Friday, June 09, 2017

When the Truth Comes Out

Nobody has control over you. After years of fearing other people's judgements about who I am, what I do and who I'm with, I finally came to realize that -- hey -- I'm an adult! I couldn't give a rat's culo if you disagree with my life choices. Sometimes even the people who are closest to you have this false illusion that they can steer your life's rudder. Let them make suggestions, let them throw their two cents in, or even outright judge you, but the one thing they can't do is change your life according to their will. I read somewhere that whenever you see someone who needs power and control, and will not stop until they get it, you are actually seeing someone who is deeply afraid of life. Fearful people need to have things their way. If they don't, they experience high levels of anxiety and usually have some sort of meltdown.

Trust me, I'm no psychiatrist, but I do know that there are people out there who are just absolutely damaged for whatever reason. In some aspects, we've all been damaged, hurt or betrayed in our lifetimes. But when someone doesn't handle it the proper way, or lets it out in a healthy way, they feel out of control. So what happens is, since their life is out of control, they will attempt to control yours. They will also control how others see you, but remember, people will always find out the truth. You don't even have to say one thing to defend yourself -- the truth comes out in the wash. Sincere and genuine people will judge you based on their experience alone, not based upon how someone else sees you.

For example, years ago I dated this girl who had a sister that was just a year younger than she was. She always said how she never did anything with her life, and that she was basically a "bum" because she didn't have a "real job." She never left the house so she assumed she lacked motivation. She said her sister would do odd jobs or sell things on eBay making jewelry and selling old vintage clothing. A "real job" in my ex's eyes was was very conventional and rigid: office work or breaking your back in some sort of blue collar type of job. My ex was a proud senior editor over at NYU. She made a decent amount of money and always talked about her career to everyone. She basically placed all of her identity onto what she did for a living. About a year after our breakup, I was out having dinner at a local bar and grill and happened to sees my ex's sister hanging out over at the other end of the bar. I went to go say hi.

Turns out, her sister wasn't just twiddling her thumbs at home as once thought. Her sister made an office inside of her home, properly zoned for business. Sure, she sold some things on eBay, but her main source of income was being a psychologist and and family therapist! She went to school and studied psychology, got her degree and became a licensed psychologist making great money and having the ability to work from home. So I asked her when did she start her new career and she said, "Start? I've been doing this for over eight years now! You didn't know that?" I didn't know what to say. I was always under the assumption that her sister had some sort of issue where she couldn't work or just didn't want to go out. But the reality was, her sister was an amazing and well known psychologist and only did the eBay on the side for extra money and for a hobby. In addition, she would also do pro bono type of work for those who could not afford therapy, and even volunteered her time in women's shelters. In addition, she also adopts and fosters senior dogs who need homes as well as volunteers her time over at the animal shelter on the weekends. I mean, could this girl do anymore AWESOME things in this world?

Here's where it gets even better... (Ok, maybe that's the evil part speaking.)

I had asked her if her sister was still working as an editor over at NYU. She looked at me strange and then told me that her sister (my ex) was not an editor --- ever --- anywhere. She was a stripper in an "upscale" club over in the next state from us during the day, which explained why she got implants and had a lot of work done. Nonetheless, she made a killing at this place because this club was an "all nude" type of facility, which did not serve any alcohol. Many things in that club were not umm, legit. I'll just leave it at that. On TOP of that, she never received a diploma, (I don't think a diploma makes or breaks a person anyway) but she made herself out to be the most successful person, but with the exception of trampling over her sister's reputation for being a good for nuttin' bum.

Do you see the madness in that? Because she was out of control with her own life, and felt shame for what she did, she basically put herself ABOVE her own sister's success and trashed her on the side as if she did nothing at all.

Let me just say this... People can talk all day long about you. Realize that it's not about you. Your life has no impact on theirs. Some people claim to be the "hero" in your life, when in fact, they're never even there when you need them the most. These people are trying to control their own reputation in this world while flinging mud at yours. This is definitely a type of control. When a person cannot control your life, they will in fact, try to control your reputation and make people see you through their eyes -- or should I say, through their lies.

As I always say, silence is your best weapon. Let people find the real you by finding out the real truth.

I truly didn't mean to rhyme in this post!!! OK, now go out and have a fantastic weekend!!!

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!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Anticipatory Grief

Oftentimes, I hear, "Oh you look like you're so happy, I didn't know you were going through anything like that," from people who have either just met me, those who view me on live stream as well as some of my friends. I am happy. I am more grateful than anything. And as they say, happiness is a byproduct of being grateful. When I smile, it's usually genuine. I love to laugh and help others who are going through hard times as well. But then there's "me" -- the "me" you don't see when I'm not around you in person, or on social media or live stream -- the "me" that cries her eyes out when nobody's looking. I know it's not bad to cry, but I'd rather cry by myself, with my dog or comforted by my significant other. I try not to bring anyone down, but the fact is: I'm only human.

Seeing my mom suffer so terribly from cancer is just heart wrenching. I watched my father succumb to the awful end stages of cancer and I just can't believe I'm watching it all over again. There's really nothing I can do for her but be with her. Last night, she called me at midnight asking me to come watch TV with her because she was having a panic attack. My mom never knew the meaning of a panic attack, until she came face-to-face with cancer. I can't imagine the thoughts that must go through her mind as she tries to relieve the pain with her meds. She usually falls asleep in awkward positions, slumped over with her head almost falling off the pillow in a deep labored type of breathing. I never heard that from her while she slept.

I miss this.

Mom's close to 80 years young. The selfish side of me wants God to regenerate her cells and reverse the cancer so she can outlive me. "C'mon Mom! Why can't you live to 110 years old?" I can also be heard praying to God, "Please don't take my mom away!" My psychiatrist explained to me that part of the grieving process about losing a parent is the loss of part of our childhood. We lose that child within us in some strange way. We lose that sense of safety and comfort like when we were a child. I was also told, we truly don't become adults unless both parents are gone. The illusionary childhood in our minds, and most of all, in our past seems to become current, especially when we're seeing one of our parents fall ill. I'm learning to become more present, and to trust in God's will for everything, but it's hard because my human nature wants to take over and say, "No! Just five more years!" I remember my father saying to me, "All I want is another ten years, Deb..." And one week later, he passed away.

Whether or not you find this cold-hearted or not, there is beauty found within the moments of anticipatory grief and post grief. I remember five years ago when Dad was still with us, we talked a lot. We said "I love you" often. A week before his passing, over ten doves were sitting above his bedroom while I was outside in the yard. They were so beautiful. When they flew away, they made this pigeon-like noise and ascended up into the high skies where I could no longer see them anymore. It was almost magical. I knew right then and there, that this was Dad's time. During this time, I had rescued a puppy from a shelter. Lola comforted me as I was crying outside on my deck having a glass of wine. The photo on the left shows you her looking up at me. That dog saved me from dying of a broken heart. She knew how sad I felt.

07-21-12
The day Dad went to see Jesus was very strange, sad, surreal, with an odd sense of relief. He was in agony and hearing him cry out in pain was just torture for everyone in the family to hear. We were in hospice visiting him every single day. Then one day, I decided to go in around 2pm in the afternoon instead of doing a morning run. As I was having coffee outside, this beautiful moth landed right on the patio table. It appeared to have an ascending angel painted on it. You can see for yourself -- it was the strangest moth I have ever seen. When it landed, it was 12:21pm -- a time I always catch on the clock. And another strange fact is, all of our relatives pass away on the 21rst of the month, and that day was July 21, 2012. I looked over at my partner and said, "He's gone." She asked how did I know, and I simply showed her the moth and the time. About 30 minutes later, my sister called me and said, "He's gone." And when they told me it was a half hour ago, I just knew. I knew that there was something greater than ourselves out there, beyond all of our physical 3rd dimensional world. Sure I believed in God, but this is what truly made my faith greater. As my family all started to come over, I prepared a dinner for everyone. We sat outside, in a strange silence, some reminiscing about the past, or funny moments. It wasn't torture to sit at the table with everyone. I sat in my dad's seat unintentionally, and he played a joke on me. He kept throwing me these HUGE bees, that would land on me and drop in front of my dish. Dad knew I have a huge fear of bees and always said, "Hey Deb! Look! A bee!" And of course there was nothing and he would laugh way too long over it. He was still taunting me on the other side, and from that point on, I knew he was still with us, not in pain, but telling us that he was ok.

My mom lost a lot of weight. The other day when I went to rub her shoulder as we were eating dinner together, I felt nothing but bones. It took me back to when I was walking my dad around the property giving him physical therapy due to his hip injury one week before he passed. He said, "I love you, Debbie," and I said I loved him back, and then placed my hand on his shoulder to find that my once strong and mighty father -- my superman -- was now all skin and bones. It scared me. So when I noticed that about mom, my heart just broke into pieces.

They say that nobody knows the day nor hour of anyone's expiration date. But sometimes, you just know when it's close. It's not that I've given up on hope or faith, but it's more about trusting God's will instead of my own. I've been in a long enough depression to realize I've been grieving way before anything has happened. It's heartbreaking to watch a loved one suffer so terribly. It's also painstaking to see that your loved one is a completely different person due to the illness. And who wouldn't be? I'm grieving who my mom once was -- funny, active, full of life, always dancing and enjoying martini once in a while. I miss her. I'm mourning for that woman -- the woman who could do anything. And now, she can barely walk out of her bedroom and into the living room.

So if I look tired lately, give me a pass. If I seem to have put on some weight, let it go. If I sometimes withdraw from society, let me be. If I sometimes burst into tears, let me cry. And if you see me laughing and smiling, oh please let me, because I need every ounce of happiness I can get right now. As I type this out, my dog is staring at me, watching me cry. Once again, my little pup understands whenever I'm a hot mess. She's my distraction, my comforter, my little loving fur baby. She never misses a beat. I think God placed this little dog into my life for a reason. And now, it's like déjà vu -- the tears, the heartache, the emotional pain, the anticipatory grief -- but with a little less salt in the wounds. Because in the end, God is in control. God won't ever give us anything we can't handle. Dad once visited me in a dream and said, "Stop thinking about my last days here! Stop thinking about all the pain I went through. Here, take this," and he reached into his pocket and took out this rainbow full of sparkles. He threw it over to me, and when it hit me, it flooded my mind with only good memories -- memories of being together with the family, Christmases, vacations, fishing on the ocean, laughing, summertime by the pool -- all the good times in our lives. It all flashed inside my mind. Then he said, "Start remembering that instead! Stop dwelling on the sickness and get rid of that fear!" And then he left...and I woke up with a smile on my face.

This is my outlet -- writing. This is the way I express myself. This is my story. Whether you find it distasteful to write about this while my mom's still alive, then I have to wonder if you're repressing your own feelings about life, illness and possible death of our loved ones. This is apart of life and there's nothing wrong with talking about it, in fact, it's actually very healthy to discuss this topic. I usually try to find the good in everything. I can't always be "happy-happy-joy-joy" all the time, but I will always have happiness within me -- in my heart -- and when I'm able to share that happiness with the world, then I will. And just because you may see me laughing and smiling from time to time, does not mean I don't care about what's going on. I do. But I can't lose myself entirely to this dreadful occurrence that's happening in our lives. I need to be genuine. And when I'm feeling happy in the midst of chaos, that's a beautiful thing. That's a beautiful thing for anyone to be -- happy in the midst of it all. I'm not talking about dancing around someone's deathbed -- I'm speaking in regards to finding joy in the midst of your own nightmares. Sometimes we need to be a beacon of light in order to help those who need a little happiness of their own. Be genuine. Smile if you want. Cry if you want. GRIEVE how you want.

That's all up to you.

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!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Happy Pride Month

What does Pride Month mean to me? I'm not quite sure. I know that I am incredibly grateful for growing old with my best friend, my partner, my wife, ...my "family unit" -- but I can't say that I'm "prideful." To many of the LGBTqiaxyz community, that's a huge slap in the face. Of course I will always recognize the struggle and the progress of establishing equal rights, but many people of the community still think we live in some third world country. Women's rights activists prance around our country with vagina hats and costumes, protesting the lack of equal rights in America. They feel that they're oppressed and have no rights here in the U.S. The Women's March definitely displayed a lack of respect and dignity to all those who are grateful to be in this country.

For all of those who are angry at the U.S. for the lack of rights, please feel free to move to one of these countries:

Yemen: According to the 1994 penal code, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse. Unmarried men face whipping or one year in prison. Women face up to seven years in prison.

Iran: In accordance with sharia law, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death, and men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing. Women may be flogged.

Mauritania: Muslim men engaging in homosexual sex can be stoned to death, according to a 1984 law, though none have been executed so far. Women face prison.

Nigeria: Federal law classifies homosexual behavior as a felony punishable by imprisonment, but several states have adopted sharia law and imposed a death penalty for men. A law signed in early January makes it illegal for gay people countrywide to hold a meeting or form clubs.

Qatar: Sharia law in Qatar applies only to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation.

Saudi Arabia: Under the country’s interpretation of sharia law, a married man engaging in sodomy or any non-Muslim who commits sodomy with a Muslim can be stoned to death. All sex outside of marriage is illegal.

Afghanistan: The Afghan Penal Code does not refer to homosexual acts, but Article 130 of the Constitution allows recourse to be made to sharia law, which prohibits same-sex sexual activity in general. Afghanistan’s sharia law criminalizes same-sex sexual acts with a maximum of the death penalty. No known cases of death sentences have been meted out since the end of Taliban rule in 2001.

Somalia: The penal code stipulates prison, but in some southern regions, Islamic courts have imposed sharia law and the death penalty.

Sudan: Three-time offenders under the sodomy law can be put to death; first and second convictions result in flogging and imprisonment. Southern parts of the country have adopted more lenient laws. 

United Arab Emirates: Lawyers in the country and other experts disagree on whether federal law prescribes the death penalty for consensual homosexual sex or only for rape. In a recent Amnesty International report, the organization said it was not aware of any death sentences for homosexual acts. All sexual acts outside of marriage are banned. --source


While I understand that you're fighting the "good fight" -- you also have to understand how lucky we are that we have marriage equality here in the United States. You then have to understand, even if we didn't have marriage equality, we wouldn't be stoned to death for loving someone of the same gender. Will this ever stop hate crimes? Probably not. But your rights have not been taken away from you. In fact, President Trump stated that he would protect the rights of the LGBT community, regardless of what his Vice President thinks or feels. Most Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin. Let them. If they're real Christians, they'll pray for our wellbeing. But regardless, if you're not going to allow freedom of religion and speech to be conducted here in our free country, then why should we have the freedom marry anyone we love? I just wish that during this Pride Month, people would reflect over the great progress we have made in order to educate those about the importance of marriage equality and the freedom of living here in this great country.

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!