Friday, May 31, 2013

A Message About Fear From Beyond

Life's biggest question: "What happens after it?" Nobody knows. You either believe this or that, or nothing at all. Some people think we just die like a battery - all darkness - nothing left - dust to dust and that's basically it. And while that may be somewhat true, what about all the people who have had near death experiences who come back to life and tell you similar stories to other people who have had near death experiences? Then you question the obvious: are they mimicking everyone else's experience? Or, does our brain produce this crazy short circuit shutdown letting us 'see' the light at the end of the tunnel --- or is that just the end itself? Maybe it's like the end of a Porky Pig cartoon where he says, "Th-th-th-th- ...That's all folks!" Nobody has a concrete answer and....nobody ever will until they stare death straight in the face. Then you have religion that gets in the way of people's views/beliefs which can eventually bombard your boundaries when someone assures you that you'll be going to hell for "sinning". Then the fear of death kicks in even more. Others think religion or perhaps, "God" was a made up myth to sooth people's fear of dying. We all have that same fear, or there wouldn't be so many hypochondriacs like myself out there.  What about seeing spirits or people communicating with the dead? Do you believe in all that? They say that very young children and especially the elderly or a terminally sick person can see the other side - like deceased loved ones visiting and occasionally talking to 'something' that we cannot see. Before Dad passed, he would say to my mom, "Look, say hi to ya' father, he's sitting right there!" Mom just stared at him, thinking that maybe the drugs were making him hallucinate. The strangest thing that happened is when he said, "Hey, there's Frankie! He's with the angels now!" Frankie was a long time family friend whom we lost touch with years ago. We had no clue he had passed away, but Dad knew. Dad would pick at his clothes or blankets as if they were just way too heavy for him. I truly believe when people who are about to pass pick at their clothing or blankets and constantly want to get up -- this is their restless spirit. The spirit itself is light, weightless, and ready to leave. Or, can there be a scientific explanation of these spiritual sightings and restlessness? I haven't found a concrete answer yet.

In recent days I've shared with you my struggles with insomnia. (I'll get to the point.) I have had what's called "sleep jerks" and a very excessive tick in my throat. (Not a deer tick mind you.) More of an OCD tick that makes me do a 'clicking' sound with my throat to check if my airways are okay. I contribute this to my allergic reaction when I had sushi one night. I also contribute it to the recent loss of my father. They're all anxiety-related symptoms that drive me crazy and keep me awake all night. Last week I was up every single night, watching the clock fly by into the break of dawn. I had friends emailing me, "What's wrong, Deb?" And I honestly couldn't pinpoint what was wrong, but I knew I was stressed out beyond my limits. There was also no reason for the stress. They were all good for nothing anxiety attacks as I call them. But there is usually an underlining cause which I hate to even admit, because I hate not knowing, or "subconsciously" knowing, which I sometimes chuck up to bullshit. But, I found out a lot last night when I dozed off for about a half an hour. I had a dream - a very vidid dream. My Dad came to me, and he started yelling at me in his botched up Brooklynite accent. "Whaddya' doin' to ya'self? Why you wastin' ya time with all dis' fear? You can't even sleep! You fear FEAR itself! You fear going to sleep! You fear waking up! You fear getting sick! You fear others getting sick! You fear everything unda' da' sun! (Then he starts laughing.) And whatsda' worse ding' that can happen to ya? Ya die? (He let out another howl of laughter.) And den' wha?? You come here! It's great! Stop it, Deb! You're wasting your life with fear!" When I woke up, I rubbed my face and mumbled out, "Wow that was so real." And then the TV had this loud commercial and yelled out, "YOU CAN HEAR ME!" Coincidence? That's only up for interpretation and belief. Common sense could have dreamt it or I could simply believe Dad visited me in my dream since he may have seen me suffering with insomnia and anxiety. Last night, I had over eight hours of sleep with no anxiety and no "sleep jerks". No tick. No fear. No feeling of doom. I'm going to start believing more. What do you believe?

