Less Drowning, More Air

So, I’m still an alcoholic. The idea of giving up wine to go sky-diving (I Need Air) seemed easier after some glasses of wine than it actually is or will be.

BUT? I decided to start the saving journey AFTER my payday. Payday was four day’s ago. I also decided it is okay to have wine, but when I forego it I should put money in the envelope!

Since then?

Usually I buy a box of wine on payday. This particular day? I chose to buy a small bottle and put the difference in my ‘air’ fund. I’ve drank on other days and no money went in.

But yesterday? Paul and I were on a walk. I had money on my pocket because we walked the direction of the wine store. He had his bike so he could show me some of his tricks, etc.

After a bit I told him I was too tired in the hot sun to keep going. He offered to ride up to the wine store and get some for us. I gave him the cash I had and he asked me if I wanted the big bottle or small one.

I really wanted the big one. Really!!

But I told him to get me a small one. And I came home and put another $5 in my air fund.

I guess I am not giving up wine. But I am willing to make choices to have less wine to slowly make sure my dreams come true.

Four days, $30 saved toward air.



Confrontational Bravery

I hate confrontation of any kind. It can be about approaching someone about something kind I want to do… I still get anxiety!

I went up to pay my rent the other day. When I moved in I was under the impression it was a monthly rate. I’ve paid the same rate every month for the past eight. I was given six months notice the rent doubles in the prime months (two months I have already been planning for).

You can imagine my surprise when I was told, by the newly re-hired manager, they don’t pro-rate. On months there are 31 days, and because May had 31 days, my rent would be an extra $17.50.

Not being confrontational I simply paid it without reacting.

What I wanted to say?

“Are you serious? I have lived here as a good tenant for over six months. No complaints. Rent paid in full every month.

No one ever said my monthly rate was pro-rated and no one ever charged me anything additional for 31 day months. You gave six months notice for the July/August rent increase but you give me thirty seconds at the time I was paying about the extra day? You charged me an extra day because May has 31 days as I was paying June rent? You’ve decided to spring this on your tenants after you have had them without amenities for six weeks with no idea of when they will be back?  You decide NOW is a good time to jack the rent by one day every 31 day month?

(I moved in partly for the laundry and being close to a convenience store. They had a flood that made it I have to pay extra gas money to be driven for laundry and there is no store until renovated)

Fine. Prices are subject to change without notice and I have no contract because I choose this lifestyle. I paid your fee. But when I move in two weeks? I don’t pro-rate either… “

That’s what I wish I had said.

What I did do? I waited two days to calm my shit (I have PMS and am prone to emotional outbursts over perceived slights), collected my thoughts and then, today, while checking my mail? I casually asked a staff member who was present at the time I was charged the extra if that was standard procedure. She reassured me they don’t pro-rate.

I told her I found it surprising because I thought with my extended stay it was “my set rate” and I had never been charged more. I told her I understood changes happen but I was disappointed there wasn’t more notice. And that it was charged extra for a 31 day month that was previous to the one I was actually paying for.

By the end of choking that out? I did have a couple unrestrained tears coming out. I wasn’t crying, it’s how my body squishes out the anxiety when I feel like I can’t just be anxious. She told me she will talk to the other manager about it.

I can’t believe that I really calmly, despite a couple tears, told someone about my concern. No over reacting. I don’t expect they will change a policy. I’m sure I’ll be paying the extra $17.50/month for all the 31 day months.

But I had enough courage today to make sure my voice was heard about that situation! I managed confrontation that made me feel so angry inside by simply expressing my thoughts in a rational manner.

More importantly than my not losing it on someone over it? I actually voiced myself in the middle of my anxiety and fear of confrontation!



Audition For A Play? I Did That!

I decided to be daring. I stepped outside my realm of the norm when it comes to peopling. Tonight, I auditioned with a local theatre group for a spring 2018 production.

I’ve been into theatre as long as I can remember. I asked my parents to allow me to attend public school so I could pursue dramatic arts. It never happened.

I joined a drama team in college and was in a few plays. I had to get parts because it was a ‘credit course’ for me.

