Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Dangers Behind WiFi

About four years ago when my wife and I moved into our condo which was located in a very populated area, we thought one thing: convenience. We loved the fact that we could grab something down the street, or in case of an emergency like a snowstorm, we were easily accessible. That really made me sleep better at night, but then again, Madelene and I both found that we had a lot of problems sleeping. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Our condo was really cozy and we had everything we needed. We weren’t in a bad section and we felt very safe. So why weren’t we both sleeping well? I went on the internet and Googled topics about insomnia. We all know stress is a contributor - who doesn’t have stress? This was different though. I could be at my most relaxed state of mind, yet my eyes wouldn’t seem to close. Then I came across a news article that explained how cell phones contribute to sleep disturbance, if left on your nightstand. So, I began to turn my cell phone off at night. It seemed to help a bit, but then the insomnia kicked in again.

Later on, when we moved into our new location which basically has a population of ten people in the neighborhood, I realized I slept better. I slept the whole night through without waking up. Madelene did too. We immediately thought it was because of the street noise that kept us up at night in the other place, but as I’m finding out, wifi connections have a lot to do with sleep disturbances among other health factors. Think about this... We lived in a building that had more than fifty people living there. The next building over and the one across the street had about the same amount too. There were many buildings surrounding us. All had one thing in common: wifi connections. When I glided my cursor over to the airport section of my desktop, it told me how many people were using wifi at that time. There was a slew of people - countless. When I moved into our new location, there was only me on the list. I realized that my lack of sleep was due to the amount of wifi connections. It really makes you think how much wifi can affect us. Now the news is reporting that if a laptop is on a man’s lap or even a smart phone, the radiation can damage their sperm count.

In an article in Extreme Tech, it states, “In a control test — with the sperm kept away from WiFi emissions, but at the same under-laptop temperature — 14% of the sperm died within four hours, and 3% showed DNA damage. When placed underneath a laptop for four hours, 25% of the sperm died and 9% showed DNA damage. The important finding here is that WiFi electromagnetic (EM) radiation damaged the sperm — almost every other study has focused on increased temperature (which also damages sperm, incidentally).”

With the low frequency radiation and the long hours of having a cell phone attached to your right or left hip, I feel even women should be concerned. In fact, Madelene had a hysterectomy due to large tumors that formed on her ovary as well as her uterus. She constantly carries her cell phone (and still does) on her right hip attached to her belt. It lies right above her ovary (or where it used to be). The tumor started growing at such a rapid pace that it enlarged her uterus to the size of a football. How can we live without our smart phones and internet connections though? I leave my wifi on all night. I close out my computer, but I don’t disconnect the wifi. Especially living or working in buildings that have over 100 connections -- what kind of studies are being done to prove that this is “okay” for us? Sad thing is, I can’t say that I’m going to change my habits or carry my phone less than I do, but I will try to consciously turn off my cell phone at night and make sure that I always use an earpiece while chatting on the phone. I must say, that I see a huge difference living in an area where I’m the only one with a wifi connection. I’m finally sleeping. It’s all making sense now.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chewing the Fat

A while ago I had written a post about a girl who bumped into an old friend in a cafe where I was having coffee. I overheard them trying to catch up while waiting on the long line for their lattes. The one girl looks down at the other woman’s belly and says, “So when are you due?” There was an immediate silence, and then, “I’m not.” Innocent mistake perhaps, but it makes you wonder how many times we have all made that little ‘oops’ before. Obviously, she wasn’t expecting. She had put on weight and embarrassed her friend pointing this out in a not so subtle manner, yet an innocent one. Women are sensitive, vain, insecure, emotional. When do we reel it in when it comes to noticing something on a physical basis? Even if you see your friend has lost a lot of weight, the worst thing in the world in my opinion is to yell out, “Wow, you lost so much weight!” In other words, “Wow, you were so damn fat before!” A similar thing happened over at the same cafe the other morning. Two friends were ordering lattes and you have your option to get the low-fat one without whipped cream. One girl ordered the low-fat and the other said, “Oh just a regular one with whipped cream please.” Her friend looked over at her and said, “You should get the low-fat, it’s really good and it’s healthier for you.” Why even suggest it if she ordered what she wanted? The girl brushed it off as it it was nothing, but I saw the deep stare in her eyes as she waiting for her latte with all the bells & whistles.

