Sunday, November 20, 2011

Out There on my Own

Sometimes I wonder who I am, where I've been, do I fit in?  No, not really.

Here is what I really wonder.

Why, no matter how busy I am, do I insist upon cutting out the box tops for school.  I remember a time when my world had literally collapsed, all was lost. I had trouble finding a reason to live and yet I could not physically throw away that cereal box without snipping the box top. Was it a desperate attempt to hold on to normalcy or was it a matter of sanity?

Why do I love marching bands and bagpipes? If I see a marching band with bagpipes I will cry.  The same holds true for fireworks if the Lee Greenwood song, "Proud to be an American" is played.

How can I hate politicians and politics so much that I refuse to watch, participate or expose myself to news, other than that which I carefully screen through my rose colored glasses while I clearly feel unsettled enough to lose sleep at night?

Why do I test the limits of health and well being? I mean, for God's sake, what is this wreckless behavior all about? Mom used to say I was well adept at cutting off my nose to spite my face. But what if my face was happy to be rid of my nose? Sometimes you have to lose by a nose, right?

Why have I spent the last year and a half not the slightest bit interested in having a mate, counterpart, companion, lover or whatever the hell else one might normally desire in their life?  Is there something wrong with me, this need to be on my own? There have been times when I thought about my grandmother who lost her husband at a young age and never married or once even dated to the day she died at the age of 93. I adored her.  Did I admire her too much?  Did I receive her gutsy determination or did I inherit her thankfullness to be free?  Was she free or was she lonely? Did she choose to be single or was the choice made for her?  She raised three kids on her own but was she successful or sorry in the end?

Sometimes I wonder who I am, where I've been, do I fit in - but those thoughts are most often replaced by a fierce need to get through each day raising my three kids on my own; finding a way to make them feel my love beyond words, working hard to pay our bills and struggling, at times, to find a reason to wake up and cut another box top.

Am I missing the bigger picture here?

After all, what about God?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Male Brain--or Lack Thereof

Yesterday was Halloween. We hardly ever get any trick or treaters, but John had bought a couple of bags of candy just in case. That was great--saved me a trip to the store.
He got home before me and already had the candy by the front door. But instead of reaching on top of the refrigerator for a woven basket, he gets into the lower cabinet and roots around for something different.
He comes out with an expensive hand-painted platter that was a wedding present. It was completely unsuitable--shallow and breakable.
But I didn't say anything.
I told him last night to take the candy to his office--it won't last 5 minutes there. This morning I came downstairs after he left. The candy was gone. And so was the platter.
Instead of dumping it all in a plastic grocery sack which would be easy to carry, he has to maeunever steps and car seats with a shallow platter.
What part of that makes sense? What is it about really smart guys that makes them go stupid sometimes?
A co-worker just told me about the time her husband cooked fresh broccoli. He cut off the florets and tossed them. She came home to find him COOKING THE STEMS.
My husband has two engineering degrees--and maybe that's the problem. Instead of taking the easy, practical way out, he opts for something much more difficult.
But I can't worry about that now. I just want my platter back.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Word Pie

Being a real, live person is so unnatural.  The automatic instincts we have are apparently wrong, so we must adjust our behavior to give the appearance of normalcy.  There are all these rules and they're stupid, because rules are the only thing that separates us from the animals. 

I mean, offering comfort is a natural inclination, but obsessing over the ramifications of your method of comfort is just fucking insanity.

I'm not saying YOU are insane, I'm saying that HUMANS are.

(Dear Ruby, that is the end of my initial reaction to your blog.  Thank you for keeping me going)

But we are taught that there are rules on how to do these things.  Always with temperance. We cannot just go around having feelings about things, because we have to think about how having feelings affects everyone. 

I cannot eat when I am hungry, I must wait until the time when the sun hits a certain point in the sky because that's when the king was hungry 2000 years ago.

I cannot speak the way I think because it is too loud, fast, and intense.  Escalating conversations, apparently, mean you're angry, stubborn, and a big fat wit one-upper, when in reality I'm trying to find someone who can play.  Then again, I've never been accused of being a one-upper...I'm just always afraid I'll come across that way, when what I really want to do is have a word battle.  No, not a battle...a word farm, where we plant and grow and harvest and bake delicious word pies.  Together.   Blogs are like word pies.

I cannot be skeptical when I receive compliments, and must accept them graciously because I'm supposed to.  But instinctively, compliments from strangers and acquaintances (if I trust you already, I will be happy and affable as fuck) make me suspicious and unravel any thoughts of trust, because in MY experience people only use compliments for manipulative purposes instead of genuine appreciation. 

I cannot get angry at someone for calling me a 'fat cunt' (this is a new phenomenon for me.  Before people thought I was feisty, or a spitfire or something. But sure, you gain weight and your clothes don't fit right and the game fucking changes.  It is unforgivable to be heavier than your peers and also outspoken.  As long as you're within someone's acceptable body range, they find you clever) I am supposed to ignore it because society frowns upon anger, when everything in my gut tells me to attack, diminish, destroy.  And then everyone's all, "Calm down, that guy's just a douchebag" and I'm all "yeah, and if no one ever does anything about it he's going to stay that way." But if you do that you are crazy.  And then everyone wants to know why you're crazy.  MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE YOU ARE FORCING ME TO SUPPRESS THINGS, SOCIETY.  EH?  YOU EVER THINK ABOUT THAT?  YOU EVER THINK THAT SOMEDAY I AM GOING TO WAR ON MYSELF BECAUSE MY NATURAL INCLINATIONS ARE INHUMANE?  Some people have the instinct to run, and I have the instinct to stupidly, ridiculously, stubbornly fight to the death. 

Fucking philosophy.  Philosophy is such bullshit.  All it does is lead to more rules that don't make any fucking sense.

It is natural for us to disagree and conflict with each other, why can't people see that?  Why can't they see that shiny happy people living in harmony is DISCORDANT WITH NATURE?  Sure, there are interconnecting patterns and if you slice a seashell in half it's made out of math, whatever, I get it, but polarizing forces are how things are shaped, it's how things grow, and the more people try to stop them out the more polarizing the outskirts become and the fucking crazier we all look, those of us on the emotional fringe.

The trick is to celebrate the differences and use them instead of getting angry about them.  Okay.  I will work on this.


Monday, September 12, 2011

So Fucking Tired

I am so tired of being a grownup.

I am tired of going to a therapist every week and working on my shit while my mother gets to smugly sit in her chair watching tv content in her truth that she has it all figured out. I'm tired of setting boundaries with her to keep me from absorbing her stuff. I amtired of working so hard to make sure the boundaries are firm but not vindictive, healthy but solid. I'm tired of being told by her that no one likes their mothers and let the past be the past. I know lots of people who like their mothers and the past isn't some vague, hazy time for me since I wasn't bombed out of my mind most of the time. My past is concrete and real and full of images I can still conjure like they are right in front of my face, things that still scare me as much as when I was a child. My past affects how I relate to people NOW, how I handle anxiety and uncertainty NOW, how I feel about myself when I make a mistake NOW, how I have to work so hard on believing I am worthy of the love my husband, children and friends give me NOW. I am tired of the hundreds of wrong messages that have been sowed in my head that I have to go through, one by one and yank and pull and fight until I can pull them out and plant new ones. Then I have to nurture those new ones and do the work so that they'll grow, that I'll believe them and that the weeds won't get a foothold. It is exhausting.

