Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mama Drama


I am a life long member of the "Crazy Mom's Club." If you have one, then you know what I mean; passive-aggression and other more subtle forms of mental mind fucking that you won't understand until you find yourself unconsciously practicing the fine art  in the midst of your own family and friend relationships. I feel that it is too soon to try to write out my thoughts on this, my current mama drama, but I need the healing that comes with sharing-plus I am literate and articulate- and I know how much this pisses her off. What better revenge than to put it all into words that she would never read anyway?

The woman lives in a reality of her own making. Always has. The dirty history is really too much for one post, and I am working on the book- just like so many of my peers. For these purposes, you need only know that I was raised by a predator, a molester. He was mom's first husband and she was as desperate as a momma cat getting ready to deliver ten kittens on the street when she met him. He was trolling for subjects for his kingdom and he found two in that ignorant girl, pregnant with a child whose father she was unsure of; and to this day, she does not know.

 I was seventeen when I had had enough and found the strength to go to a school teacher for help. The man who raised me had spent his days grooming me to be his little wife. Mother was checked out for most of it, creating her own safe reality. Though, she did hear me that day. I had told on them, she had to. After years of talking about it and threatening, she drove away with us that weekend in the Gran-Torino all the way to her sister's in Kansas . It was the last I was able to talk about it for years. Everyone, my mother and her sister, who were also abused sexually, wanted me to "SHUT-UP!"

I let Mom back into my life several years ago after keeping her out for years, because well, we only get one mother in this life and I felt that it was important. There were many things that we just could not talk about, many elephants in the room and I have suffered over these last few years from the inauthentic relationship. It made me feel as though I was living a double life, one from a place of  truth and the other with Mom from a place of half-truths and out right lies. I did it out of a sense of duty, I did it because after all these years, I am still the "mother" in our relationship and felt that it was my job to protect her from harsh reality.

Me, I am Punk-Rock. You won't close my mouth, not at seven-teen, not at thirty-six!

Ironically, she works in phlebotomy- draws people's blood for a living (and she is good at it.) Mom sent  a text last Friday on her lunch break to tell me that her heart had been broken again and she was not sure that she could go on. I had to wait four hours for her to get home to find out what the hell she was talking about. Turns out my half-brother (we were raised to believe we had the same father) was arrested for child abuse, of the physical sort. My nephew is thirteen now, and I haven't spoken to my brother since his child was born into his own abusive home; my brother was a wife beater who chose to keep ties to the man who abused us.

Mom finally called with her usual crocodile tears, and shouted that it was all her fault-that my brother was an abuser because her father had been a pedophile. When I responded emphatically that my father had been a pedophile, she fell silent. It did not take too long for the conversation to take a dramatic turn and I hung up on her when she slipped up in one of her "white lies" and revealed that my brother was living in the same state as my abuser. At least as far as I knew- evidently my abuser moved away form Florida some time ago to a state much closer to me, but I was never told. There was a series of texts after that in which she called me a liar and blamed me for the messes that she and my brother  had created.

 It isn't my job to protect her from the truth, and I am too old for her little games. I just don't have the energy to live two lives anymore. I have had to find a way to deal from a place of truth all these years. My story is not the kind I get to share while sitting around at the holiday table. The things is, I don't blame her for what happened, she was young and ignorant and desperate. I blame her for the sloppy way she has continued to handle it. I could use all that happened as an excuse, but I don't; or at least I am quick to stop myself when I find that I am slipping into that pit. 

At the end of the day, what I am left with are a bunch of crappy memories and zero family ties. While this makes me very sad, I feel strength in refusing to live an inauthentic life. I have not always been the perfect daughter, it has taken me a long time to feel out my path. Along the way, I have had friends that became toxic and we had to go our separate ways. Sometimes, I have been the toxic one and friends have had to leave me, too. I no longer feel that blood-ties should be the exception to this life rule; toxic is toxic and must be handled accordingly. 

I waffled about whether or not to post this. It is an ugly story, but one that I feel needs to be shared. I am not the only one suffering from family drama, and I wanted to share with you how one person decided to deal with it. When the people you love can no longer see you or hear you, it is time, as is said, to turn from them and wipe the dust of them from your feet. There is no reason to feel guilty. While there will be sadness, wipe the tears from your eyes and hold your head high. They can't hurt you anymore.








Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wonderland



 I am in the process of sifting through the long abandoned piles in my mind. Pieces of myself that i have been holding onto through the heavy hurricane winds. Every corner I turn right now reveals more about who I am and who I have always wanted to be. It is an enormously exciting adventure!

For years, I have only had the time and energy to brave the electric and all consuming storms. There have been many days when faith that I was somewhere in here was the only thing that kept me going. Tonight, I am grateful. I think of all the times I wanted to die and be free of  the illness. I am grateful to be writing this, grateful to have more days on this planet.

