What About Your Friends? (Social Media vs. Real Life)

I’ve been healing most of the summer.  I had a torn meniscus that had to be surgically remedied. I was walking down a flight of stairs and POP!  Pre-surgery, walking was painful so I couldn’t do much. Post surgery walking is painful, and I’m moving around slowly on a different cane.

I’m going to physical therapy, attending some Buddhist activities and that’s about all of my activity level. This is the first summer I can remember when I didn’t get a tan line or even need to use my summer makeup colors because I’m still my natural color. (If you know me, that’s a shade of semi-pale.) As a fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue sufferer, I’m sadly used to pain and discomfort. I really thought I would have been moving around faster and farther than I am but, I know that the pre-existing health conditions are slowing it down. Migraines were also kicking my ass, so I’ve been down, but got my Botox injections so I’m better. I few of my plans have been put on hold.

I haven’t really had any fun. Hell, I think I had this year’s fun, last year!  I’ve been reading books and talking to some friends on the phone. I’ve rested or slept. I’ve spent a lot of time on both Facebook and Instagram to pass some of the time.

I came in from physical therapy today and was watching “America’s Doctor” on The  Dr Oz Show. I had a chance to visit the set and be part of a taping late last year. He had a quiz that I’d suggest others take, it’s called the  Adult Loneliness Quiz. Even the panelists admitted that they answered 4 or 5 out of 5 questions as true. Social media has truly become an important part in many people’s lives.

This blog wouldn’t exist if social media wasn’t my first outlet of expression. Looking back at some of my past FB posts, about 4 years ago, I became more reflective based upon the things that were going on in my life at the time.

I had kept a lot of my frustrations and confusion about my illness to myself, since I didn’t know how people would react and treat me. I wasn’t happy with the way people at my workplace made me feel about it, so, I kept it to myself, most of the time.  My reflections blossomed into this blog where I’m more open but sometimes I question my openness.  I have this blog, yet I find I’m not keeping up with it, the way I had planned to. When I feel the urge to write or express something weighing on my mind and heart, I use this platform that I paid WordPress a year in advance for (I’m not one for wasting dollars). Some days, I just can’t put words and sentences together to make coherent observations. Yet, everyday without fail I’m on Facebook and Instagram. Right now, I’m using my computer and have a tablet and phone next to my bed. I’m plugged into the world.

There is something about reading about the lives, loves and adventures of my connections. I feel engaged, even though I’m far from friends and family. I have friends beginning with elementary school all the way to workplaces. I’ve met some great people in Facebook groups, who have become friends that I would have never met without social media. I get to see places and people, when I’m too sick or too exhausted to move from my bed.

Over the past year I’ve deliberately disengaged myself from some “friends”. They never comment, like or even say Hi to me. Why are we friends? There’s been no engagement in maybe a year or more. They haven’t said Happy Birthday in 2 or more birthdays. These are not my friends, but acquaintances that know too much about me.

I have core groups of Facebook friends that are engaged, make me laugh and vice versa, love music and food. They are interested in current events, celebrity gossip, fashion and this upcoming election. They watch tv shows with me, with full commentary and just remain a part of my life. Not long ago, I had a problem and these connections help me make a decision. Some of these people I have never met or haven’t seen for years. They are my rays of sunshine every day.

I have “friends” that have basically forgotten I exist since we no longer work together. We enjoyed each other’s company at one time, hanging out outside of work, even had some of them in my home, but now,they celebrate their life events and I learn about it on social media. One of the Dr. Oz Quiz questions about this particular subject led me to write today.

Man, Facebook can hurt your feelings. I’ve tried to stay engaged, invited them to celebrate their promotions, reached out in death, without much response. I really meant -Let’s plan brunch, lunch, dinner, a drink. They know their schedule more than I do. Most people who have chronic illnesses know, we have to do things when the body is able. I guess I cancelled too many times, I don’t know.  I’ve said,  Come to my house and catch up, come to a small birthday celebration another friend was having for me and it’s like I never said a word. I turned 50 and no one who I had spent most of my days with for years said, Let’s do something for your special milestone. But, I see them celebrating or having their milestones in gatherings with other people I know.  Was my invite lost in the black hole of cyberspace? Nope, I was not a blip on the radar.

