Give Him Back

My cousin decided last night that he is now a girl. I feel like he was murdered by himself. I am oscillating between shock and this deep set heartache that I’ve lost one of my best friends. Which is silly, really, because I lost him probably a decade or so ago when he started down very self destructive path.

He shared a picture of himself in a dress and make up and he was so ugly, not because of the cross dressing or the emotionally-shaded glasses I’m seeing through right now. He was ugly because of the self inflicted damage I saw. The emaciation… the kind that pulls the skin too tight across the bones because there’s nothing underneath it, like when you pull a hide tight for tanning.

I’m just at a loss right now.

I’m heart broken.

He has been killing himself for so long… I look at him and I listen to what comes out of his mouth and it’s like he’s been skinning the cousin I grew up with away a bit more everywhere to the point where, here we are, there’s nothing left of him so the body has to be someone else’s. He’s gone, someone else has stepped into his place. And they are a miserable, manipulative, self destructive Narcissist. This last decision isn’t a decision, it’s a poor excuse for an obituary.

I want to scream and cry and be angry but I can’t be angry because I’m too broken hearted to muster the energy.

I just want my cousin back. The one I grew up with. The one who was honest and kind, who felt things just as keenly as I did and we made it okay for each other in a world and a family where being hypersensitive meant you needed to toughen up, grow up. We were kindred spirits and now… he’s worse than gone. It’s like he’s choosing this kind of living death where I, at least, won’t be able to find closure because he’s chosen to be gone but he’s not gone.

I just want my cousin back.

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Crumpet Crumbles

What is a crumpet and what does it have to do with me?

I’m not entirely sure.

The only similarity seems to be that they are poured onto a hot surface to be seared from batter into a solid yet holy piece of architecture meant to transport something sweet.

I had a difficult day today. I’ve been struggling with a lot of pain in my lower back, the kind that says my attempts with physical therapy aren’t working. My younger two children made Tom Sawyer’s mischief look like nothing on more than one occasion. One of our dogs threw up in my car at least once during the car rides to/from the vet. And let’s not forget the doctor appointment that was supposed to be simple but wasn’t.

But, you know? It was worth it. The kids need to know that boundaries and rules will be enforced, and, oh my gosh, they had plenty of opportunities where the rules were enforced with discipline. Our pup passed her vet inspection with flying colors and is ready to fly out to her new owner. The surgeon I met with showed a better understanding of how my medications work together and against one another and explained how certain ones could be causing this side effect or that one. While she did give me another medication to take, it is absolutely temporary unlike my pre-existing laundry list of medicines.

After dinner, I excused myself for an errand and went to check out a new beach I was contemplating taking the kids to. It was beautiful, a nice easy slope into the water, shells, I even got to see a crab walking up onto the shore right around sunset. It was a great opportunity to de-stress, plus the sea/salt water is supposed to be good for my fibromyalgia.

Then I came home to a husband who put up with a “me” movie of his own volition and choosing to try and make my day a little better. He hated The Man from U.N.C.L.E., but I thought it was hilarious.

The day had lots of stress, and lots of pain, and lots of messes to clean up. At the end of the day, though, I have an amazing family of… creative… kidlets, and a loving husband. I may feel like it’s all falling apart, but sometimes the pieces need to get rearranged because we’re trying to jam them into places they don’t belong in.

I still feel like there are pieces of my mind just gone, like the holes in a crumpet; sure, the structure is all there for where things should be, but those times are just… empty. The great thing about empty spaces, I guess, is that I can fill them with the sweet little things in life that didn’t have a place before. Like appreciating my kids’ creativity, or my husband’s attempts to be caring even if he won’t actually come right out with it because he has to keep his macho-man image up.

I love my family so very, very much.

Closing the Age Gap

My great grandmother and I were identical despite the years apart. The few pictures held in treasure boxes throughout her attic confirmed it. That was where the similarities ended, I’m afraid, but I didn’t find that out till years later.

It seems that my grandmother has been quite on the decline since her original diagnosis of congestive heart failure. There is not a lot of info passed to me from my mother, she doesn’t tend to talk about people other than herself. I did however hear today that she was in the hospital for quite a long while last month due to a new degenerative disc condition they’ve found along her neck.

