30 Days of Blogging Honesty: Day One

If you missed the crazy, obscene, verbose intro post I just threw up – you may want to just consider yourself lucky and start 30 Days of Blogging Honesty journey right here.

Just kidding! Go read this crazy mess right meow.

30 Days of Blogging Honesty

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Day 01: The one thing that it seems like everyone else on the planet is into but I just cannot stand is…

Loud noises. 

My right ear is super sensitive to sounds, a condition that’s plagued me for the past 15ish months (more reading on my ear dramz, here).  Loud noises, jarring sounds – beeps, boops, thumps, screams, yells, horns, blasts – it almost hurts just thinking about them.  My ear is just so tender, the noises amplified all the time.

I wear ear plugs often.  I always have a set in my purse.

i have these exact ear plugs, little carrying case and all. so clutch, they're pink! photo credit: http://www.hearos.com/sleepprettyinpink/

When I go to the pharmacy on base and there are loud kids or crying babies in that small area, the noise just bounces off the concrete, at every angle imaginable, and just comes at me in painful jabs; I get this image of thousands of knives bouncing every which way, all around, and yet magnetically attracted to my right ear, bee-lining into my dome.  As it hurts I have to try so hard not to wince, make a face, or react lest I feel like a jerk.

no privacy, no sound absorption, no problem! k-bay health clinic, the pharmacy is in that center corridor, to the left. you can't really see if directly in this photo, the patients don't go inside though - we wait outside in the covered hallway and go up to the window to get our meds. photo credit: http://usmilitary.about.com/od/usmcbase/ss/Hawaii_9.htm

I love kids and babies and I totally understand the great chance that little ones at the pharmacy are in discomfort and/or don’t feel well, maybe something is wrong with another family member and stress levels are high, or just that running errands isn’t fun and the kids are bored, restless, over it.  The last thing a Mom needs is me giving her the stink eye.

So I just have to take it.  It HURTS ME.  It’s physically painful in a way that I never anticipated. And when I’m out in public I don’t explain my weird ailment and predicament to others… I just silently take it.

me, at Tripler Army Hospital, getting one of my nerve blocks in an unsuccessful attempt to alleviate the ear pains.

It’s like that with all kinds of accidental sounds – the clatter when someone drops something on a hard surface, a speaker at church who has microphone pops or reverb (the music at church can do it too), or sometimes the sound guys have the mics accidentally turned up too high and regular talking is too loud and thus assaults me in the eardrum… trucks going in reverse and making that beeping, the emergency broadcast system weekly, monthly, whateverly tests that just pop up in the middle of a TV show, calling a wrong number that’s actually a fax machine, plugging my iphone headphones in and the volume is all the way up by accident, those stupid memes that are tricks when the scary monster and crazy sound effects pop up, talking on the phone with a friend and something wacky and loud happens on their end that I never saw coming, like a baby who wakes up from a nap all of a sudden or their smoke alarm goes off and I get pierced in the ear, any kind of squeak or squawk that just happens from cawing birds to sneakers on the gym floor…

there are SO MANY accidental loud sounds that hurt me.

how hearing works. mine is like times twenty and your kids, your ringtone, your car speakers... they're that green zig zag of pain. image found on: http://hearingtherapyaustralia.com/info/hearing.html

bizarre and sensitive cysts that crop up behind my ear contribute to my ear pains. no idea where they come from, no idea how to treat them. (i actually have a bunch right now for the first time in months, probably stress-related since i've been sick and my body is taxed more that usual).

And then there are the not-on-accident noises that suck too.  Like any kind of whistle, ringtones, car horns, car alarms, my neighbor’s car bass that he insists on using no matter what time of day or night it could be – including when he’s working on his vehicles in the car port (the carport that’s feet away from the a wall that for my living room, kitchen and bedroom), did I mention ringtones? Yelling, screaming, cheering, clapping, shooting (I live near the shooting range you know) … audio with wacky, high pitched sounds (I was once listening to a podcast that had some sound effects that were so shrill I couldn’t get through more than a couple minutes).

one man's jackpot is another gal's torture device. oy, just looking at this hurts! photo credit: http://interiordesigncar.com/car-interior/car-gear/

