When Life Gives You Lemons You Smile and Say “Thanks I Hate You Sometimes You’re a Jerk”

Right. With everything that has happened and which is actively happening, it seems my weak body is simply giving up.

And my mind is absolutely disgusted with it.

Watching The Greatest Events of World War II in Color” on Netflix

not only gives me the chills because we can explicitly see history repeating itself in many ways right now

(pointedly, the Nazi call to “make Germany great again” being a good example of this,

and also how often military leaders and politicians in the past ignored intelligence reports because the various reports were too unbelievable or “No, that can’t possibly be true!” and, consequently, “fake news”, and their failure to act then brought about disastrous consequences… )

but I also saw how the American General George Patton was later demoted after he physically slapped two hospitalized soldiers who were suffering shell-shock++ as a result of living through the horrifying nightmare scene which was D-Day.

A Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP) is approaching Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, 6th June 1944. To the right is another LCVP. The soldiers are protecting their weapons with Pliofilm covers against the wetness. Photo: Robert F. Sargent, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Normandy, France. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

Patton felt the soldiers who were mentally overwhelmed by the almost unimaginable conditions of the violent beach landing were “weak.”

Sadly, our human condition limits what each of us can mentally and physically withstand and war pushes humans to the edge in a similar way as life sometimes does when it’s being intensely difficult.

The shell-shocked soldiers’ condition was not due to weakness but having surpassed their individual threshold of trauma.

It was simply the reality of the situation.

In any case, my mind perked up when it heard about Patton as it itself resembles an old war horse stuck in its ways and has always been a bit more hostile in its regard to my body than it probably should have been.

This is why I’ve done my best to keep my mind and body separate for as long as psychologically possible.

Sure, that’s not exactly considered healthy but maybe not every one has General George Patton as their mind.

It’s a blessing and a curse.

I’d surely be dead by now if not for my hostiletoughresilientAF mind.

But my mind has come a long way (likely softened by the lesions on my brain) and subsequently relations between my mind and body are much better than they once were.

I still adhere to the Mind Over Matter principle but matter also can’t be entirely ignored.

As a result, in the last couple years, my mind has allowed my body to kind of just… take a moment to collect itself and then issue an occasional status report which my mind promised to then review and consider.

In response, my body, with great drama, has recently demonstrated the effects of what it has sustained through the years. In addition, it has also revealed its failing systems.

And, consequently, holy fuck.

My mind recoiled in horror and regretted asking for honesty.

Therefore, since my mind had to learn some hard lessons after the peace treaty between the two entities was signed…

as my body has completely lost its shit in this “open dialogue” session.

For example, two years ago, my brain legitimately freaked out (epilepsy on meth) and, once it started electrocuting me, it really couldn’t stop.

Trauma for all!

I got that under control by doubling my medication.

One pill? Two pills.

And if you’re all you should have gone to the doctor I’ll have you know that the number of lesions I now have on my brain is the same number that was there in 2015.

And neurologists don’t usually volunteer at the free clinic as my job then didn’t provide health insurance.

In any case, my brain got its shit together but, months later, my heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest because it wasn’t getting enough oxygen.

But I didn’t realize that at the time.

Rather, I was more concerned my heart was physically breaking and, really, what can one do about that?


In any case, last summer, my heart and I went to the doctor and passed all the breathing tests

(DAMN RIGHT I DID! I once acquired a “perfect score” during a vision test WHEN I COULDN’T EVEN SEE HALF THE SYMBOLS because I cannot turn my Type A personality off and… I then suffer the consequences… every time).

Yet, despite my passing all the breathing tests I was still prescribed a rescue inhaler and… when I first took a huff from that $50-with-insurance-which-I-then-had rescue inhaler, it felt like elation and the sweetest euphoria physically flooded through my blood.

And my poor heart was able to take a big gulp of much needed oxygen.

And it stopped pounding.

This was all very interesting to my mind.

“Ah! It’s as if this body is a system of connected parts!”

– my mind


Like post-SARS South Korea with the current coronavirus health crisis, my mind now knows that the heart pain I have now recently been experiencing is likely due to a lack of oxygen because it had lived through this exact scenario last summer when I almost suffocated as I had acute bronchitis and a rescue inhaler wasn’t enough…

so THIS YEAR I’m more pro-active, relentless and taking this bullshit body crap seriously.

My mind is now much more wary of how it feels like a balloon is expanding in my chest and I can’t quite get a decent breath.

And then there’s the brown substance I’ve been hacking up for a couple years.


And you’re welcome.

I have an entire album of photos like that titled “Hacks.”

I’ve never smoked so my mind hasn’t known what changes it could make and whether the hacks were as bad as they seemed. Therefore, I casually showed this photo album to close friends to get their assessment:

“Is this bad?”

And their eyes widened and their mouths grimaced and they said:

“Well, that’s probably not good.”

So now I’m starting Advair and getting a mask for the Albuterol and… oh my.

Well, that old white guy on the box looks pretty satisfied. This thing must work.