Then I had a professor/drama coach turn me off of it. I auditioned for a real play at my college. Dr. Fisk told me I was very skilled dramatically but I was too big for him to ever find a role for and if I thought I wanted theatre in my life I should choose it over food.

He was probably right. It was 22 years ago, I was obese and fat acceptance was not a thing. No one had roles for someone my size. Fat-shaming was normal and I was a gigantic target.

My theatre dreams ended there.

Until now.

I read a very moving piece of work a few months ago and thought, “If I ever had the chance to do a reading at an open mic I would read this.”

Then? Across my Facebook feed comes an open call to audition for a play. I decided to go for it. The audition required a contemporary monologue. I chose the piece that had been so inspiring to me.

Tonight I went to my audition.

What an experience.

It was terrifying at first. I walked into a lobby full of accomplished actors and actresses that knew each other. One was man in three other plays in the area right now. They all knew the director personally and were talking about how hard he can be.

“If he doesn’t like you? You won’t finish your monologue. If he asks you to read from script? He likes you.”

I almost walked out because my anxiety was taking over. I was trembling as I went in.

It went GREAT! I don’t know that I will get a role. I realize now I am not nearly qualified for the role I wanted.

However? After my monologue the director turned to the casting person and said he thought I would be perfect for the role of Clara.  A more minor role than I originally went for but I was thrilled he thought of me at all.

He pulled out a portion of the script I have never seen and asked me to read some things. I had a few moments to read and prepare. It was great because I was able to use the things on stage as ‘props’. ie. I sat on a stone to represent sitting on a bench, touched the top of a piece of wood that was nearby when ‘touching a table’.

In the end? He asked if I would be available for certain rehearsal dates. The woman there told me I did well and that I should be proud. I’ll know ‘whenever they decide’ if I get a part.

It doesn’t matter to me one bit if I land a part. It matters that I DID this. I stepped beyond past situations that hurt me, fought through my anxiety and took a huge, courageous step forward.

And I owned that monologue.

Thank You

Paul read my blog about the black out drunk situation. Well, I showed it to him as a conversation starter. He read it and we held hands. He told me he understood but we left it at that.

Later in the day we were out with a friend running a bunch of errands. At the end, I picked up a bottle of wine. The small one this time. Paul didn’t say anything.

When we got home though? We talked. Productively. As I drank my wine.

So here it is…

Dear Paul,

Thank you for reading my blog and waiting until the right time to talk.

Thank you for the errands we ran today! They are the tail end of a lot of work you have done to help support our situation. I appreciate all the efforts you’ve made that go outside your box. Emotionally and politically.

Thank you for talking to me today. You let me open the conversation up.  You had no problem with me having wine as we talked. You listened to me so patiently. Thank you for listening to my plan (**to be discussed in another blog**) and for being willing to be an active part.

Thank you for reminding me that you have no problem with me having drinks. You kind of like tipsy, silly  Shaunda. But you are right that the Jekyll/Hyde effect after too much… is too much.

Thank you for being you. Close to a non-drinker who is so in love with an alcoholic, as I am, but willing to go the distance to help me change in the ways that will make myself and us healthier.

Even though I went to bed early? Thank you for coming to bed and whispering in my ear that you thanked me for writing that blog, for talking, for having a plan, for helping you, for taking care of you.

Just, thank you! I love you,


Food Stress

How is Shaunda?

‘Coping’ the best is the best way to explain.

I am presenting well. Continually reminding myself of all the good things about having Paul home. Like, his company. I missed how much we laughed together. And he gives me foot rubs and leg rubs. He makes sure I have what I need at any time ‘physically’.  If I am puking? He is helping.

He is keeping his promise to get things about his life set back up as quickly as possible so he can be working and we can have a bigger space.

Focusing my energy on helping him maneuver his way through the system and re-establishing himself as ‘Joe Citizen’ has helped me keep from ruminating about other things. I’m thankful for everything he is doing to keep his commitments to me, to us and to our future.

In other words, he isn’t the one bringing stress to the situation. He is doing everything he can to recognize my weaknesses/anxiety triggers. He doesn’t judge me for them, but helps me with them.

