My Radical Conclusion

Blog May 2, 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

I am still pretty much fuming over yesterday’s ridiculousness over the embarrassment I exhibited in the doctor’s office. But instead of being negative about it, I decided to be productive and spent the remainder of the day searching for a new primary care physician (female this time, and a real doctor not these cute P.A.’s or whatever bullshit scam this country is peddling upon its citizens in lieu of legitimate healthcare). I also found a reputable ENT relatively nearby so that I am able to officially get some sort of hearing aid device for myself. I am sick and tired of being treated like a second class citizen. And I shouldn’t have to explain why I decided to start taking better care of myself. I am doing so because I fucking want to that’s why!

I was born in America. I have worked incredibly hard over the years just like everyone else. My means for someday obtaining financial freedom may be unconventional and not understood by those who were brainwashed into thinking that having someone else signing your paycheck is the only way to be respected and valued in the community. I am fiercely ambitious and you may consider me crazy but I will not stop fighting for a better life, for a better world, and my way of doing that is through my writing and art. This year, I feel that I have seamlessly transitioned from hobby writer to career writer and even though I’m not rolling in the dough, I have value, I am respected in my field, and I do deserve the same consideration and care as everyone else on the planet.

I read this amazing quote by Audre Lorde today. She once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” That’s the mantra I am currently adopting. I’m not going to let anyone guilt me into thinking that I’m not worth proper healthcare and I don’t have to justify why I’m seeking assistance in getting hearing aids, or bloodwork, or any other thing that will ensure that I remain healthy and mentally happy and at peace.

For years, I’ve allowed people to bring me down, to mock me, to make me feel inferior. But what have those people truly accomplished in their lives? Anyone can get married and/or divorced, have a slew of unruly kids, settle for a nine to five job making someone else richer, buy a home, a car and buy other materialistic bullshit that they just don’t need. I once prescribed to that notion. I felt hollow, empty for not being like everyone else. I tried the whole relationship thing. I was fed notions of possibly having a happily ever after, living in my own home, and all that. But I realized happiness is found from within and I feel truly fulfilled and free when I’m writing. I feel validated and purposeful and I know that my message is a strong one and others need to hear this message too so that we can all break these damaging so-called social norms that make people believe they need to achieve certain things and reach certain goals in order to make them feel whole. Granted, one may feel fulfilled with the lives that they currently have. I’m not arguing that my way is better than anyone else’s. My argument here is to respect that there is more than one way to fry an egg. Happiness is individualized. My happiness differs from yours. And vice-versa. I realize I give too much clout to others and their opinions. But it makes me fucking furious thinking there are people out there who appear villainous and actually thrive on seeing people fail and falling flat on their faces. This rage fires deep within me and I will not stop until I am recognized for my positive contributions to society.

I noticed right away since I was a little girl that I was not like everyone else. My first bra was a neon green disaster. I wore neon pink bicycle shorts and a playboy t-shirt hand-me-down from my older brother. My hair cuts were never fashionable and always uneven. I always got dirty from doing somersaults in the park falling into piles of geese-poop horribly embarrassing family and friends. I have fallen down concrete steps, knees bleeding profusely, while my dad was part of a Portugal day festival in the city hall where I grew up totally shaming my family and godparents. I have fallen down stairs more often than not, that was a major theme in my childhood. I have fallen after attempting to climb a retaining wall in fear of missing the school bus as my sister watched in horror from the school bus in front of all of her friends. I am shy, I am weird, I don’t smell the greatest all the time, I cry a lot and can’t control my emotions and sometimes appear somewhat of a crazy person when I am horribly triggered by cruel and mean-spirited people. I’m outspoken and feisty and have this unusual blend of soft-heartedness and lion-heartedness that often fight together until they harmoniously decide to get along and help me be the productive person that I am today.

I say and do weird things making others uncomfortable. I curse like a sailor on leave, I burp, I fart, I eat with my elbows on the table, I am comfortable talking about my bowel movements in front of family at the dinner table, I laugh at fart jokes and enjoy potty humor, and I wear dresses with stains on them that are not ironed and have cat fur all over them. My hair is in knots, my mother and sister forced me to dye my hair because it had ten-inch gray roots and they bought me hair dye from the supermarket so that I’d look decent for my latest newspaper interview. I may look like I have it all put together in my profile picture, but I’m a wild, feral, hot mess and I have been this way since the day I popped out of my mom’s vagina.

I say and do awkward shit, I can count the number of friends I have on one finger, I eat noisily and fast, I enjoy Mexican food and ice cold root beer and I am done apologizing for who I am.

