Knowing Me Knowing You*

As i continue to know myself better, so do i know others. What i’m learning is that i know so little as to be laughable, yet the pittance that i’ve gathered is worth more than anything else that could be considered mine.

I thought i was so tragically unique.
I’m not like most people. I’m odd. No, but i am. I’m so very different.
I took the tests they gave me growing up, and they confirmed it.
Various teachers and helpers of every ilk and stripe echoed it.
When i was grown, i formed deep and lasting love relationships of my own choosing and my uniqueness became less tragic, and more romantic. As i had my unconditional love reflected back to me by non-abusive people, i began to accept, and even like myself a little. I began to see myself as the muse of all the poems and love songs where the subject is a mass of contradictions and is loved/desired in spite of/because of them. She is mysterious, enigmatic, deep, ethereal, unknowable, beyond you.

So dramatic. Such art. Much longing.

As i mature and deepen as a human, i see more beauty in truth. In flesh, bone, blood, breath. Enduring mystery has lost it’s appeal, and i’m not as interested in things that are, at least historically, unknowable. I’ve become far more curious, however. And that curiosity is naturally extending itself beyond my own borders of skin and brainspace. I reach out into the spaces outside of me and i want to know more about it, and them, and you.

And i can see something.

I see that you are like me, and i see that you are not like me.
I can define you, but i also know that i can never quite define you – just like me.
I see that i can sometimes be something, and sometimes not. Take patience, for instance. When i’m happy and well-rested, i can be very patient.
Where my boys are concerned, my patience could be my mutant power.
Sometimes though, no amount of happiness or sleep is gonna stop me from losing my shit, and sometimes, no one can cause me to lose it so easily as my husband and my children.

I know you get it.
I know, because i see you are the same. Maybe not exactly, but enough that you understand. For you, perhaps you had a great example of parental patience at home and so you just easily model what you grew up with. Or maybe your parents were terrible at it, and you made and have kept a vow to never be like that with your own kids.
You have your own story and your own reasons and some subtly or even wildly different motivations… But it is enough that you get it.

I see that you are multifaceted and contradictory and conflicted and ambivalently ambiguous and weird, just like i am. I also see that you aren’t like me at all. You cannot be. You were not born to the same parents or under the same circumstances or at the same moment as i was. You did not live through the same situations as i. You may have lived through similar things, but you did not process them the same way i did, nor did you react to them in the same way. But you may have reacted in a comparable, or otherwise homologous, fashion. Even if you didn’t -even if our reactions were miles apart- perhaps you can relate anyway. You may have felt emotions on par with mine and given consideration to expressing them as i did. Or maybe, as was so often the case with me growing up, you just reacted, as there was neither the opportunity or inclination to consider anything; the reflexes of a child that follow many of us well into adulthood. They most assuredly have in my case.

You may have zigged while i zagged, but i get why you did it that way. Or maybe i don’t. Sometimes i don’t get you at all, or some particular facet of you is too much like me that it hurts too much or i am too afraid to look at it and see. Maybe as i grow i’ll be able to or maybe i never will. I don’t know, but i do know that i can quickly and easily find many more things that i have in common with you, and that is what i want to do and what i will do. It’s who i want to be. I like me this way. I like you this way. And hey, even if i don’t like you, i find you ever so much more tolerable. And you being relatable makes it easier to like you – even if it may only be parts of you.

The better i know myself, the more like me and relatable i find you. I experience on a deeper and deeper level how we are all alike and yet not.

All of this may sound strange coming out of my agnosticism, but i don’t think so. These observances may be somewhat metaphysical, but they’re not spiritual for me in any way.
I’m learning who i am, and making decisions about who i want to be and what i want to bring to the earth’s table.

To help. To unite. To teach. To share. To love.

Happy Sunday,
Love and Peace to All,
~H~

*This was a Facebook post of mine from Friday that i suppose could do well here, too.

Tubthumping

Youda thunk ida gone done and learned by now.
And yet… NOPE.
I’m a big Nopey McNoperson in this regard, every. single. year.
I get blindsided by Easter/Birthday season.
I forget how hard it is for me. I forget how the way my brain works is going to kick into high gear and my Bits N’ Pieces are gonna need a lot of care and attention.

