Better Me by Elephant Journal (BLW Contributor)


Flickr/Bo Boswell

I stopped asking, “Why me?”

I stopped stating that life was unfair.

I stopped thinking that my luck couldn’t get any worse.

I stopped looking at myself as a walking magnet for all things unjust,

And I started saying, “Better me.”

Better me to deal with the darker things that life seemed to direct my way.

Better me to handle these demons—I’ve been battling monsters my whole life.

I’ve learned to navigate through chaos and obscurity.

I’ve learned to thrive with nothing.

I’ve learned to roll with the punches, and build castles from the stones that were thrown.

Better me to carry the weight of these burdens, than someone else who may stumble and falter.

Who better to slay dragons, than the girl who learned to be a warrior so early on?

I no longer allow the thought “Why me?” to creep into my consciousness—

Now, I simply say, “Better me”—because I’ve got this.

Photo: Flickr/Bo Boswell

Check out other great articles from Elephant Journal

Who’s ready for Autumn? – Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare



That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west;

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the deathbed whereon it must expire,

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.




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Health Benefits of playing Golf – Happy National Golf Day!!!


bill murray and chevy chase


Playing a round of golf has been proven to release powerful natural, mood enhancing drugs from our brains called endorphins.

However, if you’re married and you get caught playing around like Tiger Woods, naturally you won’t feel good about the mood your partner is in (and you may end up with a club to the head).


Depending on where your golf ball lies, you may need to use your imagination to make your next shot.

Depending on your game, you may need to be creative and lie on your scorecard.


Golf may delay the onset of dementia by stimulating blood circulation in the brain along with improving connections between nerve cells.

Swinging the clubs also challenges the mind in terms of strategy, coordination, concentration along with adding up a series of large numbers.


A Swedish study on the health benefits of golf has found that people who play the game on a regular basis have a 40% decreased mortality rate among their peers which equals a 5 year increase in life expectancy.

Unfortunately, their scores typically get worse which means that their final years are filled with misery and frustration.


Getting regular daytime exercise such as playing golf often means a person will fall asleep faster and remain in a deep sleep for a longer period of time.

Unfortunately, a golfer achieves this sleep in the middle of the afternoon because he typically tees off at 5:30 AM.


The game of golf is great for your cardiovascular health since it involves walking about 6 miles and can burn off around 1400 calories.

However, if you choose to ride in a power cart so you can take advantage of the handy beer holders, your lifetime membership at the club may be shortened.


It is often said that the worst day of golf is still better than the best day of work especially when you are hanging out with your buddies on the course.

Of course, the game also teaches the fine art of swearing, drinking, gambling and occasional throwing of clubs in a group setting.


Every time you strike the little round white ball, it is an opportunity to evaluate your visual acuity when attempting to locate where it landed.

This is especially true if it should happen to slice into the bushes or strike the house on the left on hole #7.

Credit: Wise Quacks

Bipolar Disorder: From Tot to Grandmother (Non-Fiction) by Tessa Can Do It (BLW Contributor)



This is an overview of my life from when my Mental Illnesses first showed up til now. It has spanned my whole life.

My name is Tessa and I was born back in the mid 1950’s. Mental illness was not talked about then. Shhh, mommy had an aunt commit suicide many years ago. Shhhh, daddy has depression and alcholism. Shhh girl don’t talk about what you feel like or ask what is wrong with you. WE don’t talk about that. Don’t you understand?

I was a small child and something was definitely wrong with me. My mom gave me tranquilizers as a baby to keep food in my stomach. I didn’t sleep all night. Whenever life went wrong mom was there with a tiny pill to calm me down.

When I was around seven or eight years old I spent everyday getting yelled at for not going to sleep at night. I told them I wasn’t tired. I could NOT sleep. I didn’t need it. This would go on for months and then I would be depressed and not want to get up. I just wanted to be left alone with a book, but no, we had to fight over it and in the end I was shoved out the door and told not to come back until I was called. I was terrified to be out there.

I was not a bad child. Though I understand I threw some memorable temper tantrums and wouldn’t breathe. A glass of water was thrown in my face to shock me out of it. If I got hysterical crying and laughing I was smacked across the face to snap me out of it.

Looking back now I can see the signs of Bipolar Disorder and anxiety at the very least. As I approached the teen years it got worse. They still tried to force me to sleep. I didn’t sleep and got up everyday and went to school. Then would come the depression and emotional times. Right as clockwork.

My parents were frustrated, but didn’t know what to do. My mom used her little pills to calm me down as necessary.