I’m also not a fan of people who try to push their new fad diets on everyone. “Oh you gotta try ‘this diet’ or ‘that diet’, it’s great” or vegetarians telling you how inhumane it is to eat meat and of course, the good ol’ gluten-free fanatics. If it’s not someone’s ‘bag’ - then stop pushing your spiel. As they say, misery loves company. I do realize with the gluten-free folks that there are some sensitive palates out there and the occasional allergy-ridden folks, but rare. We’ve been eating wheat products since the beginning of time. I have a hard time believing that people are allergic to wheat. Is it possible? Sure -but for almost 40% of people out there? Gluten-free products are making a bundle off doctors and televised physicians pushing the ‘celiac disease’. In my own personal opinion: it’s all a business. People are not allergic to wheat. We’re getting fed a bunch of bullshit ---that’s what we should be allergic to. What’s even more alarming are the people who go with this celiac disease and ruling out all possibilities of gall bladder problems, digestive issues or even worse, cancer. A woman I know kept pushing the gluten-free gig for years, until she went to a doctor and was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the liver. Some people rule out almost every single ‘known to be bad’ food out there to realize there’s a much larger issue going on.

The other day while I was home watching TV, there was a commercial advertising Dr. Oz’s show. He said, “If you’re a woman overweight, you are at risk of getting cancer.” He’ll even say things that’ll have the healthiest person fearing for their lives. He’s an alarmist and he uses scare tactics to make people watch his show. He has great home remedies that really work, but like the devil, he throws a bit of truth to tell you a bunch of lies. I can’t stand people like this. I can’t tolerate people who grab the vulnerabilities of many hypochondriacs and have them fleeing for the ER. (Yes, that includes myself.) But, this is how he grabs the attention of many of his viewers...and it works. It’s just the same as watching an upcoming news clip, “Man dies in a mysterious way....at ten.” So they keep you tuned in until they tell you that the guy was 95 years old and there was no foul play involved. We’re gullible and we all want to be in the know, when in actuality, there is no “know”.

What’s good for you may not be good for someone else. They say eggs are the perfect food, but it’s not so good for a person running a cholesterol level of 300. They say drink more milk for women over thirty-five, but not so good if she is lactose intolerant. We can’t suggest foods to people if we are not their doctor or allergists. We can make general suggestions: eat healthier, leaner, and what not - but there are other suggestions that have proven that fatty foods are also healthy for us too. Everything has an extreme “yes” and “no” and “good” and “bad” - so what should we believe? It’s like religion almost - people have their own opinions, advice, suggestions, etc., and once that’s pushed in our faces, we become confused and sometimes, even pick the wrong diet that makes us become sluggish or ill.

I have a friend who is an M.D. who gave me some advice about dieting. I find it very interesting as well as alluring...

“Fat is your friend, simple carbohydrates are not. (Don’t conflate this with an Atkins diet although there are similarities.) Do not worry too much about the booze either; just don’t mix fruit juices with it. High fructose, low fiber = very bad. What do I eat? I told you what I eat for breakfast. This includes 9-12 eggs/week. Bacon/sausage. Buy only the omega-3 eggs, they cost more but it's worth it. Lunch, cold cuts in lettuce wraps. I mix it up but it's usually ham, turkey, or liverwurst. Stay away from roast beef unless you cut it yourself from grass fed beef. Most of what you buy is grain fed. The only condiment is mustard. I throw in some coconut, dark (Lind 90% caco) chocolate. Finish with a (small) piece of fruit, usually an apple. Dinner is wild caught fish, pork, chicken (no skin) or beef. If my wife make pasta, I take a cheese grater and "rice" a head of cauliflower and eat the meat and sauce over that. Vegetables, I like brussel sprouts, green beans, (eat no other beans or peanuts) sweet potatoes, acorn squash. Salad, make your own dressing with olive oil and balsamic. Hannaford's sells blue cheese made with raw milk, Great Hill Farms. DO NOT use commercial dressings, they are all made with soybean oil. Soy is not a health food! Avoid it at all costs. This makes eating out difficult but the payoff is better health. If you do this correctly, you will sensitize your body to insulin, go 5-7 hours between meals without snacking. Good luck, if I can be of help, let me know. You WILL NOT get help from advertising, the media, your friends, your doctor, Dr. Oz, etc. I have an entire lecture on why this is the case.”

This really goes against what I was taught as “healthy”. They say having a drink or two is healthy, some people believe differently. I heard that soy was very healthy for you, as this M.D. believes it is not. I’ve been following some of his advice along with getting regular check ups from my physician and my numbers are going down slowly. My cholesterol went down a bit, my weight decreased a smidgen (ha) and of course, I get to eat my favorite foods without the guilt. He also mentions that sport drinks like Gatorade are very bad for someone who isn’t a marathon runner. For a regular workout, sports drinks should not be consumed. Then he says go 5-7 hours without snacking, which goes against most nutritionalists’ suggestions. I was always told the best thing to do is have small meals throughout the day. But as I go along my day eating high protein and less carbs, I’m finding I’m not even hungry or craving a ‘small meal’ every couple of hours. So far, this is what is currently helping me... So Thank you Doc! (You know who you are.) I’ve even debated with him for a few years over his suggestions telling him he’s crazy - this is too good to be true. My point is - never take advice without seeing your doctor and watching all your numbers of your body. Avoid people who are on these new ‘fad’ diets or who have a ‘thought to be’ allergy without checking with their doctor and just want company on the wagon their traveling on. Do what’s right for you.