For those who question why I dress well and have nice boots even though I don’t currently make a lot of money with my writing, don’t realize that my clothes are either donated to me by my mom since we are the same size, or clothes I have purchased years ago when I was teaching. I am not fussy about clothes and just wear old stuff that I take care of because I’m not a behemoth beast. I also notoriously hate wearing shoes and I only own 5 pairs of shoes. I own flip flops to wear around the house, sneakers to go walking in outdoors, my very old Doc Martens flowery boots which may look nice on the outside but smell like your grandma’s crotch on the inside from years of wear, my sandals for the summer that are on their last leg and are about to bust apart at the straps, and my winter boots to ward against ice and snow. I am sick of justifying who I am to others who lack any sort of emotional intelligence or even general intelligence. The amount of willfully ignorant people around me are astounding and no amount of education can create the level of self-awareness and common sense people need to really pay attention to the things that really matter around us.

To the person who stole my quarter bug juice at snack time consecutively every day for 180 school days in Kindergarten and I never said a thing to stop her, to the kid who spat in my face with a mouth full of ham and mayo every day at lunch consecutively every day for 180 days in 1st grade and I never said a thing to stop him, to the little bitch who lied and told the teacher I threw her down the stairs during dismissal when I was nowhere near her in line and I never defended myself, to the teacher who shamed me when I didn’t understand long division showing the class my paper with a zero on it trying to shame me into somehow magically passing not realizing it wasn’t because I wasn’t studying, it was because I just didn’t understand what to do and she did a lousy job teaching me, who will also never know that I got straight A’s in math from senior year in high school all throughout my college career including bachelors, masters, and doctorate years, to the bullies who called me fat and have compared me to every fat actress out there like that is some sort of insult when all of those so-called “fat actresses” are the people whom I admire the most in Hollywood, to the student who called me an idiot who provided the final straw on my last day of substitute teaching and made me finally realize that it was time to move on and taught me that I deserved so much more than the bullshit I was being served, to all of my abusers and oppressors of all forms who have created this neurotic, anxious, and often, depressed individual, I will continue to fight not for you, not because of you, but in spite of you and your patheticness. I continue to write in spite of you. I pour my emotions on this page in spite of you. To send a message to the world, who so desperately needs to hear it that whatever someone does and whatever their circumstances are, happens to be none of anyone’s business but their own, and what works for one person does not work for all. Everyone is on the same team and we are all battling the same villains. Instead of turning on each other and being cruel and meanspirited, reach your hand out to heal, not to destroy. Because you don’t know what is going on in another person’s mind. You’ll never know. I’ll leave you all with another one of my all-time favorite quotes from R.J. Palacio’s marvelous book, Wonder, “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” Believe me. It makes all the difference!

By the way, I chose today’s photo because it looked like the middle flowers were flipping the bird. It seemed apropos given today’s topic. Alright, NOW I will choose kind! 🙂

(Of course, I appreciate all of my readers and followers but I wanted to give a shout out to one new follower in particular who gave me props for yesterday’s blog–My message to you is to always keep fighting for what truly matters in life and never let anyone tell you no!)

 

The Healthcare System is Failing Us All

may 1 2019_blog

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

For many who truly know me, understand that I have not had the easiest life. I have endured several traumas in my life and as a result, I have been a lifelong sufferer of depression and anxiety. It has always been difficult for me to muster up the courage to go to any doctor and I usually only go during emergencies when I have an infection or bronchitis or anything like that. My anxiety is quite severe and I often have to coach myself to go and it takes me a few days of mental preparation unless it’s an absolute emergency that I can finally concede and buckle down and make the appointment.

I have never been fond of doctors. Every time I  go to the doctor it’s always the same thing, “you’re fat and you need to lose weight” and they’re always trying to pump me full of pills. Doctors have become pill pushers and develop creative ways of keeping patients coming back so they can keep siphoning people’s insurances. Doctors also want it easy for them too. They’re not interested in helping patients when there’s an actual problem that’s easy to fix for the patients.

After all of the things that have happened throughout my life, I have developed quite a complex. I am impossibly shy, I lack any sort of self-confidence, and for me to actually develop the courage to go to the doctor, those who know me well, realize how huge that is.

The other day I noticed that my town opened up a new hearing aid store. I was so impressed by my sister’s hearing aids (she went to a much fancier place because she has decent insurance), that I mustered up some courage to actually make the appointment and go get my hearing tested. I have been hard of hearing my whole life and that has been such a huge burden I have been carrying since I was a little girl. I remember being tested several times as a kid and my parents were told that I needed hearing aids but I never got them because my parents could never afford them for me.

The test was bittersweet. It indeed confirmed that I needed hearing aids and that I could get a reasonable pair with the crappy insurance I have. I actually got emotional during the test because I remembered the same words they spoke during the verbal part of the hearing test from when I had the same test done as a kid. When I heard the words “hotdog” and “baseball” I immediately started crying because I remembered what it felt like being a kid and being told I needed hearing aids and also being told I could not afford them. It was heartbreaking for me for so many reasons. But going to that hearing aid place I finally felt hope, which I don’t allow myself to feel very often because it’s always a terrible letdown. Today was no different.

