Friday, December 30, 2011

Fat and sassy.

For the past four days, I've been suffering from a migraine headache that varies in intensity from a mild annoyance, to "I think my brain might have actually imploded."  My body is weak.  My brain is weaker.

For the past seven years, give or take, I have known that I have a rare condition that afflicts mainly overweight women, mimics a brain tumor, and damages vision.

Upon hearing this news, I shed several pounds, the condition went into remission, and I put the experience into the very back of my mind, where I keep the things that "I went thru, but never have to deal with again."

Then I gained weight.  And more weight.  And now I am suffering from symptoms again.
And I am angry.
And I don't like to admit that my weight is having an actual, physical effect on another part of my body.

I have never felt more confident, more aware of myself, or more beautiful than I do inside this fat version of myself.  It has taken a literal lifetime to shed those unhealthy body-image issues, and believe myself to be as worthy and valuable as a small person.  It has taken me nearly three decades to abandon that uniform version of perfection, and love myself inside the skin I occupy.

And now, I may be forced to admit that this lovely fat softness might be, once again, a detriment to my overall health.

There are a lot of angry words I'd like to say about it.  But right now, my brain is humming, my face aches, and I just want the pain to stop.

Even if that means I have to start taking active steps to reduce my body weight, rather than resting comfortably and happily at my current weight.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bones of isolation

We've all got them.  The proverbial "skeletons in the closet."
Some of them are silly.  Some of them are mild-mannered things, sort of lounging around in the background, threatening to be mildly embarrassing.  Some of them pick their noses in the car, or drink milk directly from the container.  Some of them scratch themselves for an hour after they go to bed, and some of them talk to themselves on the toilet.
Silly, silly skeletons in the closet.

Some of them are not so silly.  Some of them loom over us, dark, sinister things, threatening to destroy the facade of being "just like everyone else."  Some of them stomp around noisily in the background, as we attempt to go about our day, to smile, to be "normal."  They moan and nag at us, as we drive to our jobs, as we drink our coffee, as we wash our dinner dishes.  They search out each face, hoping for a kindred spirit, hoping for a way to break free and be known, be loved.
They keep us bound to them by secrecy and fear.  They leave us lonely and isolated.  They convince us there is no one on earth so twisted, strayed so far from society's norms.

They steal our sleep.  They invade our thoughts.  They threaten to isolate us permanently.

We spend a good majority of our time seeking out connection, and closeness in some form with those around us.  We "poke" each other on Facebook, we update our statuses regarding our feelings, our experiences.  We send out mass texts and emails, hoping for responses, hoping for a glimpse of the feelings or experiences of those in our circle.  And yet, when it comes to the darker sides of ourselves, most of us guard those skeletons at all costs.
Even at the cost of feeling intense isolation and separation from the very people to whom we desire to connect.

What's left starts to feel somewhat superficial.  So very on-the-surface.  So very shallow.

I want to know for certain where I am safe.
I don't.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Confession

I feel as though it's time for me to make a confession.  Embarrassed as I am, I feel it needs to be brought forth, and I can only hope that time will heal any wounds, and repair any damage I might be about to incur to my friendships.  I hope you will read with patience, love, and understanding, along with a great willingness to forgive.


Here goes.

I don't like Star Wars.  

I feel so dirty.
The bare truth is, I haven't seen it since I was a kid.  I tolerated it, when one of my fathers watched it relentlessly for days and days.  Yoda was cute, even tho I thought he talked "funny", and I liked those little furry Ewok things that looked like bears.  Beyond that, it either bored me cross-eyed, or scared me shitless.  The idea of a person being crammed into the warm bowels of some kind of llama/horse crossbreed, in order to keep from freezing to death while one is abandoned in the desert...this is intense for a highly-imaginative child with abandonment issues.  Let's go a step further and just blame every panic attack I have ever had on that scene.  Another thing.  Why the hell is it snowing in the desert in the first place?  The weather in the Star Wars world is terrifying.
And what the fuck was with that huge hole in the ground, that had teeth, and chewed up anyone unfortunate enough to fall in?  If it's not bad enough that you're going to plummet to your demise, you get to be partially digested, and full of holes when you get there.  Fuck.
And let's not forget, of course, the fact that Luke's own father severs his hand during a sword fight.

While I'm out here on this limb, let me also make it known that I hated Star Trek.  I would moan audibly with extreme displeasure whenever I saw that goofy spaceship fly toward me in the opening sequence, and I could not change the channel fast enough.  When you're a kid with three channels to choose from, and some boring shit like that comes on, your afternoon TV watching is pretty much brought to a standstill.  And you're forced to find entertainment elsewhere.  Usually in the form of screaming at your sister.  Or maybe that was just my house.
Old Star Trek, new Star Trek, it doesn't matter.  I hate them all.  I hate Spock's pointy ears.  I hate Warf's twisted face.  I'm not sure what character Whoopi played, but I'm pretty sure I hate that one, too.  Reading Rainbow guy was tolerable, but only because I knew he'd be back later to read me some stories, and that he wouldn't be wearing a banana clip over his eyes when he did...

Take a look.  It's in a book.  

This, of course, leaves me feeling awkward and dishonest, when one of my friends (who all seem to be Star Wars/ Star Trek devotees), shows me the newest kickass item on their wishlist, in the form of a toilet seat that makes a Jaba The Hut noise when you sit on it.  Usually, I try and churn out some sort of neutral phrase that won't out me as the most uncool person on the planet.  "Oh, wow!  It's perfect for you!"   (I don't know if Jaba the Toilet Seat is  a real thing.  Fuck, I hope not...)

Since I'm coming out of the closet, so to speak, I'll also confess to never having seen Top Gun.  Or ever having the desire to see Top Gun.  As my husband said, "I saw Hot Shots first.  That was enough for me."  So, unless Ducky Dale is in Top Gun, cross-eyed with huge thick glasses, I remain steadfast in my desire to never see it.

I hope I've earned cool points for at least pretending to give a fuck, for knowing what a wookie is, and for thinking your Princess Leia costume is cool.  Mostly.  I hope my appreciation of Space Balls earns me a pass with at least a few of you.
And lastly, I hope we can all still be pals, now that you know my disturbing secret.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

I am a teenage boy.

Fucking mom.  Cleaning my room is conformist.
I hate everything.
"I am a teenage boy.

I am sensitive and volatile, and will turn on you at the slightest opportunity.

I will deliberately show up late for dinner, simply because I know it annoys you, and because I wish to show you how much control I have over my own environment.

I will refuse to wash myself for days on end, and resent you violently when you suggest a shower.  I'll take one, but I will do so with great hesitation, and with an obvious display of my disgust for you.

I will use everything you say against you.  If you ask me to pay attention to you while you're speaking, I will stare at you angrily, as you talk, and I will refuse to look away.  If you comment on this behavior, I will treat you like a crazy person, and remind you that "YOU TOLD ME TO PAY ATTENTION!  I AM PAYING ATTENTION TO YOU, LIKE YOU WANTED!"

If you punish me for rudeness, I will make you feel like an asshole, by pointing out that I was "just joking!"

I will sigh, roll my eyes, and stomp my feet as I walk away from you during a lecture.  I will then deny all three when you punish me.

I will lie thru my teeth.  About everything.  Especially about schoolwork, the cleanliness of my room, and the last time I brushed my teeth.  You are not allowed to be angry with me, or to punish me, when you find out I've been lying.  If you try, I will sigh, roll my eyes, and stomp my feet as I walk away, and of course, I will deny all three.

I will work diligently at keeping an odd smell permeating from my bedroom.  This is both from lack of personal hygiene, and my refusal to wash my clothes.  I also will not wear deodorant.  Ever.  Your requests for a remedy to these things will lead to my refusal to speak to you, audible sighing, and eye rolling.  Again.
I will deny all three.  Again.

I will insist, regardless of the truth, that I did "nothing" all day at school.  If there is a bomb threat and three fires, I will still answer "nothing" when asked what I did at school on that particular day.  This will also be my answer when I am visibly sad, angry, or "emo", and you ask me what is wrong.  I will also appear to become more sad, angry, or "emo" after I am asked.  Your insistence that I can confide in you will lead to eye rolling.
Which of course, I will deny.

If you ask me to put on a coat, I will insist that it's not cold out.  Hypothermia be damned, I will not let you think you told me what to do.  This also applies to summertime, when you suggest I take off my black hoodie and put on some shorts.

I will deliberately disagree with you.  If you say something is black, I will say that it's gray.  Or very dark blue.  I will continue to look for an opportunity for disagreement in every single statement you make.  I am smarter than you.  You are stupid, everything you say is wrong, and I will prove it, regardless of the ludicrous statements I might have to make.

My life, and the things happening in it, are the greatest crises in human history.  No one has ever felt as sad as me.  No one has ever had problems as big as mine.  No one can relate, in any way, to anything I might be going thru.  I am the first.  I will be the last.  I am important in my suffering.

If forced to do chores, I will do so half-heartedly, in an effort to show you how bad I am at each particular task, hoping that you will stop asking me.  If you point out my half-hearted efforts, you are a jerk.  Eye rolling and sighing.

If I show interest in speaking with you, this is a trap.  Don't talk.  Do not offer input.  Just smile, and act like everything I say is the most ingenious bit of conversation you've ever heard.  Say nothing.  Or eyes will roll.  Again.

I am a teenage boy.  Your input is useless and resented.  Please just buy me food, clothes, and don't acknowledge me unless I speak directly to you, and maybe not even then.   Probably not even then."


I am the mother of a teenage boy.

I am the most uncool person on the planet.

My grasp of the weather, namely "hot" vs. "cold", is entirely skewed, and I do not know the difference between "coat weather" and "shorts weather."

I am moderately paranoid, and I hallucinate signs of aggression, such as eye rolling, loud sighs, and being ignored.  I also hallucinate smells, such as armpit odor, dirty laundry, and general grossness.

My idea of  "clean" is warped, and I maintain unreasonable demands upon the tidiness of the rooms in my home.  Also note that I employ slave labor, and force my children to load the dishwasher, wash their own laundry, and clean their own rooms.  I am an unreasonable tyrant.  

Everything I say is drastically, and embarrassingly wrong.  I must be corrected on even the slightest infraction, such as, mispronunciation of a word, whether or not a movie is good, and what day of the week we last ate turkey.  I am a crazy person.  Or maybe I am just a moron."
"Crazy person."  See also "moron.  See also, "mother of a teenage boy."
Stupid, stupid woman.   


Welcome to being the parent of a teenager.  Abandon all hope...

...for a little while.  Because sometimes, there are moments of absolute awesome.  When the kid you're sure is the biggest dickhead on earth suddenly reminds you that there's still a little bit left of your sweet baby boy, and that there's a little bit of him that's growing into a sweet man.
It makes all the "I am a teenage boy" moments absolutely worth it.  Body odor and all.

I'll let you know when the next one of those moments arrives.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Potential hostage situation

Or, "A day in the life of an emotionally unstable, painfully sensitive, and probably premenstrual housewife." 

I'll let you in on a not-so-secret secret.  I might have a slight tendency to become just the smallest bit irrational.  A little sensitive and somewhat reactive.   Even approaching, sometimes, quite unhinged.  The timing of these events may, or may not coincide with what some might consider a hormone fluctuation known as "P.M.S."  Personally, I think this is largely an urban legend, and that a more believable explanation is that everyone and everything around me suddenly becomes an asshole once every month...




Frightened cat:  O.o

Frightened husband:  I think your son ate all the chips.

Me:  "DAMMIT!  HE'S the reason I can't have nice things!" 

Dear kid, don't be an asshole. 


Me:  "JEEZUS, you're working late AGAIN!?" 

Frightened husband:  "I work nights.  It's just my shift." 

Me:  "What am I, too fat for you now?"

Frightened husband:  "I don't even..." 

Me:  "Are you having an affair with that woman in the office?!" 

Frightened husband:  "You mean the old lady with cataracts?" 

Me:  "Hey, bring me some chocolate when you come home, ok?  I love you so much!" 

Confused husband:  "I don't even..." 

Dear husband, don't be an asshole. 



Malfunctioning TV Antenna:  (Does not respond, due to being an inanimate object with no lips or vocal cords.  Also, probably, because it is an asshole.) 


Dear malfunctioning TV antenna, don't be an asshole. 


Me:  (Uncontrollable sobs)

Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias:  (Dies.)

Me:  (continued sobs)

Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias:  (Ignores my desperate wailing, either due to the fact that she's a movie character and can't hear me, or because she's an asshole.)

Dear Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias, don't be an asshole. 


There is also an entire conversation that takes place between my frightened husband, myself, and my bra, but I kind of come off looking like a weirdo, and the story usually ends with more of my sobbing, so we'll just save that one for another time. 
But, bra, don't be an asshole. 
Seriously, it would all be so much easier if everyone, and everything on the planet would stop being an asshole at the beginning of the month.  It's not nice, and it gives me headaches, and makes me crave chocolate like a Jerry Springer guest craves meth. 

This message is brought to you by the letters P, M, and S, which I assume stand for "pummel", "murder", and "stab." 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanks, Mom.

Our mother never spoke harshly about our fathers.

She had reason to do so.  She had plenty of ammunition, and would not have had to lie to us if she wanted to put our fathers down, and take away our admiration and love for them.

She didn't.

Our fathers did not live up to the patience and tolerance our mother showed them.  They did not deserve the kind words she spoke to us about them, and they did not deserve the veil she pulled over their failures and indiscretions.

But, she did that for us.

Ultimately, we grew up, and we decided for ourselves what kind of people our fathers were.  We came to our own conclusions, made up our own minds about whether or not we thought they were "good" people.  Their own actions, and not the musings of our mother, helped us to decide how we felt about our fathers.

My grandfather, who I adored above all others, would sometimes criticize my mother in front of me.  Regardless of my agreement with him, and even tho I knew he was entirely justified in his feelings, I defended her fiercely.  I became angry with him.  I knew he was right, and yet I felt hostility and resentment at his decision to voice his opinion about her, to me.
I believe that whatever is at the root of this angry reaction, is the very reason parents must not disparage one another, regardless of the situation.

Regardless of my current opinion either way about my fathers, I am grateful to our mother for giving us the choice, and for not working to sway our opinion one way or the other.    

It's important.
If I can sing praises of my mother for such a thing, it must be important.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

An uncomfortable truth...

Sexual assault.

Five syllables that have the capability to make a person cringe in awkward discomfort.

The act, I assure you, is infinitely more uncomfortable.

This isn't easy to write.  It's squirmy and weird, and will probably be just as squirmy and weird to read.  Still kicking around the possibility that I won't publish it.  It's scary...

It shouldn't be scary.  I did nothing wrong.  But such is the nature of sexually motivated crimes, that the victim can sometimes feel partially, or even entirely responsible.
I  am not responsible.  Partially, or otherwise.
The attacker is responsible.  The bystanders are responsible.  The victim is never to blame.  I am not to blame.

The ripple effect from this type of crime is infinite.  In an effort to understand some of my odd and frankly, unflattering behavior, I have often wondered if it isn't the result of this particular series of events in my past...the result of a combination of gross neglect at the hands of my mother, and the complete objectification, devotion, and sexual affection of my abuser...
There is the fear that, while I refuse any ownership in the crimes against me, it may have left an undeniable footprint in the path to the person I am today.
There is an inherent, and oftentimes subconscious need to be pleasing and accommodating.  A need to behave in a manner that is sexually welcoming, to the point of completely ignoring someone's inappropriate behavior, thinly-veiled manipulation, or  complete lack of respect for my personal boundaries.   There is a fear that I have subconsciously connected the dots, to reveal that the path to love and acceptance is sexual accommodation, at the cost of my own personal boundaries.

A dear friend revealed to me that since the day she was attacked, she doesn't feel particularly "allowed" to say no.  That submitting to sexuality against her better judgement or desire, is somehow less frightening than saying no, and risking the anger or hurt-feelings of the other party.  Allowing a person to objectify, manhandle, and otherwise misuse her person, is less personally offensive than the potential backlash of the other party.
Heartbreaking.  The feeling of loss of ownership over one's own personal boundaries.

Equally unnerving is the intense sense of inadequacy and neglect, when the immediate requirement of my sexuality is not apparent.  When there is the slightest sense that he might "have a headache", a wave of loneliness and fright wash over me, as does the violent sensation of being absolutely neglected, and useless.
Because, after all, this is why I'm here, right?

Rationally, no.
However, because of this...thing, this crime rooted somewhere in my past a hundred years ago, there is a constant struggle to place the rational above what feels real.  There is a constant inner argument between the two sides, forever trying to determine my role in every single relationship from then until now.

This said, I am not a victim.  This cliche is true.  I'm not a victim, I'm a survivor.  I hold no ownership in what happened.  The man who attacked me holds the responsibility, along with the adults around me, who looked the other way.  I am blameless.  This is true of any survivor of sexual assault.  Regardless of their manner of dress, their decision to allow some level of sexual contact, regardless of their level of intoxication, their prior sexual history...

I still hold every right over my own sexuality, whether I choose to display it overtly, whether I choose to keep it solely for myself, or whether I fall somewhere in the middle.  I still hold every right over the power of "no."  I still hold every right over my body, and it holds immeasurable value, whether or not I behave to accommodate.  This is the reality.  I know this.

My hope for myself, and for my fellow survivors of these heinous acts,  is that, while we may continue to struggle on some level with the ripple effect, we will more often be able to place the rational above what feels real.

Monday, November 14, 2011


If you visit Twitter this afternoon, along with "GotAids" and "ChelseaClinton", you'll find "FatGirlStripperNames" as a trending topic.
Basically it means that enough people are talking about a specific thing for it to become a popular subject on the website.  Apparently, the Fat Police are in full force on Twitter this afternoon, and have all come together to apply stereotypes, ridicule, and downright nasty names to fat women, who choose exotic dancing as their livelihood.

Because fat people have no feelings.  Because it's ok to make fun of fat people.  Because a fat person deserves our ridicule.  Especially those who dare to express their sexuality and confidence in a way that is normally only acceptable for "normal" people.

Because a body shape that drifts too far away from the accepted norm, deserves to be dehumanized and devalued.

Because "fat" is an ugly, bad bad word.

I've said it before, and I'll continue saying it.  Anyone who ridicules another person has their own issues to attend to.  It's not anyone's responsibility to look a certain way in order to please anyone else.  A fat person is entitled to their fat.   They are entitled to be fat in public places.  They are entitled to be fat in revealing clothing.  Even a step further, they are entitled to be fat sexually.

Being fat doesn't always mean a person's ass is super-glued to the couch, while they mainline gravy, and snort powdered doughnuts.  Sometimes it means "regardless of a healthy level of physical activity, and healthy food, my body is meant to be a fat one."
And sometimes, being fat means "I don't like exercise.  And I like spoonfuls of sugar and syrup on my  foot-high stack of pancakes."
Sometimes, being fat means a mixture of both scenarios.
Either way, the fat person in question has the right, as anyone else does, to either scenario.

Being fat doesn't mean "unhealthy."  Because, as much as the Fat Police would like to believe otherwise, fat is not an indicator of health.  It just isn't.  No amount of ridicule will make it so.
Even if fat were a sign of gross internal sickness, fat shame and fat ridicule is still unjustified.

No one, regardless of whether they're 800 pounds or 80, deserves to be defined by their shape or size.  No one.   No one has the right to decide the "right" shape or size of my body.  No one has the right to make assumptions about my health or happiness, based solely upon the plumpness of my back side.

Being fat does not cost non-fat people more money, regardless of media hype.
Being fat does not insulate a person from normal, human emotions.
Being fat does not, in any way, affect a non-fat person in a way that causes damage or discomfort.  If it does, it's the problem of the non-fat person, and means they should take the stick out of their asses, and grow up already.

If I choose to cover myself from head to toe in frumpy burlap, or if I choose to dance a strip-tease on my dining room table, it's my right.  Whether I'm fat or thin, it's my right.

It certainly doesn't warrant anyone nicknaming me "Quarter Pound-her" or "Notorious KFC".   Ultimately, those names have nothing to do with the fat person, and everything to do with the insecure dickhead who assigns them.

My fat is not your problem.  Even if I'm scantily clad in public, my fat is not your problem.  I promise.  Really, really.

If all else fails, and reasoning is lost on such people, use the damn swivel on your neck, and look away.  Preferably into a book, because your ass could use some learnin'.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I am not this

Most of the time, I am above it.
Greater than.
Moved beyond.

Most of the time I am free from it, far removed, and lifted up by my triumph over the past.

Most of the time...

And then, without warning, it becomes all I know.  It becomes all I am.  It defines me.
I am this.
This is why I'm here.  This is what I am for.

Less than a person.  Less than an object, even.  Less than.

The ripple effect is endless.  And violent.

The insomnia will pass.  I'll be silly and squirrely again.  And I'll know better.  I'll be free from it, far removed, and lifted up by my triumph over the past.

I'm not eight years old.  And I'm not helpless.  And I'm loved by someone who will choose to protect me.  And I am more than this.  It does not define me.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Toothbrush, hairbrush, underpants...shit.

Packing for a road trip when you're a relatively sane person is, in itself, a nerve-wracking task.
"Three pairs of underwear?  I'll take four, just for good measure.  Now, which shoes.  Do I want sensible, or sophisticated?  I guess I'll take both.  Oh, better not forget the shampoo.  I'll bring these convenient, and adorable travel-size bottles.  And the same with the toothpaste..."

Packing for a road trip when you're a person who...a person like me, is a new level of weird.
"Toothbrush, hairbrush, underpants...shit.  Do I have enough clean underwear to pack for this adventure?  Do I own enough underwear to pack for this adventure?  Ok, pack this relatively non-skanky pair of underpants, along with a note that says "buy new underpants."  That way it will look more like a shopping spree, than a weirdo who only owns four pairs of underpants.
Oooh kaaaay, toothpaste.  Oh, yeah, I don't use toothpaste.  How the hell do I pack a salt-shaker full of baking soda without it spilling all over the place?  I guess I could just wedge it in there, and keep my bag upright.  Deodorant...shit.  This looks like a big tub of cocaine, with a kabuki brush in it.  Oh one will have to actually watch me put it on.  I'll just hide it under the "toothpaste" powder.
Pajamas.  Fuck me, I don't own pajamas, either?  I can't share a room with other people, and sleep in the nude.  What if we have to share a bed?  Goddammit.  Add "buy pajamas" to the underwear list.
Shampoo.  This looks like a solidified bar of shit.  How the fuck do I explain rubbing a solidified bar of shit on my hair, let alone having a solidified bar of shit in my make up bag?  I'll just hide it in this brown paper bag.  Ok, conditioner.  Well goddammit again!  Do I mix up an empty jar with vinegar and coffee, and pretend it's an energy drink, or do I just skip the conditioner?
Fuck me, I just want to get this over with, and get to the fun stuff...*sigh*
Ok, skip the vinegar stuff, and I'll just pack this solid conditioner...that vaguely resembles baby turds.
All of my hair products resemble poop.  I can't pack this crap, and not expect to have a forty minute lecture on why my hair products resemble poop.  Or cocaine...
"Buy shampoo/conditioner/toothpaste/deodorant"
This trip is costing me a goddamn fortune, and I haven't even started...
Alright, feminine hygiene thing-a-majigs...

I may, or may not be about to embark on the most humiliating road trip ever, with two women who may, or may not be physically repulsed to sit next to me, once they see the crazy shit in my bag...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"There's a guy peeing in the kitchen sink..."

This weekend was one of those weekends that I'd just like to erase from history.  It never happened.  Everything is perfect, my family is a happy little nucleus within this great big cell of a house, and we are all safe and loved well.
The opposite of that never happened.  Not even for a second.  Erase.  Undo.

By now it's probably no secret that I am a woman completely dominated by her emotions, and the emotions of others.  Naturally, therefore, I spent the bulk of my shitty weekend frazzled and trying to pretend I hadn't just been bawling like a newborn calf.

At the gas station, a man and his daughter got out of his truck.  He was holding several bags, and she carried a purple stuffed unicorn.  The pair approached the car parked directly ahead of them, and when the trunk opened, they put the girls belongings inside...

(Oh, I know what this is.  So familiar.  Except our "exchange" point wasn't a gas station.  It was a downtown Shoney'
s.  When there still was a Shoney's.  And my mother never stayed in the car...)

Dad and Daughter embraced.   I looked away from them, partly to give them the respectful privacy I felt they deserved, and partly due to my uncontrollable waterworks.  Whether it was the result of their awkward goodbye, or the remarkably shitty series of events earlier in the weekend, I do not know.   They separated.  Dad realizes Daughter has forgotten a few items in the backseat.  They meet again, embrace again.  People stare.
With the exchange complete, Dad and Daughter depart in separate vehicles, and I imagine the exchange between Mother and Daughter.

"How was your weekend with your dad?"
"Did you do anything special?"
"Well, you're chatty."
"I'm just tired..."  (fake sleep.  Think over the oddities and foreign happenings of the weekend.  Sigh of relief that the next visit will be months away...)

But maybe that was more my mother's and my own exchange, than this mother and daughter.

The whole situation made me achingly sad.  For the little girl.  For her dad.  For my Dad.  And for my own feelings, or lack thereof, of which situations like this make me aware.

I wish I hadn't seen it.
And I never want to have to ask my own kids, "how was your weekend with your dad".

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Embarrassing, and all over the place...

I don't know where this will go.  I'm a little embarrassed to even write it all out.
Be kind.

When our son was 7 or 8, he decided that he was too big to live upstairs with us, and insisted upon moving into the spare room in the basement.  Number one, it was huge, and number two, there was a substantial lack of pink carpeting on the floor...neither of which were true of his upstairs room.
So, we packed him up, we shipped him out, er, down, and all was well.

His upstairs room, sunny, happy, and inviting, (even if it was somewhat pink) lent itself perfectly to my quirk, and my sometimes incredible desire for solitude.
I moved in.

I collected silliness anywhere I could find it, in the form of ribbons, beads, tassels, and just general quirkery.  I hung them, tied them, pasted them, and threw them anywhere there was a space in my new sanctuary.  My favorite painted chair moved in, and I began sitting in the corner for hours, reading, writing, scribbling on things that were never meant to be scribbled.
I refused to dust it.  I refused to vacuum it.  This was my space and it did not ask to be clean and tidy. It asked to be filled to capacity with silliness and clutter.  And so, I obliged.
It was the greatest room in our whole house.

And then, our son realized that the basement wasn't very friendly.  It was dark.  No windows in his room meant that not even the moonlight could comfort him at night.  He began to see things that scared him.  For weeks, he was sure he kept seeing a dead dog lying at the bottom of the stairs.  He heard things that were certainly evil, and out to harm him.  He was afraid.
After sitting with him one night for an hour, in the dark, and explaining away every shadow, every creak, and making precisely no progress, he decided that he could no longer live in this dungeon of horrors, and asked to move back to his old room.

And we moved him.

All of my lovely things shifted from the bright and happy room upstairs, to the dark, loneliness of the basement room.  There was no light.  There was no breeze.  There was no ugly pink carpet, and there was no quirk whatsoever.  Just four white walls, and a concrete floor.  I was sad.
It became a playroom for the kids.  It became a workout room for everyone.  It became a catch-all for anything in our house that did not have a proper home.  It became less and less "my" space, every day.  
Eventually, I stopped trying to make it into something it refused to be, and I stopped visiting. 

And, in the grand tradition of teenagers, our son changed his mind, once again, decided that he was too big to live upstairs with us, and insisted upon moving back into the basement room.
We protested, for a minute, and then we gave in.

Today, after a positively crappy morning, I decided that I was taking my room back.  Anything belonging to our son that was left upstairs, got piled into the living room, (he will hate me when he gets home from school) and I began slowly replacing all of my silly treasures to their rightful home.  The room brightened instantly.

Gathering stacks of books, piles of candles, wads of beads, I moved back in, somewhat, and arranged everything to my liking.

And then, the book.

Originally a "count your blessings" book, it had been repurposed some time ago, and turned into a nasty, nasty thing.  I had masking-taped the pages together that had already been used, and on the remaining pages, I had pasted pictures of violently skinny women.  Women who were either sickly thin, or who had been airbrushed to appear so.  Rib cages.  Jutting hip bones.  Sunken flesh surrounding sharp collar bones.  Lots, and lots, and lots of bones.
There were also three purposely unflattering photographs of another woman...
Standing, in her underpants, exposed beneath the harsh lighting.
She stood, posing for the camera, a frown on of obvious disgust on her face.
A fat woman.
A woman with a distinct lack of self worth, posing first forward, then sideways, then facing away from the camera.  Posing in such a way that the viewer could fully take in every angle of fatness she had to offer.  Her soft belly.  Her large breasts.  Her wide bottom.  A woman ensuring that there was nothing whatsoever about her that was appealing, or encouraging.

I was twenty nine when I posed for those pictures.
I printed them, quickly, and then deleted any evidence that they ever existed.
I pasted them in my book, and surrounded them with captions like "you're still fat...keep walking," and "you're HUGE!"  The photographs were the first page, in my new, horrible piece of exercise equipment.  My "inspiration" book.
Filled with pictures of my fatness, and pictures of willowy, bony, beautiful models, I would stare at it, as I ran on my treadmill, until I was exhausted.

I lost a few pounds in the beginning.  I ran or walked for a specific number of calories every day.  I also limited myself to one meal per day (because I couldn't handle being anorexic even for a minute.  I'm a broad who lives for her oral fixation).
The weight started to come off, and I felt as if I'd won some sort of prize.  My ass was shrinking, and I was on my way to pointy hip bones in no time.

And I hated myself.
I hated my fat.
I hated my lack of hip bones.
I hated every inch of my flesh, regardless of the thirty-pound weight loss.
I hated me.

That goddamn book.  It was the paper proof of what I had always felt inside.
"You are no good unless you fit a certain standard.  You are less if you're fat.  You are less valuable if you don't look like these bony women.  You are sub par."

That goddamn book.

I gained all the weight back.  And of course, felt even lower about myself.
The day our family joined a local gym, the disdain for my person was evident upon my face in my membership photo.  I looked like all those ugly statements I'd constantly told myself.  I looked sub par.

I stopped looking inside that awful book, and eventually shoved it into the back of our bookshelf to be forgotten.  I dropped fifty pounds at the gym, and started to feel better.  The nagging voice that had constantly impugned my self worth, gradually faded into the background, and I learned how silly it was to base my value on the size of my ass.  My fabulous ass.

And then, I gained the weight back.
And my ass is still fabulous.  And I hate that goddamn book more than ever.  I hate that I have allowed it to continue to exist in my home.  I hate what it says about me.  I hate that I spent so many years believing it.

I can't stand to get rid of it, however.  It's currently buried in my new room, with Shel Silverstein piled on top of it for good measure.
I know I'll look at it again, from time to time.

But only because, I know it can't hurt me anymore. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why don'cha do right...

"I'm not bad.  I'm just drawn that way."  
Jessica Rabbit.

Oh, I love me some Jessica Rabbit.  Tall, thin, ample-breasted.  Fiery red hair that begs to be noticed.  Her melodic voice practically oozing out from her full, brightly painted mouth.  Those two meaty shelves.  The absolute epitome of feminine seduction.  That is, if we're making allowances for the fact that she's a cartoon...

Everyone is convinced that this dame is as easy as they come.  Well, just look at her.  She's spilling out of her dress, she can't seem to converse with a man without dripping with sexuality, and, well, for fucksake, she's a *red* head.  What more does one need, in order to cast her off as some kind of insatiable, sex-crazed trollop?  Pin the red "A" to her dress already, so we can move on to Betty Boop.   

And then, it turned out that this assumed tramp was nothing less than cross-eyed silly over her big, goofy Roger.  She didn't want any of the others, no matter how she might have come across in the beginning.  She loved her man, er, her rabbit with all her big, bosomy heart.   At the end of the day, after all the sexual intensity, all the winking, all the hip-wiggling, come-hither looks...even after writhing around onstage, and pressing her gigantic rack into that detective's face, all she wanted was Roger.

So, chew on that a bit.  Think before you judge, before you assume.

Now, get outta here.  Give me some money, too.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I'll outlast all of you.

I consider myself to be a fairly rational, and collected person.
Until I'm not.

When I feel attacked or singled out in an unflattering light, when my feelings are hurt or ignored, when promises are broken, in those moments, I feel like a lunatic.  Out of control.

I despise it.  Intensely.  And, it shows.
I'm not proud of it.  I'm not happy about it...

Nor am I happy about being told that I'm unhealthy, or hinting to the fact that I am less valuable as a fat person, than I was a a thin person.  The size of my ass has nothing to do with my character, or even, heaven forbid, my health.  I'm one of the healthiest people I know.  My intake of processed food is minimal, and I don't hose myself in chemical cocktails and artificial foam, hoping for the illusion of "clean."  I don't load myself full of Frankenstein tobacco, or gorge on booze, and then try to point the finger outward.
Fuck you, I'll outlast all of you.

Nor am I happy about being told that, had I been raised with my father, I might have turned out a little more like my sister, "instead of..."
Instead of what?  Instead of a woman who has raised two of the most amazing kids in creation, despite a nightmarish upbringing?  A woman with confidence and poise, unashamed to speak her mind, yet always doing so with dignity and respect for everyone  involved?  A woman certain of what she will, and will not tolerate?
Oh, the shame.

Nor am I happy when I can't count on those closest to me to keep their word, to stand next to what they've promised, without fail.

I don't like feeling like this.  I don't like writing like this, and I don't like sounding like this.  I don't like it.  And I don't like feeling like an asshole when I stand up and let people know these things about me.

I don't like feeling like I'm not a fairly rational, and collected person.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Blog-like thing.


Bitch I will cut you.

A completely unflattering emotion.

I suppose it makes sense.  The fear of losing something or someone that we love desperately, turns into anger, and sometimes makes us react poorly.  Understandably, I suppose...none of us want to lose the things we most cherish.  It isn't pretty, and it isn't easy to get around.

"You will leave me.
Someone else you suddenly deem more valuable, will step in and fill my place in your life.  I will be downsized.  I will be tossed out.  I will be left without you.  You, who I adore, who I value, who I treasure.  You will move forward, and I will be left behind, replaced by a better version.  These are the things I fear, that cause me to behave irrationally, in the form of jealousy."

It seems easy enough, all banged out in bold text, offering a rational explanation for what feels so unhinged inside.  It seems easy enough to pinpoint the root of the fear, or the insecurity.

Reality, however, is often very different.
In reality, the jealousy shows itself in the form of accusations, defensiveness and anger.  Ugliness.  The complete opposite of love.  It's called "the green monster" for a reason.

I know people on both sides of the fence.  People who have been able to overcome the emotion entirely, and live what seems like the most liberating and refreshing life imaginable.
And the reverse...people whose lives are completely ruled by jealousy, and all it's repercussions.
I know which side of the fence I would like to be on, obviously.
And it's easier said than done, obviously.

Whether a person is on the giving or the receiving end of jealousy, doesn't seem to matter.  It sucks, either way.  It sucks to feel accused.  It sucks equally to feel replaced.
Shitty feelings, from a shitty emotion, that in reality, is nothing more than fear.

                                                                 That didn't sound like your sister on the phone...

This post will be jealous of all the posts before it that don't suck...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Some days are noisier than others.
Today is a "noisy" day.

The brain begins to fill with weird questions, thoughts that don't seem to link up, or fit with others.  Emotions swell from anxious despair, to inappropriate elation.  And everywhere in between.
And a feeling of desperation from the piles and piles of "unmentionables"...the thoughts that leave one sort of stranded, searching every friend in hopes of finding a confidant in whom to confide.
Knowing that most of it is best left unsaid, as there will be an immediate recoil of regret once the words are spoken.
Restless sleep that builds, and builds, until days have passed without sleep.  Awkward paranoia.  Fragile ego.  

I may be crazy, but  at least I'm not crazy! 

Whether it's genetics, or life experiences that created this, I do not know.  But I don't suppose knowing would make days like this any easier.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This post sucks.

I never want to be the kind of person who lords over her family, demanding that this or that take place in a manner timely enough to suit my ever-expanding demands.
I never want to be the type of person who tells my husband or children that they "can't" associate with someone, because I don't find it personally enjoyable.

Those are the things that I keep repeating to myself, over and over this week, as the arrival of my mother-in-law looms ever closer.

That is exactly, however, the type of person I feel like this week.

I keep telling him that his decision to invite his mother is entirely up to him, and that I will support him in whatever he decides to do.
This is what I say.  What I feel, however, and how that reads upon my person, is entirely the opposite. I dread it.  I dread her.  And I'm bothered that I have not been able to conceal it as well as I thought I could.  And it isn't for a lack of trying, either.

Of course, with her visit drawing near, my obsessive need to have an immaculate, spotless home has begun to take over, and has clashed violently with my childrens' need to be be messy, and sticky, and to leave a trail of toys and dirty clothes wherever they wander.  Their promises to clean their rooms have turned into drawers stuffed with dirty clothes and trash, and the area beneath their beds turning into landfills.

My frustration is evident.  My hands are raw from bleach, and my back aches.  The better part of me wishes I could just leave the house, and return on Monday after the visit is over.  Check into a motel, and let the hired maid and the room service staff do all the obsessive cleaning.  Let the husband and the kids handle the mother-in-law, and I'll return when she's gone.

The guilt I feel has turned into some kind of stagnant, nagging sadness, because I don't like making this more difficult for my husband, nor do I like feeling like a broken record with my kids.  "Clean your room.  Pick up this trash.  Who left toothpaste everywhere?"  I don't like feeling as if I have to scour my house from floor to ceiling, and I don't like the fact that I'm just a general grouch, who is making her husband uncomfortable.

And I don't like this crybaby post.  

Suck it up, Nancy!  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Parental Fail.

I hugged my teenage son goodbye this morning, as he left for work with his father.  As I held his tall, lean person in my arms, I was suddenly ashamed to realize how long it had been since I last truly hugged my son.
We stood for several seconds together, and I mumbled "my baby boy..."  half expecting him to pull away, or to moan in that teenager-y way.  He didn't.  I swear, I think he hugged me tighter.

I think I stopped hugging him at the point that he stopped climbing into my lap and asking for it.  What a loss.

He's been the size of an adult since he was twelve.  Did I subconsciously decide that he was too big for me to hug?  That he didn't want me to hug him?  He seemed so happy this morning, to bend down to my level, so I could wrap him in my arms.

This is a short-lived mistake.  I do not intend to make it again, and until he tells me he doesn't want to be hugged anymore, I will continue to fold him in my arms, regardless of how he towers over me.

I miss my sweet, blond-haired, cuddly baby boy.  But he has been replaced with someone even greater, and I will not miss out on those precious opportunities any longer.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why I'm high in front of my kids.

This has been the bulk of my day.   If you haven't read it, it's a link to my previous entry, Zig-Zag Rainbow, which is a very detailed, very in-the-moment description of what it's like when I experience a severe migraine attack.
Resembling stroke, these attacks are raw, violent, and most of the time, extremely terrifying.  Every time, I become sure that I will never recover, and am forever doomed to live my life in some kind of sensory-confused, hallucinatory hell.  I don't wish such a thing upon anyone.

But this isn't about the nightmare experience of suffering thru migraine.
This is about the "after."
The post-migraine euphoria.

Once the blindness is gone, once the pain has finally stopped,  once my limbs find their way back to their correct places on my body, an almost excruciating relief creeps in, and my entire being is absolutely high.

I feel a definite softness in every part of my body.  Even my feet feel as if they've been shrouded in cotton.  My head buzzes with a peaceful excitement, and a giddy relief that the attack is over, and that I found my way back out of the strange, dark migraine tunnel once again.
My stomach finally returning to normal, food never tastes as good as it does in this stage.  Even something as simple as this pear feels and tastes glorious...those little bits of sugary grit, the texture dazzling, the sweetness dancing circles on my tongue.
Everything will taste this good today.  Even my ice water is clear and sweet, against the insides of my cheeks.

My arms and legs, having tensed to the point of exhaustion during the attack, are finally rubbery and content, in a way that I can only experience after extreme exertion.

My brain is warm and happy, and I truly believe that nothing could possibly be greater than the sensation of not being in pain.  I am giddy.  I am relieved.  I am exhausted and happy, thoughts all swirly and warm.  I am high.

If not slightly slow, and somewhat tongue-tied, as evident from the choppy, lame attempt above to tell you what I'm feeling.
But I'll certainly take it.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Happiness of Soap

I make my own laundry soap.  Partly because it's a gazillion dollars cheaper than buying it from the store, (I can make ten gallons for less than three dollars) and partly because it's just something I like to do to.  I'm definitely not a professional at homemaking, but I do like doing those few "Little House on the Prairie" things that I'm good at, in order to help keep us afloat. 

I bottle it up, and store it in the utility closet until I'm ready to use it, then I start washing away, secretly wishing for a wringer and a clothes line.  It makes me happy. 

A few people have discovered the secret awesome-ness of this homemade wonder, and from time to time will send me their empty jugs to fill.  This also makes me happy. 

I'm happy to share with them, something that makes me happy. 

Happiness everywhere. 

Filling my bottles today, feeling, well, happy, and full of old-fashioned domestic satisfaction, I thought, "I should send this bottle to my mother!  I'll bet she'd love it.  Maybe I'll call her today and invite her over to get it..." 


Happiness wilted. 

I don't have a mother that I'd just invite over on a whim, without some definite back-up plan to get her immediately out of my house.  I don't have a mother that I'd invite over for soap, and ask her to stay for coffee, while we chat about the current goings-on in our lives.  I don't have a mother that my children will be happy to see upon arriving home from school...

I have a mother who will keep people waiting on her indefinitely, and then, back out of plans, simply in order to have control over whether or not people wait on her.  I have a mother who will say "I'll be there in ten minutes," and who will then be four hours late.  I have a mother who will promise her grandchildren one thing, and then do completely the opposite. 

There are times, when I want, sometimes desperately, to rise above my petty resentment, to get over what is passed, and just start over.  When not having a mother in my life creates a feeling of actual sadness.  When I consider those who have lost their mothers permanently, and think, "you ungrateful brat." 

Sometimes I literally want to shake her, shake the "phony" out of her.  Shake out of her the piece of her that gives such a shit what other people think of her, her hair, her skin, her weight, her goddamn fingernails, and find out if there is actual substance there. 

Shake her, until the part of her that skips family reunions because she's "too fat" comes rolling out of her, so I can stomp it to death. 

Shake her, until she accepts my unease about that she never asks me to reconsider again. 

Shake her, until she sees that being perpetually late is disrespectful, and that breaking every single promise is even more damaging. 

Even shake her until that goddamn baby-talk, phony telephone operator voice of hers is gone forever.  Just talk to me.  Just talk to my kids.  We're mature enough to handle your real voice, and don't need such feigned politeness. 

Shake her.  And shake her, and shake her.  Until nothing is left, but...a mother.  A grandmother.  A mature woman who has had some fifty years to learn her way around herself, and has come to a conclusion that she is as worthy as the next woman.  And that others are as worthy as she.  An equal balance of self-esteem, and respect for those around her. 

I know that if I invite her over today, one of two things will happen.  She'll be delighted, she'll keep me on the phone for two hours, she'll say she's coming, and then she will call and cancel after I wait on her all afternoon.  And I will wonder why in the hell I invited her over in the first place. 
Or, she will show up, talk incessantly about her fatness, make awkward comments, (in her baby voice) about my parenting, my person, my husband, and I will not be able to push her out the door fast enough.  And I will wonder why in the hell I invited her over in the first place. 

Why is it so hard to just be with her?  Why is it so hard for her to just be with me? 
And why, after 33 years of trying and trying and trying, do I still care?  I have a fantastic family of my own.  I have amazing friends.  Besides the millions of dollars I seem to have misplaced, I am blissfully content.  So why on earth do I give such a fuck about one, selfish, neurotic person? 

I suppose the only simple answer is, "she's my mother." 

Fucking soap.  Fucking thoughtful soap.      

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fat Shame

I wasn't kind to myself.  I believed that I was grotesque, that I was less-than, that I didn't deserve the same treatment as a "skinny" person. 
I believed I was ugly.  I believed that it was impossible for the words "fat" and "pretty" to exist in the same sentence, unless that sentence declared that I was "pretty fat." 
I forced myself into too-tight clothes, feeling miserable and uncomfortable, and desperate to hang onto the notion that as long as I didn't go up a size in clothing, I could feel less ashamed. 
I cried and cried, and cried some more, as I went on believing that my husband would never love me, not fully, not really, unless I weighed a certain amount. 
My journals filled with hateful descriptions of my soft, round, wavy body. 

And I am sad for all that wasted time.  I was lovely.  I AM lovely. 
And I am fat. 

And I am no longer ashamed of the word, as if it were something to hide from. 

Now that I have a clear head, and a rational grasp of the matter, the subject of fat shame enrages me. 

How many times have we seen the former fat guy on TV, holding up a pair of his gigantic pants like some kind of trophy?  Stuffing two people into those pants, and declaring victory over his former chub, while someone else looks on in awe, gasping, as if they'd never laid eyes on a fat person before. 
How many times have we seen the woman standing next to a cardboard cut-out of her former round self, giggling with glee over the fact that she can "wear a bikini now!"?  (She could wear a fucking bikini before, but we'll get to that momentarily.) 
I'm happy for these people.  If they felt so miserable and unhealthy before, then good on them for doing what they needed to do for themselves, to feel better. 
But these stupid scenes do nothing but perpetuate the idea that it's shameful to be fat.  It's wrong to be fat.  It's bad to be fat, and being thin is better.  Those "before and after" pictures...the subject frowning in misery over their own fatness, and then, grinning with glee in their second, "after" picture.  It asks us to accept that one of those things is bad.  That one of those things is unfavorable. That one of those things is just downright shameful.

 What the hell is so wrong with someone being fat, and *still* loving themselves?  What is wrong with feeling confident, or, heaven forbid, even sexy within one's fat skin? 

Confidence?  How dare you, Fatso! 
Does this woman deserve our ridicule, our jokes at her expense?  Absolutely the fuck not.  No more than the black person or the gay person or the tall person or the person missing a finger deserve our ridicule. 

"But, being fat is a choice.  Those people should do something about their unhealthy habits, and then they wouldn't be so fat." 

Maybe.  Maybe it's a choice.  Maybe it's not.  Maybe they have some sort of metabolic disorder that causes their unacceptable condition, and they hate being fat just as much as *you* hate them being fat. 
Maybe they're gluttenous and lazy, and maybe they'd rather eat donuts for dinner than a salad.  Maybe it's been twenty years since they've bothered to take a walk or touch their toes. 
But either way, isn't that *their* business?  Don't they have the *right* to choose fucking donuts over a salad?  Don't they have the right to decide not to take a jog? 

And while we're at it, they have the right to wear a bikini.  In public.  They have the right to dress themselves any damn way they please, and to not have some dirt bag boost his or her ego by making fun of them. 
Truly, that's all it amounts to.  By shaming someone else, by belittling someone else, a person is merely demonstrating their own insecurity, their own foolishness.  A person gains nothing by bashing someone else.  But the person receiving the bashing loses lots...

I grew up being ridiculed for my "fatness."  I was a size ten in 8th grade, and evidently that humiliated my mother enough to nickname me "Fatty Arbuckle", "Two Ton Tilly", and "Thunder Thighs", to name a few.  As a size 12 to 14 in high school, I believed I was sub-par.  I believed I was grotesque.  I believed that because I didn't look like the cheerleading squad, that I was less, and that I deserved less.  I thought my mother was right, and for being "fat", I was very, very wrong. 

I wasn't wrong.  The woman in the picture up there isn't wrong.  Not in the least. 

My diet, not that it's anyone's business but mine, consists mostly of food that comes solely from nature.  Whole food.  Good food.  But I have the same right to a donut, or four, that a thin person has.  If I choose to take a walk or a jog at the park next door, or if I choose to sit literally for hours in front of my TV watching a cooking show, it's my right to do either, and it's not the business of anyone who would shame me for it. 
The argument the fat-hate bullies like to make (to look like less of an asshole) is that it's "unhealthy" for the fat person.  They're worried about their health. 
Well, good.  Then pay for their membership to the gym of your choice, and go start making fun of smokers in the same manner, as their behavior is obviously unhealthy, too.  If they are genuinely speaking out of concern, there would be *action* and not hurtful, ugly words. 

The bottom line is, I'm fat.  I'm not ashamed of that word, and I'm not ashamed of my body.  Of course, I have "bad" days, just like anyone else, and wish I were smaller/taller/thinner/perkier...but I know that I am just as lovely as my thin sisters.  I am just as worthy.  I am just as important, or unimportant as the person who eats lettuce all day. 
My fat does not define my personality, any more than the tall guy is automatically a douche bag because he's tall. 

So in the words of bat-shit Tyra Banks, if you don't like it, you can "kiss my fat ass." 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nervous jibberish

My heart might literally burst out of my chest. 
The phone will ring, and it will be terrible news...
Someone will come to the uncle is outside in the field.  He might come to the door...
Breathing fast enough to make myself dizzy.
I think I'm having a heart attack.  I'm probably having a heart attack.  Chest pains.
I might faint. 
My heart might explode. 
I might die. 

