Ultrasounds and Baby bumps: Facing Fears

Ultrasounds and Baby bumps: Facing Fears

The wifey is laying on a hospital bed, almost completely flat on her back. She doesn’t quite know where to focus her eyes, so she settles to just look directly up at the ceiling. She’s quite. Well quieter than usual. That means she’s nervous, we both are. Jess is about to go through her second scheduled ultrasound. The nervousness stems from just not knowing what to expect. The first ultrasound went on without a hitch, well for the most part. Our unborn child was coming along nicely. No signs of abnormalities. And the heartbeat sounded nice, strong and hurried. The only hangup was that the baby had it’s legs crossed; so we were unable to find out what was the baby’s gender. We were very much hoping that this would be answered the second time around. Yet we were both feeling a little anxious.

I can’t say for sure if Jess had the same types of thoughts creeping through her head, but I know that I couldn’t help but wonder what if the ultrasound comes across something bad that was missed the first time. Not that I was really expecting any surprises. Just my mind likes to gravitate to the worse case scenario all the time. I don’t know if it’s a bad habit or just a defense mechanism. Either way it does a good job putting me on edge. As I sat quietly on the chair in the corner watching the technician apply the ultrasound gel on my wife’s exposed navel, an endless conga-line of really crappy what if’s paraded inside my head.

The ultrasound technician, a cheery, 20 something year old, with a dot like birthmark that was smack dab on the tip of her nose, asked us if we were interested in learning the baby’s sex once she came across it. Jessie smiled and said yes with enough enthusiasm to hide her nervousness. I could feel my heart changing gears as the anticipation grew. A few weeks earlier the wifey’s OB/GYN had asked us if we preferred having either a boy or a girl. Jessie gave the customary “doesn’t really matter, as long as the baby is healthy with ten fingers and ten toes.” The doc looked over at me clearly expecting me to say something along the same lines or that I wanted a boy. Instead I told her “I think I want a girl”. The doc was clearly surprised by my answer because she turned her head slightly, almost like a curious puppy would. The crease of her mouth gave the hint of a smile as she asked me why I felt this way. I suspect that after years of serving a predominantly Latino community, the doc had just grown accustomed to the idea of her patients male partners being more inclined of wanting a boy as their first child, guarantying the continuation of their family name. Personally I never really put much weight in those old world notions. I told her that in my opinion “it was probably easier to raise a girl to be a lady than it was to raise a boy to be a man.” I went a little further and explained how the men in my family have, for the most part had been knuckleheads and screw-ups, and that I just felt that if I had a bit more parenting experience under my belt that I might have a better chance at succeeding at raising my boy properly. The doc, an older Indian lady, with a last name that I have a hard time pronouncing, nodded her head slightly in agreement. She went on to tell us about her first born. A boy that turned out to be a handful. His father a proud doctor from India had told her that since they had a boy it was his duty as a father to be the one to guide him. That it was a mans job after all.She regretted not asserting herself more, because as the years went on their boy gave them a lot of headaches growing up, and that it wasn’t until her son hit his thirties that he finally came into his own. She didn’t come out and say it, but she basically hinted at the fact that her husband just didn’t know what the hell he was doing. I could relate. She went on to say that if she had a choice, she would have had the girl first. She strongly felt that it would have somehow made a difference. The doc’s experience only served to strengthen my desire to have a girl.

About 10 minutes into our second ultrasound session the technician smiles and says, with the slightest hint of what I thought was an eastern European accent, “Well it looks like you are having a boy!” I can’t quite recall what exactly Jess said. I think it was something along the lines of “Really?” with a big Kool-Aid smile flashing across her face. I felt my heart race. I smiled too and I think I said something like “WOW”. We were both very much surprised.

