The Man In The Box-Won’t You Save Me?

28 Jan

David Bowie. Glen Frey. Lemmy. Scott Weiland. The sudden deaths of some of the most beloved musicians hit pretty hard and I wonder if these artists knew how much they’d impacted our lives.

For me, this last month has been a bittersweet reminder of a brilliant musician who received virtually zero mention at the time of his death.

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Most people have no idea that Alice In Chains’ front man, Layne Staley, died around the same time Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes did. The press covered her passing extensively. Every channel, paper and radio station mentioned Lopes, while running TLC video clips and songs 24/7.  Of course, Lisa died from a sudden auto accident while Layne died the typical rock star death at age 34 from a mixture of heroin and cocaine.

I’m not sure how many are aware that Layne Staley was dead for two weeks before anyone realized it.

Two weeks.

When I learned of this, my heart broke. How is it possible that someone who touched so many could have gone unnoticed for so long?

 

I wish I could just hug you all, but I’m not gonna.” –Layne Staley

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Alice In Chains has been a profound and unique grunge rock band, instantly recognizable largely due to Staley’s voice more than their overall sound. When you hear a song by Tool, it’s obvious it’s Tool by their uniquely defined musical style. With AIC, it was more about Staley’s lilting vocals. 

ebd7d75c4c1a975caa0123700cd73151Alice In Chains (and Layne himself) was the true leader of the Seattle Sound grunge movement. They were Sleze in 1984, which morphed into AIC and later became the super-group Mad Season. They influenced and opened doors for Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees and Pearl Jam.

Unlike much of what came out of Seattle, AIC was inclined towards rock in addition to alternative in genre. Their heavier sound, array of styles and soulful lyrics struck a chord within me, and I’ve never wavered in my love for them.

 

“Man In The Box”

I’m the man in the box
Buried in my shit
Won’t you come and save me, save me

Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut?
Jesus Christ, deny your maker
He who tries, will be wasted
Feed my eyes now you’ve sewn them shut

I’m the dog who gets beat
Shove my nose in shit
Won’t you come and save me, save me…

 

What I know about Layne’s death is two things: Layne had two families; his blood ties and his band members. He was also a drug user and recluse with a mental disorder.

Anyone who has had to deal with a person struggling with any or all of these issues knows the tendency for that person to alienate everyone who loves them, which is often a harsh reality. We are hard to love.

I am speaking from experience, as an entertainer and someone who has experience in living with mental disorders. My father had one. I’ve inherited it. I’ve seen both sides of this kind of damage.

f4bda0790eaf737aa29ede9017b743cbThe fact that not one single person from his life noticed he was gone for two weeks shatters me.

Even if he’d told everyone to fuck off, just die, leave him alone – did no one love him enough to swing by and check on him? Bring him a meal? Pick up some groceries?

Nothing? Nothing at all?

 

“We started this band as kids, and as time has gone on, we’ve grown and are learning to accommodate each others’ differences.” – Layne Staley

 

There are lessons to be gleaned from losing Layne Staley. Instead of sitting back and judging the situation; blaming drugs, calling him a fuck-up, writing it off to “just another classic rock star death” or practicing Schadenfreude, we should view it as an opportunity to save someone else.

 

“When everyone goes home, you’re stuck with yourself. People have a right to ask questions and dig deep when you’re hurting them and things around you.” – Layne Staley

 

288050e9f560257bcdc70d7ae5ad397fDying alone and forgotten are valid human fears. Alice In Chains sold over eleven MILLION albums. Layne Staley touched an innumerable mass of people from all over the world. If this can happen to someone as known and beloved as Layne, it could happen to anyone.

 

“There are lasting consequences for using drugs. I’ll still be paying for my prior use.” – Layne Staley

 

Layne was introduced to what would ultimately be his cause of death by his own father at the age of twenty.  His father was an opiate addict and used with his son. This is a harsh lesson to wrap one’s head around.

But my main reason for writing this is to make people aware.

Bandmate and best friend Mike Starr bore the brunt of the guilt regarding Layne’s death before he passed in 2011 from a prescription drug overdose. He was the last person to see Staley alive and the two had argued, with Starr storming out and Layne calling after him, “Not like this. Don’t leave like this.”

Reportedly, they argued over Starr insisting on calling 911for help and Layne threatening to sever their friendship if he did. 

 

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When someone we love pushes us away, perhaps there’s more to it and we’re unable to see what’s really going on. Maybe we shouldn’t LET them have their space.

People often push away as a test – to see if you’ll push back, to see if you care. It’s common for many to feel unworthy of love. It’s especially common for those with a mental disorder, since we tend to hurt those around us the most. We simply don’t feel deserving. We need you to push back.

Talk is cheap.  Anyone can say, “I love you, you mean the world to me.” But can you show it? Will you do what needs to be done?

6558bdd586384b723d48edb309a40391In Layne’s case, no one pushed back. He is dead now because of this fact.

It’s pretty fucking simple. If someone had physically removed drugs and needles from his living area, watched over him, fed him – he would be alive. He clearly wasn’t able to take care of himself. It was no surprise how sick he was to those around him. Mike Starr tried. But in these situations, effort doesn’t mean shit. Only results count. If he’d had cancer, there would have been help. But he had a mental illness where he turned to “self-medicating”, which is why Layne was cast away.  

Kurt Cobain, who admitted he was manic-depressive (which is now called bipolar disorder), died in a not dissimilar way. His suicide note stated that his baby daughter would be better off without him in her life. “For her life will be so much happier without me.”

“God Am”
Dear God, how have you been then?
I’m not fine, fuck pretending
All of this death your sending
Best throw some free heart mending
Invite you in my heart, then
When done, my sins forgiven?
This God of mine relaxes
World dies I still pay taxes.

A lot of things aren’t understood about mental illness and suicide, but I can tell you one thing for certain; No one wants to die. They simply don’t want to live in the state they are in any longer. There is a vast difference between wanting to die and not wanting to live. When someone is suffering from something that goes with them no matter where they are and affects everyone around them badly, sometimes they hold on to a belief that the only way out is death.

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Layne’s death is extremely sad on so many levels. Wasted talent, wasted youth, but mostly it’s a constant reminder that our society doesn’t seem to care about the mentally ill. It’s felt we are disposable, to be shamed and anything that happens to us, it’s likely deserved. I’ve seen this attitude in everything from drug overdoses to police beatings.

No matter what we give to the world, it really doesn’t matter.

Or does it?

Push back. Prove me wrong.

 

“Every article I see (about myself) is dope this, junkie that, whiskey this – that ain’t my title. I don’t do much else but stay in my hotel room. Music is the doorway that has led me to drawing, photography, and writing. Music is the career I’m lucky enough to get paid for, but I have other desires and passions.” –Layne Staley

 

 

My hope for whoever is reading this is to have you recognize signs. When someone we care for is ‘acting out’ or being reclusive, maybe we shouldn’t take it so personally, get so angry or give up so quickly.  Think of the bigger picture; that you love this person. Despite what they’re doing, saying or how they’re acting, they need you.

Staley’s last interview: http://www.mtv.com/news/1470138/late-alice-in-chains-singer-layne-staleys-last-interview-revealed-in-new-book/

 

Thank you to Hubert O’Hearn, Brett Schwan & Joe Mays for taking the time to edit. Time is valuable.

 

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Layne Staley: August 22, 1967 – April 5, 2002. NOT FORGOTTEN. 

 

 

                                                    

 

The REAL Gym Rules

16 Jan


rerackWhen most people join a gym, they’re told a towel is mandatory and then sent on their merry, clueless way to screw things up for the rest of us.

I think I can safely speak for everyone when I tell you that there’s nothing worse for gym regulars than sharing with newbie’s in January. Not because you’re new; aside from fighting for a parking spot, most of us are happy to have more like-minded individuals around who share our passion for fitness. (If you have a good recipe for chicken and rice we can use, we’ll probably love you even more.)

Where you make our gyms a living hell is your utter lack of etiquette. Hopefully, many of you get educated and decide to stick around.  Personally, I quite enjoy seeing people achieve success.

But you won’t make any friends without knowing the REAL rules. Do you really want to be the person known as, “Oh, God…here 61913248comes that asshat again” ?

Gym etiquette is NOT just wiping shit down. That’s way down on the list. Here are the top 10 cardinal rules your fitness center probably won’t tell you.

Gym etiquette #1:  If you use the free weights, PUT THEM BACK. Your mom doesn’t work here.

Gym etiquette #2:  ASK to work in. Do not just jump on equipment, especially if a there’s a water bottle, bag, phone, towel, keys or person anywhere near the item you wish to use.  Someone could be super-setting. It’s RUDE to do so without asking first.

funny-annoying-gymGym etiquette #3: Do not SIT on equipment between sets. Do not sit on equipment while on your phone. Get the fuck outta here with that crap. It’s not your personal office chair.

Gym etiquette #4: Do not lift dumbbells AT THE RACK, thus blocking everyone else. Common fucking sense. Step back. Way back.  #Hog

Gym etiquette #5: Try to avoid working out directly in front of someone who is already using the mirror.  It’s called checking form. Form mirinis more important than weight when working out. (It’s not what you lift/do, it’s HOW you lift/do it.)

Gym etiquette #6: Did I mention re-racking your weights? Oh, I did. Well, fucking DO IT. This means YOU, Leg Press Guy Who Leaves Plates Fully Loaded And Then Just Walks Away. #Cunt

Gym etiquette #7: Too much cologne, perfume…cigarettes…just don’t fucking STINK. Being on a packed treadmill section near you is absolutely nauseating. It can also be quite dangerous for those who have breathing issues and trigger asthma attacks.

82280560483206283c0c77cd363e116aecae974d4443bda39d59d31b68cbbb71Gym etiquette #8: Wipe down equipment consciously. WOMEN DO NOT WANT TO SIT ON WET FUCKING SEATS FULL OF CHEMICALS! #YeastInfections!

Stick to wiping handles and sweaty backs. I’ve been working out a long, long time…back when no one wiped anything down in gyms. In those days, we never heard of anyone catching anything – and I’m an admitted germ-phobic (with several auto immune diseases) who eschews shaking hands in lieu of a fist bump in a business where that is a no-no. No one is catching the flu from sitting on the ass-end of a gym seat cushion unless they’re licking it right after someone else has already licked it. Don’t wipe it and leave it wet for the next person to sit on. Fucking ick. #fungus #CrotchRot #AthletesCrotch #JockItch

Gym etiquette #9: Do not judge others’ workouts. They could be working around an injury, disability or simply doing the best they can. #SomeDaysItTakeALotOfCaffeine #LikeAWHOLELOT

1966924_10153898133460297_1605383182_nGym etiquette #10: Do not judge fit people as vain – or heavy people as lazy. We are all in there for the same reason. Everyone wants to get healthier, better ourselves and have a nice, hard stomach and ass. Probably not in that order. #AbsAndBootyForDays

I’m not going to touch upon socializing during workouts, hitting on others, grunting/yelling, dropping weights or wearing almost nothing in gyms. This kind of stuff has been going on forever and always will. It’s a gym. If you want silence, conservative clothing and no sexual undercurrent, go to church or find a place to jog alone. Otherwise, you’ll need to accept, adapt and wear a “fuck off, leave me alone” face with music blasting in your ears. Complaining about these issues is akin to bitching about the amount fur and dander at the local pet store where you pick up your feed. Animals are allowed in pet stores. Tiny shorts, weight clanging and grunting are allowed in gyms. Just because you are now there doesn’t mean you get f4d9b9a8d3e0b36ba1fba10950803261to change the rules.

If you don’t understand any of the above-mentioned terms (super-setting, form, RE-RACK YOUR FUCKING WEIGHTS, etc), Google it. The more you learn, the better.

Despite what your facility may tell you in order to keep profiting each month, gym etiquette is not just about wiping down equipment.  It’s about paying attention to what/who is around you (even with ear-buds in), being considerate and cleaning up after yourself.

