me the liar.
  • I wish I wasn’t “a good for nothing whore, like your mother.”
  • I wish I knew what a whore was.
  • I wish they’d stop humiliating me.
  • I wish they’d stop degrading me.
  • I wish they’d stop strip searching me.
  • I WISH THEY’D STOP TOUCHING ME!
  • I wish I had money.
  • I wish my money from my job would be mine.
  • I wish I didn’t have to drive such an ugly car.
  • I wish I could drive when I wanted to.
  • I wish I didn’t have to go to the vocational school they chose.
  • I wish I didn’t have to be what they wanted.
  • I wish I knew how to make it all stop.
  • I wish my mind could rest.
  • I wish I could concentrate.
  • I wish I wasn’t scared.
  • I wish there was an end in sight.
  • I wish I had a better life.
  • I wish I could run away and never come back.
  • I wish they’d just finish me off and kill me once and for all already.
  • I wish someone else would stand up for me besides just me alone.
  • I wish they’d stop pretending that they are good and decent people.
  • I wish I didn’t have to send mean letters to my mom on behalf of my daddy and step-mom’s feelings.
  • I wish I didn’t have to have someone read my letters before I could read them.
  • I wish I didn’t have to start another diary again and again and again because my step-mom reads it and can’t face the truth so she takes it away and rips them up.
  • I wish I didn’t have gifts other people gave me taken away and given to my sister or thrown away.
  • I wish I didn’t have to be responsible.
  • I wish I didn’t have to be the oldest.
  • I wish my daddy didn’t spank me so hard that I flew from the living room into the kitchen.
  • I wish I could be a child.
  • I wish I didn’t have to stand in the corner for hours on end with my arms straight in the air.
  • I wish I knew how to get to my mommy’s house when daddy yelled and told me “if you want your mother walk to her house.”
  • I wish I didn’t get left on the front porch in the trailer park at 5 years old all by myself while my daddy and step-mom and sister went to visit with friends, because I didn’t know the way to mommy’s house.
  • I wish I could remember what my real name is. I haven’t heard it in so long.
  • I wish my life wasn’t so dysfunctional.
  • I wish there were no more secrets.
  • I wish I knew what love is.
  • I wish I knew what it feels like to be unconditionally loved.
  • I wish I were someone else, anyone but me.
  • I wish I could forget.
  • I wish I wasn’t permanently scarred and disfigured.
  • I wish I didn’t torture myself as much as they torture me.
  • I wish they’d stop forcing me to kiss and hug them good night and stop forcing me to tell them I love them after everything they did that day.
  • I wish I could stop hurting.
  • I wish there was a God.
  • I wish I didn’t live in Hell.
  • I wish someone could see what is happening.
  • I wish I could have chosen to give away my virginity.
  • I wish an apology was enough.
  • I wish I wasn’t “troubled.”
  • I wish I could stop crying.
  • I wish I could forgive.
  • I wish I understood why they say they forgive but keep bringing old things up.
  • I wish they’d get a different punching bag.
  • I wish it would end.
  • I wish I were intelligent.
  • I wish those who weren’t there would stop acting like they know.
  • I wish I could forget as easily as they all do.
  • I wish they didn’t control me.
  • I wish I could be me.
  • I wish being myself was enough.
  • I wish I were free.
  • I wish… I wish… I wish… I wish… I wish… I wish…
  • I wish I didn’t need to wish anymore…

14 years’ worth of child wishes and countless more things that had been wished and were never fulfilled, never answered, never my salvation. Star wishes, birthday wishes, prayers to God, pleas to anyone who had the power to do something… all fell on deaf ears and ignored by blind eyes.  A child who wished for death because it was the only way that she knew of, that would make it all end. A child who cut her wrists at 12-years-old because she didn’t know how she was going to go on after the death of her grandfather, her rock, her only love. The only one who could see the truth, her truth. A child who clearly grew up long before a child should ever have to.

It would be another 16 years after her 14 year sentence in Hell, before that child/adult would figure out that making wishes, dreaming, praying, and asking for help were all an enormous waste of her  time. One thing she had learned all to well, was that nobody could undo what had been done and even if they could nobody would be willing to switch places with her and take on what she had.

Those 16 additional years they had stolen from her, enslaving her within her own mind. When she wasn’t trying to shield herself and her children from their newest ongoing attacks via telephone, she was visualizing moment after moment in her head, replaying them in her dreams, like a never-ending horror movie, secretly hoping for a different ending, a happy ending. Trying to fill in the cracks whilst new ones were continuously added. Attempting to raise her two children differently than she had been raised, giving them everything she never had. Protecting her children from the vicious spiteful words that the so-called family were trying to pass down to them as if it were the family Bible. Hoping that the man she married who held a strong character resemblance to her father, would not pick up where her father and step-mom left off and continue to violate her tortured and nearly broken spirit. Several times in her life, wishes could have been the way to go, but her mind was so infected by the past she didn’t even consider wishing for her children not to suffer along with their mother. (Or a million other things that the Universe relentlessly pummeled her and her children with.) It never even entered her mind, not because she didn’t believe in wishes anymore (which she didn’t) but, because she was fighting a life vs. death battle inside. Deep inside herself, where there was only going to be one survivor and one alone. Would she come out alive and capable of being a competent mother, wife, human being? Or would she remain trapped inside herself, waiting for that final blow that would finish her off for good?

Then surprisingly without any warning whatsoever, the inconceivable happened and she lost her younger sister to cancer. She was no stranger to death or to cancer for that matter but, losing her sister suddenly did something that no other death could do. It was at that precise moment when the prison door she had been locked behind for most of her life, swung wide open and she walked out of the solitary confinement where she had awaited her death sentence. A light as bright and warm as the sun encased her and she was finally free…free of them, their actions, their words, their evilness, their lies, their prejudices. But wait… she was the one who had allowed them to torture her for over 30 years, even though they had not been a part of her physical life in more than half that time. They only had power over her because she allowed them to have it and use it as they wished. She had allowed the past to be her focus, which held her stagnant in a place where she couldn’t move towards the future let alone appreciate the now. So, she took back the control and freed herself; she freed her past, she freed her mind, she freed her spirit, she freed her future, and she flew away freely with the knowledge and tools that would never allow her to be imprisoned by anyone ever again!

✓ “I wish it would end.”

✓ “I wish I was intelligent.”

✓ “I wish they didn’t control me.”

✓ “I wish I could be me.”

✓ “I wish being myself was enough.”

✓ “I wish I were free.”

✓ “I wish I didn’t need to wish anymore…”

So ok… maybe some times wishes do come true. However, simply wishing for something to happen isn’t going to make it happen. Time, actions, and choices make things happen not the “magical powers” of the wish itself. I don’t need to wish anymore because I’m living in the present. I don’t want to change my past, for if my wishes had come true at that precise moment that I had wished them I wouldn’t be who I am today. I don’t know about you but, I like the person I am today, and I know I will continue to like me even more as time goes by. Something that the young me couldn’t, wouldn’t, and didn’t do.  So thank you for rejecting my wishes so I could be a strong fighter and survivor, outspoken and an activist, a better person than I or anyone else could have dreamed of. Thank you for allowing me to find my path in my own time that ultimately broke the cycle of abuse, violence, alcoholism, blame, inability to grow or move forward, and neglect that plagued my entire family for generations upon generations. Thank you for teaching me lessons that can never be unlearned. All of which allowed me to be here right now telling  showing you… becoming the living proof that anyone can overcome their past and transform into something more than they could have imagined. Wishing is short-sighted, if your wishes came true you wouldn’t learn anything. You wouldn’t be able to keep the knowledge you were taught. You wouldn’t have lived fully. You wouldn’t be able to grow and you most certainly wouldn’t be free. So give your life the time, chance, and education that it needs to grow into something miraculous.

Countdown To The Breaking Point

As I laid in a zombified, neither asleep nor awake state, in my bed this morning, thoughts racing, I had a realization that I may have never come to had it not been for the events that have taken place  in the last year and a half. The universe’s sole responsibility is to continuously batter human beings with loads of things they can barely handle emotionally, mentally, and physically until they reach their breaking point. It’s kind of like that place called Hell that so many speak of.

Several times I have just nearly escaped being irreversibly imprisoned by my own looming breaking point. I have stood on the edge of it, teetering back n’ forth, just waiting for the universe to give me that final kick in my ass that throws me over. I have come to the conclusion that there are only a handful of people left in my life that matter to me to the point where I very well could end up losing my mind completely and forever. Not to say that I don’t love each and every person in my life with all my being, it just means that the last bit of strength that I possess is only enough for that final  handful of people. There are 7 people left before I reach my permanent breaking point and depending on the order in which I lose them, it could be a full 7 or it could be just 1.

After getting the phone call from my grandfather last night I knew how flimsily my sanity hung in the balance. Hell, I knew before we even concluded our conversation, and I’m pretty sure both of my grandparents had a damn good idea of it as well. Thanks to the sudden death of my sister, I will forever be tainted and paranoid by the words, “____ is in the hospital.” Name any of those 7 people and my heart is beating out of my chest, my thoughts begin racing more than usual, and paranoia becomes the desert of the day. Well, it just so happens one of those people were named in that very phone call late last night, my mom. You could pinpoint the precise moment when I lost it, it was the moment when my voice cracked and I began cursing like a sailor on the phone to my grandfather who has been known  to tell all of us women, “Don’t use those 4 letter words. Ladies don’t speak like that.” Well F@&* THAT, I am well aware that a lady I am not. I am also aware that I am probably the last person in my family who can curse in my soprano cracking emotionally charged voice and also be the voice of reason and motivation at the same time.  It’s a gift.

The good news is after speaking to my mom last night, I was more at ease and relatively optimistic. However,  I fell asleep and while I was tossing and turning per my usual nightly ritual, my subconscious revealed things to me that my conscious mind was unable to speak openly about. My dreams were pummeled time and time again with my sister and my twin nephews. All of the bullshit that has been going on since my sister’s death has built up inside of me to the point where I can no longer function on the same level I was functioning at just a few months after her death. When she died I had my writing and I buried myself in that. Then there were mountains of things piled on top of that, from the boyfriend who up and gave his parents custody of my nephews secretly, to the middle men who are keeping my mother and grandparents from fully bonding with the boys, who by the way just turned 2 years old in August.  All these things that I have been forbidden to speak about openly, so that the saintly (hmmph) boyfriend’s family don’t get pissed off and just up and deny visitation completely to my family. This, is the moment when I say… if I had money and a gun!!!