We once again have a matching diagnosis, though mine seem to have been found sooner than hers. I have more time to correct or adapt to mine…

Makes me wonder what else we might have in common that I haven’t been told about.

I am wondering a lot about the secrets everyone keeps.

Memories of Motherliness?

My mother surprised me today. Blew me away, really. I’m still rather… sorting through it.

She called me today which, while unusual, was not entirely out of the ordinary… But then she asked if she could sing me a song. This was a weird request. I was wondering if she’d gotten a solo at church or something, then she began playing the piano.

The introduction got me off guard right away, the kind of rubber band, soul snapping, sort of slap in the face time travel that catapults you almost instantaneously back to an early childhood memory yet still manages to make you feel like you’ve been lost for an eternity on your way back to that moment.

I remembered moving my hand in a circular motion around my face, drawing the circle out away from my face into a cone, and singing, as my mother was, “Beautiful/ beautiful/ Jesus is beautiful/ and Jesus makes beautiful/ things of my life”.

(Not me or anyone I know. Video provided by YouTube)

I was shocked.

I was silent.

Then, in a sort of quavering voice,  my mother told me how it struck her that she should call and share that with my today. That, she remembered, a school performance I’d had and that she was running late, as she always did (she admitted) while juggling my younger sister. She had made it into the auditorium just after the song started. She said she could see me looking for her and that, when I saw her, I was so happy. I was smiling. Then my class sang began singing and, though she didn’t remember the sign language that I remembered so vividly, she remembered the lyrics. It was the first time she had ever heard the song and every time since then she thought of me when she heard it.

I was shocked.

I was silent.

I don’t know why she remembered this. I don’t know how it was something that I actually remembered as well. The odds of that are pretty… astronomical. The fact that she remembered something of me after my sister was born was… startling.

I’ve asked her what I was like as a child or a baby and, more often than not, the answer is either that she doesn’t remember or a story that I must gently tell her was actually of my sister.

You see, the first time I remember my mother forgetting me/my needs… repeatedly… I was about the same age, if not a little younger, than when I sang and signed this song with my class. The memories of being forgotten, left, etcetera just built up after that as each experience progressed from hurt to disappointed expectation.

The message my brain took from that…
“I’m not worth remembering”.

I’m sure my mother didn’t mean it that way. She was just busy, scatter-brained, blonde, what have you. It still hurt. She thought I was just acting like a tyrannical two-year old when I was screaming. Doctor said I’d broken my leg. Or when she couldn’t remember to feed me when I was around five. She just got caught up doing laundry. She didn’t mean to put me in harm’s way. She just loved her animals so much and surely the doctors were over-reacting. The joking about my “artsy personality” that I have now been informed were most likely seizures.

There has been so much belittling and hurt over the years… but as I listened to her recounting an actual event from my childhood, one that I knew was my childhood because I remembered it too, I just wanted to breakdown crying and forgive her all the years hurt. I wanted to. I really did.

I just couldn’t.

I got a little teary-eyed, my throat tightened up a bit, and I let her know that I couldn’t even express to her how much it meant to me that she was telling me this.

I meant it…
and I wish so much
that she would have left it there.

She started talking about the books she’d been reading that had helped her which, if you didn’t know my mother, would sound like a good and healthy show of her desire to improve herself.

I knew her.

I’d heard this before.

Just like that, I could feel my mental hackles rising as she went down the list of books this recent bout of “growth” had been attributed to. Then, as she always does, she started in on one book that had helped her the most… to which my heart, re-experiencing decades of hurt and the outrage that went along with it, wanted to yell out “Oh, really? Because my most helpful books were ‘Boundaries’ and ‘Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers'”.

The whole point of the second book is to come to terms with the fact that the problem is not your issues but your mother’s and to accept that your relationship may never be what you needed then or might want now, you just have to accept “mom” and the relationship as it is and surround your part of that relationship with the boundaries to keep you safe and healthy. It’s really a book I should probably reread again.

My sister and I are both in this boat, though I didn’t realize it until we were both well into our adult years.