Being hearing impaired always has been a source of contention for me my entire life. Since my parents could never afford them for me, I basically lived my entire life as if I was submerged in water. I learned to read lips and basically “faked it til I made it.” If I didn’t understand someone when they spoke to me I would ask them to repeat once, maybe twice, and by the third time, I’d just laugh awkwardly as if the person made a joke and would just awkwardly walk away. This became the norm for me, a coping mechanism. I avoid the telephone at all costs. I don’t like to socialize because I’m too embarrassed to ask people to repeat themselves over and over again. It became such a huge complex of mine that I consider myself somewhat of a recluse. I just prefer solitude most of the times because I have developed such a fear of being mocked, shamed, or embarrassed because of my hearing loss amongst my other shortcomings– real or perceived.

When I got colds, my hearing would be even more severely limited. I remember one time I had gone to school when I was fifteen years old and gave my English teacher a doctors note asking that I not be called upon to read aloud in class because I was profoundly hard of hearing due to my cold. I was essentially deaf that day. I heard nothing. It was like life was completely muted and I was living in a world that lacked any sort of depth in terms of sounds. My English teacher, being a nasty bitch, of course, had to call on me. I had no idea she was speaking to me and I had my head down pretending to follow along with what the class was reading. One of my classmates happened to shake my sleeve to get my attention and told me that I was being asked to read. Not knowing where we left off, I just randomly started reading any passage. I looked around and everyone was visibly laughing at me. My teacher finally showed me mercy and told me to stop reading. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. And one that I still carry with me to this day.

This was the norm in my life. Constantly being mocked and shamed. The shy, nice girl always getting shit on by the world and today was no different.

I went to my primary care provider to ask for a prescription for hearing aids because that was the only stipulation from the hearing aid place that I needed the prescription. When I made the appointment on Monday, the doctor’s office never told me that they could not write me such a prescription and that I had to go to an ENT in order to get the prescription I needed. I wouldn’t have cared about this bit of news in the least, except for that fact that my doctor dragged me into the office unnecessarily when the receptionist could have told me right away that he did not write prescriptions for that. To make matters worse and to add insult to injury, his assistant, who looked like she belonged in a Britney Spears video, mind you, told me that I needed routine bloodwork and to continue taking medicine that I was never prescribed and to come back routinely to be checked up periodically. I laughed at the little girl’s face and said that I only go there when I have a cold but thanks anyway and took my paperwork and left. I had informed the hearing aid place of the situation and they had tried calling on my behalf but also failed to get anywhere with the doctor’s office as well.

I was so enraged by how horrifically I was treated from the very moment I walked into the office. Because I have such shitty insurance I am always treated horribly whenever I am in need of medical attention. I am always asked questions that no one would dare ask the elderly or a man, for that matter. People also question the clothes that I wear as well which is so beyond rude and don’t realize that the majority of what I wear is donated to me and I do take immaculate care of my clothes so they are always in good shape. I also live at home, so yes I am well taken care of in that regard. Even though I don’t have the typical 9 to 5 job with steady pay and traditional insurance that by no means makes me lazy, and many don’t realize just how much I bust my ass every single day doing so many things not just for my own business but for my family as well.

After my despicable treatment, I ran home and immediately signed up for a different primary care doctor. I deserve much better and I also deserve a female doctor and not that crusty old man that keeps trying to get me to use a sleep apnea machine or pump me full of pills. Instead of shoving pills, why not sit down and talk to your patients? Get to know them, know their struggles, and teach them ways of fixing their problems, not simply trying to shove pills down our throats and make people think they can’t live without them. Granted, obviously, people out there do need everyday care and rely on medications in order to continue living, I’m not referring to those individuals.

But this guy doesn’t even know any of my background because he never took the time to ask. He doesn’t know I have depression and anxiety and that I was treated by my old doctor before she passed away in my 20s and I never found anyone after that to help treat my condition nor got the courage to find someone who was as good as she was. He doesn’t understand that I’m an emotional eater and I eat myself to death because I’m so fucking miserable over my situation. Of course, I hate being poor, of course, I hate being fat, of course, I’ve tried so many fucking times to find paying jobs. And I, PSG Lopes, don’t need you or anyone else to validate my existence.

I’ve learned how to live my life in a way that’s just good enough to get by without the help of others who lack empathy and sympathy for myself and my situation. I know nobody will help me, I know nobody will listen. Everytime I try to open up and develop the courage to go out there and try to fix something wrong with myself I’m always horrifically embarrassed and that really sets me back months. I can literally spend a lifetime recalling those few moments beating myself over what happened and I will constantly find new and creative ways to completely hate myself. So if that guy accomplished anything today, it was making me feel even shittier and making me feel like more of a loser than I always do anyhow. So thanks for that, dipshit. I hope you choke to the death of the food you buy with the money you stole from me today!