All of the neighbors whose back yards face our back yard seem to have 24/7 outside dogs and they bark, and bark, and bark.  It’s like a loud domino effect that just goes on all the time.  They bark louder than my TV is inside, they bark so loud I can’t hear Duggs when he’s inches away from me.  It’s insane. I’ve never lived in a place with so many dogs, all so packed in close together, where the dogs and just left out on their own and thus they’re irritable, on edge, angry and barking.

the view of our yard looking more towards the back and to the left. bailey tanner is on my shoulder like a parrot whilst jayjers is along the fence.

the house directly behind ours, up the hill. there's always a dog or two outside, particularly barky!

that wonky palm tree is in the far right corner of the back yard. that yellow block of houses is one street up the hill from ours, that whole yards-facing-yards thing.

jj'r rump ... standing in our back yard and facing towards the right (towards the firing range as well, just to paint the whole scene).

I probably could have answered “outside-only dogs” for this too (while we’re on the topic).  I can’t stand people who own animals and then just leave them out in a sun-drenched hot back yard all the time.  And when it comes to my neighborhood, I really mean ALL the time.  Day and night, 24/7, these pooches are just outside.  At least we have fences… but I can’t help but think that without the fenced-in yards these dogs would be inside actually getting affection and attention.  (I’m naive though and without the yards they’d probably be tied to a stick, let free to roam, in a crate in the back yard or at the glue factory. Oy).  These poor deprived doggies just sit out on their own, all alone, no one talking to them, petting them, no one to play with.  It’s so sad.  I can’t stand it.

Anyways.  Loud noises – I’ll stick with it.

These examples, while hardly exhaustive, at least offer some insight into what it’s like to have this crazy ear dilemma and just try to live day to day.  It seems impossible to avoid sometimes!

the view from right in front of our house, over that hill towards where the sun is coming from is a firing range... you'd think it's far enough away not to hear, but depending on the wind and what's being shot, it can carry!

Irony at its finest: I’m by no means a naturally quiet person.  I have a booming voice, I’m clumsy, I used to be kinda hard of hearing and would always have things turned way up…

Go figure.

Now I love quiet.  I love peaceful, calm, serene quiet spaces without shrill, shrieking, annoying noises.  I keep my phone on silent all the time, I haven’t been to many concerts at all this past year… I just gravitate towards a different sound comfort level lately since having this problem with my ear.  (I mean, don’t get me wrong – I have deaf friends, and I can only imagine trying to cope with that, I’m so grateful that I can hear at all, and I would never want to be deaf or unable to enjoy all of the sounds I so love, like my husband’s voice, JJ’s cute noises, talking on the phone, music, TV, and so on).

the hush of the waves is just the right volume level for me.

that's what i'm talking about - my two boys snoozing is music to my ears. well, as long as ole stinky duggs isn't snoring, of course.

What’s so hard to explain to people is that it’s really painful and my defenses against it are so limited.  Even if I’m wearing nice earplugs, if someone whistles near me – I don’t stand a chance.  I can wear the crazy big ear protection, but it gets kinda absurd to try and just act casual.

this is a nonchalant look for sure.

these are like the ones i always keep in my purse. fashionista status, right?

the best part, they go with virtually every outfit i own. photo credit: http://store.aihalaska.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14_1403&products_id=31549

So yeah, I can’t stand loud, shrill, piercing, booming, noises and sounds.  But the longer this ailment of mine plagues me, the more I’m convinced that the world is obsessed with upping the decibles!

icing down the shoulder/back does help with my owwy ear.

There ya have it – day one is done!

Whew. Felt good to rant, honestly.  I feel like I consciously try to avoid using my blog for complaining… but man oh man, sometimes you gotta scratch that itch, huh?  Once in a blue moon, it’s nice.

Come back soon for Day 02 of this 30 day business, will ya? 

Click right here to check out Tom (the guy who’s created and is hosting these 30 + 1 prompts)’s Day 01 post, and to see a list of others participating.  His blog is hopping, provides more instructions, and is fun to read!

Feel like jumping in and playing along too?  Do it!  The Rules and 30 prompts are here.   If you want to play along, link on up – will ya?  Keep in mind that everyone will have different end dates as not everyone will blog everyday; it is totally not too late to start.  So c’mon and go for it.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

Don’t think my post was wordy enough?  No worries… here’s some addendum I was going to axe, but I already went to the trouble of including links and stuff, so why the heck not:

How I Locked In On Choosing An Answer:

Actually, I went through a whole lot of answers to get to this one.  Oodles of ideas for a rantalicious, complaint-ridden post came together.  The concept started out pretty flat and plain, without much of an idea, but then slowly it took shape.  At first I was thinking on a lame scale – I could whine about how wasteful and over-priced Swiffer products are.  I don’t really care for chocolate, and people never really get that.

