I think I can….

Its been just over 2 months since my last post where I was marveling at how much has changed in such a short period of time.  Here I sit a little over two months later having accomplished so many of my goals that I am coming up with new ones.  When last I posted I had paid off my traffic warrants and gotten a new job.  Well that job fell through and I immediately got another one.  My boss was cool enough to pick me up and drop me off for 3 weeks after which I bought a car.  Not just any car – a beautiful 2014 Audi A4 S.  I love it.  I’m proud of myself.  Having a car again has helped me feel more independent.  I don’t have to rely on anyone anymore.

I am currently an assistant project manager on a $24 Million elementary school.  I love my job. I love being back at work full time.  Having a steady paycheck is great but working again has done wonders for my self-confidence.  I had always been self-sufficient – even the major bread winner in my marriage – and being dependent on others killed my self-esteem.  I feel whole again.  Even though its not true, not being able to generate much income made me feel worthless.

Today I signed a lease on my new apartment that I will be moving into on October 30th.  It feels amazing to have my own place again.  Little by little I am getting my life back together.  Unfortunately, with all the good positive changes in my life, I have had my heart broken.  The love of my life, Brian Oliver, takes me for granted and doesn’t see how inconsiderate he is.  His business is barely keeping afloat, his truck keeps breaking down, he’s been selling all his assets to keep up with bills and even borrowed from friends.  He’s a hot mess.  His laundry is all over the place, his house is a pig sty, he is always late for everything and is a total stoner.  He admits that he should stop smoking weed but unfortunately keeps being the loser that he is.

I have decided that he is unhealthy for me as much as I love him.  I think I can move on.  I think I will be just fine without him.  I have to think that way.  I have been able to put my life back together through positive thinking and hard work.  How can I continue to let this man bring me down and hurt my soul?  Everything I’ve accomplished in the past few months was because I thought I could do it.  If I just tell myself that I can  – then I can.  I am one of the most determined people I know.  I can set my sights on any goal and accomplish it. Why has everything except letting go of this man been easy?  I know my worth.  I know I deserve better.  Why can’t I let him go?  I can.  I think I can.  I have been able to do so much this past year and I need to do this.  So like the little engine that could I keep telling myself – I think I can.  I will move on.  I will let go.  I think I can…..

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What a difference a month makes

The last time I posted I was stressing out about my trip to Los Angeles with my kids.  The kids enjoyed camp and visiting with family and I had only one major blowout with my parents.  Here I sit a little over a month later and I can not believe how much has changed.  I started seeing my ex boyfriend Brian again.  Which I self-sabotaged in my Tasha-esque way last night.  We are going back to being just friends.  I flipped out over something that is a pet peeve of mine but also very small in the large scheme of things.  That man is the love of my life.  He always will be.  I’m just under a lot of pressure right now.

I worked for a month for my Dad while in Los Angeles and was able to pay off my warrants when I got back to Las Vegas.  I’m getting my license reinstated.  I already took the written and I’m borrowing a car from a friend to take the driving test tomorrow.  While I was in LA an old Superintendent of mine, who is now a Sr. Estimator, messaged me on LinkedIn about an estimator position at his firm.  I start my new job on Tuesday.

Also, while I was in Los Angeles, my boyfriend at the time/best friend Brian moved all my stuff out of the weekly hotel I was in and into this room I am now renting for $425 a month.  He bought me furniture and bedding and put my room together.  I was so happy.  He is amazing.

A mere 6 weeks later I have moved, paid off traffic warrants and have a new job paying me 70k a year.  I remained positive and worked hard and while I still have a ways to go before I’m completely whole again, I am optimistic that the rest of this year will be even better.  I still have to work through some things and I am constantly trying to better myself.  What a difference a month makes…..

Emo

So, I was inspired by the voice of my friend in my head, yes I hear voices sometimes, telling me that I sound like an emo. Weird right?  Then I thought about my last blog post.  Homer was right.  It was kind of depressing.  Have I now become that person?  Shit.  Am I the annoying person always crying about something?  When did that happen?  I never considered myself a whiner.  I was a do-er.  Have I been sitting on my ass on just whining and not even trying?  I did.  I really, really, did try.  I’m sitting here trying to remember how far back this goes.  How long have I been depressed?  How long have I been stuck?  I don’t even know.  Now I have the motivation back.  When did that happen? It wasn’t all of the sudden.