It’s been three years of suggesting, and I’m not trying anymore. I’m okay with that. I’m making room for what and who is to come. I’ve decided that these relationships are not true friendships and I will stay disengaged. I will stay connected through social media platforms only. I can’t continue to maintain what I see as one-sided friendships. The one constant in life is change. I needed to admit to myself that this was no longer working for me.

True friends are there for you in good and especially needed during the not so good. Life has truly been challenging for me and they really haven’t been there. No one is so busy that they can’t quick text -Hello, How are you? I have limited mobility and no family nearby. They’ve never asked if I needed a ride or have groceries. I do self blame for a lot of things, but everything cannot always be my fault. Other friends have asked and when I need them, I can truly say they will be there in whatever capacity is needed. I appreciate them. One real friend took off of work to bring me home after my recent surgery and made sure someone was with me the next morning. That’s a true friend.

I am extremely disappointed though I will not allow people to change me. I’m not angry or crying about it. Illness and hard times affect all parts of life. I’m a giving person to a fault and will remain that way. I have some true friends who pray and worship  with me and they have been real lifesavers. They’ve never given up on me and I contribute that to the humanism of SGI’s Buddhism. We pray for the happiness of ourselves and others. We do not want to see others suffer. Helping people become their best self is what makes a more peaceful society.

Social media can be both friend and foe. As in real life, it is the people who make it fun, exciting and meaningful. I’m a huge social media user, but real engagement is definitely necessary, even for a self proclaimed loner like myself, sometimes.

Writing Again

I’ve been MIA, but, I had my reasons. First I had a flu bug, which just put me out of commission. Flu Shots are not for me. I’m not sure what’s in that concoction. The side effects may be worse for me, cuz, frankly  I’m sensitive to medications.

Two days a week of physical therapy, is kicking my butt. I recently started an Adult Literacy Training Program that I am so excited to be a part of. I’ll be helping adults to improve their literacy skills. One part of the training is writing. I had to select an object and write about it for 30 minutes. I’ll share what I wrote.

Walking stick or cane, I have used one at different times in my life. Once, I broke my ankle and one was given to me after months of using, its cousin, Crutches. I graduated from you to gradually walking on my own again.

A few years later due to illness, pain and fatigue, I had to fight vanity and accepted the fact that I needed a cane. I had the belief that canes were for the elderly or the disabled. I  later accepted that I did have invisible disabilities. Canes were for those who needed the assistance. There’s nothing wrong with that, however, I didn’t think that was me. But, I had to accept that it was. As time passed, I fought my hidden feelings and opinions and challenged my life as a 47-year-old cane user.

Soon, I couldn’t go anywhere without you. You became my personal companion. We’ve become Inseparable, like that Natalie Cole song.  As people drifted away from me and didn’t include me in their life’s events, you were there. Perhaps, seeing you disturbed them, but we are a package deal.

I was in physical pain, but still I felt the stares from strangers. Kids seem to be drawn to you, perhaps it’s your bright and bold color. My last one was purple and you are cobalt blue. My thought was, if I have to use a cane, it might as well be fashionable. When kids, under 8, pass me, they look in awe at the metal in my hand. Their eyes follow my steps. They are walking forward while their heads turn backwards. It always makes me laugh and lift my spirits.

I like that I can fold you and not always have you visible.You were supposed to be a quick fix to help support my body, but you’ve been with me for three years and hanging on. I want a divorce from you, yet scared to quit you. My balance is bad, I sway to the side unsteadily, and I’ve fallen. Yes, I’ve fallen and couldn’t get up. I’ve violently met the sidewalk with my whole body, and it wasn’t pretty. Since you entered my life, I have managed to stay standing upwards.

I’m only 50 and have a lot of years ahead of me. I just can’t stay with you. I feel no one sees me. They see you first. I’m standing still and know their minds are wondering why I need you. I get asked by people who like your three-point legs and color, “Where did you get your cane?” “My mother needs one like that.”(Bummer)  😦

I get asked, “Did you hurt your leg?”