But this is asking me what is it that I can’t stand that everyone else on the planent is into.

Lots of people dislike Wal-mart.  I know I’m not alone in my political ideology, my thoughts on our cultural obsession with instant gratification; lots of us can’t stand someone with an inability to have a sense of humor or even just people who take themselves too seriously.

The other day on Adam Carolla‘s podcast the gang, in honor of April Fool’s, was going over a list of all these stories from The Onion that people believed to be true.  Some of them were so outrageous and so clearly satirical – and yet all kinds of people were so quick to believe these fake news items, and just as quick to make a huge stink about them.  Like the Congressman who believed The Onion article about a new “abortionplex” being built, oh my.  I can’t stand that kind of rush to judgement and freaking out… I’m not the only one in the world who can’t stand that, though.

And don’t even get me started about writing and blogging…

I can’t stand bloggers without a real knack for writing.  Bad sentence structure, no working comprehension of idiomatic expressions, redundant repetition (heh), poor grammar, writing at the level of a grade schooler – and so on! It drives me batty.  I’m not being super critical about a mistake here or there, I mean habitually skill-less writers. But I don’t have to read such blogs and I’m not the Internet’s only snob.

I can’t stand using the letter U instead of the word “you,” samesies on “C” for “see.” I don’t like wacky hard-to-read textspeak at all, actually.  But me, along with every other English Major and the world’s old folks probably can’t stand the text shorthand of the digital age.

So I’m back to square one.  LOUD NOISES.  I’ll stick with it!


ears to heart, heart back to ears. repeat.

One evening not so long ago I was listening to “This American Life” while jogging.  At the end of my hour-long run, the podcast was ending as I was super close to home, and the closing song came on…

“if the kids .. are united .. they will never .. be divided!”

The punk rock song (by Sham 69) went from the ear buds past my hearing faculties and just straight to my heart.  My legs started pumping, sprinting me up the hill, my brain took me through this super vivid flashback- thinking of being a young sweaty middle schooler, at a 7 Seconds show with some friends.  7 Seconds played their cover of If The Kids Are United, and I remember feeling so empowered.

I was a kid.  We were united.  I thought we could take on the universe.  My fists were pumping (and not in the Jersey Shore kinda way), and I just felt that the couple hundred of us huddled into some crappy Daytona dive venue, we could change the world.

random mosh pit pic i found on a google image search

Back in 2012 my jog wrapped up, the song was over and I got to thinking: my heart and hearing connection has always been a close one when it comes to music.

Some of my earliest memories are of my dad’s mix tapes.  My dad’s a total mix tape genius, oh man.  I grew up in this world of themed tapes for every mood.  Bruce Springstein by the pool, Wham! when we’re kicking off a road trip.

As I got older he introduced me to his most precious gems: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkle. Concert soundtracks for Woodstock, No Nukes; all these amazing 70’s artists.  We’d drive around, because listening to music is best done in the car, and he’d explain the feelings each song brought to him.

me and my dad, a couple years ago

I best understand my father’s pain and sadness during my parents’ divorce via “Only Living Boy In New York.”

I have to compose myself here, literally, tearfully wincing as I’m writing.  It’s that emotional for me.

For every event there is a song.  A life-long soundtrack that encompasses all genres, envelopes all emotions.

From my ears, to my heart – music goes. 

When I started to find my own music: Sublime, Alanis Morissette, NOFX, Blink-182 – they spoke to me too.  I would sit in my room, “doing homework,” just listening to my CDs on repeat.  93KRO was the alt rock station that existed when I was in middle school in Daytona Beach – I’d listen nonstop, letting them teach me about the Cranberries, Poe, the Toadies, etc.  I remember getting ready for school every morning to “Dude Ranch,” putting my blue mascara on.  Yeah!

seventeen year old me

And high school? College?  Oh man.  As punk gave way to emo, I went in head over heels.  I was a chest-pounding misty-eyed emo dreamster, speaking to my closest friends strictly in song lyrics.  Seriously, we’d communicate in lyrics.  Some of us still can do it.  Crying at the Dashboard concert kinda stuff.  Sprinkled in with some pothead memories, a lot of Dispatch and Ben Harper, of course.

my friend in green and in white = me, gettin funky at a dmb concert years and years ago

So as 28-year-old me is uphill jogging and I’m reflecting on this ear-to-heart beeline, I ponder: does it go both ways? 