Birthdays are much less a big deal now that i’ve hit 50. It’s been that way since i hit 40, really. I’ve never much cared about the number insofar as how OLD i am or how old i look, or how much time i have left. None of that. As i stated in my blog entry right before this one, it’s the lack of accomplishment and the low level of functionality that trips me up. However, that’s only been since i’ve been functional enough to critically assess my levels of anything. Heh.

Birthdays, however, have always been an issue.
We were so poor at times, that there was no money to celebrate.
My mother was often incredibly stressed out on any holiday or for any celebrations, the brunt of which i often bore.
More than once i was sick on my birthday. I was mostly left to fend for myself whenever i was ill. To be fair, if she didn’t work we didn’t eat, and her parenting “style” left me incredibly independent anyway. At 4yrs old, for instance, she would often leave me on weekends. I’d wake on Saturday morning and she wouldn’t be home, so i’d watch cartoons until noon or so, longer if there was a Stooges or Abbott and Costello movie after, and then i’d go outside to play for a couple of hours, making sure to come back inside in time to put the roast in the oven and peel the potatoes for supper, as per the instructions she’d left on a note for me. Yes, FOUR.
So if i was sick, i’d just watch telly and occasionally vomit in a bowl. Or if Mom was watching telly i’d be in my room reading, and occasionally vomit in a bowl.

More than a couple of times i would be sick on my birthday. Stress made me vulnerable i think. There were some family members who could swoop in and make birthdays wonderful, but that wasn’t every time. One year, 2 Auntie type women that i adored were coming to celebrate. I think it was my 6th, and i got the Mumps. Not only was i severely sick and feverish, i endured my mother’s fury because the party had to be cancelled. She beat me more than once before i recovered.
Then there were the birthdays where i was put in my best dress and she’d do my hair like for a picture. A man i didn’t know or already knew i didn’t like would be invited… And that is all i’ll say about that.

I won’t say much about the Easter season things, either. Just that there was conflicting indoctrination going on. During that time i was under constant stress to act one way at Mommy’s church, and another way at Daddy’s. I was almost constantly switching from one part of me to another, depending on what was being required. Everyone had one face at one church and a completely different one at another. Everyone close to me was volatile and mercurial. The rituals, the purported inescapable supernaturalism, the drama, the surrealism, the abuse, both subtle and overt, the sick and hungry practitioners, the fakery, the fucking circus… It twisted my brain into so many knots so tight they frayed, and some split entirely, requiring new knots to keep them together.
Do you see?

Every year since i began seriously dealing with my past and trying my hardestfreakingbest to manage the way my brain works and enjoy a better quality of life i have been 2X4’d in the head by this bloody season. (There was no punctuation in that sentence because i said it all in one breath.)
So yeah, i got coldcocked – again.

This is the part where i do what i have been practising to do when i get into a mental jam like i am. Where i assess the damage, look for the positives, and make any changes or alterations necessary to handling it better next time.
I’m happy to tell you it hasn’t been that bad.
The voices in my head rose from their characteristic background mumble to a constant, reverberating rumble – but there was no roar.
I lost the face more than a few times, and i even found myself walking on the road a couple of times – but none of my people did anything damaging or even particularly inappropriate, and i didn’t hitchhike into the city and lose myself for hours or days to high-risk behaviours.
I drank a bit too much – but not enough to make myself shake, puke, or wish i was dead. And it wasn’t every day, all day.
I’ve been wicked-depressed – but not suicidal. No ideations, no plans.
I haven’t picked any fights with my husband and there has been no drama of any kind with any other person.

I guess i kinda knew it was coming. Not consciously enough to avoid gettin’ bonked on the head, but once i got back on my feet, i wasn’t utterly gobsmacked that it had happened. I’ve been able to look around and get my bearings and say, Yeah, it makes sense for me to be here.
I’ve been able to communicate to my Peanut Gallery that it’s okay, but some things were less okay than others and let’s work on those things… I’ve been able to negotiate some internal deals that i think will really pay off in the future.

There was no drama.
There is no debt.
No rides in police cars and no trips to the hospital.
No crushing booze/drug hangovers.
Communication amongst me and my people has actually improved.
My husband and son are impressed and proud of me.

I didn’t even turn to food.
Yesterday i tried on the jeans i use to track my weight loss progress.
They fit fine and i wore them out to supper.

