I have been fighting writers block for the last two weeks. I closed down my first two attempts at starting my own blog and started a new one but haven’t even posted anything to it yet. I need to figure out where to start – where to begin.
And I want to post here. And I want to comment on the posts I read that make me smile or think or emote. But I don’t. Or I haven’t been anyway. I’ve been lurking… reading a lot but not posting, that is.
The truth is I don’t feel good enough or interesting enough to join in the fun.
Let me clarify: I DO NOT believe I would be, or will be, judged for posting whatever is on my mind at any time. At least not here. I trust Aunt Becky and her merry band to keep us safe from the Mole People. I’m not scared of what might be said in response to what I write.
The truth is I am absolutely terrified of opening up the can of ghosts and demons inside of me. I’ve shared a little of it with my boyfriend, who is the closest thing I have to a best friend too, but even with him I’m scared to share any more.
Honestly, the sheer quantity or ghosts and demons I need to face and fight and get through is staggering me blind most days.
Partly, I am afraid of rejection. Rejection by my wonderful boyfriend, the “friends” in my life, people on Facebook, even here. And by rejection I don’t mean mole people hating for no reason.
I mean losing people. No one caring about me. Or people only caring enough to help a little bit and when the burden gets to be too much they stop trying to help anymore. I’m afraid of alienating people or hurting someone else. Part of me is terrified to even look at this shit myself, so how can I subject anyone else to it?
But at the same time, I know I need to face these things. These ghosts and demons haunting me – some for years and years. Some things as tiny as committing a social faux pas in elementary school all the way up to things as huge as trusting the wrong person with a secret – and losing my job after she shared that secret with my bosses.
The truth is I’ve been on a downward trend for years now. I thought I hit bottom when I went into the hospital last year (psych ward). I thought I hit bottom when I was fired six weeks later and the bills for the “coinsurance” portion of my hospital stay started showing up. I thought I was recovering from those and getting some shit together again. But no. I’m unemployed again. And barely keeping my house clean enough to keep CPS at bay. And relying on my boyfriend and my brother to cook and clean the kitchen. And relying on my parents to pay my bills.
When I start to hit bottom, I start to hide. I haven’t called a single one of my friends in months – granted none of them have called me, either – but two or three did reach out on Facebook to me and I failed to follow through on calling them back too. I’m hiding hard. Even with a fully anonymous email account attached to my as-yet unwritten blog.
I need to start doing something proactive to change.
So I’m reaching out into internet-land, sharing something just to prove to myself I can.
And I’m making a pledge to myself to do three things during the hours upon hours I spend every day with my laptop on my lap each day.
1) I will post SOMETHING either here or on my blog everyday. Something that is honest.
2) I will comment on someone else’s blog (at least 1) every day, just to show some love to people.
3) I will try to share something on Facebook with the people I know IRL.
Someone once told me that we don’t grow unless we do something that scares us. I’m scared shitless right now just typing this. I haven’t even thought about hitting the submit button yet. But I’m going to click that button when I’m done typing (and probably some editing, but if I’m too scared I might skip that step) because I need to put myself out there. I need to be honest for once in my life and share what’s going on inside my brain and body and life with SOMEONE or I’m pretty sure it’s gonna kill me one day.
So here I go off into the unknown. I’m gonna face some ghosts and some demons. And I’m going to share honestly and openly. And as Aunt Becky and her Pranksters so eloquently put it “Fuck the Haters”. I’m not doing this for them or for anyone else. I’m doing it for me.
And that’s scary as hell too…
PS. Thank you Aunt Becky for your post today about your upcoming procedure. Your honesty helped me to make this decision. You’re doing something scary to get better and so am I. You’re my hero.
(ed note: I’m honored and blushy and even crying a little. I love you. Fuck the haters. Most of us have been here before, too. Being brave is hard as fuck, but it’s also strengthening. I promise. Loves you. Be brave. Scare yourself. You can do it).
Tonight has been one of those nights…
Where you’ve held it together at work all day.
Didn’t eat a good lunch.
But kept your self-care appointments, involving hours at the doctor’s.
Then you get home…
See a video where children of color are treated poorly by law enforcement, reminding you of the profiling your family has experienced over the years because they look like a gang banger.
So, why not pick a fight over nothing with your ex (who happens to be your roommate), even after he made you dinner & handled the kids.