These rules are fairly ‘common sense’, but common sense is so rare lately, it’s now classed as a super power. Don’t take offense. This is for your own good. These 10 Gym Commandments are meant to help you on your quest to be successful. After all, people are keen to complain about anything and everything these days and you’re not above having your membership revoked without refund if someone decides they don’t care for how you conduct yourself.

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If this offends you, then you’re probably the exact person who doesn’t belong in the gym, doesn’t play well with others and you weren’t raised…you just grew up.

Let’s not be ignorant douche bags. We all have to share space. 

Thank you,

Everyone.

Ps. Think about that chicken and rice meal. Seriously. We could use some new options over here.

 

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April Hunter is a national level NPC Fitness & Figure competitor, professional wrestler, former Met-RX & Extreme Nutrition spokes-model, Playboy & comic book model, full-time student, coffee snob, road rage enthusiast and world renowned potty mouth. She uses the C-word as liberally as you use butter on your biscuits.***

***…Which you shouldn’t be eating, since biscuits are useless, crappy (deliciously evil) carbs. But the butter is just fine.

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See more of April on Instagram @realAprilHunter, www.AprilHunter.com and Twitter @AprilHunter. She’s also on Facebook.com/AprilHunterOfficial and AprilsScentSations Soy Candles. 

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Something Different: A Podcast.

13 Sep 10994270_640236376109838_2973885745054008049_n

10994270_640236376109838_2973885745054008049_nI realize I’ve been AWOL for a bit. I’ve moved and with drastic house renovations after buying a fixer-upper (and having far more to deal with than originally thought!), I’ve been incredibly unlucky to have a psycho neighbor (who lives to harass and report me to the city and HOA for blocking his view into MY pool with a fence and shed), horrific HOA (threatening me over the aforementioned shed. Yes. A shed. It’s to be my writing office, but they feel it’s “too large”. It’s not. I feel it’s likely they’re just close with my psycho neighbor), a contractor rip off, and worst of all…2 of my pet chickens suddenly died. It’s been a tragic, stressful mess and has sucked all the energy I have just to exist and deal with daily routines along with this daily bullshit. But things are starting to smooth out a bit now.

So, I did something different.  My friend Hubert asked me to be on his podcast to discuss many of the things I write about on this blog. I’m posting it here in case you’d like to listen to it.

“Thoughts and Opinions with Hubert O’Hearn. Writer, wrestler, model and candle-maker April Hunter discusses her career. In a wide-ranging conversation, we first talk about bi-polarity and the prejudices faced by those with mental illness. Then we go on to wondering why women’s wrestling isn’t promoted more, how April became a candle-maker, and finally the ins and outs of internet dating!”

PODCAST: https://youtu.be/cC0qlJfLB-4

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Some of the renovating: Before

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After

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Photo: Pomeroy Photography

I applied to Full Sail University this summer for a bachelors degree in creative writing for entertainment (TV, Film, Radio). I’ll be starting in 6 weeks. Fairly excited about that!

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Photo: Modern Myth

If you’d like to see me in person, I’m on Shine Wrestling in Ybor City/Tampa FL Oct 2nd. That’s broadcast worldwide on PPV on wwnlive.com and on the ROKU channel World Wrestling Network. Info: ShineWrestling.com

I’m on Lake Collect-a-Thon in Mt Dora, FL Saturday September 19th.
Info: https://www.facebook.com/LakeCollectACon

You can also visit me on Third Friday in Safety Harbor (Clearwater) FL on each…wait for it…3rd Friday. I’m there with my uniquely scented organic soy candles (www.Facebook.com/AprilsScentsations), so come out and say hi!

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Winter Morning Wood (Pine and Balsam), Holy Peppermint, Cinnamon Nutty-meg.

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Oh, and it’s my birthday on September 24th. I don’t know if I should totally no-sell it and ignore the entire thing or go all out and celebrate the fact that I survived another year. I suppose that’s the conundrum associated with being bipolar. It could swing either way, right? ;)

If you’d like to spoil me, here’s Amazon Wishlist! Be prepared…it’s super sexy. Well, it’s sexy if you find candle wax, fruit trees and standing desks hot. I sure as hell do.

Address: 1550 N McMullen Booth Rd
Ste F3, #109
Clearwater, FL 33759
A couple more reno photos. It’s amazing what some flooring, paint and tile can do.
(And cost.) 
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We are currently trying to get a larger chicken run built that’s fully covered. There are a lot of hawks where I moved to. Not safe to have her out. I say “her” because we lost our others from mysterious illnesses. It was absolutely gutting. They’re pets, not just chickens…but losing Daisy just18388_717170331749775_3807909855587827080_n absolutely destroyed me for a while. She was my ‘happy place’ and I loved (still love) her very much.
All that’s left is one tiny shellacked eggshell and an unplanned $2500 in vet bills. Yeah. We tried to save her at an emergency clinic. After she passed, her blood tests revealed kidney disease. Delilah passed 2 weeks later from blocked crop. Daphne is doing well, so far. Just lonely. I’m not yet sure what to do about it. Chickens are fantastic to raise, but heartbreaking. It’s an odd mix of rewarding mixed with apprehension. 
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This has been a lot of sadness and an energy drain as well. It just seemed like we were getting kicked while down non-stop. I’m just tired. Mentally and physically. Drained tired. Where cappuccino does absolutely nothing for you kind of tired.
I’m trying to overcome everything, fight back and learn how to use a ‘velvet gloved fist’ with everyone I’m dealing with regarding all the aforementioned annoying issues. I’m also trying to get caught up on work, promoting, making candles and yes…writing blogs.
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So. That’s what’s been going on.
More soon. With me strength, luck and fortitude. I need it.
Enjoy the podcast and especially the swanky entrance music. ;) 
Enjoy! Xo.

To Vegetarian or Not To Vegetarian? (Plus, Renovation Woes.)

5 Jul

ApplestoOrangesSome have asked me about this fitness related subject, so I figured I’ll answer it here, too. Would everyone benefit from eating more raw veggies? Of course.

Should everyone be a vegetarian? Of course NOT.

Vegetarianism is something that people seem to think is “the way”. Or they feel guilty because they can’t do it. Thing is, it’s not meant for everyone. That’s not me trying to make people feel good; it’s a fact. What I mean is this: not one diet (eating way of life) works for everyone. Some do very well as vegetarians. They are mostly of the blood type A and AB. These two types are more evolved, so there are far less people with this blood. If a blood type O tried to be a vegan, they would probably get very sick-or die. Type O people have a lot of stomach acid (which is meant to break heavier foods down), so they need meat and fat. They are best on a Paleo diet, which is one full of fish and meat. If they don’t eat correctly, the acid will cause problems.

Type A blood has little stomach acid, so meat is difficult for them to process. If they do eat meat, they get all kinds of digestion issues. I’m type O; I can lose weight on bacon, avocado and burgers, but have to avoid the buns and potatoes. (Naturally, bread is my kryptonite.) These are just simpler examples to help people understand. It gets much deeper, with lectins, etc. But it’s also why you don’t have to feel guilty for not being a vegetarian (aside from the fact that you were given meat-eating teeth), nor does anyone have a right to feel superior because they don’t eat “flesh”. (Although I kind of ‘get it’ when I see those horrific factory farming videos.)

Example of where our food comes from: The Truth About Factory Farming

Every American should watch some of these videos. We vote with our dollar$, so choose wisely, as every action causes a reaction. The one we don’t want is more sick food, factory farms and sick people. I am clearly not saying “don’t eat meat”. I am advising people to make conscious choices when choosing their food; know where it comes from and how it was raised. Local. Organic. 

Exceptions to the eat-for-your-type rule: people who are battling certain illnesses, like cancer or Crohns. I highly recommend as much a raw green vegetarian diet as possible. One that neutralizes PH levels, so little to no fruit. When the body is fighting something and trying to heal, giving it the right tools are imperative. Easy digestion also allows its limited energy to go where it needs to be focused. (Gerson Diet.) There are always exceptions to every rule…except for driving too slowly in the passing lane.

Blood-type-diet-chartIf you don’t know your blood type, there are inexpensive testing kits available. However, most people probably have an inkling of where they fall. If you listen to your body, you innately know what you feel good after eating and what agrees with you.

If you eat right for YOU 80% of the time (80/20 rule), you’ll look better, feel better and likely avoid or cure yourself of annoying health issues without really being restricted at all. No matter WHAT you are eating, be sure to pick quality over quantity and know where your food is coming from. Hopefully, not packaged or factory farm. Icky! And, really, really bad for you and your family.

Remember this – (and watch a few YouTube expose’ videos on various farms, such as Perdue chicken and Smithfield pork) – we get our energy from what we eat. If we’re taking in sick and infected calories, how can we possibly be well?  If you want to feel good and be healthy, take in good and healthy food. Pay a little more for clean meats and veggies on the front end, or pay a lot more for damages created on the back end. It’s a choice. Good luck!

20150620_171810On a side note, with the rental market being so great right now, I’ve decided to lease my little townhouse, which is paid for. I’m in a neat, historic part of Clearwater, Florida and rentals are in high demand. I’ve been careful about my credit and was able to get a house (with a pool! No more kids splashing my books or smokers ruining the supposed “zen” that community pools don’t provide) about 10 minutes away with a monthly payment slightly LESS than my rental will bring in. It just seemed like a smart thing to do. My grandfather always said to invest in real estate; it’s a non renewable source and this world certainly isn’t getting any less populated.

The caveat: I bought a fixer-upper. I loved renovating my villa and wanted to do that to make it truly mine. Plus, the only way I can afford something in a decent area is to go that route.  I *thought* I was getting a minor fixer upper at a good price in a great neighborhood.

Once the sellers (who didn’t have a real estate agent and were complete jacked off asshats to deal with) vacated and we 20150620_172015closed, I learned there were many more issues to deal with than just wiring and bringing it up to date. The husband had fancied himself a handyman and pretty much half-assed everything he touched. It all has to be adjusted, ripped out or just replaced, from floor to fireplace, pool lining to closets, bath vanities to appliances. The house was built in 1985 and most of it is still in 1985. The one one bathroom has a that classic long, yellow (-ish) vanity and an awesome wood grain toilet seat. I was quite sad to see that go.  

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Just one sample of MANY badly done baseboards done by the contractor. They all have to be ripped out.

When I say everything needs replacing, I mean everything. Hinges. Doors. Appliances. Electric and light plates, which are brownish from age. Kick ass pool-table-green carpeting in every room…and bonus! Outside in the pool area, too! Speaking of, the pool lining was absolutely shot, along with cracked tile. Landscaping. Cleaning. Hauling away the former owners large trash items they couldn’t be bothered to clean out. (They did leave a swanky fondue set I found at the very top of a cupboard I was sanitizing.) Closet doors. That in itself was a shocking expense. The entire place has those old, 8-foot bi-fold metal doors, most of which don’t stay on their tracks. 8-foot doors aren’t made any longer, so this means I have to have headers put in every room and hallway to get 6-foot wood doors. 

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To make matters worse, one of the contractor crews screwed up a lot. They put the flooring in wrong, broke door frames, messed up the baseboards and gouged the hardwood floor they’d just put in.

Additionally, the headers they’d built were a) the wrong size and b) not secured. They will closetcrack or fall down if a closet door is hung. I haven’t been able to get them to refund me (they wanted “pay as we go”) or cover damages. I haven’t gotten any response from them at all, except that they believe they are “still owed” for labor. I wish there was room for all the photos here. I could probably do a better job than these guys with a YouTube tutorial and a one-day class at Home Depot. 

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All the door frames were cracked in every area they laid flooring.

Not only is everything they touched screwed up, there is actually more damage now than when they started. My other contractor (who was was doing things they don’t, like paint and had worked for me on my villa) told me some of the things he saw them do-and it’s been heartbreaking.

Between the sellers and the contractor, the amount of arrogant fucktards in denial about how shitty their work/attitude is stuns me. I also didn’t get an apology from anybody. I handled things well and stayed calm. (I’m on the good meds now.) Note: saying “I am sorry” goes a long way, as does “thank you” in life. Some people were raised; others just grew up. My (amazing) real estate agent (Marcia Simeone – highly recommend in the Tampa Bay area) was the only thing that kept me from gpong on a murdering spree in quite a few situations. I believe I said, “FUCK THEM. Seriously. FUCK. THEM!” more than normal. Which is a lot. 