It’s weird once you have medical professionals who hear you and then they take action because they’re all “Ugh, no, that’s not good.”

It’s also shitty to develop breathing issues during a viral pandemic which is known to attack the respiratory system.

It’s like grabbing the wrong tool for a job.

Body: “Yeah, I think I’ll get… uh, asthma…. right now. Yeah. That seems helpful.”

The tool being “health,” and the job being “survival.”

My mind, in response, says:

“Really? Right now? That’s what you’re going to do? Right now. Awesome. No, that’s really great. I love it.”

However, now being a more gentle general, my mind stifles its stunned disbelief at the developing circumstances of its container and focuses on maintaining systemic morale.

But there is only so much the mind can do.

I’ll never forget the impact of the words a great doctor somberly told me as my beloved father was hospitalized for what would be the final time for the cancer which was murdering him:

“The mind is strong, but the body is weak.”

When scientists start quoting the Bible, and the scientist happens to be someone I respect, I get chills.

Because he had hit it on the head.

Stupid weak physical matter.

And there is still a part of me which hasn’t recovered from his death but my mind doesn’t give me any shit about it.

And, similar to the eventual state of my poor stubborn, cancer-riddled dad, my equally stubborn mind realizes, in order to keep my body from free-falling, it needs to manufacture more for it to work with.

Therefore, this is why I decided that my husband and I needed a beach day.

We just needed to get out of our apartment and away from people and close to Lake Michigan so we could breathe in the fresh air.

A mental health break, if you will.

Nature can heal all.

So we packed a small beach bag and put on our suits and got into our car and… we only got a half-block.

Because we had a flat tire.

I can’t quite emphasize how much we needed this mental health break though I’ve certainly tried to do so in this blog.

Before we realized we had a flat tire, and with the window rolled down and the fresh air brushing over my face, I had physically experienced my mind and body lift in the short distance we were able to travel.

“It’s working,” I thought.

And then… almost immediately, we had to stop.

My mind actively set about managing the deflation I felt at the thwarting of our desperately needed plan.

And it wasn’t just your average flat tire. The lugnuts has forged themselves to the bolts which required creative solutions, fueled by frustration and rage.

And then, once the lugnuts were off, the tire itself was stuck and wouldn’t come off.

I mean, it was all a bit much.

Yet, mind over matter.

Never underestimate the superhuman strength one can find when feeling really super crazy angry.

Sure, anger is the Dark Side and everything but it facilitated that tire right off that tire wheel.

And we then called our auto shop which is located nearby to ask if they could fix our tire.

Good thing they are close because the spare seemed to be flat too.

In any case, the auto shop’s schedule was “officially full” but they told us to park our car outside and they’d try to get to it.

So we parked our car and then just walked.

We walked until we hit the lake.

And then we found our way down to the lake and found a magical little area and had our beach day.

And it was lovely.

Honestly, it was better than what we have found on the few beach holidays we’ve taken at great expense, back when we had jobs.

Mostly because no other humans were there at that beach.

And we had natural shade.

And we had beer.

We went to Puerto Vallarta once during Mexico’s presidential election which meant that no alcohol was to be served that week so anytime I have illegal alcohol on the beach I am grateful.

And that’s kind of the thing…

When life ruins your beach day, go find another beach and drink illegally there.

Or, when life gives you lemons, say “Put your lemons over there, you asshole” and stalk away to find a beach so you can drink illegally there.

Or, when life gives you lemons, take them and then whip them right back at life.

It will only whip them right back at you but at least you projected your anger at the source and not elsewhere.

Or throw the fucking lemons in your overflowing lemon sack and keep moving forward.

Because life seems very fond of lemons almost to the point where life seems to have a lemon fetish.

Gross, life.

Get a hobby.

In any case, our amazing auto shop was able to patch the tire for a very affordable price and they also handed over the evil screw which had screwed us.

That piece of shit.

And our mental health beach day was a success.


And my bad lungs and bad brain were placated and calmed.

And my mind also felt soothed.

And all was well.


Like the temporary calm those who lounged on the same shoreline we enjoyed around the same time of year also felt back in 1921.

These people pictured had just survived the first World War and the dangerous worldwide flu pandemic.

But they had yet to see the Great Depression and the second World War, both being events which were perhaps unthinkable to them at the time on their own beach day because they had already recently survived so much horror.

And I can’t help but see the parallel between their time and our own.

So please wear a mask and physically distance yourselves and find a deserted beach whenever you can.

Because holy shit. We are in for some really rocky weather ahead.

And, unfortunately, life really doesn’t care if you already feel you’re at your personal threshold of trauma.

4 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Lemons You Smile and Say “Thanks I Hate You Sometimes You’re a Jerk”

  1. Hillary! I so enjoy reading your work. Your writing is smart. Honest. Witty. And also, you are a badass and I admire you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Steph! My beautiful friend! So great to hear from you! Aw. Well, hearing this today from you has lifted my spirits like how I imagine opiates work. So thank you SO much for the kind words and for reading my rants! 🙏


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