Things aren’t as hard as they used to be. I’m not constantly down about my shitty position at the moment.  I’m going to work hard and prove to myself that I am capable of functioning ….that’s it.  I was looking for the rest of that sentence in my head…but there isn’t any. I have to prove I can just function.  Get out of bed and work every day.  I guess I was that bad at one point.  If I wasn’t depressed and didn’t have my kids I was mostly likely drinking somewhere.

I am really trying to stay positive people. But I am in the first 90 days of sobriety and it’s no picnic.  It is unbelievably hard.  I just got invited to happy hour by my friend Amber and sat staring at the phone trying to decide my answer.  Habit was to send an ok.  Then I stopped and didn’t hit send.  Should I say yes?  I’m not supposed to be drinking.  I want to say yes.  I really fuckin want to say yes.  I want to drink and walk around town square laughing at other people like an asshole and have fun.  But then I feel like shit when I’m sober.  Because I don’t to want be that asshole anymore.  I guess I kind of did turn into that annoying emo person of the group but it’s better than the previous versions of me.  The next one is coming on.  I’m soon to be the super annoying always think positive one that quotes those damn affirmations all the time.  I’m totally becoming that person too.  But I’m ok with that.  This version will be followed by one even better and then a better one I hope.

This must be what growing up must be like. Will I finally be strong enough to pull it together and stay focused and sober for a month in LA?  I’m growing insane imagining scenarios of me with my family members in LA.  Which one is going to either piss me off or annoy me first by some off handed comment or dig?  Why am I even assuming that it’s going to be a negative encounter? Because it’s the Miranda women.  Sidenote:  The “Miranda” women are women from my mom’s side – my grandmother and her 7 daughters including my mom of course and their daughters.  There’s always someone not getting along with someone else for who-knows-what.  It was habit to get edgy and on the defensive around them.  Or is that just me?  No – it’s not.  The Miranda women are notorious for being difficult and stubborn.

I don’t want to assume the worst, though. I’m fuckin nervous about my first encounter with each one of them.  I hate the open ended “So what have you been up to?” or “How have you been?”  No simple one-word- answer questions.  No open with a difficult one.  Shit….um I can’t say, “Being a drunk because I feel like a total failure.”  What a buzzkill, right?  Gotta go with the vague, “You know, same old thing.”

I can’t stand the questions that grandma hits me with, “So are you working?” “Do you have a boyfriend?”  I’ll avoid her as much as possible.  I don’t want her asking if I have been going to church.  Ha!  I haven’t gone to church in like 20 years.  I kinda figured everyone just quit doing that.  But she’s old fashioned.  Good for her.  Gotta keep up them old fashioned values.  Her judge-y catholic guilt crap is the best.  No thank you.  I have enough guilt without your help.  Bi-polar here – depressed enough.  Thank you for the help though.  Much appreciated but I have enough from my parents leaving to Paris when I started chemo.  They have it covered.  We all know that makes a child feel important . “Take a trip while I suffer from a life-threatening illness and start the only thing that might keep me from dying. I got this.  Go have fun.  Bring me a souvenir.  It’s ok.  No, no.  I’m over it now.  It’s only taken 15 years, hundreds of hours of therapy and a lot of whiskey to do that but I think I’m finally ready to stop being a whiner.”

It wasn’t only that one incident that caused me to be such an emotional wreck though.  What was I supposed to do?  “I’m just going put all the fucked up shit in an little box and put it next to that fucked up shit and save that for later in life.”  Just when you think you’re about to succeed at something – bam that’s when the new fucked up shit comes.  All dressed up in a pretty little box.  You think is a present.  Don’t open the box.  That’s how it happens.  You never see it coming.  Or you somehow block it out.  All those signs that you going the wrong direction. Were they always there?  Well fuck I sure missed them.  Or maybe I was just drunk. One of the two.  I’m going to be positively annoying and assume that the first encounter with my family is going to great and we’ll toast to mental health awareness.  