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Somniphobia

Sometimes I wonder if insomnia has a purpose. Maybe God's trying to say, "Come pray with me" or perhaps He keeps you up for five or more days just so you'll crash into your third rem stage in order to communicate with Him better. I haven't figured that out, but I found a few websites that fully believe in this god-driven method. Maybe it's a test, and let me tell you, if it's testing my lack of sanity and inability to maintain composure, then it worked. Let me just say what an irritable, cranky, over-emotional whack job I was during the six days I was awake. I had no filter. And I knew when it was coming on. By 10pm, we usually take the dog out for her last 'walk'. Then 11pm, I'm watching Seinfeld. This is my nightly ritual. Once it starts hitting midnight, it seems as though the numbers on the clock start flying off the handles. 1am, 2am, 3456 -WAKE UP! That's how fast it feels like. They say you should never look at the clock when you can't sleep, but I need to know how many hours I slept...or were awake for. Day 5, we had a BBQ. Madelene's sister Bernie came over. We had a blast, had a few drinks and ate dinner. But toward the evening, like 7pm (still early) I started phasing out and at that point - I was just bad company. I blazed up the fire pit and let the girls have some much needed sisterly time. I booked it upstairs and snuggled up with my dog and actually dozed off for about an hour. When Madelene and her sister came back inside, they both went to sleep almost right away, while I was up all. fricken. night. for no reason at all. Day 6 was scary. I snapped at anything and anyone. I snapped at my dog and she just looked at me like, "Whoa dude, I'm a dog. Get a grip." I found myself crying hysterically, to where my mom came over to me and rubbed my shoulders. I started laughing and said, "Stop doing that! The gout in your hand is gonna force us to make a trip up into the ER!" I just love her. I started feeling crazed, delirious and I seriously started hallucinating - not exaggerating either. A few times, I thought someone was walking past me. Another time, I'm just sitting there in a daze, and when I woke up, I thought I was in somebody else's house.  It was really scary.

What a great remedy! 
Still on day 6 floating into the evening, I was scared that I was going to need some medical assistance at this point. I tried everything, from chamomile tea, deep meditation videos on YouTube, lavender on my nightstand, eating a bit of carbs before bedtime (which I have eliminated from my diet), and even a massage from Madelene which was w*o*n*d*e*r*f*u*l!!! I may fake insomnia all the time now. But, the one thing that worked? Ice cream. My sister suggested it and when I Googled it, there it was on a list of 'how to stop insomnia'. I'm not sure if it was the tryptophan or the inability of my liver processing all that sugar, but I slept like a baby last night. I feel like a human again. I've also been on this low/no carb diet that may have contributed to my loss of sleep. Not sure though. It's not Atkins and not quite Paleo, although I have been getting grass-fed, free range meat and organic veggies plus eliminating all sugars from my diet, but it's more so just cutting out pasta and potatoes. I'll leave that for a treat on the weekend. Within that week, I lost 5 lbs which I was thrilled about, but I was such a crazed lunatic walking around like a goddamn zombie all the time. What's worse? Gaining weight or insomnia?  But again, I'm not sure if the low carb diet is the evil culprit here. I have had friends email me, "What's bothering you?" And I can honestly say, "EVERYTHING!" --- But seriously, I can't pinpoint anything in mind. Of course, I'm still sad about Dad passing last year - but I have gone through the worst of it...I think. I recently installed a home security alarm system for our house so we could feel safer, which should make me sleep better, but that's not it either. I'm not at odds with anyone or feel upset about anything or anyone. So then what? It remains a mystery. The only thing I can think of is that it's some sort of somniphobia - a fear of sleep. I get sleep jerks a lot, which cause me to wake up gasping for air. Sleep apnea was ruled out, but this is just as bad.

I used to rely on binaural beats for sleep, but I'm a little scared of the side effects which can cause seizures and possibly do the opposite effect on different people depending on how the brain absorbs it. So that's out for me. If you have some unconventional home remedy (not alcohol or OTC medicines) then please let me know in the comment section. But for now, sweet dreams to all.


