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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Musicians 

Here's my story of some of the things I've had to battle through the last few years. Although I jokingly referred to it elsewhere as a "sob story", that's now how I mean it to be.

You see, my goal isn't to get you to feel sorry for me. Anyone who truly knows who I am will know this is true. Instead, my goal is to be more open. This isn't an easy thing to do for me. It is outside of my usual comfort zone. Being open and vulnerable is what an artist is supposed to be, right? Well, here we go!

 

Rewind back a few years to 2015. I was working full-time as an RN in the Emergency Department of a Level One Trauma Center. I was so very tired all of the time, no matter how much rest I got at home. Maybe it was partly because I was realizing how much my home life sucked and facing the facts that it was only getting worse, not better. Through a long process I came to realize with certainty: The person I was married to was an evil bitch down to her core. A narcissist who got off on causing drama and hurt. A manipulative, controlling, rotten to the core, sick individual who was deceitful, un-empathetic, and unfaithful (huge understatement, as it turns out). This person was a skilled deceiver and liar who had honed those abilities for years. I had finally arrived at the realization that I could not and would not live like this. I'm not a puppet. I'm a rebel who's determined to be me, not what someone else thinks I should be.

I also began to notice other things going on with my body besides the extreme fatigue. My arms and legs would be numb and paralyzed every time I woke up. No matter if I slept all night or if I had a five minute cat-nap. Even though it didn't make sense medically, I sort of blew it off as a pinched nerve or something, which hardly every affects both arms or both legs, much less all of them at the same time. I also found it very hard to concentrate. I realized my job performance was slipping due to things just not "clicking" right in my brain. This was very frustrating, sure. It was also very frightening. When you've got someone's life in your hands, seconds matter. Being able to prioritize matters.

After a year of jumping through hoops with one neurologist, I finally got a great Neurologist who took two weeks and determined I had Multiple Sclerosis. Great. Now I knew there was something real going on and it sounded like he could treat symptoms and I'd be back to my old self again in no time. I started on 14 different medications to help me out, but I kept feeling worse. New symptoms kept popping up here and there and not going away. Some others did go away shortly, then return, but that's the nature of the MS beast, I'd soon find out.

My then spouse would accuse me of using this as an excuse to be lazy. She'd berate me, insult me, and generally use my desire for peace against me. She'd blame me for everything bad that has ever happened (no, seriously.)

I had to leave my job. I just couldn't risk hurting or killing someone.

I had to get the hell out of my living situation. I knew she'd be spiteful and hateful and she didn't hold back.

She made about a hundred grand a year TEACHING NURSING. I made less than half that when I worked, now nothing. I knew it would be hard but it was my only chance of surviving. That is no exaggeration. My life depended on getting away from that fat ass devil.

After years of paying for health insurance for her and her kids, she had to pick up insurance from her employer once I had to quit working. Once I left, she began demanding payment, knowing I couldn't afford it. Finally, she offered to continue paying and I would just "owe" her. She never said exactly what I'd "owe", but, No. She had me dropped off her insurance immediately. We had not even been to lawyers at this point. Throughout the divorce, she was ordered twice to re-instate my health insurance but she thumbed her nose at the law.

I lost my home. She had decided a couple years before to move from the beautiful lake home I had remodeled myself (while working a full time and part time nursing job, and playing occasional gigs) in favor of a tiny rental house that leaked. I wanted the house and was willing to do whatever I could to keep it, even though it would be hard. Things were definitely hard. I fell behind due to my truck breaking down. She refused to let me get my car, which I could have sold and not got behind. She refused to give me other property of mine I also could have sold. The bank saw a chance to double their money, started refusing my payments, then eventually foreclosed.

For a year, I had to be off my MS medications because she dropped my health insurance. She was hoping I'd be sick enough and broke enough that I wouldn't fight back. Having a doctorate in nursing education, and specializing in teaching Neuro, you think she knew what would happen? Of course she did! She's obviously smart enough to know since she has the highest level of education one can get.