I never have any easy answer. Replying, I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue along with lower back and balance issues, just doesn’t roll off the tongue easily. I don’t think they understand that anyway. At times I say its my back, other times, I say balance problems.

You have helped me get out of chairs, in and out of cars without tripping over myself.  On the days I’m so fatigued or my back is aching so badly, that I can barely get up;  I appreciate you.

Very recently I started physical therapy and the goal is to “get me off that cane.” I hope you are not too upset.

She has me doing balance exercises and wall squats to strengthen my core. Painful, but I’m pushing through. Significant change will take time. I can’t stand for long periods, but I’m doing better. I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs at all. I’ve graduated very slowly, climbing up, stopping to rest, often, with you helping me all the way. I’m gasping and panting when I get to the top. They say I’m getting stronger and could be getting rid of you by the end of the summer.

We are walking farther now. I’m planning to walk around the track at the park with your help. Gradually our contact will become less and less. I’m happy and I’m honestly scared. I want you gone, but afraid of swaying my way upstairs or falling and hitting the concrete. It hurts like hell during and after that type of event. It puts holes in the knees of my pants. My budget can’t afford new clothes.

My pride gets taken away and my self-assurance gone. How will I be able to handle our breakup?  Is this what’s called a dysfunctional relationship?  I think so. We have done so much together. I don’t know if I can get along completely on my own.

I’d like to walk and not get weary. My new orthotics are helping.  I’d like to do things on two feet instead of three. I’d like the questions to stop and for people to ignore the obvious. I have trouble walking on my own. Looking at me, minus the cane, I look like nothing is wrong with me. Looks can be deceiving.

I am strong in other ways. I know there are people who need a cane and refuse to use one. That used to be me. Maybe they can adopt you  when I put you away for the last time. For me, it will show my progress. There will be joy and jubilation, tempered with some trepidation.

However,  I am a survivor and I’ve been through a lot. This is another obstacle to persevere through and overcome.  My cane and I will be together for just a bit longer….just a little bit…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Determinations

Last year,as I anticipated turning  50, I did things I always wanted to do. On my birthday in December, I had a lovely dinner, saw the Lion King on Broadway,

and had a slice of Junior’s cake and I enjoyed every minute of it.

So, 50 is here and this year I am determined to become my very best self, to help others to the best of my abilities, to grow in faith, and do everything I can to get healthier and stronger. I’ve started out both promising and not that great on the latter.  This month, I started with a healthier eating lifestyle. I had tried earlier last year but couldn’t keep it up. Now, I’m drinking green smoothies everyday, staying detoxed, eating clean foods, using stevia,eating healthy snacks and not starving myself. My Nutribullet is working overtime.

I’m hoping these new habits will heal my whole body. My intention was to attempt exercise, even though I pay later in pain, doing it sitting down, just to get moving. But as is the case with a person with fibromyalgia, my body had other plans.

I’d been having foot pain for about a month and walking became very difficult. I finally went to the orthopedist and was found to have severe tendonitis.  I’ll be going to physical therapy. I’m taking anti-inflammatories, wearing an ankle brace and getting orthotics. Guess I wont be doing Zumba or Rockin Abs anytime soon. Healthy eating will continue; I’ve lost about 18 pounds and lots of inches, my clothes are fitting differently since the year began. So goal number one is underway.

I have an opportunity to use my professional skills in a different capacity, as a volunteer, a few days a week. I’m looking forward to receive training as an adult literacy tutor. My services will not put cash in my wallet, but I will be richly rewarded, helping people empower their own lives. I am praying to stay healthy once I’m trained and be an active participant on the days I need to be present. Fibro, please leave me alone, I’m trying to have a life here!  Goal number two, is in process.

Through my faith and determination, I’m hoping to introduce at least one person to the Soka Gakki International the lay Buddhist organization I am a part of. This past year we were recognized a world religion.