OK…Clearly, I am joking about the gun part. Killing someone for being a thorn in my side is NOT how I do things. And we all know how easily my words get twisted around by the exact same people who I’ve spent years protecting. That alone is some kind of nightmarish form of Hell in its own right. I digress…But, yea…I don’t have money and I am helpless at the moment to do anything about these things. I ache deep down inside of my soul for my nephews and let’s not even go into details about my nieces. Let’s not even bring up how pathetic I feel to have such a loud, strong, and proud voice and to have it be hushed for the sake of family. I am reaching critical mass. It is not long before I reach that breaking point. I just want to do what is right and like all people who fight for rights I am faced with what CAN be done and what SHOULD be done. Those two things are clearly not the same thing.

As for my mom, hopefully she will be released in the next day or two. Then I can start breathing again and go back to waiting. Waiting for the universe’s final blow to my backside while I am not looking… that unavoidable breaking point. And so begins… The Countdown!

Smells Like A Friday Moment

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A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

Copyright InJensMind 8/17/2012

I’m Fine. Really.

One misconception people have of me is that I don’t pull any punches when it comes to verbalizing the way that I feel. I say many things that others wouldn’t say, that is true. But, I do pull punches, I do censor myself, I do internalize a lot of how I feel until it’s been pushed far enough down where I can go out in public again and not be an utterly incomprehensible asshole… so to speak.

 

But, because I do this I end up feeling more stressed out than I should. And right now I am in Stressville eating from the Stress Buffet and praying that nobody says a fucking word to me for fear that I may completely lose my mind, my temper, and my lunch! However, since so many really want to know what is on my mind… let me break it down for you.

 

I’m freaked out. I didn’t expect to fall back into a depression. I didn’t expect to go from being an optimist who helped others rise up into the light, to just rapidly decline back into what it was I had fought so hard to get out of the beginning of last year… a dark abyss of nothingness and despair.

 

Last year; despite everything that happened,  I was optimistic. I was hopeful. I was happy. My happiness hasn’t entirely been depleted yet but my optimism and my hopefulness have just about been sucked right the hell out of me.

 

I had pushed through grieving my sister rapidly, choosing to bury myself in writing instead of dealing with that whole ordeal. Then there was the family and friends I lost. I shook that off and kept on my journey, never looking back. Then in October, there was my breast issue. Again, I picked up the pieces and ran off towards my vision.

 

Despite all I had gone through in a short period of time, my descent didn’t officially begin until the week of New Year’s Eve when I spent 3 days in the hospital with my daughter. She was very ill and it was then when I began to notice how very mentally exhausted I was. It was when I had time to really think about life and death and everything in between. I had a chance to slow down enough to realize what was going on with me. And of course, I was worried out of my mind about losing my daughter.

 

Everything I had went through had all managed to catch up with me and it had multiplied into something that I clearly wasn’t prepared for or capable of handling. And I’m sorry to say it has cracked me in a way that nothing else ever could.

 

I had aspirations, dreams, goals… I thought every post I wrote on Yahoo, Technorati, my blog, and guest posts were leading me to being a paid writer. I seriously believed for a good minute there that I was talented enough to make it. But, talent doesn’t pay bills when there isn’t enough work experience to get you a job. And I just don’t have that experience and now I’m afraid I don’t have that drive anymore either.

 

I cracked beyond repair at the beginning of the year when I got paid for my hard work from Yahoo. They paid me a whole $1.42 for the 8 articles I had written. My friends told me not to let payment determine my worth as a writer. But, as much as I wanted to believe them I couldn’t get past my husband’s laughter about how even Yahoo thought I was a bad writer.

 

I know, I know… I shouldn’t put so much value into words. But I am supposed to be a writer and writers use words and words are supposed to mean something very important, if they didn’t what would we need writers for?

 

The more I focused on those words the more depressed I became and my blog posts dropped off to maybe one or two a month. Because at this point who really cares if I write or if I don’t? I know I surely don’t.

 

I tried to stay strong. I made it through my sister’s deathaversary. But, more and more things began to bother me. My kids had countless doctor appointments going on and those brought up old feelings about why they were disabled. Then my husband ended up in the hospital for heart palpitations because he was completely irresponsible and drank 3 energy drinks in one freaking day. And financial issues kept resurfacing. Not enough money and too many bills, not enough food and too many mouths, not enough work and a vehicle that kept breaking down…

 

And through this all, I smiled and laughed and kept pushing it all further and further down. I kept pretending it was all ok. I kept insisting that I was strong enough to handle it all and everyone else’s problems too. I didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems but I took on their problems. I didn’t want to fall back into the type of person who feels bad for what is happening in their life when so many have it worse. And I know there are many out there worse off than I. Truth is though… it has been pretty bad for my family too, and the people around me have really pissed me off.

 

I have kept as much of my emotions and feelings to myself as I could throughout this entire year. I looked on the bright side as much as I could. But, all of these people with their bullshit and their “woe is me” and their “oh if only I had this”… They don’t even realize how much better they have it than my family does right now at this moment and how badly I wanted to tell them to their face. But, I didn’t and I haven’t and now I’m becoming one of them by complaining. Uff! But, I don’t care because I need to let it all out so…

 

My car died just about 4 years ago. There are no roadtrips, no vacations, no going out…I only get outside of the house when I grocery shop, which is at night once a month or less, or when the kids go to the doctor, or when one of us ends up in the hospital, or once a summer for the Festival of Nations… oh and last week we got a special trip to the Science Center. Wooo, one extra day this year that we haven’t had in 4 fucking years. My friends have either removed themselves from my life or don’t have time or live too far or don’t care or whatever they have going on. I live in a bad neighborhood. And I do mean bad, so it’s not like my kids and I can just go a-walkin’ outside and enjoy the scenery. Noooo, we get to sit inside and wait… Wait for the day when my husband (who is never home except to sleep a few hours) to have enough money to do things with us or let us go out and do things. Because to him money means power and respect and love, I guess. So because I have none to offer him I am not top priority.

 

Speaking of money, I haven’t been shopping in 4 years. I haven’t had new clothes in 4 years. I am lucky to go out to eat 4 times a year, my kids birthday’s, mine (if my husband feels like being nice to me that day) and my husband’s. (sometimes) Grocery shopping is a nightmare, I never have enough money to buy things I’d like to make, so we stick to simple and cheap recipes. Here’s another little thing that has me on edge. I quit smoking in October and not only do I now have more issues breathing but, I gained 30 pounds as well. Isn’t that great???!!! Who knew that smoking was actually de-stressing me? I guess I do now, huh…

 

Oh and while we are on stressing about weight, here’s something that keeps me awake at night. My son’s doctors are harassing me because my son isn’t at a normal weight for his age. I’ve done all I can to get my son to lose the weight; changed his diet, put him on an exercise plan. But, despite my efforts he just doesn’t understand that if he doesn’t lose the weight the state will take him away from us. How do you like that? My husband who also was told to drop weight, refuses to listen and continues to buy foods that shouldn’t be in the house. And me? Well I can’t do shit about it, short of divorcing him and moving to Alaska, or stay up all night and day guarding the refrigerator. Because lord knows I am already not sleeping anyway so why even bother trying anymore.

 

My husband and I are nothing more than roommates now. He is on the couch and I am in the bed with my daughter who hasn’t left my side since I was in the hospital in Oct. Apparently, the idea of losing me scared her so deeply that she cannot be away for me more than 5 minutes at a time since then. I spent my whole life protecting my children from the scary things in life and my daughter ends up worrying about me. That screws with me more than I can explain.

 

And as if there wasn’t enough going on, my husband had the bright idea to bring home another dog. Only this dog has major issues from being abused when she was a puppy. Now she is over a year old and still paranoid, still barks at my husband who clearly she doesn’t like, she still sleeps near me, lays on me because I am her salvation. She isn’t training at all for me. I’m losing my mind over this dog because I don’t know how to help her. She just won’t leave my side for anything. And clearly I am selfish and an asshole for wanting some space and time alone.

 

So here is the final kicker. My 9 year old pitbull, Rosko has been sick. I’m worried this could be the last of his life. My husband being the person he is may or may not take him to the Vet. And if the Vet suggests a treatment that we can’t afford well I get to sit there again with one of my babies in my arms and watch him die.

 

I am stressed beyond the imagination and meaning of the word. Yet, I get to sign on to my social networks, where I go to get adult conversations (that I don’t get from my husband or anyone else in my day to day offline life) and to clear my mind of all the shit going on in my life for a brief time… and I get to see half of the people on there complaining about how “bad” they have it. OMFG, really???!!!! Ugh. And if I say something about how shitty I feel well then I get to be told how dramatic I am being and bla bla bla… Because if things were so bad for me I’d have posted it so they’d all know, right???

 

So I drop to my knees throw my hands up towards the stars and scream, “WHY ME???” And the answer comes back…Because this is my great fucking life. This is the part of my life I don’t talk about, the part that my enemies love, and my friends ignore. The part that keeps me awake at night in tears. So please, if you would can you tell me once again how bad your life is going for you?  Because I’m fine. Really. Aren’t I always?

Father’s Day Project: Build-A-Dad

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Yesterday was Father’s Day. I am sure I do not need to remind any of you. As I sat around, well no… that isn’t exactly accurate. My husband was home all day and when he is, there is no sitting around. Clearly, he can sit around, demand things to be done/brought to him, or blankly stare at a plethora of asinine TV shows in English and/or Spanish but, me… I am required to go, go, go!!! Do I look like Speedy Gonzalez to you? Don’t answer that…

So as soon as I woke up, I mean got up, at about 10 am or so… I don’t remember. I just know it was still morning. Don’t judge me…. I’m an insomniac and sleeping is a problem for me. My husband started with his usual assholery and yelled something about the clips. “Where are the clips?” he yelled. “What clips? You mean… the clippers?” I replied while trying hard not to call him an illiterate son of a bitch. After all, it is his day, right?! So… I got up and waddled around the house. No, I am not pregnant but, I am somewhat fluffy these days. From room to room to room I went. Dodging dogs, shaking my head at the children that were still sleeping, over/around/up and down through the junk that has taken up permanent residence in my home from lands far and wide. Why was I cursed to marry the Mexican Fred Sanford from ‘Sanford and Son’? Or would that be, Federico Sanford de  ‘Sanford y su Hijo’? *Sigh*

Finally, I remembered where they were last put and handed them to him. All of this, not because he wanted to cut his hair mind you. But because he wanted to shave his beard and apparently shaving it with a razor or 5 was just too much freaking work for him. But, me wandering the streets of Can’t-Find-A-Damn-Thing-Without-My-Help-Ville wasn’t work at all….. *SIGH again*

I made sure at some point to mention, that I would like to go to the store, since it was Father’s Day and we had no gift for him and more importantly we had no damn milk. There is no way I was cooking breakfast on Father’s Day. I mean, hell, you know what I mean… I cook every single day. Why do I have to cook a meal that no one and I do mean no one, in my house even likes to eat? Besides it was starting to heat up in the house because the Midwest is in the center of Hell (hence the name Bible Belt) and we still have no working air conditioner. So I dressed myself, yes I know… woo-hoo Jen has finally learned how to dress herself. Do you guys always have to be so mean??? *Insert evil snort laugh*

My daughter got up and decided she would like to go with me to the store.  Shopping is one of our mother/daughter bonding times. Frankly, I take her along more often than my son because she isn’t the type to whine and throw a fit if I don’t buy her something. Just as we were about to walk out the door, my husband yells out, “You can’t leave. I need to go to Home Depot.” Didn’t I tell him not more than 10 minutes before that I needed to go to the store? *Scrolls up* Yes, yes I did. Welcome to my life people. Isn’t it a hoot?