I am tired of giving my eleven year old pep talks and incentive charts and points and pats on the back to do what he should have figured out already. I am tired of my husband and I going back and forth trying to figure out how to help him figure himself out. I am tired my son fighting me on every single fucking thing, every fucking time. Yes, he figures it out eventually, but by the time he does, I am so fucking tired and not completely sure I still like him. I am tired of telling him the same thing, over and over again. I am worn out on worry, that we won't give him the strength and tools to handle and enjoy his adult life. I am tired of looking at it and trying to find the lesson and trying to conjure up the patience and affection I know he needs.

I am tired of being grownup and having to do grownup things like schedule my cat's euthanasia. I am tired of holding my kids while they cry over this cat that was so old they hardly saw him but nonentheless, they feel his absense and the weight of my choice to end his life and they feel a sliver of their own mortality. I'm tired of holding my seven year old as she sobs and crys out, "I don't want him to die mom" over and over again and I rack my brain for the right thing to say so she knows I hear her, that she feels supported and safe and that she can process her feelings when all I want to do is keen right along with her. I'm tired of making sure they see me cry, so they know it's natural and good to cry, for a cat, for anything but I'm tired of making sure I don't cry too much that it scares them or that they realize I am still grieving the loss of the mother I never had and some days it all gets wrapped together and I feel like I am drowning in the muck of sorrow and the weight of having to pull myself from it.

I am tired of having to explain to my angry mother in law why our kids can't come over anymore without us there while her brother continues to basically squat in her house. I am tired of explaining why we don't think it's good for our kids to be around someone who collects social security, sits in a room and gambles online all day and allows my children to watch. I am tired of trying to convince my son that gambling is not a job and that his uncle has spent more time sleeping under an underpass than being comped hotel rooms in Vegas. I am tired of trying to explain his uncle's behavior without completely throwing him under the bus. I am tired of all the fucking teachable moments asshole. I am tired of worrying about the kids over there because he's telling off color "jokes" to my seven year old daughter. I am tired of worrying about the kids being there because of the hundred different ways that he is proven that he is at worst, grooming my daughter to molest her and at best, completely unaware of how to appropriately behave around children. I am tired of defending my and my husband's concern. I am tired of her trying to substitute her judgement for our own. I am tired of her waving away our concern. I am tired of being the fucking heavy when it was her that brought her broken brother into the house becuase she is codependant and needs someone to take care of.

I am tired of being a grownup but I am a grownup and I know it will get better, because so much of it already has.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Here's a question--how do you get rid of grudges? How do you let go of the nagging voice in your head recalling all the bad things "they" have ever said?

Have you ever rid yourself of a toxic person?

Tell me how.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tina Fey - Change of Life Baby

Today, on this very day, I had the rare opportunity to be without children under the age of 25 so I decided to read a book, carefully selected as a last minute impulse buy at Sam's Club.  Can you still technically call it an impulse buy when you've wanted to read it since the day it was released? I am a huge fan of Ms. Fey on so many levels, it's like one of those old fashioned high rise department stores where each area is on a different floor.

First Floor - Feminist issues relating to women in the workplace, working mom's, i.e., guilt. Or breastfeeding vs. formula, i.e., guilt squared.  Which sounds an awful lot like quilt squared but in this case it is important to note the difference.

Second Floor - Normal girl raised with real world values becomes success. She had a kick ass dad she obviously adored but with a healthy dose of fear.  I didn't have that.  My dad was kick ass with an unhealthy dose of fear and an addiction or two to back up the crazy ass shit he did.  Nonetheless, I am trying to act like a girl raised with real world values who becomes a success.

Third Floor - Brilliant writer - enough said. I originally wrote "nough said", but that didn't sound like something Tina would write so I edited it or dare I say Feydited it.  Being a brilliant writer is all I ever wanted to be, or as Oprah puts it, my "ultimate truth".

Fourth Floor - Wife, mother, honest and real. Tough shit - the doubt; always and forever - it simply does not die.  Am I doing the right thing or do I need to save for therapy instead of college?

Fifth Floor - Aging. I am just a skosh older than Tina.  With all honesty, maybe it's more like a tad older.  But I am certainly in the ballpark, sitting right behind home plate. Her references to having a baby at 40, formerly known as "a change of life baby" resonated with me.  I clearly remember my mom and dad talking about the next door neighbors who had a "change of life" baby.  Born 10 years after the elder two, they scoffed at the very idea of it.  I distinctly remember thinking this was a change of life for the worse, which was implied by the mere tone in which it was delivered.  I had the unexpected pleasure of recently connecting with the elder cheerleader daughter via Facebook.  She who had so patiently and graciously tried to unsuccessfully mentor me into cheerleading. To make it perfectly clear, her lack of success had nothing to do with her skills as a cheerleader or as a mentor but more in part because those fucking tryouts were rigged and Deanna Jimboy got in just because she had cool older brothers who were sleeping with the judges and fucking Brenda Gizzi could do back hand spring like her hands were literally HAND SPRINGS.  I was clearly out of my league.

Sixth Floor - Men.  She invades and conquers the planet, Testosterune.  She blazes a path through the world of comedy with a quirky, unconventional style that allowes her to sneak under their highly evolved border patrol, electronic fences, battery of TV remotes and fart gas.  She emerges out of it alive, and fully functioning with actual reconnaissance of how they pee in cups and jars because they are too lazy to walk to the men's room. Early in my career, I recall asking some of the more 'seasoned' women in my office why the men disappear for 45 minutes to an hour each day with a newspaper tucked beneath their arms.  I later dared to go into a men's room in my building, after hours, for proof. Color me repulsed when I discovered they actually had reading bins in there where they would place their used, if not slightly soiled Wall Street Journal or The Daily Oklahoman for example.

I don't need to travel up any further in this particular department store for I've been sold.  I came away knowing I'm not the only woman who dared to have a baby after the age of forty (going a step above, I had twins).  I'm not the only woman to scratch and claw my way through a man's world yet as hard as I've fought, she still found a way to teach me a lesson.  I am all riled up to the point of facing her Sesame Street challenge.  Do I figure out a way to go over, under or through these obstacles placed in front of me?

She pierced through my shroud of guilt for not being able to successfully breastfeed after so much effort, expectation and did I mention effort?  She made it okay for me to dismiss those that shamed me for not trying harder.  All I have to do is think of her aptly named Bret Michael's move (read the book) to know I did everything I could possibly do and then some.

Finally, she left me feeling as if "everything would be fine", no matter what happens with the rest of my life.  Which made me remember that all the cheerleaders who were selected in the 7th grade ended up pregnant by Senior year.  Not that I'm judging, God forbid, because my life hasn't exactly been by the rule book, the good book or otherwise but I just wanted to point that out, you know, how happy I am about Brenda's springy hands and Deanna's sexy as hell brothers.

As this is a website dedicated to the female gender's words, read the damn book.  If not for any other reason than to arm yourself with the perennial, "I don't care if you like it" philosophy. It's called Bossypants.  Don't let the cover put you off.

And you, Tina Fey, Greek Goddess of Baby Poop, conveyor of classically, funny shit shall live with or without a great deal of anxiety.  Tina, I loved you, even before I knew you existed. Rock on, you pear-shaped, overrated troll, for the rest of us apple-shaped overrated ogres will follow you knowing our journey will be made easier as ogres are not required to think of clever riddles.

My childhood neighbor's change of life baby went on to become a successful doctor, noted for changing the lives of countless patients. I suspect Tina Fey will be resonating with me in the weeks and months to come as I strive to be a brilliant writer and a guilt-free mom.  Whether I have to go under, over or through, I wonder....which one of these things is not like the other, which one of these things just doesn't belong. And that is the essence of the book.

