Friday, March 25, 2011


Everything was perfect when I was seven. 

It was the perfect age, the perfect time.  My mother hadn't gone crazy yet, (and if she had, I hadn't seen it, or begun to suffer from it.)  She was still married to her second husband, who I still called "Daddy", and believed he could save us from anything bad that came along.  They drew orange rings in the dark with their lit cigarettes, and we thought that was the coolest thing in the world.  My sister and I were still buddies, who slept together in bunk beds, and didn't hate the thought of sharing a room with not only each other, but our parents, because our house was so small. 

No one was sick.  No one had died.  No one was nuts...not even me yet.  I loved my mother with the full capacity of my heart because I knew she would never let me down.  I knew my "Daddy" would never abandon us, because that just wasn't the way things were.  I knew my Gran and Pa were always going to be just down the road, and I would always have them.  They were infinite. 

Everyone around me was infinite.
Everything was safe.   
The world would never change...

It changes every day.  Every time I think it might stop, and I might settle in, something wholly malignant creeps in, and reminds me that I have become too comfortable.   

It's so fast.  We're so small.  I was seven only yesterday. 
And I was going to marry Superman. 
What happened? 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I don't have the energy to give this a title.

I know there are probably some people who think that I try to push my opinions about my mother onto my children. 
My son doesn't like her.  And while that gives me a smug satisfaction that nears euphoria, I genuinely don't actively seek to destroy his image of her.  It's an opinion he's formed for himself, based upon what she's shown him.

Maybe he dislikes her partly because of her treatment of me.  I know that when I was young, I felt protective of my mother when I felt someone treated her poorly, or had unflattering things to say about her.  Regardless of her treatment of me at the time, I would become infuriated with my precious grandfather when he dared question her parental decisions, or her "party" lifestyle...even if I agreed with him.  Curious. 
Whatever the reason, my son dislikes her. 
And I have tried my best not to influence his decision.  

I sat with my daughter tonight, combing thru her wet and tangled hair, and having a lazy chat after her bath.  Wrapped in her little towel, I began rubbing her back, and her shoulders, and she slumped over in a lazy heap, declaring, "that feels nice, mom."  
So, I told her, "my mommy used to rub my back for me like this, too." 

"She did?"

"Yeah, she did.  She was really nice to me sometimes when I was little."

I realized then how hard it was for me to say nice things to my daughter about her grandmother.  How actually physically hard it was...

"What about when you were older?"

Now, I really had to bite my tongue.  I wanted to say a million things.  I wanted to tell her that she was crazy and awful.  That she was a lunatic, unhinged, and that for every sweet little back rub she offered me, there were a thousand red hand prints on my face, and countless ugly names, and a permission slip for a pedophile to attack me at his leisure, all while she pretended she was a model mother.  I wanted to tell her that her grandmother was a useless, mooching piece of shit who cared more about men and money and medicine than she ever did about her daughters, or even her grandchildren, and that she should put that evil woman out of her thoughts for good...
But instead, I said:

"Well, we didn't always get along, but sometimes she gave me really nice back rubs.  And she always came into the bathroom when I was sick, and she rubbed my back then, too." 

"Ooooh, that's nice!  I love Grandma!" 

Dagger to the heart.  Don't love that woman.  Love anyone.  Love the mailman.  Love the guy who bags our groceries.  Love Lindsay Lohan.  Just don't love that woman. 

But I didn't.  Of course I didn't.  It isn't my place, and just like my son, I know my daughter is smart enough to eventually see her for who she is.  She will.  My mother isn't the kind of person who can stop being ludicrous long enough to fool anyone. 

Loving her grandmother because she was once kind to her mother isn't the worst thing in the world.  And in the end, I get to prove to myself that I don't force my kids to dislike her.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Juice Newton Slays the Boogie Man...

It wasn't pleasant. 

Most of the time, it was downright scary as fuck.  I suppose I wasn't exactly a puss, as far as little kids go.  In fact, I was a bit of an explorer, and ghosts, strangers and injuries didn't really worry me all that much.  I wandered around, climbing on shit that probably should have killed me, talking to people who should have kidnapped and butchered me, and exploring places that were probably haunted a million times over, without a lot of fear of those things. 
But there was a boogie man, and I was terrified of him.  He was very real, very much a threat, and I knew that the grown ups around me were useless when it came to protecting me from him. 
And in that respect, it wasn't pleasant.  Most of the time, it was downright scary as fuck.

