I’ve been avoiding this place, for a host of reasons I can’t even name. Part is simple fear – that drawing attention to the sunlight filtering through the cracks would somehow destroy it. Part is not having any mental energy left over for something as (useless, exhausting) as exposition. I’ve been so busy crawling out of the pit I couldn’t do more than wave away the fleeting thoughts of ‘maybe you should write this down.’
Well. Sunlight has indeed been eclipsed by clouds. I’ve slid back down the stone wall enough that I can see just how high my bloody hand prints got.
It doesn’t help that you knew a crash would come. It was as inevitable as the tides, as the way the blood on the stone walls dries and flakes off, leaving nothing but the ghost of the sheer effort it took to get that far up. Granted, I still couldn’t see the top but I was far enough to know it was there. To get an occasional gust of fresh breeze.
(Sudden memory, the guy from the team building exercise that was one part group therapy and one part ‘let the loonies get some fresh air’. He called me Cool Breeze and looked at me like I was something special. I was, back then. Sometimes I think if I could just … look like that again, some of my problems would go away. Body dysmorphia may not be the worst of my problems, but it’s top five at least.)
So. Take a weekend of fever and illness, the attending isolation and loneliness. I just wanted someone to walk the dog for me. Bring me soup. Instead I had to have a discussion with J about what to do if I passed out on the floor. He did not want to hear that shit. He never does. I still don’t know for sure if he’ll be able to do what he needs if something happens to me.
Let’s top that off with dreams, back to the full-blown dystopian sci-fi shit I didn’t think I would have to deal with again. I was so happy to know the metoprolol worked as a sleeping pill/dream aid – as long as the dreams were bringing my OCs to life to live and breath on their own. Now that we’re back to the unpleasant dreams I’m less than amused. Especially considering my heart is still thumping from the mess I had to clean up.
That was the final straw. I was not having a great morning but I was determined to work through it. Do what I needed then sit down with my cup of coffee, maybe a bowl, and get my head screwed on right so I could be a functioning adult. It lasted until I knocked over the cup and spilled 8 ounces of hot coffee all over the floor.
Now the weasels are running wild, my heart is thumpy, and I am ready to Give Up.
That’s the worst part of the climb, you know? Not the bleeding fingers desperately digging into stone to find enough purchase to get a grip on. Not the effort. Not even the reason I’m in the pit in the first place. It’s knowing all that effort was wasted . That it was useless to even try to climb out.
I cross each thing off as a small victory. Yesterday I bathed the boy, brushed through his tangles, ran the dishwasher. Boiled eggs. Dealt with with 2 televisits. Today I’ve bathed the dog, listened to music, restlessly prowled all my folders, burning for something to make. I hope to take a shower later, even.
I think about the scalpel as much as I think about everything that’s led me to this moment in time. I think about scarification. About a lovely paisley design decorating my left inner forearm – the one with the old scars, with the blood oath tattoo I gave to a God.
I think: a few cuts won’t hurt.
I think: turn the need to spill blood into art.
I think this is all a ruse to simply get the blade in my hand. Once I hold it, for whatever reason, it’s only a matter of time. There’s a reason cutting instruments were banned from my house for so many years.
What hurts the most about feeling good, having good days, is knowing it won’t last. Knowing anything can – will – push me back to the floor. I’ll have a bad health day, or unlock another memory, anything, or even nothing at all, and I’ll have to fight tooth and nail to not give in to the scalpel’s high, lonesome cry.
Why not just … get rid of them?
Because I don’t know where they are. Well, two of them. One is in a drawer less than six feet from where I sit, but it’s been used as a tool so much that it’s no good for cutting. I may be suicidal but I’m not stupid – or desperate – enough to try cutting on myself with a dull blade covered in old, sticky pot resin.
The other two are clean and pristine, shiny new. Perfect for drawing paisley on skin. I don’t dare go looking for them. I don’t want to see them real; in my daydreams is hard enough.
Well. This is certainly a post to drop here after more than a year of silence. What was once supposed to be a blog about crawling out of the wreckage of thirty years worth of abuse – about rediscovering myself – is now likely to be derailed by the utter shitstorm of PTSD that I’ve been crawling through the last year.
I’m hoping to be like Andy Dufresne, crawl through a river of shit and come out clean on the other side. I’m desperately afraid my arms will give out and I’ll drown face first in this mess. If only I had Morgan Freeman narrating, maybe that would give me a better chance.
