Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Journey

There was a time when she was very much like you or me, but it was long ago. 

She is not whole.
She walks in darkness. 
Her life lived in shades of grey.

Her secrets are deeper than her soul.
Her mind is tortured. 
Her waking hours are a nightmare.  
Her pain is without end. 

She is lost. 
She is drowning. 
The regret is suffocating.
Her innocence can never be recaptured

The wasted years of her youth cannot be recovered.
The loss is unbearable.
Her grief is palpable.

Her soul is irrevocably wounded.
The scars are permanent.
The horror she has lived, cannot be forgotten.
The things she has seen can never be unseen.
The madness of her childhood cannot be explained.

No one can relate, no one can know. 
She cannot share, she cannot breathe. 
She cannot unburden herself because other’s lives are at stake. 

She must carry on. 
She cannot. 
She must.
She cannot. 

She longs for freedom. 
She longs for love.
She longs for family.
She is not worthy. 

The insanity is spreading like a cancer.
She screams but no sound is heard.  
The sadness pierces. 
Emotion surrounds her. 

She cannot break the cycle.
Her life is chaos. 
Her existence is suffering.

She is unappreciated.
She is misunderstood. 
She is unwanted.

She is misrepresented. 
She is accused. 
She is judged. 
She is persecuted. 
She is blamed. 

Her needs are simple, yet unattainable.
She is an aggravation. 
Her requests are ignored. 
She is unimportant. 
Her life is a non-issue. 

She is manipulated.
She is used.
She is defective. 
She is confused
She has no rights. 
She has no control.

She needs to control her environment. 
She cannot complete anything. 
Her attempts to save herself are sabotaged. 

She is empty. 
Her body aches. 
Her intellect is wasted. 
Her health suffers. 

She feels her mortality.
Her soul is hungry. 
She craves validation.
Her core can never be filled.

She is honest amongst a cesspool of liars, yet she is rejected as untruthful. 
She struggles to avoid repeating past transgressions. 
Her desires are endless, her addictions control her. 
The excruciating pain smolders and is all-consuming. 

She seeks absolution for imagined sins. 
Her spirit is ambition unrealized. 
Her compassion is golden but it is unreciprocated. 
Her shining brightness is darkened and hidden from the light of day. 

She is a diamond hidden forever in the coal.
Her fundamental nature is forgiving.
Her courage is rapture.

She is in recovery.
Her dreams propel her toward the light.
Her heart is pure. 

The fire sparkles in her eyes.
Her essence is gratefulness. 
Her soul is music. 
She is soaring.

She is a survivor.

©2013 Angelina Brighton

Monday, January 27, 2014

The noble pride of self-induced poverty

Ziplock bags for food storage originally surfaced to the mainstream market in 1968.  Naturally my parents refused to buy them because their ever-popular song and dance was “they are too expensive, and we are poor.”  They insisted on buying the less-expensive version “baggies-brand” food storage bags with the fold over top.  Before the debut of the fold-over top, was the plastic bag with a twist-tie.  For a long time, we were subjected to this inconvenience in another misguided attempt to maintain their status of noble deprivation.

When everyone around us drank Coca-cola, we had RC cola because it was cheaper and not very much of it, mind you, maybe once a week.  Other folks had Heinz ketchup but we had the off-brand.   I never once had a pair of authentic Levis blue jeans until I was an adult and bought them myself. 

My father had a bad habit of not paying his bills and it routinely bit him in the behind.  He was unable to purchase a newer car.  His credit history was abominable and as a result he was unable to qualify for loans when he needed them.  This led to more stinginess because if you can’t buy anything with payments, then you are very limited as to how much can actually be paid for out of pocket, in-full.

Whatever was the latest and greatest thing was surely never to be found in our house.  We were conditioned to endure the sacrifice of any and all modern conveniences, in the name of avoiding extravagance.   Store-bought clothing and up-to-date fully operational automobiles and appliances were an unnecessary luxury, as long as sporadic appearances of hand-me-downs could be had for free and old barely working models could be pieced together for a few more miles before collapsing into ruin, sometimes leaving us stranded miles from home.

Light bulbs would burn out leaving dark spaces and batteries would become depleted, never to be replaced.  Closets were dark and appliance features were useless.  Wall switches and electrical outlets frequently did not work.  Cars would not start on demand, or if they did start in order to leave the house they would likely fail to start for the return home. 

My parents’ philosophy was never to spend money on convenience or maintenance of any kind.  In the blistering Phoenix summer heat, we would put on our Sunday best and pile into an old car with no air conditioning only to arrive at our destination dripping in sweat and miserable if we were lucky enough that the car didn't overheat on the way, leaving us to walk.

Through it all, my dad would yell at my mom and snarl about the inconveniences and fray everyone’s nerves to the last shred, as if someone other than he, was responsible for the situation.  Other people, including family members would arrive cool and comfortable in their air conditioned vehicles loaded with their laughing carefree children wearing stylish clothes and shoes that fit well and playing with the latest toys.

