The Day I Tried to Punch a Fly in the Face.

I could tell you a lot of things about my life right now. That once again it’s 4 am and I can’t sleep. That once again Monty has gas but I love him too much to kick him out of the room. That the Chinese doctor told me not to take my pills today and so I haven’t. I feel the effects of it. I have some fear about it. Some hesitation. But I have the same fear of a life dependent on pills, so either way it’s fighting demons. I don’t mind being awake when the world is sleeping. So many days I’ve missed out. Slept through. Called in sick. Night is my time to take life back. I could tell you my music of choice at night when I can’t sleep–lately it’s Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake) but tonight it is Radiohead (In Rainbows) and I’m deciding whether to keep squinting hard and trying to force sleep or to give up. Give in. But since the only cure for insomnia I have found is waking up, I give in.

When I open my computer to begin, a fly immediately lands on the screen, undoubtedly drawn to the light of the monitor. When I scroll the little mouse arrow under him, he jumps. Flies away a second. Then he comes back. I play “tag” with my computer mouse and a fly for probably way too long and smile at this activity. What makes me smile more is that we have this big joke in my family that my dad would be reincarnated as a fly. He used to do this hilarious impression (often at fancy dinners, with no shame) of a fly, rubbing it’s little legs together the way they do. Half of the people laughed because it was funny and the other half probably laughed out of discomfort or something. He was such a nerd. This was his dinner entertainment. I wonder if this fly I am playing computer mouse tag with is my dad. Then it starts rubbing its spidery little legs together the way my dad used to when impersonating them and I smile bigger. Because these are strange anecdotes at 4:14 in the morning and I’d prefer to be getting sleep. But then again I would have missed the fly. The fly and all its mystery.

The Fly.

There are a lot of fly stories concerning my deceased father. Like at his funeral when my sister started crying and one landed on her shoulder. Most people would call these things silly, coincidental, random or meaningless. And that for sure is the easier belief. Faith requires energy. But it almost seems like doubt steals it. Sometimes it appears more attractive to trust nothing and be skeptical of it all. But there are incredibly real moments in my life, where explanation just doesn’t work. It’s beyond science. It’s beyond religion. It’s more along the lines of intuition, instinct, and of course, an awakened state of consciousness. It is really amazing what we can see and access when we are awake. But I think we’re mostly sleeping.

In early September I was  beginning to really resent my situation. I was physically feeling worse and worse. Everyday activities were becoming harder and I was having to rely on people more than ever. I was beginning to resent the fact that I needed help, which is, insane. I should have been thanking every star in the sky that I had help, but I was too busy being upset that my life didn’t look like what I wanted it to. I was really irritable one day. I was short with everyone. I felt angry, sad, and misunderstood. I needed help but I didn’t want to ask for it, so I resented those who tried. Fed up over something stupid, I took Monty on a walk. We walked up “the hill” that presumably was what put me over the edge after walking up it once a day for a week and then facing a monumental crash. Anyway, at the top of the hill was wide open space for Monty to run and for me to think or yell or curse. On that day I let Monty run while I unloaded some words at the universe. I cursed and yelled because no one could hear me. Except maybe some cars that drove by slowly, and at least they had a story to tell later. (Yeah this girl was flipping off the sky and cursing about fibro-vagina or something?) Pretty soon, this fly landed on my face. I swatted it away and it immediately landed back on my nose. Again I swatted. Again, it returned. I was in such an aggravated state, I wanted to punch the fly in the face. I remember thinking those exact words: I want to punch this fly in the face. When I say the fly would not leave me alone, I mean it. For at least five minutes I let Monty run, let my tears fall, and relentlessly swatted away this fly while also trying to punch it in the face. As if that’s even possible. Fed up, I told Monty that due to a CERTAIN INSECT THAT WILL NOT LEAVE ME ALONE, we had to walk home. Monty looked at me like the psycho that I was, and then we started back down the hill. The fly followed.

I started to cry. All I wanted was peace. I was so upset and felt so alone. My life felt out of my hands and I had become completely reliant on others. I’m always the guest on someone else’s couch. When will I sleep on my own couch? I’m always going to be sick and helpless. These were the thoughts that were circulating. As you can see, they are pretty negative. They weren’t helping me. They were the cyclical mental thoughts that dig you deeper in the hole. The fly continued to dart at my face and I continued to flail my arms in what I think were actual attempts at punching it in the face or more simply, just killing it altogether. But to passers-bye, dear God, I must have looked insane. Finally, near our complex I began to calm down. It finally occurred to me; our little joke about my dad returning to earth as a fly. As I remembered I yelled “Seriously dad this is NOT the time!” So now I was punching the air and talking to a fly which I was beginning to believe was my dead father. Want to be friends?

The truth is, that was the time that I needed to be bombarded. The most effective thing that fly did was make me stop. And examine. And get to the truth of my experience. I had been feeling so alone. But the truth was I had love from all sides. I had family to carry me when I couldn’t do it on my own. It was just time for me to humbly accept that not everything was going to be on my terms, and that’s OK. You can still be happy down another path. Once you stop fighting it. That fly relentlessly flew at my face for at least 10 minutes, while I relentlessly tried to kill it. But by the end it had gotten through. Something told me, something from inside, that fly was a reminder. That life wasn’t over. That I wasn’t alone. That I shouldn’t be so irreverent about living. I was still here. Still breathing. And so I still had purpose.