(Although lbr here, Samuel L Jackson would be a much more fitting narrator for me.)
Anyway. I guess this now a new form of recovery blog; one that deals with the 50 years of abuse. Whee. Aren’t you excited?
Well, today a friend told me this sorry tale As he stood there trembling and turning pale He said each day’s harder to get on the scale Sort of like Jacob Marley’s chain.
But it’s not like life is such a veil of tears It’s just full of thoughts that act as souvenirs For those tiny blunders made in yester-years That comprise Jacob Marley’s chain.
Well, I had a little metaphor to state my case It encompassed the condition of the human race but to my dismay, It left without a trace except for the sound of Jacob Marley’s chain.
Now there is no story left for me to tell so I think I’d rather just go on to hell where there’s a snowball’s chance That the personnel might help to carry Jacob Marley’s chain
I need to do something while I wait for my bed linens to finish washing and drying. Video games aren’t cutting it, and my head hurts too much for anything seriously creative, so why not just start here?
It’s an hour and three minutes into 2021. I want to write a few paragraphs on that but … what’s the point? 2020 was a truly awful year, ending with me realizing I’m not going to get a check any time soon because I never thought to change my IRS direct deposit info after I closed out the bank account they have on file – and with me taking a trip to the vet with my lil Kimble, poor girl who has been fading ever since her human walked out the door and broke her heart along with everyone else’s.
I put it off for months, that trip. I’d talk myself into it, and then right back out of it just as quickly. Monday was the final straw, a rough start to the day that left me with the knowledge that it wasn’t fair to either of us to keep her going. It seemed fitting, too, the only available appointment was the last one on the last day of the year – might as well cap off 2020 with one more death, yes? Maybe it would appease whatever was behind such a year of loss.
I lost my mother, my cat, my sanity, my precarious financial security. And still I’m grateful, because I didn’t lose everything. I still have my kids. I still have my car, a roof over my head, the hope of possibilities. I really wanted to be in a new place by now but that’s one more thing the year couldn’t deliver on, but … soon. Please Gods soon.
I just put the sheets on, and for the first time in at least 15 years I didn’t have to chase a five pound menace off the bed to do it.
I’m too tired to cry any more. My head hurts too much. And to be honest, I don’t think I have any tears left. Not now. Soon enough, I’m sure – likely a few hours from now, when she isn’t sitting on the piano and yelling at me as I come down the hall to feed her and the pooch.
I want to text him, send him the picture I took of his dead cat. Hey look, you worthless motherfucker. Another old woman dead from the heartbreak you caused.
(And for the record, because who the fuck takes pictures of a dead cat? – I did it for Jonathan, at his request. He needed to see her dead body, and since I wasn’t going to bring her back to bury her, or even get her ashes, there wasn’t much else to do but snap some. I took a few, starting with the IV, showing him the process. I didn’t come right out and say ‘this is the doctor giving her a lethal injection and killing her’. I found the right words to say to make it easier, for both of us, without having to outright lie or couch it in stupid euphemisms. Here she is getting the IV, here’s the doctor listening to her heart, here is her dead body.)
(The vet told me I’m a good mom, to both my son and my pets. I sobbed and told her I really don’t feel like I am.)
I haven’t heard from him in … fuck I don’t even know how long. It was either late October or maybe early November when I texted him and asked if he could send me some money, that it was time for Kim to go and I was too broke to do it. That was the conversation in which he casually mentioned needing surgery but being unable to get the financing for it because every place wanted my information as well.
(Which, I’m going to call bullshit on, because I filled out a lot of financial forms in the last 18 months and not a single time was I asked for his info)
He casually mentioned it and I shot it down fast because not just no but fuck no. “I have to buy a house here in a few months,” I told him. Which was true at the time, but still. The real reason was I just got my credit score out of the dumpster and no fucking way would I tank it again by taking on his fucking bills.
And so he said, well I might have to file for divorce then and I cheerfully said ok, do whatever you need.
I think he got his feelings hurt. Awww.
So. Anyway. Not a peep since then, not even to ask about Christmas gifts for his son or lie about sending them. I’m waiting for a text asking about the stimulus check (and will he be pissed af about the bank account and having to wait to request a paper check? Oh you betcha.)
I figure if he hasn’t gotten in touch in the next week or so I’ll have to start digging around and see if he’s dead from the ‘Rona. I go back and forth on hoping he is.
