Take That Fibromyalgia

I know I usually write charming little mom-edy pieces, but lately I have been overwhelmed and how many ‘sisters in pain’ I have found on Word Press aka fibromyalgia sufferers. I thought it might be helpful to share my story.

About 9 years ago, I was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, which was pretty horrible in and of itself. The good news in that is that it was caught early enough and I am now perfectly healthy and have had completely normal pregnancies before and after that pregnancy, but that’s not really the focus of this blog.

The doctor projected that I would recover within a 6-8 week period, and although I began feeling stronger, I was still in immense amounts of pain. What was odd too, was that the pain that was once in my lower abdominal area was now spreading throughout my body, into my joints, legs, knees and even my jaw and seemed more of a ‘nerve pain’. Desperately, I would seek advice from this doctor and that doctor, trying to find out what was wrong with me, but all of my tests came back normal. The only advice that they could give me was to rest, which, as an active young mother, only added to my depression.Waking up every morning and judging the day on the measure of my pain was no way to live.

Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and one morning after waking up in almost unbearable, and ever spreading pain, I took myself to the emergency room. The doctor there diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. And you know how I felt? I was actually kind of happy. Why? Because I was certain that whatever I had was some sort of a degenerative bone disease or something that would surely contribute to my deterioration. When I found out it was none of these, I was actually relieved!

Of course reality soon set in. I still had a painful condition to which there was no cure. But little did I realize I had taken my first step in my battle against fibromyalgia which was defeating depression.

I also realized that I could be active again. I began strengthening my body. I had been limping ever since my operation, but with the renewed strength in my body, the limp went away which also made me feel better about my body image. I swam and worked out, but probably the most helpful of all these activities was pilates. The gentle stretching was just the kind of therapy my body needed, not to mention the almost meditative state my mind would go into when exercising.

Today I am not without fibromyalgia pain, but it is so slight, I describe my state as being ‘in remission’. It is also helpful to know that it is so much better than it’s ever been.

I encourage anyone dealing with fibromyalgia to reach out at any time because there are people who know what you are going through, and there is hope.




Fear and Loathing at Back to School Night

I guess it is my previous blogs about Chuck E. Cheese and amusement parks that have got me in the mind set of reflecting on what other heinous rights of passage one must partake in as a parent. I think probably chief among these would be school functions. Just the mention of the words PTA meeting, school orientation, back to school night, or open house is enough to send me into an apoplectic fit wherein I may go to such lengths as hiding under the sink or even denying that I have children. But it never seems to work. So, off I go to yet another loathsome affair all the while thinking of why I don’t want to be there.

1. I have to leave my house. I hate to admit it, but as a working mother of two children, I really need two solid hours a night of sitting on the couch and watching sitcoms in a vegetative state. If I am deprived of these two hours, it better be for a damned compelling reason. I guess there’s not much question in your mind as to whether I find these functions compelling but if there’s any question in your mind as to why I feel this way, read on.

2. Attendance is mandatory? Okay, it’s not really mandatory, it’s just kind of highly recommended in that this is a preventative measure for teacher’s to take so that they are not assaulted by a barrage of questions later in the year. Therefore, it is upon pain of death that you don’t attend. Punishment could possibly result in being the mother responsible for there not being a pizza party at the end of the month, loss of an extra credit point for your child, or being spoken about in the following way:

“I heard Mrs. Bergen did not attend Back to School Night last Thursday. Do you know that she also serves her children frozen dinners and doesn’t recycle her soup cans??”

Well I am here to tell you that I have missed an occasional Back to School function and it is not the end of the world. You bring them to school on time, you have them do their homework, the report cards come, you figure it out.

3…. And we’re back at school. I don’t know what it is, maybe the fact that I am now seated in a tiny chair wherein my knees are positioned somewhere close to my ear lobes, but I suddenly feel as if I am now the world’s oldest kindergartener. This in turn makes me feel very rebellious towards the teacher, so watch out for the various circumstances in which…

4. The teacher pisses me off. This could, and has included teachers using improper grammar such as the misuse of the word ‘like’ as in “I was like…” Please, if you can not use proper grammar when meeting your student’s parents, you should not be teaching my child. Also, the use of the collective we, as in’ “How are we doing today” begs the answer, “I don’t know about you but I feel like killing someone”. And any hint that you are going to be a hard ass on my kid may give me the idea that we are not going to be buddies.