You scream, and cry, and rage. And he looks at you blankly, trying to understand why. And you respond: “It’s nothing”
Except it isn’t nothing – it’s deep down visceral fear…
That POC are getting treated unfairly.
That your white passing children will have even more privilege because of his German last name, light skin, and their anglicized Spanish.
“¿Mamá? Cómo se dice ‘pancake’ en español?”
“Crepé, preciosa or bañuelos, depends on who you’re speaking to” the Spanish words falling freely from your tongue but hearing them say the words reminds you of ‘los gringos’ and secretly you’re thinking ‘good’.
But even with that privilege, school is no longer a safe space for them.
Because moving to rural America, 2000 miles from family, felt right 4 years ago because little Amy was throwing gang signs in every picture at your daughter’s 9th birthday party.
And here in Middle America, a boy in her class, who talks bomb threats and knows every weapon class in both hunting and military capacity, is told “better be careful who hears you talking like that in high school Michael, you could get suspended.” But no one takes him seriously today and you think “thank goodness they’re going to different schools next year” when she tells you about this.
And your heart hurts for the world but most especially for your cousin who lost her dad and stepmom in the Texas shooting last year. Who, at 34, younger than you are, is going to be a grandmother, but she’s so grateful for life in the face of death, she has no anger towards her daughter, only love.
So you apologize for taking your pain out on your ex.
Take your pills and drink some water.
Put a comedy on the TV.
Cuddle your babies close, all of them.
The woman sized one, taller than you but with so much to learn yet. The scrappy ‘baby’, age 8, who thinks she’s also 13, who loves her sister’s hand-me-downs and stuffs her shirt with toilet paper to mimic the breasts she doesn’t yet have. The furry one, and the scalely ones.
And wait for the meds to kick in and shove the fear and worry back into the abyss of your heart.
Hoping that with the morning you’ll put on your crown and press on for the day. Fingers crossed that your coworkers won’t notice that your eyes are puffy again.
Yup, it’s been one of those nights.
The first time I was molested, I was 6 years old. My step-dad was a controlling, abusive asshole and had been grooming me over the few years he’d been married to my mom. It started as tickling, then moved to a touch here, me touching him there, and everything you can imagine in between.
At 6, I had no idea this wasn’t normal interaction. He was the only dad I knew.
At 8, I knew how to give a blow job, at 10 he was attempting penetration (poorly), at 12 when I got my period, I got worried. A substitute teacher covered a chapter on sexual abuse in health class and I realized that this wasn’t normal at all. I told my mom that afternoon, he moved out that night, I got lots and lots of counseling.
At 14, I was raped by a 21 year old that was my “boyfriend.” We met through a mutual friend, he got me drunk on Everclear and told me if I didn’t let him put it in one hole he was gonna put it in the other, whether I liked it or not.
I thought it was a compelling argument.
I remember he had big speakers under his mattress and he put on something with a shit ton of bass and it made me so nauseous that I spent 20 minutes puking on his back porch. I didn’t tell anyone. In fact, I continued to date him for an additional 6 months.
During that time he fantasized about moving to Alabama (where 14 is the age of consent) getting married and having babies with me. At the end of those 6 months he nearly got arrested for threatening a secretary with bodily harm for not allowing him to bring me flowers to my class… in middle school.
My mom found out and then I spent 4 weeks as an inpatient at a juvenile psychiatric facility. I started my long journey of anti-depressants and self-medicating.
At 15, I walked over to a boy’s house that I had a crush on to “hang out.” We were making out and he got my pants off. I let him know I wasn’t interested in having sex so he decided that putting his belt inside me was a better option? I was known as “belt girl” (probably still am, honestly) for a number of years after that, to our group of mutual friends.
At 31, I got locked into a hotel room with a smooth talker (stalker) who had me convinced we were in love. The next 8 hours were filled with things I never want to remember and that my brain won’t recall. I left sore and mentally broken, but I never told a soul (until now).
These are of course only the major offenses. I’m not including the literal hundreds of unsolicited dick pics, “accidental” gropings, catcalling, and unwanted sexual advances that occur from randoms quite often.
Why didn’t I report it at the time?
Well it depends on the occurrence. The first time I didn’t know any better, the second time I was in love, the third I was embarrassed and ashamed, the fourth I was terrified of ever seeing him again. I definitely didn’t want a court case. I never filed charges on any of them. Even the long-term ones.