I knew better than to even ask for new clothes or a trendy toy because I already knew what the answer would be and I would be lucky to escape with my emotional dignity intact as well.  My experience in school was very negative because of never having the right clothes and shoes or hairstyle or school supplies.

Living in poverty affects people differently.  I learned very young about the importance of a good credit history and resolved to always pay my bills no matter what.  Because of this, I was eager to finish school and get a job to provide for myself and I promised myself once I escaped the confines of my parents’ grasp, never to live in poverty again.  In my house, we have every convenient size of Ziplock bag available, hahaha.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sugar Addiction

Sugar Addiction

I am a bonafide sugar addict.  Some people scoff and say sugar is not a drug and consequently there can be no addiction.  Research has shown that sugar is indeed an addiction inducing substance which is perfectly legal and readily available to all age groups. 

When stress is overwhelming, coping mechanisms must be developed.   It is human nature to abuse substances in response to that need for coping mechanisms.  Some abuse alcohol, some abuse prescription pain-killers, some use tobacco or a combination of all of the above.  

There is another group of people who abuse comfort food.  They may or may not belong to some of the other substance abuse groups as well.  It all comes down to the drug of choice and because sugar is so easy to obtain, this makes it even more dangerous.

Clinical research has shown chemical responses in the brain to rival those of cocaine and heroin.  I struggle daily with sugar.  I crave it constantly.  Being hypoglycemic predisposes me to the roller-coaster effects of sugar consumption, leading to greater dependency with each binge.  Periodically I resist and resist before falling off the wagon in response to some emotional stimuli and then riding the demonic wave to exhaustion, until I regain control.  All the while, swearing off the toxic poison for the rest of my days.

I come by it honestly; my mother is an elite member of the sugar addicts association and freely admits to feeding me Hershey bars and Coca-cola at six months of age.    She and my grandmother thought it was just ever-so-cute that the baby waved her hands and squealed for the candy bars and soda.  At that time, the general population had no inkling of the dangers of sugar or the potential for addiction and long-term, negative health consequences.  No one had answers for why I was such a small fragile child growing up, weak, pale and exhausted, unable to keep up with the other children and useless to play sports.

In more recent times, research has shown that sugar abuse along with other unhealthy nutrition habits can lead to diabetes and a plethora of degenerative diseases.

My husband and I have been steadily eliminating unhealthy choices from our food supply for some time now and it really is amazing how much better we feel when we are successful in avoiding processed foods.

Rant of the day: Uncomfortable labels in clothing

Is it just me, or did clothing manufacturers make an astronomical mistake when they decided to replace the cloth tags with those horrible silkscreen, heat-transfer type labels in the necklines of our garments?  This is a slight change of direction from my usual posts but it is just another facet of survival: Dealing with everyday annoyances, especially those of us who have a reduced tolerance for irritation.

I know, I know, I despised those scratchy cloth tags with the sharp edges as much as anyone else.   I would cut off the edges and try to make them soft in order to preserve the pertinent information recorded there but in the end, many of them had to be permanently removed, ultimately leaving me to wonder what size that garment originally was or who was the manufacturer, not to mention any washing or ironing instructions.

Well, apparently the clothing companies disliked having them removed, as much as we detested feeling them scratching us.  Their solution was to install a flat ink or silkscreen label, flush with the surface of the material, using some type of glue or heat transfer process.  This is all well and good until the piece goes through the washer and dryer a few times.  At that point it becomes something far worse than a stiff cloth tag ever thought of being.  Crispy, crunchy, dried-out and crumbling logos frequently render garments unbearably uncomfortable and removal at that point is almost impossible.

My poor husband had fairly new t-shirts and undies with those flat labels that became so uncomfortable he began wearing the clothing inside out.

My solution to the crumbling logo is to dry all those garments on the permanent-pressed temperature cycle of the dryer using the wrinkle-prevent feature.  Drying time is a little longer but that intense heat is avoided, reducing the risk of crispy labels and ultimately extending the life cycle of the clothing.

I love those Gloria Vanderbilt, Amanda Jeans.  The manufacturers started gluing flat cloth tags to the inside of the waist-band a while back.  In the beginning the tags were fairly easily pulled off before washing and I would do just that as soon as I brought a new pair home from the store and most other people must have been doing the same thing.  Then the company became wise to the practice and began using some kind of indestructible glue found only on other planets and the tags suddenly became fused to the material at a molecular level making them impossible to remove.

My solution is to use the Dremel tool that I normally use to shape acrylic overlay for fingernails and effectively “sand” the label off before the first washing.  Care must be taken to avoid sanding a layer of the waistband material along with the label.

Please comment with your experiences and solutions to similar everyday dilemmas.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


I am a stress junkie.  I have lived under extreme amounts of stress since birth and my body does not understand relaxation.  Reactions produced by my OCD tendencies elevate my stress levels.  Disorganization aggravates my symptoms.  My body’s natural inflammatory response to stress is formidable. 