Everything about this house has been a nightmare so far. I am praying that changes soon. f11703564_707623732704435_2388528644868639561_o

I have my hands full and it’s been stressful. I tend to cry over frustration more than anything else and many tears have been shed. I unwillingly liquidated much of my parents fund that they left me. My renters are in August 1st, and I am just now getting new people to start working on it, along with doing many things myself.

I am exhausted.  Emotionally, physically…I am just tired. With time running out. (And money.)

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The OTHER crew is doing a great job.

My day goes something like this: I head to the house. Work. Clean. Because they left it a dump and I have no idea how to dispose of the large trash items, such as random sheets of wood, garage shelves of stuff, stacks of (icky) cement pavers or giant cases of aquarium light bulbs. I come home, sweaty, dirty and gross and take a shower. Eat. Try to answer a few emails. Walk the dog and feed the cat. Go to bed. This project has been consuming everything lately, as I’m on a deadline. If I had any money left over, I’d invest in Juan Valdez, because with the amount of coffee I am drinking, it would be nice to receive a little profit at the end of the year.  With perfect timing, I also got my hospital bills from the wasp sting. $671.85 for a 5 minute ambulance ride? Excellent. They should have at least served me Starbucks. A big-ass fancy latte, not some shitty plain coffee.

On the plus, I did something I’ve wanted to do for ages: I bought a shed. Not just a shed, but a little ‘cabin’ shed. which will11180616_704193259714149_8851304696955120766_n be my writing area. If I’m putting money into something, I’ll make sure I use it. I’ll get a tiny table for a desk, portable air conditioner, ceiling fan, mini fridge and coffee maker – and no internet in there. It’ll be heaven. I have a difficult time writing at home with all the distractions. I always feel like I should be cleaning, working or returning emails. Then there’s Facebook and Twitter…shutting all that out should help. Expect my first masterpiece a year after moving. Or beat me about the head and shoulders at the first appearance you see me after that date.

I didn’t want to be a wrestler when I grew up. I wanted to be a writer. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, yet I’ve never gone anywhere with it like I know I could if I truly applied myself. It’s disappointing. And I’m tired of disappointing myself.

On a side note, If you feel like spoiling a ginger, this is my awesome and sexy housewarming Amazon wishlist…if you find pool cleaning stuff, door handles and mini fridges sexy. I sure do. ;)   http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/258GQWZANXBQ3/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_ws_nPUIvb0HPE4PM

Xo! April

My websitehttp://www.aprilhunter.com

Instagram: @realaprilhunter

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Trying hard to stay strong and keep smiling. It’s all really wearing on me.

Photos: Top (fitness) Kelly Oneill

Bottom (Shine Wrestling outfit) Carmine Warren

Chapter 23 – Wasp: 1 – April: 0. (Money for Everything and My Chicks for Free.)

3 Jun

11140262_693344740799001_4541704822474790698_nI had no idea I’d almost died on Memorial Day. I planned on a good workout, some pool time and a movie. None of that happened, because while I was watering the plants on my porch, a Yellow Jacket stung my right calf.

My left calf was stung two weeks ago. While it took forever to heal and itched like a ma’fucker, I didn’t have any real issues, having been stung many times before with no problems.

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Just an asshole.

This day was different.  My throat tightened, the right side of my body went numb, my eye swelled almost shut, and I lost vision.  My entire body broke into burning hives (even the palms of my hands and feet, mouth, tongue and throat). Being an ‘idiot wrestler’, I usually tough everything out.

Me to Chris, as I’m frantically scrubbing my leg with alcohol: “Um, I should probably mention that I don’t feel very well. I feel kind of weird.”

Him: “Do you have Benadryl? I’ll go get you some.”

Me, bending over like I’d been running: “I don’t think I can breathe. You might want to hurry.” He ran out to the corner store, but before he got back, I knew I was way past allergy medication. He attempted to speed me to the emergency clinic (with him swearing at the slow driver in front of us. At least Florida is consistent!) and I honestly had no idea how bad it was.

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Art by Gary Yap.

I am largely in denial about my own mortality. I believe my own gimmick; that I’m Super Woman.  Big Red. The Prize, April Hunter. A Viking warrior, ass-kicking my way through life. Moments like these, flashes of reality, crush me.

When I arrived to the emergency clinic, they took me immediately. Or mostly did, as I was in the process of passing out during check-in.  I received a series of injections:  epinephrine, steroids, more Benadryl . Wash, rinse, repeat. After several doses of everything, my body broke out into more hives, my tongue swelled and my blood pressure dropped. We were informed that they were calling an ambulance to have me rushed to the ER because it was getting worse. (As ‘rushed’ as one can be in this beautiful healthcare system we have, complete with staggering wait-times and gigantic bills, even with insurance.) I’d just gotten on Blue Cross at Christmas, but had never used it. I vaguely remember looking at the doctor and then Chris and being worried. “I don’t know if I can do that…is an ambulance covered?”

“The ambulance is covered.”

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Rushed Defined in the USA:

-The ambulance took 32 minutes to go 8 minutes down the road. Fortunately, I was stabilized right before they’d arrived.

-Upon arrival, you must check in with name, social security and insurance card before anyone does anything for you. I’m fairly certain they hand you two Tylenol and dump you off the gurney sideways if you’re missing any of that information.  After all, you can’t be “denied treatment”.

-You are informed there will be a $250 to $5000 deductible to pay, depending on your insurance coverage. You’ll still be surprised with fat bills, which you’ll have to submit again and again to your insurance company and spend hours of your life trying to argue off.

-A US hospital has been known to charge up to $800 for an IV that is 6 liters of salt water. An ambulance ride is approximately $750 for 5 miles. By the way, that Tylenol pill will cost you $15. Each.  

-Only once you are checked in are you treated. By a nurse, who doesn’t give a shit. The one who does give a shit comes in later. She is an absolute sweetheart, and you kind of want to stuff her in your purse and keep her. The doctor arrives about an hour after that.

I was given a bunch of injections and, of course, the aforementioned $800 saline IV. To be fair, it was a lovely IV. A designer brand…from Italy, I think.  Haute couture.

If you’re a walk-in, bring a book. Or three. While I was at Quick Care Doctors Express, a woman checked in to have her wrist stitched up after sitting in a hospital emergency room for four hours.  She’d tapped out and decided that bleeding in her car was better than waiting another four hours.

I’ve been treated for emergency and non-emergency issues in Canada, Japan, Germany, Jamaica and England. I’ve never had to wait as long as I have here, with the exception of once in Alberta, Canada.

In England, Germany and Jamaica, the doctor came out to treat me; I didn’t have to go in. Let me just state for the record that house calls are awesome! While in Toronto, Canada, I was treated for a shattered nose (from an elbow to the face, and I still have issues breathing to this day), but they also x-rayed my ankle to confirm it was sprained instead of broken from the previous week of wrestling in Mexico. Furthermore, they did it gratis. The wait time was about fifteen minutes.  Being American, I did have to pay a bill, but it wasn’t much. The company I worked for in Canada covered it.

Some things should never be for profit; healthcare is one of them. There is no amount of money a mother or father won’t pay to save their child. That’s why it’s completely wrong, and the USA is the only country doing it this way. Clearly, we are a country of laws and capitalism, not ethics.

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Fucking cocksuckers.

The question is : why do we tolerate it? Is it because we think there’s no other way? Do we believe the lies we’re told about how other countries have “horrible” socialized care, where you’ll die while waiting? Currently, the socialized healthcare we do have, like the VA and Medicare, is mostly crap…so we think if we go that way across the board, it might all turn to shit? Is it because we think that we can’t afford it? That’s laughable. Every other country can afford it, but we can’t? Yet, we’re still #1 in cost per person for some of the worst care in the world. This makes absolutely zero sense. None.

Perhaps, it could be that we’re simply stupid and ignorant as a country? I feel we fail to “Question Authority” (a saying from when I grew up) and see what is really going on – that we are being taken advantage of. Each and every single one of us is being taken. We are being lied to by Pharma companies who run/own the media and congress. These companies are in bed with our FDA, which is why our food is so contaminated. Our foods are banned in other countries. Much of what we eat is considered toxic. This is why we’re sick. No other nation is as ill as the USA. Not even third world countries.

However, get this: Medical Profit is a huge part of the American GDP. Healthcare is one of our top grossing earners. Our slogan could be this: “Illness-The Only Thing Left That’s Made 100%  in America.”

So, let’s recap… Contaminate the food (check), people get sick (check), charge a fortune to keep them alive (check), and rake in fuckloads of money being a completely parasitic system (check). Get it?10580065_535100189956791_5333298893109803485_n

Avoid this by opting out. Go certified organic, locally grown, free range and grass fed. (To those of you who will now quote the show ‘Bullshit’ to me about how organic was found to not be any different than standard stuff; if you’re getting your dietary advice from a Penn & Teller show, you have issues.) Yes, you’re going to pay a little more on the front end for quality food and preventative care (such as a gym membership, massage, supplements, yoga, etc…), or you’re going to pay a fortune on the back end.  Remember, every bite of food you eat will either nourish you or kill you. It’s your choice.

Let’s continue…

US Healthcare Ranked Dead Last:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2014/06/16/u-s-healthcare-ranked-dead-last-compared-to-10-other-countries/

US Healthcare: Most Expensive, Least Effective:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/06/16/once-again-u-s-has-most-expensive-least-effective-health-care-system-in-survey/

If we total the money being taken  from our paychecks for insurance, payment deductibles and co-pays each year, we are probably paying more than some of the higher taxed countries are who have quality healthcare included for their tax dollars.

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There’s absolutely no reason to add this photo. Hopefully, you’re still reading.

I’ve been denied care in a Connecticut emergency room without health insurance (after being unceremoniously dropped by Blue Cross Anthem for being a wrestler) when I broke two vertebrae in my back. But legally, I wasn’t “denied care”, because a nurse gave me two painkillers before sending me home. She’d assured me nothing was wrong and I’d be fine. Turns out, she was wrong. Not only were the vertebrae broken, but my tailbone disc had ruptured. I ended up going to Canada for real treatment I could afford and zero wait time, since I elected to pay in cash.

My ex, who was Canadian, was appalled at our system. He just couldn’t believe that ballsy, outspoken Americans were willing to put up with something so crappy, subpar, and expensive. He could never understand why we would jump up and fight over guns and God, but roll over and take it up the ass with no lube when it came to our own healthcare. Quite frankly, he was right.
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Two different doctors told me that I almost died last Monday, and that they rarely see a reaction as bad as mine…that I was lucky. If I’d waited a few more minutes (fuck you, slow driving time thieves), or had gotten stung twice, not so much. Thank God I chose Quick Care and not the hospital. To those who might find themselves in the same situation one day, perhaps skip the ER if you want to live. I was also told that since my reaction was so bad, next time it’ll be worse, so I probably won’t make it to an emergency room on my own. Go big or go home, right? (Totally my catch-phrase on this one.)

Eventually, I was allowed to leave with a prescription for two epi pens and a variety of other medications. 

However, more fun ensued the following evening when I headed back into the emergency clinic with complications. That wasp was killing me! Literally. (And financially.) My lower leg and foot were hot to the touch, hurt and had doubled in size. I have a high pain tolerance and of course, waited too long once again.

I had a skin infection from the sting site called Cellulitis. “When can I work out?”

Doc: “Not for a while.”

Me: “Define a while.”

Him: “At least 4 days.”

Ugh. I’d skipped the gym all holiday weekend, too. I’ve missed too much gym time this year between pneumonia, bronchitis and now this. I was told to sit on my ass with my leg elevated, and take more medications. I won’t lie; this fucking sucks.GZ_punisher

You know what pisses me off? I didn’t even get to kill that wasp. Chris killed its entire family, Frank Castle Punisher style. I suppose that will have to suffice. I left the decimated wasp nest on my front porch as a warning to all others.