I don’t want him dead, not really. And the idea of him dying from it, alone and scared and cut off from everyone who ever loved him … hfs that hurts. That’s as bad as taking the cat to the vet.
But his death would guarantee a better life/living situation for the son he’s so easily abandoned.
Ok, last load in the dryer. Almost there.
I keep thinking about resolutions. About what I want to accomplish this year. Right now I ain’t got a thing, barely even some vague ideas.
I had so many plans for last year. What’s funny is I did manage to accomplish several big things, but they got swallowed up by the whale of the year. I don’t know if I should try to top those things, or just keep my head down and take whatever comes my way.
It feels weird to not be signed up and digging into the January art challenge I’ve done so many previous years, but I know that’s just a stupid idea. I struggled to get it done last year, and that was with little going on. This year I’ve got to sell a house, pack and move, hopefully all by the end of the month. And with no other adult in the house to pick up my slack … yeah, not going to happen.
I do know tomorrow morning I’m going to step on the scale and see how much damage I’ve done in the last few months of insanity. One thing I’m definitely carrying over from last year is the knowledge that I am 5x as likely to get cervical cancer, and the only way I can drop that down to 2x is lose some weight. It’s not a negotiable, not when I’m all J has.
So. Lose weight. Don’t start smoking again. Maybe try to write for 20 minutes a day. Make some art. Get this fucking place packed up and ready to go, so when it is time to move it will be quicker and easier. Get shit sorted while I’m packing it up so when the dust settles I can jump right into making things and getting the shop out of the dust hole it’s trapped in.
Put this fucking blog to use. That’s a good one.
But for now, I’m so tired I’m ready to cry from sheer exhaustion so …
Today I’m grateful for the family that helped me get through yesterday.
For Lisa the therapist.
For Chester’s Puffcorn.
For music. For video games. For words and the ability to use them.
For how much J had grown in the last few months.
For how good it’s going to feel when I lay down.
For the idea that maybe this year will be better than the last.
I just spent 10 hours in bed. Hfs I can barely move.
What finally got me to wake up (after waking up several times, saying fuck it and rolling over to go back to sleep) was a very realistic dream that Trent Reznor had died.
Talk about nightmares.
It was so bad that I had to wake up and check for myself – which dream me was doing and finding nothing but confirmation. Real me checked Twitter, and when that wasn’t enough, I checked the news.
I keep thinking about all the things I’ll trade for cancer. My kids’ health. Having a decent home to move into. Trent Reznor healthy and happy and cranking out music.
I’m in a bad way, no sense trying to deny it, not even to myself. The wait to find out if I do have cancer is killing me, right along with my lower back.
I’m getting whiplash from going back and forth: yes I do, what else can it be; no I don’t I’m just being drama queen.
I think the doctor thinks I have cancer. I’ve nitpicked the conversation until it’s a pile of splinters on the table and I can’t find any other conclusion. “Let’s find out for sure” seems pretty cut and dried.
I also think he thinks it’s early stage. That’s the only plus I can find.
I keep thinking of how I begged him to get the car fixed and come home so I could go to the doctor.
I keep thinking he has a whole different kind of body count these days.
That’s another thing I think I’d trade having cancer for right about now. That’s how much I hate him these days.
I’ll go ahead and say it here, I’m just shouting into a mostly empty void so why not:
I wish I had someone to help me through this.
Oh sure, I have the friend who will go to the appointment with me, the daughter that will watch the son while I’m in the hospital.
What I don’t have is someone to do the dishes for me. Cook me some rice because I simply suck at it. Pull out the folder of banking papers and say hey let’s knock this out.
I need a partner.
My loneliness is killing me, too.
Gratitudes are in very short supply right now, but there are a few:
I’m grateful for Trent Reznor’s music – and that he isn’t dead
I’m grateful for Chester’s Puffcorn, even if I can’t stop eating it.
I’m grateful I was able to vote against the Orange Buffoon.
It’s one of those thing I knew from reading, not from personal experience. Grief is like an old shoe left on the floor to randomly trip over. I told this to my niece when her husband went on down the road too young and too soon. I told her she’d keep finding things to grieve over long after the initial pain was gone.
I started to understand this on a personal level after my husband left – he walked out the door instead of dying, but there was still a shoe left on the floor. Or in the closet, the box of Christmas decorations, the sound of Gentlemen, start your engines.