My desire is that this person will accept and take faith. I have a leadership position taking care of members. I want to help each woman find her mission and become her best self and then have those women tell more people about our self empowering practice. From the deepest part of my heart, I sincerely want to help someone else become happy, despite the rigors of life.

Some may say that I suffer from illness, so does your faith really work? I say the only reason I continue to persevere is my faith.  I have many health issues, I have a shaky financial situation every month, but I have to cover co-payments for doctor visits and transportation. I’m choosy about appointments and going places because its costly.

I  count my dollars, to the penny to purchase healthy foods and still pay bills on time.  All my fun last year came with a price tag, I’m trying to catch up and clear the debt. I know I’ll get through this challenge victoriously, with no fear or anger.

What my faith teaches me is to never be defeated, to have the heart of a lion king (queen) SGI President Daisaku Ikeda says.”We should never decide that something is impossible and buy into the belief, “I’ll never be able to do that.” The power of the entire universe is inherent in our lives. When we firmly decide, “I can do it!” we can break through the walls of self-imposed limitations.”  “To fear hardships and resent our environment is to live with the belief that the Law [Dharma], the power to change, is outside our own life. Buddhism starts with believing in the great power of the Buddha within your own life.”

My faith says to believe in myself. I am powerful, I am confident and know I will turn around every adversity in my life, no matter what my past or present is. Through my prayer of nam myoho renge kyo, the future is bright. I will be happy as I continue to evolve. Suffering exists, but it won’t persist.

I’ll be writing this year about victories and overcoming challenges .

I truly believe these words of Daisaku Ikeda- Words have the power to save. Life is not sustained by material goods and well-being alone. People need spiritual sustenance in order to undertake fresh challenges and open new horizons. 

I’ll be using words, having thoughts and giving opinions in this blog. This first month of 2016 has already had a few bumps but I’m like a Timex watch. I take a licking and keep on ticking.

 

Wrapping Up and Going Forward

When I thought about starting a blog, late last year, I wasn’t sure what I would write about. I knew I wanted to write and use my gift, but I didn’t know how I would take the thoughts in my head and make them meaningful enough for readers. I have never been a poet or one who very consistently kept a journal, as much as I tried. However, I knew there were stories, ideas and great writing inside of me that I wanted to share.

I soon realized that I could best write about myself, my experiences and life events. I was about to journey into my last year of my forties. I was  determined to be more courageous so I  moved ahead. Privately, I dubbed this journey, my Year of  49. I would follow myself down this pathway and see where I ended up. I wanted this year to have meaning, be fun and have some adventures.

I wanted to go to Las Vegas to celebrate my actual 50th birthday, something completely out of the ordinary for me. I have always played safe and by the rules. I could celebrate in warm weather for only the second time in my life with some family members; maybe bring in the new year on the west coast. It was discussed and agreed upon. It would be happening and I didn’t have to plan  it. I would be taken care of. Yay!

So, I decided to do things this year I wanted to do, fibromyalgia be damned. The money would come from somewhere. I would just chant triple the amount of nam myoho renge kyo than usual, so that I could physically be up to it.

I had a ticket to see Diana Ross in concert and that started the ball rolling for me to also see Gladys Knight, Guy, Jill Scott, Stephanie Mills and The Whispers in concert. Music gets me though the toughest days. I wrote about all these musical experiences and how they made  me happy, even though I sat through most of them in pain. I fought through it and won.

I suffered tremendous physical pain this year and I spent much time indoors, resting and also dealing with chronic fatigue. I am no longer able to hold a job, as my illness and pain levels are completely unpredictable. Living with and living on disability is not easy. I’m doing my best to live a good life and have faith both situations will change for the better.

This year, I had a few inpatient medical procedures done to help my migraines.  I had aqua therapy to help the sciatica like pain running down my leg like shock waves. I had trouble sitting, standing and walking. All this was happening while dealing with the house guest from hell who threw a big monkey wrench right in the middle of my weight loss plans. Medication side effects and frustrated stress eating made a girl gain weight. Sigh……  I wanted to be slimmer and healthier by my birthday, but I got frustrated; I restarted a couple weeks ago and this time I’m making a lifestyle change. Nothing or no one will interfere with my progress again.