I have to believe

I’m scared to go home. I’m scared to go back to LA for the first time after everyone turned me away a year ago.  I just kept bouncing around from Mar Vista to Baldwin Hills (I think) to wherever the fuck Tomika and Lawrence live.  You don’t think I actually remember do you? I mean I was a train wreck.  Make that 10 trainwrecks.  I had just run away from/been thrown out by – either way it was a blessing – this dirtbag Lucky.  He hustled $1300 right out of the palm of my hand and he was ugly as sin.  Tattooed the fuck up with bad teeth.  Like worse than mine and I’m missing half my teeth and have to wear a prosthetic due to cancer.

When I was 21 I was misdiagnosed, I went to 3 different doctors – had 3 different biopsy results until the correct diagnosis was made. I spent 10 months in excruciating pain because some idiot misdiagnosed me with a benign tumor which is was not.  It was cancer.  It resulted in the tumor being removed without clear margins and the cancer spread.  I was originally told I had to lose my right eye.  My right maxilla, right cheekbone, right hard pallet, roof of your mouth, right sinus – gone.  All gone.  That the rest of my life is going to be dealing with a prosthetic so I can speak properly, titanium in my head and missing my right eye!  Fuck you.  “I’m not letting you take my eye.”  It wasn’t happening.

The problem was that the cancer spread up the rear wall of my sinus and up to the orbital floor. The eye socket had to go and the brain is on the back side of the sinus so I needed to move forward quickly with a treatment plan.  I told UCLA that I wanted to get a few more opinions.  I think my Dad or my aunt Pam, not sure which found City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, CA.  They had a clinical trial going for osteosarcoma.  I entered I believe phase 3.  It was a 52 week trial and I was going to be inpatient whenever the chemo was being administered.

This was one of those dark times. Just as bad.  I needed my parents.  I needed their help and they turned me away.  Why wouldn’t they help pick me up when I needed it?  I wanted love and caring and emotion from my parents that’s real.  I would like to imagine that my daughter’s conversations about me go more like,  “She’s doing great grandpa.  She calls every day and is…..” what?  Better?  Better than what?  Homelessness?  What a disappointment I must be.  They probably go more like, “Well its fine grandpa she actually sees us regularly now…..”  No, I’m sure I’m so unimportant I don’t come up in the conversation.  My parents are “just checking in with the girls,” as my dad would say.  They don’t call me directly why would they ask my kid how I’m doing.

I thought they should have acknowledged some of the shit I went thru rather than just expect us to never talk about any of it. What if I needed to be able to talk about it to them?  No one ever asked me how I felt when they left to Paris when I started my clinical trial. I had stage 4 osteosarcoma and this was my last shot actually being alive.  I was just expected to be gracious about it and not be hurt and angry?

In their defense, they did cut their trip short. But starting that clinical trial was quite literally the scariest thing I have ever had to face and it was that moment that I actually needed them.  I would rather take back all the fancy birthdays and the monetary gifts.  Gift me that moment for all of those moments.  That’s what I want.  Because they weren’t there holding my hand when I faced death within months I’ll never believe, no matter what my parents say or do, that they actually give a shit about me.

I’m trying to believe in myself.  I’m trying to believe that I can do anything even if I don’t have my parents in my corner being my cheerleader.  I have to be my own cheerleader.  So, while I am scared to go home…I’m going to face them all with my head held high and be real no matter what.  Just being the best version of myself that I can.  Despite all my trials and tribulations, I believe that I am becoming a better person each day. There is always something to learn.  There is always someone to inspire.  Find strength in your rough times.  I may actually meet my goals by the end of August if I go home to LA and work.  So, I have to stop being scared and just get that money and keep pushing towards my goals.  I have to believe in myself.

 

 

What if?

We’ve all wished we could turn back time at some point in our life, right? Not date the bad boy. Not quit that job.  Not move in with that roommate.  Not marry the guy or girl.  But we can’t turn back time and we can’t undo the decisions we’ve made.