And here I sit anxious and panicking over things that are small on the grand scale of things but are so important to me.

The main source of my inner angst? Food. Not necessarily how much we are going through, although the consumption triples when he is here, but the kind of foods we are eating and frequency. I am concerned about the amount I am eating because it’s not healthy for me. I just tend to eat more when I cook meals for another person.

Yes, I’ve reverted back to cooking meals at regular mealtimes. And they are heavy meals. Stew, chili, lots of meat and things that take prep time. It feels like if I am not eating I am planning or prepping for the next meal. It’s the focus of my day. I had gotten used to snack eating. Some salmon jerky here, crackers n cheese there. If I had a ‘meal’ it was usually from a restaurant and I could eat off the leftovers for three days. But now I am eating real meals every day. I don’t enjoy the way I am eating. It leaves me sluggish, and fat feeling, so the only energy I have is to cook another meal.

Also, I’m drinking coffee every day, a habit I had gotten out of by simply not making it. Now I make coffee every morning for him and I was drinking some so it doesn’t get wasted. Sure enough I am up to two or three cups a day. I can feel the caffeine affecting my anxiety!

I feel sick and bloated constantly. I liked my mornings of juice and a yogurt.

It’s not that I want to deny him what he wants or needs in food requirements. He would starve on what I eat after all. And we can’t afford to shop for groceries for both styles of eating. So I am shopping/cooking for ‘us’ in a way more suited to his needs. It’s more expensive, it’s not food I enjoy eating regularly and I feel sick from it.

We’ve talked about the ‘how much we eat’ issue and the fact we can’t afford it until he is working. We’re at the point we need to ration or end up going days without at the end of the month so we are cutting back.

You’d think that would ease the stress but for me it doesn’t. Now I am anxious about food and worried we will lose patience with each other in the face of the stress. That sort of anxiety weighs on me to the point I project it and cause the problem I am worried about.

I’m feeling my tension building. I know I can talk to Paul about this, he will be kind and understanding, but I still get so afraid of the conversation that I leave it too long.

AUTHORS NOTE: It’s been a few days since writing this but I waited to post it. We are getting through things well. It’s only one more week until we have some additional money coming in and we will be able to work out a grocery list/budget that suits both our needs and our budget! ❤

It’s Coming Home Day

Here we are. It’s two days after release and he has been on a bus for over 24 hours. Paul will arrive in just a few hours.

I have a ride arranged. I have one of his favorite foods, slow cooker stew, prepared (or being prepared). I cleaned everything up, vacuumed and got candles set up to light. We have wine and anything else he may want. I’m nervous and excited at the same time.

I wanted to get him something special for his homecoming. Something that would make him feel like he is welcome even though he has repeatedly told me he knows this is MY space until we can find ‘ours’.

I decided on a key. It’s simple enough, I will put it on a special key chain and give it to him tonight when we are alone.

So he knows he is always welcome home.

Being Transitioned

I’ve changed myself.

Physically, I was 400 lbs and went for surgery to change it. Emotionally, I go through so much change all the time. Spiritually, I walked away from the religion of my youth to pursue what I know was born in me.

Being a part of the LGBTQ community? I’ve met people who struggled with their gender issues and fought within themselves for years.

I had a male partner who came out to me as transgendered. It’s NOT the reason we broke up.  But he felt, with my own sexuality being what it was, I could accept him as either. And I could have, if we didn’t have other issues.

I had a roommate who was my roomie through her transition. We talked about it. I was living with her through her recovery. I was so proud of her for taking that step at that time in life. She is older than me. She lost her job over it. And her marriage, even though her spouse had previously been approving.

Tonight I met a great guy and his lovely wife. Not married, but they live together, so I say wife. He was born in a female body. I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to him about that. Not appropriate for the circumstances we met under.

He is so smart, polite and mature for his age. His ‘wife’ is so amazing.  She asked if she could add me on Facebook so she could read my blog (how could I not like her LOL). She wants to know more about my candle magic.

Additionally? His mom, like me, had her own kind of transition.  She lost a lot of weight at one point.