For weeks now I had been predicting we were going to have a girl, almost from the moment I learned about the conception. I was thoroughly convinced of it.I thought that maybe some of my great grandmother’s Santeria inspired soothsaying abilities had rubbed off on me.  Add to that all the comments I heard Jessie’s friends and family members make, claiming that we were going to have a girl because the shape of her belly correlated with some long held wives tale that was deemed as good as true.  I even dreamt with a little girl a couple of times. She had dark, black, curly, hair like her mother. Black eyes like her father. And her mother’s smile. I was not one to dream about kids, so I just took this as another sign. I believe Jess when she said she didn’t care about the baby’s sex, but I think that she had started to root for a xx chromosome carrier because she had started to realize that it meant something to me. She just never had a clear handle why that was, and neither did I.

Sitting on that chair, watching the images of my unborn son morph across the ultrasound screen I came to understand why I had been wanting a girl so badly over the course of those last few months. I had been scared. I had been scared of continuing the cycle, or the family legacy if I may call it that. The declarations of war by our fathers to the heartbreak and lament of their sons. I guess I had fooled myself into thinking that if I had a girl first I would have a bit more leeway to make parenting mistakes. I was stupid enough to believe that girls basically raised themselves and all I had to do was just be there to show some guidance. I know I was full of shit for thinking that way. I see that now. There will be nothing easy about being a parent. I wont be able to coast my way through this like I have on so many other things. I am going to have to teach my son what it is to be a good man, while I try to figure out how to be one myself.

I am beyond happy that I am going to have a little boy. I hope I can inspire a sense of wonder in him. Furthermore I will try to teach him that nobody truly has all the answers in life, which is why its important that he seeks those out on his own and not just take everything that people say for face value. If my unborn son ever comes across this blog, I want him to understand that the grumpy old man that he calls dad, was once a young confused guy that traveled a long way just to try to find out who he was. I pray that 20 years from now, when my son is 19 years old and I’m 55, we can talk to each other like I never could with my father, or my father with his.  And if the day ever comes, when my son tells me “Dad, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do?” I can look the kid in the eye, give him a big hug, and tell him that there was a time when I didn’t either, but if you just try to do what is right, life will throw hints your way and give you a chance to figure it out.

A Funny Thing Happened While I Waited for Santa: Getting Diagnosed for ADHD

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow’s it going folks. Fancy seeing you all here again. For those that actually missed my regular posting on LATB, all one of you that is (Love you Mom), please accept my apology for my absence. It was the holidays and all, and work being as fun as it always is, I thought it was a good time to take a bit a break from the blog. Besides with all the stress that the holidays bring with it, anything that I would have posted would have been just a jumbled series of rants about how unfair life is, and how Christmas was now nothing more than an exercise in consumer excess and yada-yada-yada. Honestly, who in their right mind would want to sit through all that? Like the old adage goes, “If you got nothing nice to say, then perhaps it best you say nothing at all.” So that’s exactly what I chose to do. But that didn’t mean that I just sat in a corner somewhere and just went with the flow. That’s never been much of my style. No, instead I took that extra free time that I gave myself to finally seek help with a monster that kept getting the better of me no matter how hard I fought.

Since I started this blog I have been putting some serious thought about my suspected ADHD. I was 90% sure that I had it. My old doc suspected as much. But I had been hesitant to get it officially diagnosed. I had my reasons for this. Some were financial.  Plus getting a diagnosis wasn’t exactly high on my priorities list. But I think the biggest reason was that I was a little afraid that maybe I didn’t have it. I know you’re probably scratching your head a bit by that one. Please allow me to explain.

It’s no big secret that I have always considered myself a bit of a screw-up. I’ve taken the easy route more times than not. I have lacked confidence and never managed to develop the discipline required to persevere in those precarious instances when the road got too bumpy. I never could grasp and take-in any subject matter that did not capture my imagination or moved me, no matter how hard I tried. When something did finally garner my interest, I would become obsessed with learning all of its ins-and-out at the detriment of everything else around me. I have started dozens of hobbie over the years and spent a good amount of money on them, only to abandoned each and every one of my new obsessions after a couple of months once the novelty of it all wore off. I am argumentative, and can go from perfectly calm and friendly to hulkish rageaholic in a blink of an eye. I am guilty of opening my mouth and blurting things that I usually come to regret; which is really an extension of my lack of impulse control and my need to experience instant gratification. All of that, combined with a few less glaring, yet significant human frailties, have combined like robot lions to make me one Voltron sized underachiever.

