Category Archives: Musings

It’s the Most Magical Time of the Year…and Depression


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Ben White

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Ben White

The Holiday Season. Winter. Christmastime, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, New Year’s. All of it. It’s here again (or will be within weeks).

People are stringing lights across the eaves of their houses, smothering their front yard bushes and trees under ropes of brilliant bulbs of color, tiny fairy lights and large luminosities of red and green, Nativity scenes and Menorahs. Stockings are hung from the mantle or the chimney (or from stocking holders placed on shelves if you live in South Florida, because we don’t have mantles and chimneys), toy trains and holiday villages brighten up hallways and front rooms while trees sparkle and bow beneath their weight of lights, tinsel and decorations. Ugly Christmas and Holiday sweaters make their limited engagement appearances. Millions flock to Walt Disney World for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Holidays Around the World, and festive dining experiences.

It’s the most magical time of the year.

It’s my favorite time of the year. From the day after Thanksgiving (when I begin playing Christmas music) until Christmas night, those glorious, wonderful 31 days are when I’m happiest, each year. Attempting once again (and probably once again, failing) to compose and send out cards to those who are special to me, letting them know I’m thinking of them – all year long, but especially now – by the 2nd week of December. Searching for the best bargains on items from family members’ Christmas lists so I won’t go broke…again…

Christmas parties and luncheons, the annual church Christmas concert and children’s drama that always surprises and delights. The joy of finding that special gift for a member of my family, or a friend; imagining the pleasure on their faces when they open those gifts I’ve painstakingly wrapped in beautiful paper and ribbon. Decorating the tree while watching Christmas movies. And the Christmas movies! There are new ones each year to enjoy and ones from years gone by that have become favorites.

All of this I look forward to each year. Something magical about peace on earth, good will toward men.

But there’s a dark side.

These 31 days are also some of the most depressing days of the year for me and so many other people living with depression. There’s a bitter-sweetness to the celebrating and expressions of love and joy. Perhaps it’s because we struggle to feel the same wonder and carefree happiness that so maafter-the-new-year-graphicny others seem to feel; perhaps it’s because we feel a lack within ourselves – a lack of family or friends or significant other(s), someone with whom to share the joy; or perhaps it’s because there lurks beneath it all the understanding that this won’t last; after the New Year, most of us will go back to our everyday lives that magic never touches, good will and peace will be left at the curb with our dead and dying trees, and churlishness will accompany the deconstruction of all those pretty lights, trains and holiday villages. Back in the boxes, sheds and attics go our decorations and ugly holiday sweaters – at least the ones that survived kittens and puppies and toddlers – to save for next season. And so, apparently, do our belief in magic, joy and goodwill toward our neighbors. (Now THAT’S a depression thought.)

That’s part of it, sure. But for me, another part of the depression is old-fashioned self-pity. I’m single (not alone, because I have family and good friends nearby, but single…there’s a difference, you know). For someone like me, a romantic who dives into Christmas/holiday stories and movies (almost all of which end in some form of Happily Ever After, aka HEA), and watches – teary-eyed – all of the Christmas commercials about family and love, being single at Christmastime is downright depressing at times. Especially this year. Why is this year different? Well, 3 young couples with whom I am friends got married this year. I’ve been privileged to watch ALL 3 romances begin and grow over the past few years, and to see them each begin their own HEA in holy matrimony, and watch them begin their lives together…well, it’s bittersweet. Also, perimenopause is rearing its uncomfortable, heightened estrogen, emotional trainwreck, night sweat-slicked head. And, no sex. Also, no snow. 😦

Changing things up.

So while this most magical time of year is my favorite…and I suffer depression more acutely at Christmastime than any other, I’ve changed things up a bit this year, to see if perhaps I can survive the rest of this year less depressed:

  • I’ve not picked up one Christmas romance novel; instead, I’m reading the final book in an epic fantasy series (The Faithful and the Fallen series by UK author John Gwynne). I might be depressed at the end of the book, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be because the series is finished and not because I’m still single.
  • I’m gathering all of my tax documents – medical bill payments, copays, charitable donations, etc. – updating my writing and editing income and expenses spreadsheet so I’ll be ready – early – for tax time.
  • Keeping an eagle eye on my finances so I’ll be able to afford a nice birthday shin-dig for my son when he turns 16 (!!!!!!!!!!) in January.
  • Making a plan (which includes pep-talks at myself) for exercise, healthy eating and a little weight loss after the holidays (I’m soooo not into depriving myself of all the holiday goodies), so I will have enough energy to enjoy myself on my planned birthday trip to Disney World mid-February, and look good while I’m there! 🙂
  • Taking a little time each day to thank God for His blessings, and reflect upon all of the successes in my life (such as letting my son live another year – that’s a big one!).