Don’t get me wrong, this has not been an easy couple of weeks. The way my brain works has been incredibly difficult to manage lately, but this is my life, and this may always be my life to some extent or another. I have found a way that works for me – a way to manifest long-term changes that have lasting positive effects, and contribute to a happier and more functional life.

Tubthumping is defined as expressing opinions in a loud or dramatic way:
I will not stop, no matter what.
Every time i fall and get back up, that statement becomes more true.

I get knocked down, but I get up again
You’re never gonna keep me down
~Tubthumping, Chumbawumba

Have a happy day if you’re able. If not, try again tomorrow and know that i’m cheering for you and i want that for you.

Love and Peace to All,
~H~

50.

I don’t know how many people actually feel 50yrs old when they get there, but i’m gonna guess a lot do not. Count me amongst their lot. I only barely feel grown up, and even that, not completely. The nature of the way my brain works makes my experience of any age a nebulous thing. I can feel many ages, occasionally at the same time.

Today i should feel awesome, i guess. I don’t.
I’m looking at my life, and i’m in mourning.
I’ve been looking at the positive and ignoring the negative, because really, what’s done is done and now let’s get on with it… Y’know?

Later on today i’m going to be surrounded by the people in the world that matter to me more than anyone. More than myself. That will be good and i’ll be happy.
But right now i feel sad and heavy.
It’s the wreckage.
There’s so much loss in my wake.
It’s the people.
I’ve had to find ways to let them go. To make it okay so that i could move on. So i could get better. I’ve had to examine why i had certain people in my life and let go of the ones that were dragging me down. I’ve taken an unflinching look at the ones who’ve left me, and asked the hard questions about why.

The truth is i didn’t want to let go of any of them, and even more so, i didn’t want any of them to let go of me.
My mother and father had me for purely selfish purposes. They didn’t really want me.
I’ve felt unwanted or rejected or tolerated or graciously accepted for my entire life. Fear of rejection is my core issue.
When my mother’s reasons for having me didn’t work out, she kept me around because she had no one else. It wasn’t because i was her daughter, or because i was an awesome person, it was because i was there and utterly dependent on her and therefore her best option. I think my father probably let me go because he had a number of better options. Options that didn’t involve a lifetime of forced association with my mother.

I was the ugly stepchild after that. Mom added to her number, but i was never one of them. A great many of them made sure that i knew that. They were being charitable in accordance with their beliefs, the idea being that i clearly required charity. I have one family member in my life, but she’s good to everyone.
The kids that were nice to me at school were nice to me because their parents had taught them to be nice to the kids that needed other kids to be nice to them. None of them are my friends now, because they don’t have to be. I have one friend from my school years, and she was my teacher.
Then there are the friends that i made along the way. I’ve lost them all save one that i purposely left behind, and i question that decision almost daily now. I no longer have any of my friends from the past, save one, maybe two. I’m afraid to get too close to them, because i’m afraid that i’ll scare them away again.
Finally, there are the friends i’ve made in the last 10yrs. Since i’ve been here in my Little Crooked House. I’ve pulled away from all of them and no one really noticed. Or minded.

The only friendships i’ve been able to maintain over the last 10+yrs are online. They’re good people. They’ve been kind and supportive. But it’s ONLINE. It’s not intimate. It’s not real life interaction. I think a great number of them would stick with me IRL, but it’s not currently an option, and if it was, i fear it would be because they are who they are, and nothing to do with me being the kind of person that inspires long term friendship.

So…
I guess what i’m saying is i’m sad and alone and feeling sorry for myself and not a little scared.
Based on results, i must continue to consider that i am the common denominator in all of my lost relationships.
More than that though, i need to acknowledge and deal with the fact that every single loss has hurt me a great deal. There has been no friendship that has ended that hasn’t hurt me, that i don’t occasionally obsess over, that i have not grieved, and will continue to grieve.

I wasn’t supposed to make it to 50, but i did. That’s good.
I wasn’t supposed to be the person that i am, and i think that is also good.

But here i sit, in my Little Crooked House, and all i have are my husband and my children and my children’s families and my dogs. And while these are super-wonderful-off-the-charts-excellently-beautiful… It is ALL that i have. And as much as it hurts, i must consider that i’m the reason why. I mean, of course i’m the reason why, but i’m referring to the deep down scary level where the question is,
“Am i a shitty person and a shitty friend?”