For any of y’all not in the loop: I currently suffer from a condition my doctors call “peripheral neuralgia,” or “atypical facial pain.”  For the past 12 months my right ear has been hurting so badly.  The pain radiates from my ear, to my cheekbone, forehead, jaw … and it’s so debilitating that I can’t even think.  I’ve been on a whole mess of meds, treatment attempt after treatment attempt has failed, and it sucks.  I just want my ear to stop hurting.  The meds I’m on hold me for the time being, with a limited amount of breakthrough pain, but they aren’t a cure.  I can’t conceive while on these meds, they have side effects that I don’t like.

total fail - didn't work.

icing my neck on a day my ear was hurting real bad!

I feel broken.  It’s infuriating, depressing, frustrating, and sad that we (my amazing team of doctors and I) can’t get to the bottom of this.  I’ve had better success with two kinds of cancer.

My ear hurts every day.   Just the right ear.

And well, the little things hurt.  When a baby cries, when a mic reverbs, a whistle, a horn, my neighbor’s super loud and obnoxious bass – all of these sounds and noises, they HURT me.  Physically.  I hate it.  I have to wear an ear plug in my right ear a lot of the time.  I always have to wear it at church, it’s way too loud in there.

The ear pain started last January (2011), in the aftermath of the miscarriage I had. The stress of the miscarriage did a lot of damage to my body in general (the grotesquely mismanaged miscarriage, during which I bled heavily for 15 days, for a total of 30 when all was said and done).  I have a genetic blood disease, porphyria, and stressors take a harder hit on me than they do your average young and healthy person.

But maybe there’s a more simple answer: that heart-to-ear expressway.

Losing that baby was so sad.

Sad is such a lacking word.

I wanted to be a mother.  I was so happy to be pregnant.  I was so excited to have a baby.  Overjoyed, blissful, grateful, peppy.  It was the best I’ve ever felt in my life.  And then… it was taken away from me, in a rather undignified way, a drawn-out, painful, way.

I’ve experienced sadness and loss in my life – of course, who hasn’t? – and I can honestly say the greatest heartache I’ve ever suffered was losing that baby.

And it surprised me with how terribly sad it was.  I had no idea that a miscarriage was that hard to go through.

From my heart, back to my ears, so the connection goes? 

The idea is intriguing.

I mean, there are other things that I know to be true – I have musculo/skeletal damage on my right side, in the nerve path of my ear/face.  I have nerve damage. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this one-sided ear ache, it’s just the only time it hasn’t gone away after a week or so.

As far as mending my heart, I think I’ve come a long way.  I was never angry about the miscarriage, no one is to blame.   I was always just sad.

If anything, the event was part of a path the reignited my faith and brought me even closer to God.  It brought Duggs and I closer together.  I’ve been to therapists of all kinds – regular, neuro-psych, pain psych, etc., and they all say I’m doing okay, that I’m happy and well adjusted, doing the best I could be doing, given the circumstance.   In the past year, I’ve emotionally come a long way.

A great deal of heart healing has gone on. 

So am I just waiting for the ear to catch up?

In an effort to tackle the problem from the other side, I’ve jumped back into music with a new-found passion.  I don’t spend that much time in the car these days, and I’ve gotten kinda addicted to TV, so re-immersing in my jams has felt good.  I totally have Spotify to thank, I’m so obsessed.  And running; running again gives me reason to rock out.

cake will be here in hawaii later this month - i think i should go on therapeutic grounds!

So this inner express lane from my ears to my heart, it feels roundtrip.  Maybe the way to cure my facial pain isn’t through Lyrica, but lyrics? Ha. Do you like what I did there? Lyrica is one of my meds.  That’s funny.

If anything, perhaps soaking myself in my most favorite of tunes will be a way to help me feel better in general and/or distract me from the pain?  Maybe my heart has more healing to do than I’ve realized?

The connection feels real to me though: ears to heart, and back again.


As always, thanks for reading!!  Love, happy hippie rose