curses

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.

 

 

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lapses

Now that I am attempting to resume my interrupted life, I’m discovering a few things. Earlier in my life, I had many surgeries, mostly for having a reproductive system, but also cryosurgery to repair a torn retina and ACL replacement. After each of those surgeries, there was a period of time that I simply lost. Things were misplaced. Bills were not paid, or paid twice. Books were read and completely forgotten. Lyme brain fog is an entirely different animal. If I ever wanted to know what early Alzheimer’s, psychosis, deep depression or OCD were like, I’ve found out. Lyme mimicked all of those things at one time or another, sometimes at the same time. My brain was, quite literally, inflamed.

I’ve struggled to explain what an inflamed brain is like. At one point I felt as though I were on tranquilizers and paralytics while drunk. Other times I felt as though I were on a never ending acid trip while severely depressed. There were still other times that I felt like I was coming out from general anesthesia. None of it was pleasant. It also lasted for SEVEN MONTHS. Not every once in a while. Every. Single. Day. If you saw me during this time, count yourself as one of the few. I hid myself away as much as possible. I had hours of lucidity, the occasional rare day of partial sanity. That was almost worse, because I would realize what was happening.

These were the months of scribbling in my notebook, trying to keep track of what was happening to me. These were the months of letting Katie lead me around the grocery store, helping me make decisions and handling the payment and bags. These were the months of moving from my bed to the sofa back to bed, watching bad tv or listening to music or simply existing, like an eggplant or something.

I haven’t always lead with my brain. I don’t know why not, other than I took my brain for granted. I have never taken my looks for granted. Is there a difference in the way men and women are rewarded for having brains? Most certainly. Are some people threatened by other people’s intelligence? Definitely. What I didn’t realize is how much of my personal identity is tied up into being smart. It is probably the most valued asset I have (that, and my optimism). To lose what you perceive as your greatest strength is devastating. You can’t articulate what your fears are because your fears have come true: you’ve lost your marbles.

The nice thing about an inflamed brain is that you’re not quite aware how fried you really are. Things sort of melt away. Days drift along, one much like another, a wet, gray blanket of blankness. The minute you can think, depression and anxiety crowd out rational thought. For me, medical marijuana and bad television made the worst days if not tolerable, survivable.Schedules and goals, no matter how small, helped, too. Get up. MAKE THE BED. Make coffee (Decaf now <SIGH>). Eat something. CLEAN THE KITCHEN. Go back to bed. Sleep. Get up. Stare at the TV (it’s interesting that, like everything else from this time, I have the memory of watching but none of the details). Try to walk the dogs. I actually accomplished this almost every day, even if it was less than a quarter mile. The dogs have been stalwart companions through all of this, and  their companionship made my life immeasurably richer. Unconditional dog love is real, people!

My mental faculties are returning. I still have lapses. I talked to a patron at the pool this week. She asked me if I had read Eudora Welty. Of course I had, I knew this as a certainty. However, I could not recall one title, one plot line or character. Holes remain, and I don’t know if they will refill or simply disappear. Memory is a slippery creature at best, Most of us simply trust that what we remember is true, we don’t delve too deeply in the mechanics that make it so, nor do we give credit to memory as personality. After all, who are we if we don’t have memory and thought? I lost both temporarily, and it was like I had been erased.

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