I have tried to live with the answer being THEY were shitty, i had shitty taste in people, it’s normal for people to come and go in your life, blahblahblah…

I am very committed to the path that i’m on, and i want to know the truth about everything -especially myself- and so if that means i’ve been a shitty human then that’s what it means. If i am, i can change that. I will change that. I hope i have been, already.

Huzzah. 50.

Hunger

Hunger is the best sauce in the world.
~Miguel de Cervantes

This next diet tweak is hard. I may stumble quite a bit, but i am 100% committed, if not terrified.

No more eating, unless i’m hungry.
Really hungry. Like, approaching hangry, if not already there.
No more, “I could eat.”
No more, that looks good so i’m gonna have some.
No more eating just because that’s the regular time i eat, or i’m eating now because i won’t have time later.
No more eating just because everyone else is.
There will be the odd exception, as there is with any of my prior tweaks, like No Eating While Standing, and Must Eat At The Table, No Media Distractions, etc.
I taste test for seasoning when i’m cooking, and i’ll eat sitting on the couch if my husband is really tired after work and wants to watch a show and then go to bed.
I eat relatively well, and it won’t kill me to miss a meal if i’m not hungry at family suppertime, or if i’m out and about and don’t have time, money, or great choices for something to eat.
I had a gastric bypass in 2005, lost over 250lbs, and then gained around 80lbs back. Sure, it was initially due to being put on bipolar medication, but that’s no longer an issue, and i still find myself wrestling with the first 30lbs… I’ll take it off and put it back on, take it off and immediately put it back on. Over and over, ever since i regained it. I can’t seem to get to that second batch of about 50lbs.
As my mental health has improved, i have been, as some of you know, making small, manageable changes to the way i eat. Nothing magical, just sound alterations to my diet. Not so much what i eat, as HOW i eat.
What i eat is not so much of a problem for me. I don’t struggle with junk food or sweets. Maybe potatoes, bread, rice, and pasta, but dealing with my childhood and the myriad, complicated reasons behind my struggle with those particular foods have reduced that to almost a non-issue.
Here’s the thing: you can out-eat your weight loss surgery, and it’s not that hard. I’ve struggled with taking off this weight that came back on, and it has nothing to do with medication anymore.
Due to my personal health problems, my stomach has been scoped a number of times, and it is, thankfully, still the size of a lemon. I’m not bingeing. I’m not consuming vast quantities of food at a sitting.
So i’ve had to get unflinchingly honest and take a hard look at what my real issues are with eating and food.
I’ve tackled them one by one.
The first thing is i’m no longer a heavy, compulsive drinker. The booze weight is gone. I didn’t quit drinking for weight loss, i quit it because it’s a sick behaviour that will result in my premature death.
The second issue was simple to identify, but required management in a number of areas – a multipronged attack, if you will.
One way to out-eat a weight loss surgery is by snacking and grazing, and that’s what i’ve been doing. I haven’t taken it too far, but it’s been enough that i cannot lose the pounds i gained when i went off the rails with Bipolar Disorder.
That must change.
Over the years i’ve tried to deal with it through diet, but i went about it in the old way. You know, the way that hadn’t worked in the first place and caused me to seek the surgery solution?
Yeah, that way.
<you may roll your eyes here>
It failed, just as it had always done. It wasn’t until i began managing my brain’s diet, that i was finally able to tackle these accursed eighty-or-so extra pounds. I approximate numbers, because one of the things that i’ve learned is unhealthy for me is the scale. My doctor knows my number and she knows my mental status, and i trust her with both. I can make a fairly educated guess based on how i look naked and how my clothes are fitting, and if things go wrong i can go see my MD, or talk with an RD.
Learning to control what my brain takes in and puts out not only gave me the clarity of mind to address my weight problem, but it gave me some strong indications of how i might manage it as well.
I feed my brain mostly healthy stuff, with only the occasional treat.
If garbage is coming out of my face, the first thing i do is check my brain-diet. Am i watching crap telly while consuming nothing but junk like anger, bitterness,or hopelessness? If i feed my brain information, what i get is knowledge, THE vital nutrient required to keep my brain running in peak condition. Writing is the exercise necessary to rid my body of those unnecessary emotional pounds that feeling trapped and helpless and alone had slowly packed on.
So i have devised a way to eat that i can live with, and live happily, for the rest of my life. I have created it with my years of experience, my intense, hard work to know myself, and the knowledge and input of those who are experts in the field of nutrition (your friendly, neighbourhood Registered Dietitian), all under the care of my personal physician.
I have progressed very slowly, giving these small alterations to my lifestyle a chance to take root.
There this one big thing left (there may be other small things, for sure), with respect to what and how i eat, that must be adapted, and that is my caloric intake.
And so, with that firmly in the forefront of my mind, i do perhaps the hardest thing: put an end to grazing and between-meal snacking.
It is clearly the solution to my overconsumption of calories. I won’t be discussing my activity level in this post, just suffice it to say that it is currently evolving along with my eating, but is sufficient.
If i only eat three squares a day with nothing in between, it will reduce my calorie intake to weight loss levels. No matter how hungry i am, i simply cannot eat a large amount of food; i’m restricted by my small stomach pouch.
Being hungry is normal. One is supposed to feel hunger. I am dreadfully uncomfortable with the feeling, due to childhood abuse and neglect, and my aversion of the feeling for the vast majority of my adulthood.
The modifications i’ve made have brought me to the edge of the thirty pound boundary. I am determined to cross it and never look back.
This may very well not be the way for you and i am in no way suggesting it should be. Excess weight and unhealthy eating habits are an incredibly complex and personal issue. I have no advice to give you. This blog post is what almost all my blog posts are, and that is a journal that i share with anyone who wants to know about me, how my brain works, and how i am slowly-but-ever-so-surely, creating the life i want to live and the happiness that i have always sought.
Your kind attention to my process is helpful beyond measure.
Thank you.
Love and Peace to You All,
~H~

