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Christmas list?

This post was originally published in December 2010, but I thought it could use an update. Even though I am working now, I still can’t help but feel like crap because half the time I forget things that are easy for everyone else to remember and I seem to always be doing something wrong. I’m not saying that because I get constant criticism, although it feels like that sometimes. I’m saying that because I’m oversensitive and tend to respond to things like the tones people use when sometimes it’s better to remember that that’s just how someone talks or that this isn’t a good time of the year for me in general. It’s better this year than it has been because I’m working and making money, although I do wish I could see my family and friends more often. Anyway, back to your regularly-scheduled whine-fest.

My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. The first things I thought of were a Bible with the Apocrypha in it and/or one of my favorite party games. Of course, we’d actually have to *have* parties in order to play said game, but that’s something else entirely. I can think of a few things I’d like, but I don’t think they would be something he could give me. For instance:

-He can’t give me my brain back. One thing I hate to no end is that I feel like I am ‘slipping’…everyone else ‘gets’ things that I don’t, and I keep missing and forgetting things. I don’t want to immediately say it’s because of my bipolar and/or ADHD, but that’s probably the most likely scenario. My doctors have told me that it affects the way I think; I test lower on IQ tests than I did before because my brain works differently (well, assuming it works at all 😛 ). Seriously. I’ve been told over and over again that I ‘don’t think’ or whatnot, but that’s not true at all. I *do* think, I just tend to think so fast that nothing really ‘sticks’. My last few employers-you know, the two jobs I was fired from in two weeks-can attest to that. It’s just so frustrating, because I feel like everyone else is smarter than me and understands everything much better. Maybe this is true, but maybe I’m just *different*, not any less or any more. I don’t know.

-He can’t help me lose weight. Maybe he can in terms of eating more vegetables and less fatty stuff, but he can’t exercise for me or stop me from liking things like soda and cookies. I feel like I’ve nagged him enough about that in terms of getting him to buy veggies and fruit for produce, although truth be told I really don’t push anywhere near as much as I could. Still, I know that money has been really tight for us and that he feels like the stuff we can afford is often the stuff that’s really the worst for us. He doesn’t say it like that, but that’s what it comes out to. We *do* get canned veggies but It’s up to me to actually *eat* them, or to choose them over other stuff when I have a choice.

-He can’t help me get motivated to do, well, anything. I have so many projects I’ve started that I haven’t finished and don’t really know if I will. A children’s book, a novel of sorts, a few other writing projects…at least I’ve had some stories published, although they haven’t sold yet and *ahem* aren’t the type of stories you let your dad read. I have a couple of tabs open in my browser right now for things I keep meaning to read, but somehow never get around to it because I’m so easily distracted. Maybe at some point I’ll stop playing Facebook games long enough to read the stuff I’m supposed to read on Beliefnet for my job, and Slater, get off the counter,then do some writing I get paid for and Dr Phil’s head looks particularly shiny today….oops, got distracted again.

-He can’t get me to stand up for myself the way I need to.

-He can’t ward off my depression or make other people do stuff with us. They have their own lives and I totally appreciate that, but sometimes I just get bored with the same old thing. Boredom often leads to depression with me and, since I don’t work outside of the home, I get bored quite a bit. It’s gotten better now that we’ve paid the car off and I’ve been doing more stuff at church. Just to get out among other people-especially more women since most of my friends here are men-really helps. Even so, sometimes I still feel really “meh”. Which leads me to my next point:

-He can’t make me feel like less of a piece of crap because I get disability even though a lot of the time I feel as though I can work. I know from experience that my mental issues cause major problems and my physical issues aren’t much better, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as though I’m one of those “sponges” or “cheats” some people rant about. I would never, ever say that to someone else, but I’ll say that to myself. Hmm.

He can’t change the past, which is ultimately what it would take to ward this off.

That’s just it. He can’t change the past. I know he would if he could, though. The only thing that can be done is to get to be more comfortable and content with the way things are and to try and improve things from there, but that’s something I have to do for myself. I have to ask God to help me with that every day, if I remember. That’s really sad, ‘if I remember’, but the point is that he can’t do it for me because it’s not *for* him to do. It’s for me, with God’s help. And I need all the help I can get.