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Being a chronic underachiever, over-time, destroyed my confidence. I felt stupid, angry, and lashed out to folks who did not deserve that kind of treatment from me because it is just easier to blame others for my own personal shortcomings. There was a whole lot of self loathing going on inside me. There still is to some extent. I would consistently beat myself up for always coming up short. I felt worthless, and deep down inside, I thought I always would be. Then I discovered ADHD. For the first time in two decades my life made sense. I had the sudden revelation that perhaps I wasn’t some pathetic loser that wasn’t good enough to archive anything worthwhile, but that basically I maybe had been trying to participate in a rock climbing contest while not realizing that my hands had been handcuffed behind my back. Now I’m not saying that if you have ADHD that your are destined to fail. But I am saying that if you’re not aware that you have the disorder, then you don’t have the amount of self awareness required to manage all the symptoms that come with it. And it also keeps you from seeking medical help when you don’t have the tools required to deal with it in a constructive and well thought out manner.

But as I had mentioned, I hesitated to get an official diagnosis. A part of me worried “What if I don’t have it?” What would that say about me? Would it mean I was nothing more than an apathetic slacker? The worlds most self aware village idiot? What if the only reason I didn’t accomplish many of the things I had sought after was because in the end I just simply didn’t care enough to push myself to work for it. Then there was my fear of the drugs used to treat the disorder. I read up enough info on them to grow a healthy amount of respect and fear of them. Coming from a family that has a long history of dealing with addiction, the idea of taking a controlled substance like most stimulants , was something I was hesitant to do. Then there where the horror stories I read up on about individuals who were scatter-brain like myself, but who had a perfectly healthy outlook on life, but once on the meds they where transformed over time into emotionless automatons. And then there were the cases of those unlucky few who were at one time high on life, but after being on medication decided to take a long walk off a very short peer.

But despite all my hesitations, I became resolute over the holidays to find out once and for all whether or not I had ADHD.  It wasn’t an easy decision for me. But it was one that I felt I had to make. Because if I did have it, then I could seek help in treating it. I came to understand all too well that I could no longer deal with this alone. No matter how many books I read on the subject, or how much I tried to treat my possible case of ADHD with simple lifestyles changes, the fact was that my brain just lacked the necessary tools to implement any positive changes for the long term. I would need help if I was ever going to learn how to cope with ADHD. So I made an appointment. After getting some blood work to eliminate any other potential causes for my troubles, and taking an assessment, my suspicions were finally confirmed.

Thankfully after explaining to the my doc the reservations I had on using stimulants, like Ritalin and Aderall, for treatment, my doctor thought that it would be prudent to put me on a drug called Strattera. It is the only non-stimulant approved for the treatment of ADHD. I’ve been on the medication for two weeks now. It is much too early to tell if Stattera will aid me in my struggles. So far I have seen some improvements in some areas. Productivity at work has doubled. Feel more calm and relaxed. The inner monologue isn’t chatting away 24/7, and I’m less impulsive. The downside so far is that there are a few uncomfortable side-effects that I could most definitely do without. Feeling lethargic, dry mouth, nausea, just to name a few.

I understand that the meds are not a long term solution for what will probably be a lifelong problem. Only lifestyle changes, like exercising, both my mind and body, practicing mindfulness, and following a proper diet will truly help me gain a measure of control over ADHD. But I hope the medication will grant me just enough momentum to implement and follow-through with the necessary changes. After all the medication will not grant me a mastery over what things I choose to focus on. They only grant me a slight increase in will power to focus on what matters. The rest is ultimately up to me.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day: My Failed Attempt at NaNoWriMo

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day: My Failed Attempt at NaNoWriMo

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It is Wednesday, December 4th. Which means that it is the “Insecure Writers Support Group” Day. And boy I could use the support.

If you are, like me, a struggling writer, or just someone looking to discover some great talent out there, go check out this great blog that I found called The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. It’s a great little community of writers that have come together to express some of the joys and struggles of writing. I hope you get a chance to check the site out. It will be well worth your time.