In the time my husband is gone, I wash the dishes, that he requested I do. “You SHOULD wash the dishes before you leave the house,” he gently told me. Haha who am I kidding, right?! He has never gently told me anything in our nearly 19 years together. But, instead of complaining, I just do those loving things that a doting wife does out of the sheer goodness of her happy and fulfilled heart. *Awwww* Stop it…

My husband though… I mean, you just have to know that this man doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. Holidays, birthdays, Sundays… they are just another day to him. He is the epitome of a workaholic without the skanky secretary and the bank account to make it all worth my err, I mean his while. LOL So, what does my husband do on his day off? The one day where a father is allowed to be a mushy couch potato? The one time where everyone in the house is at his disposal? My genius of a husband chooses to rebuild the patio. Because his paranoia trumps mine by a longshot… “I have to fix this before it falls and the city condemns the house.”

At first, it was supposed to be just the railing because it was at a 45-degree angle and well… that is not what a railing on the second floor above a concrete driveway should be doing. The kids and I had long abandoned going out there because the patio door kept getting stuck on its track and I was terrified it might fall out and break. But, as the day progressed it became more and more things that needed to be done to that patio.

My daughter and I came back home from shopping to find my son sitting in the driveway guarding the wood and tools. My husband was standing on the patio, with the entire railing torn off. I graciously handed him a Monster energy drink and then continued carting bags inside the house.

It was a long day for all of us.  My son helped his dad out on his all day into the night Father’s Day project. Build-A-Dad; blackened by sweat and hard work, barely touched the dinner my daughter and I made for him. My daughter was exhausted from all the things she helped me do that are my daily requirements as housebitch.  *Sorry, I had to get in that last dig before wrapping this up*

And I? Well, I was my usual self. Tired, because being a mom and wife is hard work. Wired, because I have so much more work still left to do. A bit insane after all the “my dad is the greatest” crap I kept seeing over my Facebook feed when I finally had time to sit down and enjoy me time. But most of all I was thankful, because my kids and I have their dad in our life. And unfortunately, that is something many people don’t have. Hope you all had a splendid Father’s Day or just another Sunday in June, if you don’t celebrate.

What Is Really InJensMind?

What is really InJensMind? Absolutely freaking nothing! HA…

I can’t even begin to tell you all how overwhelmed I feel at times. My mind is always racing 100 m.p.h. except for the times when it is up to 200 m.p.h. which is usually when I am trying to sleep. I’ve come to notice something about myself recently and well I can’t help to wonder if it is just me or is there something else. Something… deeper, that is going on.

My brain is fried. You know like the egg in the skillet in the old 80’s anti-drug campaign commercials. You have no idea how much I despise eggs let alone a fried one inside my skull. But, it is true, my memory is kaput. I mean… Sure, I can remember certain things, i.e. my shitty childhood, birthdays, every single inch of every single building/house I have ever stepped foot in. Because who wouldn’t kill to own that delightful and mind-blowing skill!?! Can’t remember where I parked the car but, don’t fret I can envision with exceptional detail, every aisle in the grocery store without stepping foot in it. Humph! But, what I cannot remember is, have I ever told someone this story before? What did I eat for breakfast? Who is that person that keeps messaging me, have we spoken before? Where’d I put my cellphone? When was the last time I took a shower? Did I take my pills today?

I’m seriously surprised I can even finish a post. LOL It’s comical but, still it really isn’t. There are many things that I can’t seem to recall. Tiny inconsequential things but, many things.  An entire lifetime of things. I’m not sure if this is some kind of premature Alzheimer’s, my insulin resistance issue, a brain tumor, caffeine/sugar/carb overload, lack of refreshing sleep at night, being married for nearly 19 years, never leaving my house to socialize with anyone who doesn’t bark or was grown inside of my womb, a freakish Zombie brain eating accident, the lack of mind-blowing sex (oh wait, that wouldn’t be helpful whatsoever… or would it!?!) or just years of blocking out traumatic details to the point I don’t know anything other than my name. And even that is iffy at this moment. What’s my name? No really, what’s my mother****ing name? Sorry, I had a former rapper flashback.

All I know is, this is really beginning to bother me. Maybe, I should see someone about this. In the meantime… can someone give me Dr. Frankenstein’s number? I’m sure he has a few extra brains just lying around unused. Ooo EEEEgor, ver eeee’s meeee brain? Coming Master!!!

A Marital ‘Moment’

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A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

Copyrighted- InJensMind/TerrieB. 12-10-11

A ‘Moment’ Of Your Time Please

Google Image

A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

COPYRIGHTED- InJensMind

Many websites are blacked out today to protest proposed U.S. legislation that threatens internet freedom: the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). From personal blogs to giants like WordPress and Wikipedia, sites all over the web — including this one — are asking you to help stop this dangerous legislation from being passed. Please watch the video below to learn how this legislation will affect internet freedom, then scroll down to take action.

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STOP CENSORSHIP!!!

CLICK THE PHOTO OR THE STOP CENSORSHIP RIBBON IN THE CORNER OF THE BLOG AND TELL CONGRESS YOU DON’T LIKE IT AND WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT!

June 2011-December 2011 in Review

Not too shabby for a 6 month old blog. And a Google PageRank of 3 on top of it. Happy New Year everyone!!! Thanks for the love and let’s have an even bigger year in 2012.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog. 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed over 11,700 times since it began in June 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: My Mammogram and Me

As I sit here in my semi-quiet house freezing my ass off with a furnace that likes to play “No Heat Today” games, I recall my thoughts and feelings from February.

February 6th, 2011 to be precise; and getting the call that my 33-year-old sister is in the hospital with Stage IV Breast Cancer. Fast forward two days to February 8th, 2011 and another phone call, “Your sister is dead.” Those moments were the most horrific moments of my life… that is until October 8th, 2011 when I spotted a massive lump in my breast. The pain was unimaginable; my paranoia was out of control… all I wanted was the pain to go away and for the lump to recede. All I wanted was a mammogram/ultrasound to tell me the lump was not cancerous. I wanted an answer immediately; that is what Emergency Rooms are for, aren’t they?

It was October 9th before I actually saw a doctor, those of you by my side through this whole ordeal you remember that from my earlier post, Breast Cancer Awareness Month: There’s a Lump in my Breast. I spent all day in a hospital bed before actually seeing a breast specialist on the 10th. Starving and thirsty from fasting, just in case there was to be a surgery, paranoid and restless from waiting to be seen, tired, cranky, in pain and tears… It was a day like no other as it was also the day that would have been my grandmother’s 75th birthday if Stomach/Liver Cancer had not taken her from our family 10 years ago. Just another typical day in the life of an atypical girl. 

Luckily, I was released and sent home with antibiotics for the “we think it’s an” infection that I was diagnosed with. My inner cynical bitch cried; “Bullshit! If it’s just an infection where the f@ck is the pus?” Don’t mind her she has driven doctors and nurses to an early grave for a good part of her miserable adult life.

I was released the same day I saw a breast specialist; still don’t know why she is special when all she did was grope the twins but, hey it’s whatever at this point. I went into hiding for over a week, because that is what I do when I am stressed. I make up bullshit reasons about why I can’t come to the door, the phone, the laptop, or my senses and well most of you believe it so thank you all for that. LOL Honestly, I was tired for a good part of the week; any time I am forced to take a prescription, my brain fights back by telling my body to hibernate. It’s perfectly normal…for me!

I managed to scrape my weak body out of bed on Tuesday for a Mammogram at the breast specialist’s office. And after two hours of erect nipples in a cold office building in nothing more than a hospital gown, I am still wondering why she is so special. Let me start off by saying my husband did his part by taking me to the appointment and sitting there patiently waiting for me to be done. I also have to give him credit for not being a man and going all ape-shit over a chick groping my twins err I mean, his twins. Because Lord knows one comment about that and I would have pulled out a tire iron and dumped his bloody ass in the Mississippi faster than you can spell it.

NOTE: I, Jenni being of somewhat sound mind and not quite sound but close body, swear that I was framed if by some cruel joke of Zeus that my husband, Luis ends up in the Mississippi River. In the immortal words of Jake Blues played by John Belushi in Blues Brothers…“Honest… I ran out of gas. I… I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out-of-town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!”

Anyway, I digress. So, at the doctor’s office I waited for my mammogram where they take X-Rayesque pictures of your boobs with a machine that is 1- cold as a meat locker at the North Pole 2- as comfortable as wringing out your hand in an old-fashioned wringer washer (which I have done by the way), and 3- not intended for any woman with a cup size over C. (Which I have been over since 4th grade) If I ever doubted that my gargantuan bust-line needed a reduction, watching the poor nurse juggle my boob with two hands reminded me that I am indeed due for a reduction STAT! If you have never had a mammogram consider yourself lucky and if you have and you thought it was no biggie… please grow bigger boobs and a painful firm lump before getting your next one, thank you.

The nurse took two standard pictures, one the straight forward kind and the second with the machine angled which I imagine with a woman with normal sized breasts is supposed to catch more of a side view. They do this on both breasts for a total of 4 pictures. It is uncomfortable, it is cold, and it is ridiculously hilarious/embarrassing to watch a nurse juggle a boob that is bigger than her whole entire head. I was asked to take a seat while the radiologist checked my “close-ups.” When the nurse came back she asked me to step up to the machine again because well, my boobs are special and need extra pictures. *Wink wink* After the last juggling session, she told me to sit in the waiting room and wait to get another ultrasound done. By this time, more than an hour had passed and another woman was waiting for her turn at the Boob Camera. By the way, I was the youngest woman in the doctor’s office and in the mammogram waiting room. That alone f@cks with your head!