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Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Human Autocorrect

As you probably already know, I grew up in an Italian household. Mom had three girls, and then seven years later, she had an “oops”...me. I didn’t mind. It was like having four mothers and one large man who always protected us. I remember I was about three years old lying in my parents’ bed and Dad was busting my chops and teasing me, so I looked over at my mom and said, “Why did you give birth to him?” I just thought Mom was like some “god” who produced all these different people who were living with us. Even back as a kid, I remember Dad being so hard of hearing, or perhaps he just had selective hearing. We’d ask a question and he would botch it up like autocorrect on an iPhone.
Me: “Dad, where’s the fly swatter?”
Dad: “What? Ya want a glass of ice water?”
Me: “Hey Dad! I brought home some quesadillas for you!”
Dad: “What? A case of beer?” It always seemed like a challenge trying to get something across, especially if you were in the other room, which was maddening. He was a pain in the ass trying to communicate with you from another room in the house. All you’d hear was this really loud voice screaming, “Hey Deb!” I would answer back, “Yeah Dad?” ----Then silence --- This was his way of drumming up your curiosity in order to get you to come to him. And once you were in his man cave, there was no escaping. It was usually about some “true picture” he saw or some bizarre documentary. The stories were long and the plumes of smoke from his non-filtered cigarette would suffocate you. Every personal story of his started off with, “This is the troot’,” or “picture dis’.” As soon as those sentences came out of his mouth, it was like a flight or fight reaction -- or, just a “flight”. Mom used to say, “Hurry past him if you’re leaving. He’s very chatty today.”

My mom isn’t any better at botching things up like autocorrect, but it’s not that she couldn’t ‘hear’ you --- she just forgets certain terms, especially when it comes to the internet. Years ago when I was single, I put a personal ad out. Mom saw I was dating here and there and wanted to know how I met these girls. I’ll never forget her saying in front of mixed company, “I hope you’re not meeting these people on the intercom!” I just pictured myself with a huge megaphone out in the middle of the streets. Thank God it got more of a laugh than it did with the seriousness of meeting a bunch of ‘crazies’ online. I’d always hash out some pathetic lie and say, “Oh we met at work,” and if I was in between jobs, they were always from my “old place of work”. It seemed to have...worked. If that wasn’t the worst of it, she’d screw up on each person’s name. If it was Charlene, she’d say, “How’s Charmaine?” Mom got Madelene’s name correct only because her sister has the same one. Dad? Nope. He screwed it up all the time. Her name was Mildred. I have no clue. My buddy Lisa would come over on the weekends and for some reason, she was “Lidia”. Half the time Dad couldn’t get anyone’s name right. When trying to address me, he’d use all the names of my sisters before getting to me: “Dawn, Car, Cath, ughh --who the hell are you again?” And he’d laugh until tears were streaming down his cheeks. The best was when he couldn’t figure out a word: “Whatchamacallit', you know, dat’ thing - whaddyacall' - dat thingie majiggy - ah shit...” Or if it was someone’s name, “Whatshername - you know - dat’ girl - whaddyacallher - ah shit...”

My mom has this huge pet peeve. She hates when anyone text messages people while in her presence. She’ll stare you down until you feel it. “Who ya ‘tex mexin’” came out of her mouth one day. My sister and I both lost it. But now she’s resorted to the term, “Who ya tic-tac’n?” These days, Mom has a Facebook account. One of her greatest concerns is that she cannot “find herself”. I asked her why was she looking for herself. She said, “But where am I?” ...Then I finally figured it out. She just wanted to view her profile. Ok. But the next inquiry was really funny. You know how you get all of these “suggested friends” who are friends with your friends? (Wait, what?) Well, she thought that everyone was adding her as a “friend”, when it was only suggested. So she “accepted”, however, she really “added”. She knows I have a Twitter account which she contorts into, “Tittles” and “Twatter”. If she Googles something, the term is “Goggled”. I kind of think it should be called “Goggle”. She’ll never comment on a post or “like” anything. She’s a lurker. Instead, she’ll update me on what’s going on with ‘you know who’ and ‘whatshername’. Sometimes I hear, “Boy, how she puts out all her dirty laundry!” And yet, she’s totally intrigued by it. I’m not sure if she’ll be “liking” this blog post on my Facebook account, but I’m sure I’ll get a phone call in a few minutes. "Take that down!"