*sigh*

Maybe I should just stick with new jeans and some bras to replace the ones I can’t wear anymore. That would require a lot less explanation.


Spitballs From Heaven

I apologize in advance if this post depresses you. It’s about the death of someone very dear to me and, while it is meant as a tribute, it’s…well, about death. You’ve been warned.

Every May you can’t help but see it-‘Happy Mothers’ Day’. Flowers. Cards. Mugs. Ads for the latest kitchen gadget. They’re everywhere. I suppose that’s all well and good for those who are trying to find presents for their moms, but it doesn’t do much for me. I know she’d hate this, but I can’t stop thinking about how I don’t have a mother. Not in this plane of existence. Not anymore. I don’t normally sit around feeling sorry for myself (well…), but sometimes it just comes.

I remember the day she died. It was December 12, 1998, approx 11:45 pm. Yes, I remember the time. I always will. She had breast cancer…she lived for about a year or so after she first got the diagnosis. For a while, she did relatively well. But then, she didn’t. I saw how the chemo changed this once active and vital woman I loved into someone who didn’t even want to move or eat. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she was in.

I guess one thing is good, though; she gained a completely new outlook on life. She stopped coloring her prematurely-gray hair. She would laugh and smile more. She stopped feeling depressed about things like her weight…yes, she lost a lot of it, but that’s not the point. The point is that she seemed to see each new day as a gift-a much more positive “lease on life”. I remember she would say that she didn’t want to color her hair anymore and if other people didn’t like it then, tough, because this was her. She did her best to instill confidence in my sister and me, even though she didn’t have much herself. I remember some of my friends were surprised to see me back at school for the semester after she died, but I didn’t know what else to do. It was my last semester of college, so I guess it would have been stupid for me to stay out when I was so close to finishing. But the thing is, she wouldn’t have wanted me to. She would have shot spitballs at me from heaven if I hadn’t gone back. To this day, that’s what I call hail-spitballs from heaven.

Come to think of it, that’s a good thing to do. Remember. I remember the Snickers bars. I remember that it was she who gave me my first Dr. Pepper, and I’m still addicted. 🙂 Dr. Pepper from a can, the drink of the gods. I remember telling her when I got my period. I remember that she had depression issues, and thus was a very good help to my sister and me when we had our problems. I remember how she didn’t want people to put themselves out for her, but would do anything for anyone else. I remember our ‘agreement’ that Pierce Brosnan was gorgeous…I’ve seen some unflattering pictures since, but there’s something about a man with an accent…:)

I remember the stuffed cows she gave me. We both loved cows. I remember how she once saw a stuffed cow in Walmart and bought it for me. What made it special was that she only had the money with her to go to lunch, but instead she used that to buy me the cow. She didn’t eat lunch that day. I’m tearing up a bit…I know It seems small, but it reminds me of what I *don’t* remember. I don’t remember a single selfish act on her part in all of the 21 years I’d had with her. Not one. She devoted her life to our family in a way we may not have noticed growing up, but that made a huge difference in our lives. We truly are better for having known her. If I’m lucky, maybe one day I’ll be *half* the mother and person she was. One can only hope.

Before I forget, here’s the cow:

20150216-201455.jpg

18 years later, I still have it.
I miss you, Mama. I hope I’ve done you proud.

Oh, and, one more memory-I remember how upset I was when I was told that she died rather than being healed on this planet because she didn’t believe God could heal her. That opens up so many other doors for discussion I’m not going to go through here, but I have one word for that-bullshit. She asked us to pray for her on a number of occasions, and prayed herself. Still, despite her treatment, she died. But if you think about it, she was healed. She suffered a number of things on this planet, and now she is somewhere where she will never want for anything ever again. Her depression is gone, her pain is gone, and she is with God. If that isn’t healing, what is?

Goodnight, everyone. Goodnight, Mama.


Blanket Apology

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I have wasted so much time and energy worrying about what people think of me whose opinions don’t really matter. In school, I was probably the shyest person on the planet. I used to think it was so massively important to be liked by the ‘right’ people, to say the ‘right’ things and look the ‘right’ way. It wasn’t that I was a snob; far from it. I had friends, and liked pretty much everyone I met. I just didn’t like myself; perhaps subconsciously I expected others not to like me either. I worried so much that people didn’t like me, only to find out years later that I was completely wrong about others’ perceptions. Even if I’d been right, even if people did think I was a <insert negative title here>, it doesn’t really matter now. I’m sorry I wasted so much time worrying that could have been much better spent.