As a teenager, that is when things did become a bit worse. When told to stop talking at school and I wouldn’t they would make me change seats. I did it with much noise as I stamped across the room and slammed my books on the desk. My teachers complained to my mom and she would just ask them to change the other child. It would be much easier on them. I still do that today when I am mad. I slam things.

Then I lost it and had a mini breakdown in German class. My brother was in the same class. I yelled at the teacher that she wasn’t teaching us anything and the class was worthless. We didn’t know it, but these incidents were Bipolar Disorder related.  I could be the sweetest thing in the world and then the devil took over. After the teacher talked to my mom it was decided to put me in study hall. My poor brother was stuck there.

Then my boyfriend who had just came back after I broke it off with him, told me that we have sex or we’re breaking up again. I was in a terrible quandary. I was 17 and I was taught it was wrong before marriage and I was afraid of my parents finding out. However, I couldn’t face another breakup so I allowed it to happen. He messed me up even more emotionally and I turned on him and didn’t want him to ever touch me again in any way.

In the meantime  I met someone else. He wouldn’t date me until I dropped the boyfriend and I was very willing after what he did to me. Well things didn’t go as planned and when I told him I wanted to break up with him he offered marriage. He knew I was emotionally easily manipulated and then threatened suicide if I didn’t say yes. I couldn’t take it and be responsible for that and I had to say yes.

Now if I could see the future I would have known that I married a Narcissist, but we were just 17 at the time, going on 18. Against my parents wishes, we got married at age 19 and had our first child at age 21.

Yes he did touch me occasionally and eventually I had three children. Those were the happiest days of my life and marriage.

Marriage continued to make me unhappy. He became obsessive and manipulated me all the time. My wants and needs were not considered important. I dreaded his touch. It disgusted me. In my mind he raped me. It was worse than physical rape would have been.

I worried there was something wrong with me and one night he tried to touch me and I flipped. I told him do not touch me! You look at me like I am a slab of meat. I hate it when you touch me.

That started my years of mental illness treatment. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and the medicine parade started. I couldn’t take them.

When I started changing and becoming stronger he wanted me to stop. He was losing some control. He was embarrassed that his wife was seeing a therapist. He wouldn’t come with me. He claimed it was all me and he had no problems.

I knew the only way out of that marriage without him trying suicide, was for him to want to leave. One night he lost it and I almost called the cops. He was screaming and carrying on about me leaving and yelled that he would commit suicide first and he went out to his truck and it was the coldest night of the winter and I only had a night shirt on, no slippers. I was out there barefoot in the snow and ice and no coat trying to keep him from shutting the truck door. His mind had snapped.

Finally he snapped out of it and saw me and we went back inside. He would not discuss it.

I wanted to be with another man to see if there was something wrong with me. I didn’t want to cheat on him so I told him I wanted an open marriage. He could do whatever he wanted and with whoever. There were rules. Safety rules for one. Plus we had children and they needed to be kept an eye on.

Eventually he broke the rules. I found out he was lying about where he was going and that the woman was lying to him about her and her husband wanting to swap spouses. Her husband knew nothing about it and demanded a divorce when he caught them.

Perfect for me. I wasn’t the one who left. He ruined the marriage and no committing of suicide. Not even me. He was watching me and waiting for a breakdown. Wasn’t happening. I was getting what I wanted. It sure hasn’t been easy, but I am happier.

After the divorce I had visitation rights to my 12 year old son. At 16 he demanded to live with me. He told his father if he said no he was running away he wasn’t staying there. I got my son back at age 16.

Did things go easy? No, they didn’t. I was getting worse from my un-medicated Bipolar Disorder and having problems with my jobs. I started therapy and then one day I was deeply depressed and didn’t want to spend the next 25 to 30 years living like I was.

I tried to commit suicide. I was unsuccessful and committed for 9 days and started on medications again. This time though I had someone who really took the time to try different things and she stayed away from the new drugs which I already knew I couldn’t take. I am on an old mood stabilizer and one of the only new drugs I hadn’t tried. I have been stable for 5 months now.

Check out other great articles from Tessa Can Do it

Credit: IB Times

Opie remembers… by Bare Naked in Public (BLW Contributor)




A Midwest summer afternoon, the weather report promises a day hotter than yesterday and a good dose of humidity; I happily trade the breezes of southern California beaches for any time spent with my mom’s family, my family in Wisconsin.