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fast Forward One Year Later

Have you ever had a day (or for me), a week, where you are just unable to function at all? You can't think straight, sleep a full night or respond appropriately to 'surprise' disappointments? The slightest curveball will send me into tears lately. It's an unexpected response, especially for me. I'm just a wreck. And as you can see, I haven't written in quite some time. I couldn't. My mind was blank. I woke up Saturday morning with my leg blown up like a balloon. It was really strange - something that has never happened to me before. I drove myself up to the hospital to get it checked out for a DVT/blood clot, just to make sure I wasn't in danger. Odd ailment. But I guess eating Chinese food the night before didn't help. I was so stressed out, had an anxiety attack in the emergency room. They had to calm me down - not sure why I had a panic attack. It just happened. I made an appointment with this new therapist who happened to be in the same town I was, which conveniently soothed my agoraphobia, until she informed me that she was moving three towns over. On top of that, she was totally affordable, where I could go to her twice a week if need be. She did say something really significant though. She asked, "Why are you surprised that you're going through so much emotional turmoil lately?" I didn't know what she meant since she really didn't know what was happening 'at this time' in my life, but she said, "You're approaching the anniversary of your father's passing." BAM. ...It hit me. During this time, we were shuffling back and forth to the hospital trying to take care of Dad. I even looked back through my blog and Facebook accounts to see what was brewing during this time last year. I read a post from last year during this time. Maybe it can explain what I'm going through right now.

It reads, "The other day we noticed that dad's left leg swelled up like a balloon. (Odd that this happened to me a year later.) The nurse from hospice came over to take a look at it and said it may be from the tumors growing on his kidneys and bladder that's blocking the fluid from flowing properly, a sign of the progression. It was almost as if I had forgotten that Dad was sick. 'The progression' kept repeating itself in my head. Then of course, we all were concerned about it being a clot in his leg since he is lying down a lot. The nurse checked his lungs which were clear, felt if the swelling was hot to the touch and it wasn't and said to just have him take a water pill to relieve the swelling. But later on, it was decided that we had to call an ambulance to get checked out at the ER, which he hates because they treated him so poorly there. I know because I literally had to go out of his room and yell at the doctors and nurses for not supplying him with the needed medication as promised while he was lying in the bed screaming in pain. I experienced a lack of professionalism, compassion and overall care from the staff while I was there myself. Dad pleaded with me, 'Please Deb, don't let them take me. You know how they are.' And I do. He can't go to any other hospital because the hospice care he's receiving is part of that division as well as all of his doctors. Every time he goes back into that hospital, his spirit dies. Part of me was against sending him back there because the nurse checked him and said it was only water retention, possible 'progression', and the other part of me wanted him to go so I don't lose him in case there was a blood clot with no evident signs of it. He started to manipulate all of us, saying, 'If I go and die in there, have it be on all of your consciences!' Then he'd put his head down regretting what he had just said, hoping we'd tell the EMS crew to leave."

Could my ailment that sent me to the ER be psychosomatic? It was the same thing my father went through on the same day I had written this post last year. It's just so strange how the body reacts and creates physical manifestations of memories, emotional pain and grief.  Subconsciously remembering what my Dad went through last year this time sent me into the same phase again - sent me into exactly what he had experienced. That just blows my mind. During this time as well, my Mom's hand kept blowing up like a balloon from what they thought was gout. It was actually pseudogout. (Instead of uric acid building up, it's calcium deposits.) Anyway, right now, her hand is blown up again. I asked what she thought about the links between my ailment and hers - and it hit her too. It's like repeating the most stressful event of our entire lives again. We're reliving the pain, the stress, the memory and fear of watching Dad suffer so greatly. So in return, we're suffering on a whole different level - a subconscious but very real physical ailments.  I feel bad because I had to cancel a few events I had planned and on top of that, I haven't worked all week. I didn't want to be 'out of it' while I had company over, and I certainly didn't want to just plop "anything" onto my blog just to keep it moving. So please bear with me lately. I have a lot of crap to plow through.  Feel free to send some prayers our way.

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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Such Complete Unnecessary Drama - Pass the Popcorn!

