I was going to write a paean to my Dad on my blog this week, being Father’s Day and all, but my dad really, really hates Father’s Day. Instead, I realized that I lie to myself about Lyme now. Yes. It’s true. You can lie to yourself about anything. Think about it. I’ve decided I should be just about well now, so I have rationalized my relapses by saying I’m “super-tired”. I can do this for days. In fact, I just did!

This past week, Denver’s Lighthouse Writers host LitFest. Workshops, readings, and salons where authors famous in the literary world discuss literature. I needed to get back into the writing world. I took the week off from work and volunteered. I also took five or six workshops. I started to backslide the fifth or sixth day. I told myself I was tired from working my brain and social skills for the first time in at least a year and a half. Lies, all lies. As my daughter said today, “You want me to tell you when you’re relapsing? Because I could’ve told you that four days ago.” Cue eye roll.

Why do I have such a hard time admitting to relapses? This must be a new thing, tied into my belief that I should be well. Or maybe there is more to it than that. When I was little, when we were sick, Mom had her tried and true medicines and sick foods. Ginger ale and jello for stomach upset, Coriciden-C and warm saltwater for colds and sore throats., and calamine lotion and mercurochrome for everything else. This lasted as long as you were actually ill. We were not allowed to watch TV, or run around, or goldbrick. As soon as we were well, we were expected to get on with it. She was a good example, herself. I rarely saw her sick in bed, unless she had a raging cold, was throwing up, or when she had cancer (okay, pretty good excuse, Mom). Other than that, she got up and powered through everything. Dad was not much different. He scared the shit out of me when he had back surgery. I was a freshman in college, so to see him laid out like that for the first time in my life was shocking.

My point is, being sick only got you so much sympathy in my house. I absorbed these lessons and chafe at not being well. I don’t revel in the attention being sick gets. In fact, I hate it. I also hate not having any fun, and believe me, when you’ve been sick a long time, even work is something fun. So I lie. Maybe I hope that the lie will morph into the truth. That would be great. I do it in all sorts of ways. There’s the ‘wow, I look pretty good for having eaten 400 potato chips this week’ lie. The ‘twenty minutes of weights and 800 yard swim is a tough workout’ lie. The ‘I deserve this <blank> my life has been so hard this week’ lie. That one’s my favorite and usually involve either clothes or makeup. In truth I don’t ‘deserve’ shit, it’s a self-serving lie, the best kind.

In reality, though, super-tired means a relapse. My bones ache, my brain thrums and I bang around like a woman in high heels after three glasses of wine I rub my eyes because they burn and itch and blur up. It is most certainly bartonella. I’m taking medicine, so a reaction means dead bugs, which means a sore liver and more tiredness. It’s all so boring. I think that might be my problem. I am bored with Lyme. Bored with doing only what I can, not what I want. Bored with babying myself, always making sure I get enough rest, eating well, and all that crap. Bored with my own limitations. Lying makes it more bearable. Am I really fooling myself, though? It would seem I am such a good liar, that I can fool myself quite easily, but then, one has to want to believe in a lie to get away with it.

I don’t see any way out of this box. I’m not well enough to forge ahead with my life with no consequences. I’m tired of being sick. The lies work! Father’s Day is still this weekend. I’ll call Dad, tell him I love him. I can embarrass him any time I want. I’ll get to that paean someday, Dad,  but you gets a pass this weekend.



I curse. A lot. Recent studies indicate cursers are smarter and more honest. Yes! Let’s go with that. I can’t remember the first time I heard someone curse, or the first time I cursed. I do remember cursing with my friends on the bus, the words spitting out of my mouth. Curse words are often sharp, their sounds like punches. Shit, fuck, damn, they all have a nice staccato sound. The longer words are melodic, rolling off the tongue: motherfucker, sonofabitch. Is that what I liked about cursing? Or was it the lure of the forbidden? It’s been too long for me to tell. What is certain is that I took to cursing like Donald Trump lies. Like Trump, now I can’t seem to help myself, even if I wanted. The curses burst out, a sort of verbal tic. I can rein it in for a short period of time, but then something usually happens.

There are instances where, to me, curses are not only appropriate, but called for. When I was in the sixth grade, I was with my mom at the stable. I led my horse, Duchess, out of the stall to groom her. She was a crafty old mare, and she liked to push me into the fence or the walls when I made her do something she didn’t like. This time there was a nail protruding from one of the boards, the curved tip angled perfectly to snag the tender skin above my bicep clean through. “Damn!” I said, a perfectly reasonable response to being caught like a fish on a hook. “Damn, damn, damn!” It hurt, you see. I can so clearly remember my mother’s response. “Melissa! There’s no need to curse!” If I had the presence of mind, and the balls, I would have said what I was thinking: if ever there was a need to curse, this was it. So, being hurt. When else? Driving. I could no more drive without cursing than I could go without food and water. Other drivers drive me to cursing. Sorry about the pun, but really, if I wasn’t cursing, I’d be apoplectic with rage. Cursing relieves the pain of a stubbed toe or bacon grease burn. Saying ‘fuck’ over and over is my pain om. Cursing is a handy skill during sex, too, the dialectical cousin of talking dirty. I curse to express my joy, as in “I’m so fucking happy right now.” I could say “I’m so happy”, but would you know how happy I really am? I think not…

What about the children, some might ask. I say children need to learn when it is appropriate to curse. My mom, a natural born lady, cursed twice in my lifetime that I can remember. My dad wanted to curse around us kids. He chose not to, so he made up words. ‘Poodletoot’ and ‘razzlefratz’ were the two I remember best. I use both words to this day. I asked Katie if my cursing affected her, and did I curse more than her. She laughed and said she loves to curse. She also said she curses way more than me. Take that anyway you’d like. Maybe it’s in our gene pool. She also said she curses when she’s sad, mad, hurt or happy. I didn’t ask her if she curses during sex. TMI.

I know, I know, some curses take the Lord’s name in vain. I understand that. I’m also sensitive to others and respect their wishes when I’m around them. However, those words hold no power over me, because I’m not religious. It’s like learning curse words in a foreign language, the childish delight partly because the words don’t mean anything to me. There are some curse words I don’t like. C*@t that rhymes with punt is reserved for the lowest of the low for me. I have some perennial faves, but I love it when I hear a variation on a classic. ‘Asswipe’ became my go-to word three or four years ago. I’m not sure why, seemed right for the times, I suppose.

This may be the first blog in a very long while that hasn’t had something about Lyme disease. To me, this is YUGE! Maybe I am getting used to my new normal. I can’t remember if my cursing habits changed at all while I was really sick. I wasn’t driving and I was alone, talking to myself, a good deal of the time. It wouldn’t surprise me if I cursed myself out. Wait, I think I did curse, especially when I lost my mind. I remember calling myself a stupid bitch any time I did something irrational, which was quite often.

Good cursing is an art. I get a thrill when I hear a well-placed curse word. I like the way curses enhance the impact of a statement. I will continue to curse, enthusiastically and vociferously. I’m also going to continue to buy in on the studies that say I’m smarter and more honest, even if they’re total bullshit. Because that’s the way I fucking roll.