5. We’re all in the together. Now parents, I know that we are all here for our children, learning about their education, with one common goal in mind…to get the hell out of here as quickly as possible. This is why I dread the time when the teacher is done talking and I am hopeful that I will get maybe one hour of couch potato time, when 50 hands spring into the air. I know you may have questions. Even I may have had one or two in my time. But let’s try to eliminate the obvious, (If my child is sick should I keep her at home? what if it’s just a cold?) are relevant only to your child (Little Lucinda gets a little stuffy if the temperature is over 73.5 degrees, is it possible to adjust the school thermostats accordingly?) and the downright stupid (So the kids have to be on time every day??).

Okay, so now that we’ve laid the ground rules, please tune in for my next blog, “Why You Really Don’t Want Me To Join the PTA”.


Cover Letter of A Dropout Musician Mom

Dear Mr. Big Fat Shithead,

My name is Marissa Bergen and I am very interested in the open position your company has available.

I see you are looking for someone with a college education. You will be pleased to know that I attended college for quite some time before I realized that it was a huge, boring waste of my time. After that I furthered my education by teaching myself to play the guitar, writing songs, and reading books because I actually wanted to read them, not because they were assigned to me.

I developed marketing and people skills by booking and promoting my own rock band. I also proved myself to be a self starter and entrepreneur when I opened my own candy store and coat check business inside a rock n’ roll night club where I made more money selling Blow Pops to stoners than I will ever make at your stinkin’ job.

Now I am a mother of 2 children. Every day I get them to school on time, make sure they are dressed, clean, fed, and that their homework is completed. So sorry if I am a bit insulted when you question my abilities to be hard working, prompt, reliable, organized and detail oriented.

Please see attached for my resume. Fuck you very much for your time and consideration.

-Marissa Bergen


Oh, Alice You Remind Me Of Manhattan

I think I was 17 when I fell in love with Manhattan. Unlike the closed minded Brooklyn community in which I grew up, it was there, among the freaks and the weirdos, that I felt truly accepted.

Give us your different, your strange,
Your misguided, your misunderstood

Our apartments like cubicles, piled one on top of the other, outrageously painted, posters on the wall, not unlike a college dormitory. People wonder, why put up with the crowding, the masses, the limited amount of space? But it is here where community grows strong, it is here where we know this is a small price to pay for living in the greatest city in the world.

My neighbors, the T.V. hooker with the heart of gold, the rock star, the guy who sells comic books on St. Marks, the homeless guy who sells words of wisdom at 25 cents a pop, and Mr. Schindleheim at 3rd and C who makes the city’s best bagels, and you know in NYC, that is saying a lot.

Give us your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to be free

If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere

But the best is the night time, when the energy of the street beckons you. And so we emerge from our tiny cages, in our platform boots, our tight jeans, our short fur jackets, the beautiful wrecks, the 5 AM perfection, the glitter in the gutter, the screwed up eyes and screwed down hair-dos

Oh, Alice, you remind me of Manhattan
The seedy and the snaz, the shoe boys and the satins
Like a throne made of gilt that too many johns have sat in

I’ll never forget the last morning, as the grey light of day descended over a city still asleep, or maybe still awake from the night before, he left my bedroom, leaving me a wreck, crying on the disheveled bed, saying goodbye to a city I would never see again.

Now I live in Los Angeles, with all it’s sharp angles, it’s elegant curves, it’s austere white mansions, it’s eminence front, and it’s perpetual blue skies and sunshine, where you could almost forget the heavy layer of smog that hovers outside the atmosphere, where I look at the people around me
and wonder
if they know what it’s like
to love a city.

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Inspired by: http://spacemonkeytwins.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/brooklyn-a-love-story/

The Modern Teenager’s Guide To Pissing Off Your Parents

Dear Children,

Pretty soon you will be teenagers. This is a time when, for some reason unfathomable to yourself, but more than likely due to an overwhelming amount of hormones coupled with an enormous lack of reason, you will want to rebel against your parents. Well, I have to tell you, it’s not going to be easy.

I mean, you could listen to really loud obnoxious rock music, but don’t mom and dad listen to that music themselves? You could dress inappropriately, but have you taken a look at mom’s hemlines on those mini skirts? I think that passed appropriate about 5 inches ago. And I somehow think all things proper and suitable took a two step out of dad’s closet when they got a look at that Venom shirt with the naked nun and the quote about Satan’s vomit. And remember that long haired, Catholic guy with the tattoos that wanted to make a living as a rock star that mom brought home to her Jewish parents? Well now he’s your dad. There is the occasional experimentation but, yep, been there, done that, and I wonder if the fact that marijuana is practically legal has somehow robbed the old wacky tobacky of some of it’s allure.