They both do.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Faking It

I cannot fake it, ask my husband. When I’ve tried, it’s just a mess and everyone’s feelings are hurt. I have this thing about emotional authenticity. I can repress painful feelings and I can keep my mouth shut when I know that just because I feel something doesn’t mean I need to say something. But I cannot say something that I do not feel.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Ugh, it’s a sentence fragment, not even a sentence and it still provokes anxiety for me.

It is better now that I get a Mother’s Day full of breakfast and backrubs and clay handprints and macaroni necklaces and glittery picture frames and acrostic renderings of the word mother. It is better now that I have small, grape jelly scented hands thrusting presents in my face. It is better now that I get to lavish love and sexual favors on my deserving husband on Father’s Day.

But it is still complicated by those other two people.

They were not good parents. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them but if parenting were The Amazing Race, or Survivor, Dancing with the Stars or even The Apprentice(insert your own terrible reality show here), they would have been voted off before anyone really knew who they were. They were so young and their own parents did not prepare them for the important job of parenting. They succeeded in creating a child but the nurturing kind of stuff, the protecting, the safety, the love, not so much.

Still, my dad paid child support, $400 a month until I was out of college. That was four more years then he was legally required to. He sent me cards on my birthday. He told me he had so much guilt and regret about the past. I spent a good year in therapy and I have made peace with my feelings about him. I send him a card on Father’s Day. I don’t mind, I feel like I want to at this point but it is hard finding the right sentiment to capture the complicated feelings I have toward him. You were always there for me Dad. No, that’s not true. You taught me so much. Nope. You mean the world to me. Still not right. I have surrendered the past and accept you the way you are. I love you but am relatively indifferent to you being in my life. I hope your other family does something nice for you. Thank you for not expecting me to visit. There, that’s better.

As you probably have garnered from my recent extreme navel gazing posts regarding my mutter, we are going through a rough spot. I would like to say this is recent but really it is just the culmination of many years and me finally unable to manage it or handle it anymore. I am hopeful that someday I will feel for her more like I feel about my father, loving but benevolently detached. I am not there yet. It is the hope of that someday that I even sent her a card this year. We are not speaking but she is still the woman, no, the child that pushed me from her body.

I stood in the card aisle like an idiot for nearly twenty minutes trying to find a sentiment that was authentic but benign. I realized quickly that cards with flourishy writing were not the ticket. They held too many sentiments and platitudes, none of them fitting. Even the humor cards were off-target and I’m not feeling the funny at this moment. Can’t they have at least one card stripped of all that other stuff?

In my head I imagine what a my ideal card rack would contain:

Happy Mother’s Day, you are my mother.

I know you did your best.

Social services never came to visit, that counts for something!

Your dysfunction helped me develop humor as a self-defense mechanism and it’s great at cocktail parties!

The crazier you are the better my memoir!

Thanks to the medication, I forgive you!

Thank you for the opportunity for painful, personal growth.

Mother, your the reason my self-help library is expanding at record speed.

As days go by, I realize how lucky I am…. That you are not here to ruin it for me.

You are the anvils atop my wings.

Mom, without you, I never would have met my therapist.

I am the luckiest unplanned pregnancy ever.

Thank you for not getting an abortion.

I’m so miserable without you…It’s almost like you are still here.

M manipulative

O oppressive

M matron

Friday, April 15, 2011


By the way, you may already know but I wanted to tell you that I had a chance to speak with John and I told him that Mr. Ruby and I would not be attending his wedding this summer.

Why not?

Mr. Ruby has a major work project at the same time and he won’t be able to leave in the middle of it.

Then you should come with the kids.

I thought about how to make it work but really mom, I am not comfortable traveling with the three kids by myself.

And why not?

It’s too hard. Big kid is too old to go into the ladies room with me but too young to leave alone and with three kids and one adult if something goes awry as it often does with kids, I’m on my own and it’s too much for me.

Then you should come alone.

No, Mr. Ruby’s project is so involved that I cannot ask him to watch the kids in the middle of it, he may even have to fly into the home office depending on how things evolve, so leaving the three kids with him is not an option.

Well, what about your mother-in-law Myrna, can’t you leave the kids with her?

No, she isn’t available.

Well, you managed to get her to watch them when you went to Vegas.

Yes, I did, and she already has her own plans for that week in July. Like I told you, I have already tried to figure out a way to get there and it just isn’t going to work for us.

Why can’t you bring the kids?

I would be alone with all three kids, it’s too stressful for me and I don’t want to do that.

Well, you were going to let me do it with no problem.

No mom, we had briefly talked about that as a possibility and when I thought about it more, I realized I wasn’t comfortable with any one adult traveling with the three kids.

Well you did.

And now I don’t.

You should just suck it up and bring the kids, so what it’s hard, life is hard.

Mom, it upsets me when I tell you something is difficult for me, and you expect me to do it anyhow.

Frankly, you should want to come. Your aunt has done a lot for you and missing her son’s wedding is very unappreciative.

Me not attending John’s wedding does not invalidate my gratitude for the things Aunt Melissa has done for me.

You have no sense of family and how important it is to be at family events.

Mom, I live two-thousand miles away. The reality is I cannot attend every family function, it isn’t possible and it isn’t reasonable to expect me to.

I am very disappointed.

I understand you are disappointed.

I would hope that you would think about this and decide that it is important and come.

Mom, I already have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out a way to attend and it is not going to happen.

I am really disappointed in you.

I understand you are disappointed that we won’t be able to make it.

No, I am disappointed in you. And I am not the only one.

Well, I spoke with John and he seemed to understand why we were not going to attend so I am okay with that.

He was just trying to being nice.


Well, then I will fly out and escort you and the kids.

Mom, I already told you, we are not coming and I don’t want you to do that.

This is something you need to be at, these people all came to your wedding.

Mom, if I had been married in California instead of Chicago, many of those people, including John, would not have attended my wedding. How is this different?

If that had been the case then a bunch of people would have had to fly to you, this is just you coming out here.

But it is still me coming out.

You managed to get to Vegas just last month so I don’t understand why you can’t get out here for a wedding.

Yes, I took my husband to Las Vegas for his birthday.

Yeah, he has a birthday every year, this is a wedding for christsake. You need to come.

I have already made my decision mom.

Well great, this is just great. You are so fucking selfish I can’t believe it.

Wow mom, you are being really judgmental. Just because I am not doing what you think I should doesn’t make me selfish.

Well I get to have an opinion and tell you what you should be doing, that’s my job.

No. It is not.

Of course it is, I’m your mother.

Your job is not to tell me what you expect me to do, your job is to love me and support me.

That’s bullshit.

It isn’t bullshit to me.

You said you wanted an authentic adult relationship with me, well here you go.

I didn’t say that, you did and if this is what you think authentic looks like then no, I am not interested.

So what, I don’t get to have an opinion?

You get to have an opinion and yes, you get to feel disappointed, but you do not get to use name calling, judgment and hostility to try to manipulate me into doing what you want.

You are so full of shit, I can’t believe you.

Mom, adults with good boundaries do not try to tell other adults what they should be doing.

Whatever, more bullshit.

I understand you are disappointed but this is what Mr. Ruby and I have decided.

You don’t care about family at all, I thought you were going to work on strengthening your relationships with your cousins?

Those were your words not mine and I do care about family which is why I made the decision that it is better for my family to sit this one out.

You are unbelievably selfish, you just do what you want to do whenever you want to do it, you know you are going to have to live with this.

I gave this a great deal of thought and I feel I am being reasonable so I am very ok with this decision.

