TV set sitting on a street
Life Experiences

What On Earth is the Matter With Me?

WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH ME?

Many years ago I would start reading a book and not enjoy it. However, I had to finish it just to see. See what? No answer. By the same token, I would watch a film or DVD which bored or depressed me to tears. I had to watch it until the end. In 1981 this all changed.

From somewhere in my depths, I entered a powerful time in my life. On our approaching Silver wedding anniversary, my first husband asked what I would want as a gift. What? He wants to give me something, rather than one of his travelling lady friends? I really didn’t even give it a thought and to this day I have no idea from whence it came, but my voice said, “A divorce please”. Whew! I don’t know who that person was, but I am grateful for that voice. I learned it is much easier for a man to ask for a divorce than a woman; that ego was hurt toward violence! Don’t worry, it didn’t come to that. Just threats.

I left and moved to my little Abington house, which I wish I still had, went back to school, worked full time and achieved goals I never expected. The greatest gift was NO MORE CRAP! It took a while, but driving down to Philadelphia at night to take classes increased my independence. I had been working off-campus for Marywood University and received my Master’s from there. Anyway, the Degrees are history and not important. I have my Ph.D., which means Piled Higher and Deeper, for all the good it did. Some very funny stories about that later on another blog.

The, the miracle happened. I didn’t finish books I thought were not worth my time, I turned off the television show that was rubbish, and the DVDs were returned. I was free and very proud of myself I must say. I didn’t stop there. If a friend called and asked if I wanted to go to dinner and I wanted to, the answer was yes, but what was more important for me at the time was that when I was asked where I wanted to go, I had an answer. Can you FRIGGIN’ BELIEVE IT? I chose the place. You don’t know how critical that was. Before that time my response was more likely to be, “Well, I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me. Where do you want to go?”

That would go on for an hour or so, especially if I were talking to a friend with the same challenge. I think it is called indecision or more to the point, what I want isn’t as important as what you want. Talk about low self esteem. I simply couldn’t do anything that the other person didn’t want to do. Now today, if you want me, here are the choices. Breathe!

Political parties aside, this election has taken its toll and exhausted most people. It has been vitriolic, venomous, spiteful and scary. A few of my much loved Republican friends, on seeing who is being appointed to prestigious positions, regret their vote. That’s a waste of time, as it is too late and of course I had suggestions on how they could help.

Some people have suggested that my little cat Della, who was so sick for a few days, caught it from my stress. Well, what about that? I didn’t argue and have noticed since I have shed that stress, she is back to being her frisky self. Stress is the number one killer in this country, so I want no more of it.

I worked with some wonderful people today at Gilda’s Club in Warminster. (It’s probably Warrington as I can’t tell the difference). The subject was “Laughing when nothing seems funny”. It’s one of my favorite workshops. The conversation included stressful situations and they expressed their concerns at the current political climate. We talked about breathing correctly and learning to live in the moment. Thousands of people have written about this, saying that we can do nothing about yesterday, nor tomorrow, and that’s why we call it the “present”, since it is a gift. Now, I am the first to admit that is easier said than done, but when one considers The Serenity Prayer, it is purely logic. Simply put, if you can do something about it, do it and if not, let it go. The shorter approach, that is also acceptable, is to just screw it. One fragile lady in her easy chair provided us with another descriptive word, and then said she didn’t give one of those if people didn’t like it. She was the least likeliest person one would expect to hear that expletive. I can get away with it, as people think I sound like the Queen and don’t even know I’m cursing. Such fun! This is all toward serenity and self care.

So why the title of this blog? I HAVE SLIPPED. I don’t know if it is stress or I am spending too much time alone with my own brain, which is not a good idea. I advanced to not watching the television, never watching the news, cancelling the newspaper and stopping complaints from people who knew what to do about their situation and continually moaned and groaned. They are entitled to do both those things in their own time, in their own space, not on the end of my phone after having called to ask me how I am!

In view of this, for my entertainment I went to my favorite library in Upper Dublin and selected some DVDs that would engross me. Most of them were Brit stuff as I do get very homesick from time to time. I have Netflix too so there is a great selection. I often wonder why I have cable since I rarely watch it and even less so over the past few weeks. I love mysteries. In my various professions, I don’t often know the outcome of patients’ lives because when they begin to improve their circumstances they usually move on. That’s alright with me. I don’t hold onto my patients forever. It isn’t healthy to do so. With mysteries and detective stories, the main characters usually get their man or woman so I can smile and be happy. I get closure. There’s no such thing in the real world, although those who are afraid of emotions throw that word around as if it were a basketball, always dodging.

There is an older series called Dr. Finlay, which is a production set in 1950 after the war, while still rationing. There are so many dialects, but I think the setting is in Scotland. I know someone will correct me if I err on the side of my questionable memory.

I remember the fifties well. This was when family practice doctors made home visits, which still happen in the UK. I watched the first two episodes and then became so disconsolate at the others with their people, pre-national health service and got thoroughly depressed at the last. However, I watched most of them and couldn’t take it anymore. It took me eight discs to get to the end. However, I told myself that I was really all right and this was just a onetime hazard. Who knows? I am not well obviously and was constantly hearing inside my brain, “Well why not Your Majesty?”