I approached our front door, now smiling at the events of the last 15 minutes. I had tapped into a different energy. A better energy. All thanks to that really, persistent,  annoying fly. Whoever he may be.

Health, Happiness, The Fly.

Curse words.

Let’s talk about curse words for a second. Because I love talking about those fuckers. Oopse!

Don’t you love how someone will say “What a BITCH! Pardon my french…” It’s like, that..was not french…and you don’t actually sound very sorry for saying it. I wonder how that started. But not enough to actually google it. Anyway, I bring up the subject of curse words because I used a bunch of them in my car this morning as I was stuck going 35 miles per hour on the Causeway. (For you Yankees, the Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world, and runs across Lake Ponchartrain connecting the North Shore to New Orleans. Fun facts yaaay.)  So this morning there was thick fog, and that means the normal 65 mph speed limit (which is actually more like 75 mph, let’s get real) was dropped to 35 mph. It seems like overkill to me, but I’m trying to talk about curse words here so why don’t I stick to the DAMN subject. I was headed to New Orleans to take my nursing school entrance exam, and at the rate of traffic I was never gonna make it. Thus, the curse words ensued…

I don’t know what the satisfaction is in saying curse words, but it seems like whatever point you’re making, it adds the perfect amount of emphasis. It makes funny things funnier and angry things angrier and unimportant things seemingly more important. For example: Who ate all the corn flakes? Vs. Who ate all the Fucking Corn Flakes? See how that works? Anyway I started thinking about curse words and a conversation popped into my head that I had with my grandparents around the dinner table a few years back. The conversation had died down a bit and out of the blue my soft-spoken, conservative grandpa asks me “Mary, would you ever let a boy talk dirty to you?” I started to choke on my meatloaf immediately and washed it down with lemonade. I clear my throat. “What do you mean?” He went on to tell me that on the golf course that afternoon, a couple was playing near him, and the man kept cursing in front of his wife. “Even the F word,” he raised his eyebrows at me. “You wouldn’t let a man talk like that in front of you, would you?” I shook my head no, I lied. But for what it’s worth, I prefer people not to curse. Unless you’re alone in your car on a bridge. It was right after this that my Grandma (also named Mary, I’m named after her) said something extraordinary. “You know, I have Never used that word in my life, and I never will.” I know what you’re thinking–she’s lying. But if you knew her, you’d know that 1. she doesn’t lie and 2. it’s totally believable that she’s never used it. She’s as pure and innocent as they come. It really struck me when she said that. I had said it that morning just brushing my hair.

Another memory pops into my head concerning curse words. My dad was another one of those pure souls. Never did drugs, hardly drank, and never cursed. He hardly even raised his voice. He was similar to my grandma in that way. And he didn’t refrain from those things in some kind of stick-in-the-mud fashion. He was a TON of fun. He was a lot of people’s best friend. (At his funeral there were six eulogies. Six.) Anyway, it was about a year after he was diagnosed with cancer that the six of us were getting ready to go out to dinner. He had just gotten home from work at the grocery store. We rarely ate out, so it was always kind of an occastion when it happened. We were all waiting outside our enormous Chevy Grey Van (with carpeted walls) when my dad went back inside to get something. When he opened the front door, our 110 pound labrador retriever burst through, wiggled through my dads hands and took off down our neighborhood street. My dad, the smiling, mild-mannered sweet man, transcended. Something snapped. He was NOT going to let Bacchus get away with this. Off he went, running, no— sprinting down Wilson Court, still in his suit, with his tie flapping behind him, yelling after Bacchus.  “You son of a bitch!” he yelled. At one point he began picking up rocks off the street, hurling them toward the dog. “You son of a bitch Bacchus!” Zoom, another rock. The dog, barely visible at this point, was miles ahead of him. Bacchus may have been a fat son of a bitch, but he was fast. My dad never stood a chance. The four kids and my mom stood in front of the van stunned with our jaws dropped. Who was this man? When he got to the stop sign, he gave up, slowly turned around and started the defeated walk home, panting. The five of us watched. I remember feeling uncomfortable because I had never heard him curse before, but suddenly I noticed, my mom was laughing, followed by the other three. One of those group laughers that starts small and bubbles into breathlessness and strange sounds. Something about it was incredibly refreshing. By the time he made it back he was laughing of too, of course. Through his diagnosis and the grim prognosis-6 months- he had always kept it together. Finally, our fat fast dog running down the street got him to lose it, just a little. Just for a moment. It was great.

I thought about these things as I finally made it to the end of the bridge. Turns out my test wasn’t until 9, not 8:30 like I had thought. So I was going to make it. All those F bombs for nothing. Maybe next time instead of saying that word when I’m upset, I’ll say what my grandma says: Fiddle Faddle.

Health, Happiness, and $%@!