So I suppose you are not coming home this summer at all?

That is correct, we will not be coming to Chicago this summer.


Because Mr. Ruby would like to visit his sister in Colorado and we don’t have enough vacation time to do both.

His sister? Visit his sister? You don’t even like his sister!

Mom, I adore his sister.

You are unbelievable.

I don’t think it is unreasonable that I use some of our vacation time to go see my husband’s sister.


Mom, we have come to see you six summers in a row, we have not been to see his sister ever. It is important to me that Mr. Ruby gets time with his family too, not just mine.

Great, just great, this is so ridiculous, you are so ridiculous, you don’t give a shit about anyone but yourself…

It is not good for me to let you speak to me this way so I am going to go.

Whatever, I can’t believe what a selfish person you are.

Mom, when you speak to me this way and judge me this way, it puts a wedge between us. You are being very judgmental, just because I am not doing what you think I should do doesn’t make me selfish and it doesn’t make you right.

You are wrong and this is bullshit.

Again, it is not good for me to let you talk to me like this so I am going to go.


I didn't obsess about what she said, I didn't wonder if she was right. I expressed my anger calmly, I didn't become a victim, I didn't let her manipulate me into feeling bad or changing my mind or melting into a puddle of guilt or anxiety. I didn't escalate even as she hissed her words and shouted at me. Yes, I took a small amount of satisfaction that the calmer I was the angrier she got but most of the time, I felt like an observer watching a child have a tantrum, escalating her behavior in order to get the candy.

And just like that, I was free. And I slept like a baby for the first time in four months.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seems we’re all talking about virginity these days….
I found it hard to relate to the two previous posts on virginity, because I don’t remember losing mine, so it never got to be an issue.  Although the way I lost it became a VERY big issue for a while.
I’m amazed at how little I remember – I was 10 or 11 at the time, not a total child.  I’ve never known how to label what happened.  “Child abuse” as a concept didn’t exist at the time, and although it has since become a big subject in the media, it always seems to be in terms of wicked family members.
My experience wasn’t like that.  I had a little job delivering newspapers to houses before school.  The newsagent just got friendlier and friendlier.  He “promoted” me to helping me mark up the papers with the house numbers for the delivery routes, so I was on my own with him in the shop, and got even friendlier.  
And I was flattered – I assume. I actually have no memory of what I felt, I just know that no physical violence, threats or hothouse family atmospheres were ever involved, and don’t know how else to explain my compliance.
He had a dog.  I desperately wanted a dog.  My parents wouldn’t let me have a dog.  So I started going round to his house after school to play with his dog, or take it for walks. This led on to playing with him, and then to sex.  He must have been very patient and determined.
This went on for more than a year.  Of all that time, I have only four short “videos” in my memory.  Four.  They aren’t particularly shocking, except for the fact that I was 10 or 12 and he was 28 or 29, and weren’t, as far as I’m aware, traumatic.  But I don’t think I need to describe them here.

What WAS traumatic was when my parents found out.   Oh Lord, did the heavens ever fall in.   I hadn’t been forced, therefore I was a fallen woman, a shame to the family, a disgrace, dirty, untouchable.  My father couldn’t bear to look at me, whilst my mother was very vocal in her disgust, which spilled out all over the place.
That also went on for years.   The fall-out was quite spectacular and my feelings for my parents have never recovered.
It wasn’t until I was 24 when someone handed me a book on child abuse that I began to punch my way out of the paper bag of being a fallen woman, a shame to the family, a disgrace, dirty, untouchable.  But by then, of course, I had become so (in the eyes of people who believe in such concepts).  Having lost my virginity and any sense of connection with my parents at 10 or 11, it wasn’t difficult at all to look for acceptance and affection elsewhere using this new-found skill.
Of course, we only have one life, so it’s never possible to set up experiments with a control.  I can’t know what my life would have been without that experience.  I suspect I learnt far too early on to “service” in bed rather than share, but isn’t that many women’s experience anyway?  I can’t imagine trusting my parents, but I might have done if this hadn’t happened, and who knows how that might have changed my life?  Not to mention how my life might have been different if I hadn’t been cast in the role of untrustworthy scarlet woman so early on.  On the other hand, becoming independent and taking risks might have been more difficult if I’d had any kind of meaningful relationship left with them.   For example, the fact that moving abroad would mean I would see very little of my parents has never been a problem for me.   And in my wild sleeping around days (which I might have had anyway), I actually met some truly nice people who are still friends today, 30 years later.  And all of my long-term relationships (I’m on my third) grew out of one-night stands (do people still use that expression?).  Re-reading those last two sentences makes me wonder whether it's perhaps because I was introduced to sex so early on that's it's never been a really big deal to me,  and in fact has often been a way for meeting people and making friends.

In the end, it’s not an experience that dominates my life, but I’m aware it’s there, lurking in the background.  Witness this post.  There’s no conclusion, or even any real point to this post, but reading two posts in succession about virginity, well, this is what has been stirred up for me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Fucking bitter resentment. I am supposed to be all about Zen, calm, fucking smooth, relaxing and somewhat pleasurable contentment. Right?

Okay, so here's the deal. My dad, secret drug addict, abuser, terrifying man who later benefited from the invention of Prozac and became #1 Team Grandfather to my son's baseball team.  They provided him a reason for living and he provided them with countless blow pops, licorice sticks and whatever else they requested after a big win. That was my dad. My life was but a concession.

Mom - depressed, not available, now dead.

Oldest brother - dead.

Middle brother - dead to me.

Youngest brother - dead.

First husband - in prison.

Second husband - doing very well, thank God I had the strength to set him free.

Third husband - in a federal satellite camp (could be called prison) but my kids tend to refer to him as "away".

When my mom died in 2007 of depression, masked as breast cancer (because you truly cannot have a lump in your breast that size and not know it might be an issue) left everything in her estate to my middle brother because she knew he might not be far from death and she wanted him to always have a place to live.  She spent her life keeping my drug addicted brothers off the streets so of course, she naturally chose to keep him, the last of the three, in a safe harbor throughout her death.  It was easy for her, "my daughter has always provided for herself, so she most certainly always will".

When my ex-husband went to his country club, a/k/a prison camp last year, there were no provisions made as to how I was going to make ends meet as a full time mom.  Nobody to help with childcare.  Three kids, a full time job, a house.  I was barely able to keep my nose above the water as a 50% joint custody mom; yet, it was easy for him to see, "she has always provided for us when I didn't hold a job or spent us into debt or relied on her to pay all the kids expenses even after we were divorced, and she most certainly always will".

As I write this, I am approaching the fifth month of being a full time working, full time single mom and I fucking hate every single word of this post typed thus far, for it reeks of pity.  I have been swirling about in a cauldron of evil consisting of:  Hate, Resentment, Entitlement, Hair of the Dog, Bitterness, Red Dirt vs.White Snow, Shaved Spirit of the Innocent, Red Wine vs. White Wine or worse yet, no Whine at all.  And it comes to me. I want to move back to Oklahoma because it's not supposed to snow in late March. Oh and also......

Duh.  These are your lessons you dumb shit. Since when did you ever feel sorry for yourself?  Get the fuck up and manifest this anger into your destiny. I gave it to you for a reason.  You only do well, when you are pressed, pressured or pissed.  Now you are all P's to the three and I am sitting here, laughing my ass off, waiting to see how you swat at this ridiculous hornets nest I save for the only those I love the most.

My kid's dad recently told them God only punishes those he loves the most, that's why daddy ended up in camp "away". To which, the sick and much demented grandmother figure replied, "then God must really, really love your daddy". Concessions.  Holy, moldy shit, concessions.

