Category: dear diary

Into the Blue Again

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.

Same as it ever was.

Jacob Marley’s Chain

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

Maybe This Year Will Be Better

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.)

Anyway.

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)

Anyway

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.

Missing

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.