But I still didn’t *get* it. Not until now, this day, 18 hours shy of seven weeks down another road. I knew the Tupperware container would be hard. I didn’t know it would be this hard.
I miss my mom.
The other grief is different – the knowledge of just how much he took from me when he left has always been tempered with my bone deep gratitude that he’s gone. I tripped over memories, I cried at what was lost – but none of it ever made me think I wish he was here again. I wish I could share this moment with him. I never feel sad when I fix food he would love to eat – only savagely glad that I don’t have to share it with him.
I’m writing this to put off making mashed potatoes. The Tupperware bowl sits in the refrigerator, full of stock waiting to become gravy, waiting to be emptied so I can fill it with the food she loved. Her last few months it was damn near all she’d eat, illness and age robbing her of the joy of food, the healthy teeth to eat it with.
Taters and gravy, my eternal comfort food, and that’s what I want now, as I sit alone and wonder how I’m going to take care of things feeling as exhausted as I do. The blood work is no surprise, only a solid clue as to why I’m always so fucking tired. Taters and gravy and right now it’s the only thing I want to eat but the idea of making them is exhausting. The idea of how much I’ll cry doing it only doubles down on this garbage hand I’m holding.
Knowing I was making them for her would give me the energy to just do it. I had to take care of her, yes? Had to fix the one food I knew she’d eat because someone as thin as she couldn’t afford to skip meals.
The sound of the cat – who is also dying – coming down the hall is bad enough that I’ve assumed it would be the worst. It sounds so much like Anna Catherine’s little slippered feet coming down the hall, bringing her to me to talk, to ask me if I’ve heard the day’s hot garbage news, to tell me what my sister said during their twice daily phone calls.
No. It’s the funky eyesore of a late 70’s/early 80’s Tupperware container, the one that always held the massive serving of mashed potatoes that would feed her for a week. It was often too heavy for her to lift from the shelf but she could open it, could use her mangled hands well enough to serve herself, do as much for herself as she was able. I never knew what she hated more, not being able to do simple things like cook for herself or relying on her chronically ill daughter to take care of her.
I’m better off that he’s gone. She’s better off being gone. I don’t know how I ever thought the two things could be the same.
Roughly three hours to go until it’s exactly one week, and if you ask me if this Monday morning is better than last I won’t know what to tell you. She was alive, but barely – I was keeping her stoned and unconscious while her body shut down. I couldn’t take her out, couldn’t afford her the same compassion as I’ll be able to give my cat here soon, but I could keep her unaware. I could keep it from hurting.
By that Monday morning I was 2.5 days into the deathwatch – for me a horrified stage, as I realized just what I was doing. The anxiety had spiked enough that I didn’t know what I feared more, the death or the awful job at hand. The waiting.
(It occurs to me she’s getting a final I told you so, one for the road, as it were. She always said put her in a home, that I don’t want that experience. She knew what it was like from tending her mother’s life and death and didn’t want that for me. But we always assumed we’d have time to make the decision, that she would. Turned out to be less than a week, and she was too incapacitated to make any decisions. Even knowing what I do I couldn’t have made a different choice. Send her out to slowly die surrounded by strangers? No.)
Anyway. One week down the road. I’m not yet as anxious as I was, but I will be soon enough. One thing I’ve learned this week – grief doubles everything else you feel. Anxious for different reasons, potentially worse ones, and scared and lonely to boot. Not lonely enough to call him up and ask him to come back – or agree if he asked – but that’s only because I know him being here won’t actually make me feel less lonely, just not alone.
Mondays are Wednesday, part one; the bad shit juxtaposed to Wednesday’s weird shit. Today it’s Take Care of Business. Today it’s find out just how bad I’m fucked. I honestly don’t know if this anxiety is worse. This feral fear.
Guess I’ll find out. Nothing to do but grab my bat.
Almost halfway through the month and I’ve managed to write zero poems (I don’t count the first one, as it was before the month started proper) …
Until last night, when a rambling rabbit hole lead down to a song I’d half-forgotten existed – forgotten just how much I love. I’ve been crying over it ever since, but I don’t need to think hard to understand it isn’t the song itself that’s making me cry.