I ended up finding a new doctor and making an appointment with an ENT that actually accepted my insurance but it will take a few months but I am determined to not let pieces of shit like that legalized drug pusher and his back up dancer assistant to make me feel inadequate. He and his playboy bunny assistant can go eat a bunch of dicks for lunch.

Despite all of my shortcomings, I was still able to put myself through college and I worked on my bachelors, masters, and doctorate. I worked since I was eighteen years old and have held several jobs over the years. Sadly; however, I was never able to find a lasting full-time position in the education field. I was a substitute teacher for over fifteen years and have worked in several districts and have taught all grades and all disciplines over the years. Whether I was flat out fired, laid off, or I’d quit, I realized I was stuck in a vicious cycle and I couldn’t continue on this way. My last teaching position, which I actually enjoyed and did exceptionally well at that year, I was laid off from due to lack of funding for the following school year. Realizing that I couldn’t keep going backwards in life and couldn’t face going back to substitute teaching yet again being laid off prompted me to leave education once and for all and that’s when I decided to create The Moonlit Goddess Writing Line and become a full-time writer. Aside from my writing, I am also one of the full-time caregivers of my father who has been suffering from advanced dementia for the past six years. Now because of all of this together, I realize I don’t make much money so my insurance is god awful.

People hear that I’m a writer and that I work remotely from home and they come with all sorts of conclusions about it. They assume I’m lazy, that I don’t want to work, and all of these other silly assumptions that couldn’t be further from the truth. I just happen to have a vision, I am ambitious, my degrees are in business administration and I hope to someday expand my writing line to a small publishing company. I am working hard every day and engaging in many opportunities to help me get there. I am nothing but proud of my accomplishments to date and I have nothing to be ashamed about but yet I still feel compelled to explain myself in order to get the message across that this is my chosen path and I will not allow anyone to mistreat me or disrespect me in any way, shape, or form.

To date, I have won an award for my short story “Breath of Freedom,” I have self-published eight pieces of work: Dark Musings Poetry Anthologies: Volumes 1 (1st and 2nd editions), 2 (which features my award-winning short story “Breath of Freedom”, and 3, two children’s books: My Papa and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia and Little Stan’s Lucky Day, a novella: A Wynter’s Tale, and my single, “In Recovery.” My novella was just made into an audiobook. I have been featured in two newspaper articles this year. And I am nowhere near done with my ambitions for this year! Every artist and writer goes through a rough patch in the beginning as they begin to build their portfolio and start networking with individuals. Just because I’m not loaded doesn’t make what I do any less meaningful or important and I am incredibly fortunate enough to have a family who understands me and takes care of me as I pursue my dreams.

My father’s healthcare is not that much better. He is also treated like shit within the healthcare system and that infuriates me further because that man did nothing but work his entire adult life consistently putting money towards Medicare for others over the years and when it’s finally his turn to get people to help him he is denied or it takes months to see any progress. He needed a walker, it was denied. My mother ended up buying one out of her own pocket. He needed a wheelchair, it took forever and by the time we got one he was basically bedridden. The diapers, the wipes, the toiletries, the medicines, everything that my dad needs to ensure he is cared for properly all costs money and insurance doesn’t pay for any of that except for a portion of the medicines. The insurance won’t cover a home health aide past a certain amount of time and that too my mother pays out of pocket. We are lucky to have a nurse practitioner come and visit him once a month. The second the insurance stopped covering it, the social worker stopped accepting our calls. The system is corrupt and only the rich get the help that everyone should be entitled to get.

My family has basically always been blue collar our whole lives but we all worked hard and all deserve the same amount of respect. We deserve to be treated with dignity and equally despite our socioeconomic differences. Don’t judge a book by their cover. You don’t know what everyone’s story is. You don’t know what burdens everyone carries. Before you say, “that woman has nice boots, I wonder how she can pay for them if she’s not making any money!” My boots were bought with my own money when I was working as a full-time teacher. The things I have I keep and take very good care of them. People have this antiquated image of poverty but it really has many faces. I am lucky to have a mother and sister who have always been there for me through my hardest times in life. The things I can’t pay for, they help out. What I do in return is I drive everyone around to their appointments, I run all errands for the household, I help with gardening, feeding all of the animals my family takes care, taking care of dad’s daily needs, and so much more along with all of my own writing responsibilities whether it’s my passion projects or freelance work that I’m paid to do. So, call me fat and lazy all you like. Everyone has a purpose on this earth and I know mine and I don’t feel sorry or guilty for anything because I go to bed with my body in bits with all the physical work I do for my family day in and day out. I’m invaluable and I do have worth and I do contribute positively and I don’t need to be shamed, embarrassed, or discriminated against because of a lack of empathy or understanding from others.