“Ok Jennifer, we are ready for you.” The woman beside me stands up as I go to stand up. Oh flippin great wouldn’t you know it…we’re both Jennifer’s. Stupid 60’s and 70’s. The nurse apologized to me as I told her that I was there waiting on an ultrasound, she assured me that this didn’t usually happen because well seriously what are the chances that two women in the breast lab would be blessed with the same exact first name? As much as I wanted to tell her, “I am more important, bow down to me now peasant!” my sense of humor was missing in action, because I was freaking out about the length of time I had already spent in the clinic.

Before long I was back in the doctor’s office with my husband, awaiting the 5 words that could make or break my life! Fortunately for me my doctor doesn’t like 5 word sentences and told me I’m all clear. I was instructed to come back in 6 months or sooner depending on the breast lump, which they still believe to be an infection…I however, have come to know it as the illegal alien. Because of my family history with cancers I have to get yearly mammograms now, oh yippie how I look forward to the smashing and juggling of my bresteses!!!

So there you have it folks… I am not afflicted with Breast Cancer. I will be around a long time to talk shit and be a general pain in the ass. Yea me! I once again want to thank all of you who sent me prayers, thoughts, and well wishes during my schizophrenic meltdown into the abyss of paranoia and hypochondria. To those of you who wish to offer me a donation for this extremely comedic post just give me the word; I am a paypal account away. *Wink*

Now, it is your turn… self-examine, mammogram ‘em, don’t be a disappointment just make an appointment and always take care of those boobies!

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Oh and don’t forget to get involved and support Breast Cancer Awareness, preferably all year not just this month.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: There’s a Lump in my Breast

I have written and written and written…about Breast Cancer Awareness since losing my sister to it in Feb of this year.

 

I have made it my mission in life to do right by her and all women who get sick with some form of Cancer and make sure people stand up, fight, and take charge of their health.

Now here’s the kick in the ass moment:I am writing this post from a hospital bed. Night before last as I got ready for bed I felt a sharp pain in my right breast. I got up yesterday still hurting and did what all good mommies do; I cleaned my house and spent time with my kids. By the time 4pm or so had rolled around I was in agonizing pain.

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Jen you idiot when people say get involved it doesn’t mean get a damn lump in your own breast!

I laid down on the couch and tears rushed down my face. It wasn’t until my husband came home and I took a shower that I noticed a massive lump, yes I said noticed. It was that big. Now normally people would start looking for a connection… I knew that Breast Cancer causes a lump but, not a painful one and oh my God was this painful. It wasn’t until later in the night when the pain worsened that I begged and pleaded for my husband to take me to the hospital. He was apprehensive about doing it, thinking we should wait until Sunday morning. He told me 100 reasons for why we shouldn’t go tonight. But, I, being the jerk that I am, did as any aggressive and irrational human being does and threatened him. “Take me to the hospital or I will drive myself.” I then told my daughter to get ready. Don’t tell him but, that kind of “do it or else” usually works on him. But, hey I am not an evil person; I am a person who had a sister die 3 days after a Breast Cancer diagnosis. I am the one who wrote countless posts after her death demanding that everyone get a mammogram and self-examine their breasts. Now it was my turn…do or die time… “don’t be a damn hypocrite Jen get to the hospital and get it checked out.”

Obviously, I did; arriving at the hospital at 11 pm last night. I know in my own little world I am a very special person, which is why I fully expected to get an ultrasound and mammogram last night. Yes, they pretty much let me know how it was going to be. Apparently they had no idea who InJensMind is, bummer! Just about 1 am the doctor saw me, commented about my Celtics tattoo because he is from Michigan too and well Pistons fans are still butt hurt about losing to us too many times.

“Shut up I am sick and fully entitled to talk shit, thank you.” LOL

Afterwards, I heard him tell a nurse in the hallway to get bloodwork and hook me up to an I.V. oh yippie. An hour later, right before two more nurses came in to draw more blood, the doctor informed me my white blood cells were high and because they couldn’t get an ultrasound done they had no choice but, to follow protocol and admit me as if I had a breast abscess. They couldn’t promise me whether I would see the breast doctor on Sunday or if I had to wait until Monday. Since I am still here in the hospital you can assume I won’t be seeing her until Monday.

I play strong really well, not one tear fell nor did my voice shake as a million and one thoughts raced through my head. My kids are going to take this the hardest. 13 and 16 years old and have been away from me a total of two weeks ever in their entire lives. I am one of those moms that where I go they go and if someone don’t like it well they can f@ck off. My kids always have and always will be more important than anyone else, hence the reason I am laying in this hospital bed. My sister ran through my head and my mom…oh my dear mom there is no way she will be able to take losing another daughter. I looked over at my husband, the one person who has caused me more stress and tears than any other person on the entire planet and his macho ass was balling; he was trying so hard to not let me see those tears as he quickly wiped them with his hand.

By 3 am, I was finally upstairs in my room. I was instructed to not eat or drink anything in case the doctor wanted to operate. Wasn’t much chance of that happening, seeing as they had given me some painkillers that made my head float away and made my stomach nauseous. Sunday, I slept more than I think I have ever slept in my life. My husband brought my kids to see me, they were little red-eyed angels and smelled so good when they laid down in the hospital bed with me and cuddled. Their voices, that still sound like little 4-year-old voices, were shaky and they were holding back tears. If this had happened over a year ago they would’ve probably been ok with me lying here. But, in Feb. 2010 our dog got sick and we said she was fine; we took her to the pet hospital and didn’t return with her. The kids still don’t know we put her down and she is in an urn in my bedroom. I can’t bear to tell them. Then Feb. of this year the loss of their aunt who was in the hospital 6 days before dying and the effects that had on me. Yea the kids are definitely worried.

So while I was lying here, debating on if I go back to sleep again or get up and write this post, I realized something… Things aren’t as bad as I always manage to imagine them to be. Hold that thought, in case the verdict changes when I actually see the doctor. But, I have been such an ass to my husband for being such an ass to me that now here we are hoping, praying, and crying to please not finally be at our “til death do you part.” The love we both thought the other one had lost was sitting right there waiting for us to remember it.

How quickly a tragedy will unite even the ones you think don’t care anymore. I would have thought divorce would happen before anything like this. I’m not giving up though; I will fight this…whatever IT is. And I will WIN. Because, I may not be Charlie Sheen or have Tiger blood but, I have lioness blood and in my opinion it is way better. Don’t let another second pass, go and tell your loved ones you love them. And for Christ sake err, I mean and For Jens Sake… go to the doctor and get a damn breast exam. Thank you all for your prayers and I will let you all know how I am doing on Monday. Until then, may your dreams always come true and may you never walk through your life alone.

You know the drill by now, click on the side bar button and help give mammograms. Get a badge for your blog and go join the Facebook event.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Men Are Not Immune

As I was searching for ways for my husband and son to support Breast Cancer Awareness, I became annoyed.

I don’t mind that everything Breast Cancer related, is pink. I know that my son and husband don’t mind it either, as I am sure many men don’t. After all, it’s not about the color it’s about the cause! But, what bothered me is how everything is aimed towards women…delicate jewelry, frilly, girly items, and “Fight like a girl” slogans. Where are the “I FIGHT FOR my girl” or “I FIGHT WITH THE GIRLS” slogans?

Yes, it is true, that more women are diagnosed with Breast cancer than men but, tell me why there aren’t any clothing, jewelry, gift baskets, etc… for men? Even if you ignore the fact that men also get Breast Cancer, why are men excluded from supporting their mother’s, sister’s, aunt’s, grandmother’s, or wife’s…in a more manly fashion? There should be more items available to boys and men to not only support the females in their life who are afflicted but, to also support the men who are afflicted every year. A little pink never hurt anyone, but how about some man-sized shirts, necklaces, bracelets…something that says, I wear pink because I love and support this person who is battling this horrendous disease and I don’t have to look like a cross-dresser to do it.

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Now as you may have gathered, For Jens Sake is participating in a month-long Breast Cancer Awareness drive. It is the goal of myself and many other bloggers to not only raise awareness about this disease but, to educate as well.

The biggest misconception is that Breast Cancer is solely a woman’s disease. It is not! Men are not immune. Any person who has studied Biology in school or has had a sexual education class should already know that, both boys and girls have breast tissue.

Where breast cancer begins in men:
Everyone is born with a small amount of breast tissue. Breast tissue is made up of milk-producing glands called lobules, ducts that carry milk to the nipples and fat. Women begin developing more breast tissue during puberty and men do not. Because they are born with a small amount of breast tissue, men can develop breast cancer.

Another reason that Breast Cancer is considered as solely a woman’s disease has to do with statistics. There just aren’t as many male cases as there are female cases. But, that doesn’t mean men can’t get Breast Cancer.

What are the key statistics about breast cancer in men?
The most recent American Cancer Society estimates for male breast cancer in the United States are for 2011:

About 2,140 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men.
About 450 men will die from breast cancer.
Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. The number of breast cancer cases in men relative to the population has been fairly stable over the last 30 years.

The prognosis (outlook) for men with breast cancer was once thought to be worse than that for women, but recent studies have not found this to be true. In fact, men and women with the same stage of breast cancer have a fairly similar outlook for survival.

The signs and symptoms of Breast Cancer are the same in men and women. This is why it is extremely important to do a monthly self exam on yourself and know your body.

Signs and symptoms of male breast cancer can include:

A painless lump or thickening in the breast tissue
Changes to the skin covering your breast, such as dimpling, puckering, redness or scaling
Changes to your nipple, such as redness, scaling or a nipple that turns inward
Discharge from your nipple

If you suspect that something is out of the ordinary; schedule an appointment and have a doctor examine you. Both men and women are examined in the same fashion, to rule out or diagnose Breast Cancer.

Diagnosing male breast cancer:

If breast cancer is suspected, your doctor may conduct a number of diagnostic tests and procedures such as:

Clinical breast exam. During this exam, your doctor uses his or her fingertips to examine your breasts for lumps or other changes. Your doctor assesses how large the lumps are, how they feel, and how close they are to your skin and muscles. Your doctor will also examine the rest of your body for signs that the cancer has spread, such as feeling for an enlarged liver or enlarged lymph nodes.

Mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray of your breast tissue. To assess your breast tissue, your breast will be pressed flat as much as possible. During a mammogram, you stand in front of a machine with your shirt off. Two flat plastic plates come together to compress your breast tissue. A radiology technician takes the X-rays. The compression of the mammogram can be uncomfortable. Ask the technician what to expect and speak up if you’re feeling pain.