At any rate, somewhere in the tears I found this:
She took all the love that a poor boy could give her And left me to die
Like a fox on the run, kit caught between clenched teeth. Paws aren’t fast enough some days but I keep running
Away from the picture of boxed bodies stacked like shoes on a shelf, like Legos, like the bottles of juice I’m trying not to horde because it’s all he’ll drink, this kit clenched between desperate teeth, and what happens when the shelves run dry, when the bodies stack high enough to reach the door I sit behind,
Blowing my nose and telling myself it’s just the pollen just the pollen just the pollen not a plain white box come to rest on the lawn while furious paws dig a hole in the dirt he left us in.
Starting NaPo a day early, with the prompt of: your favorite bird. It’s not a great poem, but it is a poem, as finished as I can get in a day’s time. That counts, just like the photo.
I used to think it was the color the brightest red given movement and flight, Or maybe the notes as bright as the feathers, everything birdsong should be.
But now I think maybe it’s more: If you see him his girl is nearby. Bright beauty isn’t for him, isn’t his badge of pride. Bright red like a heartbeat, he draws the attention simply to keep his love safe.
It’s amazing how much one month can swing between good and bad, isn’t it? My month started with this:
And ended with that little old woman in the hospital.
What’s worse than having to take your elderly mother to the emergency room? Having to take her in the middle of a pandemic, when the hospital is on complete lock down.
Things are shit, aren’t they? Swear to the Gods this month has lasted forever. But only 10.5 hours to go and then we’ll get a fresh new month.
Speaking of which:
So, 30 poems in 30 days. Might as well just dive right in to the deep end, yeah? I haven’t done a poetry challenge in several years, and I can count the poems I’ve written since then on one hand.
But fuck it, yeah? The Gods hate a coward, and so do I.
So back to the car – holy fucking shit. Better than I would have dared dreamed I could get. Way better. A 2018 with under 30k miles, bluetooth, usb ports, backup camera. I got a good deal on it because the owner was a stupidly heavy smoker. It reeks of cigarettes and I don’t even care. It just makes it more fitting for a car dedicated to Odin.
Of course the downside is now that I have a car and can go anywhere I want I don’t dare for fear of getting my mother sick. On the plus side, I can get to the store as often as I need, without having to beg rides from people tired of carting my ass around.
And, too, I won’t be able to go out and spend money I can’t afford now that I have a car payment.
The unemployed hermit life is actually paying off.
We have enough money to pay the bills.
I’ve managed to cross two things off my goal board for the year.
For every bad there’s been something equally good.
A deep emotional state; a yearning for a happiness that has passed, or perhaps never even existed …
Because the stupidest thing rake the hurt fresh again (the Daytona 500, of all fucking things) and I need something to distract myself – two pieces, or how I sometimes struggle with deciding which direction to go:
Sometimes the deciding factor is the challenge requirements. Sometimes it’s where I’m posting a piece. Other times it simply boils down to how I’m feeling.
The first piece meets the challenge requirements and didn’t take any extra brain power on a day when I didn’t have much. The second meets it as well … but sometimes I don’t want to post a devotional piece in the middle of suburbia. They wouldn’t get it, or appreciate it, so why go the extra mile of turning the first into the second?
Except the second really wanted to be finished and posted somewhere, and like I said, I need distraction from chronic pain and getting stuck in remembrances of a life past.
I’ll say I’m not crazy about the short poem – but honestly I am crazy about the fact that I managed to write one. Poems have been missing for quite some time now, and I’d really like to find my way back to them. Fiction is good, really good … but poetry will always be my first love.
I have two new lenses and two “master class” photography books on the way; fingers crossed I can finally get a bit more of a handle on this whole photography thing. Of course it would also help to have better things to snap than my not-so-great front yard, but that’s a line of thought that needs to go sit in the corner with the rest of the pity party. At any rate, here’s hoping I can improve on what I do have available to snap. Y’all are going to hate me when my gardenia starts blooming, I tell you what.
So I realized the last few posts didn’t have the gratitudes lists. Amazing how easy it is to forget something, isn’t it? And then forget you’ve forgotten. Honestly, I doubt I would have remembered if I hadn’t scrolled back a few entries.
I really want to talk myself out of it today, because honestly? Gratitude is in short supply right this moment. I’m miserable through and through, inside and out, and I don’t wanna, thinking it will only make me more lonely and miserable.
And it very well might, but it needs to be done anyway. I need to do it, need something to hold to help fight off this utter wanking bullshit.
So today I am grateful for:
Talking to my favorite cousin, that I haven’t spoken to in more years than I can count.
Dragon Age, and Steve Valentine’s voice
The chance to enrich my life with all these awesome digital bits