Soooooo National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as everyone else seems to call it was a complete and utter failure for me. I didn’t even come close to writing the amount of words that I had hoped for at the beginning of the month. Which to be honest really bums me out because I felt like I was up to the challenge back at the end of October.

I was confident I had everything in place to start my novel. I had the frame work to a good story. 5 friends come together to make sense and come to terms with the events that tore them apart almost 15 years earlier. It was a story about breakdowns and what could have beens. It was an angry story. But it also had a sense of hope.

I had a good idea of who the characters are. What were the things that motivated them. I knew their likes and dislikes. I knew their backgrounds, and what their childhood was like. I knew everything from their favorite color, to the kind of dreams they were likely each to have at night. They were 5 real, breathing, three dimensional characters. Distinct in every way, and bound forever by their shared experiences.

Everything was set. All I had to do was sit down and write the story. But in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to do so. Every Time I made an attempt, something would come up, or I would make something up; just so I wouldn’t have to sit down and write it. I would be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t hate myself a bit for it. It’s just that sometimes I just can’t get myself going. No matter how hard I try. My brain just doesn’t cooperate. Writing for my blog is one thing. That comes easy. Because it doesn’t feel like work. But sitting down to write a novel is different. That feels like a job. That takes a different kind of concentration. The kind that at this moment in time I just dont simply have. Maybe it’s the ADHD. Maybe I’m just afraid to succeed at something that I love. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Whatever the reason, I sure don’t like myself much for it.

 

Being Mindful and Giving Thanks for Another Thanksgiving

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I read a news report from a reputable business publication that the company I’ve been working for over 7 years now will be making another significant reduction in its corporate workforce. A spokesperson for the company was quoted that the company is always looking for ways to “optimize” its operation. I can’t help but crack a cynical smile at the way they the spokesperson tries to lessen the psychological blow of mass firings by rebranding it as optimization. Which really is just corporate speak for handing out pink slips like Tic-Tacs, trimming their idea of unwanted fat, and spreading the work that still needs to get done to outsourcing companies. And for the rest of us corporate sharecroppers that managed to avoid the axe, we get to look forward to having the company dump even more responsibilities on our laps with very little if any compensation. Our only reward being that we got to avoid the unemployment line for just a little longer. But you know what, I understand that I can either allow myself to grow bitter and angry; and feel nothing but spite for people in suits that don’t even know of my existence, or I can be mindful that it is the Holiday season. That Thanksgiving is almost here and that I have so much to be thankful for.

For starters I have a beautiful and caring wife that is “with child”(God I love saying that!). A woman that has, for reasons that still eludes me, has decided that she was OK with putting up with my wondering mind, and moody musings. A lady that willingly holds my hand in public, even though I am nobody’s idea of an Adonis. A woman that kisses me gently on the lips and sweetly tells me that I have the saddest eyes she’s ever looked into with the tenderness and love of a merciful angel. Are things always perfect and hunky-dory between us? Off course not. We argue more than I would like, and after all these years it is rather easy for us to get on each others nerves. But our “aim” much like Elvis Costello‘s had for “Alison” is as “true” as it gets.

I am grateful for the little child that is growing within Jess. That little person that was conceived by love and not lust, has sparked a new sense of awareness that I was sorely lacking. The realization that I am going to be a father has slowed down my thought process in some ways. It has brought me a sense of hope that I have not had. It gives me added reason to keep working on myself and keep trying to move passed all my shortcomings. Am I sure I can overcome them all? No. But I have all the motivation in the world to keep on trying.

turkey-prozac-funny-cartoonI am thankful for my family. My mother, my brother, even the sister that I’m not in talking terms with. I am grateful to them because each of them have touched my life and have helped mold me into the person that is writing this today. Are we the ideal notion of family? Unfortunately no. But I still love them with all my heart. Because in the end they are, and will always be, my family. It’s taken me a long time come to terms with that realization.