‎"The first thing you lose on a diet is brain mass." —Margaret Cho

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Easier Said Than Done

Life is so strange, isn’t it? Life is so short and sometimes way too long. We’re told to live our lives as though it were our last, as if we’d all go out and start bungee jumping off a random cliff somewhere. Fact is, most of us would be home eating our favorite meal, drinking our favorite cocktails along with our favorite people. Nothing more, nothing less. Some would definitely be a bit more adventurous, so I guess I can only talk about myself and those I know who would do the same. I know for myself, if I were to ever win the lotto, it would be to buy “time” - buy more time with my wife, buy more time with my family and loved ones. But how much time do we really have? I see a lot of my Christian friends writing on Facebook about the “time” is near - that Jesus is coming back. Some say they know when, but in the Bible, it clearly states that no one knows the day nor hour. They base theirs solely on Revelations. Yes, it gives clues but why ignore the other scripture? Why are we so concerned about when Jesus will come back? We should be ready now. We “should”. Are any of us ready?

Put religion aside for a moment though. A friend of mine came over, sat down, had a cup of coffee with me the other day and looked a bit melancholy. I asked her what was wrong. She explained that she had just gotten back from a friend’s wake. Her friend was 75 years old. Immediately, I gave my condolences and automatically thought she must have had a stroke or heart attack or just wasn’t in good shape due to her age. Then my friend said, “Unbelievable, Deb. She was driving in a nearby town got into a head on collision and killed a man who was 85 years old. I didn’t know what to say. How tragic! How tragic that you live to be that age and you don’t die from natural causes or an illness of some sort. (All are tragic, but you get what I’m saying.) You go along life every single day doing the same thing, driving to different places not even realizing how much at risk you really are - at any. given. age. It blows me away to hear about elderly people dying in tragic deaths. There’s no logic reasoning for it either. Some believe in fate and destiny, while others believe that life is all about chance.

For the last couple of days, I have had this feeling of impending doom, like something bad’s gonna happen. Every single pain I get means death. Every single ‘bad feeling’ or emotional outburst means it’s all over. People with anxiety disorder usually get that feeling of doom after heightened anxiety. You feel like you’re dying. And it’s strange, because if I get chest pains or some allergic reaction, I immediately want to go to the ER. Lately, I don’t because usually I check out with a clean bill of health and thrown a couple of Benadryls, and when it's chest pains, I'm told it’s costochondritis - another word for the doctors to say, “I have no idea what’s wrong you nutcase!” But one evening, I felt pain in my jaw that radiated down into my shoulder, into my arms and my chest felt like it was crushing. This was different (so I thought). I headed straight for the ER to be told, “Hi again, Deb. Your EKG was fine and x-rays look good.” My therapist said to me, “Next to time you get chest pains or think you’re having anaphylactic shock, ‘turn up the radio’.” ---Meaning ignore it. So the other night, my lips and tongue started to swell after eating. I looked at Mad and just said, “Turning up the radio now.” I looked over at my EpiPen and Benadryl as a safety mechanism. I kept saying, “Turn up the radio” - and finally, through my own battle in my mind, I ended up calling the ER for advice which of course, they cannot give. My throat then began to feel as though it was closing...or was it because I was hyperventilating because of anxiety? I went into the other room and did some deep breathing exercises, and voila - the symptoms and the ‘throat closing’ soon dissipated. The next couple of days, I felt a sense of doom.

I was asked, “If you have so much faith in God, why are you afraid of dying?” I guess it’s pretty much human nature. I guess even with faith, the unknown can be anxiety-provoking. I guess...I’m neurotic. We all die, but I will put any amount of money down to prove someone wrong if they say they aren’t afraid of dying. Whenever I hear people say, “I’m not afraid to die” - and say minutes later, they’re faced with death - at least 90% of people would have some sort of fear of the unknown that cannot be explained. Even with faith in a particular religion, even extremist Muslims who do suicide bombings - they are all scared moments before their mission. And did you know that almost all people who have had failed suicide attempts all had one last thought: “I don’t wanna die.” It really makes you want to reevaluate your faith in whatever and whoever you worship to, or perhaps, reevaluate your level of fear and anxiety. Since we’re all so vulnerable, they say it’s best to live life without fear - without it preventing you to do some incredible things in life, but sometimes it’s much easier said than done.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inflated Heads