Misery loves company. I was reminded of the very few men in my life and after breaking up with them, heading for the nearest diner for a cuppa tea and playing the most ghastly, heart-rending songs I could find on the juke box. I’d cry in my tea and then realized that they weren’t worth it. My older son used to tease me when I liked a song with a line that went, “I can’t live without you.” He just couldn’t accept that I would like something so daft. Aha! Another awakening. So I put on something bright, trying not to dance around the diner. I am an extremist. Did I mention that?

Every so often I take a break from crime – the DVDs, not mine, although I have been somewhat pushed with choices over the past few weeks. I’ll get a classic Masterpiece Theatre, or a Shakespeare presentation, or G.B.Shaw as examples. This time, being a Jane Austen fan, I chose Emma. I think I must have seen all the DVDS of her books and am still in love with my favorite Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth….swoon, faint, drool. I couldn’t find any of the others, so Emma it was.

Now, here is the beginning of the slip. I own most of these DVDs myself, but they are better from the library (such nonsense). Emma is by far my least favorite. To be honest, I’d like to grab her ears and slap her face. Is that calming? She is a controlling, nasty, nosy woman who likes to make decisions for other people’s lives. Now picture this. I do not like Emma. This production was the worst I have ever seen. The over acting, dramatic, screechy voices were mind blowing. I have to read the book again as I am sure there wasn’t so much garbage in the original. I’ll have to ask my granddaughter Courtney, who is an expert, but I could swear they made some of it up. Now, here’s the kicker. I spent a vast majority of the viewing process screaming, “Shut up you idiot. Her father drove me nuts. He was a hypochondriac. (I was raised by one and have no patience at all). I yelled on many occasions, “You ridiculous old fart, shut the hell up”.

Mr. Kneightly was the only actor that was credible; in fact I liked him. (I know, sometimes it is spelled Kneightly and other times it is spelled Knightly). I give that information, as you can see I am in no mood to be corrected. He is not Colin Firth but then who is? Emma herself was so snotty I felt a box of tissues wouldn’t be enough she has so much snobbish mucus. Yech. Her ‘project’, Harriet Smith, was so smarmy and smilingly feeble, who said, “Yes Miss Woodhouse” about a thousand times, so that I shouted, “You pathetic twerp. (In English it means a pregnant fish). You give women a bad name. Don’t you have a brain you nitwit?” (I work with abused people – I think I’m really slipping). This rubbish is on FIVE, I repeat 5 discs and had I not lost my sanity, I would have returned them all after the first five minutes. I didn’t. It was the same old story…….come on Yvonne, it can’t be that bad. It will probably get better. IT FRIGGIN’ DIDN’T. So I watched. I managed to get to disc four, which was deteriorating rapidly. Masochism didn’t even describe it. Fortunately I had work to do so I was able to leave it be. I had more DVDs, which were definitely more agreeable than this, so I planned this evening to withdraw from Jane Austen and switch to an academic lecture series. Am I into self punishment or what? Why don’t I just watch the Comedy Channel!

It isn’t just Emma. I have been berating the television for some weeks. I find it irritating when I watch some presenters giving their opinions with which I do not agree. It is my belief that everybody should have a platform to speak their truth. I really miss mine. I had it for eighteen years on WWDB in Philadelphia. That ended in 2000 when it changed to rock ‘ roll. Then it went downhill and is now an AM station. I phoned them once and said I’d like to return to the radio and they said they would welcome me back at $1000 an hour. I thought, great. That’s a lot more than I was paid before and then I realized they said I would have to pay them $1000 an hour. How times change.

I turn on my computer and there are the Kardashians. Abso-friggin’-lutely I cannot repeat the word on this blog. I open a magazine and there they are again. I even looked to do a crossword, and it was about Kim Kardashian. What is the obsession people have with this family? My friend from Canada writes and asks, who are the Kardashians and what are they famous for? Where to start? I don’t. I just say – you don’t want to know. She tells me she does so I suggest she Google them and they would put her mind at rest.

Am I just airing my lungs? When I am really fuming, I resort to English swearwords and that gives me great satisfaction. There don’t seem to be as many as in the States and even they aren’t enough for me. I’ve decided, as I mentioned once before, to create my own dictionary. Any suggestions would be welcome but you are all so nice, I doubt I’ll get any response except from Wendy Lavin. We plan to get together soon, to Brit curse!!!!

So confession time is over…………..well almost. I felt such relief that I had re-entered recovery from watching ridiculous stuff. Then I went back to the living room to find that the fifth disc was in the DVD player. Again I thought, the ending can’t be that bad so I watched it. Is there any hope for me? The father was in it a lot, which he wasn’t in any production I have seen, so I had my day………”You bloody git (Brit for idiot) and silly bugger, which I will not explain as it is gross! Be kind to me. Remember, I have my challenges and I will be very careful which DVDs I choose in future.

I feel better after confession.

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