I’m sorry I took bad advice.

I’m sorry I didn’t take good advice.

Right now I’m sorry I ate that last piece of pizza. Tomorrow, my waistline will be too.

I’m sorry for letting people make me feel guilty for things I had no reason to feel guilty for.

I’m sorry for being selfish at times. In my defense, I learned that I can’t take other peoples’ burdens onto myself as much as others can; when added to the weight of my own, they will crush me. I will be in no position to help others if I am smashed into pieces on the ground.

There are people I have hurt profoundly, some intentional but some not, mostly not. I’m not going to go into details because I’d rather not think about them, but I’m sorry. There are also people I have done things to hurt, but they never found out about it. Some say what you don’t know won’t hurt you and maybe that’s true, but that doesn’t get me out of my obligation to take responsibility for my actions. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for trying to shave the cat when I was six.

I’m sorry for putting so much stock in the past that it colors my future.

I’m sorry for giving certain people and opinions the thought and credit they don’t deserve.

I’m sorry for not giving certain people and opinions the credit they do deserve.

I’m sorry for not giving myself much credit at all.

I’m sorry for not studying psychology in school…but then, I don’t really know that things would have turned out any differently for me, so perhaps I should just leave that thought alone.

I’m sorry for letting people walk all over me and not having the confidence to assert myself.

I’m sorry for being somewhat distant at times.

I’m sorry for not telling certain people in my life where to go and what to do with themselves when they get there.

I’m sorry for being afraid to let people help me or love me. I’m not sorry for letting myself help or love other people, though. Yes, I’ve gotten hurt, but I don’t really know any other way to be.

I would say I am sorry for meeting and dating certain people, but that would require that I actually think about them. They don’t deserve that privilege.

I’m sorry I didn’t perform that rap song I wrote for a guy in high school. Since the guy is now my stepbrother, I guess it’s for the best.

I’m sorry for focusing so much on what I don’t have or who doesn’t like me that I failed to appreciate the things I do have or the people who do like me.

I’m sorry that I don’t give myself the same consideration and acceptance that I give other people.

And now, I’m sorry for boring everyone with my incessant apologizing.

Have a good night.


The Darkness Within

Forgive me for the randomness and rambling, but I’m in a strange mood I can’t seem to shake.  …not even with ridiculous Bell Biv DeVoe songs, so you *know* must be bad. 🙂

There have been a lot of really messy things in my life, things I can’t always explain. It’s been easy compared to others, but sometimes I feel as though my own heart, my own mind is taking revenge on me. I know it could be worse, but sometimes it is hard for me to see that.

I have an illness-bipolar disorder-that can make me feel as though there were something else inside of me, controlling my thoughts and actions. I do not want this thing to define me or rule my life, but there are times when I can’t really do anything else.  An ex once told me it was a “demon” or “spirit” that needed to be cast out, which I will explain in another blog post. I would normally say he’s full of shit, and I still think he is, but the truth is that it can sometimes feel as though he is right.  He might have meant well but the truth is that he doesn’t understand this, and probably never will. I don’t fault him or anyone else for that, especially considering the fact that sometimes I don’t understand it either. I can read all the self-help books in the world, can spend hours in prayer, do all the things that work for everyone else but for whatever reason, it doesn’t always help.  I’m not saying these things are useless by any means, but they are not the “cures” they are for other people. Again, I don’t want it to define me but I can’t think of any other reason. I’ve had some form of depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, but I thought it was just normal pubescent angst or a weakness on my part.  As positive and friendly as I usually am, medication has been my saving grace. Surely there is some reason God is allowing me to have all this-in fact, I know there is -but damned if I can figure out what it is sometimes. People give me advice, and I appreciate their concern. There are just some things that people-however well meaning they might be-simply won’t understand until they have been there themselves.

Sometimes, though, I hear something that speaks to me…that tells me, this person knows what’s in my head. This person has ‘been there’…

I love Nine Inch Nails* for this very reason…listening to Trent Reznor and people like him can be very cathartic. Anyone who writes like this just knows:

Hurt*

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real

The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

 

So I don’t run afoul of any copyright laws, you can hear and read the rest here: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnycash/hurt.html

And as if that wasn’t dark enough:

Something I Can Never Have

 

I still recall the taste of your tears.
Echoing your voice just like the ringing in my ears.
My favorite dreams of you still wash ashore.
Scraping through my head ’till I don’t want to sleep anymore.

[Chorus:]
You make this all go away.
You make this all go away.
I’m down to just one thing.
And I’m starting to scare myself.
You make this all go away.
You make this all go away.
I just want something.
I just want something I can never have

Again, copyright: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nineinchnails/somethingicanneverhave.html

I’m not quite as dramatic as all that, but it is a strange comfort to me to have this sort of thing to refer to,  if only for inspiration for my own (crappy) writing.

*This is the Johnny Cash cover; his voice just fits so well.


The Girl in the Back of the Room

I’ve always wanted to be an advice columnist. In fact, that was one thing I wrote in those “where do you see yourself in ten years” sections in those “senior” books we got in high school. Anyway, I wrote this as an “audition piece” for an online women’s magazine. The magazine hasn’t officially launched because of some family issues the editor-in-chief had, so I’ve been given the “green light” to publish this in my own blog. The advice is to the 20-year-old me from the [censored]-year-old me.

My column name is “The Girl in the Back of the Room” I chose it because that’s the girl who sees everything that’s going on. That, and that’s who I was through most of high school. I hope you like it.

 

Dear Girl,

I’m a college student who has been dating her boyfriend for about a year. He just kind of ‘swept’ me into his life; I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend and he gave me a lot of attention when I needed it. The trouble is, it’s gotten to where it’s a little *too* much attention. He always has to know where I am at any given time and makes me feel bad if I want to be alone in my dorm room or hang out with my suite-mates rather than spending time with him. I want to break up with him and have tried to on a couple of occasions, but he always talks me out of it-he says he loves me, that he can’t live without me, that I’m the best thing that ever happened to him, etc. He’s even said that he’ll hurt himself if I leave. I don’t love him or feel the same way about him, but I can’t help but feel like I have to stay so I won’t be responsible for anything that happens to him. If he were to kill himself because of me, I would feel like a terrible person for the rest of my life.

My friends say I need to tell him goodbye in no uncertain terms, but I don’t know how to without feeling mean. I’ve always had a problem with being too nice, but I don’t know any other way to be. My friends also say he’s playing on my good nature and manipulating me into staying with him. I’m starting to agree with them. But how can I break up with him so he’ll leave me alone without having to be mean about it?

-Confused in Connecticut

Dear Confused,

I wouldn’t normally use the words, ‘Bite me’ in an advice column, but I think it fits here; this is what you need to say to your ex because he doesn’t seem able to understand much else! You’ve tried to let him down easy, but now it sounds like you’re going to have to bite the bullet and be blunt. Tell him how you feel or, in this case, don’t feel. Yes, you’ll hurt him and feel like you’re being mean, but sometimes you really can’t avoid it. Despite his statements to the contrary, the nicest thing you can do here is make a clean break.

As for him talking you out of it, don’t give him the chance. Do what you can to avoid being alone with him. Have someone else with you whenever you can. Don’t answer his emails, don’t take his calls, ignore his knocks on your door and have your suite-mates to do the same. If you have to, report him to campus police.

You are not-I repeat, not-responsible for what happens to him! It’s not up to you to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself because he’s the one who controls his actions, not you. If he truly is suicidal, he needs to see a doctor. Either way, I agree with your friends-he’s probably saying this to make you feel guilty. I hate to say it, but what you’re describing sounds like the beginnings of an abusive relationship. If you go on any longer, things will only get worse until you find yourself in too deep to get out. Do yourself a favor and get out now. Believe it or not, it’s okay to think of yourself sometimes. If you’re really concerned about him, tell him to use the campus counseling services or have a mutual friend check up on him. Whoever talks him through it, it should not be you.

As for being a bad person, that is not even close to being true. It would be one thing if you were hurting him out of spite, but you’re not. The fact that you are concerned about it at all shows how *good* a person you are.

Apparently hindsight really *is* 20/20. Maybe now I can finally let go of that chapter of my life.

 

 


Yet Another ‘Kid’ Post

I’ve been thinking a lot about kids lately. Yes, we’ve been here before, but I guess this is something I won’t get over anytime soon. The loss of my cat Daniel Tiger and the fact that it’s a brand new year has me thinking about things in a different way.

I’m 35-am I too old to have kids? Is it too late for me? Some people say yes. Quite a few, actually. Some of those people wouldn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, so perhaps I shouldn’t worry about what they think.

Is the fact that I spent the last seven years with an injury that made it impossible for me to have kids (or do what it takes to make a kid), only to get it ‘corrected’ when I’m past the age some doctors would even *see* me God’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t reproduce? My doctor once said that he would refer me to a high-risk OB if I got pregnant because of my age and my bipolar disorder. The last one, I can see. As for the first…I remember telling my husband that I was concerned that the accident and our financial situation would make it so that we would never be able to have kids, even if we wanted to. We were prepared for the possibility that we might decide not to have kids because of our medical issues, et cetera…we might not like it, but at least then it would have been our choice. It wouldn’t have been because some wreck I don’t even remember getting in took that choice away from me.

Related to the above, am I an ingrate for being bothered by what the injuries made impossible when I’m pretty damned lucky to be alive at all?

Sometimes I feel left out because a lot of the women in the circles close to me all have kids or their lives center around kids. I feel like they’re in some sort of club that I will never belong to and that there’s something wrong with me because of it. That they will always feel like I am ‘left behind’ or something and will never *quite* have enough in common with them again. As much as I love my guy friends, sometimes I want to be around some women. I know it’s not a ‘contest’ or a ‘race’, but sometimes I still feel lonely because I’m in this weird place in life that most of my girl friends back home are in too, but no one here is.

What am I missing out on? Sure, I’m not having to wake up at 3am to change a diaper or spend hours connected to a breast pump. But I’m also not going to have anyone to take to a first day of school, anyone to make tuna salad sandwiches for, anyone to take prom pictures of, anyone to send off to college…you get the idea. Will my life still feel complete? Will it *ever* feel complete again?

I just finished writing a pilot for a kids’ sitcom. I got the idea from Amazon Studios and, while I’m not sure anything will come of it, I am grateful for the ‘push’. You see, I have all these stories going around in my head that I have yet to really do anything with. I sometimes will mean to write them down, but get distracted or discouraged halfway through (or sometimes not even *that* far). I had a great time writing this story, but it bothers me that I keep running through the final scene in my head. In it, the main character (a 14-year-old boy) is really excited because he just asked out a girl for the first time and she said yes. I keep thinking…you know, I’m not *quite* old enough to have a kid that age…well, not unless I had him at age 21. That’s still pretty young. But what if the kids I write about in this sitcom project are the only ones I will have? I love my cats like they are kids, but what if they are the only kids I have? Will I be okay with that? I’m really not sure anymore.

What if I don’t make a difference in the next generation? I’m not around my nephews much, although that isn’t necessarily through any fault of my own. We do go to see my sister-in-law’s little boy as much as we can since he’s here in town, but all my other nephews live at least 8 hours away in Virginia. I’d be with them all the time if I could.

Maybe I’m just being selfish.

Maybe all these questions are my mind’s of telling me that maybe I’m more ‘desperate’ than I thought. Or that I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I think I do; that I’m too old now to think of things in ‘maybe someday’ terms. I don’t know. Is this what a “midlife crisis” is like? When I hear that phrase, I think of the middle-aged man in the red convertible leaving his wife for a woman who’s barely legal. I don’t think of a questioning blogger who has no clue what she’s done with her life.

We talk about adoption, but we haven’t been able to make any sort of plan because everything hinged on being able to have the hip replacement surgery. We had to save up to afford it, we still have bills surrounding it, and it wouldn’t be fair to a kid to have a mother who couldn’t play with him or take proper care of him because she was recovering from surgery. Even if there were other people around to help, he would still need *me*, and I couldn’t be there. If that makes sense.

Maybe this is God’s way of having us wait for Him to bring the right child into our lives. Maybe there’s a child yet to be born (or already born to someone else) who we will be uniquely suited to parent. Maybe this is God’s way of having us wait for Him…period.

I don’t know. I never do. Hopefully I will someday.


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