My Pilgrimage to the Ironbound

blog pic april 26th

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019. 

I had an enlightening morning today. My father worked in an area known as the Ironbound section of Newark for nearly forty years. Shortly after he retired, my family and I realized that he was going through something because he began behaving erratically and drove our family crazy for months before we figured out his catastrophic diagnosis. Upon revealing his diagnosis of dementia, our family was devastated but we weren’t exactly familiar with the disease. We were unsure of its progression, we were uncertain of his prognosis; we were basically left in the dark. With each passing month, we become more knowledgeable and educated ourselves on his illness. A lot of what we learned was from witnessing it first hand. There really was no appropriate preparation for what was to come.

Before my father was diagnosed with dementia, my family was pretty much estranged from him. Even though we all lived in the same house as him, my father was a private man and preferred to live his life separately from everyone else. Because dementia is all-consuming and requires round the clock care, this introduced us to a whole other side of my father we never really knew. I realized that I never really fully knew this man I called my father. Not because I did not want to, mind you, but because as I said he wanted it that way. He had his job in the Ironbound, his clubs and organizations that he was a part of, he had his writing and art that he would pursue on evenings and weekends. He would travel and drive around areas alone and we were none the wiser. Since his illness, we became so intimately familiar with our father that it was as if we entered a rabbit hole, an endless fountain of knowledge and information about him, some unsavory, but for the most part, we learned of some things he was interested in that we never knew about.

Today I met with an amazing woman who is well-respected and revered at the Luso-Americano newspaper and discussed my children’s book which I wrote in his honor: My Pápá and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia. It was so nice speaking to someone who knew my father well. I could almost feel his presence in that building. My father, once notoriously known for how well-dressed he always was, proud and confident in himself walking into the newspaper building and talking away with all of these fine people. It was so comforting to know that he was well remembered. A big motivator for me writing my latest children’s book was to ensure that nobody forgot about my father. He was so important for so many years in the Ironbound community and then he disappeared into the ether and not many people knew about what happened to him. Many abandoned him, some called about him in the beginning but then very quickly it was as if my father ceased to exist. That didn’t sit well with me. As complicated as our relationship was towards the end of his healthy years, I would never want his legacy to fade. My children’s book was essentially my way of coping with this devastating situation my family and I have been dealing with for the past six to seven years. It has been a long, torturous, and highly emotional road for us all. Our goal and mission are to make damn well sure that my family receives the best possible care for him and that he is remembered for his positive contributions to society. I may not have known this side of him well but it was clear from my interview today that he was respected and that provided me with reassurance.

I know that I will continue advocating for others going through similar circumstances. This disease is tragic and heartbreaking. So many times I sit and think about telling my father about all of my accomplishments in writing and I wonder what he would have thought about it. I try not to romanticize his reactions too much because prior to his illness our relationship wasn’t the strongest. But I’ve gotten to know this version of my father and I can honestly say he is lovely and sweet and we currently have the best relationship that we have had since I was a little girl. I have actually read my children’s book to him and he gave me a thumbs up and told me in Portuguese that it was good. I thought his reaction was sweet and heartwarming. This was not exactly the same as if I were to have shown my dad prior to his illness but I accept that. Our family loves him and are fiercely protective of him. I will continue watching out for him and I will continue to fight to ensure that each day he is met with the dignity and respect he deserves. His legacy will persevere. I will make sure of that.

If you are interested in purchasing any of my work, you can always check out my Amazon Author Page here. (click on the orange link).

You can also click on any of the pictures below to order any of my books, audiobook, or music.

My novella, A Wynter’s Tale, is also now available as an audiobook and is featured on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes! If you are interested, you can order my audiobook here. (Click on the orange link above for the audiobook!)

wynters-tale-outside-cover

Thank you very much to everyone who has already purchased my work in the past. Please make sure to leave a review and let me know what you think of my work! I appreciate you all always coming back and returning to read my blogs and to visit me on social media. I am continuously humbled and honored to have you all be a part of The Moonlit Goddess tribe!

Read-Aloud of My New Children’s Book: My Pápá and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia (Podcast)

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

Hello, everyone! Please listen to this week’s podcast where I discuss and perform a read-aloud of my latest children’s book: My Pápá and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia, discuss updates and latest projects, and more!

Thank you so much to all who continue to visit my blog, purchase all my books, listen to my podcasts, and just overall offer their emotional support. You all are amazing and I cherish each and every one of you!

Enjoy the podcast and hope you all have a fabulous and restful weekend!

Listen here to this week’s podcast: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Podcast on Anchor

 

April Updates!

blog photo april 3rd 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

It has certainly been a while since I have last blogged about anything in particular. This past winter has been hectic, to say the very least!