Since I feel it is relatively safe for me to assume that everyone that is reading these words of mine are in varied states of being alive and kicking, then let us then take a moment to be thankful for the air in our lungs and the rhythmic beating of our hearts. It’s important that we never take the life that we have been given for granted. We should also take a moment to reflect back on those who are no longer with us. Folks like my friend Angel, who has been gone for almost 15 years now, or my other buddy Marlon who died in Iraq, and my father Tomas Gonzalez Jr., whom I had the bitter sweet honor of spoon feeding him the last Thanksgiving meal he would ever have. Each one of them passed on much too young, and it is their memories that remind me to embrace the passing seconds and relish them.

Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarenc...
Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarence Odbody in It’s a Wonderful Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it realistic to sings life’s praises 24/7? Hell no. I mean if we were just marveling at all of life’s wonders all the time we wouldn’t get much done. Plus we all have our George Bailey moments when we wonder if the world would be better off without us; when life feels more like a burden than a gift. But it important that we don’t lose sight that even though life has it’s fair share of painful moments, I personally can attest to that, it also holds more beauty than our scattered brains and modern lives will allow us to appreciate.

Am I my feeling nervous about all this uncertainty that seems to be surrounding my life? Off course I am. Last time I checked I wasn’t an unfeeling machine like the Terminator. In fact I probably feel it a whole lot more now that I have a little baby on the way. But I also know that I’m not alone in feeling that sense of unease. That I am just one of probably millions of lost souls who so happen to be on the same boat. I would also be telling you a bold face lie if I told you I didn’t feel a twinge of anger every time I hear the CEO gleefully touting about the companies record profits, and sales, and how their innovative leadership has managed to make a significant boost to their shareholders portfolio, while those way down the corporate ladder spend sleepless nights wondering how the bills are gonna get paid if they are deemed expendable.  After all, I don’t have the inner peace of an enlightened Buddhist. But I am also trying to reconcile with the fact that life is long and unpredictable and that we can’t put all our energies and focus on possible but unfulfilled future events. Be mindful of them? Off course. Ignoring it completely is just asking for trouble. Be obsessed with it, until it starts affecting your ability to live in the now? Never.

black-friday-memeFor that reason alone I will put to rest, at least for a few days anyway, any lingering thoughts of what if’s. I’m will not brave fighting through an unholy berserker horde that will be foaming at the mouth in search for that perfect Thanksgiving\Black Friday deal. I won’t bitch and moan about having to work most of Thanksgiving day. I will take a moment to reflect on those that are no longer here with us. And when I finally get around to sitting down to enjoy my warm Thanksgiving meal later in the evening, I won’t fret over calorie counts or carb content, or any other things that will rob me of the joys of having a delicious home cooked meal. And above all else I will be extremely grateful that I got to spend the time that was allotted to me with my wife, her family, and our unborn child. At the end of the day that is really what the day should be about.

With all that being said I hope you all out there spend the day taking part in whatever family traditions that makes the day enjoyable and memorable for you. May the turkey or ham, lechon, vegan platter, or whatever it is you choose to eat on Thanksgiving day be moist and delicious and plentiful. And if the meal turns out to be a little dry don’t be too bummed. Just enjoy the day for all it’s worth. I want to wish you and all your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving. Salud.

P.S.

For those who have been frequenting my little blog here from across the pond and other parts of the world, I wanted to take this moment to thank you for reading. If you ever feel inclined please drop me a line and let me know a little about yourselves. I would love to hear from you. Thanks. 🙂

A Lesson in Anger Management: How to Be the Bad Guy Even When You are the Good Guy

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This past week my wife and I had what some might call a little disagreement. Due to, let’s just say a difference in opinion. Naturally, in typical Tom Gonzalez fashion, I got myself rather worked-up. Like Marsellus Wallace, chasing after Butch, after he was run over by him, type of worked-up. But don’t you worry good people, I didn’t do anything dramatic like he did. That was because I am trying my best not to get myself into any major arguments with the wifey. I know myself well enough to know that If I dared to opened my mouth at that time, if I allowed the somewhat heated conversation to continue, I would end up saying something idiotic that I would most definitely regret and make an already bad situation turn even worse. So I channeled my inner Buddha by taking that giant ball of rage that was threatening to engulf the peace of our little home and swallowed that baby whole. Well maybe not whole. I still managed to take out a small portion of my frustration on my poor phone. Which apparently it failed to appreciate. Because by the next morning my phone went on strike and stopped working. This only served to exasperate the sense of frustration that I was already reeling from.