Breast ultrasound. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound of your breast to evaluate an abnormality seen on a mammogram or found during a clinical exam. Ultrasound uses sound waves to form images of structures within the body.

Testing nipple discharge for cancer cells. Your doctor may collect nipple discharge if you’re experiencing it. The discharge is then examined using a microscope to look for cancerous cells.

Using a needle to remove cells for testing. A biopsy procedure involves removing a sample of suspicious tissue for laboratory testing. A breast biopsy is commonly done by inserting a needle into the breast lump and drawing cells or tissue from the area. When analyzed in a laboratory, your tissue sample reveals whether you have breast cancer and, if so, what type of breast cancer you have.

If it is determined that you have Breast Cancer the doctor will be able to tell you in what stage your cancer is in and what type of Breast Cancer you have.

Determining the extent of the cancer:
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor will work to determine the extent (stage) of your cancer. Your cancer’s stage helps your doctor determine treatment options. Staging tests include blood tests and imaging tests, such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The stages of male breast cancer are:

Stage I. The tumor is no more than 2 centimeters (cm) in diameter (3/4 inch) and hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage II. The tumor may be up to 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes. Or the tumor may be larger than 5 cm and no cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes.

Stage III. The tumor may be larger than 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and may involve several nearby lymph nodes. Lymph nodes above the collarbone may also contain cancer cells.

Stage IV. Cancer at this stage has spread beyond the breast to distant areas, such as the bone, brain, liver or lungs.


Types of breast cancer diagnosed in men include:

Cancer that begins in the milk ducts. Ductal carcinoma is the most common type of male breast cancer. Nearly all male breast cancers begin in the breast ducts.

Cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands. Lobular carcinoma is rare in men because men have few lobules in their breast tissue.

Cancer that spreads to the nipple. In some cases, breast cancer can form in the breast ducts and spread to the nipple, causing crusty, scaly skin around the nipple. This is called Paget’s disease of the nipple.

Inherited genes that increase breast cancer risk.
Some men inherit mutated genes from their parents that increase the risk of breast cancer. Mutations in one of several genes, especially a gene called BRCA2, put you at greater risk of developing breast and prostate cancers. Usually these genes help prevent cancer by making proteins that keep cells from growing abnormally. But if they have a mutation, the genes aren’t as effective at protecting you from cancer.

Meeting with a genetic counselor and undergoing genetic testing can determine whether you carry gene mutations that increase your risk of breast cancer. Discuss the benefits and risks of genetic testing with your doctor.

Everyone will tell you how important it is to catch cancer early. It is very, very important to catch it early. Therefore you need to self-exam and get regular checkup’s by a medical practitioner.

Let’s end the stereotype that Breast Cancer is a woman’s disease. Breast Cancer is clearly less common in men than in women but, it doesn’t care which sex you are. Men are not immune so please don’t be bashful, get yourself checked and don’t become a victim to Breast Cancer.

Don’t forget to get involved, support Breast Cancer Awareness and education. Because cancer doesn’t affect one it affects all!

For Jens Sake and Blognostics Joining Forces For Pinktober

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Anger

Faith, Hope, Love, and Awareness

What Breast Cancer Awareness Means to Me

The Pink Ribbon Challenge

Breast Cancer Awareness Pinktober

Pinktober Is Amongst Us

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Anger

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month as many of you know. Before I even get into this post I want to say thank you to everyone who has taken part in the Breast Cancer Awareness movement this month. So many of you have truly shown your support and respect for me, by placing my BCA (Breast Cancer Awareness) post button on your blogs. A few of you have shown me remarkable love by changing your Facebook avatar to the picture I made for my sister. I am honored to call you all friends!!!

 

I fully intended to write a post yesterday, the first day of October, about my sister’s Breast Cancer story. I wrote and wrote, and the words poured from my soul as they always do in my writing. But, as I was writing there came a moment when the pain took over my fingers and by the time I had realized I was over 1000 words. I stopped and reread the last couple of paragraphs… I can’t post that agony here, because…

Not only is my heart aching for the loss of my sister but, I am still angry. I am angry at a God who claims to love his children but, allows their lives to be Hell. I am angry at doctors who didn’t catch the cancer in time for my sister to be able to fight it. I am angry at family members who instead of pulling us together in our darkest hour, decided instead to tear us apart further. I am angry at myself for not being there with her…for not taking our conversations more seriously…for not having money to pay for an autopsy… for not being able to fight cancer for her…and most of all for thinking that some people who are Breast Cancer survivors and battling it, are still taking their lives for granted. In a nutshell, I AM ANGRY!!!

Click on the image to read My Sister's Keeper

My sister was 33 years old when Breast Cancer took her life, 3 days after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. She’s dead now, do you comprehend that? She is DEAD! She had no chance to fight, no chance at all. I don’t blame anyone for that, it happened for a reason. I am still wondering the exact reason but, it was for a reason. Cancer has affected me… it has taken from me…it has changed me, and I am NOT even the one who was diagnosed.

But, is it not true, that a cancer diagnosis affects more people than just the one who has the cancer? It should but, in most cases it doesn’t. I can tell you this in all honesty, with every bit of my soul showing, that many people on this planet are too self-absorbed to realize; that it is affecting them whether they have a personal relationship with someone who has cancer or not. They fail to realize that if they don’t stand up, unite, and fight with those who are fighting right now…there won’t be anyone fighting for them when their time comes. And believe me when I say, it is much closer than you can fathom.

I don’t expect sympathy for my sister’s untimely death. I expect unity to battle a disease that is devastating our families, our friends, our planet. I don’t want to be known as a hero because I survived my sister’s death to Breast Cancer and wrote a few paragraphs about it. I want to be remembered for my small place among a large group of heroes who fought against this horrific disease. I don’t ever again want to feel like I did when Breast Cancer took my sister’s life. I never again want to tell someone I love; be it family or friend, that I am sorry you have cancer.

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I am pushing this Breast Cancer Awareness movement because the fact of the matter is, nobody is untouched by it. If you think you are, wake up, because you are dreaming. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who has cancer in one of its many hideous forms or another. You, reading this post, are 1 degree separated from Breast Cancer, Leukemia, Throat Cancer, Stomach Cancer, and Pancreas Cancer; because I have lost family to all of those cancers. Just knowing me through this blog post right here, makes you that much closer to the effects of these despicable diseases. That tear that slid down your cheek as you read my anguish, were the effects of cancer, my dearest reader!

Now that you realize how close cancer is to you… what are you going to do about it?

Please get involved! Support cancer awareness in the form of donations; by donating directly or buying products that give. Support sites and organizations that focus on helping Cancer victims and their families. Support it by wearing the cancer colors, i.e. pink for Breast Cancer. Support it by searching on Facebook for the different cancers and liking the pages. Support it by joining in on events such as the Breast Cancer Awareness challenge event that I have going on this month. Support organizations that specialize in awareness, early detection and free cancer screenings. And most importantly support it by getting yourself checked often (men too, you are not immune) and spreading the word to everyone that Cancer is trying to kill us all.

Don’t let it!!! Stand up, unite, and do something about it!

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Before you leave here today, please click on the Breast Cancer Site button in my sidebar and give a woman the gift of a free mammogram.

 

Note: Throughout this post are many links, ones that lead to sites to support and several that will take you to my blog posts about my sister and Breast Cancer. Please find time to check them out and comment. Thank you.

For Jens Sake and Blognostics Joining Forces For Pinktober

As most of you should know by now, October (Pinktober) is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

I support it every year and this year it holds even more significance than it did in previous years.

In February of this year, my younger sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer and three days later she died. So of course that makes me more active in Breast Cancer Awareness, not just because I have lost my sister to it but, because I truly understand how the unthinkable can hit and penetrate your seemingly perfect life. After her death and I could finally face the world again, I started connecting with Breast Cancer battler’s (this just means that they are still battling this heinous disease.) and survivors.

My heart goes out to every one of them even though my sister never even had a chance to battle the beast. I have set up a challenge on Facebook as an event and would greatly appreciate if you would join and pass it on. If I have learned anything in this past few months is that life is more precious than you could ever possibly imagine.

Facebook Events Basics:

I would like all of you who join the event to have something pink visible on your person all month-long in October. The details are on the event so please check that out and join in on spreading more awareness for this horrific disease. Thank you.

Now for the exciting blogger’s news:

I was asked to be a Breast Cancer Awareness Spokeswoman for Blognostics, this site is a new site and was created by bloggers for bloggers. They will be running a contest for Breast Cancer Awareness that will begin on Oct. 1 and go through Oct.31, 2011.

Blognostics Contest Details:

Tell a story about how Breast Cancer has affected you and/or the person diagnosed, also how it has changed your life and/or theirs for better or worse. The story can be your own personal story, a friend, or a family member. It does have to be someone who you know personally, even if it’s just someone you know from a social network. But, they do have to be someone you have personal contact with.

Blognostics will also be asking for donations in the amounts of $1, $5, $10 or more to be donated to the organization that the 1st place winner chooses out of the four that Blognostics has available. Consider the donation to be not only useful for the organization and the people they help but, also a small contest entry fee. Donate what you can!

This contest is open to all bloggers. The only thing that you have to do is be a member of Blognostics, and to be a member you must have a blog. If you would like to take part please go to the site and make your account.

Here is what you will be doing:

-If your blog is a writing one than you will write a story, fiction not accepted (sorry but we want real life stories only), about the person that you have chosen. Tell us their/your story of being afflicted with Breast Cancer and how it has changed them and/or you.

-If you are a poet you can write a poem about the person you have chosen.

-If you are a photographer you can tell the story with photos. Use a photo of the person and whatever other photos you feel tell the story of how their having Breast Cancer affected you. You can write a story as well but, your main goal is to tell it with photos.

-If you are an artist who draws or paints, you will be submitting your original work of art that is either the person themselves or your interpretation of Breast Cancer. Please write something about the art piece so we can understand fully the meaning of it.

Please Include:

All contest entries should include the date when the person was diagnosed, how they battled it, if they are still battling or are now in remission, how many times they have battled it, any organization that they went through for help, and if they died, (R.I.P.) the day their suffering ended.

Prizes:

Blognostics is offering 3 prizes; 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place. All which include small ad space for a month on their site. 1st place winners will receive the honor of choosing the Breast Cancer organization that will receive the donations and their name will also be on the check that is presented with all of the donations raised. 1st place winners will also receive a small banner on the Blognostics site to place their ad for one month.
All entries must be in by October 31, 2011 before midnight in your time zone. Blognostics will choose and notify the winners during the first week of November.

So what are you waiting for? Go sign up on Blogsnostics if you aren’t already a member and let’s raise awareness for Breast Cancer. Don’t forget to join the Facebook event as well. If you have any questions please ask me or the Blognostics team. Thank you and good luck.

