All posts for the month July, 2014

Smoking, who me? Eight months.

Published July 19, 2014 by Liz Ault

The day almost got away from me before I realized that I am now at 8 months without a cigarette touching lips, let alone the toxins reaching my lungs. Those months of feeling ill are far behind me (looking much more forward to holidays this year). Somewhere between 6 and 7 months I started calling myself a recovering smoker. Non-smoker sounds cool, but addiction never goes away. I AM A RECOVERING SMOKER. Have to buy myself or design for myself a patch or pin to wear with pride. $1400 saved; 9200 cancer sticks not smoked.

I’m sure I sound very silly to some who have never taken this journey – but this is HUGE! I have short periods of time that a thought, dream, smell, etc. will make me briefly think of just lighting one – to see what happens. Hell, I know what happens. 

Still not at the longest as a recovering smoker. I stopped when I was 4 months pregnant with my son in August of ’83. When he was 6 months moved from Omaha to St. Louis, and not much longer after was pregnant with my daughter. About the time I got pregnant with her I started working for a major company that still allowed smoking in the workplace. I hit almost the 2 yr mark. The last months of my second pregnancy, I dreamed about cancer sticks jumping over fences – who took out the sheep?? I realized that the second hand smoke (which I always pooh-poohed) was real. I was surrounded by smokers. My pores were being inundated with that second hand smoke. I took a pack of cigarettes to the hospital, and after I delivered my daughter, I lit up.

I’ve stated I’m a 40 year 2-pack a day former smoker. I did take some breaks, but each time I started again I increased the number per day. 

What I will say out loud (okay as a post) – I will never go down that road again. I’ve been going to the gym, and working with a trainer, since February (3 month gift to self). I will always be in early stages of COPD. I will always have difficulty breathing in hot or cold weather. Yard work will still be in 10-15 minute increments. And I won’t be able to park my car WAY down the parking lot and still breathe. But, I will work at the gym and at home. I will increase my endurance. With increased endurance, am building muscle, etc. to support the arthritis. 

I AM A RECOVERING SMOKER. I thank those who have read about this journey. I thank those who have prayed for me (keep those coming). I thank those who have shared with me that my journey has helped them try it one more time. For those who are taking this journey because they have read about mine, know I will pray for you also. And I am here for anyone who needs to talk their way through NOT lighting that cancer stick.

Next major date, will be 9 months. The time that nature has given us for new life…


Fearless Fantasies – The Daily Post

Published July 15, 2014 by Liz Ault

How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?

Reading these questions there was no hesitation or thought, it was instant – by far much better with fear gone. I would have found my voice many, many years ago. The frightened little closet girl would have spoken up. She would have defended herself. Explained herself. Maybe even loved herself.

 Guessing this will make it into the shortest post ever….Great question.

Can’t Stand Me – The Daily Post

Published July 10, 2014 by Liz Ault

What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

Video is the hardest. Audio – sound enough like my adoptive mom, that I figured it would finally make me fit in. Haa, haaa, haaaaa.

The video made me see that I was many inches taller than my whole family. The video made me see how my own siblings stared at my tall assed self. 

I always felt like I didn’t fit in. Each thing I saw made it uglier and uglier. I was just sure I wasn’t worthy of love of any sort. I was too tall, was too ugly, was too unlovable. Damn.

Video seemed to magnify the negative in my own eyes. Too bad it took me so many years to start to appreciate myself. I could have saved the younger me so much pain.

Writing 101, Day Twenty: The Things we Treasure

Published July 4, 2014 by Liz Ault

For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. If you’re up for a twist, go long — experiment with long form and push yourself to write more than usual.

I’ve read and reread this assignment. Many thoughts on most prized possession vs. the things we treasure. They can be totally polar opposites. My “things I treasure” were my dolls, but they never were, technically, my possessions. They were Christmas and birthday gifts from my parents. They had strings. But still my most treasured. Also treasured would be my two wheeled bike – girls 24” Schwinn.

Possession would be my first car that I bought and paid for on my own. No Santa, no parents (okay, a bit of help from dad), no siblings, no nothing.

Conditions would be the more appropriate word. What came with conditions and what didn’t?

Technically my first car had a condition. Dad got it and signed all the papers, he expected me to make all payments, and then it would be mine. It was a 1976 Chevrolet Chevette hatchback. It was a lease to purchase. $3600 cost. $100 plus tax each month for 36 months. I also had to continue my own insurance. Once final lease payment was made, the title was signed over to me. I never missed a payment, never.

So, I think that would qualify as my first “possession.” By 24 I owned my own car free and clear.

I have to reflect back on the Schwinn that wasn’t technically mine, but gave me the first taste of freedom. My mom would send me with some cash to a neighborhood corner store for missing ingredients for dinner. Somewhere 8-10 blocks away from the house. When we moved the summer of ’68 the area was not fully built up. Oh, the places to discover and just get away from everything.

One event shaped the way I thought about possessions. What was mine or what was yours. If something is yours, it is up to you and keeping, selling, giving away or anything is up to you. Just you. Some may think, “Grow up!” But it had nothing to do with it. That’s a catch phrase that doesn’t deal with the real issue or issues.

I had moved out of my parents’ house twice. At 25 I was living there. I was also 25 when I lost Hoot (my grandmother). My birthday was always a day I felt life’s losses the most keenly. Three days after my 25th, Hoot died. No story here – no details to share, that’s not what’s important here. About a week after the funeral, after all out of town family had made their exits, I was getting back into my schedule.

Saturday was the day I went to practice with my bag pipe band. I was a bass and tenor drummer. We normally went out to lunch after practice. It was typically about 3 pm when I returned home after our practice and extended lunch. Later if we were in a parade.

As I drove down the street, I saw a Goodwill truck driving toward me. It looked like it was pulling away from my folks’ house. Turns out it was. Dad had decided that this was the day to clear out the garage and the attic. It was done without any forewarning. I felt the blood draining, and a feeling of dread.

As I approached the garage, I asked dad about the truck. He was pretty vague. I noticed immediately my Schwinn was missing. I asked about it – he said I had a car, why did I need a bike?

I asked what else went. He said he cleaned everyone’s stuff up. My bike was the only one missing. I went to my room. The floor below my triple windows was bare. Chatty Cathy, Tillie the Talker, the Beatnik doll, 1960 ponytail Barbie all gone. The Barbie car and wardrobe containing all her clothes was also missing. My room had been raped of everything except my bed, dresser, desk and stereo.

I ran to the basement, and my sewing machine was still there. Guess it survived since I made all my own clothes and did repairs to any clothing my family might need. I had purchased the sewing machine and the stereo.

I would have expected this from my mom. I was blown totally away that it was my dad that took these precious things.

Possessions? Treasures? They can be the same or totally different. They can be gone in a moment. I would have been okay in the long run if they had been lost to a tornado or other force of nature. Not from a force that should have been nurture for the previous 25 years.

I have 150 collectable Barbie dolls in my basement. Still in box – more valuable that way. I can’t enjoy them in the box or the basement. I’ve never been able to replace that loss – spent a small fortune trying to. Nor do I understand how it was all ripped away from me by someone who loved me.

Stay tuned – my posts are heading me toward some healing. Healing on my own terms!