I have picked up my giant ass fly/hornet swatter and I am going to destroy anything that stands in my way and that means you: Resentment, hate and pity - you were sent here to piss me off.  

But what happens when you catch yourself in the mirror and you stop, truly stop in your tracks? You try to deny it but it is there.  You look just like your brother, who looks just like your dad.  You said it yourself last Thanksgiving when you couldn't take your eyes off your brother because he made you uneasy, like he was going to send you to your room at any moment for being the worlds first and only virgin whore. And here I am, looking like my brother who looks like my dad.  Same fucking nose, same fucking eyes, same fucking.....?

Same fucking hero to a little league baseball team who counted on the gray haired man with a lawn chair, a huge smile, and a pocket full of dollars for a sugar coma provided by none other than a concession stand.

Fuck me - I have to stand on top of these concessions? I'm going to need more than a few licorice sticks.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Understanding Words

Rube talked about her virginity, and now I have to talk about mine because my comment was too long and it turned into a story. Heart you, Rubes.

Being comfortable with my virginity was like living on Saturn, surviving off iced salt and chaos rings. I wore it like a cloak of shame and self-disgust. When everyone was sharing dashing stories about sex, I would darkly withdraw. Because I was not a virgin by choice, I was virgin because I was not sexy, and I'd been told so I knew it was true.

Some people would say, "oh, but you had the chance, of course, and you weren't ready." And I would clarify, "No. No one has ever shown any interest. Believe me. I'm not stupid." They would insist I was wrong and offer ignorant and careful consolations, like "well, you know, I was thinking about trying this new kind of make up, maybe it will help you feel more confident about yourself, you should just relax, sometimes you can be a little stubborn and some women find that men like them better when they listen," which is just a betrayal, justifying my previous belief that they were liars who didn't have the guts to tell me I was plainly unlovable to my fucking face. Besides, telling someone like me to "listen" and "relax" has the same effect as shoving your hand in a fire.

I would angrily point it out and they would deny it three times, but I understand words better than most people and have little respect for both magazine rehash disguised as advice and subtle implications between friends. It's goddamn insulting.

I would prefer to hear, "Well, looks are important. They're the first thing someone sees. You dress down on purpose, you don't exercise, and you assume everyone you talk with has the same knowledge as you, which is goddamn frustrating. Either stop bitching or change something." It's such a relief when someone speaks without that deceptive mind-crap.

I chose 'stop bitching.' Why? Because I wanted to know. I wanted to know if someone could really, truly be attracted to me as I am, no masks or games. This is me, in all of my angry, whiplash, anchored, beer-fueled glory, and I am loud, sometimes cruel, and protective to a fault. And your joke was not funny but I like the effort. We'll work on that. Let me tell you a tragedy:

Once upon a time there was a stone who loved the wind, but she loathed how it teased her.

It's horribly sad, isn't it? Poor immovable stone.


So a friend got very, I mean, embarrassingly, nay! obscenely drunk this weekend and confessed she and her husband had mutual crushes on me and every time they thought I would join them for a threesome I would go home or fall asleep and they would go to bed unfulfilled. She thanked me for always being gracious about denying their advances, and never getting awkward or uncomfortably judging.

I had no fucking idea what she was talking about.

No fucking idea.

She gave me instances of nights I fully remembered, and they were fun drunken conversations between friends, and how the fuck was I completely unaware they were underlined with subtle, insidious flirting? Granted, I would never have done it because the thought of being in a threesome makes me uncomfortable, terrified, and cold, but shit. I am not, nor have I ever been, polyamorous. I am way too selfish.

I've been edgy and nervous ever since, trying to cycle back through so many conversations I've had with guys and wondering if they were actually interested and I'm just completely illiterate in the language of pre-doin'-it. Oh my god, what if I'm a sociopath. I have an inability to read facial cues. Shit. Fuck damn. What about Donny? What about Ben? What about all of those guys I dismissed as friends when chances are I was unknowingly letting them down easy?

I have so many phone calls to make, which I never will. "Joe? Hey, it's Rassles. Yeah. Hi. So remember that night we met and we stayed up watching cartoons, and you told me I should have more faith in guys and they all weren't judging bastards and I laughed at your face? Yeah? Were you trying get some? Did we stop hanging because I wouldn't put out?"


"Well, Rass, honey," Savannah explains, "That's because you're naive."

"I am not naive. They rarely rarely rarely try anything with me. None of my male friends has ever tried to sleep with me." I finish off my beer, slam the glass on the table and stare at it, or behind it. There is a hole in the table.

"See, that's because...this is what I'm saying: You're naive."

"I don't follow your logic. I need another beer."

"They always, always, always want to sleep with you. Everyone wants to sleep with you. Always. All the time. Own it. Look everyone in the eyes and let them know that you know that they want to fuck you. Rum and coke," Savannah grins at the server walking by, who smiles back.

I laugh and turn my head to the server. "Ha! Kai getta High Life, please?" she nods and smiles at Savannah before heading back to the bar. "And then they say, 'what is wrong with you? Stop looking at me like that.' I know. It's happened before."

"In like junior high."

"Left an impression."

"You cannot judge how men see you based off of a conversation you had when you were twelve."

"Yes I can. I need more male friends."

"What does that...? Shut up. Half of your friends are dudes."

"Yes, and most of them are married and none have tried to make sex with me. I should have a pride of dudes at my disposal, if so many dudes want it. A fucking pride."

"Okay, no one wants to 'make sex' with you. Now you're not naive, you're just a dork."


I am not good with subtle implications, and I understand words worse than most people. Oh, you wonder about the man who will eventually break my stupidity?

Let me tell you a satire.

Once upon a time there was a stone who loved the wind, and she never realized its teasing, faint caress was a return of affection rather than friendly, belittling mockery.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mama Pop

Boundaries...My moms ain't got them.

That is what I am discovering in therapy, well, one of the big things. And of course, figuring out how to set my own since I was not raised around them. Awesome fun I tell you, paying a near stranger $120 an hour to tell you that you need to not let your mother run her emotional battlement tank all over you. Sometimes the obvious isn't obvious to everyone(ie. me). Though it is helping and I am learning all sorts of fun techniques to move me forward and help me stop my brain from taking a kernel of anger and turning it into an three-day rumination on why my mom sucks(that list is a post in itself)when I should be sleeping.

In fact I have come up with my own mental device to disengage when I start fixating on thoughts about her. I picture her face stretched across a balloon, and then I take a long sharp needle, all glinty and menacing looking, and I pop her. It's just violent enough to satisfy me in some small way but kind of funny and shuts off the train of thought. Anyhow, a story...

I was a virgin until I was twenty-one. I wasn't the girl with the perfect, bouncy blonde ponytail with my 10-carat gold chastity ring and pristine white-knee highs. I was what is now called goth but then was just theatre chick, smoking, swearing, furiously masturbating, curious, slutty, kiss a new boy at a different party every weekend kind of girl. I was the girl who found the Joy of Sex book on our bookshelf at ten and then secreted it away for me to peruse at my leisure. I would sit on the concrete curbs of my street, far enough away from the windows and ears of our parents and I would entertain and educate my friends with descriptions of things like premature ejaculation and cunnilingus.

