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.

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.

Remembering Bugles


Today I ate too many Bugles, the corn chip snack, not the instrument. Yesterday I was flitting through the grocery store on a quest for eggs when a sighting of Bugles stopped me in my tracks. Bugles have that effect on me. The last time they stopped me in my tracks was this past Christmas season. I was visiting my sister in Texas when we both spotted the tasty, nutritionally empty specimens at the same time. We looked at each other, and she spoke first, “Remember these? Bugles were the only snack that didn’t make me sick when we were kids.” In adulthood she would learn that she has celiac disease.

Her simple question, “Remember these?” caused my heart to jump because there are many times I cannot answer such a simple question. I have large memory gaps from childhood, and anytime I can actually answer a memory question from childhood I am pleasantly surprised much the same way that Buffalo Bills fans are surprised when the Bills are faring well. The moment I saw those Bugles on the shelf at the HEB grocery store I saw a snack size package of those buggers flying out of a vending machine at the community swimming pool where we took swimming lessons as kids. She would get Bugles, and I would get Boston Baked Beans, the brown candy-coated peanuts. I’ve always been a sucker for snacks with nuts. But that is all I remember about Bugles, that they were part of our post swimming lesson repast as kids.

When I find something I remember as a child I tend to overdo it in my quest to find answers. It’s like the Bugles could be a possible missing key that will unlock more memories that are unavailable to me. And there I was this afternoon with the bag of Bugles unopened on my counter. I thought to myself that I could use a small snack. I should have known better, these were Bugles after all. With every crunch I would close my eyes, and see if anything would come to me in the form of memories. Nothing. I would crunch them cone end first, then cone end down, to no avail. Nothing except an overconsumption of salt.