Well kids, other than eating the odd polyunsaturated fat every now and then, I came up with two things you could do to piss off the old parental units, but I must warn you that they are so heinous, so atrocious, they may well get you kicked out their house forever; and above all shhhh….don’t tell them I told you so!

1.Become a homophobic Republican

2. Listen to Justin Beiber
– A Concerned Adult

Why I Don’t Find Amusement Parks Amusing

If you read my recently published blog on Chuck E. Cheese, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that I am also not a great fan of amusement parks. Yet, every year, on my son’s birthday, for lack of anything more spectacular to do, we end up there. Of course, it is my son’s birthday and I want to be a good sport and tag along, but sooner or later the mantra starts going through my head repeatedly, “I shouldn’t have come”. Especially when you consider the phenomenal cost.

The thing is, if you are going to an amusement park, there are two things you better like to do more than going on roller coasters and those are walk and wait because you will be doing a lot more walking and waiting than roller coaster riding.

Anyway, here’s a bit of what our day looks like:

1)The Wait to Go Into The Parking Lot-where we are undoubtably sitting behind someone who forgot his wallet, has to ask a million questions to the attendant, or being waited on by an attendant who does not know what he/ she is doing
2)The Walk to the Amusement Park-Wherein I inevitably discover why I made a really bad choice when picking out my shoes that day
3)The Wait to Get Into the Amusement Park-Wherein we nearly get trampled by a bunch of rednecks who are seemingly already drunk even though it’s only 10 o’ clock in the morning

Now for a little bit of a diversion, it’s decision time wherein we discover that none of us wants to go on any of the same rides. For my daughter it’s Tiny Tots Town, for my husband it’s the huge roller coaster, for my son it’s anything but the Tiny Tots Town and the huge roller coaster and for me it’s anything that will get anyone else to shut the hell up. So as a compromise, we end up going on a lot of spinny rides which inevitably leads to The Nausea, but I am getting ahead of myself.

So now that we’ve made a decision we are off on The Walk to Find the Rides. This could also potentially become The Walk Where We Got Lost Trying to Find the Rides or The Walk We Took To Find the Rides Only To Discover That They Are Closed. But assuming that everything turns out as it should, we are now onto The Wait To Go On The Ride.

Now a few things to be said about The Wait To  Go On The Ride. Firstly, you better learn to like that family standing in front of you with their fourteen snot nosed kids because you are going to be seeing a lot of them in the course of the next 45 minutes. Also, you are going to have to have grown a real affection for them when you learn that each of their fourteen children will be riding in their own separate cars when they go on the flume.

I guess by now you are getting a pretty good idea how our day goes, so let me just jump ahead to the end of the day. We are all hot, tired of waiting, have spent entirely too much money, our feet hurt, and we are all thoroughly, revoltingly nauseous. It is at this point when me and my husband may, for whatever reason, but more than likely because we are lost for the umpteenth time, begin to argue. Of course we both feel bad about this, being that it is our son’s birthday and all, and quickly pull it together. I am looking around to see if anyone noticed our momentary lapse of reason when I see another couple arguing.

It is at this point that the man gets up on his tip-toes, presumably to overshadow his girlfriend’s already diminutive form, points his finger at her, his face growing red, the veins on his neck bulging out and shouts at the top of his voice, “NOW YOU’RE GONNA SHUT UP, WE’RE GONNA GO ON THE ROLLER COASTER, AND WE’RE GONNA START HAVING SOME FUCKING FUN!!” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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The Divine Inspiration of My Husband’s Stupidity

It is a beautiful thing when inspiration comes knocking. I mean, one minute you’ve got nothing and the next, the Muse beckons from her heavenly chamber and, BAM, there you are, typing away happily once again. This morning, the Muse came in the glorious vision that was my husband at 7 AM.

There is an alarm clock in our bedroom but we rarely ever use it for it’s alarm function. My husband and I wake up at different hours, and the alarm clock is located on my husband’s side of the bed. Rather then reaching over his slumbering form to give the alarm a good whack once the ugly hour arrives, we choose to each have our respective cell phones, located on our respective sides of the bed, set for our respective hours of awakening.

I am still home when my husband’s alarm goes off and this morning was no exception. What was odd about today was that once his alarm commenced it’s unpleasant morning song, it continued to do so for quite some time. In other words, my husband was not turning the alarm off. At first I assumed that my husband was sleeping through his alarm, but after hearing his curses being muttered throughout the household, I was certain that this was an alarm malfunction and that the Master of All Things Electric had finally met his match.