 

YouTube Tuesday

YouTube Tuesday, adopted from Josh at Its Tiger Time, is a day set aside for sharing your favorite video.

Feel free to join in each week and see how creative we bloggers can be. Each month, Josh will highlight a selected video and present the winner with the ‘YouTube Tuesday’ Award.
If you participate, remember to leave your YouTube Tuesday link at Its Tiger Time as well as all the blogs you visit.

I know it’s been weeks since I have done YouTube Tuesday. But, I am back in full effect this week! I am pumped and calling out to all my fellow BlockHeads. Break out your New Kids on the Block memorabilia and tell me who’s yours and My Favorite Girl

Now throw your hands in the air and wave ’em like you just don’t care and if you are a fan of Donnie D somebody say Oh Yeah!!!

Now somebody,anybody, EVERYBODY scream…

My Favorite Girl- New Kids on The Block


My favorite girl, oh, she’s my favorite girl, don’t you know,
my favorite girl, oh, she’s my favorite girl.

You walked into my life, your love was so new,
and nothing will ever change my feelings for you,
well, you were so far away, now I am close to you, girl,
so let us run away, our heart that’s waiting will stay.

My favorite…

There’s so much I like in you I can’t go on,
I wanted a girl like you I’ve looked so long,
girl, nothing will make us wrong, I know our love is too strong,
let’s leave the rest behind, our dreams ask what we will find.

My favorite…
My favorite…
[Rap:] She’s my favorite girl, the one I’m always thinking of, that one.
[Rap:] My favorite girl, the one I love.

My favorite… [repeat & fade ad lib]

Champagne For Everyone! Jen’s Writing Is A Year Old

Cheers! Sláinte! Prost! Prosit! ¡Salud! Santé! Saúde

It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since I began writing on a blog. My life, my thoughts, my fears out there…in the open for all to see.

Those of you who had followed me from Blogspot to WordPress might know that For Jens Sake has only been up for 3 months. Raps and Poems and Books, Oh My was my first and the poems I wrote on that blog (which can be found here) is what has me celebrating my 1st year blogoversary. Woohoo!

I decided to celebrate this festive occasion by taking all of you through my year; through every up and down, win and lose, tears and smiles. What an exciting year it has been, not a single moment of it has been dull. Some of you may already know that I started out writing with poetry. It was all poetry all the time, like the Cartoon Network, only… poetic.

A couple of months went by and I decided I wanted to try writing as a career. Unfortunately, poets aren’t in high demand right now in any field. That’s a shame really because I think that music (of any genre) could be several times greater if the song writers took it back to good ol honest poetic lyrics and flow. Someone get Diddy on the phone I have an idea for a new reality show…Making the Poet!

Me, Myself and I, was born because I needed a résumé of written articles. It kind of felt like high school all over again, being forced into something, that is. But, what does one write about when they want to become a writer? News…ick, no thanks. It’s depressing and causes people to run out, buy guns and ammo and board themselves up inside their homes while they drink beer and wait for the zombie apocalypse to happen. News was most definitely not me.

Then I thought…celebrity gossip. Ah, the old let’s talk about other people’s business (which clearly has nothing to do with us) and never once find out if what we are writing is true or not. Nope… gossip definitely was not me either. What’s left? Opinionated ramblings? Ding ding ding…we have a winner. Hey…I ramble and I am opinionated. Oh my God, it’s as if that was made just for me.

I worked hard daily, on both blogs. I would take turns… poetry one day, opinions the next. Back and forth, establishing a following of loyal readers and 0 comments. Oh yea, I was getting famous. LOL But, you know, it didn’t matter because I was saying what I wanted to say and that was good enough for me.

I finally decided to look for poetry contests and joined a few sites. Out of all of them, Allpoetry was the best. I started making a few friends there by joining groups. I entered a few contests, won a few trophies, and then got seriously fed up with the site. Why? Because newcomers were outsiders. The site was one huge clique after another and they were adamant about their poetry being better than anything “a noob” could write. But, that is a post for another time.

So back I went and focused completely on my two blogs. I learned how to autoshare my posts on other networks; thank you Networked Blogs. Doing that left more time for me to write, instead of running to a bunch of sites and posting links. The creator of that app is my idol.

I signed up with Odesk and began building my official résumé. I have not had a résumé in my entire life, so making one was most definitely exciting. It was also very frustrating, trying to remember dates and addresses and names of companies from over 18 years ago. Some of them are long gone, so even if I said I worked there and I did, where’s the proof…

Before I knew it 5 months had passed and it was already February. My heart jumped out of my chest as I listened to a voicemail I had received. I called my mom and the world went silent… “Your sister is in the hospital with Stage 4 Breast Cancer.” Tears streamed down my eyes… as they are doing now because it still hurts. My baby sister lying in a hospital bed… liquid in her lungs and around her heart…lesions on her liver… cancer. CUCK FANCER!!!I called her every day. A lot of people get cancer and they have plenty of time for their families to come to grips with it. I was worried out of my mind even though I knew from experience; it wasn’t over until it’s over.

R.I.P. Baby Sister

3 days later I get a call late in the evening. My baby sister had died while the doctor was draining liquid from around her heart for the third time in 6 days. She laid in that bed 6 days, sick. And I had 2 days to tell her everything she should know before she is gone out of my life forever and I said… nothing. Absolutely, the worst part of this entire year were those 3 days.

I didn’t write for weeks, I tried and tried and tried to put up something, anything. All I wanted to do was curse God, curse the world and lay in a ball in my bed and cry until my eyes dried up forever. And that is exactly what I did! When I finally sat down again and wrote, it was all about Jess and pain. At that moment, I gave up any hopes or dreams I had of being a writer. I just had to let the feelings out and I didn’t care if anyone read it or understood. I didn’t care if anyone agreed with me. I no longer needed anyone in my life except my two children, who watched me struggle to hide my tears and depressed bloodshot eyes. I died with Jess that day!!! (R.I.P. May 13, 1977- February 8, 2011)

Then something unexpected happened… I met someone (Sweepy Jean) who added me to a group that led me to fellow bloggers/writers/poets, which in turn led me to more and more blogging groups. Finally, I could connect with people who were somewhat like me. I had also applied to be a writer for a website. Imagine my surprise when I got an email welcoming me to the site as a writer. Wow, little ol me, still choking on the pain and tears from my sister’s death was now a writer for Technorati. So, I wrote for them. I wrote 4 articles in March and two of them were about Breast Cancer and my sister. If I were to agonize over losing Jess than the world could too.

A few months later, I was applying to become a contributor for Yahoo Associated Content and what do you know…I was accepted there as well. As my tears had flown heavy over my loss they had also motivated me to find the perfect place to become published. I am waiting on the final approval of my third article on Yahoo as I write this.

As all of this was happening; I evolved. I made new friends, lost old ones, and gained a new respect and love for who I am. I made the big switch from Blogspot to WordPress in June, deleting the old blogs and continuing to write poetry and my opinions on the new one, and most of all… I continued to be seen throughout the world-wide web for my writing. Then came offers to guest post; truly a great honor for me.

Out of nowhere, I wrote the poem that put me on the fast track to the stars…I Have Lived Life. It has been published on Yahoo, won the month of August poetry contest, is semi-finalist in an international poetry contest, is scheduled to be published in a poetry book in November of this year. All of a sudden, I realized that I had done exactly what I set out to do…touch someone’s life with meaningful and honest words. I had already arrived at the place I aimed to be.

Much to my surprise, a day came when I received an email that Google was interested in interviewing me. Unfortunately, I had to turn it down. Not because I wouldn’t love that opportunity but, my laptop had died and along with it my Skype and webcam. Besides, I had no cover letter even written yet, which is now on my to-do list. I don’t fret over it because I don’t see it as a missed opportunity but, as the beginning of many more to come.

The next goal was to continue to climb and become a better person and a better writer, so I applied to the St. Louis Writers Guild (SLWG). Hello, my name is Jen and I am a member of the SLWG. Woohoo…

In closing: I have been setting aside the negativity, allowing myself to grow and thrive, and have started to learn that; the people who should be at your side during your finest moments…well, they won’t be. But, it’s ok because as the seasons change, so do people. I have changed and that probably has scared many of the people I use to know or rather, who use to know me.

Losing someone close to you changes you; for better or for worse but, it does change you. I will mourn my sister’s death until I am ready to let her go but, I will also keep moving forward in my writing. I feel her hands guiding mine to the keyboard as she whispers into my head… “You were meant to tell the world. This is your calling,it’s what you were born to do. Take ahold of it with both hands and lead it where it should go. If you write it, they will read. If you speak it, they will listen. If you live it, they will follow!”

And when my final day on this planet arrives; I won’t be wishing for the ones that had left, to be at my side. I will be content, knowing that the ones who were always meant to be there will be with me from the beginning until that last gasp of air has escaped my lungs.

I have lived life and this past year was only the beginning…

Handwriting is not my forte anymore and on a cake it's even worse. LOL

I Have Lived Life

I have shed blood, sweat,immeasurable tears
Stared bluntly in the face of my greatest fears

I have had good thoughts and some insane
Some brought me great pleasure, some brought me great pain

I have been free and trapped in a cage
Been bursting with love and insufferable rage

I have known death and I have known birth
Seen Heaven and Hell in my life on this Earth

I have been lost and also been found
Been lifted up high and kicked down to the ground

I have turned hate to love and love into hate
Done magnificent things, a few not-so great

I have several friends, enemies too
Some of them old and some of them new

I have spoken with ink, lips and heart
Written and read inspirational art

I have lived life as well as I could
Some parts might have been bad but, most parts were good

I will rise up each time that I fall
For life is worth living so I give it my all

Nostalgic Moments

It was a sunset like any other; reds, yellows and pinks splattered across the horizon.

But, as soon as the moon came into view, you knew this was not going to be just another ordinary night. It was full and round, like a woman’s belly in her last week of pregnancy after leaving a buffet.

Mortals fear full moons, they fear the creatures that hunt during that time of the month… the werewolves. Mortals don’t understand, they are unaware of the unbridled passion that dwells inside the heart of a werewolf. They have never seen the kind of passion that can only be shown to one lucky victim once in a lifetime. They had never been bitten!

It was September 16, 1994; I had just gotten off of work. My stomach rumbled as I got in my mother’s car, I was starving. It was already dark outside and the full moon hung high in the desert sky above Las Vegas. I didn’t fear the full moon. My Zodiac sign is Cancer, which is ruled by the moon. That alone had always led me to gaze continuously upon its luminous beauty night after night, until I would finally doze off to sleep just before sunrise.