The fact that I was so close to dying still hasn’t sunk in. My blood pressure dropped and my heartbeat nearly stopped, too. 

I’ve managed to survive much in life:

A highly, abusive ex who tried to strangle me on his way out. (The police broke in to the apartment and tasered him multiple times before taking him to jail).

Bad ring accidents; including a broken back which brought on an asthma attack so bad that I didn’t think I’d make it 537017_256535387813274_1269586530_nthrough.

Multiple battles with pneumonia.

Traveling to foreign countries alone (especially during the Bush era, when everyone hated Americans. I got sent into a dangerous area of Paris “for fun” when I had asked for directions).

One near plane crash during takeoff.

An accidental med overdose as a kid.IMG_20150522_095818

Living with a bipolar father.

A wrist cutting. (Hey, I inherited the bp gene. Kind of comes with the territory.), 

Falling out of trees/off bikes with alarming regularity (sans helmet).

Gymnastics classes.

Working in retail at Christmas.

All of that, only to be done in by a stupid insect?!?

I knew moving to Florida would kill me. On the plus side, at least there’s no death tax here.

I shudder to think what the hospital bills are going to be.

This is where I should say how grateful I’ve realized I am, but to be honest, I was grateful before this. If I had died on that day, I’d have been fine with it. The people I love know I love them.  I’ve been places and done things. I’ve lived. I feel lucky on most days, with the clear exception of  that Monday. So, I’ll just say thank you for being fans and friends – and if I should have the ironic death of having been through so much shizz in life only to kick the bucket from a fucking bee sting, feel free to have a laugh for me. I know I sure would! 

In the meantime, I am sitting around until I finish the antibiotics catching up on Game of Thrones. Silver linings…

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Photography: Dustin McClease

Onto the positives…

Thank you to Doctors Express in Clearwater, FL. You’re all awesome.

Huge thanks (big time!) to those who have sent things off my Amazon Wishlist ( http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/258GQWZANXBQ3/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_ws_CUhAvb0YTKWPE ) . Unfortunately, we don’t get rich in wrestling or modeling unless you’re at the very top tier. We are more often than not in trade; content for time. Comic books for our image. Photos for our day of work. It matters more than you know when fans are sweet and supportive. I am very thankful to those who go the extra mile.

I realize I haven’t updated my blog in eons. I’ve been writing, but not FINISHING. Much has been going which that has consumed energy like a vampire; a 5-week ComicCon tour, house hunting and Chris’ bipolar meds being all kinds of fuckity, to name a few of the higher priorities.

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Chris holding Daisy.

But one of these things is that I got baby chicks! At a Shine Wrestling show in January, a friend found a rejected hatchling. She couldn’t keep it due to her extensive cat collection, so I took her home. I’d always wanted chickens one day…just not THAT day. I was a completely clueless chicken (pullet) owner. But things have a way of working out. Her name became Daisy (we hoped it was a ‘her’) and I believe she may be a (bantam) Easter Egger. They’re called that because their eggs are in shades of blue, green, red and yellow. For the first 24 hours of her life, she wasn’t kept warm (unless she was tucked into my boobs), so we didn’t think she’d survive.

5149914421_9ca1522f9dBut, she did. Chickens of that breed roam around Ybor City. On Google and through talking to others, I’ve learned about heat lamps, Chicken Math, medicated feed and what the term ‘broody’ means, among many other things. The first time I had to reach into a bag of (delicious and nutritious) meal worms, I’ll admit I was extremely grossed out. Now, it’s no biggie.

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Chicken Math.

We honestly had no idea if the little fuzzy yellow ball of cheeping sweetness was a Daisy or a Duke. This became a problem. Where I live, Roosters are illegal and I’d gotten insanely attached to the baby chick. She perked up when she saw me, responded to her name, answered back if talked to, came when called. She also couldn’t stop looking into the mirror I’d put into her brooder (box), which meant she was lonely. I learned she should not be alone, so we got two more chicks from a farm that were show quality silver and gold laced Wyandotte breeds that were slightly older, as that was all that was available in our area. Delilah and Daphne weren’t as warm and fuzzy as Daisy is. They’d been treated as livestock, not pets for the first several weeks of their lives and it showed. The new girls were skittish and hand-shy. It 11041701_673791269421015_7093770322807567878_ntook a lot of work to get them used to us, but they’ve adjusted to a degree. They’d fall asleep in our arms, while we rubbed their necks each night. Daisy turned out to be 100% female (thankfully!) and 100% pet. She loves being picked up and petted. As soon as she sees us, she starts chattering. If you’d told me that chickens make great pets, I would have laughed. But, they do.

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Daphne.

I can’t meditate. I’ve tried. I’ve even gone to classes to learn. Clearing a bipolar/ADHD mind is nearly impossible. But watching those chicks play, scratch, interact with each other and chirp away is just about the same thing as meditating. I am able to shut the world out, clear everything and just take them in. It’s strange how calming they are for me. The world quiets, my thoughts stop racing, and it’s just them.

With all this, I have come to a conclusion : chickens = happy.

And they haven’t even started to lay eggs yet. Can’t wait!

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Miss Daisy. Or, Margarita, in Spanish.

 

Big thanks to Micheal Patry, Danielle Dadamo and Jennifer Dunham for editing my questionable grammar! And thank you to Chris for being the first to read everything and the first to help with it…no matter how honest it is. :)

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Daisy, Delilah and Daphne, ranging freely.

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How could anyone not fall in love with this teeny, squeaky baby?

Do or Do Not. Just Stop Bitching.

6 May

blesses

“The World Is Blessed Most By Men Who Do Things and Not By Those Who Merely Talk About Them.”

This is from my Grams daily word cards and very appropriate, considering what’s going on today around us. Many people complain about the world on Facebook and every other social network. I think we can all agree that bitching doesn’t do shit.

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Talk isn’t just cheap-it’s free.

Here’s my question to you: what are YOU doing to make your country or this world a better place? For real. This is a legit question. If you were to die tomorrow, how many people would think that you made the world a better place? No one? Just your family? Can you say that you help or inspire others, give back, will leave this earth a slightly better place than before you were on it? Because complaining on Facebook and reposting sordid news doesn’t do any of that. I think it would be amazing if those who complained put some of that energy into improving things. Or making someone smile. Or, just shut the fuck up and go to the gym. Put all that anger into cardio and you’ll be svelte in three months. 

You don’t need to comment or write me back. Just think about it. I’ve hit my limit with complaining and I’m betting that you have, too. Perhaps right now is a perfect time to reevaluate and ask what it is that WE do to make things BETTER for others.

“Do or Do Not. There Is No TRY.” -Yoda

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Some Thoughts On Depression.

13 Mar

A very insightful and honest blog on depression.

No One Is Innocent

Sometimes you have to be told the same thing over and over again until you finally get it.

So, it’s Christmas time again. Tinsel, rain, cold, a new Call Of Duty. For some of us, an excuse to drink muld wine, eat mince pies, see people we’ve not seen for a while.

For others, and maybe a lot more than we’d like to think, long dark nights, poverty, loneliness, heat bills that can’t be paid, constant refreshing of Facebook or Twitter Interactions pages to see if anyone has been in contact. Noticing the amount of people whose profile have shifted from ‘Friend’ to ‘Add Friend.’ on the quiet. Frankly, it’s going to get really nasty for the next few months. I’ve already seen people switch from ‘Flakey’ to ‘More Than Wobbly’

In short, we are approaching the time of S.A.D. I don’t really know what to tell you beyond the…

View original post 1,750 more words

Bipolar Disorder Dating Bipolar Disorder: A Recipe for Disaster?

11 Feb

“How are you doing?”

“Fine. Good. Wow, it’s weird to say that and actually mean it. But, I am.”

“I can tell. You seem happy.”

wingsThis is a conversation I’ve had more than a few times with various people over the last half year. I’d more or less resigned myself to the fact that I probably wouldn’t have a relationship while in the crazy business of entertainment. The best I’d allow myself to hope for would be the occasional dinner date, a string of meaningless-yet-passionate affairs in various countries (I could later use for stories in my book), and mornings on the porch with my dog. I’d just gotten comfortable with this idea when a guy came into my life and changed everything.

I only had a few weeks left on the online dating site I’d just cancelled my membership with when he wrote to me last summer. After meeting several nice people who just weren’t quite right, I was in no rush to meet another. I talked with him through email and Facebook for nearly a month before deciding to meet for lunch.

“Are you a serial emailer? I’ve dealt with that before and don’t really want to again.”

“No.” I stated. “I just don’t have a lot of free time and to be blunt, with what I do, I’m choosy about who I meet and how I spend my time.”

1896909_601644966635646_4487020824825599186_nWhen we met in person, I knew there was a lot to him. He was tall and strikingly handsome in an all-American Clark Kent way with dark brown hair, a steady smile and big blue eyes. While I knew we were compatible, I wasn’t sure if we had any chemistry. I’m a gym bunny and he’s a ‘computer nerd’. He developed apps for one of the largest firms in Tampa Bay and used words and phrases like ‘concatenate’, ‘CSS’, ‘UX’ and ‘audit management software’. All of this, I had to (subtly) look up in order to try to understand what he was talking about (and hopefully not seem like some dumb model). However, his personality was so unique and genuine, (and I already liked him a lot from talking with him) that it made me want to see how it went. Quick with a funny comment, he was extremely smart, had a wide shouldered (freakishly strong) build, and loved his mom.10451899_625183374281805_5782923745372247257_n

When I’d muttered something in German at lunch after comparing online dating stories (Das ist echt Scheiße), he answered back in perfect German (Ja, so ziemlich).

I’m a sucker for a quick wit (especially when paired with hands so large they make my giant paws look petite, and nicely veined forearms). I’ll take a big brain over a big bicep most days. I fell for him.

I learned that he liked documentaries, is a military veteran, lived in Germany for a while, doesn’t mind subtitles, shares my obsession for The Walking Dead, drove a car with a manual transmission (kind of unusual for the States. I learned on a stick 20150122_210716shift at age 15 when my father parked on a steep incline, pulled the brake and said, “Switch sides. You’re going to learn to drive.”), cooks, cleans, is creative and we are the same age. My pets adore him. Bella practically goes into convulsions when he pulls into the driveway. He’s well-traveled, has had an interesting life and acquired many stories. (For example, his mother was a WWII baby born in a concentration camp to Ukrainian and French parents, but was raised in an orphanage in Austria. She was adopted by Americans when she got older. C. is from Michigan and was one was one of the guys on the team for the stunning show cars we see in TV commercials and in films, like Transformers. The paint jobs alone cost more than most cars do.)

He didn’t have a drug habit or police record, barely drank and his video gaming was minimal. He didn’t even have a tattoo. (I know. No tattoos, no piercings? So weird!)

Regarding me, he is respectful, independent, affectionate, unwaveringly confident, kind, positive, energetic, supports all my ventures, has no issue with what I do, happily eats everything I cook and then thanks me for making it. (Even the stuff I screw up.) My friends really like him. Their mothers have crushes on him. Oh, right…plus he’s gainfully employed.

But there is a fucked up twist to this love story…

He is also bipolar.cool

He failed to mention that part to me. Both our fathers had bipolar disorder. I am bipolar.

I have had a very hard time my entire life dealing with bipolar disorder. From ruining relationships and crazy outbursts to suicide attempts, broken windshields, total exhaustion, smashing walls and picking fistfights, it’s been a constant battle. 

Then came the reality of the diagnosis; two years of horrific medication experiments with god-awful side effects, like extreme joint pain, daily nausea, migraine headaches, vertigo, memory loss, kidney issues, loss of creativity,  loss of orgasm (no joke), feeling like a zombie…all just to get some kind of stabilization, which I endured, because I refused to be my father. He was a human tornado; an amazing force of nature, wrecking lives wherever he touched down. Living with Dad was challenging on the best days. Because of that experience, living with anyone else who is bipolar and not medicated is completely out of the question. 

