Patterns of the fall

I admit I tend to see and analyze judge patterns of behavior in families.  I see my own children do it too.  Just over Halloween, my daughter came home from a Halloween function with a friend and her mother and very loudly declared that them “rude an unmannered” as they never said please or thank you for anything “the entire day”.

I think back to when my daughter was learning shapes and patterns in preschool and how we pass patterns down from generation to generation and how the role of the patterns play in our lives today.  My daughter was embarrassed by her friends not saying please and thank you.  These are just the “magic words” she learned as a young child when she was given something, to show manners, to be polite.

I’ve been thinking about my own thought patterns of the past (some of which still hold true today).  Some of my strengths are very much the qualities that have pulled me through some very tough times, but there are times when these very same strengths have nearly been my downfall.

I have to admit I have a bit of a stubborn side.  This has been a strong internal driving force inside of me that, I believe, has nothing to do with the fact that I was born under the sign of the Taurus (who clearly curse a lot!).  I am very strong-willed and a bit of a control freak.  I have strong opinions about the way things should be done and if you would like to state your opinion about how I should do things, I will be happy to do just the opposite.  I obviously have a very bad case of denial, too, because when you feel like you have to control everything – typically, you don’t have control over anything.

This may be another reason why when someone tells me they “guarantee me” something, I call bullshit.  Or I have trouble breathing when my son does not text me on time when he is out of the house with friends, when people do not do what they say they are going to do, when the past invades the present, with a cancer dx….because when you feel like you’re the glue holding everything together and shit starts crumbling, you spend the next day, week, year(s) trying to figure out what you did wrong and blaming yourself for things that were never really in your control in the first place.

Some days my daughter will say to me, “I want to be just like you.”  And I will say, “No, you will be better.”  And she will smile, and add, “Only I don’t want to get sick, or worry so much, and I want to be taller…”  See, she can already see some of my flaws and she is already striving to break some of the patterns and grow to be better (and she is already taller, so she’s got that covered).  But I still worry, well because that’s a pattern I haven’t been able to break, and because the last couple of weeks I find myself in a constant state of worry and Tuesday evening she said to me, “You don’t seem happy.”

I’m not…but I’m trying to change that, baby girl.

Because our history does not have to be our future.  I know (even though I can’t see it right now most of the time) that I have now been given another chance, no matter how short that window is, to change the pattern.  The pattern my mother had, the pattern she passed to me that I’ve already changed, I can continue to make changes.  Just because I have been stuck this week does not mean I have to be stuck next week.

I have already taken the first steps making sure my children never see some of the patterns of their history.  My mother hated me, but I started their patterns with love.  I still carry her hate with me every day but they will never see it.  I may never feel the pattern of safety but I built a house of brick so my children may carry the pattern of safety forward for themselves and for their own children.

We will forge ahead and make our own patterns.   Perhaps the pattern of nearly 5 years ago has already been deviated from, if not broken.  I feel I am still there, struggling, but I am not rolling in it, wrapping myself up in it, laying in their hate, and blame, and shame, and filth, and all the patterns they left me with.  I still hear and feel the weaknesses they passed on to me, I still hear them taunt me to join them, but the only way they win is if I lose.  And the strongest pattern I have, is my stubborn will…. Even my grandmother always told me that.

I’m a warrior, it just doesn’t always feel that way.  So I have to keep reminding myself…I will always wear the wounds they left me, but I will make the patterns different for my own legacies.  They are older now.  They deserve better than I had.

It always happens when you least expect it!

they backNow what?  The thing about trauma-brain is it never really goes away, does it?  I mean, you can hide it for a time, act normal, and even be somewhat normal…until something happens that resembles something that caused the trauma-brain and then *snap* back in to trauma-brain.  Am I right?  Anyone-anyone? It doesn’t have to happen to YOU – it just has to happen! And ole’ trauma-brain kicks right in!

“Ok – I need all normal functioning to stop.  I’m taking over.  Starting now, we are at defcon fuck.  Any sense of moderate safety previously built is now gone.  NOTHING IS SAFE! He could return at any moment!  And we have to be prepared.  Numb up and shut up!”  *Start the uncontrollable body shaking*  (perfect!)   The internal voices, “I can’t do this…there is no way I can do this…I don’t know why I thought I could do this…”  Queue the uncontrollable crying and rocking…add in the inability to concentrate.   (More voices:  You’re worthless!  This is all your fault!  No one will help you! You deserved it!  Worthless…bad…ugly… I’m scared.)  Now the nightmares have started.  I was really hoping not to see him again.  Internal screaming, “Make it stop!!! How do I make it stop???”