I was lost in thought, gazing at the fullness of the moon, when mom pulled into a drive-thru of some burger joint. “Jen, what do you want?” she asked. Breaking my intense gaze from the moon I turned to her and said, “A burger and fries is fine.” Before I could return to my pensive moon studying she handed me a sack and a drink and we were on our way home.

The enticing scent of the food I was holding, sent my stomach into a tizzy. But, my willpower was strong and we made it to the apartment complex before I sat down on the stairs and tore into the sack like a ravenous beast. “Are you coming inside?” she inquired. “Not yet.” I replied my mouth full, as she climbed the stairs and disappeared inside.

I was just about done eating when I noticed the shadow of a man walking towards me in the dark. He was carrying a bag; I wondered what was in it, as it was quite noticeably a big bag with what appeared to be few items in it. Before I could ask, the man passed by me and walked to the garbage containers in the parking lot and threw it in.

I returned to my late night dinner unaware that the man had stopped just a few feet in front of me. “Do you…” I raised my head listening intently to what the man was about to ask. “Do you have a light?” he asked meekly. Reaching into my pocket I pulled out my lighter and handed it to him. He introduced himself as Luis and I replied, “Nice to meet you, Luis. I’m Jenni.”

He stood there for what felt like ages telling me about himself; I listened carefully but, his English was broken. Then he said something that got my undivided attention… “I turn into werewolf.” He said smiling, pointing at the full moon. Laughing I said, “How interesting!” The conversation lulled. “Well it’s late; I need to go inside now. It was nice talking to you.” I said as I stood up and shook his hand. He smiled and I watched him disappear into a dark apartment a few feet away. I smiled as I walked up the stairs and entered my apartment. I laid there in bed for hours, staring at the full moon and remembering all the man had said. “What an enchanting thing to say…werewolf.” I thought.

As it turns out I wasn’t the only ravenous beast prowling about that night… two days later; I became the man’s girlfriend, eventually his wife, and then the mother of his children. Every month for the last 17 years, when the full moon is upon us; I smile, heartbeat erratic, my eyes fixated on the moon, and my ears listen attentively for the eager hungry howl of my werewolf.

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This is my Nostalgic Moment that I have shared on Art of Sharing blog. The blog is doing a Nostalgic Moments Blogfest from Sept.7- Sept. 24. Write your moment and share it on the site.

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake Day 8

Today’s Daily Challenge Thursday Sep. 08, 2011

Emotional Health
EVERYDAY WELL-BEING

Find out 1 new piece of information about someone you have a close relationship with.

How to do it
It’s easy to think that we know everything about the people in our lives. But we don’t. Today, find out one new piece of information about a family member, co-worker, or friend. If you’ve known this person for a while, it may take time to think of something you don’t know. But don’t let him or her off the hook! What is your child’s favorite letter? What book is your friend currently reading? Who taught your spouse how to ride a bike? What was your co-worker’s first job? Be a detective and ask the questions!

Why it matters
By asking someone in your life about his or her interests, dreams, and memories, it will help strengthen your relationship. Not only are you demonstrating that you care, but you are more likely to share information about yourself. What book are you reading? Who taught you to ride a bike? This connection and sharing of personal experiences creates trust and helps to maintain healthy relationships.

Fun Fact
Twenty Questions, a game in which one person has 20 chances to find out the answer, began in the United States. It was most popular in the late 1940s, when it was part of a weekly radio program.

So to do today’s challenge I asked my friends on Facebook to tell me something about themselves that I didn’t know. I think this was a great idea. I might have to try this once a month or something to get to know more about my friends.

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake Day 7

I wanted to get this Daily Challenge up early enough so that you all had a chance to make time to play with your kids today. I play tag or hide-n-seek in my house with the kids all the time. Since I homeschool it helps us get in exercise when we can’t go outside. I am probably one of the only moms on the planet who encourages my kids to run in the house at times. That is because I am running in the house too, I am no hypocrite. HAHA. So, get out there today and play.

Today’s Daily Challenge Wednesday Sep. 07, 2011

Healthy Behaviors

EVERYDAY WELL-BEING
Play a game of tag.

How to do it
Invite your friends or kids to join you in a game of tag. Take turns being “it” and chasing each other around the yard or playground. If there’s no one around to play tag with, turn on your favorite music and shimmy around the room for 5 to 10 minutes.

Why it matters
Fitness games like tag are part of an active lifestyle. While you’re racing around the yard, you’re also burning calories. To keep from being tagged, you’ll have to make rapid changes in pace and direction, which engages different muscle groups and enhances balance. You’ll be so busy laughing that it won’t feel like exercise at all.

Fun Fact
In Romania, tag is called “leapsa,” and in parts of Greece it’s called “kynigito.”

Ok, It’s your turn. Join in on the Daily Challenge; Facebook it, Blog it, Live it, Love it!!!

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake Day 5

Day 5 is already upon us in the Daily Challenge. Since I am a writer, the writing challenges are not challenging for me. What I have noticed though, is there is already a pattern of repetition going on here… Two days writing, two days stretching yet it is only Day 5 since I have joined. The challenge will be, if they don’t give me something else to try, that I may not want to continue. Not because I don’t like the site. On the contrary, I love the site. It gives me something positive to wake up to and keeps me in that mindset all day. But, I don’t want to subject you, my dear readers, to the monotony.

Today’s Daily Challenge Monday Sep. 05, 2011

Emotional Health

EVERYDAY WELL-BEING
Write for 5 minutes about 1 thing that’s stressing you, so you can think about it more clearly.
How to do it
Take five minutes to write down something that’s stressing you out and why it’s stressing you out. Use the “hot pen” method: Write everything you can think of about your problem and don’t lift the pen from the paper until the five minutes are up. (You can type instead if you want – just make sure to get all of your thoughts out.) When you finish, take a few slow breaths, and then read what you wrote.

Why it matters
Multiple studies have shown that writing about a stressful situation lowers stress and improves mental clarity in dealing with the problem. When something is making us anxious, we can get stuck in a cycle of repetitive thinking that is unproductive and actually stresses us out even more. Writing can break that cycle by giving you something to do, by allowing you to vent and get your problem out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Once there, you may be able to deal with it more objectively and with a bit more clarity.

Fun Fact
In the 1960s, a company spent over one million dollars developing a ball point pen that astronauts could use in the zero-gravity conditions of space.

 

I do have a few stressful things that I am working out and a few that have already worked themselves out. But, I will not be publicly placing my 5 minute written out thoughts on here. Some aspects of this writers life are just not meant for the public eye.

This is a great exercise and I have used it for writing poetry to find a topic to speak about. My poetry class homework that required this, was actually the first time I have ever done the “hot pen” method. To be quite honest, my blog posts have already been doing this. No sugar-coating… just straight from the heart, mind and soul. The only difference is I edit it after I am done, so it becomes legible to all of you.

I can see how this challenge can be used to identify all of your stressful thoughts or emotions. Maybe you will discover something that wasn’t nagging your conscience mind but, was hidden a bit deeper. Lord knows, those deeper hidden thought sometimes have the biggest effect on our moods and the way we conduct ourselves throughout the day.

Ok, It’s your turn. Join in on the Daily Challenge; Facebook it, Blog it, Live it, Love it!!!

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake Day 4

Today’s Daily Challenge Sunday Sep. 04, 2011

Healthy Behaviors

EVERYDAY WELL-BEING
Stand, inhale deeply, and raise your arms up to the sky; exhale, lower them, and repeat 2 times.

How to do it
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides. As you start inhaling, raise your arms straight out from your sides and up above your head, with your palms facing each other. Imagine yourself getting taller! Exhale as you slowly drop your arms back down to your sides. Repeat two more times, inhaling deeply and exhaling fully as you do.

Why it matters
Stretching your arms above your head while breathing deeply is often part of a warm up in aerobics classes because it starts preparing the body for activity by increasing blood flow and heart rate. It also serves as a cool down to slow your heart rate back down before you stop moving. And since this move increases the amount of oxygen in your body, it’s a perfect perk-up activity you can do anytime!

Fun Fact
Dr. Kenneth Cooper is credited for coining the word “aerobics” to describe certain types of exercise that increase respiration and circulation. In 1968, his first book, simply titled “Aerobics,” became a worldwide bestseller.

While you are doing this stretch you should do the neck roll from the Day 2 Challenge. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting up periodically while you are working online. These challenges have been wonderful for me, at least the stretching anyways, because I get so busy writing and catching up with family and friends I don’t think about the strain I am putting on myself. Soon as I go to bed though I feel the pain from sitting too long.

Even though I get up and do other things while I am online, I still forget to do some stretches to relieve the tension. Lord knows staring at a computer screen not only strains your neck, back and shoulders it also strains your eyes.

So get up… stretch, do the neck roll, and incorporate a few toe touches. Then stand back up, close your eyes and focus on your breathing; imagine all the stress and pain flowing out of your body with every exhale. You will feel so much better afterwards and it will also give your eyes some time to readjust and de-stress. I would suggest doing this once every hour. Now let’s hope I remember to do it all day everyday as well. Here’s to one more day of being healthier!

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It’s your turn. Join in on the Daily Challenge; Facebook it, Blog it, Live it, Love it!!!

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake Day 3

Daily Challenge Day 3… The hardest challenge that ever was! The sun is disappearing as the sky has gone black. The Apocalypse has arrived and it’s in the form of a daily challenge. *SHRIEKS* “The end of the world is coming, the end of the world is comingggg.”

Today’s Daily Challenge Saturday Sep. 03, 2011

Emotional Health

EVERYDAY WELL-BEING
Donate or throw away 1 pair of old shoes or boots that you no longer wear.

How to do it
Find the oldest, most outdated, clunkiest pair of shoes in your closet. You know, the ones with an inch of dust on them. Put them on. Walk around the house in them. If you’re still unsure whether you should get rid of them, snap a photo of your feet and send it to a friend. Have her give you three reasons to get rid of them. Then put them in your donation bag (or toss if damaged).

Why it matters
Closet real estate is king, and way too valuable to have it taken up by shoes that we no longer wear. By ridding your closet of old, unused shoes, you will have the room to be better organized. This will facilitate wearing what you have, taking better care of it and getting dressed faster, thus eliminating the mad dash for the door every morning. And you will never again be frustrated by not being able to find a pair of shoes that you just KNOW are in there.