This morning I was laughing thinking how similar I was to some guy who shooed away his girlfriend from kissing him at a baseball game while the kiss cam was on them. He was on his cell phone and kiss blocked her. She raised her arms up, pointed at the kiss cam and he still didn't do anything. She then got up and poured a big gulp size soda over his head. I quickly looked in Mad's direction and said, "Would you do that to me?" And immediately, she knew who would be who in that scenario. "You'd be soaked if you rejected a kiss from me!" she said as she sipped her piping hot coffee. I didn't want to mess with her at that point. It's not that I'm not affectionate, it's just that I hate public displays of affection -- for straight or gay people. It's so unwanted by the public - it really is. I mean, granted, the kiss cam is cute, so I would totally make an exception. But would the kiss cam even swing our way? Would they even point it in our direction? Who would even guess that we're a couple? So, the odds are against that happening to us...thank God. From time to time I see the "possessiveness" in certain couples while we're out and about. Perhaps a guy has his huge arm wrapped around his tiny little girlfriend, giving off that, "SHE'S MINE" signal. And don't get me wrong, sometimes you just feel all 'lovey dovey', but in most cases, it's to ward off unwanted stares directed toward your other half. That's just my opinion and I'm sticking with it. Especially in front of friends -- why? Think about it - if there is someone that you may think is a potential threat or perhaps, just interested in your other half, I'll bet you anything you're gonna try holding your partner's hand or at least, sitting closer to them. Eh, it's human nature I guess. And sometimes it's like, "Here, take em' - they're all yours." (Not for me of course. I mean, yeh.)

Which brings me to my next topic: FDA (Facebook Display of Affection). I mean, it should be "FDA" regulated so no one gets sick, but people do it all the time. People do it for the same reason: "THIS PERSON IS MINE!" And you can totally tell when someone is possessive over their partner or spouse by the way they post on their wall and...the way they post on their other half's wall, or on behalf of them. A good friend of mine found a girlfriend who he really fell in love with. She seemed nice, very attractive, but something was a bit 'off', but I couldn't put my finger on it. All of the sudden, his Facebook account was swamped with, "Oh baby I love you so much you're my soul mate," yada yada yada, and so it goes. I'm sorry, but when couples do this, most people think, "Why?" And although I'm guilty of posting a few lovey-dovey notes to my wife, usually during an anniversary or birthday --- beyond that, it's just 'knowingly' annoying to our friends. I totally realize that. As the red flags kept waving in the breeze, I noticed something else: she would comment on every single comment his friends would post, especially if it was an 'unknown' past female friend. Say he put a photo up of himself, and some old female friend from the past said, "Looking good, John!" -- The girlfriend would be right on her ass and reply with, "Yes he does and he's all mine ladies!"  Clearly, this other female commenter had no interest in John - she was just complimenting an old friend, as her profile picture shows her along with her husband and three kids. I mean, really? But it didn't stop there. That's when I stopped commenting on anything at all, in fear of the jealous girlfriend watching his account like a hawk. She probably has his password to boot. I wonder if he's even on Facebook.

If you ask me, I think Facebook is the devil when it comes to relationships. I have seen old flames get back together, show their Facebook Display of Affection, and then, when they break up, and you're still friends with the both of them. You also see ALL. And what I mean is -- each one is publicly posting stupid quote photos to indirectly jab at their former lover. It's like Myspace all over again. Grow up. I also see them posting way too many photos of their "new loves" and posting up statuses that imply they are SO much happier now. If you really loved someone and you two broke it off, have some respect and keep it on the down low. But, in some cases where it was a vicious breakup and one of those 'battles till the end' --- this is the type of stuff that happens. And remember, we're all here to grab the popcorn and view it, because that's what good friends do....right? The worst part about this is, most of the people doing this have kids who are on their Facebook accounts! This is what really gets me. Your own kids are watching you post idiotic shit up for your ex to see. You're on the SAME level as your 13 year old. They have no clue. I once heard a kid who was 16 years old telling his friends, "Dude, you gotta see what my mom posts up. She acts like a heartbroken teenager on Facebook, it's so fucking embarrassing." This isn't the first I've heard of kids being completely humiliated by their parents' behavior on social networking sites. Now stop airing out your dirty laundry and be an adult, like me, who only posts a million photos of her Chihuahua and martinis. Yeah, I got my shit together. (I need help.)

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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Fuggedaboutit'!