It is important to record such times. These are the times that keep me here.  I keep faith as a lighthouse keeper keeps her fire lit, for the times when  I cannot find the shoreline. I am proud of myself, today. I have endured to find that life is a joy. I know that my dreams are possible and that nothing is out of reach for me. I am Shannon Marie.
Be Well,
~sm

Ain't Gonna Have Those No-Job-Havin' Blues....Part III



It is times like these, that I am relieved to not be working. I had a Wednesday night goal for writing this post, life had other plans and I have been curled up in bed for a few days, instead. 
If I did not know that I was suffering from a mental illness, I would swear that I was just a vapid drama queen; but I am suffering. Today, I write through the tears. I write because no matter how much I know I am loved by the people closest to me, I still feel alone. If that is not mental illness, I would not want to know what is. Today, I write because I refuse to give in to the doubt and self-loathing.
I am aware that most of this dark cloud is fall-out from the therapy session I had on Tuesday. My therapist warned me that this might happen. She likened it to frost bite. When the frozen limb begins to thaw and blood begins to flow freely through the veins, as feeling begins to return- there can follow an enormous amount of pain. 
If I had a job this would be a day that I called in sick or, if I did go in to work, it would be a day where I had a melt down, got into trouble or went home early. It would be the day I got fired. For now, this blog is my job. I don’t understand it. In some ways, it makes me feel lonelier. Like when you hit the send button and all you hear is crickets afterwards, that is a lonely feeling. I also get really paranoid about showing my dirty underwear like this. I doubt in the validity of this whole project. Here I am… trying to sabotage a simple blog. 
So. The most important lesson I have learned about living without a job?  Stick to a routine. On the bad days when my illness is raging it seems pointless to get out of bed or brush my teeth, let alone stick to my writing schedule. When the clouds begin to lift (and they do) and I can look around again, I am so glad for my routine and  the little things that I have to plug into-the simple things. Like clean, smoothly polished teeth and minty fresh breath, or a post written to myself, for myself.
Above all, I do what I can. Sometimes that is not very much, but that is okay. 

Ain't Gonna Have Those No-Job-Havin' Blues....Part II


I have been out of a paying job since May of 2009. I was fired because of my personality and the way I don't get along with bosses sometimes. I was actually barred from the property. At the same time things blew up with my husband. I was beyond depressed. I found myself adrift on a kind of suicide cloud. Until recently (ah, the miracle of medicine!), I have not been able to leave Bedland except for a few brief and painful outings. I was basically in bed for about a year and a half. I’m still writing my way out of it, still healing. I don't get out much, people and crowds scare me. I am nervous all the time.
It is not the poverty that bothers me about not working, in fact, in twenty-one years I have never made more than $9,000.00 in a single year. My social security statement proves it. The thing is, I keep thinking that being out of a job means that I am not allowed to enjoy my life. After all, without a job what does my life mean? I keep telling myself that I am useless and I cry endlessly about being broken, shattered. Through every season, I am wrapped tight in a thick woolen blanket of self-loathing and doubt-sunny days or not.
 I am making myself suffer even more because of this false belief about self-worth. The grip of my illness has lessened for a moment and I see clearly that I cannot afford think in such a way.

Time is the one thing I have and more time is the one thing the everybody wants. By those standards, David and I are millionaires.
I have suffered many years for my inability to hold a job. I have suffered more for my inability to believe in my intrinsic self-worth. For years I have masochistically kept myself from doing what I love. I am a creative person by nature; but I am an artist who will produce no art. 
I, and many like me, have at least been given the gift of time. We must not join the ranks of overstuffed Americans who have no identity without their jobs and the stuff they spend their paychecks on. On our good days, we must rise and find that thing to do that connects us with another human being. We must find that thing that we always wish we were doing and do it!

Ain't Gonna Have Those No-Job-Havin' Blues....Part I


There is a fine art to living in a capitalistic society without a job. If I leave the house or turn on the tube I am told that I need, in fact, want about a million things. Somehow, my self-worth is tied to whether or not I go to some building, do a little dance for nine or twelve hours and collect a pay check at the end of two weeks.
I could probably never prove it, but I have lost all the jobs I ever had because I am mentally ill. While it is not information that I volunteer in an interview, folks generally figure it out by my second or third middle-of-the-shift-melt-down. There is usually crying, sometimes yelling and always shock on the face of whoever had, “just been bragging” about what a great hire I was. Then there is the ever popular, 90 day melt-down: always crying, lot’s of yelling and utter frustration on the part of everyone involved. The one year explosion though, this is my personal favorite: crying, yelling, spitting, the throwing of near-by objects and typically I am  barred from ever returning to the property.
I want to work. I am just not most people’s definition of a good employee. I am highly sensitive to the subtle non-verbal cues of others.  When I have been at one job for too long work becomes like family (I have no sense of boundary) and family is a real bad word for me. It’s the PTSD and comes from the seventeen years of abuse I suffered as a girl. I will have to live with it on some level for the rest of my life.
I spend much of my time trying to calm my nerves-I am an extremely nervous girl. It’s the reason for all the crying and yelling. It’s the reason I have to spend so much time alone in a darkened room. It’s why I like “cubbies” to hide in and why some days I cannot lift my head from a blanket.  
I am not a victim, I am a survivor.
Finding ways to spend all the slow-going time productively and without spending any money is a survival tool that I am learning to wield mightily. I am learning a new lexicon, I am learning to find my self-worth from other things. I am trying to create a new paradigm for myself and let me tell you, it is a lot of work! This is proving to be the hardest, most rewarding job I have ever had….the non-job job. 
Part II this Tuesday evening, central.
Be Well,
~sm