I made the choice early on not to have sex in high school for a handful of well-reasoned reasons. First, because I had moved schools after my first year of high school, the group of friends I landed with were mostly a year ahead of me. They did everything first from driving to fucking. I saw my best friends get their seventeen year old hearts broken in the wake of teenage intercourse. What do you mean you are breaking up with me, I thought we were going to be together forever kind of stuff. Second, my mom had birthed me at the tender age of seventeen and I saw that this was not in fact the easy path so many needy teenagers seem to imagine it is. I was resolute not to put myself even remotely near to the path of teenage motherhood. Third, I was keenly interested in sex and boys but I had enough information to understand that a sixteen or seventeen year old boy was unlikely to have the know how to make sex nice for me. So I decided pretty early on that I would save myself for college and a smarter set of boys or maybe even later. Until then I could play the ballgame to third base with no regret.

Being a kids who was, in hindsight, remarkable comfortable with certain parts of herself, I was not secretive about my decision not to have sex. I didn't wear it like a badge of superiority or some pledge to my future self, I was just open and comfortable with not being ready. My mother, probably in some part shamed by her Catholic upbringing and own unwed pregnancy, took my virginity as a sign of her successful parenting and my obvious(to her) virtue. It also became, sadly, a selling point.

Thankfully she waited until I was a freshman in college to dangle me in front of guys like a shiny new piece of unkinked tinsel. My mom met most of these would-be suitors at a dive bar a block from our house that she frequented after an arrest and DUI made it more important for a short drive home after a night of knocking them back.

"He was real nice and I gave him your number."

"You what?" I said.

"I said I gave him your number," she repeated through a mouthful of lasagna she had brought home with her, lasagna I was pretty sure she was going to be throwing up in an hour or so.

"Eew, why would I want to date some guy hanging out drinking at that shithole?"

"He was really nice, I showed him your picture, played pool with him."

"Even better." I said, sorry that my sarcasm didn't register with her when she was loaded.

"I told him you were in college and that you were, you know, you were a virgin."

This is when I would usually walk out of the room, afraid I was going to punch her in the face. How about blonde? How about interested in law or likes to read or has a cat or swims real fast or sings pretty or wants to learn how to drive stick or likes movies or listens to Peter Gabriel or anything besides whether some guy had poked my hymen like a hungry chimp shoving a stick into a busy ant hole.

I never, ever invited my mom in any way to find me a boyfriend or was ever remotely receptive to her thinly veiled attempts to pimp me out to some guy sharing the stool next to her. What did she get out of this, attention? The idea of dating some stooge my mom liked through a really solid pair of rum and coke goggles was revolting. That my mom would even say this or do this was proof to me that she didn't understand me at all. She didn't understand that I hated that she drank. She didn't understand that I would never regard her or an idea openly or warmly when she was drunk, that it would never be funny or silly or anything other than sad for me. She didn't understand that bringing one gross, inappropriate man into our house had been one more than I had ever needed. She didn't understand that although I hadn't had sex, I would never be with anyone who thought it was important that his girlfriend or wife be a virgin. These were not guys that had saved themselves for marriage, these were guys that made judgments about women and probably wanted a virgin so she wouldn't know how hard they sucked in the sack. My mom didn't understand that being a virgin wasn't part of my identity, it was just a choice and mostly a choice born out of not wanting to be like her.

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night. These are the memories(and they seem infinite) that make me so angry that I think I will crack my teeth from clenching my jaw. These are the reasons it took me almost fifteen, adult years to figure out how to trust and love someone, certain that they would not hurt me in ways that would make me lose all faith in them. These are things I think of that make me think of my own daughters that then make me furiously add up all the ways I am not like her until I can see it like a hand in front of my face. These are the things that clog my brain at two in the morning until I remember my balloon trick and that imaginary menacing needle.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Never In a Million Years Am I Buying You That

I got an evite to a bridal shower yesterday. I hate showers and will do most anything to get out of going to one, but I pretty much have to show up at this one. I'll feel guilty if I don't, because I'm guessing that the turnout will be fairly low.

I know that customs have changed since I got married 30 years ago, but I have to say that I think a lot of them have changed for the worst.

The young woman in question is registered at Kohl's, a low-end department store. Whatever--it's her wedding.

I went online to check out her stuff.

An oven mitt for $6

A potholder for $4

A Fiesta Gusto Bowl for$10.99 What the fuck is a Gusto Bowl?

There was a paper towel holder and two wooden spoons.

Jesus palomino--this is the one time in your life you get to ask rich older people to buy you shit and you ask for a fucking $5 wooden spoon?

I don't get it.

No crystal. No silver. No nice pottery. No china. Not even a candlestick holder.

I understand that you might not want all the fancy stuff, but at least aim a little higher that a wooden spoon. I mean are you going to spend your life eating off of Chinet with plastic forks?

Yes, I know. I am an old-fashioned snob.

But I can set a helluva table.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Big Boobs v. Blow Jobs: Commodities or Community Chest?

I have a friend.  She is a good friend, a good person - too good in her own fucked up way. When I first arrived in Wisconsin seeking the advice of anyone who would talk to me about the job market I was presuming to conquer, her name consistently came up as "someone I should talk to". When I had finally secured not one, but two job offers, I called her for advice.  It was a cold call; a blind, cold call.  No, it was a blindsiding phone call to someone who refused to divulge any market secrets to some hick chick from Oklahoma.  But I didn't judge, for we all know how to answer those calls; professional decorum and litigation friendly employment laws limit honesty and gag reality like a blow job gone bad. 

I accepted a job offer and one year later told the Norwegian tyrant with the red face/veins bulging from his neck to fuck off when he asked me to compromise my business ethics. Three days later I was hired to work side by side with the aforementioned friend, where I have stayed happily employed for the past ten years.

I have bonded with this woman, with her children, with her family and friends.  I have met her boyfriend, discovered he was cheating, hinted to her that he may be cheating, took pictures and developed photographs of him cheating, outright told her he was cheating,  called the woman he cheats with to see if she was out of town at the same time he was and sadly, most pathetically, stood toe to toe with this disgusting man threatening to expose him while he laughed hysterically, hugged me and gave me an extra special kiss on my cheek for being the innocent, naive schmuck I was.

Now this post is getting harder to write. I am chewing my fingernails, which is not a habit but they are fucking lame nails, not really worth saving; nonetheless, they are vanishing with my angst.  I just spotted a sliver of a nail between the H & J on my keyboard.  And I am much too exhausted to give this next bit of info any kind of  fluffy, literary treatment so I am surrendering to the bullet points.  May they rest in peace along with my fingernails.

  • This gorgeous woman that I love dearly has a sugar daddy.
  • He buys her lots of jewelry, pays her bills and enjoys her blow jobs until....
  • Younger woman comes along with big boobs
  • He promises my girl a life with BMW's, bank accounts and boob jobs of her own, he tells me she saved his life, she is literally the force that kept him alive through his divorce (see a pattern here?)
  • She has no car, no money and boobies that belong rightfully to a woman of her age. They are beautiful and sexy as hell but shit sags after 50. However, he did pay for her lipo and tummy tuck a few years back.
  • He still enjoys the blow jobs - and he speaks of them with his friends who are in our industry. 
  • But who am I to fucking judge?
  • I hate this mother fucker.
  • He bailed her out of debt within the last two years by securing a loan for her. It was big debt, but she is paying it back. The stipulation was - no more spending, no more debt.
  • She has now fallen behind and charged the credit cards back up at a rate exponential to her grief.
  • She is hiding the new debt from him, still giving great blow jobs and still, I am quite certain, one of his greatest commodities while also simultaneously hanging on to the community chest.
Back to life, back to the new year, my friend who manages to always maintain a sunny disposition, comes to me and proposes we start a blog together.  My blog has been somewhat (in her terms) successful. We need to start our own blog, tell OUR stories and gain sympathies so people will just GIVE us money. 

