Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sometimes, Life is Good

Yes, for the few folks still bothering to come here, can you believe that I would be saying that?

Better living through chemistry is what I say.

Well, partly chemistry, partly listening to what God is trying to say. I'm not good at the "listening" thing at times, just ask Suzer!

As I posted previously, I had a major panic attack at the last on site job I took--mostly out of fear--and quit.

After dealing with debilitating anxiety levels for years, I finally took the advice of my doctor and tried a little pill called Lexapro.

I'm only taking a small amount, every night, but according to Suzer, it's made a difference. At times, I feel it wouldn't matter, because I still freak out about time. I have to get to a venue at least thirty minutes before any show, or I start getting nervous.

Susan is quite different. She is happy to get to a venue maybe 5 or 10 minutes beforehand. Can you see the 'wacky fun' that ensues with those two thought patterns?

She says the difference is that before I started taking Lexapro, I would argue with her at why my anxiety was legitimate, and that my thinking patterns were perfectly okay. Now, when she says, "honey, don't worry about it. I really think it's going to be okay," I actually say, "okay, you are right," and instead of obsessing over whatever the cause for worry was for maybe like 8 hours, I now have it down to about 1-2.

See? Progress!

Add to a new chemical makeup inside my pointed little head, is reaching out and listening to God.

Donna is my neighbor. When I first moved in with Susan, she was one of the first persons I met here. I don't know how, exactly, we started talking, but we did. I think I made a copy of a cd for her, and we started talking about music.

She knew so many of the artists--mainly 50's and 60's folk, blues, rock n' roll artists--that I enjoyed, that it was really fun to speak with her.

Then, she started telling me about how she knew Pete Seeger, that Pete Seeger wrote music to her lyrics. She spoke as if it was all no big deal, but my mouth dropped, when she brought out a cadre of letters written to her, from Pete.

As well, she started telling me how she dated Mac Davis, how she saw Brooke Benton, Otis Redding, Ike and Tina Turner, perform, live, in the Atlanta area, way back when. It's when she opined about the Rev. Gary Davis and Ernie Marrs that I perked up. I had heard about both, briefly, but she actually KNEW them.

Every time she would mention someone, I would say, YES, I LOVE THEM TOO!! Well, after I had quit the job from hell, I sort of retreated. Yes, my brief "Howard Hughes" existence. Only Susan would not allow my toenails to curl like old Howard's toenails.

I had decided that I needed to start walking every morning, as it would benefit my physical health and my emotional health. I went down to give Donna a cd I had made for her, and she didn't look well.

I asked her how she was doing, and she confided in me that she was feeling very depressed. At that moment, I knew that I was supposed to be there and I was supposed to listen and offer support.

That's what I did, and it turned out we had a lot in common concerning our families of origin, abuse, etc. I was able to tell her about my panic attack, and how I just didn't think I could ever work in a corporate setting again.

It turns out that Donna felt the same way, and that's why she works from home. So, we both decided to start walking together in the morning, and we've been doing so for the past couple of months or so.

I've learned a lot about her and from her in the brief time we have been walking, and it's good to know that I'm not alone in what I deal with, at times. She has done so many interesting things in her life, and she's so funny. I hope she will take my advice and write a book.

We have started a "Hermits Day Out," as of today. We are going to try and go out to lunch, or do something fun, once a week, since we both work out of our homes.

I consider it a blessing that I met and got to know Donna when I did. I needed her and she needed me, also.

Oh yeah, I guess I should write that a former freelance client of mine contacted me about an on-going writing project for his company.

He asked me to give him a price on a retainer fee, so I calculated one for him and with great trepidation, sent it to him. He didn't balk at all. It's a good amount of money per month. I am truly grateful, as it allows me to continue being my own boss, plus he pays on time!!!

The other blessing is that Susan and I finally found a church that we both feel comfortable with, and we both feel at home.

It's a small Methodist congregation in downtown Atlanta. They are the only reconciling church in Georgia and, I believe, in Atlanta. Since the first time we visited, over a month ago, we felt so welcomed by everyone there.

The pastor is low key, and says what she believes, period. No pretense, no politics, just the truth. It's such a diverse congregation, and one of the elders took us out to eat lunch last week, after the service.

She is 73, black, and very outspoken.

She was one of the very first people we met there, and I just instantly liked her. As we found out at lunch, she has had such an interesting life as well. Engineering degree from U. of Iowa, was in the Army, etc.

But what I really appreciated from her was her honesty about how she struggled, internally, after the church decided to become a reconciling church.

She blatantly told us both that she really had a problem with it at first. It really bothered her, but she said she prayed fervently about it, and she said, "God told me not to worry about it, and to go about the business of doing His will."

I appreciated her candor, and I told her I totally understood her feelings. She said what helped to change her was the fact that she had been married to a white man, and she and her husband had a business near Morehouse College for years. She explained that many of the students there were customers.

In the early 1990's, after the first Rodney King verdict, Atlanta went insane. I was working at Turner Broadcasting at the time, and after the verdict was read, riots broke out all over the country, and Atlanta was no exception.

Turner's great wisdom was to keep us locked inside the CNN premises as long as possible, which would have been fine, but then they decided to let us go right at the height of the rioting, right outside of the building.

I remember riding in the car with my boss, as I had taken our rapid transit to work, and being stuck in this long line of traffic trying to get out of downtown. All we heard was breaking glass, cussing, screaming, and people being beaten.

Thank God my boss had an old ,beat up Toyota, as I think the gang that passed us by took a look at the car and figured they would do us a favor by catching it on fire, so it wasn't something they wanted to do.

I make light of it, but it was scary.

Well, it turns out that the lady we had lunch with got caught in that maelstrom too. She said the students that had been repeat customers in their business, looted it and beat up her husband, because he was white, and because they were angry.

She said that is what God pointed out to her, concerning her feelings about being part of a reconciling church.

I really appreciated her candor. She said that she never invites new people out to lunch, really, but that she was drawn to us for some reason. I really enjoyed the lunch and fellowship.

We've joined the little choir--a choir that sounds fantastic to be so small--and it's just good to be in a place where we can all worship together, and the emphasis is not on our sexual orientation.

Well, back to Donna:

She's a fantastic graphic artist, and she's created a line of slogans/designs for T-shirts. Some of them are really funny, others are just really cool, period.

Hey, take a look and give her some business: Donna's T-shirts

make custom gifts at Zazzle

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