So while this most magical time of year often means a deeper struggle with depression for me, I’m determined to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, revel in my independence and strength as a woman, and not dwell on the tiny, rather insignificant fact that I am single.

How about you? Is this your favorite time of year, and/or do you find yourself more depressed during the holiday season than any other time of year? If so, why?

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Filed under Depression, Disney, Emotion, Event, Family, Friendship, Holidays, Humor, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Real Life, Relationships, Romance, Thankful

I Am Only Me; Feeling Triggered by You


I’ve struggled for the past week and change over whether to post this. I started writing it the day after elections, because I felt as if, like the girl in the image, that my mouth had been sewn shut. (I REALLY needed my therapy session last week.) I rarely engaged in any political discussions throughout the election process, and refused to “unfriend” or stop talking to anyone who supported a different candidate. But felt that if I spoke my mind the way others did, those others wouldn’t be so understanding of my opinions, which differed from their own. But this is MY blog, MY platform. If I don’t feel free to express myself HERE, then I might as well shut down the site, because I will have allowed others to silence me. And that, I cannot allow. I must be true to ME.

I did a lot of research and soul-searching and praying over the final candidates. I believed (and still do) that neither of them were/are the best our country has to offer for its highest office. But I weighed my beliefs and convictions against their platforms, connections and histories, and made my decision. And I stand by it, though it may cause conflict. Even now, as I type this, my heart pounds, my hands shake and anxiety fills me, as I agonize over the effects this post will have. About half of my “friends” and connections are liberal; I’m conservative. Not ultra-conservative (after all, I believe that prostitution should be legalized and voted for medical marijuana in my state…pretty sure that puts me more toward center field), but moderately so. I’m tolerant of views not my own, even if I don’t agree or understand them, and try to be open-minded. I hope you’ve gotten to know me well enough to lend me the same courtesy.

_________________________________________

woman-1445917_1920

I am only me:

Jewish

Christian

white

female

woman

a survivor of child sex abuse

a writer

a poet

an editor

a traveler

conservative

lower middle-class

highly educated (multiple college degrees)

living with anxiety

and depression

and ocd.

 

I am only me:

a descendant of legal immigrants and indentured servants

a natural-born American citizen

prejudiced against illegals (why not come here LEGALLY? would YOU be happy if I snuck into YOUR country like a thief in the night and then tried to claim the same rights that YOU – a LEGAL citizen – enjoy?)

prejudiced against immigrants who refuse to assimilate and learn English – the official language of the U.S.A. (yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

a mother

a single mother

of a son with ADHD, and ASD, and ODD

an American who believes in:

a strong and well-funded military

freedom of speech

freedom of the press

right to bear arms

innocent until proven guilty

protecting our borders against illegal immigration

a person who tries to make the best of things

a person who votes her conscience

rather than what the mainstream media tell her to vote

heterosexual, after choosing not to be homosexual or bisexual

open-minded

a loyal friend

tolerant, accepting of views not my own and people who do not look/dress/live like me

 

I am not:

mixed race

an illegal

Muslim

LGBTQ

black

liberal

poverty-stricken

a descendant of slaves.

I am not:

an advocate of abortion

a woman who has had an abortion (though one of my doctors advised that I should)

a skilled foreign worker (isn’t that what the EU is all about? why can’t we have the same restrictions here?)

hateful or a hater

racist

intolerant (unless you refuse to assimilate and learn English if you’re an immigrant to America – yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

a degrader or a deplorable

a violent protestor

a fair-weather friend

xenophobic

homophobic

judgmental (unless you refuse to assimilate and learn English if you’re an immigrant to America – yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

oppressive

offended by opinions, beliefs different from my own

 

I am only me:

am I of no value

because my opinions and beliefs

are different from yours?

I am only me:

afraid of speaking my truths

for fear of retribution

or losing networks and connections

 

I am only me

triggered

and oppressed

by your vitriol.

 

Where is my platform to speak my truths?
Where is the audience to hear my voice?

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Filed under Anxiety, Depression, Emotion, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Poetry, Politics, Real Life, sexual assault, Survivors

Here are the Reasons Why I Think Prostitution Should Be Legalized


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Darius Soodmand

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Darius Soodmand

 

Whether “Your Choice, Your Vote 2016” results in a Republican or Democrat president, one piece of new legislation that I would like to see on his or her agenda is the legalization of prostitution.