But why would people give us money?

Well, you know how you always hear of rags to riches stories, someone gets tipped $10,000 - why not us?  You are struggling to make ends meet, raising your kids, daddy is gone - people will want to help us.

And it was then I realized I am not a commodity or a community chest.  I have big (yet saggy) boobs and I can give a helluva blow job but I earned my self respect through years of fucking up.  The thought of money is not enough at the age of 47 to rock me off my Gibraltar. 

So I said in the most loving, girlfriend kind of way - sweetie, I am not comfortable with that.  But if you would like me to sit down and look at your financial situation, you know I am always available.

Today, we had lunch and I gave her a good Suze Orman smack down. "Sell all of that expensive jewelry and clothing, stop paying $200 per month for your smokes, write down everything you spend and take a good hard look at what you can cut".

She said she is currently in the hole and must charge groceries, gas and utilities each month just to get by. She wants her current sugar daddy or someone else to come along and bale her out but I told her a woman with a nice home, great car, expensive jewelry and wardrobe would probably not qualify as a charity.  Are you still getting your hair done every three weeks for over $150.00?  Are you still supporting your children who are of working age, able to take care of themselves? And are you fucking kidding me that you will spend $200.00 per month on cheap cigars that will end up costing you ten times that amount with credit card interest?

She said she can't give up the cigars because she is working on the shopping and alcohol addictions first.  Plus, the asshole bought all of her jewelry so she can't sell it as long as she is with him.  (Just go ahead and infer what I was thinking here.)

I have always been after her to stop smoking but in an ironic twist, I became more concerned with her financial health than her physical health when I weighed out which would kill her first. Yes, I want you to live to see your grandchildren grow up but for the sake of all that is holy, set a fucking goal and put down those nasty ass cigars. Then I remembered I cannot change her, help her, or even inspire the tiniest flicker of hope in her mind unless she is ready.  And clearly she is not.

Now here's the rub. She is happy; carrying a perpetual smile. Always thinking on the sunny side of life, hugging me from behind unexpectedly and loving me with a gleam in her eye that is the real deal. She sees me as a negative Nelly who tells her the ugly truth but she loves me in a way that few are loved.

On the other hand, I struggle.  I want my kids to have everything they were used to before their dad went away.  I would love to take vacations, and pay for swim lessons and camping trips and the latest fashions but we have to be conservative in order to survive. (For those that are catching up, it's not because I'm missing a child support payment, it's because he owes me for his half of joint expenses to the tune of $16,000 then denied any responsibility for his share of their expenses while he serves his prison term, leaving me to cover all costs for the next two and a half years.)

Who wins, who loses and who looks down and realizes they have no fingernails left at all?

That would be me.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ruby Blueday

Fuck me.

Ok, I know this is brain dumping on you all but I am walking around in a constant state of nausea and anxiety and need a little support from someone and most of the women I am close with are related to me and I don't want to involve them in the shit between my mom and I.

I already wrote about the tensions at Christmas and that that was just a breaking point and not really the issue. I went back to my old therapist because I wasn't coping well with the tension between my mom and I and I wanted help working through our conflicts without further damaging our relationship. I also want to get to the point where I can appreciate the good things about her and accept the other stuff. Therapy has been helping tremendously. My therapist is helping me work through some past anger that colors the way I deal with her now, helping me set boundaries to protect myself but in a way that isn't defensive or inflammatory to my mother. So mom and I have a conversation about a cousin's wedding happening this summer and I ask her how important is it that we come then versus later in the summer. The wedding falls on Jul4 weekend and travel sucks as well as everyone is very busy when we visit and it's hard to make plans, the last few years we have come a few weeks before or a few after. Anyhow, I told my mom that if it was very important to her, we would find a way to get there on that particular weekend but that if it wasn't, I had more flexibility to plan our travel around some of the kids summer stuff etc., just to let me know and I'll figure it out. We had at one time talked about the possibility of her taking the kids and extra week or two and then flying with them home. Because she and I have not been getting along at all, the idea of having to deal with her more negotiating the kids stuff etc. was too overwhelming and huz and I decided maybe next year but this year we were going to visit, get and get out, short and sweet before anyone got riled up. Rather than be honest with her and say I'm upset with you and don't want to try to do a back and forth with you with the kids because it's too stressfull and right now I don't trust you, I told my mom that we decided with all the kids different summer programs, this years it wasn't going to work--hoping to spare her feelings and my sanity.

Anyhow, my mom sends me a, uhm, pretty awful letter. I don't think she liked the itty teeny boundary I set.(And by the way, I was awesome calm and neutral on the phone with her, I was concilatory and did a very good job at comminicating all this in a friendly tone, no barbs, no hostility, no defensiveness). I would love to post the whole letter here but I would have to change too many details to make it ungoogleable and I certainly don't want her coming here.

The letter is basically,
-You have disdain for me.
-I refuse to let you mistreat me
-I don't know why this is happening
-I am telling you upfront(her words)I am unwilling to revisit my past transgressions as a mother
-no one likes everything their parents do, I'm sure your children wont either(hey mom thanks for the vote of confidence)
-Here is everything I am mad at you about(like not doing our dishes the last night we staye d at her house-uh mom, our problems run wayyyyyyy fucking deeper than that) and how you suck(1/3 of it is totally true, 1/3 of it is somewhat true but wildly twisted rememberings and perceptions, and 1/3 of it is total nonsense)
-My only mistake is not telling you how much you suck sooner.
-Great I feel better now we can move forward, except that I won't talk about the past and by the way all these other people think I am right.

My take on it is this. I am definately part of the problem in our current situation. I go into conversations with her ready for a fight or to be hurt. I am sensitive to the things she says. I am sometime unappreciatove of the things she does because of either the spirit in which they are done or feeling angry that a check doesn't make up for the other neglect. I understand that I have a part in the conflict we are in. But her drinking, my molesting stepfather and other things are part of that dynamic. In her letter she took zero responsibility for our current situation, seriously, nothing. There was no verbiage of reconciliation, yeas at the end she was all I hope we can move forward, blah, blah, blah but really, no. It's like me beating the shit out of my husband, telling him he's the problem and then saying oh babe I hope we can patch things up, if you stop sucking.

So I am left feeling attacked and really disappointed because the immaturity of her response and her total refusal to allow me to talk about things I am upset about and her unwillingness to own her part in this is making me feel like maybe this relationship is unsalvagable.

Help. I just don't know how to process this.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Know When to Hold 'Em

Did I ever tell you about time time my mother and I were going through major life changes at the same time?
My dad was so stupid then. He would say things like, "This house isn't big enough for two women!" and laugh as he walked away.
Mom = Menopause. Me = Puberty and the onset of drug addiction.
We battled.
Fuckin' bitch.
I fuckin' hate you.
Hair pulling.
Wrestling in the back hall until we both cried.

The day after wrestling in the back hall my right arm was filled with one bruise after the other from shoulder to elbow. When my mom saw it she cried. She wept out her guilt and shame and called herself a failed mother. A disgrace.

"I don't care, I'm fine," I said.

She cried so hard in the kitchen that she doubled over and almost bonked her head on the counter. I got her into a half-hug and moved her away from the counter. Into the middle of the room. Where she wouldn't hurt herself.

She mistook it for a hug. Some sort of connection. She tried to grab onto me, pull at my shirt, wrap her arms around my waist, my neck, grab my shoulders and not let go.

I squirmed quickly away and mumbled something about 'I'm fine' or 'stop it' as I left the kitchen and went to my bedroom.

