Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Summer of My Discontent

You know all that shit I wrote earlier about making progress and whatnot?   Yeah, you can throw that shit right out the window.  I am constantly spiraling down my vortex of self-loathing, and I am pretty much going along for the ride.  Remember the sitting of the kids I did Friday night?  Yeah, well, I snapped on Saturday.

First, let me say that I only had one rule for my niece as she was growing up:  Do not break your head.  I figured anything else was fixable.  She got a kick out of that, but she was a really good kid.  High-energy and high-spirited, but not destructive or pushy.  As I’ve said, we sat for hours making up long, complicated stories about being fairies or wizards or other ethereal creatures.   Now that she is twelve (and looks twenty), she really has grown into a lovely young woman.

When the boys came along, I had to start making up rules on the fly.  Most of them included “No” or “Don’t” and some form of banishment from hitting me/throwing things at me.  As I’ve said before, for someone with PTSD, this is a recipe for disaster.  Until recently, I had to sit on the aisle seat in a theatre or the end seat at a restaurant in order to have easy access to the exit (I still prefer that seat, but it’s not imperative).    You can probably see where I am going with this.

Let me give you some background.  I was born in the Year of the Boar so I collect pigs.  Stuffed pigs, glass pigs, ceramic pigs, wooden pigs, piggy banks, jade pigs, etc.  I have had pig socks and pig slippers before, and I currently have a pair of boxers with grumpy pigs on them.   To that end, I have a giant stuffed pig (about three feet tall and two feet wide) that only has one eye because SOMEBODY who shall remain nameless (*cough, not Raven, cough*) likes to scratch his claws on it, and my nephews love this giant pig.  Of course they do!  It’s a giant pig.  Anyway, the time before last they were at my house, they decided it would be great fun to swing the pig around and throw it at me.  You can imagine that I, on the other hand, vehemently disagreed that this was a good idea.

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Listening to the Demons’ Song

Do you ever have one of those days where you just HATE everything about yourself?  Well, I am having one of those days.

First of all, I have to say, coming out of depression is hard fucking work.   I always feel like I have to watch myself for any signs of incipient depression in order to fend off another fall.  However, the even harder part is that the demons are panicking because I am starting to pull away, and they know this is possibly their last shot to keep me hooked in their pointy talons.

When I was depressed, they didn’t have to work so hard at keeping me down.  I did a fairly good job of it myself, thankyewverymuch.  I berated myself on a daily basis (minutely basis, truth be told), and I pretty much knew I was a piece of shit without them having to reinforce that knowledge.  In other words, I made their job really easy for them.

Now, it’s a bit harder.  Why?  Because I am starting to rebel.  Not purposefully, mind you.  I’m not saying, “Hey, fuck off, demons, you worthless pieces of shit.  You’re not needed here any more!”  In fact, I’m not paying them much attention at all, and that is pissing them off to no end.

So, they are waving their talons in my face and stepping up the attack.  And, since they have been around forever, they know which buttons are the best ones to push.

The first:  my weight.  I am feeling incredibly fat and ugly and undesirable.  They are telling me, “No one is going to ever want to fuck you again.”  Which is very, very sad, especially if you’re me.  By the way, I read a review of a book that reinforces the idea that a woman thinks about sex once every couple of days whereas a guy thinks of sex once a minute.  My reply?  Who the fuck stole my brain and replaced it with a guy’s when I wasn’t looking?

Anyway, I feel disgusting.  I know it’s in part because my mom is here, and she has her own body image issues.  She does the, “I worked out today, so I can eat ice cream” thing that so many women have been taught to do.  She has always been trying to lose that last mythical five pounds.  She reinforces my bad self-image thoughts quite effortlessly.  I know she thinks I’m an elephant, but then she wants to take me out to dinner and feed me.  I said to Choolie that she’s like having my very own women’s magazine come to life.  Every fucking women’s magazine has a big, “How to lose a bajillion pounds by only eating persimmons and running ten miles a day” ad on the cover juxtaposed with a big, “The world’s most yummiest triple chocolate double peanut butter quadruple the butter fudge–recipe inside” ad right next to it.  My mom is like that in person.

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The Space In-Between

I have always been a black and white kinda gal.  Or, if I am going to be completely honest, I’ve always been a black and blacker kinda gal.   In my world, you were friend or you were foe.  You were with me or you were against me.  Binary thinking?  Oh, hell, yeah.  I had it down cold.  Choolie pointed out that many people with PTSD react that way because their warning system is broken.  It makes sense.  Once a person is attacked, that person will do anything she can not to be attacked again.  So, any little threat is perceived as a big threat.  I’m like my own personal Homeland Security color alert in action.  Except, instead of always being at Level Boehner (Orange), I am constantly at Level OH MY FUCKING GOD I’M UNDER MOTHERFUCKING ATTACK.