I wrote about my life as a person dealing with fibromyalgia. It was my most read and shared post.I was very proud of that post. It was relate-able to anyone with a chronic pain condition.

I follow news events and many touched my heart. I was angered or saddened by them, so I wrote about them. I wrote about personal sorrows and losses. I became more open about myself, more than I have ever been.

I  wrote about the importance of my faith and how it helps me to grow into the person I am meant to be. I want to create value with and for my life. I volunteer once a month to record readings of  SGI-USA publications on tape, for members who are visually impaired or unable to read them for themselves. I’m happy to contribute in this way to my fellow Buddhists.

The news events of 2015: mass shootings, domestic and foreign terror, police brutality, innocent Black Lives not mattering, slack gun control laws, presidential candidates spouting bigotry and spreading fear; it all became too much for my senses.

My faith and my humanity tells me and shows me all of this is wrong. Should I be packing my bags and leaving my homeland before it all goes awry? The hate filled tones may be coming towards me and my kind next. History shows this is possible.  My writing desires waned and I got stuck somehow. I haven’t made a blog post since September.

My year of 49 has two weeks left. I had a 50th birthday celebration in August, with women I have known since elementary school on an evening cruise with our teachers. We all turned 50 this year.  It was a great time and there was cake, 🙂  I really feel a kinship with them even though we don’t see other regularly.

My trip to Las Vegas never took off, I don’t even know what happened to it. I’m disappointed. So, the idea remains on my vision board.Next time, I’ll take control of my own plans.

Since the plans were altered,I didn’t know how I would bring in this milestone birthday. I wanted to do something I never did before. I refused to stay at home. I could do that any night of the year.

I was gifted a ticket to see a show, by the same Uncle who bought me a new bed this year (I’m so grateful to him); so that’s how I’ll spend my special day. I’ll see a production I’ve wanted to see for years. I have mused my way towards 50. I will continue writing this blog . I will be more consistent with it.

I want my 50’s to be incredible. I want better health. I want romance with real commitment. I want to walk without a cane. I want to travel to an SGI-USA conference. I want to meet my uncle and cousin. I want to stick to my healthier eating plans and get my sexy back. I want better finances and become debt free. I want to volunteer to help others to the best of my capacity. Helping others, helps me to grow.  I strive to be the person Buddhism,teaches me, I can become. I want my life to matter when people see me. I want the world to be safe, free from the worst humans can do to humans. I want supreme happiness for myself and for everyone.

I wish myself a Happy Fiftieth Birthday!!!!

The Christmas season is upon us and a new year is about to start. Let’s see what wonders will come in 2016. I’m taking control of my life and being true to myself. I will create a greater life for myself in my 50’s . Thank you all for reading and I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season filled with joy!

 

 

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day- May 12

Today, May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. I know many people don’t know much about it. The commercials for the drug Lyrica, that I see on television from time to time, say fibromyalgia  is overactive muscle pain, but that doesn’t give it justice. Fibromyalgia is a life changer. It’s a fun taker, It’s a relentless pain giver. Taking one pill, 99% of the time, doesn’t help. I’ve tried Lyrica and my result was 70 pounds of weight gain. Needless to say, I couldn’t stay on it. I have a bag filled with medications, and I still have pain.

These are some of my symptoms: headaches, nerve pain, back pain, chronic fatigue, neuropathy,  irritable bowel syndrome, rib cage pain, carpal tunnel in both hands. I’m in pain when it’s too cold. I’m in pain when it’s too hot. I have dull pain, sharp pain, persistent pain and aching in my shoulders, I have burning, numbness, tingling in various stages, different times of the day in different parts of my body.

For more years than I can recall, I have had Doctor’s tell me the pain was in my head, it couldn’t be that bad. I had one doctor tell me if I just got married and had some kids, I wouldn’t have time to think about pain. I should do it soon, because I didn’t want to be alone when I turned seventy.  He was almost a dead man walking!!!! Seriously, I was about to jump off the table and slap the hell out of him, but my better judgement prevented me from having an assault charge on my permanent record. I have a wonderful pain management doctor now and I’m so very grateful for all he does and how he treats me as a patient and a person.