I dug a shoe box out of the top of my closet to resume removing seeds from a massive and hairy bud of marijuana that I planned to shove bits of into my bong over and over until it was gone. And then I would use a toothpick to carefully gather the resin it left behind and smoke it as well.

About 20 minutes into the seed picking my dad opened my bedroom door. There I sat on the floor with my legs spread and the shoebox full of pot in between them along with a small bowl for the seeds I was picking from it.

"Your mom's a wreck," he said.
"Yeah?" I said, only bothering to look up to get a handle on any sign that he recognized the fact that his 14-year-old daughter was cleaning up a pile of marijuana in his house.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Nothing," I said.
"She said she hurt your arm."
"It's no big deal."
"Let me see it," he said, leaning into the room a bit further.

I held up my arm and watched as he winced, his lips pulling back slightly so that I could see his teeth.
His eyes searched my face.
I smiled.
He smiled.

"I'll tell her you're ok," he said.
"I am. Yeah."
"OK, kiddo. Good," he said, beginning to back out of the doorway.

And then he opened the door fully and took a full step into my room. He leaned over me where I sat on the floor and took in the shoe box and bowl. Marijuana. Seeds. My hands hovering in the air over both of them, wanting to remain calm.

"Whatcha got going on there?" he asked.
"Some stupid science project that I don't understand," I said, looking him in the face.
"Oh. Ha ha. Well. I guess I wouldn't understand it either. You kids sure do lots of things in school these days that we didn't do in my day. Ha ha."

I gave a little 'ha ha' to go along with his, shook my head and rolled my eyes as if to say, "Whew! School is crazy these days, Pop!"

He turned and went out of the room, closing the door behind him.

My dad eventually figured out what pot was and started mulling around the house finding it in closets, bathroom cabinets and my purse. He started confronting me about it; calling me into his little home office for a 'talk' and then making a dramatic gesture of flipping a baggie full of weed onto his desk or pulling my poorly rolled joints out of the inner pocket of his suit coat.

He drove around town with my one hitters, pipes, rolling papers and bongs in his car. He thought he was doing the right thing by ignoring the fact that my mother and I were beating the crap out of each other on a weekly basis and confiscating all of my drugs and paraphernalia and 'hiding' them in his car.

"Under today's laws you would be arrested for child neglect and drug trafficking!" I once screamed at him years later.
"What the hell are you talking about?" he screamed back.
"Your wife turned me into one giant fuckin' bruise and you knew it!" I screamed. "And instead of talking to me about using drugs you just kept finding my shit and driving around town with it. I wish you would have been arrested. I wish you would have gone to jail for having all of that shit in your car! HA! I wish you would have tried to explain that you were driving around with it so your daughter wouldn't use it. Likely story, dumb ass!"

He became fixated on the fact that I'd called him a dumb ass. That's all the conversation was; an exercise in diversion by focusing on the fact that a daughter shouldn't call her father a dumb ass.

And then it was over.

I like it when conversations like that are over. When it becomes clear there is simply nowhere else to go. When I can just apologize for calling someone a dumb ass and go on. I mean, hell, there are a million people I can talk to about fighting with my mother when I was a teenager and my past drug use. Why try to force him to do it?

What's the big deal? When did I become so attached to the idea that an issue cannot be truly resolved unless all parties involved are discussing it on what I've defined as a 'deep' level?

My parents came to my house this past Thanksgiving. I had seem my mom once in the past three years, and my dad not at all. We ate, talked, laughed, visited our horses. My dad told funny stories to members of my husband's family that he had never met. My mom helped in the kitchen and hugged me close.

I loved it. I liked looking at my dad's face, still cherubic in his mid-70's. I admired my mother's style and intelligence as he flitted about and heaped motherly bragging on everyone in attendance about how much she loves our house and my cooking.

All day that day I kept humming that old Kenny Rogers song about gambling.
"You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run..."

I kept thinking I had finally just decided to hold 'em. That I had worn myself out with years of folding and walking or running away. And, though I'm sure some poker aficionado might tell me continuing to hold a bad hand is unwise, I can't say I'm regretting it at this point.

At this point I think the best idea is to invite them to my house again. To hold 'em. To talk with them and, if I feel a need to walk or run away, ask them to go with me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Secret Little Space

Hi, I am Grumblebum and I am new around these particular parts. I am humbled to be included here and I do hope you enjoy my first offering......

‘Oh no,’ they said, ‘don’t tell your husband. He has no need to know. It didn’t mean anything to you, so why make him feel bad?’ The problem being, it did mean something to me.

One idle Tuesday afternoon, an obviously bored colleague decided to tell me that someone we used to work with had been rather in love with me. ‘Half your luck!’you might think. I would have indeed been flattered if Mr Meddlesome had relayed it as a diverting crush. I would have laughed, blushed and stroked my ego for a while.

But alas, this was a love of epic proportions. The devoted party would get to work early as to arrive before me. He would seek the advice of others in the office as what to do about his terrible predicament. Terrible being that I was about to be married, terrible because he had a gorgeous Nordic girlfriend who he was willing to give up. I held great affection for this young gentleman - as much affection as is appropriate when one is affianced. For me there was no bolt of lightning from the sky. Had I been single? Had he been single? Asked me for coffee? I do suppose I would have said yes. But that is another sliding door.

All of this raging, wailing, rending of shirts and gnashing of teeth was going on while I flitted around all casual and friendly like, being all insufferably me. You know how it can be – all smiles and innocuous flirting, while not having a single clue you are ripping out someone’s intestines with the batter of an eyelash. I often put great stock in my people radar. I am like a bat. Wait – that is sonar. But never you mind, in this case, Oblivious was my middle name. Why didn’t the colleague who loves to play tricks on me, say anything? He was supposedly a confidante of Mr Lovelorn. In two years worth of opportunity, he said not a word and I found that hard to believe. Mr Meddlesome was adamant, ‘oh – it was just too sad, too horrible, he never would have told.’

Wait! Mr Meddlesome has more, if I didn’t feel terrible enough you hussy, you callow Jezebel. Not only did my would-be suitor stop his gym membership so that there would be no chance of bumping into me there, he left our job. I will have you know that our job is a career – it is not something that you flit into like a pollen drunk butterfly. You get in and hang on for grim death. And he left. Not just because of me, granted - but it was a large factor, or so I am told. I do hope I do not sound too dim, nor give you the impression that I believe I am all that and a bag of crisps. I am only of average looks, intelligence and personality. And I do realize that to some this tale is banality of the most inane kind. I didn’t exactly get bent over the photocopier, did I?

There was a large dash of salt to be taken with all of this news because Mr Meddlesome is prone to exaggeration, and this story had not issued forth from the horse’s mouth. And even though I told myself all of this, I was shell shocked. Blind sided. I wished I could have provided the young man with comfort and closure instead of flash my wedded bliss in his face. It did explain to me why he ignores me on a certain social network. I had been miffed, disappointed he thought of ours as a work friendship, rather than something that transcended it.

From the long way around, I return; I felt it a betrayal to not tell my husband. Not so much the letting him know about the undying love of a man who had been to our house bit, but rather the way it unsettled me, made me feel shaken up, anxious and sad; withdrawing into my own head. However, I took the advice of others and sat upon the knowledge. The crawling around in my head space reiterated the idea that you don’t have to share everything with your partner. Often I expect to give and receive and know all in my relationships, but I realized there is a secret life of me – a pocket, a corner that doesn’t need the inspection of others. I always thought as every emotion as being connected to my partner and our love. But in this secret, it was only about me; scary, liberating and maybe a little bit dangerous.