I remember vividly talking to a counselor who warned me of the long court process to press charges against my dad, how it was my decision (AT 12), and whether they should file charges with the DA. Seems like something an adult should’ve decided, no? That stayed with me through all of my assaults. I felt powerless and guilty. I blamed myself for my poor decisions. Surely, I mean, it was my fault, right?
So now PTSD is a real thing I live with every day as a survivor of multiple sexual assaults. The triggers are never expected or convenient. Depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand with that. Once, a psychologist mentioned her surprise that I didn’t have a personality disorder, so there’s that, I suppose?
This is why the #MeToo movement is so vitally important.
The shame, the bureaucracy, the headaches, the guilt, it’s not worth reporting. This is what I’ve been told time and again as a victim. Maybe not in those words, but certainly with that intent. Someone didn’t want the paperwork and i didn’t want the trauma of retelling my story time and time again.
Just did some spring cleaning and deleted all of my Facebook messages.
The oldest messages I had were from Michael, who was a good friend to me.
Sadly, he passed away a few years ago and I regret not making the time to get together again, and I’m sorry that I didn’t know he had passed until over a month after it happened.
Here’s the trouble — We always think we have time.
Time for that catch-up coffee get together, time for that dinner/ drinks night with that person we bump into at whatever store in town, and we’d really like to take the time to properly nurture that friendship, but we’re busy, so busy! — we’re working, we’re getting married, we’re catching up on our favourite TV shows at home, we’re doing household chores, we could be raising families, and we’re tired, we’re worn out, we’re run down, and we’ll get around to it, we truly will, just —– later.
We might have that family member or friend present on the periphery of our lives, somebody with whom we haven’t always had an easy relationship, and they’ve got stuff going on that complicates things further, and one day, in the future, we’ll patch things up with them properly, we really will, we truly mean to do so. Except we’re busy, we’re so busy, and we’re tired, and we might have our own messy stuff to deal with, and it’s not easy or convenient right now, but we’ll do it, we will, we mean to, at least. Just… not at this moment.
And then suddenly, it’s gone, that window of opportunity to make amends, to say hey, let’s grab that coffee, let’s catch up, let’s grab some emotional spackle and mend the cracks in our strained relationship. Either too much time passes, and the opportunity is lost, or the person passes, and, well… y’know. We’ve missed our chance indefinitely, and we’re left behind with complicated feelings and some weighty emotional baggage that we’ll get around to sorting through — one day.
—- Virtual high fives to anybody who has read this far. You can’t feel ’em, but they’re there.
My mother passed away in February of this year, and I never made a post on here expressly stating so, because condolences are so, so hard. And I’m not looking for them now, either.
Timing-wise, it was inconvenient, as I was 7 days away from starting a shiny new job for which I had really high hopes, and working full time at a “training wheels job” that was getting me re-acclimated with being an active part of the workforce after 8 long months of job-seeking. So I never properly dealt with the unfortunate occurrence, that emotional luggage that I’m sure is still sitting on my shoulders and weighing on me in subtle, almost imperceptible ways. I’m not sure how to go about addressing the feelings that I have. Most days, I’m unable to even completely sort out what those feelings are, and how they might be impacting my daily interactions now without me even knowing.
I know my mom loved me, and even though I didn’t say it often enough, or make enough of an effort to show it, I loved her, too, and I should have made it more apparent, and loved more freely and openly, and made more time to display it properly — not just on days that are societally-designated “love fests” like Christmas and birthdays and Mother’s Day and whatnot.
If any of this resonates with any of you, please, pick up the phone and call whomever you’re thinking about right now, if you can… while you have time.
Didn’t know that your phone can make phone calls, too, and not just send text messages and e-mails? Didn’t know that it’s not just a business tool, and not just it now. It might not be easy, or convenient, but it could be the only opportunity you will ever have. Make it count.
Didn’t know that your phone can make phone calls, too, and not just send text messages and e-mails? Didn’t know that it’s not just a business tool, and not just for emergency purposes, y’know, like calling your loved ones only if you get a flat tire on the highway, etc. etc. etc.? Phone calls can be made without occasion and sometimes the unsolicited ones (not from telemarketers, though… blech) are the most meaningful and memorable.
Do it now. It might not be easy, or convenient, but it could be the only opportunity you will ever have. Make it count.
My views regarding my mother have changed in recent years.
Presently, she is someone who exists as part of a story in my life, catalyzing a significant examination of myself and those who surround me. I often contemplate whether that was her purpose, but intertwined in those thoughts; there is guilt. Parents make sacrifices for their children, and perhaps hers was the loss of our relationship, forcing me to embark on a new path.