Between the new year’s eve debacle, the torturous January that followed, being sick this past February with the flu and having both my parents afflicted with the flu, my dad being hospitalized with both the flu and pneumonia and spending his 76th birthday with strangers, our family being prepared for the worst thinking this was the end for my father, the stairs of the attic completely crumbling and not having access to my office or bedroom for a few weeks while my younger brother and brother from another mother created all new stairs, all contributed to my absence from the blogging realm.

2019 hasn’t all been bad! On a much brighter note, my father is doing very well, thankfully! He is situated in our living room with a fully functional hospital bed. He eats well, he enjoys reading magazines, he watches television, and he is able to answer simple questions and has become more verbal over the weeks since he’s been home from the hospital. Aside from the obvious afflictions that come with advanced dementia he is doing remarkable! There are still things that need to be taken care of, he’s obviously still in physical and mental decline and there’s no way of knowing when the end will occur. He has good days and bad days, but he can still laugh and still smiles and can still interact with us and that has been a huge blessing for my family!

Also occurring this year so far, I have released my third poetry anthology: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear, which has been featured in my town’s local newspaper, and I finally released my new children’s book: My Papa and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia. I decided to do a meaningful children’s book. It’s a simple poem illustrating what I went through when I found out my dad was sick. It is said in simple language and does not get into too much detail and is meant for children of all ages to learn and understand about this treacherous illness that their families may be experiencing themselves with a loved one. With every piece I create, I vow to not be frivolous with my writing and to write with purpose and meaning. I see so many ridiculous children’s books out there about topics like farting and other crude topics and I just feel that books are like food for the soul. You wouldn’t want your child eating junk, so why feed your child’s mind with junk, too? They deserve to read meaningful and powerful literature to inspire them and nurture their souls. That was my intention with my latest children’s book.

This piece was a real labor of love. It took weeks to get it all together and to finalize the formatting. I laughed to myself thinking I’d do a children’s book next after the poetry anthology because I thought it would be an easy venture. So many things went wrong during the production of this book and it dragged on many weeks more than I had originally planned. I am happy it is all said and done and the book is now fully released. I am pleased with the end results and am looking forward to my next projects in the upcoming weeks!

Another interesting opportunity that I got involved in this year, is the creation of the audiobook version of my novella, A Wynter’s Tale. I was presented with an opportunity to turn my novella into an audiobook and I set up an advertisement to do so and the lovely, incomparable Chris Kenworthy was gracious enough to accept my proposal for the audiobook and now the audio production of my novella is one other feather in my cap added to my work portfolio. I am super excited for its release and I will inform you all when it is finally available and will give all of the information on how to order your copy of the audiobook. It has been two years since I have released A Wynter’s Tale and I have learned so much about myself as a person, as a writer, as an artist, and I have pushed myself farther than I ever imagined I was capable of going. I am so proud of myself for continuing on and creating new pieces for everyone to enjoy. Each day I am blessed to present new works that demonstrate the varying aspects of the human condition and how we can all be better people if we all just work together. Thank you, Chris, for doing a phenomenal job bringing Wynn and Linda to life!

I realize my podcasts have fallen by the wayside as well over the past few weeks and I will resume podcasting this coming Friday. I will be doing a read-aloud of My Papa and Me. So stay tuned for that!

I also have my Goodreads page all updated. If you are interested in adding me through there, just click here.

Another thing that has gotten me through the painful start of 2019 is playing Pokemon Go. I am not much of a gamer, per se. I do play Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS. I am also looking forward to the new Animal Crossing that is supposedly going to be released later this year through the Nintendo Switch. I have also played Pokemon on the 3DS during the Sun and Moon and Ruby and Sapphire eras. I played Pokemon Go for the first time in 2016 with my siblings. There were so many bugs throughout the game’s launch that we couldn’t stand it anymore and stopped playing.

This past Christmas, my sister renewed her interest and told my siblings and me how good it became and we all got into it again. What was so life-changing about this game was that I went through such a dark time this past winter with my breakup and my father being ill that I just didn’t want to leave the house. I just wanted to stay nestled in my room all day and I simply wasn’t living my life to it’s fullest. I mean, yes, I was able to function in terms of eating and sleeping and getting on with my daily responsibilities in terms of the house’s upkeep, taking care of my cats, and my father’s daily care, but I stopped caring about myself in the process. I literally would not wash my hair for weeks, not do my laundry, I would stay in the same clothes and I just was simply existing. I would breathe air involuntarily. I ate and drank to live and derived no pleasure in it. My world was gray.

By playing this simple game on my phone, it rejuvenated my will to live. I started wanting to leave the house again. I started caring about my appearance and started fixing my hair and my makeup again. I started wearing more clothes that I have in the closet other than the one green dress I wore on repeat because I just didn’t have the physical strength to go looking for another outfit. My family and I even found this amazing park that is a joy to play in because of the amazing wildlife and scenery, and also because there’s so much valuable gameplay in this particular area. All of this together has made life worthwhile once more for me.