I was also being treated like an affliction by those around me. It’s truly a curse. There are some things about it that are a blessing – for example, having a higher IQ, seeing things more uniquely and being creative. Everyone I’ve ever met with bipolar disorder is quick, witty, artistic and generally a big-hearted person. But it’s a destructive disorder and extremely misunderstood by 96% of the world as to what it really is.

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To say that bipolar disorder is just about mood changes is equivalent to saying that the iPhone is just about making phone calls.

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If you’d asked me years ago if I would date someone with BP, I’d have said, “Fuck, no!” because of my own miserable experiences with myself. I was afraid someone with the same disorder would bring out the worst in me.

In reality, C. has brought out the best.

I’d told him I was bipolar (and pretty damn high on the spectrum) before I met him in an email. The way I operate is to give someone the red flag information up front so I don’t waste anyone’s time. His is to let someone get to know him first, and ration out the “flaws”.  I’m pretty perceptive and saw it in him long before I mentioned it.

9d6a98cedb658baf5eaee89853d15c83C. was never *formally* diagnosed. This is not uncommon for people of our age group, where the awareness just wasn’t there.

“So…have any of your doctors ever mentioned that you might be bipolar? Especially with it in your family? I’m going to be really straight with you and say that I think you are, only because I really know what it looks like…and what you’ve been going through and how you are acting is about 100% spot on.”

Up until that point, he’d said nothing about it, but confirmed that his doctor mentioned it before. I, on the other hand, went from  being horribly misdiagnosed (Lupus, Chronic Fatigue, Clinical Depression…) at a younger age to being diagnosed by several different doctors at the same time. When you’re bipolar, you always know there’s something not quite right. That you’re different…and that life is often an exhausting thing.10369985_594188830714593_1034917042146157259_n

You’d think this would be a recipe for disaster, right? But, for the first time in my life, I finally feel understood. I don’t feel like I’m a just a disorder. He makes me feel like…a person. An equal. Here’s the stunner of it all; I don’t think about being bipolar every day any longer. Sure, it’s always there. I take my pills, I have to consider what’s on my schedule and if I can handle what I’m doing each day – it’s just a part of me. However, I don’t dwell on it. I used to. A lot. It fucked with me. I felt hopeless and often, suicidal. I don’t feel that way any longer. When I told him how it used to be for me, he frowned and said, “Not anymore. You have me now.”

When I need time alone, am irritated, road raging or wearing my robe all day long and in a funk, he just gets it. As I do about him. That’s not to say we’re without problems. There are issues like anyone else has. Ours are just different. He is lower on the spectrum than I am, but swings depressed. That, and medication adjustments have been our challenges, but I understand how to work with this better than most.

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I’d given C. my blog to read, along with some other stuff I’d never dared to publish when we first started dating. I liked him a lot and was fearful of what he’d think, but wanted him to know exactly what he might be getting involved with. Instead of freaking out, he said, “I see a lot of myself in you.”

He told me how he’d dealt with repeat failed relationships; as soon as signs of a low would set in, the women in his life would get frustrated, angry, and he had even been accused of cheating because of his withdrawals from them. With each re-occurrence of depression, they got more and more fed up.

10665367_10152451668553931_1533682502272673198_nIt’s very hard to be a positive person with a negative disorder. The struggle to carry on daily activities and be “normal” when your chemicals get imbalanced make something as simple as leaving the house to get groceries utterly exhausting. It’s easier to skip eating.

I get scared off easily, because I know how I am. If I care about someone, I’ll let them drain everything from me in order to give them whatever they need to be happy…so I have to be exceedingly careful about who I allow into my life. I’ve seen him have several swings, both manic and depressive. There were more than a few times where I wanted to walk away.  Panic churned my stomach and my heart raced as doubt set in. “What the fuck am I doing? I don’t know if I can handle this.” 

20141018_114804_PerfectlyClearAt one point after a manic episode, I meant to break it off with him because I just didn’t think we could be healthy together. After a few hours of pondering (and crying at home by myself without C. really knowing how seriously I was thinking), I realized being apart from him wasn’t what I wanted. At all. Nor would I want someone to do that to me. It would just be something to work around…like everyone has in every relationship. The difference being, that I know how to work around it. My gut feeling was telling me to stick around.

I knew what he was going through while in mania, how he felt after, and how to react. Or rather, how not react. I just to let him do his thing, stayed quiet and waited for itSpend-more-time-around-people-that-both-challenge-and-respect-you. to pass. And, it did. If I’d had people react like that to me throughout life, I wonder if I would have done less damage in the long run? Less broken coffee mugs, smashed windows, less Spackle, less broken fingers and toes? Less broken relationships?

I’ve confided in him and told him more than I’ve ever told anyone. I’m able to tell him things I could never tell anyone else, and it’s without judgment or sympathy from him. The reactions I receive are acceptance and empathy. I also find that I understand a lot of what he’s been through and how hard it’s been for him at times. Been there, done that.

20141015_194552Will it last? Who knows? Maybe a future blog will be “Well, THAT didn’t work out.” Based on my track record, it could be challenging, but every relationship is technically a failure, until it isn’t – for all of us.

Does he feel the same way? I don’t know. I’d hope so, but all I know is that this feels quite different from anything I’ve ever been a part of before. It feels effortless. Like I can simply be myself and not stress about what happens when C. sees the “bad side”. Knowing how someone thinks and feels makes them incredibly relatable, and I feel connected to him in a way that is unique. I feel like I’m one half of a balanced team, which is not something I’m used to. I am not saying it’s because we are both bipolar, but that probably has something to do with it.

When to disclose a disorder is very personal and everyone is different. Some handle it better than others or, like C., are much lower on the BP spectrum.

Screenshot_2014-06-22-18-02-31-1In hindsight, I believe he was right to not disclose his disorder up front. I hate to admit that, but I may not have given him a chance. Or, I may have kept a distance while watching and waiting for him to show signs, and then used that as an excuse to walk away. 

By not saying anything, he gave me a chance to get to know him first and experience for myself that it would be okay.

That’s not to say anything has been easy. It’s just been easier to understand. He has low swings fairly often and is currently going through round three of medication experiments. It’s definitely not been without challenges. But I understand it. As he does. 

I don’t know how this story will end, but we go places, do things and truly live life. Like myself, he has a child-like wonder and appreciation for things which makes being around him a lot of fun. C. is a fairly amazing human being, so if dealing with bipolar disorder is part of the deal, then so be it. 

If you find yourself in love with someone who deals with any kind of a mood disorder, the best thing you can do is just be there. Don’t push or accuse…make them smile as much as you can. They are probably already worried (on top of being depressed) they’re going to lose you because of how they are. If you’re in it to win it, make sure they know that. It’s one less thing for them to deal with.

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**Thank you to Dani Dadamo for editing!

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Don’t Let The Holidays Put A Hurtin’ On You! How To Avoid Food Temptations.

12 Dec

Originally published by RX Muscle

How to avoid a weeks’ worth of workouts flushed down the drain in approximately one day of weakness.

-By April Hunter

 Christmas-in-Kinsale1Did you know that the average person gains FIVE to TWELVE POUNDS between Halloween and Christmas? Yikes! No thank you! To avoid becoming part of this statistic, I’ve put together a few things you can do to *not* be the average person this holiday season.

First and foremost, never allow yourself to get hungry.

NEVER.

You don’t want to get stuck surrounded by tempting bowls of gorgeous, shiny little Hershey’s kisses, (Just a couple can’t hurt…right?) heaping mounds of red and green M&M’s and trays of brightly colored cookies and brownies. Of course, EVERYTHING looks even better when you’re starving. A weeks’ worth of workouts flushed down the drain in approximately twenty minutes of gluttony.

snacks-712Make sure your mind makes the decisions, not your stomach. Eat every 2-3 hours and carry quality snacks with you, such as protein bars, almonds, jerky, yogurt, veggies April 021and fruit.

Tip: Slice apples and shake on some hot chili powder. The sweet and spicy works really well together and the chili powder keeps the apples from browning in ziplocks.

Lose pounds, gain dollars: Keep the thermostat turned down and get outside more often. Your body has to burn more calories in cold weather just to keep you warm, so let that work FOR you. Bonus: saving money on your electric bill!

WalkDogsProperly1Know that you’re probably going to indulge a bit this season, so compensate by moving your booty more. A second cardio session during lunch, Wii fit, more dog walks…hell, borrow a dog if you have to. I’m sure your fat neighbor won’t mind. Aim to get moving for five to ten minutes every other hour at work. Grab your Ipod and take a brisk stroll around your building, parking lot or simply stretch and hold  at your desk by isolating the muscles. Flex them – subtly. I’m not suggesting a Hulk Hogan pose-down while taking your vitamins and saying your prayers in your cubicle.

When you’re eating meals other people are preparing, primarily select proteins, veggies & fats for your plate, which are better used by the body, instead of carbs & fats. (IE: snow crab with butter and asparagus…skip the potato and bread.) If something ends up on your plate that is too tempting to avoid, ruin it by covering it with a copious amount of salt. If it’s inedible, it can’t end up on your gut.

I’ve always found it challenging to eat around “normal” people, who tend to make comments about their intentions to diet “soon” (while glancing sideways at my plate) or Istretching end up debating nutritional myths and trends at holiday meals. My family has suspiciously regarded me as “the one who eats weird foods” for most of my adult life. It’s no wonder I prefer to eat with “my own kind”.  I suppose with all the varied diets and food allergies, eating “out of the Genetically Modified Organism box” isn’t as odd any longer. If you are gluten-free…vegetarian…paleo…do not apologize for how you eat. You shouldn’t have to, and certainly don’t owe it to anyone. 

If you have someone like this at your table, cut them some slack and work with them. Christmas is a time for laughter and loving, not nitpicking and criticism. In life, it’s important that we chose our battles wisely. Do you really want to fight with someone over how they eat? It’s so trivial, I can’t believe I actually have to write this…yet, I do, because some people insist on being ridiculous and petty.

If your family refuses to let up, have an ass made of stone and washboard abs. Success is the best revenge. While my family was slamming blood pressure meds and monitoring their heart rates, I was washing their sheets on my stomach before rushing out to a photo shoot.  ;)

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Before you depart for a dinner or party, drink a protein shake. It takes the edge off so you’re not cramming 3200 extra calories worth of puffed pastry hors d’oeuvres into your face the moment you arrive.

And lastly, set goals. Consciously plan to NOT gain weight or allow yourself to get out of control. Keep a food diary if you need to, and write everything down.

Set a few realistic short-term goals to keep yourself on track such as “I’m going to eat clean for 6 days to earn my cheat day” or “I will not touch any refined sugar this week”. 

You don’t have to wait until Jan 1st to make your New Years Resolution!

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I appreciate your feedback & ideas, so contact me on http://www.AprilHunter.com . Follow me on http://www.Twitter.com/AprilHunter & Instagram: @realaprilhunter

Thanks for reading! Happy Christmahanakwanza!

-April Hunter

Professional Wrestler, Pinup Centerfold, Writer &  National Figure Athlete

 

  1. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_you_burn_more_calories_being_cold_than_warm
  2. http://www.kcby.com/news/health/13565082.html

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My Match.com Experiment: Prince – or Ax Murderer? Dating Bipolar-Part 3

15 Nov

 

Read part 1: A Year of Being Single-ish and Dating Bipolar –  http://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/10/23/my-match-com-experiment-a-year-of-being-singleish-dating-bipolar/

Read part 2: The Good, The Bad, The Dating and The Ryans –  http://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/11/04/my-match-com-experiment-the-good-the-bad-the-dating-the-ryans-part-2/

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This is an online dating hazard.

 

“Don’t choose the better guy.  Choose the guy that’s going to make you a better girl.” Chelsea Handler, This Means War

Jordan (my soon to be ex-husband) wasn’t thrilled with the way he felt I portrayed him in my writing. To clarify, with honesty: He is, and always has been, one of the best people I’ve ever met. He has always treated me very well. This is one of the reasons I was on the fence so much during this past year of being “single-ish”. The “-ish” meant that we still spent a lot of time together. He knew I was dating and was far from okay with it. He had been doing all he could to try to keep us together. When things went bad, I called him. When something good happened, I told him first. When I had a booking, he would look after the house and water all my plants. Oh…and he had his own set of keys.