Some people in my life  just stopped calling after I’ve turned down invitations or had to cancel things, one time too many because I was too sick to attend. When I say sick, imagine not being able to move because your whole body hurts. Then imagine, if you can move, you are so tired that if you try to move around, you might fall down. I’ve had falls in the street in the last few years, for absolutely no reason. I use a cane now when I’m going out, because I don’t want to go splat again. One minute I was up, the next down. One analogy to what we fibromyalgia sufferers face is, imagine having the flu 24/7 all day, every single day. If you know how bad the flu can be, then you have a slight clue. I’m speaking about my own situation here but I’m speaking for thousands who have to face the sting of fibromyalgia everyday.

You never know when a flare will strike or how long it will last. I believe i have truly been in a flared state for the past 2 and a half years. I was let go from my employer, when I went out sick ( an injury I received at work started the flare.) and my fibromyalgia specialist wasn’t able to provide a return to work day. I had to file for disability and now live off that money. The majority of my savings is gone. I had to pay  doctor’s out of pocket when my health insurance was cancelled by my employer.  I went from a manager to waiting on my monthly check. I fought my body, for seven years, so I could get my graduate degree. It was one of the hardest accomplishments, I have completed. I even graduated with honors, thanks to a good friend and a professor who helped me my last two semesters. I can’t work any longer. Bending, squatting, sitting, typing,stretching and standing all hurt me tremendously and were part of my job as a librarian.


It’s difficult to walk up and down the bus and train steps so I now use a service that picks me up and drops me off. They are notoriously late and I spend so much time waiting to be picked up from appointments, I have to pack snacks in my purse or risk passing out from hunger.  I used to love going for long walks and lose myself, popping into stores and doing what I wanted when I wanted. I can’t do that anymore. Walking a few blocks hurts too much. If I walk it has to be short, as I also tire very easily.

I take supplements to boost my immune system and keep my energy up. I blend juices, take vitamins. I have rubs, salves, heating pads all next to my bed. I feel older than my years. I pray everyday to not give up the fight for good health. I have accepted my condition and its limitations., but I will also find ways to enjoy myself and not just remember good times past.

My life isn’t over, but it has slowed down considerably. I’m going to concerts of artists I’ve been waiting to see.  I’m looking at the summer tours right now. I’m looking for cheap Broadway tickets. Maybe, I’ll hit up a baseball game. I don’t mind doing things by myself. I don’t like making promises to people, that I might have to break. If I make plans with someone, I chant extra for days to be able to go. I buy the insurance that goes with ticket sales, just in case…… I have to find ways to stay upbeat when circumstances could drag me down into despair. When I am attempting to have fun and do something exciting, know that I am hurting, but will never give up living.


Even though on the outside people with fibromyalgia may look fine, just know we are sometimes putting on a happy face when we really want to cry. We fight hard to do things, like bending and tying our shoes or standing up and washing dishes or cooking food. We may have to delay chores in order to lay down and feel better. So, please be patient with us. Support us and continue to include us in your lives. If you don’t know what to say to us, a gentle hug would be just fine. Be sensitive and please ask us first, we may be having a flare.

In the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin there is a gosho named Happiness in this World,that says, Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever. Whenever I read it, I know with all my heart that my circumstances will charge. My mission in life is to show actual proof of my spiritual practice. I will regain my health.

Heart to Heart Connection

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything to this blog, I have been having trouble trying to put words and thoughts together.  Brain fog is evil!  I have been experiencing sciatic pain, in addition to fibromyalgia pain. I also have been having headaches on and off. Standing hurts. Sitting hurts. My legs hurt. I have spent much of the past month lying in bed. I have missed most of my Buddhist meetings and have missed seeing my Buddhist friends. A few have visited, chanted and talked with me. Others have called to check on me and for that I am very grateful. So many times when people are chronically ill, folks just don’t know what to say. They have said things repeatedly to soothe and comfort but when the pain appears to be never-ending, people have no more words.