When I was finally able to make it into the bedroom, I was greeted by a sight of carnage that was not easy to watch. My husband stood naked, clenching the alarm clock with Hulk like strength in what was apparently an attempt to strangle it. Then, horror of horrors, the death knell rang as my husband unplugged the alarm clock from the wall. But still, STILL!, the incessant ringing of the alarm would continue much to my husband’s befuddled chagrin.

By the time I caught a grasp on the situation, I must admit I was quite enjoying myself but I couldn’t let my poor husband take it much longer. “Darling,” I said, “it’s the iPhone!”

My Song

It takes a lot of guts to blog. I mean, you throw your feelings, art, and/or opinions into cyber space and wait to see who will like, dislike, follow, unfollow, get completely pissed off, or, perhaps worst of all, ignore.

Personally, my blogging process goes something like this:
Step 1. Write blog
Step 2. Read and reread, cursor hovering over the Publish button
Step 3. Read blog to my family while giving them a third degree interrogation of what they think about the blog, why they think that, whether this part’s stupid and whether that part’s funny, until they all refuse to talk to me
Step 4.Finally hit Publish
Step 5. Spend the next 10 minutes ringing my hands and saying “Oh God, what have I done?”
Step 6. Spend as long as humanly possible avoiding going back on the internet certain that whatever I have just published has caused all of cyberspace to implode
Step 7.Finally ‘man-up’ and go to the computer to deal with whatever response I’ve gotten
Step 8.Spend the next 24 hours hitting refresh
Now, I may not be an expert on blogging, but I have ascertained a couple of things:
1. If your bloggers like you, they will not abandon you so easily.
2. The more I obsess about who I may piss off with my blog, the better it seems to go over.
Yet despite my deductions, it still does not prevent from going through this ritual before each and every blog.
I know there are plenty of super confident bloggers out there who just post and post and don’t seem to care what anyone thinks of them, and to those bloggers I say, “Hell yeah, good for you!” But to those of you who might feel even the littlest bit like I do, there’s a song, called ‘My Song’, that my sister wrote a long time ago when we were in a rock band together and it often goes through my mind when I am trying to build my confidence and I am writing the lyrics here:
Is it okay
If I sing my song
If it’s out of key
If the words are wrong
It’s just my song, it’s just my song it’s just my song.
Is it okay
The things that I wear
The way that I look
How I comb my hair
It’s just what I wear, it’s just what I wear, it’s just what I wear
Cause sometimes I get so confused
And I don’t know what I should choose
And I don’t know what I should say
Is it okay?
Is it okay
The things that I eat
If they’re too sour
If they’re too sweet
It’s just what I eat, it’s just what I eat, it’s just what I eat
Is it okay
The way that I feel
It’s not a big deal
I just know it’s real
It’s just how I feel,it’s just how I feel, it’s just how I feel
Cause sometimes I wake up at night
And I can’t tell my left from my right
And I don’t know what chords I should play
Is it okay
(Big bombastic guitar solo here)
Is it okay
If I sing my song
If it’s out of key
If the words are wrong
It’s just my song, it’s just my song it’s just my song.
My sister and I back in the days that we were fab
Pic: My sister and I back in the days when we were fab

The Infinite Wisdom of Anjelica Bean

During my tween and teenage years, Ronnie James Dio was one of my favorite artists. I loved Dio, I related to Dio, I worshipped Dio! I would come home from a day of being teased at school for liking rock music and I would blast Ronnie James Dio’s music, and suddenly all their words would seem so small.

Growing up without a father wasn’t always easy. I know this is going to sound silly, but in my messed up teenaged mind, sometimes I let Dio fill that void.





Dio died of cancer in 2010. He was 65 years old. When I heard this news, I was saddened that the world had lost such a great artist, but I also felt like I had lost a friend. And with this loss, a chapter in my life had closed.

Now, so many years later, my son has been assigned to play bass on one of Dio’s songs for his School of Rock Show. Obviously, this song, “Rainbow in the Dark” has been playing in our house on a fairly regular basis.

It was after one of my son’s practice sessions, that my daughter, in all her 6 year old wisdom and sagacity, said,

“If that guy Dio was alive today… I’d thank him for the best song ever.”

Am I proud that my daughter appreciates heavy metal music? Of course. Am I glad that my daughter seems to have inherited my love for Ronnie James Dio? You bet I am!

But this goes so far beyond a genre and an artist. This is about the gift of music. This is about the gift of a song.