Fun Fact
A shoe by any other name… Zapata (Spanish), Chaussure (French), Schuhe (German), Pantofi (Romanian), Schoen (Dutch), Scarpa (Italian)

When I read this challenge I began to panic and scream… “NOOOOOOO, not my shoes!!!” Vomiting soon ensued as I sat holding my stomach. I was ill! OMG, the horror, the utter nerve… This challenge should be deemed illegal. Call 911, call the CIA, someone get GOD on the phone right NOW…I want to add a commandment; Thou shall not EVER make a woman get rid of her shoes!!! This is unjust, this is unfair, this is highway robbery and I will NOT stand for it…

Everyone knows women love their shoes. There is a void deep inside the center of our very soul that can only be filled with shoes. I have accumulated too many shoes to count let alone to wear but, it is my God given right as an American citizen to have them, dammit… Do you hear me? MY RIGHT to have a cluttered chaos of chic shoes! I am no Carrie Bradshaw but, this is just not right.

As a child I had 3 pair of shoes. Not because we were poor but, because I grew up in a 3rd world trailer under the tyranny of dictators. I had a dress pair of shoes for those times I was forced to go to church with my grandparents. Or for when I had to dress up for Choir. Or whatever other thing I had to do that required me looking like a girl. Phooey!!! Most of the time those dress shoes were penny loafers. I was an 80’s kid stuck in the goodwill shopping lane.

My second pair of shoes… sneakers, usually Converse or Chuck Taylors. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s they were the only shoe made in America. Dad was strict about his buy only American-made products policy. There was no name-brand designer anything in our home or on our bodies. And God forbid we bought something with our own hard earned money because to the trash it would go. Damn, tyrants!!
Then along came NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) and last I saw his household wore Reebok. Guess our years of sticking it to the man and only buying what was made in our country wasn’t enough to stop NAFTA from happening. Good luck finding anything made in the USA now. Hypocrites!!

My third pair of shoes were Converse as well. They were gym shoes for school and when summer came they would become my new everyday pair. I spent most of my childhood barefoot though until I was older and started working and practicing softball and basketball all the time. Oh and lest I forget the dreaded huge moon boots I was forced to wear during the winter because we lived up in NeverStopsSnowingVille!!! It was called Fairview or UpNorth to the city-slicker Michaganders, because it was the northern part of the Lower Peninsula. Yeeehawwww I tell you. YEEEEFRICKINHAW!!! Anyway, back to my shoe challenge.

So as soon as I escaped “Little Germany” and got married, I began my shoe collecting. Awww, shoes. So calming, so refreshing, so soothing to my inner demon that just happens to have 6 feet…which is why I need more shoes than I can possibly wear. LOL

I began with my slippers basket. This way I could work my way up to shoes and if all else fails I can “fib” and say I did it because slippers are kind of like shoes, right? I dumped my basket on the floor and stared. A single tear dropped my eye as I picked up slipper after slipper and made that life changing decision to toss or keep. Out of 10 pairs, I kept 2. The rest I tossed, they were old, tattered and torn, a few broken… just like my heart. I cannot do this… Lord give me strength!

35 pairs of flip-flops, 20 tossed… HELP ME!! Next, 60 pairs of high heels, sneakers and boots, 1 pair tossed. Sorry but, I cannot throw away those. I did throw away a pair of Skechers that I bought when I lived in Chicago right before I moved out here. That was approximately 8 years ago so I can let those ones go.

Phew… I am not as stressed now, could be because I didn’t get rid of anything still in top condition. I can tell you this though, my shoes are now back to organized status. My closet on the other hand is still in need of a makeover but, two baskets of shoes are no longer in there, so it’s a start. So what are YOU waiting for??
It’s your turn. Join in on the Daily Challenge; Facebook it, Blog it, Live it, Love it!!!

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake

Today is Day 2 of the daily challenge. We writers sit so long at our computers, typing out our masterpieces. The longer we sit and stare at a computer screen the more our bodies become stressed and tired. This is an excellent exercise to do to help relieve the tension in our neck, shoulders and backs.

If you would like to take part click the link and let’s connect. The more the merrier, I say. We can keep each other motivated. Let’s go!!!

Today’s Daily Challenge Friday Sep. 02, 2011

Healthy Behaviors

EVERYDAY WELL-BEING
Give your neck an assisted side stretch for 10 seconds on each side.
How to do it
Stand and flex your left arm down by your side with your wrist pulled up, as if you are pushing on a flat surface. Tilt your head to the right, reach over to the left side of your head with your right hand, and gently push down. Make sure to keep your left shoulder down and away from your ear. You should feel a nice stretch, but no pain. Hold for 10 seconds, then do the same sequence on the other side.

Why it matters
If you stand for long periods or spend most of your time at a desk, it’s likely that your neck needs some TLC. This stretch can prevent injuries and help relieve pain, stiffness, and soreness. Another bonus? It can help you de-stress.

Fun Fact
The thick muscle on either side of your neck used to bend your head forward and tilt side to side is called the sternocleidomastoid (stur-noh-klahy-duh-MAS-toid).

Ok, it’s your turn. Join in on the Daily Challenge; Facebook it, Blog it, Live it, Love it!!!

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake

I have just signed up on a daily challenge site. It is very easy to sign-up, you just use your Facebook account. I read about this on Lifehacker and decided to check it out. So far I like what I see. Then again it is only Day 1.

I will be setting this up as a month of September blog challenge, so not only will I have to keep on the ball on Facebook but, also on For Jens Sake. If you would like to take part click the link and let’s connect. The more the merrier, I say. We can keep each other motivated. Let’s go!!!

Today’s Daily Challenge Thursday Sep. 01, 2011
Emotional Health
EVERYDAY WELL-BEING
Identify a problem that has been worrying you, then write it down and brainstorm 2 solutions.
How to do it
Write down one problem or issue that you are concerned about. Spend a few moments thinking of two solutions, and then write the solutions next to the problem. If there is one solution that seems stronger, circle it and think about how to implement it.

Why it matters
When we’re really worried about an issue, it’s easy to spend time over-thinking it. With too much thinking and too little action, people become stressed about a problem. Taking the action to brainstorm solutions and select one to potentially put into action lessens some of the stress created by the problem.

Fun Fact
The song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1988. It was the first a capella song to do so.

My Problem:
Money… (Isn’t that everyone’s problem these days? It’s my daughter’s Sweet 16 this year and she didn’t get a Quincenera last year so this year is the big celebration. Also major holidays are almost upon us and as always we have no money saved for gifts.)

-____-

Solution 1:
Win the poetry contest and get that $1000. (Ok, not technically a solution although, it would solve the problem. LOL Sorry, I cannot be serious 100% of the time.)

Solution 2:
Stop worrying about it… because every year we make out just fine when the holidays come.

I choose solution 2! You see… don’t be so serious and let worry consume you because in the end things have a way of working themselves out. If you don’t believe me see Why It Matters above!!!

Ok, it’s your turn. Join in on the Daily Challenge; Facebook it, Blog it, Live it, Love it!!!

Sunday’s Question Segment

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I am starting a new Sunday ritual on my blog. I think it would be fun to have my readers send in questions that you would like answered.

It will be like a Dear Abby column,only InJensMind style, so please send me a question.

You can do this via Facebook, G+, Twitter, a comment on this post, or email… it can be private or public, you can choose to be anonymous if you want, it can be true, made-up, or something you saw or heard someone say… Anything goes! Please make sure when you send in your question that you sign the bottom of it with the name you want to appear on the post.

To start it off, here is the first question.

“For Jens Sake, I have a question. As I was sitting in church listening to today’s sermon I tweeted Pastor Bob’s words to my followers. The words were so uplifting to me that I had to pass them on. Is it wrong of me to share the good Lord’s message on Twitter while church is in session?”
                                         -Tweeting For God

Dear Tweeting For God,
I can appreciate how much you want to help your followers by passing on a positive message. However, I don’t know if God or Pastor Bob will welcome what it is you are trying to do. There is etiquette that you must follow while using your cellphone in public places. Tweeting, texting or the use of any social network is not something that should be done in church. Yes, we are in a technological age but, it is disrespectful to not give your full attention to the pastor. If you are afraid that you may forget what was said and you feel it is imperative to share; write it down and spread the message after you leave God’s house.

                                            -InJensMind

Thank you for joining For Jens Sake and the new Sunday segment. Don’t forget to send in your questions each week by Saturday 11:59 pm Central time. You can find me on several social networks just look under the tab marked Find Me On or you can email me at injensmind@gmail.com Make sure you sign your question the way you want your name to appear in the post. Tune in every Sunday for new questions.

YouTube Tuesday

YouTube Tuesday, adopted from Josh at Its Tiger Time, is a day set aside for sharing your favorite video.

Feel free to join in each week and see how creative we bloggers can be. Each month, Josh will highlight a selected video and present the winner with the ‘YouTube Tuesday’ Award.
If you participate, remember to leave your YouTube Tuesday link at Its Tiger Time as well as all the blogs you visit.

If I Were a Rich Man- Topol
From the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ 1971

SPOKEN: Dear God, you made many, many poor people. I realize, of course, that
it’s no great shame to be poor… but it’s no great honor, either. So what would have
been the difference if I had… a small fortune?

If I were a rich man,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum
All day long I’d biddy-biddy-bum
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum
If I were a biddy-biddy rich,
Daidle deedle daidle daidle man.

I’d build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen
Right in the middle of the town,
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

I’d fill my yard with chicks and turkeys and geese
And ducks for the town to see and hear,
Squawking just as noisily as they can,
And each loud “pa-pa-geeee! pa-pa-gaack! pa-pa-geeee! pa-pa-gaack!”
Would land like a trumpet on the ear,
As if to say, “Here lives a wealthy man.”
Oy!

If I were a rich man,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum
All day long I’d biddy-biddy-bum
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum
If I were a biddy-biddy rich,
Daidle deedle daidle daidle man.

I see my wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man’s wife,
With a proper double chin,
Supervising meals to her heart’s delight.
I see her putting on airs and strutting like a peacock,
Oy! What a happy mood she’s in,
Screaming at the servants day and night.

The most important men in town will come to fawn on me–
They will ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise–
“If you please, Reb Tevye?”–
“Pardon me, Reb Tevye?”–
Posing problems that would cross a rabbi’s eyes–
(chanting) Ya va voy, ya va voy voy vum…
And it won’t make one bit of difference
If I answer right or wrong–
When you’re rich, they think you really know.

If I were rich, I’d have the time that I lack
To sit in the synagogue and pray,
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall,
And I’d discuss the learned books with the holy men
Seven hours every day–
That would be the sweetest thing of all…
Oy!

If I were a rich man,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum
All day long I’d biddy-biddy-bum
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum
Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am–
Would it spoil some vast, eternal plan,
If I were a wealthy man