Living

 

I lived underwater where every sound is muffled and every image blurred. Where mouths shut tight for fear of drowning.

I lived underground, encircled by cold breath and the smell of rot. Where whispers of warm light pulled hope from a grey breast.

I lived under a rock, beckoned by a blazing sun. Where warmth slipped into the stone and curled itself ‘round, unbidden.

I lived up north, where quiet hate crushed the days and blustering loneliness swallowed the nights. Where it hushed a beating heart and whipped the door shut.

I lived la vida loca, without speaking the language. Where love was a lyric and dancing was a skeleton key.

I lived downstairs and death found me twice. Where pills were the proof and Obsession’s stinking hands finished Abraham’s work.

I lived upstairs with the promise of time in an austere Heaven. Where pretty little liars chased down wild horses and sold them for glue.

I lived up to expectations and everyone came to the show. Where foreign languages fell from tongues forked by the factory up the hill.

I lived on a prayer filled with longing, and it floated away. Where it went there were only empty cups and its hot, expectant breath returned home.

I lived in a van down by the river with swift currents and black water. Where sudsy froth crept up the banks, washing nothing.

I lived on the edge and looked out over the breach, marble-eyed. Where the fire had raged and ravaged now lay only beggar’s bones.

I lived large and swelled to grand proportions – slick with the sweat of gluttony and bloated with lust. Where the ground hid a hideous thing that bled into the water and killed all that drank.

I lived off the land with an open mouth. Where the soil was food, the moon cool comfort, and the mellifluent wind sang the pain away.

I lived off the grid as a calf must be weaned from a mother with milk fever. Where silence filled the cracks with silver and gold.

I lived.

I live out loud, in ripeness, and drop technicolor fruits lush with heavy beats. Where perfectly alone meets blissfully joined and no more guns guard the borderlands. Where water and earth and wind and fire have birthed me, tortured me, slaughtered and saved me.

I live because i lived.

Spot Fires

NOTE: Although there is no graphic language or descriptions, i do allude to some child sexual abuse.

First things first. For those of you following along, i know i said i would be writing  “Monday to firetrucking Friday”. I want you to know that i am, but i didn’t know that a lot of what poured onto the page would be more than i felt appropriate to share. I’m forthright, even blunt, but some things are too personal and/or too dark. It’s been that way since my post on the 7th.
Personal and dark.