For the life of me I cannot remember the title of the movie I was watching last night, but it was about this young girl who was an aspiring writer during the great depression. She lived with her family in an urban part of Canada, until she started coming down with a terrible cough, which led the family to believe it was tuberculosis. They sent her off to live with her aunt up in a rural part of the area to get some fresh air. Her aunt lived alone, lived off the land and relied on nobody. She was strong, strict, hardworking and brave. The girl eventually got better due to her aunt’s care, but while she was there, she revealed that she has always wanted to be a writer. The aunt encouraged her and said, “Tell your story. Every story has a beginning, a middle and an ending.” So when the girl got better, she wrote a story about “The bravest man I’ve ever known was a woman” (her aunt) and wrote about how fearless her aunt was to live alone, get her own food and to live out her dream. She won first prize in the local newspaper and became somewhat famous. Even though her father was disappointed that the “bravest man” wasn’t him but his own sister, he eventually came to realize that his sister was amazing and it wasn’t all about him. Eventually, the fame got to the girl’s head and she started ending friendships and belittling her family, talking pretentiously and acting as though she was better than everyone else. Long story short: she eventually humbled herself after realizing what a huge head she had gotten from all the publicity. (If anyone knows which movie I’m speaking about, let me know?)

That story rings true on so many levels. Have you ever had a friend who ‘made it big’ or became more than they were accustomed to, which altered their personality altogether? Celebrity or not, a person can change with a quick boost to their ego. It’s amazing how some people can humble themselves whenever they’re at their lowest, but once at their height of fame, they forget everyone who was there for them in the beginning. Sadly, I’ve known a few people in my life who changed with a glimmer of stardom. Of course busyness comes into play and you have to take that into account, but it’s more of the ‘pushing you away’ type of people because they’re too busy with their other celebrity friends that gets to me. Phone calls, emails, texts are never returned and eventually, you become an ‘ex-friend’, or an ‘old friend’ once the new and improved people move into their world. The sad part about this is, if their new stardom starts to crumble down to the bottom of the ladder, you’re automatically back in. “Hey, how’ve you been? Sorry I’ve been so busy.”

It’s also like that in your typical office type of setting: someone gets a promotion, perhaps a managerial position and all egos break loose. They feel as though they have been set upon a throne to which they can now order their little pions around, aka: their old buddies and coworkers who were all on the same level at one time. I’m not going to ask, what makes someone feel superior over another once promoted or on the brink of stardom, but what makes me wonder is: do they miss the people they’re stepping on? Years ago, I remember this woman who had just gotten hired at our company. I had to train her and at times, do her work for her just so she wouldn’t get in trouble because she didn’t hand it in on time. I helped her, sat with her and totally gave her my undivided attention so she would learn fast and do well. I always invited her out to lunch with my other friends and always asked what she wanted if we were ordering in. She was never made to feel left out of the group. I made a point to make her feel comfortable. And she was. Five months down the road, I was trying to apply for a management position that I wanted and learned that the woman that I had trained was also going for the same job. This puzzled me because I was there for years, while she was there for only five months. On top of that, you have to wait one year to get a promotion or move to another position, so I knew that without a doubt, I’d get it before her. ...I didn’t. She got the job due to her twenty year managerial experience in other companies that had no relation to our own. I was so upset over this, but happy to know that for some reason, the manager’s position was at a lesser salary. Kind of a little proverbial kickback for me.

As the lady went on to be manager, guess who she came to whenever she had a problem? Me. Instead of holding a grudge against her, I would help her still. But then, I realized more and more, she stopped eating lunch with us and started hanging out at the managers’ table. No more fun and laughter during coffee breaks because now we were getting reprimanded for doing so, even though she used to be part of it. She felt she had to hold up her ‘manager’s stance’ so that she wouldn’t be seen as the ‘hourly folks’. I watched her turn into a monster as she berated everyone for the tiniest of mistakes or mishaps. She morphed herself into a tyrant overnight. My years of experience led her to continue trying to get more answers from me, more help from me as my respect for her was next to none by the way she treated us. The last time she asked me for help, I said, “You might want come down off your throne so you can see me better before you ask me for help again. The way you treat people is disgusting and I want no part of it.” I was expecting her to grab a union manager and trot us all down to some empty conference room...but she didn’t. She took me aside and apologized. She said she was scared the other managers wouldn’t take her seriously and she felt horrible about it. She also said she missed hanging out with her ‘old buddies’ and she didn’t know what to do. After that day, I noticed her entire demeanor was different. She was back. She was human again. She humbled herself.

Andy Rooney (RIP) had once said he hated when people went up to him asking for autographs - not because he was being rude, but he said, “I get paid to write! I’m not signing anything! Please!” He said it because he was humble and felt that writing his name on a piece of paper seemed arrogant and self-serving. I love that man for that reason alone. I wish more people (celebrity or not) were like that.