I was 24 when I met my ex-husband George. He was 20.  I was already engaged to another man that I was not in love with.  I knew deep down he didn’t want to marry me either and felt pressured when I asked him where our relationship was going.  George was a janitor – yes a janitor – in the building that I worked at and used to stock my desk with tissue and dump my trash.  I always pick the winners.  Funny enough I barely noticed him but he had a crush on me for months before I knew it.  I thought he was sweet and quickly I was no longer engaged and moving into a house with George after a month.  I paid for everything – rent, utilities, household items and entertainment.  George was responsible for his car, insurance and his child support.  We were definitely inseparable and enjoyed our first couple months living together having lots and lots of sex.  Unfortunately, I was pregnant almost immediately.  I was shortly thereafter called by Martin-Harris Construction for an interview.  I took a job with them as a Project Manager at the age of 25.  I had my baby and got married that same year when she was almost 6 months old.

I got offer after offer from other firms while I was at Martin-Harris. I loved that job and that company.  I regret leaving that company but then I wouldn’t have had all the other experiences I gained at other firms.  I left for more money and that job ended up being a joke.  I ended up moving my family to Los Angeles, where I grew up for a job at BCBG the clothing Company as a Sr. Project Manager in their Store Concepts Division.  I was there a mere 4 months before George left me alone in LA with our 2 year old.  I told you – a real winner that one. The job was 70% travel and I had no choice but to quit the position.  Again, I wish I never quit that job and worked out some sort of nanny or family help.

So here I am headed back to Vegas after lots of fighting and crying with George. My dad was clearly pissed but I left anyway.  We separated not too long after we moved back because he was cheating on me again.  In November 2006, I went home for a few months and had received an offer from the Venetian Hotel’s Retail division.  I was scheduled to start February 2007.  I was working for my Dad’s CM firm to keep busy until I went back to Vegas in January.  I found a daycare and a townhouse to rent.  Everything was set.  Then my dad throws me a curveball and asked me to stay and work for him.  I declined the position at the Venetian which I also regret.  I moved my stuff from Vegas and rented a duplex in Playa del Rey.  I lived there for 9 months before George came out there for us and wanted to be a family again.  He never left.  He just came to see Maliya one weekend and never left.  What the hell?  So, we decided to go at it again and lived in LA for a few months but ultimately returned to Vegas.

Through my Dad’s connections I got rehired at Turner Construction, where I started my career at the young age of 16, and was a Project Engineer on a condo tower in downtown Las Vegas. I found us a house to rent in a week and we moved in March 1, 2008.  We were starting over.  Putting the past behind us.  I spent 2 weeks setting up our new house and started my new job on March 17th.  I remember because it was St, Patrick’s day.  In April, George was caught cheating on me again.  This wasn’t the first time or the last.  I then started cheating on him.  It was a mess.  The rest of the marriage was a roller coaster of fighting, starting over, him cheating again.  I even filed for divorce the first time in 2009.  I can’t remember how we got through that except that we moved in with his parents because we both got laid off within 4 months of each other when the economy shifted.  It was then that I got pregnant with our second daughter.  We eventually moved into a house in Green Valley and remained there until the final separation and then divorce.

All that pain and suffering and fighting lasted almost a decade. I often wished I never met him or married him.  Then I think of the beautiful daughters that are the light of my life and I wouldn’t trade it if it was the price I paid to have them in my life.  I wish we could have both behaved differently, but you can’t change it.  Since then I have had a rough couple of years, getting laid off again from 3 jobs and consulting for my dad in between.  I am currently still consulting part time.  I got diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2015 and spent way too much time drowning my sorrows or partying to not feel like a failure after the divorce.  The dissolution of my family was a hard thing for me to deal with.  I have finally – after many bad decisions, a handful of 5 month relationships and a lot of therapy found peace.  I have found a love for writing and realized that you can’t dwell on the what ifs in life.  Nor can you worry too much about the future.  You must live in the present and enjoy each moment because you can never get it back.  The struggles and turbulence in life has given me the inspiration to write and follow my dreams.  Every decision has molded you into the person you are today.  Embrace it and love yourself.  Try not to live with regret.  I myself am still working on that.  What if I had never met George?  What if I had never left Martin Harris or BCBG?  What if I had taken the job at the Ventian?  What if I had never gotten divorced?  One can never know.  What I do know is that I might not be sitting here writing this blog.