The game is complex, it’s designed for everyone to enjoy. I appreciate the challenge and how it’s essentially a world-wide scavenger hunt. I like that it encourages people to get exercise and to leave their house. I like that it is a community-building game where you can make friends out of strangers. There are many friendly faces we have met along the way since we started playing and it is nice to see that this little game can bring so many people together especially during such a tumultuous time for our country. I know you’ll always find a friend when you know they play Pokemon Go. Regardless of any perceived differences, the game brings people together and that’s why I really love it. For anyone who plays, if you’re interested in adding me as a friend, my friend code is: 5019 3681 8101. My name in Pokemon Go, of course, is MoonlitGoddess. That’s how you’ll know it’s me.

On a final note, if you are interested in buying either my children’s book or my latest poetry anthology, just click on the picture links below. My children’s book, My Papa and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats ($12, $5, respectively). My poetry anthology: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear, is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats ($25, $9, respectively).

I want to thank everyone for continuing to come back and read more about me and what is happening in my life. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thanks to everyone who has purchased my book in the past and recently. It means so much to me! I will let you all know when the audiobook comes out for A Wynter’s Tale. I am super excited about this latest addition to my writing repertoire and I look forward to hearing what you all think about it! I wish you all a wonderful week ahead!

These Past 3 Weeks

blog pic march 8 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

2019 has proven to be one of the most harrowing years of my entire life. I have endured quite a bit over the years but I always seem to be outdone by even greater and more severe challenges. Just when I fear that I can no longer handle what is being handed to me, I finally, FINALLY, see the light at the end of that very, very long tunnel.

I thought new years was bad, but these past three weeks were simply the worst experience I have endured to date. First, I get the flu and bronchitis, then my father, mother, and brother all get it as well. My father, having advanced dementia, was strongly advised to get the flu and pneumonia vaccine this season. We took him to our local pharmacy and he received both vaccines in November. These vaccines gave us this false sense of security because regardless of these vaccines, my father received both the flu and pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. Granted, we were told that there was no guarantee even with the vaccine but it was definitely absolutely ridiculous how he got both back to back and it was such a severe case he was in the hospital for almost a week. He even had to spend his 76th birthday in the hospital!

My family was absolutely inconsolable. Watching my father struggle with fever, cough, sneezing, being in and out of consciousness, was so heartbreaking to witness. Once he arrived at the hospital, they gave me him fluids and Tamiflu. After his week at the hospital was done, we noticed some drastic changes to his behavior.

Dementia is one of the most unpredictably cruel diseases I have ever had the misfortune of observing for the past six to seven years. My father was always a man on the go. He was always working. He was a full-time math teacher during the day, he taught night school and worked at a community college on the weekends. The man always had plans, always was out the door and we barely saw him. During the summer months, he would socialize with his creative art groups in the city where he worked and kept himself occupied. This was the father I knew as an adult. As a kid, we didn’t see him much either; however, because we were young, he would make it a point to do some trips with my siblings and I whether it was to the movies, apple picking, the beach, the park, etc. These events didn’t happen often, but he tried when he had the time.

When my father retired, he became a completely different person. His behavior was erratic, he became clumsy, he became aggressive, violent, and made many foolish decisions. As an adult, I didn’t really know my father well aside from the hi’s and byes and light dinner conversations. I didn’t really hang out with him much. I considered myself pretty much estranged from him. So when these things were going on in my dad’s life, I just assumed it was because he couldn’t adjust well to retirement. I figured he was so busy his entire life and the shock of retirement was just too much for him. But the chaos became greater, the insanity of the events involving my father became so grand scale that as a family we knew it was time to intervene. We did everything we could from allowing his driver’s license to lapse and having his car towed, to other measures to guarantee his safety.

During the beginning phases of his dementia, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer as well. My father was very fortunate to still be healthy enough mentally to be properly treated and has since been in remission. We took him to the neurologist and he’s had MRIs and they had told us he suffered from a series of mini-strokes. There was no way of knowing when they occurred or how often they occurred. As a result of these mini-strokes, his brain shrunk significantly causing the dementia. They said he had a mixture of vascular- type dementia and Alzheimer’s-type dementia. I remember one of the last things the neurologist told my brother at the end of the office visit after diagnosis was that we were in for years of heartache. He certainly was not kidding.

Over the years since dad’s diagnosis, we have had to become smarter and sneakier and wiser and always tried to keep one step ahead of my father. He would sneak out of the house and walk the streets of our town and be gone for hours and we would have to call for help. He would touch all the kitchen items and make himself “food” made out of napkins and milk. He would try to feed our cats saucers of dish soap. He would pace and wander all night in his bedroom not remembering he had to sleep. We went from doctor to doctor until we finally found one with the compassion and empathy to guide us and my father through each stage. She has been an absolute blessing and up until now, she has prepared us for what was next to come.