I spent countless hours wandering 600 acres in a bit of a fantasy world, talking to myself, and to my sweet doggies, to the point that I'm sure my mother and sister wondered if I wasn't crazy or mentally retarded half the time.

The rest of the time I spent sitting alone in my room, with a collection of songs that can only be described as "odd" for a nine-year-old kid. 
Some of them I understood fully. 
Some of them left me without a clue, but I knew that they were serious, by golly.


And, here.

This little guy...

And one more, for good measure...

And somehow, those funny little songs, (and basically every other song included on those albums, since I was just a kid, with a very limited cassette collection) made it all not-so-scary for a minute.

Well, that, and my life-size Kirk-Cameron-in-a-leather-jacket-poster...mmm.  Mike Seaver...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grey matters

He is one of the most maddening people I know.  Sometimes I am quite convinced that he does things like this, simply to see what kind of reaction I will have.  And then I remember, he's only 14 years old, and his brain won't even be done growing and fully functional until he's around 25.  

He's my kid.  And as far as kids go, he's a damn good one, too.  He doesn't smoke, he doesn't drink, he doesn't have sex or call me a fat twat or generally talk to me like I'm an ignorant whore.  He is capable of great empathy, and is pretty much just a parent's dream.

Most of the time.  

Sometimes, he's a giant prick.  Sometimes he's a thoughtless, selfish teenage asshole.  And in these moments, I am genuinely clueless.  

I'm not going to torment you with the boo-hoo story of my mother, or my childhood again.  You've heard it.  You know it.  You know she's a lunatic, and that my reasoning behind keeping my distance is legitimate.  So we can move forward...

Several months ago, my son confronted me, as I knew he would one day.  He wanted to know the truth behind my anger, resentment, and distance from my mother.  He has seen her behavior firsthand, but knew there was obviously more between her and I that went much deeper than the goofy and socially twisted antics to which he has been witness.  

And so, I sat him down, and told him.  Of course, I left out the specific details of the sexual abuse I suffered.  I'm not a moron, and I know he doesn't need to know that.  But I gave him a decent account of our rocky history, and told him that basically all of that, combined with her recent unpredictable lunacy and dangerous lashing out led his father and I to agree that unsupervised contact with her wasn't in the best interest of him and his sister.  After all, what kind of parents would we be if we felt uneasy, but still allowed someone complete access to them. 

He told me he completely understood, and after being allowed to hear things from a more adult point of view, it made things much more clear for him.  

And now, we flash forward to this afternoon...

This kid, who has been on one of those "kid" kicks, where they seem to push every button possible to see how long it takes before you snap, and murder them, told me he was going outside to play.  

Two hours later, I received a phone call from next door, where she is currently residing. 
The fuck?!  

"Hi.  I was just wondering if I could stay over here and play for..."

I didn't even wait for him to finish his sentence.  

"You need to get your ass home *right* now.  You know how I feel about this.  And I want you home.  Now.  Right now."  

I'm completely dumbfounded.  Oh sure, there are excuses.  His cousins were calling to him from across the field.  He wanted to know if he could spend the night at their house, and needed to call me before they left to go home.  

And my personal favorite, he just doesn't know why he did what he did...

I don't feel like I'm being unreasonable.  The woman is unstable.  She tried to run me off of the fucking road, for fucksake.  The short list of her wacky behavior makes Britney Spears look like Mother Theresa.  And even if she were a perfectly "normal" person, the fact that she makes me and my husband uncomfortable should be enough of a reason for us to say "no."  No good parent gets a "red flag" sort of feeling, but gives that person free roam of their kids anyway.  So, for that reason, I feel absolutely justified. 

This is precisely what I told my son when we had our long, uncomfortable, and very honest talk.  This is why it's so maddening to me when he does this kind of shit. 
One moment it seems as tho he "gets it."  He's totally got a handle on the situation, he gets it, and discipline in the area of XYZ will never be an issue again.  Because he gets it...

And then, a day like today happens, and I get a fucking phone call straight from the lion's den. 

Now, he's being punished, and is completely furious with us for being such enormous, gigantic, bogus, way-uncool turds.  (My words, not his.  That would be another nine years chained in the dungeon.)  

The absurd part is, I feel like an enormous, gigantic, bogus, way-uncool turd.  Not for the punishment.  He deserved that.  But because I can't stand it when he's upset.  Because lately, his goofy decisions have led to him being in trouble often, and I can't not punish him for it, otherwise, I'd just be an idiot of a parent like my own mother.  And I certainly don't want to raise a kid like I was.  Ick.  And yikes.  And ick, again. 

I suppose it is just the impulsive nature of his incomplete brain, and I suppose I just have to accept that.  And I suppose I just have to keep on punishing him, and knowing that he will eventually catch on. 

And I suppose I just have to sit here and stomach the fact that I am the bad guy at the moment. 

And I suppose that eventually, that mooching leech of a woman will ooze her fat ass back to Georgia where she belongs, and I won't have to worry about crap like this for another year.  

But in the end, I suppose it's only natural that they'd want to spend time together.  They are, after all, both functioning with only half a brain.  

Oh, you knew I was gonna.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Zig-Zag Rainbow

For the last day, I have been trying to bang this out in a way that satisfies me.  Trying to accurately describe what happens to me during a migraine attack.   It's leaving me frustrated.  Nothing seems to convey the confusion, the desperation, and the absolute fright that greets me during an attack.  Everything keeps being deleted in frustration.  
Several weeks ago, my lovely friend, Lynn, posted a blog of the same subject.  A graphic description of what it's like for her when she suffers from these same god-awful stroke-like attacks.  She later sent me a message saying she was interested to know how similar our attacks were.  In an evil serendipity, I was suffering from a pretty gross bumper that same day, and the following is what poured out of me in response to her.  Edited, of course, for clarity and general fuckawesomeness.  
Much more telling than anything I'm currently able to dribble out at the moment...

Husband is off to work. Thank goodness, because that means he's safe from the wrath that I'm sure I'm spreading at the moment. The kids are milling about, making various kid noises, and escalating a fury inside of me that only shows up when this twisting pain starts poking around behind my eyeballs. I literally want them to sit in their rooms, motionless, and be happy about it. Otherwise, I am furious with them for every crackle, every thump, and every word they dare speak in my direction. 
The fuck. 
The Boy is taking his life in his own hands at the moment, by sitting a mere six feet away from me on the couch, and fiddling with some squeaky contraption in his hands. He wants to converse with me, but two words into his sentence, I stop him.
"Sweety, this hurts. Really, really bad."
He knows what I mean. 

He's been there thru thirteen years of it. Thru the worst of it, actually. So, he knows.
Because I have buckled, I take 200 milligrams of a seizure medication daily, and have had a decent relief from a lot of the wacky neurological effects of my attacks. Now, most of the time, I'm just uber-sensitive to sounds and smells, I feel emotional and reactive, and my head hurts. 

H u r t s. 

This morning, it's behind my left eyeball. writhing around back there like some kind of wicked ball of heaving, pulsating worms.  You mentioned being able to pinpoint the exact spot on your brain that hurts.  It's the same for me.  I could open up my head, and point to it.   I could pull out my eyeball and massage that spot...sweet relief. Your fantasy, involving scooping out your eyeball, reaching into the chaos of your brain with a  "smooth cool spoon", and repairing the violence and the ache inside of your head?   The coolness of the wording in your sentence makes my eye swell and pulse with ache at the moment. I don't like cool. I tried lying in bed this morning with your grouping of words, with your "smooth cool spoon," and prying out my eye. Working at the tender spot inside my brain, and gently reassuring and massaging my eyeball in the palm of my hand. No dice. Just the thought of anything "cool" coming within 10 yards of my face stiffens all the veins in my head.  

Just an aside, I could murder my husband's bedside fan. Straight up slaughter the fucker.

No, my weird migraine fantasy involves gently removing the top of my head, and exposing my brain, so that I can reach down with my warm hand, and massage that aching spot until it relaxes. If any veins are tangled or squeezed, I just gently straighten them out, and loosen them up. Slow, relaxing, warm movements all around the affected area, until I am well.

