The Ghost of Aunt Flo

Although she kindly heeded my request to stop visiting, I still feel her presence like the clouds over the sun. My mood drops a subtle yet noticeable few degrees, suspiciously in the first week of every month, and unaccounted for by any other source after a fairly thorough survey. One learns to scan their constitution and environment for possible factors that would contribute to a shift in mood when they are liable to swing so wildly. Any possible variables should be eliminated – hunger, fatigue, (H.A.L.T!), a festering emotional hang-up, a change in meds or hormone cycle, a nic fit, whatever it might be. It could mean the difference between a good day and a really shitty week. I come to expect her passing through the neighborhood nowadays, even though she no longer invites herself in. I make her sound so polite.

In my adolescence, I would liken the experience more to a neighborhood bully who consistently beat me up once a month. As soon as I recovered from the last wallop and regained some confidence to carry on with my life, there he would be again, clocking me with a chubby fist swung out from behind a fence, sending stars orbiting around my head.. A few more low blows for good measure, and off he would go, smirking and whistling, leaving me to nurse another monthly shiner. Jerk. Or he would stick out an ankle and send you toppling over your lunch tray in the cafeteria for all to see and giggle at, lunch food visible on your clothes for the rest of the day. You can ignore him, but you have no power to make him move away or disappear. He lives down the street and you’re stuck with him until you grow up and can move away your damn self. That was my experience, anyway.

So on this broody morning, a ticker tape of to-do’s begins to scroll through my head. The ones that are being put off are starting to be repeated like that damn song on the radio. Bank tellers and interest rates and phone calls make me crazy. Can’t I just pay this debt in songs? No? Darn. Although actually, I’ll be able to with my new performer’s permit for Old Town Sacramento, back to my busking roots! We’ll see what kind of tips I bring in without my trusty attractive and talented redhead. I’m sure I’ll have some profound observations of gender differences to report. My sleep is all wacky – I can’t seem to do it at night, and I can’t seem to stop doing it in the morning. The sweats are abating, but despite my best efforts I’m still stinky.. I guess I’ll just let the body do its work, I have no one to impress.

Broody morning and all, I am happy with the baby steps I am making. I’m starting to be recognized in the local recovery scene and have the cool beginnings of a gaggle of sober friends. This is certainly not my first go-round, I was sent to my first treatment center at 15. I’m going to go to the Western Area Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (WACYPAA) in Vegas, which means I get to drive around in the desert!!!! YESS. I start 12 step work on Saturday. We’ll see how it goes. Thoughts on anonymity later.

There is big shit going down in the world. Oxycontin is killing more people than car accidents, and Maryjane is still illegal. Figure that one. Some towns in rural areas have had an entire generation of young people wiped out, all who are left are old folks and children. That’s chilling. Hundreds of thousands of people are being incarcerated without any medical treatment for a disease that destroys lives and communities and costs billions upon billions in tax dollars. That, my friends, is a human rights violation and a public heath crisis. Education and prevention are proven to be more effective and cheaper than punishment and punitive retroactive efforts. It is an OUTRAGE that prisons and healthcare are for-profit industries. No one will ever convince me that the highly insulated humans at the top of the chain will ever act in the best interest of their fellows with that much power in their hands. Resources are ballooning for the top few while the rest of us can’t go to school, pay our debts, or even get our teeth fixed. It ain’t right, and I plan to rant about it. Check this out, if you’re interested. It makes a lot of sense, and it affects us all.

So while I clear the resin out of my scattered brain and the booze from my pores, I will busk, and read, and blog, and figure out what I can do to throw down for the many causes that are all so intertwined that they really are just one cause, and it belongs to us all. But first I will eat, and remember that the ghost of old Auntie Flo is lurking around my neighborhood and is liable to cast a shadow on my perception. I will wave and smile at her, grateful for the insight that she brought to my life, and that grateful that she has moved on 🙂

j

5 thoughts on “The Ghost of Aunt Flo

  1. Love your writing my friend. She sure is a bitch to me, casts some dark, dark shadows when she comes around. At least I’ve started to recognize them for what they are in the past few years. Amazing that her ghost still lurks for you!!

  2. Funny you should blog this today of all days. My own Aunt Flo snuck up on me this morning with all the subtlety of a frying pan aimed at my face. That is what I get for assuming some sort of predictability. I should know better.
    Please continue to write and post… I enjoy your writing immensely, and it could prove to be quite therapeutic for you. Your style is very inviting … and perhaps you already have the makings of a memoir to publish in the future!

  3. J,
    your writing is amazing (as is your song writing). You have the ability to put yourself out there and show people exactly who you are. That is such a gift to the world. Thank you for sharing you. Love and healing thoughts coming your way.
    Erin

  4. Oh, good ole’ aunt flo. What a weird, wild web of a relationship I’ve got with her too. I hope you have a blast at WACYPAA. Z took me to one here years ago, and it was a welcome and sweet space to be in. Love you so much, buddy.

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