On a scale of 1-10, how would you describe your emotional state, G?  I’d say we’re at emo-fuck right now, is that on the scale?  I haven’t been triggered into this kind of hell in a long long time.  I would say: years.  It came as a shock, actually.  It started as a conversation and led to the fucked up emotional children inside of me being left in a state of retro-hell that they have not been in since the time I was supposed to go back to visit my grandmother but then just couldn’t handle it and bowed out at the last minute (after spending many nights on the bathroom floor). Thankfully there have been no bathroom floor nights…but I’m ruling nothing out right now.

So what happened to trigger all of the children into hell?  My best friend’s asked her husband to not drink for a night because her daughter doesn’t like it when her husband drinks when she isn’t home.  Unfortunately, he did not comply, her daughter was upset, she went to her grandmother’s.  It is a long involved story and not entirely mine to share, but in order to explain why my head is so crazy now, I have to explain some detail.  At some point my BF explained to me the reason her daughter does not want her father drinking was due to a time in the past when he was drunk and she was asleep and he was banging on her door at night and yelling for her to get up.  She was frightened and would not open the door.  He broke down the door.  My BF made him leave the house that night.  It was during our conversation this past weekend, my BF told me that her daughter was “afraid” of her father that night.  Fear…fear he would hurt her?  Fear he would do what?  The kids inside of me remember those horrible nights of pain.  When there was no one to stop him – and the waiting….before…at night…god…that was almost worse!  The waiting….and knowing the monster that was going to come.

That night (last Friday) my friend told me she was done and that she had intended to tell her husband she wanted a separation that he needed to get some help for his drinking problem.  Then Monday, she said, maybe she would wait until after the holidays.  That she was going to take this week and think about it, she has time, her husband is out of town until Sunday now.  This would be reasonable under normal circumstances –  and I am not in her marriage, and therefore it is not my place….but there’s a small caveat in this particular situation…

I have been thrown into flash-back and trauma hell.  I have been sick, crying, shaking, unable to eat, or move for 2 days now.  And it is getting worse.  I spent all day yesterday crying and all night seeing my evil step father over and over again in my dreams.  It has been the worst kind of hell for me.  And the main problem is… we are all supposed to leave on vacation to a quiet little island together… in 9 days.   And all of the children (inside of me) feel unsafe now.  And I feel emotionally weak.   So when she said she was going to tell him not to go, I was ok, the voices were quieter, it was manageable.  Then she said, she was going to wait until after vacation, all of a sudden, I don’t think I can go.  I don’t know if I can do it.  It doesn’t feel safe.  I’m afraid.

This morning, I finally was able to tell her a little bit of what was going on in my head – and she said, “Well, maybe it will help you to know that *daughter* said she isn’t afraid now, she’s ok, and she’s looking forward to vacation.”  Um, no…Unfortunately, that doesn’t help at all.  Because, the situation isn’t solely about them (although I don’t think that was healthy) it’s about all the fuckedupness in my trauma-head now – and it was triggered by that…and I can’t process it, or make it go away, or fix-it…and 9 days is right around the corner.  And I can’t emotionally, or physically, handle walking on eggshells, feeling unsafe, or triggered in the beach house for a week (it was supposed to be a healing place for fucks sake!!!!!) so what- now I ruin vacation for everyone?  I’m a huge giant mess!!!!!!

Gawd, I am so damaged… and it’s so sad to that nothing helps.  How can I be here nearly five years later.  Right back here in the same fucked-up spot I was nearly 5 years ago.  And what can I do to make things different for me?  This is what happens when you abuse and fuck your kids – emotionally, psychologically, physically…other peoples shit can trigger us back into our own past hell and we won’t be able to find a way back out.  You don’t just fuck us when we are kids….you continue to fuck us for the rest of our lives.  It never ends.  It really never ends…and you don’t know what’s waiting around the corner to smash down your door and attack you.  You can never relax, or let your guard down.  But you can never trust someone enough to figure out how to heal from it.  There is no healing, no safety.  You just never stopped being fucked from being fucked.  You never learn how to be loved from being unloved.  Thanks for ruining my vacation Bud.  You’re an asshole!

But I’m still here…So what?