My heart’s been doing odd things in my chest since the conversation. Orion, our canine who was a therapy dog for his past owner, has pretty much refused to leave my side and even insisted his way into my lap for cuddling. It’s what he was trained to do to calm someone having… issues. I loved him for it… and it twisted something deep inside my heart just a little bit harder than it already was.

To be fair, I don’t think my mother had the faculties and or tools to be a mother of three (then four). If she had stuck with only one child, she probably would have raised one spoiled child, but said child would have had their emotional needs met appropriately. She can be a very kind and caring human being. It just felt like she didn’t know what to do with me, how to understand me, or if she could even accept me… especially once she had her perfect little angel that was my sister.

Then again, it seems even her perfect little angel felt the same way growing up that I did.

Warring. That is the only way I can explain what my insides are doing right now. The hurt coupled with inappropriately boundless hope that I tried to overcome is warring with the anger, bitter resentment, and eventual emotional distance that have grown into a structure for at least a semi functional and amicable mother-daughter relationship.

I don’t even know if that makes sense… I don’t feel like I make sense right now.

She tried to share something wonderful, and it really, truly was. There are just so many dark, dirty chains throughout our relationship, so much dysfunction, and I am trying so hard to hold on to the fact that she wanted to share something meaningful with me about our relationship, a time she felt was meaningful that held me as the star… like a daughter she wanted, and liked, and loved, and made her that happy, beaming kind of proud I always wanted to make her.

So, here I’ve been most the night, struggling inside while all the everyday chaos goes on outside, to hold within my hands this tiny twinkling light within a relationship of dark, twisted, dirty manipulations and mistakes.

And, as with every small glimmer of hope, that nagging voice of my mother’s is criticizing me in the back of my head, asking me if I really know what I’m doing, if what I hold dear is really worth fighting for.

Ironic… isn’t it?

Brave Men Try

“Brave is the man who loves a wild woman.”
-Jonny Ox

Why is it men fall in love with wild women only to cage them, to fight with them, to demean them and tighten their grips until she feels like she can’t even breathe?

I suppose, maybe, it’s like hunting in a way; they see something beautiful and they want it to be theirs, but the possessiveness of ownership is faulty and erred leading to the destruction of that which they desire.

So many ideas of “my girl”, “be my Valentine”, “be my wife”. I am not saying that there are boundaries that need to be respected, because there are. And it does go both ways to different extents per couple.

I came upon this quote very unexpectedly and it struck me. There are so many confines in my life right now, and the “love” of a man who sought to trap me, to make me less than what I am, in order to feel like they were good enough to have me by making me, or probably any of “their women”, less. My husband is not one of these men who actively try to ensnare “his woman”, but there have been certain things from our families of origin that have been the habits returned to under duress. He fights these when he catches himself doing them.

My husband is brave and would let me live my life as I wished if we could; if we didn’t have kids who needed me, a desire to be together every limited chance we get, if we didn’t have bills thirsty for our income like a rose transplanted into the desert. If, if, if.

Despite the if’s he does his best to let me have some time here or there to truly be myself. There was a reason I wanted to live like a gypsy or a traveling artist/photographer when I was younger: I have chronic wanderlust. Even the furniture in my room I have to move every few months because I’ve gotten too used to it.

Children are actually therapeutic in a way, there… half the time there’s too much laundry or artwork scattered across our living space to even know what arrangement our items are in. Besides, you know, well loved.

I feel trapped in my life. I do. But, it is not because I regret my life, it is merely the stage and circumstances of our “today”. I want to take my children adventuring around town to experience fairs, museums, other cultures, so very much! There’s not a lot of that here… and not really many extra funds to do that with. My husband and I do our best, though, and I try to keep things here hopping.

My husband, though, amazes me. He works and works, and I don’t even know where he gets the reserves or strength but he just keeps going and making a life for our family. I don’t know what he sees in me, but he tells me he loves me, a habit he had to build, and he holds me when I cry, and he laughs when I overreact, he calls me out of nightmares, and he craves me just as much as I crave him. Yet, with all that love, and with all our mundane stresses and struggles, he has done his best to build me wings with his very own hands so that I may climb my way into the heights of my own dreams.

I may very well be the Icarus of this story but I am also the Juliet.