Have you ever had an argument with your other half and it just carries on and on, into a path of that dreaded awkward silence? After having a little spat with the wife, I sat at my desk with my coffee, staring out at the rain and began to think about my past and how unstable it used to be. I used to have that with my ex-girlfriends. The arguments seemed to have lasted forever. Between stubbornness, pride, ego - whatever the reason - it just wouldn't let up. And it's especially challenging when both people have huge egos to boot. But the one thing I most admire about my wife is that she has a short memory. I don't mean that in a bad way either. (She's probably plotting my murder after that sentence.) I mean, when we have a heated argument and things are just crazy, an hour later, she'll be like, "Honey, wanna go to the store with me?" --As if nothing took place. It's not that she "forgot" about it -- it's more about forgiveness. I admit, sometimes I get all grumpy and make it last just a teeny bit longer, but the fact remains, the argument shifts. We do finish the argument in a more constructive way after the fiasco, but the most important thing is: our battle has ended. Time to move on and eventually, everything is forgotten about. I truly believe that's how our relationship lasted this long. Meanwhile, we just have to remember to pull our poor shaking Chihuahua out from underneath my office desk. How she trembles even if there's the slightest tension in the air. She totally knows. And it's not like we have these huge blasts of arguments where things are flying or we're throwing elbows around -- just a good ol' 'hash it out' type of spat. I'd be concerned if people in relationships didn't have any arguments at all. It's an outlet - a way to get things out in the open and with love, patience, understanding (and a whole lotta' luck), it'll end up a constructive conversation afterward.


Forgiveness. Such an easy word to toss around. The question is: can you do it? I learned a lot from my Mom. She always tells me to "turn the other cheek" - and of course, at the time, I'm like, "No! How can I?" But when I do, life is so much easier. No more grudges and resentments. It's not only forgiven, it's also forgotten (in most cases). I have issues with forgetting sometimes, and I think that's pretty normal. When I was younger and Mom and Dad would sometimes have these heated arguments during dinner. I remember hearing loud voices, maybe Dad's fist hitting the table and then silence for about a couple of hours, or at least until they went to bed. The next day it was back to normal. They never held grudges or kept that argument blazing. And like myself, my Mom forgives quickly, goes on about her life. I think it's the only way to survive in a relationship or marriage. They were both each other's best friend, the way I view my marriage. The foundation of friendship always keeps the relationship strong and steady, no matter what kind of storm rolls in. When I was in past relationships with my exes, they were never based on the foundation of friendship. It was headfirst into a love affair type of relationship, where it was fiery and unstable. There was never a calmness to it - always either fighting or making up, or fighting just to make up. It was extremely unhealthy. I'm just happy that I have come to the point in my life where the occasional heated argument doesn't mean divorce papers. It just means you need to talk. Communicate. Forgive. And fuggedaboutit'! 

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Do Opposites Attract?

Life is strange. Relationships are strange. We're strange in our own little ways. Bundled together and shared together, it becomes a 'thought to be' predictable venture, sometimes ending up to find out you were strangers all along, whether together for a year or for twenty. Change is good. Evolving from "one person" to "this person" is okay. When it involves someone else who is changing in a different direction, it might sever the ties that bind that particular relationship. Some people never leave a relationship that has taken two different paths because well, "they've invested so much into it" or "they have a history together". When it involves kids, it becomes more about being selfless or selfish. Whose happiness are you sacrificing besides your own? But, we all want to be happy. We all want that "perfect relationship" and I'm here to say there is no such animal. You either have to accept the imperfections to make it "perfect" or you have to decide whether or not to stay or leave. Ending a relationship or marriage that went beyond ten years, a house, some pets and maybe a kid or five means adapting to a whole new lifestyle - a whole new "life" in itself. It means moving out of your home, or having the people you love move out of your home --- whichever the case, the life is completely thrown up into the air with a bunch of uncertainties...and that scares us. So we stay. We try. We tolerate what we cannot stand. We grumble. We bitch and moan. We...are miserable.