My body is tense. Not the normal "tense" like when you're stressed or have slept in a strange position. This is a rock-hard, other-worldly tension that I only ever experience during a migraine. I feel my shoulders drawing up, regardless of my conscious attempts to keep them slack. The base of my neck is hard. What I need is a hard, deep rub. Sharp. But, if he touches me, I will come undone. Sometimes, he sits with me, being as silent as he can manage. He means well. He rests his hand on my skin to comfort me, which is fine. But out of habit, he will eventually begin to rub me, which might as well be a parade of symbols, thru an ADD daycare center, while I'm wearing a razor sweater. It's intolerable. Don't touch. Don't move. Don't talk.
It's better when he just leaves the room for hours, and doesn't come back. If I can stay asleep, it's best. The worst is when I fall asleep, and he returns to check on me, *ripping* me from my sleep. It's the most violent, heart-stopping thing ever. I can't even explain it to him. Sometimes I literally want to scream at him for it. But I don't. Because I know my head would actually explode if I did. Sending fragments of my skull sailing across the room, exposing my pulsating, tender brain to all that cold, bitter wind I don't.

And all of this is what I don't mind so much. This is what's become "not so bad." What I really really really fear, are the neurological oddities that mimic strokes. These are what happen to me when I am not medicated, and these are the reason I have given in to a daily chemical regimen.

It will usually start off with the flashing. A zig-zag rainbow. Blinking in the corner of my vision, and canceling out everything else in its wake. Partial blindness. Total panic. Because I know "it" is coming. The google mountain, ya know. 

***(click the two above links for visual demonstrations of a migraine aura.  Be warned, it's not a fun thing to view if you're a sufferer.)***

At that point, I have to call for help. There is about a fifteen minute window before I become completely incoherent. (If it's going to be full-on neurological warfare. But the thing is, I never know.) I call for help, and I go somewhere to lie down.

Sometimes, one side of my goes numb. Starting in my fingers ,and spreading up thru my arm, into my face. Down my leg...the more I panic, the worse this is. And the longer it lasts.

I lose the ability to speak. To understand words. I am unable to articulate what's happening to me. Sometimes I lie in bed, repeating phrases or words over and over again, just to make sure I am still "here." But my thoughts are slow, forced, and calculated, because forming words even in my head takes great effort. I know that if I tried to bring them to my tongue, the result would be a chaotic string of unintelligible syllables. So I busy myself with these repetitive thoughts, slowly. Meticulously. "I - put- the- chair- in - the - kitchen."
Until I can fall asleep.

I usually wake up several times, looking around the room, and checking for signs that it's over. It's usually not for at least a good hard couple of hours. But I look around, to check if things look "weird." 

"Has that book shelf always been there? 

Is our door always on the right? 
Wasn't there a celiing fan in here?
How do you spell ceiling?

I repeat the names of my kids and husband over and over again, in some sort of strange, migraine-chant.  Even my own name still sounds foreign...

"I am Krystal. My name is Krystal. Krystal Krystal Krystal."

My head is still throbbing at this point, and I just give up and go back to sleep, dreaming of massaging my naked brain.

Today, I'm only dealing with the upper half of this stuff. The aching, and the sensitivity to stimulation. And being a grump. Also, the sound of my son's voice is making me feel very, *verrrry* barfy. The poor lad keeps trying to talk to me about legos, and I keep having to shush him. I know that if I vomit, my headache will rocket into the stratosphere, and I will not be able to pick my head up off of the floor.

Tomorrow, I will be ravenous. Craving "mass quantities" like one of the Coneheads, and I will feel almost orgasmic, even thru my weakness, at how awesome it feels not to be in agony.

Today, however...
I feel...
Well, you know how I feel.
My limbs are awkward. My fingers are awkward. My body isn't my own. I want to go out of it until it's done doing whatever it is that it's doing. Until I feel like I can articulate like an intelligent person again. Until I can type faster than an 8th grader.
And until my brain stops trying to tunnel its way out of my left eye.

So I think I will go back to bed, and hope my kids forgive me for days like this.

I also want to mention to you, before I forget, the presence of this thick, tingly black tar...
I don't know if this is migraine related, but there is lots of it after the migraine is over...usually the next day...
It's in my neck. In my shoulders.
Wads and wads of this thick, awful, tingly tar-like stuff that will only go away if the husband rubs the dickens out of me.  Trouble is, he can't.  He physically can't push on me hard enough to create the sensation that the tar is going out of me.  Now and then he'll really lay into me, and I feel some of it begin to seep away, but he's had to push on me so hard that it's either going to leave a bruise on my shoulders, or on his hands, and he isn't able to keep going. 

Of course, I know it isn't really there. But I don't know another way to describe it. It just IS that. It's thick. It's black. It's tingly.  Tar.  
I feel it inside there, all the time, and SO much during and after migraines.
I'm sure if I ever went in for a deep tissue treatment, and they really worked that crap out of me, I would be forty pounds lighter. :P

Later tonight, I gave up and went into the blessed darkness, the sanctuary of my bedroom. The theme in ours is dark.  I have kicked around the idea of painting our creme walls a dark burnt red, partly to match with our darkish Moroccan theme, and partly because it would assist in creating an even darker migraine recovery environment.
I hid beneath our ridiculously obese comforter, and made a little cocoon for myself, and after figuring out which side was the least painful, I remained absolutely motionless.
It started to bump like crazy. Sometimes, lying in certain positions, or just having my face turned to one side will exacerbate the throbbing intensely. I have to figure out which way I can lay that's the least painful. It just wasn't working, tho, and the pain was massive.
So, I reached up to my tar-filled shoulder, and found where I imagined to be a big wad, and started to press it out. If it feels especially "full", I can sometimes get relief from that sensation by pushing on it myself, and today I must have been overloaded. I felt that sweet, tingling relief as the black thickness oozed out of me, and my head relaxed just slightly. At least enough for me to drift off for a bit.
What I really need (or imagine I need) is something rounded and blunt, like the end of a hairbrush, pressed into me, and kneaded. Or someone with very strong thumbs.

I did have to send the kids downstairs. The sound my son's deep voice intruding thru the walls painted this god-awful speckled flashy fabric in the darkness behind my closed eyes, and marauded thru my head like a timpani.

When I woke up, the first thing I realized was that I felt relief. I still have a headache, but fuck, I can do those standing on my head. My shoulders are stiff, and my neck feels slightly like someone smashed it in with a baseball bat. But that ball of worms has un-wadded, and there's now just one, wriggling around trying to hold the whole thing together, and I know it won't work. He'll fuck off soon enough. My eye still feels hot and sensitive, but what do you expect when you've had your head full of worms all day?
The next thing I notice is that I am absolutely hollow inside, and I haven't eaten in four hundred years. I hesitate to leave the comfort of my cocoon, because the kids will hear me, and come attack me, dying for my attention. This is the hard part. They've been amusing each other all day long, and are sick of the sight of one another. Now they'll want to talk to me and play with me and tell me all the things the other did wrong, and I am NOT ready to engage. I still need silence and slowness and alone-ness. They see me up and around and foraging for food, so they see me as being well again. Having to send them away again is crappy. I feel crappy. My son feels crappy. He barks at his sister because now my foul migraine mood has become his foul migraine mood.

Chicken. I want chicken. The leftover chicken in our fridge doesn't stand a chance. I'm almost perverted in my lust for's THAT bad. I realized as I sat here, shoveling it into my face like a person who hasn't seen hot food in years, that if someone were to come to my door right now to see me, I would likely be humiliated if they saw the way I was hovered over this plate of food, eating it as if I were...I don't know what. I'm a pervert, and this little slutty bird is my victim. And she shouldn't have been wearing all of that revealing breading, if she didn't want me to eat her, the trollop...she wanted it, I know she did...

And I feel...alive.
My body is aching, my house is an absolute wreck. My children are going to be impossible this evening, and there are a million and one courses of events set into motion (or not set into motion, however you choose to look at it) as a result of my absolutely wasted day, convalescing in bed. But I feel alive. Because I have gone from grotesque agony, to euphoric relief in a matter of hours.
I also find that sometimes when it's over, I'm almost...giddy. 


So.  That was a bitchen day.  But in comparison, that one wasn't bad.  I remembered the names of my children.  I didn't suffer any hallucinations, and I didn't lose vision or cognitive function.  There were no wombats trying to burrow up thru the toilet dressed as Power Rangers, hellbent on stealing my underpants.   It was a mild attack.  
And that's what it was like...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'd Hoped for a Good, Long, Good Riddance.

My husband and I don't speak with our mothers, really.  Not unless it's unavoidable. 

Over the years, I have tried overlooking the past, forgiving what's ongoing, and moving past what's "right now."  Eventually the weirdness and abuse just became too much for me, and I gave in to the realization that there's just no need for me to continually forgive and re-welcome someone who just continues to suck.  

My husband's situation was different.  He met his mother's overbearing personality with silence and retreat.  I met it with humor and forced tolerance, until she was gone, and then he and I would come together for an hours-long rant-fest to relieve our frustrations and dissect the nastiness of her behavior.  The abuse in his past is rarely discussed, unless it's mentioned in passing to justify why he finally stopped speaking to his mother.  

At first, there was a "good riddance" in the air that was unmistakable.  No more worrying about steeling ourselves for the next visit.  No more worrying about how long she would stay, what kind of nasty, hateful comments she would make disguised as humor.  No more worrying about watching my husband transform into a quiet, scowling grump of a man, shoulders level with his ears, in a visible attempt to deflect her hateful jabs.  No more racist, hateful, intolerant remarks spewed carelessly in front of our children...
She would call, but he ignored it.  Sometimes she left a voicemail, crying and begging to see him, but he ignored it.  
It was a relief.  

Then there was just...nothing.  No talk whatsoever about his mother.  
Which was weird. 
Someone who had put him thru so much torment as a little boy, then made his adult life a misery had suddenly just disappeared from conversation.  Even my own mother still gets a jab in our private conversations now and then.   But his was just gone. 

It was weird.  

And today, I find amongst the "sent" items in our email, a note he sent to her, from our daughter, thanking her for the birthday card she sent.  It starts off as if our daughter wrote it herself, thanking her for the birthday money, and declares that she'll buy some toys.  Cute. 
Then, my husband takes over, tells his mother he's working two jobs happily, and that we love her, and miss her.  

And I am thrown.  

I don't love her. 
I don't miss her.  

I find her a dispicable woman, with dispicable values, and I want her to stay gone.  

Maybe it is easier for me. 
I have given my mother hundreds of chances, and every time she has shown me that I don't matter to her, and that I never did.  Every time she has shown me that she doesn't deserve any more of my forgiveness.  Even still, occasionally I'll still feel pangs of guilt, or a wishful feeling when I think of her.  I have dealt with this long enough to know that I don't miss her in the's simply that I miss what I wish she should have been.  

Maybe having never confronted his mother, and never having told her how he feels about her, or her treatment of him, it's harder for him.  

Who knows?  Maybe she has suddenly become a person capable of thinking outside of herself.  A person capable of coming into our home, and leaving her gay-bashing, racist intolerance in her car.  Maybe she has suddenly become a person capable of accepting that the abuse my husband suffered was in no way any fault of his own, and rests solely upon her back, and that of the disgusting piece of shit she chose to allow near her child.  Maybe she has suddenly become a person capable of realizing that she failed as a mother, to protect her own baby from that monster, and then later blamed her son for the same abuse to which she herself subjected him.  Maybe.  And maybe my husband is now having those same wonderings. 

I, on the other hand, am entirely cynical.  I have no doubt that she loves him.  Somewhere.  In the depths of her selfish heart.  But I also know this about myself...

I can't leave my kids.  As frustrated as I get with them on any given day, I can't leave them.  I can't make up some dumb goddamn excuse, and leave them behind, to chase some guy, or marry some sex offender.  

Both of our mothers did that.  

And I can't let perverts or violent criminals come and go as they please, just because it makes me feel pretty for fucksake.  

Both of our mother's did that.  

And I can't and won't look the other way while my kids are beaten, abused, raped, tortured, or any other string of disturbing words that don't belong in the same sentence with the word "child."  

Both of our mothers did that...
Are you seeing the trend, here?  

And on top of all of it, his mother is a bitch.   I'm not saying that makes mine better than his, so don't get excited.  Mine is crazy and fake and laughable on a hundred different levels.  But his is just a down-to-the-bones bitch.  

And I don't know what to say to him, now that it seems he misses her.  

She has done something that my mother has never done, however.
She's apologized.  

I don't know what else to say about it.  I don't miss her.  It seems as tho he does.  And I feel awkward. 
And there it is.