Despite my character, I will write my own story.

The soul is the only infinite substance in a finite existence, and the soul was born of love.

Brain Babble

It’s been a rough week. I can’t lie about that but I certainly want to.

Multiple issues Sunday and Monday, a couple this morning. Perhaps one of the most disheartening realizations was the fact that, even though I knew I shouldn’t go on rollercoasters, I will never be on another one as long as I’m alive and  “healthy”. I tried swinging next to my daughter. Swinging, you know, on a swing set? My favorite part as a kid was always that arc right before you got too high and the sing started jumping. I didn’t even make it to that part before “something” happened and I almost fell out of the swing. No swings for me. No rollercoasters. That family trip to Six Flags my husband and I have been planning for when the kids got older just got thrown out the window.

But, hey, even just typing about it I started to get upset and get a little dizzy, but that could just be my medication kicking in.

My husband met his daughter, finally, after being denied for so long by her mother! From what my husband relayed to me and from what I saw myself on her social media stuff… my husband was right in that he made quite a positive impression on both his daughter and her soon-to-be-stepdad. He made enough of an impression on the latter that it has caused his ex some second thoughts in regards to whether or not she wants to indeed marry her third child’s baby-daddy. Interesting creatures, people.

I need to go in to my neurologist, the twitches in my hand keep getting worse. I don’t know if it’s related or not but I am forgetting and mixing up words I shouldn’t be. I can’t help but feel like I started going downhill super fast in one way once the medication was started for something else. What if the seizures are an allergic reaction to the medication? What if I’m not as sick as she thinks or it’s not what she thinks? I’m being hopeful, I’m trying not to be naive, I’m trying to ask questions so I don’t end up like a vegetable for the rest of my kids’ childhoods.

There’s so much in my head, but I am so tired. My sleep has not been restful at all the last few weeks. or maybe just two weeks, I’ve lost count. It’s my body, adapting to the medication.

Even now, I can feel the fire in my hands under my skin has returned. It makes me want to take an ice bath, and I hate the cold, normally the cold hurts. Ah, well,  life goes on.

Hopefully, I’ll be sitting down with my son’s principal tomorrow to discuss why the hell she let a child get away with punching my son in the eye. Accident, my ass. An accident wouldn’t have landed a fist in his eye, instinctually your hands are open when you fall. Just freaking common sense.

I have found myself missing my fellow writers as of late, the ones I used to meet with, and the community of bloggers I was with before I was here. Things keep changing, eh?

Can I Give You Family For Christmas?

My husband is back by where his ex and his first daughter are. Originally we had thought he wouldn’t be able to come home for my birthday or Christmas. Turns out, we had been wrong and he had been allotted two weeks of time off for the holidays. He started taking measures to come home, spoke of surprising the kids, spun some fanciful tales of bringing his daughter home with him for Christmas so we could ALL finally meet her, not just him. They were just daydreams we spun out, laughed over, and secretly wished were realistic.

When he emailed his ex… he got the typical “Of course you can see her, oh, wait, no you can’t” song and dance he’s had every time he’s tried to meet her.

We talked. We sat in silence on the phone, each of us heartbroken in our own ways in the silence, weighing it down with all the tears we’ve shaded in the past and should know better than to shed now.

“Stay.”

It’s what broke the silence. It was the word that broke my heart and would break the hearts of my kids if or when I tell them the untold story of Christmas 2015.

“If there’s any chance you can finally meet her, you should stay.” This was a bit stronger, and felt with a sincere passion and stubbornness.

If I could have seen him, I know the way he would have looked at me; his eyes a bit more open, his shoulders tensed in surprise and apprehension as he waits to see if I’m going to break down crying.

“You should stay.” I said again.

“Okay. I’ll cancel my leave.”

One sentence… with years of heartbreak, trepidation, disappointment, hope, fear.

I couldn’t say “You both deserve this chance.” It felt too much like telling him to put one side of his family above the other. He’s made my son such a priority, how could I tell him to do any differently in regards to his own daughter?

I just hope that one day, they can both see this and realize I said what I said out of love for them both and in hopes that it would finally bring all facets of our family together into the beautiful jewel it is meant to be.