 

Where there’s a will there’s a way

The impossible can never be achieved or it would be possible. It is an oxymoron to achieve the impossible.  I prefer the saying – Where there’s a will there’s a way.  My dad used to say things like that all the time.  I called them Bobisms.  My Dad (Bob) is the head of the family.  Most holidays are hosted by my parents where my aunts and uncle in Socal usually attend.  I used to schlep my kids from Vegas for some holidays.  My mom hates hosting but she loves it at the same time.  I always got stuck in the kitchen helping her.  I used to complain about it because I remember that my sister rarely helped.  But I rarely complained out loud.  Mostly in my head.  I wonder how long I’ve been having conversations with myself.  Is this normal? Is it really just high anxiety?  I was afraid to even admit to the psychiatrist that I was hearing things.  When I admitted it the first time I was told it was due to high anxiety and given Paxil and Abilify.  I think I quit taking the pills after a short while because they weren’t working.  I didn’t even admit that I heard things to the next two doctors.  I tried a bunch of different anti-depressants.  I tried increasing dosages of anxiety meds and then different anxiety meds.  I went to at least another couple of shrinks over the years until finally one of them said I was showing signs of being bi-polar and prescribed Serequel.  I don’t even remember which psychiatrist – that’s how many I’ve been to. Where there’s a will there’s a way. I truly wanted to be better than I was.  I knew even then that something was wrong with me.  I went to Doctor after Doctor. I tried pill after pill.  Then Serequel worked.  It hits you like a fuckin truck at night but it worked on me.  It stabilized my mood swings and I wasn’t hearing things anymore.  Later, my medication was changed to Latuda which I have to take in conjunction with a mood stabilizer called Depacote.

Bi-polar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain that can only be treated with medication and therapy. The medication itself is not enough.  I must learn better coping skills and apply them when I am triggered or in emotional distress.  I also had to learn radical acceptance.  It is what it is.  Another Bobism.  He used that one often.  Anyone that has not been to therapy – I strongly recommend it.  I knew I was fucked up but I had no idea how deep my scars were until I was in this outpatient therapy program.  There is an actual curriculum.  They educate you on your illness, teach coping skills, help you see how your core beliefs about yourself can be completely wrong.  There is evidence against our negative view of ourselves – we just have to retrain the brain. Where there’s a will there’s a way. We have to learn to counter each negative with a positive.  First, I had to admit that I was fucked up in some way.  Most people can’t do this.  I know it’s hard.  It’s much easier to do what I have done for my entire adulthood.  Throw myself into work or booze and drugs to not face my issues.  I can’t just get over it as my bitchy little sister so eloquently told me.  Bi-polar disorder is a flaw in chemistry in the brain.  There are studies that show that bi-polar disorder is genetic.  This wouldn’t surprise me.  Not one bit.  You guys haven’t met my mother and my aunts.

Staying on meds was the only way to keep things under control. In earlier years, after a while, I’d just get lazy and forget or feel better and think I’m cured. No, it doesn’t work that way Tash So I fucked up by not listening to doctors earlier on.  Apparently, recreational drugs and alcohol prevent your meds from working properly.  Who knew? I also apparently have selective hearing.  What an asshole right?  Accept responsibility Tasha.  Well I do.  I accept full responsibility for not doing what I was prescribed to do.  Partying felt better.  I’d done it for a long time. It started with my aunts and my mom.  Picture that…. Here’s the straw auntie its your turn. Isn’t that a great learned behavior? No.  I now take my meds daily as prescribed and I am 17 days sober.  Which isn’t long but where there’s a will there’s a way.

So here I am. Current situation: Over $3000 in warrants, suspended driver’s license, no car and I live in a weekly hotel. My roommates are a married lesbian couple and their 18-year-old gay son Tre D.  Yes.  I live in a house of homosexuals.  Both of my roommates’ sons are gay; however, one lives in Cali with his dad.  (Tee jokingly claims to have a tainted womb that produces only homosexuals.)  Tre’s room is literally our living room.  He sleeps on the couch and goes to bed at like 630 like a grandpa.  Turns off all the lights too! No bullshit. I spend most of my time in my room.  Which is another reason I figured writing was a good outlet for me.  This house is comical and provides a lot of inspiration.  Tee is my best friend.  I met her in the mental hospital.  She suffers from Bi-polar disorder, Borderline personality disorder, anxiety and anger issues.  She has the greatest stories of the many ass whippings she’s handed out.  She literally had her wife take the stroller of this woman that she proceeded to pound into the pavement.  That’s my bestie.  In her defense, she has gotten into zero fights since we started outpatient therapy and is staying on her meds and doing fabulous.  I have bi-polar disorder, social anxiety at times and PTSD.  Her wife Dee is my other roommate.  Dee is intelligent and chill and is also bi-polar.  Thank goodness she is chill because she has a house with two other bi-polar women.

