10 ways to tell a story

1 is the number of lives I have, at least as far as I know. Hence my efforts to stay on earth.

There are 2 choices, live or not. I get through the days of not wanting to live by thinking of the days where I’m glad I’m alive. I know they are around the corner, but I tend to forget that, and need to be reminded.

I have 3 kinds of pain: spiritual pain, physical pain and psychological pain.They each take turns in the front seat. On bad days all three take hold of me.

I am trying to avoid a 4th lifetime trip to the hospital. They are not healing places, just a rest stop for a hiatus of sorts. I do like the friends I make in those places though.

There are 5 children in my family of origin. I’m only close to one sibling, a sister. All of us are scattered across the country like debris leftover from a disaster.

I was 6 when my father chose his addictions over his family. I knew this when he broke my piggy bank for money.

We were a family of 7. Inevitably we were often seated at a large table in the middle of restaurants. This was a great place to showcase the shit show that would play out every time. My stepfather would invariably yell at my mother, “God damn it, Momma! Why did you make me spill that? Get me some napkins!” Red Lobster loved seeing us come in the door on Sundays.

It’s been 8 years since I’ve had a drink. Funny how a drinking problem found me, despite my childhood vow to not become my father.

This year will make 9 years of choosing a different road from that of my father. The person that gets me the most in this life is not a role model. My brain can get fuzzy from pondering this too long.

Don’t let any of the pain get to a 10, if it can be helped. Call a friend, get some acupuncture, and get yourself a dog this year. It’s been too long of a wait.

Today’s post is written in response to Today’s Daily Post.

Is it an oversight?

Is it an oversight that I can never quite remember my mother’s birthday? It’s somewhere in the realm of Thanksgiving. Some years it actually falls on that day. For as long as I can recall, I’ve never been able to recall the exact date. Nor do I know how old she is. I do know she is a Sagittarius, but only because she would mention it frequently. “I’m a Sagittarius, you know,” she would say. But I never asked what she meant by that, never followed up.

I’ve had doctors ask me, “How old is your mother?” Who knows why this is germane to my medical health.

I say, “I don’t know.”

I usually get blank stares before I hear, “Is she alive?”

“I presume so. I think someone will call me when she passes.” At this point I usually look them in the eye and wait them out to see where they go with this line of questioning. Most get the message and move on.

It certainly has not been an oversight that I’ve rarely written about my mother. It’s the great mystery of my life, my mother. In most instances in my life I am forever curious, with the notable exception of my mother. There’s a wall there because I do not want to know. I do not want to understand. It is so unlike me. I want to understand most things in life, okay, perhaps not calculus. But, if we are talking about crimes, wars, and a complicated legal decision, I’m game. The one exception is my mother.

It stumps me because in many ways I believe I’m empathetic, and I seek to understand others. Perhaps not?

A few years ago a writing teacher told me that my writing would get better when I start to write about my mother. What?! Why is that the key to writing better? Oy. Let it not be so. Alas, though, I think it may be true.

Many years ago I thought I kept forgetting to call my mother back, an oversight, if you will. But, as the days turned into weeks I realized it was not an oversight. I simply did not want to talk to her. But I could not tell anyone why. I didn’t even know why. I just knew I did not want to speak to her anymore. I found my first therapist because of this. When I walked into her office she asked, “How can I help you?” And I said, “I can’t call my mother back, and I don’t know why.”

There are periods of time I cannot recall from childhood, swaths of time. All I’m left with are feelings, and these feelings get misidentified as oversights when, in fact, they are indicative of my true desires.

Today’s post is written in response to Today’s Daily Prompt.

some accidental clarity

Ever since I learned of Sara’s passing I’ve been in a foggy dissociative state that’s been confusing for me. Since mid November when I returned to my previous job (which is now my current job, life is funny that way), and fired Doc, my last psychiatrist (more on that in future posts), I’ve been doing surprisingly well. I’ve had less instances of getting stuck in the car in a foggy state where I’ll be stuck from anywhere from 10 minutes to upwards of 2 hours. I’ve even been able to get out of bed with very few instances of the stuck-to-the-bed feeling that used to plague me on a near constant basis.