When dad came home from the hospital, my siblings and I were shell-shocked watching dad’s newest transition of this distressing illness. Dad lost his speech, he looked at us like we were public enemy number 1, and he refused to eat or drink anything. We all came to terms with the fact that this may very well be the end. He may need hospice care and it may be time for us to finally accept that it is time to let go. After the hospital visit, the hospital staff set up several health care professionals to visit the home and evaluate my father and to help with his care. We received two very caring women who have also helped us further understand our father’s condition and to kind of relinquish some control over what was going on.

As human beings, we are raised to believe you have to eat and drink to survive. The one nurse practitioner that visited us taught us that in my father’s condition that need to eat and that need for a three-meal structure no longer exists. He will eat when he’s hungry, he will drink when he’s thirsty and we can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do. Even though to the naked eye it appears our dad is long gone, there is still the shell of the man he used to be in there somewhere and that man craves attention and dignity. He won’t be told when to eat, he won’t be forced to live up to our standards. He will do what he wants to do when he is ready. After hearing that, I was finally able to ease the tension that had been burdening my shoulders these past few weeks. I’ve let go of that desperate need to want to save my father’s life and to keep him living for a thousand more years.

Once I let go, I realized that my father began eating and drinking again. I nearly collapsed with relief. Along with eating and drinking, my dad began saying a word here and there. If you say, “Hi, how are you?” he will say “Good.” He will also nod his head yes or no when you ask him questions like, “Are you hungry?” or “Are you cold?” This was also a great relief.

I have literally been by his side since he’s gotten back from the hospital and I have been putting myself last, as usual. I haven’t been blogging, I’ve been lax with my podcasting, and I have neglected my latest writing project. I know that is completely and totally unhealthy of me to do. I just have been so traumatized over this event. I just wanted to be there for my father because I realize how short life is and I don’t know how many more moments I will have with my father.

I think life works in mysterious ways though. I think that even though this was such a tragedy, I feel that this has brought us all closer together as a family. I feel like I finally have a relationship with my father. I will never have the kind of relationship I always lacked and always wanted growing up, but I am satisfied with the relationship I have with him now. My father has become a sweet, kind, and vulnerable man. My family and I are constantly advocating for better care for him from the healthcare system. We have reached somewhat of a current homeostasis at the moment. His care is under control. We have people who come periodically to monitor his well-being and as a family we all take care of him and provide him with the best round the clock care we can possibly provide him with given our lack of knowledge of healthcare. We do the very best that we are capable of doing. Given our lack of finances, he is being cared for at home. We’ve adjusted and he is finally at a comfortable level post-hospital. At this point, this is the best we can expect given his condition. We are grateful to have him eating and drinking and engaging with us here and there. At this stage in my life, after everything I’ve endured, and my family has endured, there really isn’t much more we can ask for.

On this day, International Women’s Day, I’m going to allow myself to step away for a while and join the living and get the things I need to get done that I’ve neglected nearly a month ago. I’m happy to be back in my office writing and producing. It’s where I feel the most alive and happiest. Thank you all for continuing to visit to read my blogs. Thanks for the well-wishers. I had the loveliest comment on one of my blogs last night that helped motivate me to get back on track. Thanks to that individual. I am happy that my words bring comfort to some. I wish you all a very lovely day and a restful and relaxing weekend!

Podcast: Happy Birthday, Pápá!

blog february 25th 2019.png

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Today is my father’s 76th birthday. I decided to do a podcast reading of three poems I wrote about my dad. In this week’s podcast, I read “Ja Ja James,” “Wrong Door,” and “Broken Pieces of Me.” I discuss the transition of my dad’s illness throughout the creation of each of these pieces and how I went from a position of anger and resentment to one of reflection, peace, compassion, and, ultimately, forgiveness. All three pieces that I have read today on my podcast are featured in my Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 1 and 3, respectively.

Click here to listen to this week’s podcast.

Thank you, everyone!

 

Podcast: My Dedication to All Living Beings

blog february 15th 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2019.

Hello everyone! Please listen to this week’s podcast. This week I discuss my newspaper article featuring my new book Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of  Yesteryear, the progress of my father’s dementia, the feral colonies, inviting future guests on my podcast, and more! Thanks to all who continue to listen each week!

Click here to listen to my podcast: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Podcast

blog part two feb. 15th

My town’s newspaper featured a two-page article on my new book Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear. They got a few facts wrong which I explain in this week’s podcast. The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear is my 3rd anthology, not my seventh, I am 8 years younger than the article suggests, and I explain more in-depth about each type of writing I have available in my Amazon Author Page.

Click the picture below if you are interested in purchasing a copy of my new book! Thanks for your continued support! Please consider leaving a review for the book if you do purchase a copy! Thanks so much!

Click here to order my new book: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear!