Monday, December 24, 2012

About patience...

I'm struggling lately.
Having been given nearly every diagnosis in the book at one point or another, it's difficult to pinpoint what is actually the cause of all my crazy.  There are normally two or three big visits from a major depression each year, and I spend about a week being unbearable before I'm able to get back on my feet again, and function like a "normal" human being.
Well, "normal" for us, anyhow.

These episodes are familiar, and we know how to navigate them without a whole lot of headache, most of the time.

This is different.  Lots.
And if I'm being honest, I'm a little scared.

I'm lucky.  I'm surrounded by compassionate and understanding friends, and an *extremely* caring and supportive husband.  Extremely.

This poor man has held down the fort on more than one occasion, sometimes while working two jobs.  He wrangles the kids.  He cooks meals.  He is patient and compassionate, against my irrational outburst-ing and hysteria.  He's taken care of all the holiday preparations, wrapping gifts and maintaining calm when something ridiculous sets off my weird behavior.

He's patient.  It's the greatest thing a person could possibly do for me.  It's the greatest thing anyone can do for a mentally ill person, and probably the hardest.  There have been people in my life who struggle in similar ways, and I've had to walk away from them, sometimes temporarily, and sometimes permanently, because I physically do not have the patience for their nonsense.  For their mood swings.  For their ridiculous and unpredictable behavior.  For their hurtful outbursts.   Even when I know it is the fault of a weirdly-wired brain, and not because they're just huge dickheads, I've still needed to walk away.  Because it's fucking hard dealing with people like that.

But he stays.  With endless comfort and a never-ending supply of patience.  Patience when I certainly do not deserve it.  When I'm screaming and bawling and throwing things around our bedroom like a lunatic.  He stays.

I've been on both sides of the fence.  I've lived in situations where my issues were ridiculed, where I was punished and belittled for things I could not control, and where I was basically treated very, very poorly by people who were supposed to love and support me.  I was given lots and lots of drugs, in an effort to coat the problem, and shut me the fuck up.  When they didn't work, I was trucked off to the doctor again for new drugs, in an ongoing effort to disguise me as a "regular" person.
I want to be "regular."  I am not.  And it isn't fun sometimes.  But it's ok.  And I'm ok like this.

Having someone supportive to help shoulder the burden is tremendous.  Having someone promise and deliver endless love, endless support, and endless physical help is an enormous weight off of me, as it is for anyone who deals with these sorts of issues.  Doing it alone is hard.  Doing it alone is very, very hard.  Doing it alone is sometimes impossible.  I honestly don't know where I might be, or if I might be, if it weren't for the incredible support of the man I married.

It's important for me to share these things, because I know what it's like from both sides.  I know how it feels to look at a crazy person and think, "why doesn't that asshole just stop acting like an asshole?"  I know what it's like to look at someone's absurd behavior and think "the rest of the world manages to handle their shit...why don't you?"  I know what it's like to pass judgment and be infuriated with someone who won't simply pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and do something about their sad state of affairs.  

I know what it's like to be the crazy person, surrounded in finger pointers and head shakers.  I know what it's like to be in the middle of a frightening episode, with absolutely no control over your behavior, while people look on and shame you.  Ridicule you.  Blame you.  

And I know what it's like to receive endless support, attempts at understanding, and unconditional love.
This is, by far, the very best way to be helpful to a person in that situation.
To remember that she's not screaming because she's an asshole.
To remember that she would stop crying if she could.
To remember that she avoided your phone call because of a phobia, and not because she's a thoughtless prick.
To remember that she can't come to your party, because she knows she'll freak the fuck out as soon as she gets there, making everyone uncomfortable.

And to love them anyway.

I'm not embarrassed, not really.  Not most of the time.
However, when things are bad, I am.  I know it's not my fault, and I know I'm not alone.  But I'm embarrassed.  I'm frightened and embarrassed, and nothing takes the sting out of those things like genuine concern and support from the people to whom I'm closest.
It won't cure me.  But it certainly takes away the added burden of feeling like an outcast.
And, likewise, nothing compounds such a burden like being made to feel inferior, unloved, and blamed for one's mental illness.  I can't stress this enough.

We all know someone who struggles, whether we know it or not.  Someone in your life, right now, is dealing with these very issues.  And that someone desperately needs your support.  Your love.  Your patience.  My god, above anything else, they need your patience.  And when you've run out of patience to give, they need more still.

It is ok to ask them "what do you need?  What can I do?"
And it is ok to say "I know this isn't your fault, but this is too much for me right now."

Above all else, kindness.  And when that kindness has run out, more kindness.  And more and more.  And love.

And patience.  Because sometimes, I will act like an asshole.  Sometimes I will act irrationally.  Sometimes, I will be wrong.  I will be mean.  I will be impossible.

And it's in those moments that I, and every person like me, need your love more than ever.

Love each other.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

God isn't allowed in here.

I really want to talk about something.  Something that will probably ruffle feathers, and upset a few people.  Which is the very super honestly last last last thing I want.  I am desperate for unity and connection between us all, and I accept that going against the grain is difficult for many of us to tolerate.  But I need to go against the grain.  I need to ask questions, and I need to try and understand.  Because I don't.  I don't understand.  I want to.  I want the "right" answers as much as the next person.  But no answers can come to us unless we first ask the questions.  I need to ask questions.  I hope you will still be with me when I'm thru.  Because this is difficult, and I am honestly kind of nervous about the backlash.  But here goes.

First, this.
Nearly every person I know has suggested something similar during the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in Connecticut.  It's a beautiful thought.  Let God in where God is needed, and bad things won't happen.  At least, not as many bad things.
But there are things about this specific concept that make me uncomfortable.  I hope God and his followers will bear with me while I dive into what I already know is a sensitive subject.

First of all, it's god.  If we're agreeing that the concept of this God in particular is the one from the Bible, the all-seeing, all-knowing, loving yet vengeful god, who is literally capable of creating a universe in just shy of a week, something tells me that the silly little laws we make and abide by down here on earth are truly laughable to a being with powers as great as his.
He can make oceans full of fish.
He can make snow-capped mountains and the Grand Canyon.
He can make an endless supply of people, and their dogs, and their SUVs.
He can put a baby inside of a woman who's never known the touch of a man, and create a savior for the whole wretched lot of us, so that all we have to do is say we're sorry, and we're instantly forgiven.
That's a pretty damn powerful God.

The point of this is not to question whether God, or at least the God within that specific concept, is real.  For the sake of this post, assume that he is.  Assume that the Bible is accurate, and that everything we've learned about God is the truth.

Which forces me to ask this question.

How is God not "allowed" in school?  Or anywhere, for that matter?

Whether we create and enforce laws regarding where God is and is not allowed, or whether we don't, what in the hell does that matter as far as God is concerned?  What stops a person from praying silently at his or her desk?  What stops a person from bringing one from bringing one's belief and love of God with one, wherever one chooses to go?  What stops a person from choosing to reach out in love and compassion toward another human being?

If the claim is that God created everything, *everything* in less than seven days, how is it that we're then expected to believe that the walls of a school building are impenetrable by that same God?  There are those who would suggest that God does respect our laws, and therefore stays out where he isn't wanted.  So, does that then mean that God ignores the prayers of anyone inside such a place?  If God is banned from schools by the law, does God then stop hearing the pleas of the christian people who find themselves inside such a place?  Should one of my children choose to follow the teachings of Christianity, would God ignore their prayers because this is an "unafilliated" house?  A Pagan house?  A heathens house?

I am also struggling to believe why we think prayer stops bullets.
Admittedly, I do not keep up with world news.  But don't Iraqi children pray at school?  How many of them have we bombed?  God was allowed in their school, in their homes, in their churches and streets.  And we have intentionally destroyed all of those things at some point.  "But theirs is the wrong God!"  Yeah, I personally know someone who has said those very words to me.  They're wrong.  Their prayers are wrong.  Their beliefs are wrong.  Ok.  If that's true, does that mean that Bible God ignores the prayers of all those innocent children, who have been brainwashed to believe in, and pray to Quran God?

The problem is not lack of prayer.  The problem is not lack of God.  The problem is lack of humanity.  We have been lead to believe that we are consumers.  We have been lead to believe that the "rat race" is the norm.  We have been conditioned to accept violence and heartlessness as a way of life.  We are distant from each other.  It has nothing to do with God.  It has nothing to do with prayer.  We need one another, and we have forgotten that.  We need compassion and love, and we have forgotten that.  We need patience and helping hands, and we have begun to see such things as weaknesses to be shamed.

My concept of "god" is admittedly different from the majority of the people I know and associate with on a daily basis.  I understand and accept that a person with "no religion" asking God-themed questions probably makes a lot of you pretty upset.  I'm sorry, and it's truly not my intention.

The truth is, I do have religion.  I do have spirituality.  I do have an idea of where I think we came from, and why, and I have ideas about what will happen to us when we die.  Beautiful, hopeful ideas.  But those ideas are not the Bible.  Those ideas are not God.  Those ideas are not religious.  And it leads me to ask questions in tough places, where logic does not offer the answer.

I am not completely opposed to the idea of prayer.  Not really.  I am a firm believer in the power of pure intent, focused positive attention, and our own ability to affect changes with our intentions and emotions.  I will never ask you not to pray for me.  I will never ask you not to pray near me.  Sometimes, albeit a rare event, I will even opt to pray with you.  Yes, me.  Sending my Pagan prayers and my earthy intentions up into the universe for your God to hear.

I will also burn my candles.  I will set my intentions and meditate on the positive and the peaceful.  I will sage my house and my children and my self.  I will just sit, and think.

But, even as ridiculous, wishful and heathen as that all sounds, it is what is close to my heart.  It is what I believe to be effective, and it is what I choose for myself.  It can't stop bullets.  But it does help me to be the kind of person who seeks compassion and love for all of us.  All of us.  

Even the man who abused me.
Even my mother.
Even my mean third grade teacher.
Even the members of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Even the mass murderers and sociopaths who are capable of the horrible acts we've seen them carry out.
Love.  For all.  Because more love will *never* be the wrong answer.

And regardless of the rules and regulations that are sent down from the people who find themselves in imaginary power, I will continue to believe those things.  I will continue to practice (to the very best of my endlessly inadequate ability) compassion, love, patience.  I will continue to meditate, to focus on peace, and to think on unity.  No law will stop me.  No mandate is capable of keeping me from bringing that with me wherever I go.  No politically-correct argument for or against my beliefs will stop me from believing them, from practicing them, and from sharing love and compassion to the very best of my ability.

I would like to think that God, in any concept, would be capable of the same, and that he certainly doesn't need my permission to visit a church, a school, a veteran's memorial.  I would like to think that God, and the infinite love I'm told he has, can penetrate the laws of man, and hear my prayer regardless of the building I happen to be in.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

I owe someone an apology.

We all have them.
The people in our lives that make us cringe.

One of those people happens to be a member of my family.
Somebody with whom I have nothing in common but DNA, and the love of mutual family members.

I am not a person who enjoys creating conflict, or directly confronting a person when I think they've gone too far.  I can get pretty cranky sometimes, and puff out my chest now and then, but at the base of things, I'm really just a peace-hungry hippie who just wants us all to be friends.  I genuinely don't want to fight with you.  Even if I think you're the biggest douche bag on the face of the planet, I truly want to be able to get along with you.

The person in question is not the biggest douche bag on the earth.  Not in the least.  And I have known my fair share of douche bags.

But dammit.  What he said was wrong.  What he said was hypocritical.  What he said defied everything he claimed to stand for.  It was heartless, thoughtless, and it was the personification of everything that's wrong with the world.  It lacked compassion.  It lacked empathy.  It lacked any sense of decent humanity...
And it had nothing to do with me.

Nothing whatsoever.
It was really and truly, none of my goddamned business.

Whether this person chooses to fart rainbows and hug the world, or whether this person chooses to drag around a dark cloud of gloom wherever he goes, that's his choice to make.  It is his right to decide how to live his life, as it is the right of all of us.

I reacted in anger and confrontation toward what I viewed as "wrong" behavior.  I threw down the gauntlet and flashed my fighting teeth.  I called this person on all his bullshit.  I felt morally superior.  I told and retold the story to my husband, seeking confirmation of my supreme rightness...

And then I felt guilty. 
How on earth do I expect to spread love in the world, when I am capable of reacting with such nastiness?  If I greet negativity with more negativity, how am I not simply compounding the problem?  How does a string of hateful words change anything?
It doesn't.
It didn't.
I know in the end that this person didn't pause to reflect on what I said for one second, because he was probably busy being furious and upset by the things I'd said.  Even if I believe I did have a point, it was completely lost amid the flurry of antagonistic and mean words.  And name-calling.  *cringe*

Eeeh...did I do that?  
I don't believe I was wrong.  I still believe what I said was true.  I still believe this person to be hypocritical and judgmental.  I still believe that more love and more patience is always the right way to go.  But I will never prove any of that to anyone, including myself, if I am reactive and combative.  And until I learn that lesson, and until I honor every person's place within his or her own journey, I will only continue to rob myself of my own happiness and contentment. 

I suppose a person can choose to wallow in the present, or to learn the lessons that life seeks to teach us.  I don't want to wallow, and I don't want to be the kind of person who can never admit to mistakes or misjudgments.  I don't want to be the kind of person incapable of apologies or flexibility.  I'm the kind of person who wants to learn, and who wants to grow, and who wants to be an example of the world I'd like to live in.  And that can't happen until I admit when I step in it.

And I stepped in it.

Truth be told, the person in question is not someone I want in my life.  But that will never be a good enough excuse for my reaction.  I am genuinely regretful of the way I lost my cool, and lashed out at another person making their way down their own path.  I am sorry.  

I want us all to find our way.  And we won't, if we keep acting like I did.
Spread the love, people.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My intimate loss, and my secret happiness

We've got two kids.  Silly and sensitive little people, who test my patience, and show me how big love is on a daily basis.

One of them is cool and collected, way too caught up in being a teenager to allow us to see how silly he is.  Every now and then, he slips, and we find ourselves tangled in fits of laughter, unable to collect ourselves for several minutes.  Those moments are the best moments, and remind me of the funny little fella who sat on my lap in his diaper, smacking the air out of my cheeks and sending us both into fits of hysterical laughter, as his little round tooth peeked out from behind his drooling baby lips :)  And now he's grown into a man, towering over me and making it difficult to fathom that he ever lived inside my belly.  He's a builder and a thinker.  And tho he can sometimes be a colossal asshole, he's still the nicest kid you will ever meet.  Someone will have to meet very high standards to be "good enough" for our baby boy.

The other is a wacky, uninhibited thing, who is constantly singing, or painting, or banging away on the old dusty piano downstairs.  She needs hugs and attention and approval, or she can become very, very, very volatile.  She's very much a stereotypical "girl", but also insists that swords and stick horses and dirt on one's face are "girl" things.  She wears her emotions on her sleeve, and won't hesitate to let you know when you've crushed her little spirit.  So don't be a d-bag, because she will tell on you.  She loves the sound of her own voice, and when she is around, there is constant singing.  Constant.  Singing.  She doesn't want chemicals in her food, and the fastest way to her heart is to bring her an earth-conscious gift such as an organic apple or a hand-sewn grocery bag.  Someone will have to meet very high standards to be "good enough" for our baby girl.

And we are a family, happily, and completely.  Things are very even, and balanced, and perfect in our house.  Two boys.  Two girls.  Everyone gets a vote.  Everyone adds something.

Between the two pregnancies, there was a third.  A baby that never joined us...
And I'm going to talk about that right now.


Our son was four months old.  We were still learning our way around as parents.  We were still trying to figure out how to do everything "right" and probably failing miserably.  We were young, and still thought that the doctors and grown ups around us knew better than we did.  We were struggling to do what we were told was right, and figure out how to balance those things with what we felt was right.  It wasn't easy.  We fought each other, and we fought our baby and we fought our own feelings, in order to do what we thought was best for him.  So we let him "cry it out."  We gave him bottles instead of breasts because "he isn't getting enough to eat."  We were exhausted.  And so, probably, was our baby.  Postpartum depression had me pinned beneath it's black grip, and I struggled nightly with horrible visions, desperate thoughts, and resentment.  Because this wasn't supposed to be what having a baby was like.
But we were managing.  My mother helped the best way she knew how, and I was grateful.  My husband had begun working on the road, and it was hard being away from him.  Having my mother there to help me, and to remind me that all my wacky feelings were normal was a tremendous help.  Even when I want to punch her teeth down her throat, I can still take a little comfort in knowing that she was there during that time.  I was able to bond so closely with my sweet baby, and to understand that everything was going to be ok...eventually...and that I just had to get thru the first initial rough patch.  I would look back at this experience later, much much later, and see how far I'd come.

And then it happened.  I began to get symptoms of pregnancy once again, and because I'd just gone thru it, it was all still fresh in my mind, and I knew.
I went to the local pharmacy and bought a can of baby formula, and a pregnancy test.  The woman behind the counter giggled and said "oh, are we hoping for another already?" 

No.  Not in the least.  Not in my worst nightmare.  No.  More.  Babies.  Ever.


We did not make a prenatal appointment.  I did not begin taking vitamins.  I did not even quit smoking this time.  Somehow I had convinced myself that if I pretended it wasn't happening, it wouldn't.  I put my baby boy to my breast and pretended that it would always just be him and I, and that no other babies would try to infiltrate our perfect little circle of love.  Because they couldn't.  How on earth could I love another baby the way I loved this one?  How could I look at a different face against my breast and not feel resentment.  Or worse.  How could I ever feel anything for another baby.  It was impossible, and I knew it was impossible.

My thoughts were swamped with it.  I began telling myself that there was no way, that I was incapable of loving another.  That the baby in my belly would grow up feeling second best.  Because it was second best.  Because I loved my boy so viciously that anyone else would just pale in comparison.

For three months I carried that baby around inside of me, bombarding him or her with thoughts of disdain.  Wanting desperately to begin to feel...something...and feeling so very, very nothing.  

I can't love you, baby.  
You won't compare, baby.
And I don't want you, baby. 

And then my body began to change.  I began cramping.  Bleeding.  And then things began to get...grotesque.

Miscarriage is not just an unfortunate word pinned to something terrible that happens to a pregnant woman.  There are verbs, gory verbs, that attach themselves to the body of a mother experiencing a miscarriage.  I began to realize that the baby that was once inside of me was slowly making its way out of me, in a way that would change my view of pregnancy forever.  The things I started to see coming out of my body are things that were never meant to be seen.  Things that were meant to stay inside, protected, until they were done forming into the person they were to become.  I wasn't supposed to see them.
But I did.  I saw them.  I studied them.  I contemplated them from every angle.  Over several days, I struggled with my own emotions, as parts of my pregnancy made their graceless exit from my body.

The doctor confirmed a day or so later.  The pregnancy was lost.  She hugged me, as I sat on the funny table in my paper dress.  "I'm so sorry for your loss."  She put samples of what was left of our baby in a jar, and asked the nurse to label it "products of conception," and sent it off to some laboratory to be tested.  For what, I don't know.
And then she left us there, to deal with the news of our loss.

Was it a loss?  My brain raced, searching frantically for the heavy sense of despair that is supposed to accompany the loss of one's pregnancy.  Where was my sorrow?  Where was my guilt?  Where was my sense of grief and loss.

I didn't have it.  I had relief.
"Your baby is dead."
"Oh, thank goodness!"

This is the feeling that swept over me for weeks and weeks after the doctor had given us the official word.  People would pat my back and offer consolation, and I would do my best to appear slightly bothered, but with an understanding that life would continue.
I felt viscous and uncaring.  I wondered what that meant for the baby I already had, my sweet little boy, whom I adored beyond reason.  I wondered what it meant about me as a person.  Am I a monster?  My baby is dead.  Where is the grief?
Had I willed my baby to die?  Did he or she sense the feelings of resentment and my promises that I would never love him or her?  Can a person really will herself un-pregnant?

I never shed a single tear.  Not one.

As time went on, I just stopped thinking about it.  I heard stories of friends and family members who had lost babies, and who seemed to mourn terribly for their losses.  I listened as friends recounted their desperate attempts to get pregnant and make families, and furrowed my brow in compassion as they lamented their failed attempts.  And still, I wasn't sorry.  I wasn't sad.  My own miscarriage sort of fading into a memory of "just a thing that biggie."

The truth is, I have never been sad.  Not really.  A handful of times I might have stopped to consider the person inside me that almost was, and wonder "what if."  But mostly, it's something I don't think about.  I have never stopped being relieved.  I have never stopped believing that I wasn't going to be able to love that baby.  I have never stopped feeling guilty over my inability to mourn the loss of that person-to-be.  Ever.  In truth, if I had a time machine, I wouldn't change it.  Not in the least.  Not even a little.

What's that say about me?  Lots, I'm sure.
But, I have been able to come to the realization that there is no "right" way to have a miscarriage.  Whether we sob hysterically, or shrug it off like we accidentally left our eggs in the grocery cart, there is no correct reaction.  My relief was no less "right" than the woman who mourns tragically for years.  I have found that this is a common feeling among women who have lost pregnancies.  The feeling of needing to find the right reaction for such a thing.
There is no right feeling.  Mine is likely less popular, and difficult for someone who has grieved heavily for the loss of their pregnancy.  But it is still mine, and so it was the right one for me.

I have allowed myself to stop feeling such guilt over my lack of sadness.  I wasn't sad, and I'm not sad, and my beliefs allow me to realize that if it isn't meant to be, then it won't be.

And in the meantime, I've chosen to think that the baby we lost was our daughter, who decided at that time that we weren't ready to be a family yet, so she waited until we were.  And perhaps that's the secret to my inability to mourn.  Maybe I have decided to feel as if I didn't lose anything.  I just had to wait a little longer for her to decide she was ready to be with us.
There is no right way.  To have a miscarriage.  To lose a loved one.  To experience anything life has to offer.  Our emotions are our own.  Our reactions are right.  Realizing that saves so much time and anguish.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Senseless Waste of Your Time.

Last night, after being in a terrible school bus accident, I tended to some repair work, and then attended a spectacular and hilarious drag show.   And told my husband all about it.  

While sleeping.

He said I did something on the bookshelf, and when he asked me what I was doing, I said I was "fixing the thing."  Followed by, "THAT IS THE BIGGEST WIG I HAVE EVER SEEN."

wigs are enormous in

And then I laughed like a maniacal serial killer.  Because sleep-time repairs and enormous drag-show wigs aren't quite creepy enough.

This isn't new.  I've done strange, lunatic-y things in my sleep since I was a little kid.  Once I got up and made a salt sandwich in the kitchen, and opened up the back door, before going back to bed.  And I tell myself that I went back to bed, because believing I opened the back door and actually wandered around outside is too scary to consider.  Evidently, crippling fear of the Boogeyman is moot when a person is sleepwalking...

These days, I'm told, I do silly things in our laying out every item of clothing I own, or mumbling creepy gibberish about being able to "see them."

How that man sleeps contently next to me every night, I will never know.  Although, he does sleep with a big Rambo knife tucked into his side of the bed, and he keeps two loaded guns on his side of the room.  Hmm...

The clown has NO penis!
This is normally not so humiliating.  Once I did walk out into our living room when we had company staying on the couch, and that was somewhat traumatic, since I was stark naked.  But I hear he is recovering nicely, and is able to eat solid food again, so, no harm done, I guess.

And at least I don't have one of those spouses who likes to videotape all the dumb shit their partner does, and put it all over the internet.

I don't really have a reason for posting any of that today, other than I like the idea of having an excuse to share the Step Brothers' sleepwalking video.  NO!  NO!

As you were.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How to be a terrible liar, and a shitty mom.

I'm suspicious of my teenager.

Of course I am.  He is a teenager.  And I am a parent.

I also have a reasonably high-functioning bullshit detector, so I feel fairly confident in assuming that when the boy lies to me, I catch most of them.

Today, I assumed he was lying. 

Lying about going off into the woods to splash around in the creek, and do all those little-kid things that I wish he still did all the time.  What a wholesome, perfectly adorable way for a teenage boy to spend an afternoon.
This sudden change of plan of course having nothing to do with the fact that he wanted to hang out with his girlfriend today, and I said no...
Because I'm naive, and this is my first day on earth.

Then I received a text, after several hours, asking if he could visit his Granny.
Of course you can.  Because I have no doubt that you've been so busy in the woods for the past four hours, and are likely in need of a hot chocolate and a bowl of warm soup, so you head immediately to her house and get your wholesome-self all warm and cozy at her kitchen table.

As far as I was concerned, that sneaking little shitbox was secretly meeting up with his girlfriend, smooching in the woods, reading dirty magazines, and saying swear words.
But, not desiring to be a brutish hag thru the entirety of his childhood, I pretended I thought he was in the woods.
For several, long hours.

Finally, I'd become irritated enough at his terribly flimsy, and rather insulting lie, and I was ready to lay the trap for him to walk into.
And I sent a text...

"Send me a picture of Granny's couch."

That'll show you.  Lying little fartface.  Let's see you wiggle out of this one!
Two minutes later...

Grammy's couch.  With a side of guilt.  


I am a terrible person.  I am a suspicious, evil mother, with a darling little saint of a baby boy.

An honest little boy.

And then, "why did you want a pic of her couch?"

Uh...uh..."Because.  I was thinking of painting a picture for her, and I wanted to match the paint."


My brilliant and terribly cunning attempt to catch my son in the middle of a lie TOTALLY BACKFIRED, and now I am stuck in the middle of my own lie!

So now, not only am I a terrible, sneaking, suspicious mother, but I am also a dirty liar.  And now I have to paint a picture for my Granny, who will be sucked in to the web of lies with me, when the picture I paint for her inevitably turns out to be a steaming pile of rust-colored shit, and she has to hang it on her wall, and pretend to love it!  And then all of her poor friends will see it hanging there, and ask where such a monstrosity came from.  And she'll have to tell them.  And they, not wanting to hurt her feelings, since she obviously seems to love this atrocious piece of shit, will have to pretend they like it too!  And now everyone is suddenly swirling in this liar soup, lying and lying, and lying, until nobody remembers who they are anymore!!



From now on, I will just assume my kid is working in a soup kitchen, or reading the bible to elderly blind people.  It's easier.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teenagers are dicks.


I remember being a teenager.  I remember being angst-ridden and sullen, too cool for grown ups to understand, and certainly too cool to participate in any of their stupid, nonsensical conversations.  I remember resenting being told to clean my room, wash the dishes, do my homework.
Because, fuck you, Grown Ups.  You don't understand me.

Now I'm the parent of that kid.  And some days I kind of want to gouge my eyes out with splintery sticks.
Today I kind of want to gouge my eyes out with splintery sticks.
Because, fuck you, Teenagers.  You don't understand me.

This afternoon, I'm taking off on a long-ish road trip, alone.  I've never done that before.  A few years ago, I did fly to Florida to visit my friend, but that was different.  That was flying.  That was surrounded by people.  Even if I would have crashed to my demise, I wouldn't have been alone.  They might have been strangers, but at least people were with me.  For someone as grossly codependent as I, that's important.  Very.

Today I'm driving across the state in my rickety old van, in places where I will likely have no cellphone service.  I'm afraid.
And I'm hardly ever away from my family, so I am sad about being away from them for the rest of the week.

My son, however, could not be more unimpressed with me this morning.
His refusal to even look at me, to acknowledge that I was speaking, was hurtful.
I have no doubt that he meant for it to be hurtful.

Just as I meant for it to be hurtful when I did it to my own mother.  "I'm too cool to talk to you.  You have no idea what it's like to be me.  Go away and stop trying to relate to me."

My daughter, still little, and still allowed to miss her mommy, wrapped me in hugs and shaky goodbyes, trying to hold back her tears.  She'd miss me terribly, she said, and she loved me.
The boy, however, couldn't be bothered.  He even tried to walk out the door without saying goodbye to me.

Visions of my sweet toddler boy, fill my thoughts this morning.  Planted in my lap, and showering me with silly, slobbery kisses as he grinned out from behind his single front tooth.  While I know he's still the same person, I miss that little boy terribly at times.  Days like this, where he seems determined to prove how much he *doesn't* love me, wring my heart a bit.
And I miss him.

But I know that eventually, he will shake his teen-angst-funk, and he will flash me another smile, or treat me with another sideways hug when I least expect it.  He will share a silly story with me, wanting my approval, and I will be back in his good graces.  He will remind me that he's still the funny bald-headed little boy who used to drool on his shirt, and smack my puffed-up cheeks, making raspberry noises, at which we both giggled endlessly.

He can't help his hormones, and I get it.  I'll be happy to see him again when his fog lifts.

And in the meantime, I'll shrug off his fart-face-ness, and maybe write it down in his baby book under the milestones..."Teenagers are dick bags."
Aww.  Aren't your mood swings cute :D

Monday, November 19, 2012

Irrational Freak Show

I freaked out yesterday.

I have been visiting my best friend in her home since we were in 8th grade.  I know her.  I know her family.  I know her house.  It's all very familiar.  And safe.  She's added a husband and some sweet little boys to the mix since then, but I know them.  They are familiar.  They are safe.

Familiarity and safety have no place, however, in the irrational world of panic attacks.

Ten seconds after pulling out of my driveway, I knew it was going to be bad.  My heart sank into my stomach, and I started to sweat.  And I was scared.  Fuckscared.  Walking thru her front door might has well have been walking straight into the devil's living room, for all the fear I felt.

The house was full of people.  Loud people.  Friendly and boisterous people.  People who are special to my friend, and who I want very much to think well of me.

I felt immediately trapped, and uneasy.  Paranoid.

What do you mean,
"pass the coleslaw"?!
I get quiet.  I get fold-y.  Trying to pull myself inside of my outer shell, and disappear within.  The conversations and the noises swirling around me, sinking me deeper and deeper into a pit of fear and embarrassment. 

Because it is embarrassing.  I don't want to be a wall-flowery person.  I want to be a social butterfly-y person.  I want to flit around the room hugging everyone, telling hilarious stories, and charming the pants off of everyone I meet.  I want to giggle and enjoy such great company.  Not shrink into a chair, all socially awkward and nervous.

We stayed as long as I was able.
I miss my friend.  And I hate that I was only able to manage a few hours with her, because my brain is a fuck.  I hate that I am constantly robbed of what should be fun, memory-making experiences, because I can't control the constant misfires inside of my body.

I have lovely friends, and an incredibly tolerant and supportive husband, who are able to remind me that this feeling isn't real.  Beautiful people, who call me sweet, comforting pet names, and assure me that I'm going to be alright.  This is tremendous, and valuable.  I have been on the other end of the spectrum, either with no one to comfort me, or with someone being angry with me, and choosing to belittle me over my uncontrollable panic.  So I realize how lucky I am to be so surrounded in love.

But in the depths of violent anxiety, no one loves me.  Everyone who is unfortunate enough to be near me is disgusted by me.  I am alone.  And nothing will ever be right again, ever ever.
There are boogie men everywhere, and all of them are after me.  What a freak show.

I have to believe that there is something in my brain that can be rewired, redirected, or just plain fixed, that will make this stop.  Something that simply needs to be straightened, or tightened.
Although I suppose it's possible that my brain is simply an asshole, looking to amuse himself at my expense.
Fuck you, brain.

Oh, you wish to have a peaceful afternoon with your friends?
Let me sing you the song of my people...

Friday, November 16, 2012

What just happened???

An incredible thing has happened.  The Kitchen Witch shared one of my blog posts on her fan page, and my stats are climbing like crazy.
People have also asked me if there's a place they can follow, and be updated regularly.  So I'm taking a pause from wetting my pants and giggling like a piglet, and trying to create a facebook page for The Sugar Mattress.
It's a work in progress, but you can find me here.  (As long as I haven't fucked it up somehow.)
And good, good god, thank you for being interested.
I am sincerely speechless.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A great big mommy

Bedtime is hugging time.  Well, honestly, when you're around me, anytime is hugging time.  But around here, at bedtime, it's time to hug.  Sometimes just once, just a little, and sometimes lots.  Big ones.  Many.

My sweet daughter had a particularly rough day, and needed lots.
None of her friends wanted to play.
She lost her homework.
She had a tummy ache.
When you're seven, that makes for a pretty crumby day, indeed.

At bedtime, we had our usual "girl-talk," and she asked me about hula dancing.  And grass skirts. And coconut bras.  We talked about girl scouting, and the origin of prunes.  She lazily poked the plumpness of my upper arm, as she propped herself up on her willowy, bony little one.

We are contrast.

And then, hugging.  Lots, and lots of hugging.  And lots more.  She rested her little head against my shoulder, and stretched her arms as far around me as she could reach.  My bulk swallowed her up, my large arms folded around her like two overstuffed pillows.
And she sighed in contentment.

"Oh, my wee little baby girl," I crooned into her sweaty little head.
She pinched fat on either side of me, and squeezed.  Squeezed hard, as if making a mental note of all the hills and valleys that spread themselves across my trunk.  Her rotten day seemed to vanish into the folds of my flesh, and she sighed, "oh, my great big mommy."

And, I could have cried.  Never have more honest, endearing, and love-filled words been spoken to me.  Never have such heartfelt sentiments been expressed for my very large, very soft collection of flesh.  Never have I felt so truly appreciated.

And truly, truly proud to be a great, soft, fat woman.

She doesn't care if my hips are like two fleshy shelves.  She doesn't care if my arms wiggle, or my thighs rub together when I walk.  Or sit.  Or stand.  Or...exist.  She doesn't care if my grand, soft belly is painted from top to bottom with stretch marks.  I am her great, big mommy.  I am her soft place to fall when the world leaves her vulnerable.  I am her safety net, woven with great mounds of flesh.

My own day wasn't all that sunshine-y, either.  But feeling such a genuine appreciation for my person, from someone so very special to me, reminds me of what I already know, but need lots and lots of help to remember sometimes...

Fatness is not weakness.  It isn't ugly.  It isn't less.  It isn't bad.

Fuck hip bones.  I am a great big mommy.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


She's not traditionally affectionate.

We don't hold hands, we don't cuddle in public, not really.  I touch her, here and there, because it's impossible for me not to.  I squeeze her knee, brush her thigh, gently grasp for her little fingers as we walk side by side...Occasionally I allow myself the privilege of grasping little bits of her blond hair, lifting them lazily, and watching them cascade down again, onto her small, round shoulders.

Her yellow aura wafting over me like perfume and sending me into fits of awkward giggles.  I love her.  Being near her makes me silly and speechless.  Fumbling for words like an ignorant, grinning fool.  And I love her.

Kissing her is a rare privilege.  Her soft little mouth against mine, and I am suddenly overcome with gluttony, wanting to breathe her completely into me, and hide her there forever.  Those delicate, rosy cheeks...

Saying goodbye in front of my house, I can never treat her with the affection I'm always tempted to display.  To scoop her up.  To savor her kisses.  To squeeze her in my arms in an attempt to meld her to me forever...and I can't.  Neighbors.  Children.  Passers by.

And so, I settle instead, for that blissful moment, when we embrace, and she gathers my face and hair in her hands, to plant a long, sweet kiss against my cheek.  I drink in the moment like sweet wine, savoring every second, every scent of her hair, the softness of her face against my desperate flesh.  I want to sink against her, and submit to every heaving desire...

And I can't.  I don't.  I settle, instead, for her lingering kiss against my cheek, and the scent of her, clung to my clothes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My name is Krystal, and I am a saltine.

Fun things, that probably border on psychosis;  

Every so often, I am fortunate enough to go thru a phase (obviously related to being mentally ill) in which I become absolutely convinced that everyone I know is upset with me in some form.  

Like right now.  If you are reading this, yes, you, I have convinced myself that you are angry with me.  And it's freaking me out.  

I know it's probably not true.  There is a very rational part of my brain, albeit a small one, that maintains an inkling of sanity during all of my weird "episodes," and works to quiet the raging nonsense that happens in every other part of my brain.  

"Knock it off, will ya?  It's arrogant to assume that you have so much power over everyone's thoughts, that you feel you have the right to assume they're *all* upset with you.  And if they were, don't you think they'd just tell you?  Get your head out of your ass, and start functioning like a normal adult."  

Meanwhile, in Crazy Town...

"Did you hear what he said to you?  There was a tone.  A very distinct tone, that said 'fuck, you're annoying.  Leave me alone.'  He hates you.  Which means his wife probably hates you, too.  And their kids.  Come to think of it, so do your kids.  And probably your husband.  And while we're on a roll, all of your friends hate you, too.  Good god, how could anyone possibly alienate people with the speed and efficiency that you do?  And while we're on the subject, I hate you, too..."  

I'm not schizophrenic.  At least, I'm not diagnosed as such.  And I feel like I have had enough therapy and medical intervention in my 34 years, that something like that would have been exposed long before now.  

But, fuck.  Does everyone feel this way, or am I just a few crackers short of...well...something with crackers.  Or am I just plain fucking crackers?  
Goddammit.  I don't even like crackers.

Stupid brain.    

Monday, September 17, 2012

...nothing holds me.

My soul is impatient with itself, as with a bothersome child; its restlessness keeps growing and is forever the same. Everything interests me, but nothing holds me.

~ Fernando Pessoa

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Soul sickness

I am tired.  Thoughts lately are a mess of pictures and noises, occasionally coming together to form something tangible, and mostly darting about like little frightened fish, in the sea of my consciousness.
My body aches.  It feels less like a body now, and more like an over-sized suit, from which I cannot escape.
I want to hide, and all the while feel ever further compelled to seek out the companionship of people who don't yet feel this way, wondering, will they rub off on me, or will I rub off on them?
It feels as if I'm starting to forget.  And to remember...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whatever happens, remember this, at the very least...

Everything is going to be ok.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Today I miss my dad.  Or whoever he was.  I don't really know how to claim him now that he's gone.
Out in the world today, I saw a man and thought, "oh, there's dad!  Let's go say hi!"  Only to remember, seconds later, that he's not here anymore.
Forgetting is hard.  Remembering is worse.

I don't think I'm allowed to feel this way.

But, I miss you anyway.  Whoever you were.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

When you shove your chicken down my throat...

So, you are bragging about your Chick-Fil-A purchase today, are you?

Let me tell you how that feels to a person of my..."persuasion."
No, let me just tell you how it feels to me.

Even tho I am kind to your face, and even tho you have never sought to purposely hurt me, I would like for you to know, with a little "wink wink," that I am heading out today, specifically to give money to people who hate you.  I am going out into the world today with the sole purpose of funding people who think you are wrong.  People who seek to keep your rights, and the rights of the people you love, limited.  I hope you find the cute little smiley faces, and the little giggle giggle way I brag about it to be just adorable.
Fuck you, you disgusting, faggoty piece of Pagan shit.
So, you want me to bring you some fries or something?"

My response?
I don't want to be associated with the likes of you.  It's not cute.  It's not something to brag about.  If you want to do it, do it.  Rubbing it in my face is hurtful.  And no one worth my time would ever do that to me.

So, when you find the time, between your busy chicken-gobbling, hate-filled purchases, and your facebook updates, telling all the gays that you hate them, go fuck yourself, you self righteous, sanctimonious asshole. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

I am a disgusting person.

I am not a cook.  I do not enjoy cooking, I am not skilled at cooking, and I do not enjoy all of the things that go along with cooking. Like, dirty dishes.  Because, I am not a housekeeper, either.  I do not enjoy cleaning.  Once every month or so, I will get a little OCD, and decide that everything has to be scrubbed sterile.  Other than that, I do the bare minimum, so that we don't become swallowed up in our own filth.  My house is cluttered.  And dusty.  But it is full of happy, healthy people, who enjoy life, rather than fretting over whether or not our house is pristine enough to be featured in Good Housekeeping.

And my oven, because I despise cleaning, and fail at cooking, is frightening.  Husband has taken it upon himself to clean it, perhaps four times, in the ten years we have lived here, and owned that oven.

Thank you, Husband.  We might be alive today because of your thorough scrubbing of our gross oven.

The same, however, can not be said for the broiler.

Good, good god.

Yeah.  This is really it.  Yes, those are really roasting vegetables that I plan on serving for dinner tonight.

I don't have words.

There are literally dust bunnies in there.  All that gray shit is built up dust, because an air-conditioning duct blows up from the floor, directly in front of my oven.

I don't know what that smear of stuff is on the door, but if I had to venture a guess, it would be dog shit.  Someone had to have smeared dog shit on my broiler door.  Or vomit.  Or herpes.

The rest appears to be charred bits of food, crumbs that have fallen from the oven itself, and asbestos.

So.  Here is the picture of the horrifying place in which I am currently cooking food to feed to my children.

I think this should officially be the last meal that's prepared in this dungeon of terror, and hopefully, my public humiliation will be enough to encourage me to clean it.

And I hope a few of you will be encouraged to send me pictures of your disgusting house secrets, so that I don't feel so weird and alone.  Maybe I'll compile them all into a filthy, stomach-churning blog, so that we can all feel a little more connected to one another thru our god-awful habits.

Lordy.  I need to lie down.  (Said the person who just ate food cooked in my broiler.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Scott McHott

I have slowly collected every single pillow in our bedroom, in order to maintain a tolerable level of comfort while I heal.
He has let me have them all, without complaint.

I have needed help getting out of bed at 2 in the morning, to get to the bathroom.
He has awakened from dead sleep, to lift me up, without complaint.

I have required ice packs and thousands of gallons of water to drink.
He has brought me all of it, without complaint.

I haven't been able to wash a dish, a load of laundry, or clean up any of the filth I have created during the recovery process.
He has taken care of it all, without complaint.

While I've been unable to reach my feet, he's prepared adorable little baths for them, immersing my dirty toes into Epsom salts and Dr. Bronner's, without so much as a grumble, while I sit back in my chair, surrounded by all of his pillows like the queen of the world.

When I am irrational, needlessly emotional, and pointlessly crying, he is there.  He is patient and understanding.  He reminds me, "you've been thru a lot."

When my family drops the ball, or just behaves in that asshole way that family members sometimes do,  he is there to reassure me.  

He has managed two children, two jobs, a messy house and an overrun garden, and a recuperating, needy wife, all without complaint.  And today, he did all those things during a migraine.

There really is no point to writing all of this, other than to brag.  My husband is a goddamned rock-star.   How he manages to do all this fantastic stuff while still maintaining porn-star hotness is a mystery.
Pretty sure I've nabbed the unicorn of husbands.  Fuck yeah.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bon Voyage, Uterus.

Today's the day.  Hospital day.  Uterus day.  Goodbye Uterus day.

Last night was rough.  The prep medicine made me really sick.  I thought it might.  Last time I needed to "prep" for surgery the night before, I got violently ill.  So I was expecting it.
The good news is, after a few hours, I started to feel much better, stopped vomiting, and things began to proceed as previously planned...ok, I pooped everything I've ever eaten since birth, and then some.  But apparently, that's what they want.
I did not want.

Super-fantastic-husbandy-type-person surprised me with an amazing cake in the shape of a uterus, a large group of beloved family and friends, and endless reassurance and support.  It was the sweetest thing ever.  There was even an enormous fireworks display, all for me.  Well, it might have been an Independence Day display, set off for the whole neighborhood, but husband said I could claim it.  So I'm going to.  When else will I get the opportunity to say "bon voyage" to an organ, under the fiery sparks of a professional fireworks display?

I am paused by the outpouring of support and love from my friends and family.  I really don't know what to say, or how to say it, without sounding like the winner of a contest making an acceptance speech.  But that is precisely how I feel.  I feel like I won the friend-lottery.  While I have been afraid, I have barely had time to acknowledge it amidst the showers of support, well wishes, success stories, and a sea of their love.  I have so much more than I deserve.

I have mixed emotions this morning.  I'm scared.  Of the surgery.  Of the results.  Of whether this is the right choice.  The universe seems to be telling me that it is, because my uterus is having her last revenge this morning, and making it very hard for me to consider missing her.
I am sad.  Though more children were never a possibility, I know I will always be sad that I will never carry another one inside me.
I am angry that I have to go thru this at all.  I like my body parts.  Even the assholes, like the uterus, who can't seem to get her shit together and function the way she's meant to function.  She never could, the jerk.
But she gave us two babies.  Oh, uterus, I'm sorry for what I'm about to do...
No, I'm not.  She gave us two babies.  We made three.  And she tried to murder our second.  What a jerk...
I could do this all day.

No, I couldn't.  I'm due at the hospital in three hours, to go under the knife at 12:30.  Well, not really a knife so much as it is a wad of terrifying pointy things, remotely manipulated inside my body, by a doctor who is surrounded by robotic equipment.  Virtual reality surgery.  Holy, holy shit.

I suppose it's time for my second shower...another part of my surgery preparations.  Although I sincerely hope they take a few more steps to prepare me, once I'm unconscious.  I certainly hope that the fate of this medical procedure does not rest within my ability to soap up my abdomen and administer a douche.  Yeah, while we're on the subject of terrifying medical devices, there's one to look into.  Yikes.

So, I will wash my face and feet again, and all the important bits in between, and I will try to think past the scary things, and look forward to waking up, hugging my husband, and eating the cheeseburger I will make him bring me.  I will look forward to coming home and hugging our children, kissing their sweet heads, and being grateful for their presence.
And, I will look forward to a healthier life, without all the gynecological issues caused by a temperamental and inconsiderate uterus.   Fuck yeah.

So long, Sheryll!  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Healing with women

For a stay-at-home housewife/mother, solitude can become a problem.  Of course we are surrounded (constantly, even in the bathroom) by the love and laughter of our children, but actual face-to-face grown up contact is a rarity.  At least it is for me.  My husband works two jobs back to back, and we only have one car.  There is very little adult face time in my everyday life.  The sense of cabin fever, and loneliness can sometimes become a very heavy feeling.

Add in a pile of family crises, and it becomes overwhelming.  To say that things have been chaotic for us of late would be a gross understatement.  If there is bad karma to be received, we are receiving it.  People have been sick.  People have died.  People have disappeared.  People have undergone major surgeries, or have major surgeries pending.  This has been a very, very strange couple of months.

Thankfully, and completely out of character, my husband and I have maintained.  The stress has not (yet) caused me to experience a toddler-grade meltdown, and he and I have managed not to take it out on each other.  In fact, he has been incredible.  And I believe that the composure between the two of us has helped make things seem a little easier.
What?  Behaving like reasonable, mature people who respect and love each other, makes stresses easier to handle?  Who knew?

So we're slow learners.  Being grown up is hard.

As wonderful and supportive as he has been, it still doesn't take the place of the support of a friend, immediately outside of your circle.  A person who loves, but is not "required" to love you.  A person who is there for you strictly of his or her own choosing,  and not because there is a marital, or a familial obligation to do so.  There is great strength in knowing that someone chooses to support you in a crisis, simply because they love you, and nothing more.

As a woman, there is sometimes nothing that can equal the support and laughter of other women.  A circle of ladies, sharing of themselves, and helping a person to feel supported, surrounded, and loved.  A coven of women, sharing their laughter and their sorrows, without judgement, and in kind, accepting yours.

My family received some strange and terribly sad news this week, and consequently there has been a chalky fog in my house, as we decide how to process this news.  The feeling of being swamped in isolation became nearly overwhelming as a result.  I wanted to hide, to sulk, to mope.

But, rather than canceling plans that were set into motion a month ago, I kept them.  And I filled my house with lovely women, old friends and new, and they brought with them their healing laughter, and unspoken support.  We shared wine and food, swear words and talk of aging bodies, husband and boyfriend stories, our woes and triumphs of parenting and marriage, and they refreshed me.  I am grateful.

I find it fascinating, the energy between women.

There is such relief and comfort in hearing another woman talk about a struggle or a burden that you're facing yourself.  There is power in knowing that we share the same struggles.  With our children.  Our husbands.  Our bodies.  It's soothing to know that we are not alone, even when we are certain that's the case.

It is entirely too easy for me to make a habit of staying isolated.  Socializing begins to take on a frightening form, and so I allow myself to withdraw from it, which creates a sort of vicious cycle, leaving me lonely, and socially hungry.  I am grateful to this recent circle of women, who came to pull me from the fog with their laughter.  I am grateful to myself for accepting their healing presence.  I am eager for the next gathering of women, and food, and wine.

I will embrace it as medicine.

The woman-strength thing.  Not the wine thing.
Although the wine was nice, too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feminine gore, and gratuitous use of the word "vagina."

Something's on my mind, and I want to talk about it.  It's girl-stuff related, and I don't know how in-depth and gory I will want to get, so just be forewarned that I will probably write about vagina things, and all that entails.  So you should read at your own risk.  And if you're my dad, or an easily grossed-out cousin or something, you should skip it.  Because I have a vagina.  And I'm about to talk about it.

When we're young girls, approaching adolescence, getting our periods sounds like the coolest thing in the universe.  All those mysterious products reserved only for women.  And only for women of a certain age.  Pads and tampons and special washes and all sorts of fantastic and mystical's like joining an awesome club, and getting a bag full of kickass party favors.  We can't wait.
And then it happens, and it's still pretty cool, I suppose.  For a while.  And then we start realizing that this monthly bleeding shit comes with cramping and depression and stained clothes and ruined swimming trips...and we start realizing that we're going to do this every month for the next forty years...and the "new" starts to wear off.  And then we're pretty pissed.
For me, it was days on end, lying in bed, doubled over in pain, and eating ibuprofen straight from the bottle like Smartees.  For me it was a thousand pairs of adorable underpants, tossed in the garbage (ok...eventually tossed in the garbage).  For me it was month after month of emotional outbursts, and irrational depression, and hoping against hope that it would all just go away.  "Menopause is going to be THA BEST EVAR."

And then, resignation.  We finally accept that this is reality, this is nature, this is womanhood.
And something else begins to take place.  We begin to finally see our places within the life cycle, and all of this somehow becomes
ok.  We are able to accept the bleeding, accept the pain, accept the emotional imbalance, and know that this happens because it must.  Because nature needs this of us.  Nature asks this of us.  And so we do it.  Some of us even become thankful for it.

Of course, that's just my take on the situation.  That's how I felt as I navigated menstruation, and I assume that, at least on some level, it is similar for most women.

I became familiar with the idea of my cycle.  I became familiar with the idea that I would experience this grand and powerful thing monthly, and that eventually I would graduate into another mysterious club, for those women who have "survived" menses, and had moved up to the next level of womanly maturity.  I became familiar with the idea that menopause was my next step, and that I would go there when my body, and nature, were ready for me to do so.  I would receive my period-diploma in the form of hot-flashes, mood swings, and finally the secession of my menstrual cycle.  

For the last year, give or take, I have found myself deep within the appreciative stages of my cycles.  I celebrated what it meant to house a uterus.  I celebrated the children I had created inside of me.  I appreciated my body for the marvelous machine it is, blood, cramps, and all.  I began treating myself with love and tenderness during my moontime, taking care to give my body what it needed.  I sewed beautiful cloths for myself, and stopped using toxic bleached cotton to collect my menstruation.  I felt earthy, crunchy, and damn satisfied with myself.

My uterus.  She is a chicken.  
And then things got...weird.
Things got painful.
Things got lumpy.
Things got...too bloody.
Becoming "in-tune" with my body gave me knowledge enough to know that something wasn't right in there.  I took my painful, bloody and lumpy self to the gynecologist (who I had not seen since she delivered my now seven-year-old daughter.  Oops.)

She pressed my belly.   She poked my uterus.  She sent me for ultrasounds.  She sent me for blood tests.  She patted my hand and told me not to worry, that she would find out what was troubling me.  I resisted the urge to cry in her arms, and went home to worry instead.

She found that I am free of cancer.  Which is an immediate relief.  She found that what ails me is not necessarily dangerous, nor will it become immediately dangerous.
This is good news.

What is not good news is that the "cure" for this series of shitty events, for these lumpy bits of fuck that have invaded my body, is not really a "cure" at all.

It's a hysterectomy.

It's the removal of this beautiful organ, whose value I have only begun to appreciate.  The removal of this beautiful organ, that gave life to my children.  The removal of the organ that has reminded me monthly for two decades that I am woman, I am powerful.

The removal of my femininity.

This is not true.  Femininity does not come from a uterus.  I know this.  Lovely women in my life are without their  Women who have had surgeries to remove them.  Women who were born male, and identify mentally as female.  Young women and old women.  Lovely, beautiful women, who live their lives without that part of themselves.  They are feminine.  Without their wombs.

But I am struggling.

The gore, and the specifics:

I could have an ablation, which is essentially the removal of the lining of the uterus.  This is a temporary fix, however, and I would likely experience symptoms again within a few months, and have to have the hysterectomy anyhow.

I will be able to keep both ovaries, which should prevent menopause, and any hormonal horror-shows that tend to occur with a "complete" hysterectomy.

I will also be able to keep my cervix, which as I understand it, is something for which I (and anyone having sex with me) should be grateful.

The surgery will be performed with a DaVinci robot something-or-other, which enables the Dr. to make just a few small incisions, and operate remotely.  Like fucking Nintendo.
Which is cool, I guess.  It means they don't have to slice me open like a science-class frog, and yank my organs out with their bare hands.  I like that.  And I like Nintendo.  I'm good at Nintendo.  But no matter how many times I have rescued the princess, there is always that one time where I fuck up, somehow, and die.  There is always that one time where my brain says "jump" and my finger on the B-button says "lol, no," and I kill defenseless little Mario just inches away from victory.  The idea of my organ extraction resting on the video game skills of my surgeon is slightly horrifying.

And, because the incisions for this procedure are so tiny, my over-sized, tumorous uterus won't fit thru them.  The method of extraction then becomes horrifying.  The only way to get the severed uterus, and her tumorous friends out of me, is to grab it with what is essentially a tiny meat grinder, chop it up into bite-size bits, and pull it thru one of the incisions.
To treat such an incredible organ in this manner, is one of the main reasons I am hesitant to do this.  My babies came from there.  Because of this part of me, I have two sweet children, who lived inside of me, thrived inside of me, safe and surrounded by the comfort and warmth of my precious uterus.  And now, because it's being an asshole, I am going to sever it from my body, grind it into sausage links, and yank it out of me to be tossed into the medical waste bin with some guy's cancerous testicle, and some vain woman's liposuction refuse?  Now who's the asshole?

Babies are no longer a possibility for me.  After our daughter was born, I had the baby factory medically disabled, and we went about our merry way as a family of four.  So I realize that there was never the possibility of making a new one.  But my uterus was there, intact, and still reminding me monthly that it was there, keeping me female, and waiting patiently for its retirement.  I settled on that.  Me and my uterus were comfortable with that.

And now it has to go.  My expectations of twenty more years of monthly girl-dom have been shaken.
And my irrational fears have begun to take hold.

What if the Dr. misses, and stabs my intestines with her robot machine?
What if there's an earthquake while those things are inside me, and I'm razored to death from inside?
What if not having a uterus somehow magnifies my depression tenfold, and I end up a raving, bawling lunatic?
What if I am never able to enjoy orgasms again?
What if my vagina emerges from this surgery as a useless, dry cavern, and every sexual partner from now until forever decides, "uh, no thanks"?
What if I experience a severe escalation in migraines because of this?
What if I gain another fifty pounds, and become dependent on one of those Wal-Mart obesity scooters to get around my house?

What if my precious husband, whom I adore beyond measure, suddenly decides I am damaged, and unattractive without all my important parts, packs his bags, and abandons me without so much as a backward glance.
No, thanks.  I'd rather...anything else.  


The fear and the grief are normal.  I know, because I have searched every weird corner of the internet, looking for women who have felt likewise.  They all seem to have grieved, in one way or another.  And I am an asshole.  I have children.  I have a choice, and I don't have to decide immediately because cancer is eating my body.  I have time.  I have the ability to wait, if need be.  Until my body decides to forcibly expel this organ itself, or until I'm hospitalized for anemia, I can keep my decision on hold.  Some women are not so fortunate.  Some women are stranded, childless and cancerous, saddled to a decision that nature makes for them...hysterectomy or death.  I am fortunate.  Well, relatively speaking.

But there is fear, and there is grief.  If it makes me an asshole, then I'm an asshole.  I am afraid.  I am sad.

I like my uterus.  I like being a woman.  I even like having a period.  Ok, so if you ask me that while I am in the throes of brutal cramping and bloody vaginal gore, I will probably give you a different response.  But for now, in the twilight of my time with my uterus, I like having a period.  Losing it makes me sad.  Losing it in such a brutal, disrespectful manner makes me sad.

And now, this, because it made me lol...

My uterus.  She is a comedian.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm grumpy.

Trees: Ohai guys! Listen, we are going to give you lovely fruits, flowers, and beautiful foliage! You can eat from us, you can seek shade under us, and you can enjoy all the sweet creatures who will make homes in our branches. We're also going to give you life-sustaining oxygen, because, let's be honest, we both know you can't live without it. We don't even want anything in return! How'bout it?

Us: LOL no thx we're just going to cut you down and make paper out of you, to smear on our asses after we shit. 

Conclusion. Trees are better people than people. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why Am I Awake at Shit-Thirty in the Morning?

It's almost 4 in the morning.  This will probably be jumbled, and sucky.
I am too tired to care.


In the light of day, I was irritated.  I was angry, and wanted answers.
In the deep dark of night, however, I'm furious.  And frightened.  And I want answers.  And revenge. In the form of a bloody person limping toward a police car, with a defeated look on his face...

Last night, in the dead of our sleep, my family was ripped awake by someone slamming themselves into our front door.  Someone who must have thought it would be funny to break into our house.  Or someone who must have thought it was funny to try and scare an entire houseful of people.  Or someone who thought...whatever the fuck they thought.
My daughter was terrified.  I held her trembling body against me, as we sat in the dark, waiting for the police, and watching for the return of the creeps who invaded us.  We reassured her, as she voiced her fear of both the potential invasion, and the guns her father, brother and I were toting.  We reassured her that the police were on their way.  We reassured her that the assholes were long gone, and that we were safe.
And then a shower or rocks pelted our windows, and three nondescript people ran across our yard, disappearing into the dark.
Once the police arrived, questioned us, and set out to hunt for the door-busting, rock-tossing, running away-ing dickbags, my husband started out the door to check on our car.  He came immediately back inside, telling me to call the police again, because the people were hiding in the bushes across the street from our house, shouting obscenities at him.
What followed was three hours of hiding in the darkness, police surrounding our house, searchlights scalding the landscape, and trying to convince our daughter that it was safe to sleep again.

We think they caught one of them.  We listened to our police scanner as they searched the area, as they chased the group of them on foot, and apprehended one of them.  That person was later taken home by the police, so we are assuming it was a minor.
I don't care if he is a minor.  I sincerely want to pull his balls off, by way of his throat.

This is the second time this has happened.  I don't want to believe that it's the same group of people, and I don't want to believe that we're being singled out.  But I do.

And now, at ass-thirty in the morning, I'm awake, I'm afraid, and I'm furious.  The sleep I did get was peppered with nightmares, about flocks of people gathering in front of our house to do harm, and me trying to protect my family inside, as my gun malfunctioned.  As 911 malfunctioned.  As my goddamn mini-blinds malfunctioned.

Every noise I hear suddenly becomes a violent prowler.  The cat meandering lazily thru the kitchen becomes a murderous burglar, high on PCP, and hoping to gnaw the faces off of my whole family.


Our kids opted to sleep together last night.  Or tonight.  Or whatever the fuck "now" is.
They set up the big tent in our son's room, and hunkered down together in the relative safety and silence of our concrete basement.

My husband, who lived thru this ridiculous shit all the time as a kid growing up in a crappy neighborhood with crappy caretakers, finally dozed off about an hour ago.  About the time I started waking up from these asshole nightmares.

We are hoping to take a trip to the city this weekend, to visit a stray pitbull in need of a home,  in hopes of bringing home a dog, so he can patrol the house while we sleep.  Preferably while wearing a cape, and carrying a baseball bat.  Shut up.  He's my dog, and if I say he can carry a baseball bat, then by golly he can, and will carry a baseball bat.  Mother effers.

The whole thing has made me irrational.  The mother bear in me wants to protect her cubs.  Wants to find the scrotum sacs who did this, peel them like onions, and hang their skin from my fucking tree, to ward off other potential predators.
Part of me wants to pack up and move away.  To a secluded beach.  To Amish country.  To a crowded apartment complex.  To Jamaica.
Part of me wants to ignore it, and tell myself that it won't happen anymore, that we'll get answers from the police soon, and that our happy little lives will return to business as usual.

I want our daughter to feel safe inside her house again.
I want our son to be able to feel as if he can just be a kid again, rather than having to help us patrol our house like we're in some kind of goddamn apocalyptic movie.
I want my hard-working husband to rest peacefully at night, and not fear repeats of his wretched childhood invading his grown-up world.

And I want to sleep.  Without being awakened with fear and nightmares and paranoia.  Without feeling like a bad parent for sleeping, when there are lunatics on the loose, who hope to wreak havoc inside our house.

The way I understand it, once the official report is filed, and all the pencil pushing is finished, we will receive more information from the police, we will find out if we can press charges, and we will, I hope, have some answers.
In the meantime, I'm unsettled.  And I resent these motherfuckers for making me feel that way.  I resent them for the vengeful and upsetting thoughts I've thought in their favor.  I resent their parents for giving birth to ugly, inconsiderate dickheads.
Fuck those fucking fuckers.
Bah.  I'm tired.  :p