After spending so much time lying down, I’ve learned a few things. The most important is that my bed is not as comfortable as I thought. A part of my bed is broken. Not the mattress, the bed. When the nerve pain runs through my legs or back in the middle of the night, the sinkhole in the middle of the bed doesn’t help. I thought about purchasing a new bed, but I am one of countless people surviving on a disability check. I’m grateful for the money and qualifying for it was a job all by itself. When I stopped working, my income was reduced TREMENDOUSLY!  I really couldn’t afford to purchase a new bed.


Recently, I have become reacquainted with my father, after 47 years of no relationship. Along with him, has come cousins I didn’t grow up with. I also have Aunt’s and Uncles that I knew nothing about and don’t know me. I’ve been in touch with one cousin and one of my uncles. My Uncle has had a really heartbreaking thing occur in his life, but he, at his core is a strong and intellectual man. His heart is wide open and accepting. He’s told me about family members, I have never met including my late grandparents. We both deal with ongoing pain. We have connected on a sort of spiritual level. and we think a lot alike in that realm, though he is Christian and I am Buddhist.


Last week, I got a text from him on a day when tears were running out my eyes and my pain was so unbearable, I was ready to go to the emergency room. I’m sure that would have made me feel worse, dealing with waiting and sitting, so I didn’t go. He asked how I was and I said terrible. I was in pain and about to lay down. Without him knowing anything about my bed situation, he asked about the type of bed I was sleeping in. Was it conventional?  I said yes and then…………


Folks, Love stepped in. My Uncle, who I have never met, offered to purchase a new bed for me.  A bed with wave massage and the capacity to change into in 1001 positions. What a very special gift!! A gift that will last a lifetime according to the manufacturer and people I’ve spoken to, including my uncle, who has one himself. A bed that has an ability to ease my pained body. Thank You is just not enough. We have not yet laid eyes on each other, but our hearts have touched.


In Buddhism, his gift to me, we call it a benefit. My prayers are always to feel better and work on my human revolution so I can work for world peace (kosen rufu), through introducing people to Buddhism. My suffering is causing me to chant more. As I chant more, my life is experiencing change. Some things are easy to see, others are not. I am still developing as a human.  I know one day, so much of what’s happening to me will be more understandable and make complete sense. One lesson already learned, Pain has made me more compassionate. I continue to learn so much as I study Buddhist concepts, almost 11 years into my practice. Buddhism affects my everyday life, every day.


The other thing I have learned while laying down and now preparing for my new bed to arrive, I have stored a lot of things under my bed over the years. OMG!  I’m working hard right now to clean it all up and have the area ready for new comforts. I do it slowly, as I’m trying not to flare up the fibro. I pray that everyone I know has someone in their life, like my Uncle ,who wants the best for you, no matter the cost to their wallet. Thank you and Besos, Uncle.

I hope I will now be able to write more often and post to this blog. Being out of bed for me means more experiences and things to write about. Here’s to more writing and more posting!!


Hair… Hair… Everywhere…..

As a Black woman with Locs (there is nothing dreadful about my hair, so i never say dreadlocks), I have been thinking a lot about hair this week. First, because of the rightful uproar after Giuliana Rancic of E! Fashion Police said that the faux locs hairstyle worn at the Oscars by teen star Zendaya Coleman looked like it smelled of patchouli oil and weed. Secondly, because of an article erased from Essence.com titled, Why We Need More Relaxed Hair on The Red Carpet?  Really??


Women and their hair… How many times have we seen pictures, commercials, magazine articles and the like talking about beautiful tresses? Shampoos, conditioners, blow dryers, hair rollers, curling irons are sold by the millions, all in the pursuit of perfect hair. There’s even a phrase in our culture, I’m having a bad hair day. When some women need to undergo chemotherapy, they are devastated that they will lose their hair. Hair is a big thing for women. In this “mainstream’ society, long, flowing straight Caucasian type hair is supposedly what most women want.