Or, to be more precise, I was.

I had my therapy session Wednesday afternoon, and I was marveling at how much work my mom and I have done this summer.  We have been able to talk honestly about past issues without either of us freaking out or fleeing.   That led to me talking about how sad I was for the woman I used to be.  She was so damaged and scared that she had to continually shrink her world in order to keep the perceived threats at manageable.  And even then, her fear was overwhelming.

She never believed she had the right to live or that she had any positive impact on anyone or anything.  She never imagined a future because she was too busy trying to think of a reason not to kill herself pretty much every day.  She hated everything about herself and couldn’t fathom that anyone could really love her.  She figured her friends were just being nice to her when they stood by her.  By the way, major shout-out to my long-term friends who have always accepted me as I was.  It’s in a large part thanks to you that I’m still here.

The past me.  She thought she was scarred, damaged beyond repair, unlovable, ugly, grotesque, and for the most part, a monster.  Her mantra was to first do no harm, but because she believed that she was a detriment to the world, it was impossible to follow her mantra.  So, she did her best to minimize the toxins she was releasing into the world by doing as little as possible.

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Confessions of a Shitty Mom*

For one night, that is.  My mom and I are babysitting my nephews, and they are sleeping over.  Right now, she is telling them a story, and then they are going to bed.

She went to pick them up around two and brought them home around four.  We played downstairs for a bit, then they wanted to watch half of the movie they brought (Up) before playing on the computer.

But I get ahead of myself.  I was on the computer when they came (surprise, surprise), and the middle child (first boy) immediately declared that he was going to use my computer and commandeered my mouse.  I took it back from him and turned it off (wireless), but he continued to fiddle with the keyboard, and his brother followed suit.  The youngest idolizes his brother and does everything Nephew the Elder does.

This immediately flummoxed me because my niece would never have done that when she was a young kid (she’s six years older than Nephew the Elder), and I had no clue how to deal with blatant disregard for boundaries.

See, this has been a burgeoning problem.  My niece and I are close.  When she was growing up, we would spend hours making up stories about enchanted lands and such.  She would be content to have me tell her stories endlessly.  And, when she got older, she loved it best when we read together.  Then, along came the boys in rapid succession (less than two years apart), and everything blew apart.

Nephew the Elder is officiously known as the problem child.  He is the most like his father and prone to tantrums at the drop of a hat.  He is also the smartest of the three kids, and if he makes it through his teen years relatively intact, he is going to do something extraordinary.   Now, as you know, once a child is labeled the problem child, he grows into the role.  Granted, Nephew the Elder is a handful, but it doesn’t help to have him blamed for everything that goes wrong.

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My Destination Unknown

As longtime readers of this blog know, I am a bit of a control freak.  OK, OK, I am a HUGE control freak.  In the past, I have made my world small enough so I felt it was manageable (look, honey, I shrunk my life!).  The illusion of control was just that, an illusion, but it gave me some (cold, my favorite kind) comfort.

Well, let’s just take that illusion and blow it the fuck up, shall we?  Remember the entry I wrote about how I couldn’t talk to my mother about my father?  When my therapist asked me which part I couldn’t say, I retorted, “Fucking any of it!”  No way I could talk to my mother about how my father ruined my childhood.  Uh uh, no how, no way, never in a million years.

Well, I did it.

Let me recount to you how it went down.

Tuesday, my mom and I had a few errands to run, then we were going to go to dinner at Taiko, a local sushi bar.  My mom had gone there the Friday before with a friend of hers (moved to a new location), and she said it was as good as ever.  So, we reach the location, and the place is deserted.  There isn’t a car in the parking lot.  The sign says they are closed for the fifth and sixth of July.  Oops.  For me, it was no big deal.  Yeah, I was disappointed, but we could go another time.  For my mother, it was A Big Deal  She started griping about how they hadn’t told her they would be closed and why would they do that?  She kept up with it as we drove until I finally said, “Mom, it’s not a big deal.  Let it go.”

I have to tell you it’s really frustrating to watch her do what I do because it reminds me of how out-of-proportion such a reaction is.  But, it also helped me see that I come by my control issues honestly.  At any rate, we ended up going to Acapulco, which is a decent Mexican chain.

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