The younger generation seems to think that you need the spark even after 5 or 10 years. In my opinion, this is why there are so many divorces. People give up so quickly once that fiery passion fades. I do believe that "passion" turns into a more loving experience in terms of intimacy, a "connection". And I dare the next person who says they still have butterflies in their tummy with their longtime spouse by taking a polygraph test. Sure, I believe there's love, but it's not like when they first met, or even the first year of dating. It's just different. Also, it's not a bad thing. There are stages of love.
  1. The courting stage (with the passion and butterflies we all want to keep forever)
  2. The planning stage (nesting and setting up for the future)
  3. The contentment stage (where you are comfortable, relaxed and have a newfound love - a "family" type of love for your partner) 

What happens when you're at stage 2 or 3 and your partner wants to trek it back to stage 1 again? Or, your partner or spouse goes through some midlife crisis, where he or she wants to live in a bar or go clubbing - a more "unsettled" life, as it was in stage 1, but for you, it's not so exciting anymore. Maybe an argument over that new convertible Porsche sitting in the garage or perhaps a night out with the boys becomes more of a daily happy hour venture that runs into all hours of the night. And of course, what if someone slips and has an affair because they found a "stage 1" type of feeling? The "stand by your man" statement was made in what --- the 1930's? Well, Hillary Clinton did it, but then again, maybe it was just to save her political career. I'm sure many women would have backed up her decision to divorce the feisty hubby in the oval office, but I think "traditional values" are more sought after when you're in such a high position. But what about for us little guys? We'd be shunned by our friends and family if we stayed with someone who cheated on us --- even once. I do believe in forgiveness and slip ups, but let's face it, a tiger never changes their stripes.

Commonality. It's rare to find. I am not a believer in "opposites attract" -- and I mean that in the sense of polar opposites. I also think you can't date your clone either. (At least for me, for good reason.) Now what I'm about to say needs to be taken with a grain of salt and an opened mind. A little more than 50 years ago, interracial couples weren't allowed to get married legally. It was also seen as a "sin" within society - or looked down upon for reasons of either 'not knowing their roots to the fullest extent' or just not adapting the culture whatsoever. People have overcome that and progressed so much throughout time. We've come together more, shared more, accepted more. But what happens when you date someone after a period of time and start to realize that you are still not adapting to their culture, to the ways that their family celebrates certain holidays or even, how they still feel tense around you due to your lack of knowledge of their race? You can't use the same terminology around them or perhaps you feel awkward talking at all, feeling judged and ridiculed over every word that goes against their accent or slang and lack thereof. On the up side, you have to be one helluva' confident person to keep plugging along in that relationship with all the challenges of the opposing cultures. It takes strength and determination to learn and share with people who maybe have no clue about your own heritage. They don't have to make an effort if they don't want to - it's all up to you to put your best foot forward, and sometimes that just isn't enough. If you're not "in" with their family, then half your partner's heart is elsewhere. If you don't combine your union with the extended family, it will be an eternal conflict, well at least until the relationship or marriage is over.

What's the glue that keeps your relationship or marriage together? Or, why do you think your relationship or marriage fell apart too soon?

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For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, May 03, 2013

Silence

So I thought to myself, "Wow, I'm not even hungry," and it was nearing 8pm. I poured my second martini on a somewhat empty stomach and nothing was temping my palate at the moment. With my corny background music blaring Amy Winehouse's "The Girl From Ipanema", I was feeling a bit fuzzy - a bit "silent" in my mind. I had no thoughts, no words rushing through my head or the many questions I pose to the poor man up above who has to hear every single complaint that I toss into his box. I trekked onto my Facebook account and saw a "message from God" -- one of those little apps that make you feel like, "Oh wow! God sent me an email!" Well, not really. Of course it gives you an option to become an instant pastor and that you can always donate to them, if you're generous enough. It said that my life was full of my own "chatter" and to be still and listen to my spirit and the spirit that speaks to me. It told me to shut up basically. Surely you can't mean my blog, I mean, that's what I do, I write, I talk, I, I, I, say too much...maybe?  And since writing is what I do for a living, I'm noticing that I'm not writing for "me" -- I mean, in the passionate sense when one becomes a real writer - someone who has heart and soul into their unpaid work. But now, it's a job. And I was afraid that this would happen. Sometimes, I'll just plop a post onto my blog so that it's mirrored onto websites that pay me for my thoughts and frivolous ramblings. Thankfully, there's a second gig that fulfills the gap in my bank account (not so much). So I write. I talk. I speak. I've even gained a unique following mostly from Vietnam. Don't ask. I'm grateful, but a bit puzzled. Emails from suicidal teens sometimes appear in my inbox or the occasional closeted housewife who has ten kids wants to know if "becoming a lesbian" would be a bad thing. Strange stuff.