What about those of us that don’t grow that type of hair?  For Black women, it appears to me, that our hair is both a curiosity and at the same time frowned upon.  We are considered radical when we wear our hair in it’s natural state. Some employers  and schools even have policies against wearing locs and afros. Such was the case of young Tiana Parker. When her story broke in 2013, her charter school’s  dress code specifically said “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.” How can hair that grows out her head be considered a fad? The school has since changed it’s policy. So, our hair is not acceptable. Yet, some folks feel that they can reach out and touch our hair, as if we were a pet wanting to be caressed. I’ve seen it happen and i know women and men to whom this has happened.  If I don’t  know you, Do Not Touch My Hair! I have no idea where your hands have been, if they are clean, what type of negative energy is inside of you that will transfer to me and it’s just plain rude.


I have soft, fine textured kinky hair. During my lifetime, I have mostly worn my hair straight. I used a hot comb. I wore it relaxed. I made my hair submit to chemicals and then fought with it to get some type of curls. I started wearing a weave when my hair started thinning out due to the abuse I was giving it. Then, I saw the movie Good Hair.


It was then, I realized exactly what type of damage I was doing to my hair and quite possibly my brain. Hell, I need my brain! So, I wore braids for about 18 months as I grew the relaxer out of my hair.  My hair was now in it’s natural state. I had always liked Locs.(The looks of singer Caron Wheeler and actress Lisa Bonet made me want them). I felt discouraged to wear them in my twenties because I knew people, including the family I lived with, would not approve of them. This due to the stereotypes associated with them. In my forties I felt freer to do it. I decided to go ahead and loc my hair. I was older and more confident. Having fibromyalgia makes it hard to raise my arms up and do all the things necessary to comb out and work with natural hair. I felt it would be easier on my body to loc my hair. My hair has never been healthier or longer.


There are a few ridiculous thoughts about loc wearers. Number one is that we do not wash our hair. If that’s true, someone help me move all the shampoos and conditioners that I have under my sink. I have way… way…  too many and buy from many black owned companies, including my friend, Buttafly Jonez who makes her products by hand.  Number two, is that we all smoke weed. News Flash! I have never, ever, ever (singing like that Taylor Swift song) smoked weed. I wouldn’t even know where to buy some or how to inhale. I think everyone should do some research on locs instead of assuming things. I say this because, even my own people at times can’t even tell the difference between braids and locs and buy into the stereotypes. We have an internet, lets use it to educate ourselves.


Back to that removed Essence.com article. Essence is a magazine geared towards Black women. I remember throughout my youth that Essence uplifted us. It didn’t pit natural hair against straight hair. It embraced all of our beauty no matter how we chose to wear it. In 2005 Time Warner purchased Essence Magazine and it has changed. That article actually said that relaxed hair represents the majority and that it’s mainstream. Relaxed hair should be represented on the red carpet. Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis, show me different. Relaxed or Natural, Curly or Straight….. It’s all beautiful as long as it is healthy hair.


In the past few years, many black women have decided to embrace their own naturally grown hair and have gradually decreased their use of relaxers. This article shows the foolishness that I really can’t stand. The “mainstream” already tells us that we as Black women are not attractive enough or desirable. They believe that our looks and hair are wrong. Now we have “mainstream “people owning a magazine that should be the safe place for black women. A place where we should always feel beautiful. They are telling us that to look elegant we must conform to their standards.  I had been a subscriber to Essence in my late teens. Through a purchase at a clothing store, recently I was given a free subscription . When this subscription ends, I am done. I may not even read the ones that arrive. I am really saddened.


I am tired of having to look like everyone else. I want to look like myself. I want to look like the person I was born to be, with my type of hair as it grows out my scalp. I want little black girls to look at my hair and see they can wear it like this, if they choose to. There are options.  I am attractive and elegant with my locs. I am no less smart because of my hairstyle. Hair is not my definer and neither is the “mainstream”. I will define myself and my beauty.


Zendaya quoted singer India Arie in her letter response about the poor word choices about her faux locs and so will I..

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend?
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?
I am expressing my creativity.

Sing it India!