To all those in my “conservative” circle of friends, family and acquaintances, please don’t beat a path to my door to tar and feather me. I’m addressing legalities, NOT moralities. I have valid reasons for wanting to see prostitution legalized. Prostitution has been called a “victimless” crime. Many people disagree. I’m not one of those people.

You may ask:

  • What about the families of the men (and women, because prostitution isn’t solely a female occupation) who avail themselves of this service?
  • And what about the customers/clients who come away with a sexually transmitted disease of some kind? Aren’t they victims of prostitution?

I submit to you that they are not. There are no “victims” of the act of prostitution itself. The “victimization” occurs when a client assaults the professional – rape, battery, etc., robs them of their fee, drugs them, frames them for murder (clearly I’ve been reading too many crime thrillers and watching too many police procedural shows on TV), or numerous other crimes, including sex trafficking and child prostitution. These crimes may likewise be perpetrated upon the client by the prostitute. Those are the ONLY  instances in which a simple transaction becomes a crime…just like any other simple transaction involving two or more individuals.

While adultery (and yes, having sex with someone other than your spouse is adultery, just in case you were wondering) is (morally) grounds for divorce, it is NOT a crime in the USA. Therefore, when one’s spouse has sex with a prostitute in the USA, it should not be a crime. Ergo, there is NO VICTIM – victimLESS “crime.” And if prostitution were legal, the word “crime” wouldn’t even appear in this paragraph.

If a customer/client’s sexual interaction results in a STD, that MIGHT be a crime, if the service provider knew they carried a potentially life-threatening or health-threatening disease and didn’t take steps to either inform their client, and/or use protection (usually termed “negligence”). The client and sex worker should use protection in any case, because probably neither one practices monogamy. There’s a reason it’s called “safe sex.”

Prostitution should be legalized and called something less derogatory, such as “Sex Worker” or “Licensed Companions” (a moniker borrowed from J.D. Robb IN DEATH mysteries).

Here’s my reasoning:

  • Prostitution is one of the oldest occupations known to man. It’s been around at least since the days of Lot (read your Bible, book of Genesis) and will be around until the Second Coming.
  • Prostitution is, at its core, a simple transaction – a trade of money for a service. As long as all parties are of legal age and ability to consent, according to the laws of the land in which it occurs, since when is a simple transaction a crime?
  • Here’s the important one: the government could tax and regulate the occupation of prostitution.
  • If prostitution was legalized and regulated, then it would be an insurable and licensed occupation; yearly health exams for sex workers.
  • If prostitution ceased to be a crime, then law enforcement would be able to stop wasting time trying to clear the streets of sex workers or setting up sting operations to catch clients.
  • People (and the media) wouldn’t care so much about who/where/when government officials and employees sleep with on their own time.
  • Clients could be assured of legal protection from unlicensed sex workers or those who haven’t kept up with their yearly medical exams.
  • Sex workers would have greater legal protection from unsavory clients.
  • Prostitution is legal in Nevada. (Why are they so much more progressive than the rest of the USA?)

prostiution2Another good reason for prostitution to be legalized: pornography (such as adult films) is legal in the USA, for the most part (with some qualifications, like no images/videos of minors, no sales to minors, etc.). And I can guarantee that adult film stars are better treated than prostitutes. Why is that? There’s really no difference in their occupations. Adult film stars have sex on camera for money. Prostitutes have sex …where ever… for money. How are these two things different?

We have a political policy of separation of church and state in the US. Yet, laws against prostitution are “morality” laws, which is a close cousin to “religion.” That’s a mighty fine line. So much so that it’s almost an invisible line. There are so many other things to worry about in our world – feeding and housing the homeless, ending child abuse, ending domestic abuse, ending rape and murder…why do we care if consenting adults want to charge and pay for sex with other consenting adults?

I was interested to see what others have to say about this topic, and found a lot of opinion pieces. Because this is a blog post and not a book, I’ll leave you with just a few of those pieces, just in case you’re interested.

What do you think? Should prostitution be legal nationwide in the USA? Or should we keep the “morality” law in place and continue to waste valuable law enforcement resources – and fire Secret Service members who solicit – enforcing morality instead of focusing on safety and chasing the real bad dudes and dudettes?

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Filed under Law, Legal, Life, Morality, Musings, Politics, Real Life, Sex, Writing