Looks like we made it! (and then it was all taken away…)

I’m still here so fuck you Mary!  At times that feels very liberating to say, but there are other times it feels like I’ve only fought so hard to be here just to spite that woman and that just seems quite stubborn and almost the definition of “don’t live your life for someone else, only, more like “living your life to *spite* someone else”.  Maybe that’s okay.  I’m not sure.  Or, in the big therapisty talk, “I have to find a way to be ok with it not being ok”. Right?  It doesn’t feel ok – it feels quite terrible a lot of the time, but I’m still here – so there you go.  My life has shrunk from what was a very powerful woman who would have stomped her with my spiked heel and then gone out for martinis after, shaking my long blonde hair and flashing red lips and white perfect teeth in a “take that bitch- I succeeded despite you leaving me alone to die as a helpless 6 month old baby” at her weak trashy abhorrent self, to now a weak woman who spends most days struggling to find the energy to get dressed in clean yoga pants, or pajamas, and dreading leaving the house for fear of people staring at my sick bald self.  The look of pity now so much resembling to looks of pity from my childhood; my 12 year old self unable to tell the difference between the looks of those who stare because they cannot stand the thought of something ugly in the world, or they truly feel empathetic for those who are less fortunate than themselves.   “You are an ugly family…tainted by *sickness* – unworthy of being here.”   I know…I am embarrassed and ashamed.  And someday it will be different for me – I will show you that I am worthy of looking you in the eye.

…and here we are back here again.   Struggling between the, “You are ugly…you are just like your mother…you will never be anything…you can’t do anything right…you are nothing…you are such a disappointment…people are starring at you…so ugly.”  And my gawd it’s painful to hear.   I can chant all day long,  “I am not my mother”,  write it in lipstick on the bathroom mirror,  save it as a screensaver on my phone so it pops up every minute; and I KNOW I am not my mother!  What I feel, what I hear, what I have continued to internalize, is so much worse than being Mary.  Being Mary would be almost be a relief!  Because Mary is a narcissistic bitch who only cares about “Mary” and seems to feel none of the pain she’s caused in the lives of her children.   Every mistake I make I hear her voice in my head telling me I’m worthless.  Every time I cook something and the hus complains about it, I hear her telling me I am a disappointment.  She is always with me and she has never once consoled me, or made me feel any sense of safety.  No, I am not my mother, but she is in me.

I am so afraid all of the time.  My anxiety is at an all-time high. And my brain at an all-time low to process anything.  I have to be guarded and limit my communication as it feels like I am not myself now and I know my skin is paper thin.  I am not a beacon of smiles for people, out there spreading happiness to my friends…oh, how I wish that were true. But it is not.  I am not a miracle.  I do not deserve a miracle.

I don’t know what that means for me now.  I don’t know what the first step is in figuring it out, or if I even have enough faith or belief anymore to take that first step.   Sometimes I think, I fought like hell to get *here*?  And I look around for the martinis, the red lipstick, the long blonde hair, the career…  perhaps I opened the wrong door because all I’m seeing is a middle-aged dreadful looking woman with hollow eyes and her mother’s chin who still feels unworthy and unsafe.

But who has finally realized that she is not her mother…sadly, it feels worse than that, Mary is inside of me, and her voice drowns out the sound of her previous accomplishments.  Look what I did, mommy?  Aren’t you proud of me?  “No, where are all of those things now, G? You’re so pathetic you couldn’t hang onto them.  Now what will you do.”  I don’t know, mom…but I’m still here.   “So what.  No one ever wanted you anyway…not even your own mother.”  I know, mom.

We just gotta figure a way out… But how?

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I’m trying to find a way out of this hole I’ve fallen in but it’s just not happening. I think the problem is that I just can’t figure out how to be what everyone wants me to be right now. Or what my expectations of what I should be right now.

I need to figure out a way to be angry and grateful at the same time. And have that be ok – not angry because I’m not more grateful right now. I don’t know how to do that. I never have. It sucks in my head.

Maybe when I do I’ll be able to get up.

Land of the fair? (I didn’t read that part)

America may be the land of opportunity and the place where, according to the Declaration of Independence, we all,have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” but I think we’ve lost sight of the unwritten rule of “life isn’t fair” people! And in a democracy there are going to be people that are unhappy. Sometimes…. With some decisions. That’s just the way life is. But good grief, narcissistic much? Do you think pouting and talking in circles and threatening to just “use your veto stamp” now because you lost is the answer? Sore loser much? Oh, right, but you heard the people who didn’t vote… Uh they didn’t vote. Oh, you heard what they didn’t say! (I’ve heard that before!) No wonder there’s so much discord in the country.

Last night I was reading a post from a friend who is so left of the world was flat she would have fallen off by now. Unable to see straight right now due to the election results, she’s ready to blow her top and move out of the state. How can it be that this historically blue state elected a red senator who wants to swing from women’s Fallopian tubes and set up campfires in their uteruses? (Or, wait, he changed his mind… And his blue opponent spent all of his ad money bashing him rather than speaking on what he stands for…could be that… Maybe) I’m not sure, but people have limits. I’ve seen it.