How did I get here? Shit I ask myself the same damn question. That’s a blog for another day.  You can only dwell on the past so much.  The better question is how do I change it?  You have to change the situation if you are unhappy.  You can sit and mope about how shitty it is or make a plan and change it.  I’m great at the planning portion.  Even the doing part…..for a while.  My follow through is not the greatest.  I’m not sure if that’s a self-esteem issue or not.  I am working on it though.  My goals are to pay off my warrants for traffic citations, then get my driver’s license reinstated and save for a car.  That will make it easier to see my kids.  Everything is for those girls.  That is all I focus on now.  I didn’t like rock bottom and I don’t want to ever be there again.  I want to be the kind of person my daughters can look up to.  Have I stopped being that person?  Because I spent 3 years falling to rock bottom?  Can I really achieve my goals?  I have to.  There is no other option. Where there’s a will there’s a way. How about that for a learned behavior?

What is perfection?

What is perfection?  Why do we strive to look like these models that we see all over social media?  I know I’m guilty of obsessing about my appearance.  Today I will be having eye surgery again.  This is the first time I am using an ocular-plastic surgeon.  All my previous eye/facial reconstructive surgeries were performed at City of Hope Medical center.  I have had 7 surgeries to date now.  You should have seen me right after the tumor was removed.  We’re talking hunchback of Notre Dame.  I lost half my face to cancer.  I have no right maxilla (cheekbone), no right sinus, no right hard pallet (roof of your mouth), no teeth on the upper right section of my mouth.  I have a maxilliofacial prosthetic that fits in and seals the roof of my mouth so I can speak properly.  Without it I can’t talk.  So you can imagine how traumatized I was at 21 to lose half of my face.  My self-esteem was already low.   According to the handout last week in our group therapy “Experiences during our early childhood play a particularly large role in shaping our basic self-esteem.”  My mother had me at 16 and I’m sure did the best she could for a child raising a child.  Last week, I had to take this self-esteem quiz in the packet that only made me feel even crappier about myself.  I apparently need to work on improving my self-esteem.  Well, no shit Sherlock.  I didn’t need a quiz to remind me of that. My sexual exploits and constant obsessing about my right eye were enough…

Our therapist also handed out a  reading from a book with a proverb for each day.  This one was dated May 12.  The last paragraph really spoke to me.

“By all means, take whatever action you can against a troubling flaw.  Many have lifted a sagging self-esteem by getting their bodies in shape or getting counseling to tame a negative emotional impulse.  But it is always a mistake to hinge our self-esteem on the few clumsy brushstrokes of an otherwise lovely portrait.”

I love the last sentence the most.  What is perfection?  Will we ever be thin enough? Will we ever  be tall enough? Have the perfect eyebrows?  The perfect lips?  What is perfection to you?  This brings me back to the surgery.  Today an eye surgeon will implant something to lift my lower lid on my right eye.  It droops slightly.  This imperfection is something I have lived with for 16 years.  Of course, I had many surgeries in hopes of making myself symmetrical again.  I have been dealing with my insurance company for the last 2 years to get an ocular plastic surgeon in my network.  I’ve obsessed and obsessed letting this one flaw contribute to my already low self-esteem.  Now, on the morning of the surgery, I’m excited but I am also not the same person I was just 2 months ago.   I must remind myself that I am a whole person as that reading stated.  We are more than just the sum of our parts.  What is perfection?  Whatever you deem it to be.  It does not have to be what society and social media tell us it is.  Don’t hinge your self-esteem on a few clumsy brushstrokes in an otherwise lovely portrait.