Once I let it be known that I had proof of her sleeping with people across the country, she immediately offered to settle the divorce and give me the two rental properties that were previously in dispute. Finally that's over. The divorce is, anyway. Legal charges could soon be filed against her which are pretty serious. Prison may be in her future. She deserves every second of every year of it. That's all I can say about that right now.

My one source of income dried up. I had tried to be responsible so I bought a Long Term disability policy through the hospital. Turns out I needed it. For two years, they were very shady, constantly tried to weasel out of paying, and finally they changed their definitions to prevent paying the claim.

I applied for social security over two years ago and was denied, which they do for nearly all first time applicants. Having the long term claim payment prevented me from getting any help with food. My income was used entirely for surviving, paying cash for medications when I could, but had to just stop taking the medicine which prevents further brain damage. I've gone days without food, and cried being happy when I finally did get groceries.

For the first time in my life, I had to ask for food help from a food pantry. On my birthday last year, I picked up my food box handout.

I finally got to move to one of my rental houses when the bank took my lake home. It was colder than I can remember. Frigid, I mean. I stayed up for days getting things packed up and moved to the new place. I finally got there the heat pump wasn't working. It was so cold. I turned on the water to find out pipes had been destroyed. Once I shut off the water to fix it, the other pipes busted. I had been awake for days working my ass off, now trying to get all this fixed. I didn't try to make things miserable.

I had to entirely re-plumb the house. I've not felt so alone before.

My computer quit working. I couldn't use it to make any money.

My phone quit working most of the time. It was nearly unusable.

Thanks to some good friends, I've got a computer, a phone and I'll be fine.

Hopefully soon I'll be able to start back on all my medicines and feel much better. Until then, I'm trying to use the only thing I've got left which happens to be my passion- Music.

So there you have it! There are some highlights, yes there are so many more things. That's why I need some gigs, need some downloads, need some folks helping with some articles and reviews, or just anything you find you'd like to do to help me make money.

 

 

No more pretending 

What in the world, right?

Here it is: I need your help and I hate asking for it.

Bearing that in mind, I'm also trying to constantly improve myself. I always thought being super-stubborn and rejecting help was admirable and strong. But, I've come to realize that it really just shuts people out. I enjoy helping other people (who truly appreciate it), so I'm sure other people do too!

Here's the sob story, "Best Laid Plans of Mice and Musicians" if you want to hear what's up

 

7 Quick and painless ways to help:

  • Please sign up for my new email newsletter! There's some very intimate things I'd like to share with you but I don't want to do it on social media. This is way more important than you may realize! Thank you so much!
  • I need some money but not a handout!  If you know someone who might be into my music, please tell them about it and ask them to download something (Here's the link straight to my music download page, please share it! 
  • I need gigs I suck at booking. Anyone interested in booking a few gigs for me (or even one), I'll gladly share a percentage or give you free stuff :-)
  • Reviews and opinions I really need some honest reviews, opinions, and critiques to add to my website and my promo package. Just a few quick lines are great! If you don't want your name published, I'll honor that of course!
  • Help spread the word Tell someone who likes music, buy a few CDs to give as gifts and I'll cut you a deal. Bring some friends to see one of my new shows. It is guaranteed to be different than before!
  • BLOG BLOG BLOG Do you blog? Even better, do you write about music you like? I would be honored if you like my music well enough to give it a listen and do a write up on it! I'll help with resources, pictures, music to listen to, whatever. Reach out! If you know someone who writes about music, please tell them about me!
  • Buy a T-shirt Soon I'll have some very cool shirts for sale. Please help a brother out and buy one. Honestly, if I had unlimited money, I'd give one to everybody, but I'm on a poverty diet and struggling to pay for peanut butter over here!
  • Host a home concert Okay sure, this one isn't for everyone. Imagine this: You invite some cool friends to an intimate and personal get-together that only lasts a couple hours. Suggest $10 donation per person (most people will donate that or more) We split those donations;  it covers the cost of snacks and drinks. If someone doesn't donate, it's fine. Feed 'em anyway :-)  I'll put on a show for you and your friends right there in the living room, or in the back yard. At the end of the night, you've had a private concert, had some nice friends over and haven't lost any money. To top it off, you've helped a starving artist. What's more honorable than that?