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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

the road not taken

the other morning i woke up to a stream of dried blood on my face.

not entirely surprising. i just completed an intense 6-day round of methylprednisolone to get the infections on my fingers under control. with even less of an immune system, the constant sores in the corners of my mouth became inflamed, crusted over and apparently cracked open.

good morning.

this aesthetic blip was followed by my disability appeal meeting. yup, i was declined in may for disability because "although we realize that you are unable to perform your past work, however, based on your age, education and work history, you are still able to do other less physically demanding work activities."

god bless america.

really? REALLY?

i sleep 10 hours a night. my hands shake so badly from tremors that kevin has to fill out all my forms. the medications that aid in prevention of migraines make me drowsy and unable to safely drive myself long distances. they also cause me to fall asleep for about an hour and a half every afternoon. i am living with 10% function of a 67 year old kidney.

[my wedding ring doesn't fit my swollen fingers anymore.]

[ouch. my heart.]

so, who the FUCK is going to hire me?

i suppose it is no coincidence that i started to get a migraine that afternoon, as i did the last time i had a meeting with social security. there is a horrific indignity in being asked to prove that you are sick.

in the 5 minute meeting, the "psychiatrist" asked me questions like, "what day is it?", "what season is it", what county are we in?". shockingly, i did struggle in answering these questions. exhausted, disoriented and unfocused. alien like.

now outside, post-interview, the "ugly cry" consumed me. reaching for my partner's hand. embraced. comforted. how, HOW had my life come to this? feeling like a beggar at the side of the road.

["hey, buddy, can you spare any change?"]

so i asked myself, why did this bother me so much?

it is hard, so hard, to ask for help. to lay down your personal gauntlet of pride and surrender to current circumstances. but then to be questioned, poked and prodded as you lie on your back, arms and legs splayed...

how i'd love to retreat back to the land of "all-things-fab" in 1994. moi, a vibrant, employed actress, completely self-sufficient. these were the days when even i took my health for granted. a luxurious blessing that most will never appreciate...perhaps, even myself?

tonight, i followed a bus back from burbank airport. literally down the street from us, we occasionally rent cars on as needed basis. on the back of the bus, was an ad for the remake of "HAWAII 5-0". it stars alex o'loughlin, star of "three rivers" and "the back-up plan" with jennifer lopez. alex and i screen tested together for the CBS hit, "NCIS". it was a two-day affair (not literally), and he was charming, delightful and authentic about his work as an actor. we were in contact by e-mail for a wee bit, and i am nothing but thrilled for his success.

and yet.

yeah, i went there.

there are days where i just don't get it. {please. most days i don't get it.}

and for some confounding reason robert frost's quintessential "the road not taken" popped into my head.

[and god bless the internet...]

as i read and re-read the poem it struck me that it wasn't an endorsement of non-conformity at all, but rather an acknowledgment of choice.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference."

there is nothing in this poem to suggest that the "difference" was a positive choice. the repercussions of his choice lie in the future.

i think we like to live under the illusion that we have control. but this is something that was dispelled for me a long, long time ago. we can make choices, but then we have to let go. there is no such thing as security. there is no such thing as control. i believe we comfort our selves with platitudes like "everything happens for a reason". it's a security blanket to wrap ourselves in, when things don't go according to plan.

i am in the middle of doing our taxes. it's a tedious affair both being self-employed. i have to go through every single receipt of the past year and determine what can be deducted. it's always a trip down memory lane. less balls-to-the-wall road trip to vegas and more the monotony of a drive to northern canada...

but, it's a revealing process. identifying choices we made through the year, based on financial limits.

kevin and i have an ongoing discussion for years. he has always believed that our lives are predestined, but, i, i cringe at the prospect. no true contribution to your own life? no matter what your choices your life will end up the same?

so instead, i believe, yes, we have choices, and we can change our fates. but maybe it's not as literal as the "diverging two roads" that robert frost presents. maybe it's more our perception of what happens along the way. our reactions. our interactions and our courage.

the truth is, i have never understood anything that has happened in my life. anything that we perceive as "bad". why did my father die so young? why did my amazing career come to a grinding halt? why am i living with someone else's organ in my body?

it would break my heart to think i chose the wrong path...so maybe. just maybe, it's not the path we choose, but how we choose to react to the path we're on...

and that makes all the difference...

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