I won't die.  I know this.  I'm not having a heart attack, and I'm not going to faint.  As abnormal as this is, this is normal. 
I know this.  Rationally, I know this. 

But in the midst of it, I know that something terrible will happen.  Someone will come to the door, and catch me...catch me what?  There's nothing illegal, or immoral, or humiliating happening inside my house.  I don't even have any dirty dishes in my sink.  What am I afraid they will see? 

I have no rational explanation.  I have no reason to be afraid, and yet I am.  Beyond afraid.  Terrified.  And I have no rational explanation.  My heart bumps rapidly as if I've just seen something frightening.  My hands are weak with tremble and fear.  My mouth is dry, and my chest aches. 

Over nothing. 
It's helpless.  And embarrassing. 

I am a woman, entirely in control of the demons in my past.  Fully aware that I have fought, and won.  That I do not exist within the grips of some emotional torment, struggling to continue despite every effort to stop me.  I won.   I am well.  I am whole. 

Until this.  It has the ability to knock me literally from my feet, and make me, for a few brief minutes of hell, question my entire being. 

Then, quick as it came, it's gone. 

Fucking panic attacks. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Here comes the bride. Again.

Since my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, a temporary "truce" has settled between my mother and myself.  Maybe not so much a "truce" as it is me not ignoring her completely.  She'll attest to the fact that I give an impeccable performance of the silent treatment. 
And I was happy to do so, because I didn't feel she deserved my acknowledgment.  She'd hurt me in a thousand ways, and depriving her of my attention was the kindest thing I could think to do to her to hurt her in return.  It worked.  We existed, absent of one another.  Happily, on my end. 
But the fact is, someone I love now has an imminent expiration date, and I don't care to hurt her with the coldness between my mother and myself. 
So I am personable.  I am pleasant, sort of, and instead of spitting my interpretation of "the truth" at her like venom, I now make an effort to soften what I have to say. 
It's uncomfortable.  But I love my grandmother.  And for her, I can be civil to my mother. 

My mother. 
If there were a broke, trailer-park version of Elizabeth Taylor,  it would be her.  With a lust for the most flashy and expensive things, while only being able to afford an occasional Wal-Mart knock-off. 
And an apparent wedding ring hording issue...

My father was the first one she married.  They went their separate ways before I was old enough to remember anything, and for the longest time, I didn't even know he was my biological father.  She didn't want me to know.  I remember him as being a man that I visited a couple of times a year, who let me pick the seeds out of his pot stash. 

And then my second father.  She led me to believe that he was my "dad."  I don't remember the precise moment I found out the truth.  I can, however, remember very vividly the day that he told me the truth from his own lips.  We were swimming, and I said "hey, Daddy, watch this!"  He froze, as if he was suddenly remembering for the first time himself.  "You know I'm not your real dad, don't you?"  I knew.  But it was alarming to hear him say so. 

Number three was sort of an arrogant bastard, and the one I think most suited my mother.  He liked to be called "The King Daddy."  He wasn't.  He was an emotionally cold, and ego-centric asshole, and his brother was the creature who preyed upon me when the sun went down.  I think he might have stayed with my mother forever, were it not for the fact that she began an affair with number four. 

Number four...possibly even more convinced of his own importance than his predecessor, and possibly the most unusual man I have ever met.  He and my mother separated within a few years, however their divorce drug out for a decade, in what looked like a pitiful attempt to hold on to one another, without being obvious. 

There was also an engagement, one hundred years ago or more, to a man before my biological father. 
I don't know anything about him, except for his name. 

It seems apparent that my mother is either very bad at marriage, or very fond of wedding cake. 
(Not that I fault her for loving cake.  I love cake.  But when I have a hankering, I run to the store, not to the altar.)

Today's news shouldn't surprise me, really. 

"I'm getting married tomorrow." 

I literally had nothing to say, tho I might have a bruise on my chin from my jaw hitting the floor. 
Because I said nothing to say, she began explaining her reasoning behind her new nuptials.  There were insurance reasons, military benefits, medical reasons...but never, "I love him." 
Never, "we love each other."  No mention of love, whatsoever. 
Finally, I said to her, "this isn't my decision.  You don't have to keep trying to justify it to me.  If you think you're doing the right thing, then that's what you should do.  At the end of the day, it has nothing to do with me." 

Which is true. 
And I don't know why it's so hard for me to accept that. 
She could shave her head and join a cult, and it would have nothing to do with me.  It would have no affect on my day to day life. 
So why do I care?  I'm not fond of the man, it's true.  But I am not the one who has to sleep with him.  It doesn't affect me. 
I'm cringing at all the jokes that I know are coming. 
I'm embarrassed.  About what, I'm not sure.  As I said before, I'm fully aware that this has nothing to do with me.  Being embarrassed about it seems a little egocentric on my part. 

Part of me wonders if this absurdity isn't lurking inside of me somewhere, buried in my DNA, and waiting to leap out of me at an unexpected moment, destroying my marriage, and forcing me to begin hording wedding dresses. 
Silly, really.  My first and only marriage has probably lasted longer than all of hers put together.  But every time there is a bump in the road, I wonder, is this the day my maternal genes ooze to the surface, and ruin everything? 

My marriage has nothing to do with her.  Her past is not mine, and her future does not paint mine. 

But, fuck.  Five husbands?  Really?
How many weird step-dads do I need? 

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Let it ring."

I'm going to share something, that I find pretty embarrassing.  Actually, it's downright humiliating, and leads to even further awkward situations down the road. 

My telephone freaks me out.

Not in a "boogie man" sort of way, but in a "jeezus, that fucking thing is ringing again, and the thought of picking it up and actually talking to the person on the other end, is making my heart sink into my stomach," way. 
I'm not sure, exactly, what freaks me out about it.  Maybe I'm afraid I'll hear bad news.  Maybe I'm afraid the person wants something from me that I don't have to give.  Maybe I'm worried that I'll get "stuck" on the phone with them for an extended period of time, and won't have an excuse to hang up. 

When my mother still called, it was impossible to get her off the line.  She literally chattered on for up to three hours sometimes, about nothing but herself.  My least favorite subject.  And nothing shut her up.  "Oh, look, one of the kids is on fire...gotta go," would still leave me on the phone with her for another half hour, while she explained in great detail why she hated fire. 
Ok, maybe it's not that extreme.  But that's how it felt
That is, when we weren't screaming incoherently at one another.  Which was often. 

My father has been calling for weeks, and every time he does, a knot swells inside my throat.  "He's either shit-his-pants drunk and wants to ramble on for an hour about aliens, or he's sober, and won't have anything to say to me at all."  Both are equally unnerving.  His messages fill me with panic and guilt, and remind me what an asshole I am for not answering my phone when he calls. 

My friends call, and my husband looks at me as if I've done something terrible when I say, "let it ring." 
"But, why don't you want to talk to them?" 
The short answer is, I don't know.


In high school, most of my hours were spent on the phone.  With a boyfriend.  With a best friend.  With wrong numbers, even.  Several times, I literally spent the entire night on the phone, only to be surprised by my 6am alarm.  I would wander thru the day exhausted, nap after school, and wake in time for dinner and phone.  The thought of that now makes my insides twist. 

Talking on the phone with my husband is not particularly a problem.  I think I could talk to him all day, and feel comfortable.   I can even handle making "professional" phone calls, to deal with our personal business, because I have an agenda, I can say my peace, and I can hang up when it's over. 

But the thought of an unsolicited phone call from a friend, relative, or otherwise, leaves me feeling a weird, anxious and embarrassing feeling.

I feel as if I'm well-spoken, thoughtful, and thought-full in text.  I can read an email, take a few minutes to think on it, compose a response, re-read the response, and delete or reword what doesn't come across the way I wish.  I can double-check myself for anything that I might wish to take back.  I can triple-check for anything that seems insensitive.  I can be sure.  Very, very sure.  And then, send. 
There is no "undo" over the phone.  Once I say it, I can't un-say it.  It's out there in the universe, and I can't take it back.  It's done. 