However, I don’t think she’ll ever be cognizant of that.
I have fond memories of her, times when she was a picturesque, doting mother, ferrying my friends and me to practice, taking us to the mall, and covering for me when I exceeded my curfew.
Those untainted recollections haunt me because I’ve realized that for every good deed there was a price tag. The cost was never evident, as though you had found a one of a kind item at the store. You stand alone in the aisle, puzzled while turning the object over and back again in an attempt to locate that small, sticky, square sliver of paper that gives something its value. You approach the register, convincing yourself it isn’t a lavish novelty—until the cashier regrettably informs you that the item exceeds your price range. After an internal battle, you purchase it anyway because you falsely believe that you need it. That’s how it was with her. She’d give, I’d take, and then I would later have buyer’s remorse. I felt liable during those exchanges on many occasions, but they’ve taught me that I shouldn’t give more than I’m willing to lose–whether that be time, money, or respect.
I did and said things throughout our strained relationship that weren’t fair, correct, or appropriate. There were times my behavior was unquestionably harsh. In other moments, I yelled too much, was self-absorbed, and at times wrongly manipulative.
Even as a child, I innately sensed that she was not capable of truly loving anyone. Her affections were an unmarked, dead-end road; I never knew where the pavement faded into the dirt until I found myself in the mud. She tirelessly helped people (and probably still does), but would then complain when her efforts didn’t garner adequate appreciation or her deeds weren’t reciprocated.
Through watching her perform this soliloquy of martyrdom and the innumerable encore performances, I uncovered another meaningful piece of knowledge: If you’re giving to fill a void within yourself, stop giving and fix yourself because no one else will. And to me, that is her downfall—she never fixed herself. Perhaps she didn’t know how—or was unable to recognize that she needed mending. It was always easier for her to blame her short-comings on others. Usually, it was my dad, the man who worked seven days every week to provide for his family and allow her to do as she pleased.
He was flawed, but not any more than the rest of us. My dad had a temper, was overly strict, and could be perceived as controlling at times, but he expressed an abundant amount of love and dedication to his family. Yet somehow, my mother always found a reason to make him not good enough for her, or for us. She would shout from the proverbial rooftops to whatever audience was present: family, church people, or her friends—it didn’t matter. If they had ears and minute of time, she would begin Act I of her tragic play. Her behavior reminded me of the game in elementary school, aptly named telephone.
The story at the end was never the story at the beginning, but no one was able to decipher what that ever was because true to her victim mentality, “She would never say that!” And so it went throughout my teenage years, her speaking half-truths, my dad getting mad, and her tear-soaked, half-hearted apologies.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I’ve surmised that’s where my lesson on people began—with those years of trusting, then not, and the gray area twisted between the confusion.
It’s strange to look back on it now, coldly removed from it, emotionless. Or perhaps it’s still anger; I’m not sure.
I vividly recall frequent conversations with my dad and his constant reminders to, “Not be like your mom.” At that specific point in time, I always thought he meant weak because that’s how I perceived her: sad, depressed, and angry. She attended a private masquerade, a façade tuned so finely that she is still unaware that she’s wandering through a false reality.
During those times, I didn’t know that life was preparing me for something I would never see approaching—the Trojan horse of life’s fuckery right in front of me. I was oblivious to the depth of her wounds and subsequent actions, until one day I could no longer deny the existence of her illness.
For many people, the term mother is synonymous with love, compassion, and devotion. An upstanding matriarch fiercely defends her children from harm and zealously supports their endeavors. I have spent countless nights awake thinking about the perfect incarnation of a mom, and I’ve concluded that my mother will never embody those characteristics.
The greatest, albeit most difficult thing about life, is that it imparts everything you need to know if you pause momentarily, pay attention, and don’t allow your ego to get the best of you. If you’re repeatedly finding yourself in the same situation, it’s because you haven’t mastered the lesson those particular circumstances are supposed to teach you, or maybe you have, and you’re too stubborn or stupid to recognize them.
I fell into the latter category because that’s just who I was then, optimistic and dumb enough to believe I could right any wrong.
Writing that now is ridiculous, but that’s how it started—the relationship with a price tag so high, it almost destroyed my credit, and me. He was charismatic. Funny. Handsome. He said all of the right things at exactly the right time. Looking back, I guess he had to, or someone would peel back the thin layers that encased his dysfunction and see a hollow vessel, devoid of empathy or compassion unless it was for selfish gain.