“The truest characters of ignorance are vanity, and pride and arrogance.” ~Samuel Butler

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, November 10, 2011

So Tell Me, Who Holds Your Strings?

The one thing (among many things) I don’t understand, is why people try to control the person they’re with. They try to dress them a certain way, act a certain way, dictate their life as well as try to mold them into their own clone. If you met them that way, and you decided to date them, why change them? The worst thing in the world is to feel as though you can’t be yourself, dress the way you want or say what you feel to anyone you’d like. So why be with somebody who makes you feel so imprisoned? I love the fact that my wife allows me to be...’me’. She never tells me “you can’t do or say that” - she has discretion on what’s best for me, but never tries to dull my inspiration or goals. She supports me 100%. She has never tried to change my style, or tell me to wear my hair like ‘this’, or any of those types of suggestions just to please her ego. She doesn’t want control. She wants love. There’s a huge difference between control and love. When you truly love someone for who they are, you love every aspect of them, and if there are imperfections to be found, you love those as well. As a couple, we never put restraints on our personalities. We give one another wings.

I used to be a huge control freak, but more so about my own life. Everything had to be ‘this way’ - and it couldn’t alter. But what I’ve learned over time is: if you try to control everything in your life, it’ll slip right through your fingers. The more you hold onto something or someone, it’ll leave. A dog that’s always on a leash will try to find a way to escape and gallivant around the neighborhood. It only makes sense. I’ll never forget the time Madelene and I were out with another couple. We were having dinner and drinks sitting over at the bar area. The one girl said to her partner as she took her first sip of her wine, “You’re not gonna drink all of that, are you?” Her partner looked scared, pushed the goblet away from her and said, “No, just wanted a sip...” Mad and I noticed this awkward moment right away and we just shot one another a look like, ....really? It was her first glass of wine. So needless to say, she probably took one more sip of her chardonnay before leaving the restaurant, with her partner’s permission of course. We then headed back to my house for coffee and dessert. I put out a pot of coffee on and served a homemade apple pie that I bought from my neighbor who was an excellent baker. I gave everyone a piece and poured the coffee. The controlling girlfriend looked over at her partner and said, “You have a race tomorrow and it’s not a good idea for you to be eating that.” Once again, the partner heeded her words and the fork went down. Who’s in the wrong - the controlling person or the person allowing another person control her?

I can’t stand it when people think they own another person. It’s probably the most annoying characteristic of someone I can think of. It’s almost like, ‘how dare you’ - and yet this controlling person gets to do what he or she wants to. It borderlines enslavement and a sense of power they think they have. People who aren’t comfortable in their own skin will try to tell their partner or spouse what to wear, how to look, what to do and how to act just so they’ll look better. It’s kind of a psychological twisted way of feeling better about themselves - as if another person would make them look any better. It doesn’t make sense, and yet it does. Some people feel that the person they are dating reflects who they are. I see it as, the person you’re with can only compliment or share of who you are -not reflect. But still, that’s a huge blow to someone who has very little self confidence. I’ve also seen overblown egos - conceited to the max type of people who you’d think without a doubt that they loved themselves, when in fact it was a huge facade. They fake being confident in order to hide their insecurities. It’s very common and sometimes, it'll affect their personal relationships. With these types of people, even though they’re quite vain, they reek of insecurity issues. I have a hard time connecting with them on a friendship level. They usually fumble through their love lives because they can’t hold any down for a long period of time. Either ‘this one’ is too needy or ‘that one’ dresses weird - there’s always an excuse. It always falls upon the person they’re dating for that week. Their vanity and insecurity issues which has a fine line, eventually ruins any potential long-term relationship. I know a few friends like this who are well into their late 40’s who are single because of this very reason. And it's not because they're being "picky" - it's all about how that person makes them appear. They want to find love, but so consumed with appearances and the ability to control a person or a situation that it’s nearly impossible to maintain any sort of relationship with them. They even care about how their friends dress or appear, and will go as far as to invite a friend out to a bar just so they have someone to walk in with. After walking through the threshold, that ‘friend’ will leave you stranded trying to talk to the next 1 week love.

In every type of relationship, be it friend, lover, relative, these types of people I have pushed out of my life. I have no room for controlling people who love to think they can actually own someone. They irritate me with all of their self-conscious idiotic behaviors. Maybe that’s a bit judgmental on my part, but I truly believe that if you befriend someone or try to pursue a loving relationship with another person, you should let people be themselves and put away the b.s. egos. It's so transparent. So tell me, who holds your strings?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

In the 'Now'