Even though I’d told him I was seeing others, I’d always felt fairly rotten about it until the last few months. I would teeter-totter on that fence of indecision weekly, daily and even hourly.  We brought out the worst in each other as a married couple, but he was still my family.

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What people don’t know is that I was magically holding him up all by myself with just one hand. BOOM.

I cancelled my Match.com membership, but it was still active for another couple of months. I wondered if I should just stay married. I hadn’t filed the divorce papers yet and needed to make a decision, as the one year anniversary was fast approaching. My head wished I could keep my vows, but my gut was saying, “Hell, no.” My husband and I were like two North ends of a magnet repelling each other. Even in the worst travel situations and high stress moments, I had been calm and cool all year, but I still found myself breaking plates around him. Our marriage therapist had called us the classic “Can’t live with, can’t live without” co-dependency. When we met, we were very happy. We lived together and worked together, often booked photo shoots and shows as a team. I wonder how couples go from elation in each other’s arms to the entire relationship no longer working. I suppose if I knew that, I’d know how to stop it – and I could sell it and get rich.

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Some days, this wasn’t far off from reality…in my head. Right. IN MY HEAD, only.

Finalizing a split with Jordan meant losing my best friend as well as my spouse. So in utter selfishness, I’d strung him along at times because he was the one person I trusted and loved hanging with. Sometimes, I was afraid to be alone. Lonely is a better term. I like my own company and enjoy being alone. Lonely, not so much. I’d been married for nearly nine years and now I was eating, going to the gym and sleeping solo. In the back of my head, I was afraid I’d die and it would be days before anyone found me. By then, my cat would have eaten my face off. It was a wasted worry since my cat would eat my face off if I missed one feeding.  

Even if I didn’t want to be married, I still wanted our friendship. As things got more and more unfair, I told him to go and see other people, but he chose to stick around. When the plumbing in my bathroom broke, he came over to fix it. If I had traveled for a long weekend of wrestling matches, he would bring me groceries, knowing I’d be too beat up to do much for a day or two. There was even a brief period when I had a weird time with someone I was dating and he was the one who was there and talked me through it. That’s why I stayed even though our personal relationship was chaotic for a long, long time and his negativity triggered me into episodes.

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“Ladies and gentlemen, here we have a beautiful waterfall we are proud to call…oh, for fucks sake. There are two naked people in front of the falls again. Why does this keep happening to us???”

During the final months, our visions for what our marriage was differed dramatically. He thought that since he’d stuck with me through the non-medicated times, I now owed him the “good times”. I saw us as irreparably broken and wanted to move forward. He viewed my dating as “cheating” despite living apart, since we were still married. I viewed the separation as a time to think and see what I wanted, which included seeing other people.

I downloaded and filled out the divorce papers and hoped I could keep Jordan in my life to some capacity as a friend, because he is a good person and I’m pretty sure I’ll always like and love him as a human being. It hurt to lose my Canadian family. Unlike most in-law situations, I very much adored them and when Mom2 said, “You’ll always be our daughter-in-law and we love you,” I’d believed it. He had not told them that I was dating around, in order to protect me should we get back together, so it was quite a shock when they found out via a photo on my Facebook page. They haven’t talked to me since.

Jordan is not entirely happy with me at the moment (“rather hostile” might be a more accurate description at times), but I told him he’ll thank me someday – when he is with the right woman.

 

“There’s a time when you can share and you hold hands and be on the same path. But there’s always a fork in the road, at some point. Sometimes you have to go on one part of the fork and they got to go on the other part of the fork.” Alan Tudyk, 28 Days

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Jesus & Babies (Leo) contacted me out of the blue. “I miss hanging out with you.”

“Yeah, well…you had issues with many things about me,” I said.

1613924_10201776557790783_1761733339_n“No, I didn’t. You got defensive, so I backed off. I texted you from Dublin and never heard back. ”

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I know. He doesn’t look THAT crazy here. But he was Irish.

Of course I met him for lunch because he is ridiculously hot and I had nothing else going on. And I’d never slept with him, so curiosity won over common sense. (That’s the chemistry vs. compatibility thing I was talking about. Chemistry doesn’t always add up to “good for you”.) He walked in and lit up when he saw me. He was still tall, handsome, blond, athletic and lean. Damn. The entire place turned to stare at both of us as he hugged me and took my hand.

However, not long into my arrival, I suddenly remembered why I had walked away. He was hot but had no sense of humor. There was also an edgy bitterness to him. How in the blue hell had I missed that? Oh, right. Probably because I was too busy reacting to chemisty and not paying attention to what was really going on. He kissed my cheek, stared down at me with his bright blue eyes and said with a smile, “We would have such beautiful babies. I am going to get you pregnant.” Mein Gott. No.

943110_4863318695949_1539365364_nHe was a fantastic kisser though and I indulged myself, knowing full well it would be the very last time. It was chemistry without compatibility, and I was old enough and smart enough to know better.

Nothing fucks like crazy, but I guess I wouldn’t be finding out that night. I just didn’t need that headache. Dating bonus: None. Wait…yes, there was. A solid learning experience.

“You write short stories.  I think you like living short stories.  I’m kind of ready for the novel.” –Kate Mara, Happy Thank You More Please

 

As a die-hard romantic, there’s little I like more than kissing (and everything else that comes with it). I’ve realized that I’d been missing out by dating people younger than I am thanks to being in entertainment and also looking younger my whole life. Men my own age seem to know what they’re doing. Conversations were my favorite part of dating, but the romance was in a close second place.

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My friend Lonette wanted to know where I was going and who I’d be with all the time.20140704_193856

“Why? I’m a big girl.”

“Are you crazy? Don’t you watch Dateline? These guys could be ax murderers!”

“No, I don’t watch Dateline. Why? Was there an episode called ‘The Match.com Ax Murderer?’”

“Not yet.”

I think Lonette would be an excellent murder mystery writer. 

 

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Todd = the driver in the non-derpy pants. Or as non-derpy as possible for that time period and career choice (with weird side effects like possibly catching fire and stuff.)

There were some pleasant, but ultimately dead-end conversations with various men that led nowhere, and then a former well-known race car driver-turned-restaurateur (Cancer) who was resourceful enough to find me after meeting without even knowing my name. His preferred nickname was truly strange, so I shall just call him Todd.  He was tall and nice looking with a piercing look that gave the impression he could sort out bullshit in .02 seconds. Todd colored outside the lines in life, made me look like an amateur when it came to sarcasm, treated his dog better than most people treat their children, was a free spirit, happy to be childless, successful in life and knew what he wanted. He was bluntly honest and I liked him.

“I’ve been mostly lucky,” he said. “Things have gone very well for me, except my love life.” He seemed absolutely convinced that we would be good together and had no problem being very upfront about it. “Everything about you is rare. It’s on the level of seeing the tooth fairy blowing Santa Claus on your front yard. It’s terrifying how much we have in common.” He may have been right. I have no idea. I didn’t give it a chance because I’d already met someone else whom I’d clicked with like no one I had ever before, despite me liking Todd very much as a human being. He was pretty darn cool, but along came Christopher…and everything changed.

Dating bonus: He brought me a big bag of organic puppy cookies for Bella and had some very interesting stories.

On the plus, I was getting much better at picking dates with different names.

 

“To find a prince, you gotta kiss some toads.”
— Foxy Brown

 

As the time left on my Match.com profile was running out, two interesting men had emailed me at the same time. As I mentioned in my last blog, Match kept sending me Leo’s and Gemini’s. As a Libra, I’d mostly dated Virgo’s and I can assure you, that failed. I’d found out recently my best matches (if you believe this stuff) are Leo’s and Gemini’s, so I thought it interesting to be sent nearly nothing but.

IMG_6786Both men were witty. Both had a firm grasp on grammar. The first one was named Jake (Leo); a tall, stunning Italian with the chiseled physique of a Greek god. He was 52-years old and had “never been married”. When I asked why, he said he was “waiting for the right woman”. He also told me he was going for an appointment to get Invisaline braces. Flaming red flags punched me in the face. If you are still “waiting for the ‘right’ woman” at age 52 and worried about your teeth and abs to the point where no one in the entire world has ever wanted to marry you, there may be some issues. Additionally, I wasn’t dating in the entertainment business for several reasons. While I appreciate a man who takes good care of himself, high maintenence male vanity is something I’d rather not deal with.

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Then there was BlueEyedPrince (Gemini). I almost skipped over him on Match.com because of having such a gay screen name. Additionally, he was listed as Christian, conservative, “Wants Kids: Someday” and enjoying “walks on the beach” (sans anal). That’s a dead sexy combination right there. (#Sarcasm.) I was more than slightly concerned he would be Jesus & Babies Part Deux – The Remix, but I’m totally shallow (as we’ve established) and his photo depicting dark hair, bright blue eyes (bet you didn’t guess that), full lips and an easy smile was quite intriguing. Full lips on a man is highly underrated. Translation: He was fucking hot.

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Who’s your daddy? For real…who is your daddy?

If Kevin Sorbo and Robert Downey Jr. had a love child together, it would be BlueEyedPrince. His teeth were where they were supposed to be, he had lots of hair, was several inches taller than I, and used “your” and “you’re” properly on his profile. Added bonus: His name wasn’t Ryan! His body type was listed as “average”, so at least he wasn’t delusional. He sent me a short email introducing himself and he commented on how my profile was entertaining.

We talked for about almost a month before actually meeting. That was partly due to my travel schedule, but also because I’d decided I was in no rush with anything or anyone.  He was weird. I liked that.

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Mack-in-AW or Mack-in-ACK? Because it looks like AW. Just sayin’.

“I don’t care for shallow conversations,” he stated almost immediately. “I have no time for anyone who isn’t deep.” So the emails kept going back and forth.  

Unlike everyone else, I told him I was bipolar right away after he confided his past heart condition to me. I’d also told him what I did early on. I’d taken a “Fuck it. Take it or leave it because this is me” stance and he seemed unfazed.

He’d sent me a Facebook request and I didn’t think twice about accepting it, which broke the cardinal rule: Thou Shalt Not Add Dates to Your Facebook Page. However, I liked who he was and figured if the entire thing was a wash, I’d still want to know him as a person.

I stood before the mirror in my bathroom and thought about cancelling the hour before meeting him. Not because I didn’t want to meet him, but because I did. I was the one who had asked him to meet me for lunch. I’d picked up a bronchial issue while traveling and had a legitimate excuse. I told him, but he said he had a strong immune system and didn’t care. I was extremely nervous, and more than that; I had a feeling that everything would change if I went.

aximage_4_bigHe was already at the restaurant when I arrived (with his ax carefully hidden?) and looked like his photos. BlueEyedPrince (Also known as Christopher) came off confident, ballsy, witty, positive and fearless, which is exactly how he was.

“I know what I have to offer someone. I’m a great catch, or else I wouldn’t be trying to date right now. I’d be busy getting my life together. A lot of women aren’t like that from my experience. They’re looking for someone to fix them, make them happy, or make their life better. To me, it doesn’t work like that. It’s more about two “happy with their own lives separately” people coming together to make things even better as a couple. I believe the term is “synergy”.”IMG_6287

Me: “I’m not looking for someone to fix me. I’d just like to have someone to do fun things with and a conversation that isn’t, “Wanna go outside? Go pee-pee? Good girl! You’re such a good Corgi! Want a cookie?” He laughed.

Christopher was an eclectic app developer from Michigan with a wicked sense of humor and ADHD. We were the same age, with him 4 months my senior. He’d been divorced for five years, still got along with his ex-wife, appeared much younger than he was, both in looks and how he carried himself. He also had an oddly parallel life to mine; he grew up the “difficult child” with his temper tantrums in a neglectful household with a bipolar father. He’d suffered a severe back injury from an accident, had been through a few near death experiences, and was an introvert. He’d also had several careers including the Air Force and working with a variety of car companies in Michigan, including Saleen, before going to work for one of the oldest firms in the area as an app developer.