My mother, however, adored him. She thought he was fantastic. The words of praise for him gushed from her mouth like a broken faucet. She insisted he was perfect for me. I initially agreed until I saw through the shroud to what was underneath.
It was like my internal GPS had lost signal on life’s journey and now it was too late to turn back. The scenery was beautiful at times. There were days filled with sunshine, laughter, and hope. Those times were my favorite because most days were dark and tumultuous. It seemed as though I was trying to outrun the rain, but I never knew when lightning would strike. The storm always seemed to clear at the exact moment that I was ready to relocate to a better climate.
And of course, there was my mother, clearing wreckage, and negotiating an insurance policy—or so I thought. What I failed to realize is that insurance agents love disasters. Disasters wreak havoc and chaos while convincing policyholders that they require more insurance so that they are better prepared for the next catastrophe. I purchased an abundance of insurance from my mother. I talked and confided in her, while she manipulated the weather to her liking. In return, the weather repaid the debt by providing her with a temperate climate.
From my mother’s perspective, it was a fair exchange. She was never one to forgo a “diamond of a deal.” She received the attention and adoration she was so desperately seeking, and he received another layer of protection.
Together, they were a perfect storm and were moving toward the coast at an alarming rate.
He and I found ourselves at the beach on that road trip from hell.
By that point, I was preparing to change routes and terminate my insurance because I could no longer afford the premium; however, the best-laid plans always go awry when the atmosphere becomes unstable. That day began calmly and seemingly beautiful, but the bright sunlight obscured the horizon as it beamed through the car windows that morning. We were exploring on that trip. Laughter and conversation filled the air like particles of pollen—invisible and damaging. I thought that maybe, just maybe, the sky was going to remain clear.
If I only I hoped enough, had enough insurance, I falsely believed everything would be okay.
I was absolutely wrong. He—the weather, became erratic and violent; I was stranded in the current, drowning while trapped in a car until I suddenly saw the eye of the hurricane approaching. Those few moments of relief granted me the clarity to see daylight. I suddenly became aware that I couldn’t regulate the weather, but I could control my reaction to it. There was an open road, but it had been hidden by the debris from the frequent storms. That day I began driving. I drove away from the downpours, evaded the lightning strikes, and put miles between the constant uncertainty of whether I had purchased enough insurance.
When I called my mother, the insurance agent, to discontinue my policy, she didn’t answer.
She wasn’t available that night or the next day.
She was too busy attempting to manage the self-made disaster that she didn’t care about me—her daughter. S
he turned away the child she had known for 32 years. She abandoned me, the daughter that she was supposed to unfailingly love and support.
I don’t know what he promised her exactly, but whatever it was, it was enough for them both to attempt to pursue me down that new, secret road I had discovered.
They attempted to detour my journey through phone calls, texts, and at times, unnerving threats and yet, I kept driving farther and farther away.
She revived the soliloquy that had served her well and performed it for a multitude of audiences. The new version had added a few additional scenes, and they served to convey how terrible I was. She was heartbroken that her child could just walk away from her.
It was then, that my dad’s words from over a decade ago reverberated in my mind, “Don’t be like your mom.”
The statement had been a clear warning that I was unable to comprehend at the time because I didn’t understand that she was mentally ill. I was too naïve to fully perceive the environment that tarnished my childhood and too self-centered to evaluate my contribution. She and I were and always will remain remarkably different people.
She will forever be the insurance agent feeding and creating disasters for her own personal gain. I hope that someday her catastrophic business will close and she will have placed a vacant sign in the window. Although, I think the absence of orchestrating calamities would force introspection, and the disasters we harbor on the inside are usually far worse than those we create.
My lessons in this life are far from over, and I hope that they’re never complete because if I stop learning, I cease to evolve into a better person.
The chapter about my mother has been painful, dangerous, yet exceedingly valuable. I’m grateful for the destruction and nearly being swept away because I was compelled to change routes. I began a migration to a new destination that I plotted and chose on my own. My mother and I will forever be traveling in opposite directions, but we were at the same starting point for a brief time. She may never fully grasp the reason or the outcome of our sudden departure in life, but I hope that one day her course becomes calm and clear instead of winding and uncertain.
Despite the pain she has caused, she unknowingly and unwillingly sacrificed her happiness for her child’s—and that’s the worst punishment of all.