I needed to clear my head. Catch my breath so to speak. Remove myself from the situation. Now I’m not very fond of bars, or drinking on my own, so that was out of the question. It was late, and I was broke, and I had to wake up early the following day for work, so going out to see a movie wasn’t going to fly either. So I did the next best thing. I took myself and my festering tumor of rage downstairs to the family room. I powered-up my trusty 360 and spent the next hour and a half unleashing my biblical sized wrath on the poor citizens of Los Santos, while playing a game of GTA V.

At some point I heard several sets of footsteps coming down the stairs at various speeds. I didn’t need to look back from the comfort of our sofa to know that the wifey was coming down the stairs being escorted by two eager fur-balls. Pixie and Dory came over to me, tails wagging , mouths panting, asking in their usual adorable manner for me to pet them. I was upset but I knew that they were innocent in all this, so I obliged. After giving each one a gentle pat on the head, they both settled down on the rug. The wifey crossed my field of view in order to sit next to me. I made sure avoid all eye contact, and kept my gaze on the screen, where one of the characters I was playing as was being perused by a small army of police cars. My cold, yet still beating heart, was apparently making the basement even chillier than usual, because the wifey ended up covering herself with the throw-blanket that we keep on the sofa. She didn’t say a word. I’m sure she wanted too. But the fact that I never bothered to acknowledging her existence probably gave her enough of a hint that I wasn’t in the mood for talking. The silly thing was that I did want to talk. I wanted to tell her that what she said had bothered me. That I felt offended even. I wanted to tell her that it was beyond ridiculous for us to even be having these types of discussions at this juncture of our relationship. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m too much of a knucklehead. Too damn proud. Especially if I feel that I am justified in feeling the way that I do. Which to be completely honest with you, I always feel justified. Even when I’m not. I simply couldn’t bring myself to tell her how bad I felt. Instead I allowed her to just sit there feeling guilty. Well I think that was what she was feeling. I guess I was practicing that whole eye for an eye thing. You know– like a good Catholic.

My little session in digital anger management wasn’t working for me. Having the wifey just sitting there, looking all sheepishly, was in the end making me feel like a world class jerk. My wife has one of those pretty faces, that when she gives of a big, genuine smile, she can light up a room, but when she is feeling sad and low, you can’t help but feel like all the colors in the world have been muted somehow. That’s why I hate to see that lady sad; even when I’m mad at her. I knew that she was sad because I was refusing to give her the time of day, which was causing me to slightly hate myself. Which, let me tell you,  is a job I do well enough on my own without her added assistance. This, as you can imagine, was only serving to piss me off even more. It was I that was offended. It was I who was made upset. It was her words that got the ball rolling here. Yet here I was now feeling bad for her too. That my friends was some straight-up, Jedi mind trickery. that this little woman was pulling on me. I thought it was beyond unfair.

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I know Jess was just trying to extend an olive branch. She wanted to tell me ”Hey babe. Yeah you’re right. What I said was a bitch-ass move. I guess that makes me a bit of a busta’. But I want you to know that I love you. And never meant to say anything to hurt you. Plus– and I don’t want you to think I’m trying to make cheap excused for myself here. But I would like you to keep in mind that I’m a woman after all– and sometimes I say some shit simply because my body is releasing an egg or some other womanly function is taking place inside of me that I’m sure your male brain knows nothing about. And that, as it has been extensively documented by science, sometimes causes me to go a little crazy. But with all that being said–my bad boo.” I on the other hand, being the gracious, enlightened fool that I imagine myself to be; I should have accepted her olive branch with the utmost humility. I should have told her that it was all water under the bridge. That if she really wanted to make it up to me– she could start by going back upstairs with me to make monkey love like Bonobos (I know they aren’t monkeys. But just go with it.) do. But I didn’t. I just allowed her to sit there. Quietly. Patiently. Until her presence made me feel so guilty that I abruptly ended my game session, and walked myself straight to the bathroom to take a scalding hot shower.