The garage wide open, decorated with photographs, and crepe paper streamers, my sister Susy and I mill about the tables and chairs, chatting and waiting for guests to arrive. Before long, this quiet space will be filled with family and friends gathered to celebrate my maternal grandmother’s one hundredth birthday. I imagine more than fifty people will come today, seven of her eight children, sons and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and their spouses, great-grandchildren, and a few old friends, all here to honor Henrietta Jensen, also known as Opie.

The last time I saw my grandma was during a visit with my sisters nearly two years ago. Before seeing her, our aunts explained that she struggled with remembering names and faces these days, and often wished to avoid social situations. Frustrated and uncomfortable, she was aware that her memory was failing. Still, I hoped that she would remember me. In my Aunt Jackie’s home I cheerfully greeted her and thought I detected faint recollection and she certainly behaved as if she knew me. We talked for quite a while, yet I do not recall the details of our conversation, only that she interrupted me and proudly stated,I know you. You’re Orlando’s daughter. To which I smiled and replied, Yes, I am. Funny that she made the association with my dad, but did not mention my mom, her daughter.

I know that today will be different; she may not remember me at all. I am ready to accept that possibility. The first guests arrive, my Aunt Jackie and Uncle Jerry, and my grandma, riding shotgun, so tiny, peering over the dashboard with her oversized sunglasses. Susy runs to the van. I stand back watching as my grandma is helped out of the car, her walker arranged to receive her. She slowly and carefully makes her way up the driveway and into the garage. Susy directs me to clear some space so that the walker can be easily maneuvered. With my aunt’s support, my grandma gently sits in her place of honor.

Once seated, I hold her hands, gently squeezing them, I wish her a happy birthday. No sign of recognition. She doesn’t know me, but she smiles anyway and says thank you. I call her grandma and I can see the wheels turning, wondering who is she? I quickly tell her my name, and ask her what she wants to drink. She replies, without a second thought, a beer.

After delivering my grandma’s beer, I watch as guests continue to arrive and greet her one by one. Her children she sees with some regularity and can remember them by name. She struggles to remember in-laws and grandchildren. When politely prompted with a name, she quickly says; I know who they are, doing her best to preserve her dignity. While her memory fails, she is still witty, quick with a joke, and loves to playfully tease. She repeats herself quite a bit. But, shit, she’s one hundred years old.

I make my way back to her, kneeling at her side; somehow our conversation leads us to discuss her work as a nurse, my work as an educator, public service and the similarities. She asks me where I live, and I tell her California. She tells me proudly, my oldest daughter lives in California with her children, she really loves it there. She is talking about my mom, me, and my siblings. In that moment, she has no memory of her daughter’s passing. I smile and tell her, I love California too.

We talk some more and I ask if we can take a picture together. I show her my phone and the camera feature and explain to her what a selfie is. I tell her I am famous for taking selfies. She seems a bit confused about the idea, but she humors me. With my arms outstretched with phone in hand, she smiles in amusement to see our faces looking back at us as I snap a picture.

Wonderful stories are shared throughout the day. I am touched as folks recall fond and funny memories of my mom and dad. I overhear my sister Susy talking to my grandma about my parents and when they died. My grandma seems confused and as far as I can tell, she is not connecting my sister’s story to me or our conversation in any way. I imagine her day is a collection of little stories that seem completely unrelated.

In the late afternoon my uncles help my grandma move from the garage to a chair under the shade of a giant tree. I join my sisters and my aunts now gathered around her, talking and laughing. With no memory of our earlier conversation, she asks where we are from and we tell her California. Again, she says, my oldest daughter lives in California wither family. She loves it there. I want so badly for her to remember Susy telling her earlier that my parents had died, to make the connection, but she does not. My sister Mary gets a little teary, and Susy sighs. None of us correct her, or remind her that my mom has passed away.

The day ends so beautifully, each of us taking a turn to give my grandma a warm goodbye, final birthday wishes, and say I love you, said again and again. I am grateful to be a part of such a wonderful loving family.

I am comforted that my grandma does not mourn the loss of her oldest daughter. I am happy believing that in my grandma’s heart and mind my mom is alive, loving her children and her life in California.

Happy Birthday Grandma . . . from Judy and her family in California.


Check out other great articles from Bare Naked in Public

WooHoo – We’re Back BLW Fans!!! (Thank you)



Sorry for the lack of postings but I got so busy with work and trying to write two new books, which are coming out next year. Just letting you guys know that we are back and we are going to change up the format postings to bring more interesting stories just for you because as you know we love our fans.

Thank you for sticking with us! We hope we can entertain and educate you at the same time.

Stay tuned for our new posts and our latest projections!!!

Thank you again BLW Fans!!!