My back, neck and shoulders are sources of continuous torture.  I frequently endure muscles spasms and sharp pain.  Most of the time, when it is reduced to a dull ache, it is tolerable but the best therapy seems to be strenuous exercise and this is the only time I feel really whole.  Exercise combats inflammation.  I love the gym but it is tough to fit into my unusual work schedule.  My husband likes to go for long walks and I go with him as often as possible.   For about a year I was suffering from a debilitating case of plantar fasciitis which prevented me from walking as much as I wanted to but more recently my symptoms have improved.  much of the improvement can be attributed to wearing "Shape-Ups" athletic shoes by Sketchers.  The round bottomed shape of the sole, rocks the foot forward taking pressure off the heels.   I seek treatment from a chiropractor for my musculo-skeletal conditions and am extremely grateful for the relief he provides.  If not for his expertise, I would be a chronic pain patient with very limited mobility.

I suspect that learning better meditation techniques would be extremely beneficial.  I need to research that.  Put it on the list.  Better nutrition is huge when it comes to stress relief as well.  Food additives and artificial sweeteners aggravate depression and inflammatory disorders.  My husband and I have been trying to eliminate processed foods and food additives along with cutting back drastically on animal products.  Both of us have noticed drastic improvement in how we feel when we successfully avoid these food-like products.

Secrets cause stress.  I hate secrets because they were forced upon me as a child.  Secrets protected the guilty and prevented healing for the victims.  Because of this I have struggled to live a transparent life.  I try to always tell the truth but because that is not realistically possible, the times I am forced to tell untruths or be evasive, cause great distress.  I try not to have any secrets from my husband who is my soul-mate and best friend.  It just feels better not to.

So far the best therapy I have ever found for stress, is writing.  It restores the soul.  I understand it is not for everyone, but it is definitely for me.  I seem to have been born to write.  I crave it like the air.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Notable Blog:

I read voraciously and this is probably what caused me to become a writer.  When I read something notable, I want to share it with my readers.  Today I  discovered David Cain and .  His perspective is fresh and his insight is amazing.  The man is brilliant, please check him out.

I especially enjoyed this post:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Organization Wars

We are going into our tenth year in this house and that’s longer than I have ever lived anywhere so there is quite a buildup.  We just did deep cleaning right before we went to Vegas last year and I threw out two giant 39 gallon trash bags full of clothes along with several boxes of other assorted stuff from purses to shoes to kitchen stuff, you-name-it.  Now it all needs to be done again, and I am still procrastinating.  Instead of starting on a closet, here I am, writing to you guys.

Another major problem is the amount of paper that comes into this house.  I can’t manage to stay ahead of it.  Every day a ton more comes in the mail and my shredder cannot keep up.  Anyone else have this problem?  It overheats and shuts down and still the paper keeps multiplying.  Some of the crap has our names and address all over it on 5 different places making it impossible to just rip off the name and address and throw it out.  I HATE junk mail!

I have discovered that the first step to organization is to have a notebook with dated pages to put all notes and lists in and to carry it around.  Now there are no more scraps of paper with pertinent information that can no longer be found in the time of need.  It took me long enough to figure it out, but now I always know where my notes and lists and other important info will be.

Hubby is the worst for losing stuff.  He is deliberately unorganized and when I harp at him about it, he purposely throws things all over the place just to show me he can do whatever he wants.  He has deliberately lost things many times just to get in my face.  He definitely has a major attitude about not being told what to do, but then so do I. 

I over analyze most situations and plan for contingencies and try to come up with root cause solutions for problems, but it irritates him that I do that, because he does not want to be inconvenienced, to put things away or to try to prevent things from being lost or wrecked or wasted.  He makes me homicidal with his deliberate irresponsibility. 

He complains that he wants to get organized but when I give him suggestions on how to get started, he does exactly the opposite.  He owns a ridiculously expensive Snap-on Tool box, in addition to four other, very nice roll-away tool boxes.  Yet he will use tools to do a job and then throw them in a bucket and leave them in the garage somewhere for weeks or months, instead of putting them away where they belong.  

Then when they are needed for the next job, he doesn't know where they are.  You don’t know how many times I have asked him to fix something in the house or on the car and he replies that he doesn't know where the particular tool is that’s needed but then he doesn't modify his behavior, he just keeps doing the same thing over and over.  [Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. ~Einstein]

He starts projects in the house and then takes forever to finish them, (just like my dad used to do.)  I have three places where the drywall has been removed to fix or install something and was never replaced and finished, along with a half finished flooring project and multiple automobiles in various stages of disrepair.  He is the procrastination king.

I gave him two drawers to put his wallet and keys and phone and whatever else is in his pockets, so he can find his things at a moments notice.  I put up a hat rack for his hats and there are hangers in the laundry room for coats and baskets for dirty clothes upstairs and downstairs but do ya think he will use them?  Negative.  Clothes and shoes and coats all over the house and it takes an average of 15 or 20 minutes to get ready to go somewhere because he loses his keys and phone at least 3 times a day.

I did not know he was like that before we actually got together.  He portrayed himself as more responsible and organized than that and I really didn't know the truth until we were living together.  I don’t know how to fix him because he is very resistant and stubborn.  Can't live with him, but surely can't live without him either.