Six days, and I have eaten nothing. It is night. I am sitting in my chair. Ah, God! I wonder have any ever felt the horror of life that I have come to know? I am swathed in terror. I feel ever the burning of this dread growth. It has covered all my right arm and side, and is beginning to creep up my neck. To-morrow, it will eat into my face. I shall become a terrible mass of living corruption. There is no escape.
~The House on the Borderland, William Hope Hodgson

I have mentioned a number of times that i chose to surrender myself to the process of dealing with the abuse in my childhood. Whether it was a lot or a little, it was abundantly clear that, despite my best efforts, i was dissatisfied and unhappy with what i saw as a low level of functionality and an inability to avoid chaos. When at long last i accepted my diagnosis as a multiple, and further, disclosed my past of abuse to my husband, i purposely lowered myself into that cesspool and swam around in it for a number of years. I mourned and i raged, and when i decided it was enough, i climbed out and set about cleaning the muck off.

Getting out and washing away the filth and the stench took some effort. It changed me over the years, and one of the biggest changes was my abandonment of religion and the supernatural, and my embrace of skeptical thinking. I wanted to know what was real and what was not. I applied what i was learning about rational thinking to my memories of childhood. It is a primary value of mine to believe the most true things and the least false things that i can. To that end, i categorised memories according to what i might be certain of, what i could be reasonably certain of, and those of which i could not be reasonably certain. I read a lot of dry, pedantic articles on memories: how we store them, how reliable they are, and how trauma and dissociation can affect their reliability. What i learned from my studies is that i was confident of enough things to justify my perceived dysfunctionality to myself. It made sense to me that i was as fucked up as i was. The things that fell into the other 2 categories then, at that point, didn’t matter.

I set aside things that i was either reasonably certain of or not at all, and i took the memories that i’d always held and tempered them with newfound knowledge of how memory works. I looked for corroborating evidence. I analysed and evaluated everything, with as unbiased an eye as i could muster – which, being dissociative, is not insignificant. What i was left with more than satisfied my criteria for “understandably messed up”.
I was ready to move on, and so i let the other things be. I stopped trying to figure out if i was drugged or dreaming or misremembering. If it was real or imagined. I would know if i was able to, but circumstances made it unlikely in a lot of cases. And i didn’t need to know. I wanted to get on with the business of living.

I’ve been doing my best, and if you’ve been reading along, maybe you agree that i’m not doing half bad. Spring can be a tough season for me though, and i’d forgotten…

I’ve been blogging about this depression i’m dealing with – fighting, in fact. Yeah, i’m coping all right, but i’d like to punt it right out of my field of play, savvy? I don’t want to open my eyes in the morning and instantly feel my brain mantled by the heaviness of my emotions. I don’t want to have to force myself to do the routine i’ve set in place to help combat these feelings/times. I’m proud that i’ve come this far, to this place where it works when i work it, but i’d like to wake up and want to get stuff done. I’d like to awake refreshed and looking forward to the day and all the activities i have planned. No dread at night, maybe even anticipation.
But i wasn’t having that. I was having dark dreams that warned me of psychic trouble.
I think to myself, It’s this personal issue i have going right now, but i’m handling that as best i can, and there’s nothing more i can do about it unless and until circumstances change.
So i journal every day about my current state, thinking Maybe this is what’s going on, and then Oh, maybe it’s that…
I resisted the urge to hide in bed, but i almost tricked myself into thinking i could find the answers in my dreams, so it’d be okay…

I stopped that shit right in its tracks, because that’s my Peanut Gallery and i knew it was.
Look, i said, If y’all want me to know something, you’re just gonna have to freaking tell me. I made a commitment for 1 month, and i’m not breaking it without a good reason.
But i felt more and more unsettled every day. I was close to exhausted, as i wasn’t getting proper sleep, i’ve been fighting depression every day, my fibro’s been screaming and my back had started to ache.

Friday nights are my night to do a little work on this problem i have in my life. This thing i don’t talk about, but refer to all the time. If that’s frustrating, i am really sorry, it’s just that it doesn’t only involve me, and the only secrets i share are either exclusively my own, or involve evil people that are dead or out of my life. I won’t ever disclose someone’s personal business without their permission – even those from whom i’m estranged. I’m not, nor do i want to be, that person. So i work on this issue and go to bed feeling good about what i’ve accomplished.