Isn’t it strange how all of us are so close to death? Whether we believe it or not, we’re all vulnerable. No one is immune to it. What a “Debbie Downer” - who wants to think about that kind of stuff? We all want to think about living life and fulfilling dreams, but the reality of it is: it can happen - to anyone at any given moment. It’s strange, because the other day I was reading the bible, and in Ecclesiastes, it said to drink a glass of wine and enjoy life - to enjoy your lot in life. In proverbs, it mentions that the person who never thinks about death is a fool. Strange, right? I guess it can be interpreted as something else, perhaps ‘don’t take things for granted’ type of meaning, but I’ve found similar contradictions stating opposing messages. I think Proverbs has it right in some aspect, because we’re here for such a short time. Time flies and life gets busy. We’re too busy to visit our parents, our grandparents, our siblings, our friends - we’re too busy to enjoy life, period. People have children to care for, relationships and marriages to maintain and on top of that, jobs to hold onto. There's no balance. We make excuses and go on hoping that there will be a day when we’ll see our loved ones who are still here. “Oh, we’ll make plans soon” - and soon doesn’t come soon enough. I’ve heard many people say, “I should have visited him/her more often before they passed.” No one’s to blame. That’s how life is. But what if we ‘woke up’ and realized that life is in fact, really that short?

Lately, I’ve been hearing of people coming down with illnesses, young and old. I’m hearing “RIP” a lot more often, and that scares me. It scares me in a way that wakes me up - wakes my consciousness up screaming, “Spend more time with the ones you love!” ---But how? If the ones I love are too busy, I can’t. It’s out of my control. This morning, Mad and I were having coffee and she told me that her best friend Nancy passed away. I scratched my head and asked, “You have a best friend named Nancy?” She then explained it was a childhood friend from high-school. Even then, I have never heard the name slip from her mouth. Still, doesn’t matter. It upset her. She explained what an incredible person she was and that she was sad she didn’t maintain the friendship better. Although people separate for whatever reason, death really awakens us. It poses questions in our minds asking, “What could I have done better?” For some reason, death instills this kind of guilt; a regret if you will. But in the big scheme of life, should it really? We’re all vulnerable to it. Life happens. People change. There shouldn’t be regrets - only fond memories if possible, but the human mind will think back to a life once lived asking the same question over and over again.

My father is still suffering with bladder cancer. He’s gone in for two surgeries and went through radiation, but is still suffering so badly. He keeps crying, “I don’t’ wanna die!” My mother is extremely depressed and worried, and I can see it’s affecting her overall being - her overall health. He doesn’t want anymore operations, medical treatments and refuses to go to the hospital even if he’s screaming in pain. My parents are in their mid-seventies and feel that their lives are completely over. So, my mother has begun smoking much more and basically saying, “Screw it.” My father began smoking again too. Understandably. While talking to my dad, he was explaining a show that Dr. Oz had on. Now mind you, he gets his facts a little twisted, but this is what he said... “Dat Dr. Wachamacallit - wazhisname - dat’ home remedy guy was on TV. He had a panel of people who were dying of an illness who refused treatment. One girl said to him, ‘I don’t wanna die’, and Dr Wachamacallit said, ‘Don’t be afraid to die.’ How can he say something like that, Deb?” I knew the answer in my head but didn’t say anything. I know that we all die. I know personally, by my own faith that I’m not as scared as I used to be about death, but for humans, dying is the worst fear for most people. I just said, “I don’t know, Dad.” I’m not going to sit there and rattle off about spirituality while he’s thinking that he’s dying. Even with my own faith, if I have chest pains, I’m in the ER. What does that mean? I’m scared too. It’s normal. But my main concern about my parents going through this is that they have given up it seems. Some days are really good, while most days are filled with pain, sadness and even anger. They’re living their last days in such a negative way. No one hardly visits them anymore, they don’t see their grandchildren like they used to only because my dad can’t go out as much. As the youngest child of my family, I used to have this fear (still do) of growing old alone because everyone is at least ten years older than me. But when I see my parents living the way they do - I realize that having people around may not even matter. You can still feel alone.

I’ve been trying to help them, spend more time with them, cook for them, make them a cocktail or two, laugh with them more and just enjoy them now, while they’re still here. We laugh, have a good time, they reminisce about ‘way back when’ and tell their stories, even if for the millionth time. Oddly enough, the next day it’s back to the same type of mindset. What if we could just give happiness for one hour, or a few hours, maybe for a day to people who feel depressed, lonely, or feel as though they’re dying? What if we put some time aside to spend with our loved ones who may not be here tomorrow? Would it make a difference? Would we have less regrets, or any at all? Or does the human mind always fill up with bags of regret? Maybe it’s just our nature. We always have that little voice saying, “I should have done ‘this’ better.” Yet, we’ve done our best. Someone once said to me while their mother was going through a terminal illness, “I can’t visit her, it hurts too much.” And it made sense. Just seeing your loved one in such pain is horrifying. It may scare us, or even think about the inevitable. Some people can’t even walk into a hospital to visit someone they love, and worse yet, go to funerals. It doesn’t mean they don’t love them, it means there’s too much fear and anxiety involved, perhaps due to their own vulnerability or the fear of losing a loved one. If I have learned one thing, it's this: you don't have to skydive, bungee jump or travel to exotic places in order to "live life". If you have passion for what you do, love in your heart, laugh often and you enjoy whatever it is you do under the sun - your life is well lived. No one can tell you otherwise. Live in the 'now' and never regret anything. I can't say don't 'fear' anything, and that's when I look to God and scripture. This next scripture helps me when I'm feeling scared.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” ~Isaiah 41:10

And when it feels like there is no logic to unexplainable things that are happening, I turn to this scripture. It reminds me that there always has to be a balance.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Breaking Up . . .