However, a lot of that foggy dissociation returned once the news about Sara reached me. I understood the return of the dissociation at first as it was and is a loss. But then I started getting the feeling that there was more to it, but I couldn’t pin point it, and because I was in that foggy state the thought would come to me in a fleeting moment, and just as soon as it would come it would disappear. I would ask myself, “Wasn’t there something important I was just pondering?” But the thought would just evaporate, such is how it is when my dissociation is ever present.

Yesterday and today seemed to glob into one space of time. Every thing was an effort: getting in the shower, getting in clothes, going to get something to eat, driving, laundry, grocery shopping, the gym, eating again, and then throwing out garbage and putting away groceries. I was stuck in the car, and I just said to myself “We just need to go in the grocery store. We need bananas, oranges, toilet paper, and almond milk. You can do this! It won’t take long.” Thirty minutes later I make it into the damn store.

In that moment when I was sitting in my car, playing a game of Candy Crush trying to jolt myself out of the foggy state, the fleeting thought came back, and this time I managed to hold onto it. As I was playing that stupid game I suddenly had the realization that this has been so hard because of my mother. This whole thing took me back to my mother. There were countless times that she threatened suicide. She would yell that nobody cared about her, we didn’t care about her, and because we did not care about her she was going to kill herself, and when she killed herself we would all be sorry that we did not show her how much we cared about her.

This was a frequent scenario growing up in that dreaded ugly brown house on Marietta St, so much so that I got to the unfortunate point where I am ashamed to say that I started to wish she would go ahead and do it and put us all out of our misery. Thankfully, I never expressed this to her, but I definitely thought it, wished it, hell I think I might have prayed for it at one very desperate point. I don’t even want to know what God must have made of that request.

There was one time when I was likely around 6 or 7 years old when I ripped up a Ziploc bag in front of her and ate it as she was making her typical suicidal threats. When she realized I did it as a suicidal gesture she laughed, and said to me that eating that bag was not going to kill me.

Eventually I started staying away from home as much as possible. I recall one particular argument (actually this is the only part of the argument I recall. I couldn’t tell you what we were arguing about in that instance)  with my mother when I told her that there would come a day where she would never hear from me or see me again, and I wanted her to remember this moment, remember all the moments that brought us here to this because they will make up the reasons that she will never see me again. And I believe I said something to the effect of, “You should never have been a parent. You’re the worst.”

Decades later I stand by those words. I do, cruel as it may sound, it’s how I feel. I wish her no ill well, just that I leave this earth without any more exchanges between the two of us. Any love that was there was killed, extinguished long ago. She’s just a person to me, a person in this world with whom I have an unfortunate connection. I’ve kept my word in that I’ve not seen her for many years. It’s the right choice given the situation.

I never realized this until this week, but I believe her suicidal threats were likely the most damaging to me out of the entire potpourri of damage she rained on us. I believe it’s the reason when I’ve had friends who’ve experienced suicidal ideation I tend to freak out or take off or both. My own propensity for suicidal ideation leads me to be very close to the vest about it. In the rare moments when it has scared me I am reduced to whispering it to my therapist. There have even been times when I couldn’t even whisper it, all I could do was write it to my therapist and hand her the piece of paper. I never realized, until now, that I have a fear of talking about suicide.

The legacy of suicidal ideation was passed down to me, but I went the opposite direction with it. I try to protect everyone from it. My mother wanted everyone to feel responsible for her ideation, and I go out of my way to protect my loved ones from even knowing that I struggle with this. My mother suffered out in the open, and I struggle with mine in a good amount of isolation.

My mother was a good at crafts, and our dining room table often looked like a craft store vomited on it. She would make homecoming mums (a strange Texas tradition) or make candy cane reindeer at that table. I remember wishing that I liked crafts so that I could have one good memory of doing something nice with her. Instead, I would glance at her doing crafts at that table with my sisters, and I would read a book.