So where is this all going?

I might come off as sounding trite, but I’m wondering, when I look in the mirror and still see myself as 400 lbs the doctor calls it body dysmorphia. Is that kind of the same for someone who’s transgender?

Once I get to know him better, and his mom because this could be an excellent threeway discussion, I plan to ask him more details. I have to wait until they know me enough it isn’t construed as rude but I really look forward to learning more about both of their transitions and sharing my own.

Dear Paul


My ex husband won’t be out of jail for a week or more. So he won’t see this until then. But I am posting it now because I want to express how I am feeling right this moment.

My Love,

156 days down and hopefully only 8 to go.

Thank you for taking the time to go and get all of this land fight behind us. Thank you for making it so warrants aren’t over your head. Thank you for giving the hopes of those ‘land dreams’ up in order to come back and be with me. Thank you for your thousands of pages of letters of apologies. Thank you for your promises, you’ve never lied, I believe in your promises. Thank you for being willing to make huge changes in your life to accommodate me because you love me. Thank you for past and future foot rubs, back rubs and every other way you care for me. Thank you for being willing to go to counseling with me. Thank you for taking the job being offered. Thank you for making me your everything.

I look forward to you coming home. I’m scared (you know that) but I am ready. I look forward to working on making life with you again. Making love with you again. I look forward to building on the forgiveness we’ve given each other. I want to build on the love we knew from Day 1 was ours. I love our energy, our connection.

I love every word you’ve written, every picture you’ve drawn and every moment we’ve had to speak.

With All My Heart,



Always Welcome

I gave my notice and asked for my trailer paperwork the other day.

Today, when the owner was in the park he let me know he was having challenges getting the paperwork. In return? He will bring me a dealer transfer plate for moving if I need. He also checked to make sure I have a way to transport my space (which I have something in mind).

Even in my move he is so kind.

He told me again I will be missed. I told him he won’t miss me too much because several people have already asked me to be their ‘plus one’ at the next park party. He smiled and said, “Shaunda, you are always welcome!”

My life is taking a change. But I’m leaving on good terms and good feelings. And who cares about the bullies? Because…  I am always welcome, even when I’m gone.

My Big Mouth

I have this bad habit off ‘mouthing off’ on Facebook. It doesn’t happen all the time but I do have some triggers.

Recently, an old high school friend, who was party to one of these interactions, messaged me privately afterward. She’s not on my Facebook friends list. She wanted me to know she was sorry if she offended me.

“I honestly didn’t see what started all that and thought you guys were just arguing about grammar and thought it was funny. Sorry if it offended you.”

To be honest it was about way more than grammar

It started on an entirely different thread. The one person called someone out on their grammar but had a spelling mistake in her comment. Also, she had nothing valid to say about the actual meme, except grammar policing it.

In my reply, I was just as petty and told her if she doesn’t have anything valid to say about the actual discussion except to use spelling mistakes to point out grammar errors maybe she should check herself and her arrogance.

Later that day, when she posted a grammar meme (the one my other friend saw), her sister replied with the direct quote, “Maybe you should check yourself and your arrogance LOLOLOLOLO”. I knew it was a dig at me. Whatever.  Is”comment shaming ” a thing ? LOL

I use ‘LOL’ but I cared enough about how it made me feel and how it made me look to my previous peers to call them on it.

It’s a kind of cyberbullying on a small scale, so I pointed it out.

I’ve had a lot a bullshit and people talking shit about me through my life. Some of it is true and most of it is not. It came from family,’ friends’ and church. I just recently started to stand up for myself.

When I saw that as a direct attack? I may have overreacted. But it’s because I am already dealing from enough past and present bullying. And Mrs. Grammar? Well, she’s one of my past bullies, from grade school. She’s the first person that picked on me in the schoolyard and punched me. So it triggered me. So I called her a bully.

And maybe I should not have reacted the way I did. Because I was blocked by three people for it.

My whole point? WHY do I spout off? Why do I need to react to people when I can see it is petty and pointless? Should I just keep my opinions to myself? Are they that deplorable? How do I learn to hold my tongue?