More than once, this has lead to friends feeling alienated.  Ignored.  Left behind.  It has led to an angry father, frustrated loved-ones, and a very confused, and embarrassed me. 
I'm happy that they want to talk to me.  I'm happy that someone loves me enough that they want to hear my voice over the phone.  And I feel ridiculous that I can't (or don't) reciprocate.  I'm anxious when they do call, and scared to death that one day, they won't.  My fear is that one day, the phone will finally fall silent, and no one will bother with me anymore. 

Friday, July 15, 2011


Heart falling out of ass. 
It's the only way I know how to describe the feeling I get when something unpleasant takes me completely by surprise.  One second I'm fine, and the next second, my heart has plummeted from my chest, and threatens to fall right out of my ass. 

If you read regularly, you'll know that my husband and I are estranged from our mothers.  With good reason.  So I don't need to go over that again. 

Last weekend a phone call, at nearly midnight, led us to think someone must be dead, and so rather than ignoring it as usual, my husband answered it.  His mother claimed her phone was blinking his name, as if he had called.  (An obvious lie, since our flip-closed cellphones are physically incapable of "butt dialing.") 
She talked as if nothing had happened between us.  As if she hadn't been banished to Shitty-Mother Island, and as if she hadn't been told to "never darken our doorway again", after the disgusting things she said to my husband...
She asked about coming up to visit, "if I stay in a hotel," and my husband told her that we would just have to see how things go, since his schedule is weird.  

I shrugged it off, hoping that it was a way for him to blow her off, hoping he would ignore any further communication from her, and hoping that neither I, our children, or my precious husband would have to endure the black cloud she always carries with her...the chaos and darkness she will inevitably spread thru our house with her bitter comments, her racism, homophobia, and her general nasty disposition...
And sort of knowing that my husband is torn. 

Then, nothing.  No more calls, no emails or letters, just the ever-present nagging sense of her presence, somewhere deep in my brain. 

And today, in a "heart-falling-out-of-ass" moment, we receive this email:

"(Your grandmother) and I are going to come up to see the kids and you guys sometime before they go back to school.  When do they start back?"

The fuck?  Did she just invite herself back into our home?  Did she just tell me that they are arriving, and ignore the fact that she's forbidden to show her face on our property?  Talk about balls.  She definitely has a pair of big fat hairy ones. 

My immediate reaction is to call my husband, and say something along the lines of "guess who's coming to dinner," and hope he freaks out as badly as I do, so we can agree as a unit not to allow her back.  But I don't.  I stare at the message, instead, and panic. 
If my husband wants to see her, I won't stop him. 
I don't want to see her.  Ever, at all.   She's wretched.  She's miserable, and only finds happiness in making others miserable, too.  And the bitch was hateful to my children.  That alone is grounds for immediate and permanent dismissal. 

But I also know how many times I have given my own disgusting mother a "second chance."  Lots.  Of course she's a sociopathic lunatic,  and she blows it every single time, without fail.  So I am familiar with the cycle of forgiveness and heartbreak.  He is not.  After a lifetime of abuse, his first and only confrontation with his mother resulted in two years of not speaking to her. 

My fear is that this will drive a wedge between us.  That she will drive a wedge between us.  She has before.  Even going so far as to tell my husband "next time, you'd better marry for looks!"  I want her to go away, take her miserable cloud with her, and stay away. 

And now, she's just declared that she will come.  "You have no say in the matter, and I will be there.  Kindly go fuck yourself in preparation for my descent." 

I want to move.  I want to hide.  I want to run away.  I want to escape the chaos she brings, simply by being.  I want to tell her that if she shows up at our door, I'll meet her with swear words and a fist to the teeth.  I want to shove her in a box with my own mother, and ship them off to Abu Dhabi, Garfield style. 

I want to be supportive of the needs and wishes of my husband.  And I'm sorely afraid that this will be an instance where I come out looking like a huge dickhead. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me...

We watched one of those TV news specials tonight.  Not a particularly noteworthy event, however the content of this particular program left me feeling incredibly...

I'm not sure what was supposed to be the main focus of the program.  It seemed to jump around a lot, or maybe I was just so lost in my own thoughts that I didn't catch on.  But basically, it was focused toward religion, and faith. 

Unquestioning faith.  Unrelenting faith.  Just plain old blind faith, that never wavered or weakened. 

They all looked a little nuts to begin with.  Hands open to the sky, tears flowing freely.  Hundreds of people who climbed mountains, or waited in lines for hours, hoping for just a glimpse of someone claiming to be a healer.  Collapsing into hysteria or unconsciousness when touched by such a person. 
People claiming visions of, and even conversations with the Virgin Mary

All of them so sure of their faith.  So unmoved by how they appeared to the "outside" world. 

And I felt sad. 
I felt left out. 
I felt sorrow in my own lack of faith. 

What is it that they have, that I don't?  It isn't that I haven't tried.  I went to church as a little kid.  My mother tucked four quarters into my little palm every Sunday, and sent me off to Sunday school to get my Jesus on.  I got up early on Sundays to attend services as a teenager, and even sang in the church choir for a number of years.  Even in my adult years, I've sat thru sermons, sometimes even arriving an hour early to sit in the sanctuary, and hope for something "holy" to fill me up. 
I prayed. 
I talked right out loud to whatever deity would listen. 
I let my seven hundred year-old preacher dip me in the magic water. 
I even dove nose first into a bible a time or two.  Or twelve.  Or more. 

I wanted to have faith.  I wanted to feel what it seemed the church-goers around me were feeling. 

I didn't.  Even a little. 
Oh, sure.  I felt good singing hallelujah songs, and being "joyful" near those people who were more righteous than I.  I liked the company, and the happy feeling I got when my adorable and feeble preacher put his hand on my shoulder at the end of every sermon, and told me how special I was to him, and how happy he was to see young people like me in church every Sunday. 
But as far as being hardcore, dead sure about anything "godly," there was nothing. 

I questioned the bible.  I questioned it's authenticity, and it's authors, and it's messages that I found to be, at times, entirely contradictory.  I questioned the sincerity of people I encountered who preached love, while using it to justify hate.  I questioned my own sanity and morals, wondering why my naughtiest thoughts took place in church.  I questioned why, if all of this was "real", was I allowed to feel such doubt.  And why nothing I did was enough to "make" me a believer. 

Not that I'm not a believer.  It's just that I'm not sure what I believe.  I don't know the answers, and I find myself feeling a sense of longing when I run into those who seem so sure. 

I ran away when I was seventeen.  With a man.  I stayed gone for somewhere near a week, calling once or twice to let my family know that I was ok.  It was a weird time.  I returned to a lot of very angry people, naturally.  It was hard to articulate what I'd been thinking, and I know I must have been asked that question at least a hundred times. 

One evening after church choir practice, I found myself sitting on the steps outside with our song leader, smoking together, and talking about my brief ordeal.  He listened intently, and with great empathy.  He advised me, he hugged me, and he warned me, gently, about the potential folly of my path.  He finished with "men can be real bastards sometimes." 
I didn't know he was allowed to say that.  He was religious, after all.  And they don't say words like "bastards."  Do they?  They're not real people, are they?  Not flawed and messy, like me... 

From there, I began to wonder if perhaps that isn't the "real" god.  Maybe he was, in that moment, some kind of "god" in a sense.  A real person, with real compassion, and real concern, reaching out where he knew he could help.  What if it's truly that simple? 

And if it's not, then what is so wrong with me, that I can't just accept all of these things on faith, without questioning the logic of it all?  Without noticing the contradictions?  Without being constantly bombarded with my own inner voice, saying, "something about this doesn't jive..." 

Do "good" believers feel this uncertainty?  How do they settle within themselves the seemingly endless list of questions that I have asked for so long?  How do they just believe it all, without question?  Part of me is glad that I have the capability of independent and logical thought, and have not been swooped up with the religious "crazies," climbing some foreign mountain to touch someone claiming to talk to angels.  And another part of me is a little sad that I can't be filled in such a way.  That I can't just "know" what they seem to know.  That I can't feel sure, the way they feel sure.


Our song leader died a few months later.  And while I missed him so terribly, I felt such a sense of great gratitude for having been able to share such an altering and important moment with him on the steps of our church.  I think of him often, and wonder where he is now.  If he is now.  I wonder if he is with his deity, or if he's currently a fourteen year-old sheep herder in New Zealand.  I wonder if he's just ceased to be, infinitely, and secretly hope like hell that's not the case. 

And that's all.