Is there any light at the end of the tunnel once you’ve broken up with someone you love? Have you ever sat up in your bed with a million tissues crumpled up all around you, asking the gods, “Why?” You start to realize the entire weekend passed you by and then notice you’re still in the same pajamas you slipped on Friday night after work. You glance over at the phone, stare at it, hoping it’ll ring by some sort of mental telepathy you're throwing at it. It just sits in silence. You check your iPhone, your Blackberry to see if there are any “messages waiting” on any media. ...Nothing. Your heart sinks. Your eyes well up. And there you go again, the 1,285.678.325th crying session so far this weekend. The saddest part about this is, even your friends aren’t calling because they’re just too scared of this sensitive situation. They don’t want to say the wrong thing or slip up and remind you of anything in fear of you losing it in front of them. It’s tricky. The thing is: you need to be consistent in keeping your friends near. Let them know there is nothing to fear if you want them around.

The one thing I absolutely hate, is when people give advice like, “The best revenge is . . .” There’s no revenge. There shouldn't be. There’s only moving on or reconciling, depending on the relationship. So, remove the “best revenge is” to “the best thing to do is occupy my time with positive people/places/things to help with this time of mourning”. And that’s exactly what it is: mourning. A breakup is almost as excruciating as experiencing a death, except in this case, the other person is choosing not to speak with you. It kind of gives it a little evil twist to it if you think about it. Whether they’re choosing not to speak to you due to wanting more time to heal or just trying to avoid another vicious argument, you need to get out of your pajamas, shower up and get the hell out of your house. What about if you lost all your friends because you were so immersed in this intense relationship for somewhat years --- maybe it’s time to make new friends? Join a group - maybe you like art or music or even better, join a gym. You get to meet other people as well as work on your own health, which always moves those endorphins in the right direction.

Pamper yourself. Give yourself a spa session. Get a facial, get your hair and nails done and always, always go out afterwards when you’re looking so fabulous. Get a massage, get a Reiki treatment (that’s my favorite) or simply just relax in your tub with candles and soft music to unwind your tense muscles. Depending on your financial situation, the tub idea is a great and cheap way to release the anxiety if you can’t do the spa treatment. Make a hot cup of herbal tea. Write a journal with all your thoughts - hell - do all of the above if possible! YOU deserve it. You’ve been hurt, you’ve been crying, you’ve been heartbroken to the point of even asking the reason of your existence. A relationship does not define you. It only shares another life to enhance yours, not to “make” yours. Many people seem to think they can’t live without him or her and they would die without them. You won’t. If you keep thinking like that - it’s going to be a very long and miserable life. You can live without them as you did before. When you let someone completely go, two things can happen: 1. They come back into your life or 2. They don’t. I remember in my past breakup I had a hard time letting go. Each unresponsive email or text meant that I was “worthless” and yes, “hated”. That’s what my mind told me. Each email or text that was never returned felt like a stab in the heart. You hope and hope and hope....and then nothing. So through my experience, don’t set yourself up for 'mini heartbreaks' - and that’s what I call them.

The other sad angle of breaking up is the disconnection of two lives that were living as one. Now what’s wrong with that sentence? Think... Your life should be completely separate (even if you live together) so that you are two independent people sharing in one another’s lives. It doesn’t matter if you two are together all the time when you go out, as long as that’s what you both want. It’s nice to have differences so that when you both come home, you have something to talk about, something to share with one another and possibly learn from each other. Have your own circle of friends as well as mutual ones. That's so important. Never live in the shadows of your partner. When they leave, you’ll be burned by the sun and regret not having a life of your own. Don’t “be somebody” just because you want to show your ex you can - be somebody because YOU ARE somebody. Do it for you. Respect yourself. Love yourself. Pamper yourself. Another person will find you just as attractive as your ex found you when you two first met, if you’re worried about never finding love again. On top of that, you’ll be much more appealing if you start doing these things for yourself instead of sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring. Always assume it’ll never ring. No expectations = no disappointments. Makes sense, right? Now get out there and live your life!

This post is dedicated to a few close friends of mine who are going through a breakup at the same time. I know a couple of them read my blog faithfully (thank you), so I wanted to put this out there so that it wouldn’t be an awkward conversation since they seem quiet these days. I pray that everyone involved are doing things to make their life wonderful. I do pray that they can reconcile and make sense of all this static. Sometimes a break is what we need in order to go full throttle ahead and make the relationship even better. When Madelene and I separated, we learned to communicate better, no matter how much “TMI” type of subjects came up. Now we’re both comfortable talking about anything. We learned a lot through our breakup. We even learned a lot more about one another. The break saved us. Maybe it’ll do the same for my friends. ...I hope. Also remember, never play games with somebody's heart. So if you're playing the 'no contact' game - while you're ignoring him or her, somebody else may be begging for their attention.

"Giving up doesn't always mean you are weak; sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go." ~Author unknown

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Friday, November 04, 2011

Why So Serious?

Life can be very challenging and each day comes a new obstacle; a different cross to bear and overcome...or not. It’s your choice. When I get extremely overwhelmed, the only thing that can possibly save me is laughter. Even when I get depressed, the only thing that can snap me out of it is laughter. It doesn’t matter how it comes, it just needs to arrive asap. Have you ever been in a lull in your life or just a phase where everything is ‘eh’, and you craved that uncontrollable laughter - the case of the giggles can’t come quick enough? You just need that fix...? Somewhat years ago when I was going through a breakup, I started going to comedy clubs, even did a little stand up myself, but eventually started becoming friends with the people who made me laugh the most. It was just instant chemistry. I then started getting into writing material for a select few which is still quite rewarding. It’s another side of my writing that I rarely show on this blog. During that time, the people who I had met through comedy were the very ones that brought me out of my funk.

This morning when I returned home from the gym (which by the way is another method of releasing a bit of angst), I turned on the TV and saw Whitney Cummings on The View. From a struggling comedian, she has accomplished so much and now doing her own sitcom. But that’s not why I’m bringing her up. She was talking about a breakup she had where she found out her ex-boyfriend was cheating on her. She saw emails and photos of girls that he was seeing which ultimately tore her up emotionally. She said she was crying and crying and crying... She then went to see Sherri Shepherd’s comedy show to which she found herself laughing hysterically over. She went back stage crying out of joy as well as purging all of these overwhelming emotions and said to Sherri, “Thank you so much for this, you don’t know what you’ve done.” Sherri gave her a huge hug and told her she’d get through this. And that’s just it - I don’t think most comedians truly know how important their work is. In some cases, you might just be saving a life by making somebody laugh. The endorphins that are released is just better than any drug available. It’s the best medicine.

Friends can do that too. I remember one night, my friend Lisa and I were just coming home from a night of going out. We had a great time and then all of the sudden, I was on the floor in my bedroom crying my eyes out over a breakup. Lisa came and sat down right besides me on the floor and just held me as I rocked back and forth sobbing. After a few minutes, she looked at me and said something so randomly silly that I started laughing through my tears. I’ll never forget that as long as I live. My friend saved me quite a few times and especially when we took a trip to Provicetown, even just a look would send me into a spiral of uncontrollable laughter. At one point, we laughed so hard that it gave both of us a panic attack! That’s one type of panic attack I don’t mind getting. But my point is, my friend saved me from myself, from my overwhelming emotions through laughter and just being there as a true friend. I can honestly say that I cannot count how many times we have laughed like that - the type of laughter that is contagious to anyone who hears it.

My wife knows where my ‘silly button’ is. She’ll make me laugh if she sees that I’m upset about something or having an anxiety attack. Her method is making fun of me - not in a mean way, but pointing out the silliness in my little (perhaps annoying) habits. The way she does it is so funny, that I am laughing so hard where I cannot breathe! I have to literally walk out of the room screaming with laughter, fanning myself. She doesn’t stop until I start yelling, “STOP!!!” But instantly, I forget about my anxiety and it helps me sleep better. At times, we’ll both wake up at 3am for some odd reason. We call it the “3am crazies”. She’ll start making fun of me and there we go again, laughing our asses off until we can hardly breathe. I know when she’s genuinely laughing and can’t stop is when she starts screaming out, “Ow! Ow! Ow!” - as if she’s in extreme pain. It’s so funny. My mother always said that if you can’t laugh with the person you marry, you'll never be happy. It’s so true. People who don’t typically laugh or find humor in things are usually very depressing to be around. Some people call it “mature” - I call it B*O*R*I*N*G. If she’s sleeping and I need a dose of laughter, I’ll hop onto Youtube and find stand up comedy routines or just funny videos that'll make me laugh. I’m serious when I say laughter can really save your life if you’re in a deep depression. Just surround yourself with positive and upbeat people and get rid of all the toxic and negative people in your life.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com