So last night she visited a restaurant, where as you know, most workers make minimum wage, a big issue for the blue. She said she would only buy a desert if the workers voted. None of them voted. She left fuming and sugar-free. But not before giving them a lecture. “do you know, ” she said, ” that one party wants to raise minimum wage?” No, they were unaware.

Here’s the thing. I agree that people cannot live and support a family on minimum wage. I remember in 1985 when I worked at a fast food restaurant for what was then minimum wage, $3.35/hour and I was 16 years old. I wasn’t thinking, sheesh, I wish they’d raise minimum wage so I could afford a better car, a nice apartment. This just isn’t cutting it. Maybe the thought process should be, this is an entry level position, so, this is the salary it pays. What I want to do is “this”…how do I work to get the training for it. And move from there. I entered the management training program and was promoted to shift manager when I was 18, at the same restaurant, stayed there until I finished my degree. It never occurred to me that I could just work at the drive thru and continue to earn more money.

Also, if someone would have said to me, “If you would have voted, I would have bought a desert.” I wouldn’t have cared. I was still going to get paid, $3.35, whether you bought a sundae, or not. Just sayin… Raising minimum wage was not on my agenda then. Frankly, it still isn’t. (I’m sorry, it isn’t. Creating jobs, yes).

I know I’m probably a jaded about this whole thing. I just think that perhaps there is more opportunity to teach the young about what types of careers or trades are available, what type of education, and or training they require and what income they might earn. Rather than just blanket statements of: let’s raise minimum wage. But then again, with all the money we’ve saved with universal healthcare, and healthcare cuts, we can afford to raise minimum wage. I suppose. Hey, did you know that the website to register for Obamacare was created overseas? (That’s just a sidebar) I’m all about honest work for honest pay- but I never once got a paycheck and was surprised like, “omgawd! I didn’t know that was what I agreed to work for!” And I realize I may get some serious side-eyes for this if I was unhappy with a wage/salary, I would negotiate a different one, or find another position. I have had conversations with prospective employees, here’s the position, here are the job responsibilities, and here is what it pays; it’s not like the surprise in the bottom of a Cracker Jack box, or playing the stock market. For the record, yes, I do feel it’s bs that if you have a vagina you make less money than if you do not, however, I have not had that happen to me in my past career, and I hope this changes…but for the purpose of minimum wage, obviously that does not come into play.

I found myself wondering what other countries were thinking if they were watching this play out. We looked more like contrary children, than a democracy. It seems to me it would benefit us all to vote on issues rather than attack entire parties, or races, or even States. Screaming that you cannot be a certain color, or a woman, and republican. It’s embarrassing. And it is setting a terrible example for our children. What legacy are we leaving them?

Ouija, will I find this scarf & will the big c stay away?

I’m having one of THOSE days. I woke up grumpy and I’ve had a fever for a couple of days and feel achy and everyone has been chapping my ass over the weekend and I honestly don’t know why. My test results so great and I’m in remission (but that damn voice that says “been there before it can come back still.” Whispers in my ear constantly) the little things are just annoying right now.

I’ve not really felt like going out and “celebrating” my newfound good fortune and this is making me want to climb the walls- or really just throw a chair through the window. Honestly, it’s not like the furniture is worth that much, or even that comfortable- so I don’t see a problem with it. Other than my yard might look like Sanford and Sons and then there is the possibility of cracked windows with the weather peeps predicting snow tomorrow. So there’s that. And I’m showing restraint.

I thought things were going to improve as I was planning a scary movie with my now teenage daughter who is at times possessed by the devil, but now my BF has backed up (most likely) as she is fighting with her less than better half so she’s now depressed, which I understand, but can’t help but be disappointed as I’m now headed to a germy theater with a low grade fever, achy bones and two teenage girls. Fun!

I’d much rather hang out on the couch with my Bernie-girl…and chill. But alas, I cannot. I’ve already promised the girl and she will stab me if I back out. But dang, a day of bern hugs, and *whine* and cheese and gluten free pizza sounds way better… I suppose I could ask the Ouija board if the cancer will return. That may help put my anxiety at ease. But maybe not. It depends on the boards answer.

Till then, it’s me and the bern….

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Then after I am full up on teens, this will be my standard answer:

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I love Sue, she don’t even care when she’s like “NO” and I bet she’d throw a chair out the window and not even think twice! On second thought, she’s always pretty calm so she probably hasn’t even had the thought to throw a chair out of a window. Team Sue!!!!

Also, maybe I’ll get lucky and find this scarf. It’s awesome! And then maybe I wouldn’t mind people staring at me, cuz they’d be staring at the scarf.

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