10653438_10203655792727596_3505868075746802940_nChristopher sparked to my Latin/Italian ethnicity battling my Anglo-Scottish work ethic, as he was French/Russian and dealt with the same challenges. Toil away through the evening – or just blow everything off and enjoy the sunset, drinks and food? (Case in point: It’s 3:18 a.m. right now and I’ve been working all night without dinner.) I was raised by devout Christians, and ended up agnostic. He was raised by devout atheists, and ended up Christian.

When we met at lunch, he insisted I try his food, was straight up about seeing another woman and stated that he couldn’t stand jealousy. All fine by me, since I was talking to others, and jealousy – like sommer teeth – was a deal breaker.

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I got this right after I joined Match. Not sure why I kept it. Probably to see how bullshit it really was.

He looked at me while we were comparing dating stories and asked about my marriage status. Then he asked, “Did your husband complement you?”

I knew what he meant. Had he been the frosting to my cake? I paused, thinking…wracking my brain. I finally shook my head and said, “No.”

“Well, I believe a couple should have their own individuality, but complement each other.”

I muttered something in German and he replied back in perfect Deutsche. That got my attention. So did the fact that he didn’t let me leave our first date without kissing me. Then kissing me again. And again. Compatibility plus chemistry.

Part boy-next-door, part worldly, traveled man. I found him fascinating. After our first date, I lost interest in talking to others, who seemed boring by comparison.

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I broke his Comic Con cherry. What a way to lose it, eh? He even got hugged by Hershel.

Him: “I know this sounds crazy but you’re the first person who has ever been able to keep up with me. I feel like you get me.” Yes, well – I’m all over the place too, so it isn’t hard with manic racing thoughts which are – SQUIRREL! – pretty much like having ADD at times.  We’d run 3-4 radically different conversations at once, ranging from eighties songs (he was a pretty good guitar player, so we both live and die by music), to neat invention ideas, recent sexual studies to  Red Wings vs. Bruins, and neither of us had any problem keeping up with all of them. I realized my world must seem pretty strange to a “normal” person, so I threw him to the wolves quite a few times, both in the wrestling locker rooms and at comic cons. He held up like a champ and seemed to enjoy how colorful my life is. My colorful friends liked him, too.

I found I liked his ADD because it made him interesting. I could relate to many aspects of it and we always had something to talk about, but there were matters I had to learn my way around. On the outside, Chris had stated he was “what you see is what you get”, but in reality, he was a complicated 10723460_851152418230734_1266345854_nperson. More like an onion, with many layers he chose to peel back little by little once he felt comfortable. I think this is common with any type of disorder. There are often a number of quirks we all have – anxiety, depression, habits, hypomania, the need for solace, health issues – and one can feel vulnerable exposing these flaws to others. Once again, this was something I could relate to. Chris was in touch with how he was doing, med compliant and regularly saw a therapist.

BlueEyedPrince played no games: “I think I like you. You know. Just a little.”

Me: “Just a tad? As long as it’s a little, I’ve got something I can work with there.” I could talk to him about anything and he accepted me as me. He made me smile more than anyone had in a long, long time and treated me like a princess. Plus, this guy ended up being the best kisser of them all. That’s saying a helluva lot.

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After a few shorts weeks, he looked at me and said, “I think we’re past the ‘just seeing each other’ point now.”

Me: “Oh? So, what does that mean? You’re requesting an upgrade to the word “Dating”? How does this work, exactly? I’m new to this game.”

Him: “I’m not seeing anyone else. I stopped seeing others after our first date. I probably should have told you that. You can do whatever you want…I’m not telling you what to do. I just wanted you to know that I’m not.”

Me: “Oh, really? I can do whatever I want, with anyone I want? Sex, too? Sweet. No issues?”

Him: “Well…look, I’m not really good at this kind of stuff.”

Me: “So I gathered.” I’d already hidden my online dating profile from public view, but I didn’t tell him because I didn’t want him to feel obligated to pull his.

He just looked at me.

“If you’re asking if I’m seeing anyone else, I’m not,” I said.

On top of having a having a very winning personality and handsome face, Christopher did something no one else has – he didn’t drain me. 10419484_846888408657135_4645850378229162700_n (1)I never felt that urge to shove him out the door on Sunday after staring at the clock for a few hours until enough time had passed so I could breathe. Quite the opposite, really. He recharges me. I feel energized around him. It’s effortless to be together. When he holds me, I feel safe and the world just goes away.

I am slightly alarmed that I’m not alarmed at how quickly we clicked. I should be scared, but I’m not. I’ve been honest to the point of embarrassment with him. I’ve told him things I haven’t told another soul, and he is still here. I always feel connected to him, even when we aren’t together, perhaps in more ways than one.

We discovered we were in Flint, Michigan at the same time in our respective pasts. I’d just started a new job and was sent there as a rookie. We both were staying at 1415147108different places in Billings, Montana during the same year. He resided there while I stayed in an RV park between bookings while on a burlesque tour with my first husband. When he mentioned he was in the Hector Mine Las Vegas earthquake in 1999, the night before he got married, I realized I was there, too. I lived a few miles from where he was. Everyone ended up outside at 2 a.m. while the city rattled to an exceedingly rare 7.1 on the Richter scale.

I realized it was officially time to warn the BlueEyedPrince that he might not want to get too involved with me. The thought of hurting yet another decent person was something I just don’t know if I could survive. It was a very hard, very sad conversation to practice in my head. I was gambling with the chance of losing him, but I felt I needed to tell him how shitty it could all be. I explained that I was trying to protect him from me and that one day, the meds might stop working or need adjusting and I am very different without them.

He’d read all my blogs and a lot of things I’ve written and never published. He looked at me and said, “Do you think you’re going to scare me off? You’ve allowed me into “you”, as I have done the same with you. I fully understand there will be times where you’ll need me to be strong and take care of you.”

Ding, ding, ding. Right answer.Screenshot_2014-06-22-18-02-31-1_resized_1

This time, the situation and person seemed quite unique. I shut down my Match.com profile and am taking it one day at a time.

After all…he could still be sharpening his ax while I’m sleeping.

 

“There is no greater feeling in the world than to feel ‘gotten’.” – Bruce Willis, The Story of Us.

 

Dating bonus: I love when we are just being us and how encouraging he is about everything I do. I love listening to his ideas and observing the way his mind works. I love foto_466185_fhow positive and fearless he is. I love being with him. He is good for me. I adore him and am happy he’s a part of my life. He makes me smile more than anyone has in a long, long time. 

However, I worry about being good for him. Routine is healthy – especially for someone with bipolar disorder, yet sometimes it makes me antsy. In the past, I’ve felt like pulling back from someone perfectly wonderful for no real reason other than that feeling or I try to push them away before they have a chance to do it to me. (I’m not like this as much anymore thanks to the medication.) I wish I could say I have no fears about moving forward, but that’s not true. I know how I am (have been). If someone is too nice, I may get bored and I will/can eventually hurt them. “It’s not you, it’s me” is always the truth in my case. I cannot live with the idea of hurting another good person. Obviously, I’m not writing this anonymously, so it’s something we’ve discussed long before words hit this blog.

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Crazy times two…wait, three.

And then, there are his episodes. He occasionally has them, too. I saw one for the first time recently and it scared me, because I thought I was watching myself, off meds. Frustration had set him off and I knew exactly how he felt during his tangent, along with the gutting pain he felt afterwards.

I did what I’d learned to do around bipolar people (mostly from living with my father) – I stayed still, kept quiet and let him run his course. Ten minutes later, he calmly came back into the room, checked his wall to ascertain how much damage he’d inflicted and his hand to see if it was broken.

Then he crawled back into bed and buried his face in my hair. “I’m so sorry.”1422435_652052488149977_144054732_n

“I know,” I said. And, I did.

I started to cry. He seemed even more crushed. He thought I was upset because I was scared, but I was really crying because I didn’t know if I could do “us” any longer, and my heart was breaking. This guy was my selfsame; we were a twinship in so many ways. Apparently, a lot more than I’d realized.

With my newly found Lamictal-induced rational outlook on life, I was doing my best to not repeat destructive patterns. In the past, I had ignored signs that I shouldn’t have in the beginning of a relationship only to kick myself later.

Was this that? What if it wasn’t? What if it were me? That episode could easily have been mine. How would I like someone walking away from me? Not to mention how much I care about him. He’d generally been honest about his issues. Mostly. Even if he had rationed them out a little at a time. “I didn’t want to scare you off. I didn’t want you to think I’m defective.”

IMG_20140901_095027I pondered that. Would I have been scared off? I mean, honestly…would I? I’m not so sure. I think as someone who is pretty damn defective herself, he’s even more relatable with his so-called flaws.

However, I found myself second-guessing everything I knew about us the next day and felt like I couldn’t breathe. Being sane sucks. Being level-headed sucks more. I had no idea if I should stay or go. I have never been in a relationship as a stabilized person before. This is my first. In addition to not really knowing who I am yet (I’m not the same emotional mess I was, that’s for sure), I’m also not sure what’s acceptable and what’s not. At times, I’ve been a little too cold and calculated.

I rely on my friends for help when I’m in this position. They seemed to either think the entire thing is no big deal or that I need to be sure I’m taking care of myself first.

Them: “Did he try to hit you? Or do anything to avoid hitting you?”20141018_114804_PerfectlyClear

Me: “No. Nothing like that.”

Them: “Oh, ok. Sometimes guys just need to punch walls.”

My panic stems from the fact that wall punching has always been the tip of a very large iceberg. My father had punched walls and eventually a loaded gun was being pointed at us or him. (He shot my mother in front of my brother and I. That’s a whole ‘nother blog.) In the past I’ve started at walls and progressed to kicking out windshields and ripping car doors off hinges. When I see someone punching a wall or having a fit, it has a Pavlov’s Dog effect on me.

I had every intention of taking a few days to think everything over…as in, take a break. That seemed logical. But, here’s the thing: I didn’t want to take a break from us. Had it been the other way around, I wouldn’t want him to take a break from me. 

I dunno. Maybe some guys just need to punch walls.

Been there, done that, have the Spackle to prove it.

So. Treats me like a princess? Check. Smart, funny, kind and driven? Check. A little crazy? Check.

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My therapist’s verdict: “Why are you worrying? Stop it. You’re doing better and better. He’s a good guy. He’s working on himself and good for you, too. Enjoy it. Live in the present.”

1551470_948512048591466_2274401337787458543_nIt’s funny how someone who was a stranger a short while ago can come to mean so much. I look forward to our time together, immensely. Half of me is ultra cautious on going slow because I don’t want to ruin what we have…as in, take any of it for granted. The kissing, missing each other, really listening. After having been down the “for granted” road, I know what it feels like. I hated it. I savor every moment now. I memorize what I see; his face, his hair, his smile. I don’t ever want to look, but not see. I don’t want to be one half of that miserable couple we20141012_161343 all see in restaurants who don’t talk to each other any longer. I think I’ve learned a lot of lessons from my past relationships but some of the biggest are saying thank you, showing appreciation, compromising, being willing to work at things and work well as a team. I believe these things have to be there daily for two people to exist in a copasetic fashion. It’s quite fucked up that we put so much emphasis on the wedding and not enough on the “happily ever after”.

 “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether is is the same problem you had last year.”-John Foster Dulles. This note is taped to my computer monitor and has haunted me for years. For a long time, I’ve had the same problems and been stuck in gridlock. This is the first time I’m not, which was completely up to me to change. It was terrifying. I left everything I’ve known…my job, my way of life, my husband and where I’m from. I’d always thought I’d end up back in Philadelphia. This year, in addition to becoming single, I bought my first house in Florida, began taking classes, started a new job as a ghostwriter while being able to keep aspects of my other careers I still enjoy, made friends outside of the entertainment business, and I can say I’m happier for it.

mime-attachment7The men I dated had absolutely nothing in common except that each was extremely smart and witty. (Oh, and most were delusional about how fit they really were. Either that, or I’m spoiled from being in wrestling locker rooms.) Clever and witty is a big deal for me. Looks will fade in time and you can always improve a body. But you can’t turn a dull or narrow mind into something brilliant and you cannot fix stupid. Personality and conversation matter. Is there anything worse than sitting across from someone for a meal and having nothing to say?

