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Monday, October 31, 2011

How a Heart Breaks

Do you know why they call it ‘heartbreak?’

Let me tell you why.

Because the moment love flees, your heart would harden.  Your chest tightens, until it is difficult to breathe.  Your lungs would then frantically grasp for air, your veins would start to clench, and for a moment it would feel as if you’ve lost your senses.

A few seconds of numbness.

Then if you listen closely, you would hear that first snap.  And feel something close to a kick in the gut.  Pain flows through your blood, its heat rises to the surface, singeing your skin, making you cringe.  Already bruised and battered, the heart knows it doesn’t stand a chance.  The strain has finally exceeded its strength.  With a roar only you could hear, your heart starts to break, piece by piece, into fragments of unrecognizable shards.  

Just when you think it’s over, another fissure splits open.  As it burst into splinters, the pain is fresh each time.  Waves of nausea would assault your insides, your mouth would taste the bitter taste of bile, and tears would pour out from your eyes.

Just as quickly as it hits you, those feelings would disappear.  Their presence is replaced by quiet emptiness that is deceitful in its stillness.  Because as soon as the pain subsides, another piece of your heart would break, and then the whole cycle would begin again.

Until there is nothing left but broken-off scraps... that one day would be all blown away by time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

To All My Blogging Friends

Some of you might have already known about my marital struggles, particularly in the last six months.  However, just like most things in life, there comes a time when you have to make a decision.  It was not a decision that was easy to make, but I believed it was for the best, given what has happened despite efforts from both sides in the last few months.  I have decided to separate from my husband.

To consciously end a twelve year-relationship with someone you love is painful, and to me it feels like a certain death.  For this reason, I hope you would understand that for the next few days (or weeks) I might not be able to blog as I normally would.  Writing has been cathartic to me, and the love and support that I've received from all my friends here in the blogging world have carried me a long way in giving me the much-needed strength and convictions.  But as of right now, I am finding it difficult to write about anything really.

Please know that your friendships mean so much to me, and that it is my sincere hope that you all would still be here when I return.  I'm very much aware that in blogging, you have to give as much as you take.  I apologize beforehand if for the time being I am unable to 'give' as much as I 'take.'  Rest assured, I have not, and will not forget all my blogging friends during my hiatus.

If I may, I'd like to ask you to leave me a note, anything... here in the comments form.  I may or may not reply, I don't know, but for sure I will read it and it will mean SO much to me.  It doesn't matter if you've already commented before, please feel free to come back and leave me a message to let me know that I have not lost your friendship.  Even if it's just to say the same thing all over again.  Know that your words give me the comfort and strength that I very much need to get through this difficult time.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Playing Dress Up

This week's RemembeRed prompt: With Halloween approaching, many of us are revisiting fond memories of trick-or-treating, favorite candy, and parties. For Tuesday, reach back to a costume that made an impression. Was it yours? A friend’s? Maybe it was a costume you never got to wear. Show it to us with your words, draw us into the emotions it evoked at the time.  Word limit is 400.

One minute we were Sweaty, Lips, and Mouthy; the next, we were Queen of Hearts, Pink Pirate, and Red Riding Hood.  Bought just days earlier, the costumes were corny, not to mention a little slutty.   Compliments of last minute shopping for the Halloween.

"I can't believe I'm wearing this sh*t," Mouthy said as she tied the cherry-red cape around her neck.

Lips had just finished wriggling her legs into a pair of black tights.  “Whew,” she puffed.  She took one look at Mouthy and burst out laughing.

"What?" Mouthy demanded.

"What’s a Playboy sign doin’ on your cape?" Lips chuckled.

"What the f*ck?!?  Did you see this?!?" Mouthy pointed to the small white bunny emblem on her cape that we didn't notice before.

We looked like a couple of boffos.  Hands still shaking from mirth, I attempted to draw a perfect heart shape on my lips with a bright red lip liner.

"Dang, my armpits are sweating.  Where’s the deodorant?" Lips took off her velvet pirate coat.  It was bubblegum pink with gold trimmings and white lace on the collar and sleeves.  A criss-cross of gold ribbons decorated the front.

"Mouthy, your boobs are about to pop out of your corseted top. How do you manage to make every outfit look x-rated?" Lips chuckled.

"Shut up, Lips," Mouthy replied then looked at herself in the mirror.  "Sheeeeit, we look like skanks.  Sweaty, I'm SO blaming you for making us do this!"

We howled again.

"Come on, it's fun... Besides, I'm wearing this... um, milkmaid slash Queen of Hearts costume ain’t I?  You’re not the only ones who’re embarrassing yourselves," I giggled.

Two black arches now covered my natural eyebrows.  The same shade of deep sky blue as my dress rimmed my eyes.  I’ve drawn lines below my eyes, the same way circus clowns did theirs, to resemble eyelashes.  At the corner of my left eye were two black tears, shaped like upside-down hearts.

"How do I look?" Mouthy asked.

Her short dress, white covered with red lace, resembled a piece of lingerie more than a Halloween costume.  The white legging she wore toned it down a bit, but she still looked like Hugh Hefner's version of Red Riding Hood.

Lips grabbed the camera as Mouthy pretended to curtsy.  They took turns posing in front of the camera.

"Sweaty, you done yet? Get your butt over here!!" Mouthy yelled.

Adjusting my wig to fit more securely on my head, I paused to savor the moment.  I heard the clicking of the camera accompanied by flash lights.  Lips and Mouthy chortling like a couple of school kids high on sugar.  I was happy.

"Coming!" I answered.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Me, Interrupted (Being Enough Me)

Shortly after I gave birth to my daughter, I was diagnosed with Postpartum Psychosis.  I was prescribed a high dosage of Zoloft and Xanax, which helped tremendously.  

Initially, the intention was to wean me off the medications once my condition improved.  Combined with regular visits to my psychiatrist, the dosage was slowly reduced, with the hope that one day I was able to function without them.  

Today, almost seven years after my daughter was born, I still have to take Zoloft and Xanax.  It seemed likely that I would have to take them for the rest of my life, although in lower dosages than in the beginning.  The few times that the doctor tried to lower the dosages past a certain amount, I had difficulties controlling my depression and anxiety.  My obsessive compulsive tendency would be more pronounced, and I would worry endlessly and had panic attacks.

About five years ago, I started to have a serious problem with insomnia.  I wasn't able to sleep even when I was physically and mentally exhausted.  There were days when I would sleep for a total of one or two hours only.  It got so bad that my psychiatrist prescribed me Stillnox to help me sleep.  However, it turned out to be ineffective on me, so I had to take Seroquel instead.  Seroquel is a strong anti-psychotic, often used as a sedative for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

It was difficult to explain how disheartening it felt every time the doctor had to increase the dosage or add another medication to what I had been taking.  I felt hopeless, powerless, and impotent.  It felt like doom and condemnation.  It made me feel like I was a lesser human being than the rest; one that was incapable of living and functioning without the aid of those medications.

Without going too much into the specifics of why or which events triggered a relapse or necessitated an increase in dosage/types of medications, it was always devastating to learn that I was in fact dependent on those medications in order to function normally.  There was no way around it.  Moreover, living with those medications meant living with their side-effects too.  A fact that until now, many of those around me overlooked, even when they knew that I was taking medications.  

Especially for those, who like me, have been taking medications for long periods of time, the side-effects have become such a part of life that often times, even the people around us had such a hard time differentiating which one was the real us vs. the us influenced by the side-effects of these medications.  For example, sluggishness, increased appetite, tiredness, tremors, decreased sexual desires, all of which I have experienced.  Because I have been taking those medications for years, the above side-effects were now perceived as part of my personality not only by those around me, but also by myself sometimes.  They have affected my life as a whole--in the courses of action and decisions I took, in how I reacted to others.

At times when I took the time to pause and contemplate however, I realized that the real me (without the meds) and the one with the medications, may not be the same.  

Knowing that I must take those medications for the rest of my life, however, meant I have to accept this 'new' version of me--the good and the bad.  And to be at peace with the high probability that 'it' was here to stay.  I have to stop resenting the fact that I wasn't able to get off these medications; instead, I should try to make the best out of the situation.  I must focus on the positive things that's in my life now: that I can function normally as opposed to being clinically depressed and highly anxious at all times.  I must come into terms with those side-effects being a part of the real me without losing sight of who I was before the medications.

Sounds complicated?  That's because it IS.  I'm aware that it would not be an easy task.  It would involve not only accepting who I am as a person, but also as a person who needs to take medications for the rest of my life.  Who has to deal with the consequences of taking those medications.  To accept that as long as the good outweighs the bad, I should be thankful and move forward.  To not judge myself too harshly when I felt that I was behaving under the influence of the medications.  To not feel like a failure for having to take medications in order to function normally.  I know that it will not be an easy ride; there will be bumps along the way.  There would be struggles, internally with myself and externally with others, especially those who are closest to me.

But let this awareness be a start.  The acceptance be the next step.  Balance being the ultimate goal.  And right now?  To just be enough.

I AM enough.     

Friday, October 21, 2011

TOY, My Love

This week’s Red Writing Hood prompt:  Compose a post in the form of a text–160 characters.  Your text must elicit or express fear.

Just in case you're not familiar with text message shorthands:
  • F2F: Face to face
  • TOY: Thinking of you

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Most Likely To... Play With Fire (Part 5)

This is part 5 of a series of posts titled Most Likely To....  They are my life stories.  You can read the complete story here:
  • Most Likely To... (part 1) here,
  • Most Likely To... Marry a Rich Guy (part 2) here,
  • Most Likely To... Have Friends in High Places (part 3) here.  
  • Most Likely To... Fall Head Over Heels (Part 4) here .

The rest of that summer passed by slowly.  Between trying to avoid meeting Ash and nursing a broken heart, I couldn't wait for school to start in September.  I still hang out with Leigh a lot, but mostly at her house, trying not to be too obvious about my sudden aversion to Ash.

Things started to look up a bit when she decided to no longer have a crush on Ash's brother.  You see, with Leigh, she could switch guys and transfer her affections like an on/off button.  I wished I could do the same--it certainly would make life so much easier.  But I did enjoy living vicariously through Leigh, me just sitting on the sidelines while watching her flirt with different guys.  I admitted it could get really awkward at times, what with Leigh making me tagged along like a third wheel when she's on different dates.  Poor blokes.  You should see the 'surprised, tinged with disappointment' look they all had the moment they realized there would be three of us instead of just the two of them.  Sorry boys, you're not gettin' any tonight, that's for sure.

It did have its perks though.  I got to observe different types of guys from where I was sitting on the sidelines.  You do have to kiss a LOT of frogs before you find your prince--at least that's what happened in Leigh's case.   Most were just plain pathetic; those ones we would men-bash and laughed at as soon as they dropped us on Leigh's doorstep at the end of the night.  Some we would disagree on; mostly me begging Leigh not to break the guy's heart.  We did meet some weirdo ones too, like that guy who thought it was a good idea to tell Leigh that there were girls guys bring home to introduce to their mamas (that being Leigh), and then there were girls guys just wanted to f*ck and be done with (for some reason he used me as an example).  I didn't have to be Einstein to figure out I wasn't going to ever see him again after that.

Living in a town where everybody most likely knew everybody else, we would frequently run into my older cousins, all of whom knew Leigh as well.  I remembered one particular night, when Leigh and I met one of my cousins in a bar.  The same bar where I was with Ash that last time.  Naturally I wasn't in the best mood, still being a sour grape and half resenting Leigh for dragging me there.  My cousin introduced me to a friend of hers, maybe out of pity because at the time he was looking kinda bored, being one of the first in his group to arrive.

His name was Leathan.  I remembered the name clearly because it was an unusual name.  And also because when I shook his hand, Leathan didn't even look at me.  His eyes were somewhere else, as if searching for something or someone who wasn't there.  He also had this scowl on his face.  What a pompous ass, I thought to myself.  And just when I thought the night couldn't possibly get any worse!

By the time school started in September, I was actually looking forward to be back at the boarding house, away from home and everything that reminded me of Ash that summer.  I thought I could trick my mind into believing he never existed once I was back in school.  Different town, different crowd.  But I found myself comparing every boy in and out of school to him, finding them lacking this and that, but basically just because they weren't him.  My mind oscillated between hating him and missing him so much.

I just got back from the shower one Saturday morning when the phone rang.  Annoyed that I hadn't had a chance to dry my hair yet, with water still dripping from my wet hair, I half-yelled my hello into the receiver.  There was a pause on the other end, and then the person said, "Hi."

The moment I heard that voice, I knew.  It was Ash.

I remembered the awkwardness at the beginning.  I wasn't exactly friendly, suddenly remembering again what happened the last time we met.   And yet the joy of hearing his voice again, when I had given up hope of ever hearing from him, was too much for me to contain.

It was a conversation that lasted for over two-and-a-half hours.  We took turns asking questions, joking and laughing in between, subtly letting the other know how we each felt without saying the actual words.  Almost as if there were no tomorrow, we were desperately trying to know about each other as much as possible.

He didn’t mention anything about his girlfriend, and I didn’t ask.

Thoughtful Thursday and Other Thursday Hops

Link Up With Us Every Thursday on 
It's So Easy:  
  1. Follow the hosts: Look who Found the Marbles, Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Rock and Drool.  
  2. Link up your favorite post from the past week and check out some of the other great sites in the linky.
  3. That’s all there is to it!
Hosted by Look Who Found the Marbles , Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Rock and Drool

Also linking up with:
Hosted by Obviously MARvelous and SmookieStyle

Hosted by hosted by Rondi from WAHM Resource Site and Crystal from My Life as Mom and Wife.  This weeks guest host for the #3 spot is The Mommy Diaries!

An Evening with Katy

Katy Perry Concert 
October 14th, 2011
The O2 Arena, London
The queue waiting for the doors at the O2 Arena to open at 6:30pm

Just a cool lamp I saw at O2.

Waiting for Katy to appear.

15000 people!

Finally the show began at 9 pm.

Those swirls on her dress actually rotated!

The famous "Peacock."

Spectacular show, Katy!

Linking up with:
Live and Love...Out Loudparenting BY dummiesPhotobucketbabybabylemon

Monday, October 17, 2011

On Worrying: a Guest-Post by Katie of Chicken Noodle Gravy

My guest today is a dear friend of mine, Katie, who is visiting over from her awesome blog, Chicken Noodle Gravy. She is a talented, yet very humble, writer, who often doesn’t realize how authentic and profound her posts are! 
In a post where she explained the origin of her blog name, Katie described herself as “simple, old-fashioned, and cheers you up when you're feeling low,” just like her favorite dish: chicken noodle gravy.  I found myself agreeing with her, especially that last part, because really, Katie is such a sweetheart!  She is kind, supportive, and always let me know in her own way that she's there if I ever need a listening ear.

A food aficionado, she likes to cook and would gladly share her experience in trying to cook the 'perfect' meal.  She wrote about her successful (and failed) attempts in her posts such as Katie's Easy Peasy Mac-n-Cheesy and A Whole Mess of Greens.

Me being severely cooking-challenged, has found one recipe of hers that was truly captivating: the recipe that she put on her blog header:
I part goofy to
II part weird
a cup full of happy
a pinch of sarcasm
plenty of opinions
a dash of southern
mix well and serve with
laughter and wine.
Have I mentioned that Katie is a remarkable writer? :)  THAT recipe was what first drew me in when I came across her blog.  Surely someone who could conceive such a recipe would be nothing short of creative, not afraid to make fun of herself, not to mention well-versed.  And she has not disappointed me!  Katie's every bit of those and more!  Some of my favorite posts of hers:
To my delight, Katie has agreed to write a guest-post for Do Sweat the Small Stuff and she is here with us today!  Yay!  I'm ecstatic to be able to share this wonderful gem of a blogger with my readers as well as those who are already her loyal followers.  To Katie, thank you so much for writing this post for ol' Sweaty's blog.  I am very lucky to have you hosting here today, and please know that the pleasure's been all mine.  Take it away, Katie!
 On Worrying
by Katie of Chicken Noodle Gravy

The wildebeest stampede always caught the attention of my diabetic cat.  I would be watching The Lion King for the hundredth time in one day, and it would never fail that she’d stop whatever she was doing (usually either licking her butt or sleeping) and give the scene her full attention.  It was probably all the movement on the screen that caught her eye, but I like to think that she understood the significance of what was happening.

As I was watching The Lion King last night with my two-year old nephew and his entourage (Nana B, Papa, and Nonny), I couldn’t help but remember Kidden when the wildebeest stampede started.  I’m pretty sure that’s why I teared up…it certainly couldn’t be due to the fact that I still get all choked up when Mufasa dies despite the fact that I’ve seen the movie hundreds of times.  Nope, that couldn’t be it at all.

Nevertheless, after this famous stampede scene comes one of my favorite scenes of the movie: the introduction of Timon and Pumbaa and of their Hakuna Matata philosophy, which is where our real story begins.  When trying to think of something to write for a guest post for one of my favorite bloggers, Ms. Sweaty, I struggled.  I wanted to write on a topic that would be interesting and relatable, something that would do Sweaty proud.

The inspiration wasn’t quick in coming, and after staring at the title of Sweaty’s blog for a little bit and upon re-watching The Lion King, I began to worry.  And for once, worrying did me some good.  It gave me the idea for a topic.  Finally.

You see, unlike Timon and Pumbaa (like how I came full circle there?), I’ve long been a worry wart.  I worry over big things, over small things, over insignificant things.  I worry about things that could happen, that probably will never happen, and things that do happen.  You might say I’m a champion worrier, but I’m not quite as skillful a worrier as I once was.

As a teenager, I worried so much that I could barely sleep.  Even as a college student, I did a lion’s share of thinking and dreading and dwelling.  Honestly, I just had a hard time turning off my brain.  Zoning out wasn’t really possible for me, because my mind would be constantly playing out different scenarios and situations.  Sure, it meant that I was a conscientious and caring person, but it also meant that I was a pretty miserable person.  I longed to be impulsive and carefree.  To make decisions that wouldn’t send my neurotic mind into overdrive.  To not give a crap of what others thought of me.

I wish I could tell you that I’ve made that transformation now, that I’ve left all my worrying behind me, but I can’t.  I’m 28 years old and still a card carrying worry wart.  I’m worrying right now about how we’re going to get my husband through school and about my next public speaking stint at work and about what I’m going to cook for dinner tonight.  But despite the fact that I still do worry a little a lot, I have gotten a little better.

I don’t dwell and over-analyze quite as much as I used to, and that’s thanks to, in part, some wise words from my father.  One day we were discussing my worrying ways, and he said something to me that’s stuck.  And I’ve decided to share it with you, in case any of you guys are worriers like me.

He told me to visualize myself standing at the bottom of a hill.  At the top of the hill is a person pushing tires down towards me.  The tires represent my worries.  As the tires begin rolling down the hill, most of them roll off to the side…avoiding me completely.  He said that worries are a lot like those tires, most of what I worry about is never going to hit me, most of what I worry about will never even come to fruition.

For me, it was a comforting thought.

So yeah, I still worry.  A lot.  Far more than my fair share I’m sure.  But now, when I feel overwhelmed with stress and worry, I just imagine myself at the bottom of that hill, and somehow, I feel better.

Not quite Hakuna Matata, but I’ll take it anyway.

Pfft!  You've got nothing to worry about there, Katie!  (Teehee, being a master worrier myself, I think I can definitely use the advice that Katie's father gave her).

If you haven't followed her already, I really encourage you to do so.  You can find Katie:
At her blog: Chicken Noodle Gravy
On twitter: @chicknoodlegrav

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We Heart London (Part 1)

Here are some pictures we took while in London...

We woke up every morning to this...
Miss Chatterbox sittin' pretty at Helene Darroze, the Connaught Hotel.
Miss Chatterbox did 'incognito' very well
It's butter!!!  The server slicing some salted and unsalted butter for every table.
Apparently Miss Chatterbox was fascinated by the butter.
Salted and Unsalted Butter
Foie-Gras and Truffle Emulsion
Can't beat THAT table manner!
Chocolate Ganache--OMG this was so yummy!
Lemon Pannacotta
Miss Chatterbox and Sweaty: Ladies Who Lunched! LOL
Miss Chatterbox at Hamley's Toy Store

Shopping for candies...

I want candy!!!

A cup bowl of cappuccino at Harrod's

Map of Harrods - we could really get lost in there

Our hotel, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

London Eye and House of Parliament
By the River Thames
London Eye and Tower of London Pier

Navy War Ship at the Thames

Oo warning!  Why did this remind me of a certain someone? ;)
I think Mr. LA would fit here nicely, don't cha think? lol

Tower of London
The Queen's Robe-Maker at Saville Row

Saville Row, famous for its tailors.
Miss Chatterbox knackered... at the end of the day