I know I’m an idiot for it. I still feel I had every reason in the world to be angry. That part I will not deny. But what, I ask you, was the point of allowing my pride to prolong my suffering? What good did that do? The only think I accomplished that evening, besides being an asshole, was making myself sick. Just because I can’t never just let things go.

The wifey would eventually grow the courage to apologize to me after I had laid myself down for the night. She told me that she did not mean to upset me the way that she did. That I had a right to be upset. Which in my head I said loudly “No Shit!” I mumbled and grumbled a bit before saying it was fine. She gave me a soft kiss. Told me that she loved me and then proceeded to sleep all snug like a bug, happy that all was well in our little kingdom of four. Unfortunately it wasn’t as easy for me. I was still mad. I found myself holding on to those negative feelings like a man trying to break a wild mustang.

All that negativity just got bottled up. It had no outlet. There was no pressure valve in site that I could use to release some steam. I just allowed the hard feeling to fester, while I spent the night wallowing in self pity. So what happens when all that negative energy doesn’t get released? Well it gets absorbed. Right around my lower intestines.

I got upset on Sunday night. By midday on Monday I started suffering from what you can refer to as lower abdominal discomfort. I’ve felt this before. Always happens after I have gotten myself past the point of what most people would consider upset. I don’t know if this condition has a name, or even if it is a condition at all. For all I know its all psychosomatic. But whatever this thing is, it about as much fun as a 12 hour marathon of C-SPAN. Now some might consider this to be TMI. So please accept my apology if me sharing this offends my dear readers delicate sensibilities. But I like to be honest with people. Which means that sometimes I get to share stuff that don’t always come of all lollipops and gumdrops. Basically it felt (and as I write this still feel) like having to take a perpetual shit. You know that feeling you get when you been binging on nothing but red bean chili and Fiber One bars for three days straight, and for whatever reason you been denied bathroom privilege during that entire duration? No? Well I don’t either, but I imagine that the pain that I feel is probably pretty similar to that. To make matters worse, even if I go to the bathroom, well lets just say there is not a whole lot of action going on. So the pain just lingers. Another side effect is that my lower left side becomes very sensitive to the touch. If any pressure is applied to that area the general feeling of discomfort can be pretty painfully. Which is why sitting in front of a computer, trying to write a blog post, while feeling kinda crappy (pun totally intended) is not so appealing. This is the reason why I missed my making my usual Wednesday post here Once Around the Block.

The old me would have gone over to WEBMD by now to look up what this so called ailment might be. But since every symptom on that site basically points to cancer, I decided against it. Why give myself something new to stress about. Besides, the only time I get this is way is whenever I get Hulk SMASH mad. So it is obviously connected to my emotional state. Just another example of how not having a healthy way of coping with anger and stress can start tearing you up from the inside-out.

So that’s my current dilemma. I need to find a good, healthy way of deal with the everyday stress that comes with just being alive; along with the extraordinarily stressful situations that occur when you have to interact with folks, who like me, are trapped living in a self contained reality that exist only in their mind. I know I can’t avoid arguments out right for a number of reasons. One being that it’s not really part of my nature, and two, I’m married, and couples are gonna disagree and have misunderstanding from time to time. Plus I have a temper, and folks sometimes like to poke a stick at a sleeping bear. But I can control how I allow that tension to affect me. The only thing we have any control over is how we react to that stress, tension, adversity. Like (os and so says) life is 10% what happens to you. 90% how you react to it. That’s my problem right now—well always really. I react horribly to any situation that I deem remotely unpleasant. I need to make finding a healthy way of dealing with my anger and stress a major priority. Because all this pent up aggression is starting to kill me. How exactly do I do that? Fuck if I know.