Guys, there’s a lot to be said for not playing games and being honest. That’s not being needy. It’s being real. Calling, emailing and texting non-stop when you’re not getting a response back is needy. Saying good morning or good night? That’s sweet.

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What have I learned on this little Match.com venture?

-There are a scant few women who look like their photos, are actually in shape, can hold up a conversation, don’t have kids or want to have babies right away, aren’t bitter, don’t need someone to “fix them” and aren’t looking for free dinners.  Apparently, I am somewhat of a unicorn. When you thought 945354_544186605619399_1335161772_n_resizedyou were completely broken and had nothing to offer, this is not a bad revelation.

-Men are just as guilty of not looking like their photos. Of all the dates I went on, 4 guys resembled their photos… and that was after a lengthy screening process ahead of time. Of the 4 I’d met they were still somewhat thinner, heavier or shorter than stated. One guy was actually taller. I get the feeling that many of us see ourselves by looking into Fun House mirrors.

-Seasoned people tend to be more dismissive of “baggage” than I’d thought they would be. It’s just not as big of a deal. Anyone who has lived past a certain age has it, so it’s universally accepted and if you like someone, you’ll deal with it.

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This man did an experiment and re-created some of the more ridiculous profile photos on dating sites women post. There are MANY of his works out there for entertainment and all are worth Googling.

-A common theme from the guys: “I can GET LAID. That’s not the issue. I wanted to meet someone I can talk to. Someone with substance.”

-I learned that married men really like when their wives go away so they can do nothing but masturbate. Yeah. It seemed to be a common topic of discussion when comparing my date’s single life to their married friends. “My buddy can’t wait for his wife to visit her mother just so he can jerk off.” Ladies, you might wanna give your men a little more breathing room. I suppose that knife cuts both ways.

– I am not around a lot of people my age, so talking to people who are around 40 was enlightening in many ways.

-I learned that men in their late 30’s to mid 40’s in the Tampa Bay area are staggeringly attractive and well-kept. Many were better looking than some of the twenty-XW5Z9681somethings I’m around on a regular basis in wrestling. Not at all what I’d thought it would be like. I figured my dating pool would be limited to balding, paunchy, mini vans and bags around the eyes. 

– I learned from Jesus & Babies that if a man doesn’t like his mother, has never been married and blames everything on all the women in his life, he’ll probably blame things that go wrong on you.

-I have learned that the name Ryan was really fucking popular at some point.  

-I learned that you tend to garner a higher quality of people when you have to pay to get on sites like Match.com. This is from comparing my own notes from both Match.com and OKCupid along with others of both sexes who have used multiple free and pay sites.

1413316767-I was hoping that by dating men my age, I’d be meeting people who had Alice in Chains on their iPods and recognized how badass Public Enemy is. That didn’t exactly work out as I’d hoped. They had Slayer. All of them. Win some, lose some. On the plus, they generally had more Pantera and Megadeth than I did.

-Men like to chase, so let them. I never texted or called anyone I was dating first.

-I also learned that men of this age group are not playing around. They are generally online to immediately get into a relationship.  From Date One, I was being sized up as full-time partner material, which feels a whole lot different than a “I’d like to bang this chick” sizing up. There were many times when I truly felt like I was the man with all the ducking and dodging of a serious relationship, and I’ll admit that I was easily scared off. I didn’t always know how to not hurt someone’s feelings and eventually just learned to be honest and straight up, but it took a while. I also don’t believe in forcing something just to be in a relationship. I’m too old for that and fine with being by myself if nothing had clicked.

-I learned how to simply have fun and not jump right into a relationship.tumblr_mrp42h1LCJ1qd3478o1_400

-I learned how to flirt again and really take time to savor conversations.

-I’ve learned that catching the man I’ve been talking with staring at me as I leave can still make me feel alive.

-I learned that nearly everyone I met on Match.com was self-employed (or worked long hours), so they didn’t get out much, and either I was great at screening or just lucky to have met some very nice guys.

-I learned that I enjoyed dating. I’d always heard horror stories but I found that it was fun. However, it was horribly time consuming, and I’m sure it can be terribly expensive for men.

da2a6e1f67de2c12bfe78c4c64af0e22_resized-I learned that forcing myself to go out, even when I didn’t feel like it or want to, was probably good for me.

-For some reason, nearly every guy wanted to cook for me. I think it was a “See? I’m domesticated! I have a clean place, too. Pick me!” kind of thing. Either that or they didn’t feel like paying for dinner. (I kid. I only went out with those who were ‘gainfully’ employed. Part of not dating in the business is not dealing with the ‘struggling artist’ thing. Been there, done that.)

-I got as many comments on what I’d written on my profile as on my photos, which I thought was interesting.  Apparently people do ‘read the articles’.

-I realized that maybe I’m not as shattered as I’d thought. Maybe it was something I felt because I was told I was…and when you’re told something often enough, you believe it. A three legged dog gets up and starts walking again right away because no one is in his ear telling him how bad off he is. He just gets on with it.Valentine’s-Day-5-Step-Guide-for-Online-Dating-valentines-meme (1)

-Every guy I went out with asked for another date. Granted, guys will bang anything, but I figure at least one or two of them would have shied away if I was putting off some kind of messed up vibe. None of them did. I used “busy” and “hectic travel schedule coming up” a lot to get out of follow up dates.

-Women aren’t the only ones who go baby crazy. “Wants Kids: Probably not.” I’d never really given it much thought. My husband hadn’t wanted kids, and as always, I caved to accommodate others around me. When we had separated before and I was seeing the wrestler/actor, he’d had a son, but had talked to me about having another child. It’s the only time I really gave it any thought.

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Baby Carter almost came back from Canada in my bag. Sadly, it was already at the weight limit. Next time…he’s mine. All mine.

After putting “Probably Not” on my dating profile, I realized how much of an issue that really was. Most men my age either had kids or wanted them. Something happened when they hit a certain age, and they got a little kid crazy. After discussing it so much this past year, it gave me a lot of time to think. Part of the reason I’d never had any children was because of my unstable income and lifestyle.

Now that I’m older, I wonder. I was never delusional enough to believe I could do it on my own. Props to the strong single moms out there, but I believe children need their fathers. Nor would I do it with someone who didn’t mean much to me just to have a kid. That’s a tie you can’t break. I don’t understand people who don’t think this through first.

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I collect Ginger Snaps and she’s one of my faves. Check out that muscle! Def a future women’s champ…if she eats her veggies.

Could I do this…if it were to happen? Both my doctors have given me a green light as far as me being healthy and have said that age doesn’t play as much into it as originally thought, but said I’d have to get off all my meds. And then there is the possibility of passing on the bipolar gene, of course.

Then again, being able to keep all my income, get in the car and run errands without thinking about it, choose gyms that have no daycare, travel, not change diapers and sleep through the night are not a bad way to live.

Ultimately, I’m still on the fence. Or, the proverbial baby-gate.

-Most of all, I learned that being bipolar but working on yourself (medication, therapy, acupuncture, etc) is not viewed as much of an issue. You’re not broken. You’re not considered a second class human being. Oddly enough, I found I was valued more by this age group for my unique (bipolar) way of thinking and seeing things, because I do it differently than so-called “normal” people.

-Side note: Psychiatric studies recently conclude that those with mental illness are, in fact, more creative and witty, especially those with bipolar disorder. WHOOT! I knew it. Of course. Because I’m witty and smarter like that. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22045939

 

564910_101405936659554_2136748102_nI’ll end with this novella with a blog link: “Fuck Yes or Fuck No?” If you’re like me, it will instantly clarify what’s important in your life in a way that nothing and no one ever has before when it comes to a significant other. http://markmanson.net/fuck-yes/

I’m fortunate that I still talk to nearly everyone I’ve ever dated and consider them “friendly”. Every so often we’ll share memes, movies, good songs or just say hello. That’s a testament to me either choosing good people, being a good person, or both. I also feel fortunate that Chris doesn’t feel threatened by this or any aspects of my career.

 

 

image5I think many of us could be that unusually shaped light bulb – that one light bulb trying to fit inside a complicated desk lamp that’s difficult to put together. Instead, we either give up too soon or force it or break it trying to make it work in the wrong lamp, before clicking it into place, the way it was intended.

I got on Match.com because a friend said she used it and enjoyed herself. I know she sure enjoyed a lot of those free dinners.

 

For me, it’s been a life altering learning experience.

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P.s. To everyone I dated who reads this blog – which I think is nearly all of you – you know my policy on being honest on here, so please realize I’m doing only that and there are no personal jabs. I view everyone who passes through my life as adding to it and teaching me things. So, thank you for that.

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS WRITING/BLOG MAY BE COPIED OR USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

 

Read part 1: http://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/10/23/my-match-com-experiment-a-year-of-being-singleish-dating-bipolar/

Read part 2: http://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/11/04/my-match-com-experiment-the-good-the-bad-the-dating-the-ryans-part-2/

 

To Really Know Someone – by Osho:

“Even husbands and wives who might have lived together for many years, may be just acquaintances. They may not have known each other. And the more you live with someone the more you forget completely that the centers have remained unknown.

“So the first thing to be understood is, don’t take acquaintance as love. You may be making love, you may be sexually related, but sex is also peripheral. Unless centers meet, sex is just a meeting of two bodies. And a meeting of two bodies is not your meeting. Sex also remains acquaintance – physical, bodily, but still just an acquaintance. You can allow somebody to enter to your center only when you are not afraid, when you are not fearful.

“There are two types of living: one fear-oriented, one love-oriented. Fear-oriented living can never lead you into deep relationship. You remain afraid, and the other cannot be allowed, cannot be allowed to penetrate you to your very core. To an extent you allow the other and then the wall comes and everything stops.

“The love-oriented person means one who is not afraid of the future, one who is not afraid of the result and the consequence, who lives here and now. Don’t be bothered about the result; that is the fear-oriented mind. Don’t think about what will happen out of it. Just be here, and act totally. Don’t calculate. A fear-oriented man is always calculating, planning, arranging, safeguarding. His whole life is lost in this way.

“I have heard about an old Zen monk: He was on his deathbed. The last day had come, and he declared that on that evening he would be no more. So followers, disciples, friends started coming. He had many lovers, they all started coming; from far and wide people gathered. One of his old disciples, when he heard that the master was going to die, ran to the market. Somebody asked, ‘The Master is dying in his hut, why are you going to the market ‘The old disciple said, ‘I know that my master loves a particular type of cake, so I am going to purchase the cake ‘It was difficult to find the cake, but by the evening somehow he managed. He came running with the cake.

“And everybody was worried – it was as if the Master was waiting for someone. He would open his eyes and look, and close his eyes again. When this disciple came, he said, ‘Okay, so you have come. Where is the cake?’ The disciple produced the cake – and he was very happy that the Master asked about it. Dying, the Master took the cake in his hand… but his hand was not trembling. He was very old, but his hand was not trembling. So somebody asked, ‘You are so old and just on the verge of dying. The last breath is soon to leave you, but your hand is not trembling.’

“The Master said, ‘I never tremble, because there is no fear. My body has become old but I am still young, and I will remain young even when the body is gone’ Then he took a bite, started munching the cake. And then somebody asked, ‘What is your last message, Master? You will be leaving us soon. What do you want us to remember?’

The Master smiled and said, ‘Ah, this cake is delicious.’

This is a man who lives in the here and now: This cake is delicious. Even death is irrelevant. The next moment is meaningless. This moment, this cake is delicious. If you can be in this moment, this present moment, this presentness, the plenitude, then only can you love.

Love is a rare flowering. It happens only sometimes.”  –OSHO

You-cant-force-people-to-stay-in-your-life.-Staying-is-a-choice-so-be-thankful-for-the-people-who-choose-you.

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