But I digress.

Silence.

In every sense of the word, "silence" - that's been resonating within me ever since I found out Dad was given a six months to live. My wife and I are believers, so we would say, "Well that's what the doctor says, but God has different plans. Only He knows." Sadly, the doctors were spot on - exactly six months Dad went to heaven. I used to think, "What would our world be like without Dad?" And now I know -- it's very silent. Not only was he loud (and sometimes obnoxious in a funny way), but his presence  - his enthusiasm for life - even if it meant just sitting outside BBQing - he was excited about everything. At huge functions, his voice would stand out from the rest. You definitely would know Dad was around. Wherever he was, you felt safe. Even when he was sick and intoxicated beyond belief from all the oxycontin they kept him on, he still managed to mutter out, "Ya need help? Want me to do dat' for ya?" He couldn't even if he tried, but his spirit was willing. This is what made me think he'd last longer than six months, at least a few more years. But the silence keeps growing. No more wheezy laughter howling from the other room or his heavy equipment outside rumbling the earth with their loud engines. It's strange. With that being said, I'm finding my passion for life has taken somewhat of a break. I know it's normal to grieve and take some time off to 'get it together', but my passion for the things I used to do has somewhat fizzled out. You can call it depression or the blues, but I call it the missing link syndrome. I guess it's pretty much normal and things are getting better, but there are times when it's too silent around here.

There are a lot of "big character people" in my family - those you would totally notice if they were out of your life. That's what makes it even more terrifying. So, I pour another drink to calm my racing thoughts, perhaps to even completely silence them. It works for the meantime. And although I keep the "moderation" tightly secure, I do notice that it's been on a daily basis ever since the big guy booked it into heaven. The one thing I never dabble into is my summer evening smokes. Yes, I am a reformed smoker - quit over 15 yrs ago, however once in a blue moon, I'll have a smoke on a nice summer night by the fire pit or just hanging out having a few cocktails. Once I saw what smoking did to my father, I haven't lit one up in over two years. I tried therapy and grief counseling and all of them made me feel worse for some reason. (That's just me.) I even tried antidepressants and that made me feel not only loopy, but absolutely out of my mind psychotic. The pharmaceutical companies love it when your mind tells you, "Hey, it's working, be happy" when all it's doing is making you tolerate horrible side effects for a mere buck or two, and for us, an arm and a leg. "Oh wait two weeks and you'll feel better."  Bullshit.

The best thing I ever did (as you know by now) was get a dog. She's a great sentinel, can hear a moth from miles away (which can also be annoying at 3am), but the love this dog gives is just amazing. She fills the silence most of the time. Sadly, even when I pray, there is way too much silence. I used to hear God all the time, or was that my mind...or was that just a hint for me to be silent and listen to Him? Another little reminder to "shut up" again. My outlets range from writing music, playing guitar, photography and of course, writing. But I need more - something different that'll at least hold my attention for more than five minutes at a time. Even cooking has been a task for me. My cooking blog has suffered long enough, but the other day I managed to make a huge "Thanksgiving-like" dinner for Madelene. I don't know what got into me but I was cooking up a storm. It used to be another passion of mine that is slowly fading with time. Now it's like, "What about Chinese takeout or maybe just throw a few hamburgers on the grill" type of thing. Things are becoming simpler, quieter, more introspective. I used to love holding big parties at my place, but after having the last few, I found out it was much harder than expected - it terms of I just didn't feel up to catering to people - although I did it anyway. It mentally exhausted me. I didn't even get to sit and chat with the people who came. I just served and ran around like a chicken without a head. It's not that I don't love catering for people, it's just that I need a much needed break. My break comes this June. I'll be leaving for over a week to the Hamptons to unwind, relax, and watch the ocean as I sip on my self-medicated potions. So please bear with me if my posts are minimal, more low-key and a bit raw. I'll be back to myself in no time. For now, I just have to fill the silence.

When you try your best, but you don't succeed 
When you get what you want, but not what you need 
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep 
Stuck in reverse 
And the tears come streaming down your face 
When you lose something you can't replace 
When you love someone, but it goes to waste 
Could it be worse? ~Coldplay

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For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!