I woke from awful dreams to find i felt like a bag of smashed assholes. So bad it deserves the profanity. Oh joy.
Sometimes mindfulness is a hard choice to make. I’ve got mad skills to avoid pain, but i checked in instead. Did a searching and fearless physical inventory. Behold how my brain works: I’ve definitely got a UTI. Fuck. It’s a big, cold ball of ache right behind my pubic bone, and it extends all the way to my back. That’s why it’s been hurting. I don’t want to go to a clinic for antibiotics. I don’t people on Saturdays. Saturdays are my day to goof off. Read. Watch crap on telly. Do little self care things like skin masks and foot scrubs and you-shore-smell-purty lotions and all that froo-froo stuff. That won’t be happening.
I could cry. My husband even has a rare Saturday off and now we can’t go do anything.
If i can hold off going to the bathroom long enough maybe i can handle it without a doctor/prescription.

I don’t even know if other people do this, but i’ve been doing it all my life.
I’ve had bladder/kidney problems since i was a baby. I’ve had countless UTIs. For the first half dozen or so years of my life, i thought it was supposed to burn when you urinated.
I’m checking in to my body, realising i have a UTI, and my mind wanders to thinking about all the UTIs i’ve had since as far back as i can remember. My mother telling people she had me potty trained as soon as i could walk (10mos) because i would make a hissing sound when i was about to pee. Because it burned.
The thought pops into my head, I wonder if this is somatisation. That question is like nitrous in my brain’s think tank, and my thoughts race. The level of chatter increases and thoughts are whizzing by so fast it’s hard to track them. But things are clicking…

Click. Click. CLICK. BOOM! 

Some of that reasonably certain stuff became practically a certainty.
I’m not going to get any more graphic, but i realised there was more going on physically, and it confirmed some of my suspicions into as close to conviction as i’ll likely get, or want to get.
The evidence was there all along, i just hadn’t put it together.
Don’t ask me why i needed to know, because i’m not sure i did. I’ve spent these last few years trying to take good care of my Bits n’ Pieces, trying to prove that i can be trusted with their welfare, that it’s my turn to take care of them. Maybe telling me eased their burden, or healed some of their pain. I can only hope.

Today i woke up with a lessening of the physical symptoms from Saturday, but i’m covered in hives. I don’t know if it’s a somatic manifestation of trauma, or a psychic purging, or wtf. I don’t need to know. This may always be my life. I’m hoping things will gradually settle down and my life will be more smooth sailing with less chop, and i have every reason to believe it will. I carved out a safe place with the family i built. I do the work in front of me. I enjoy a quality of life for which i’d hardly dared hope.

This confirmation is a dark thing. It hurts my heart and grieves me. It shakes my worldview. But only a little. This was something i was moderately sure of, but i’d let it be, because my skepticism told me it was appropriate, and i didn’t need it to make my case. My worldview is informed by freethought, but as a humanist, i recognise that perspective may be beneficial to the achievement of the humanitarianism to which i aspire.

So yes, i’ve been on the receiving end of some of the greatest evil humans can do, but as i look back with a critical eye i find plenty of evidence that my seemingly innate belief in the essential goodness of humanity is justifiable. I’m at a point in my life and my personal development where this is not an unmanageable burden.
It’s like back in the day when fires were fought by a community, standing side by side, passing buckets full of water to douse the flames. In this analogy i’m not the one closest to the fire – i think i’m the bucket of water. I’m not an individual inside my brain so much as i’m a sleepy bedroom community on the outskirts of a city, where we’re a bit snooty and mostly keep to ourselves. The day will arrive when we’re part of the city. It is the way of things, and we all understand.

Love and Peace,
~H~

My Mother The Camera

This morning i woke from terrible dreams. Fortunately, i’d half expected them, and that softened the impact a little. I’m woken from a blood-filled moment by a jaunty tune, some elevator music wake up call. I swing my legs over the side of the bed, grab the phone and swipe it off. I hold my head and will myself to get up and begin the day. I feel slow and foggy and my heart aches over this morning’s tragic loss; love, hope, life, sleep are gone from me today.
I don’t pretend at home anymore and so my family asks when they see my face. They’re both kind and that’s good. I’m dragging my ass, that’s for sure.
They’re gone now and that’s also good.

Survey the damage. Pick up the fruit on the ground. Share what’s good, add sugar and put up the unripe. Make wine with the rest; i can get drunk later. And that will be good, too.

A few years ago i reconnected with my foster mother. She and her family had taken me in when my mom had a nervous breakdown. A mental collapse. Whatever.
Her family was everything a foster family should be: steady, solid, kind, normal, regular.
Of course they are more than all of those things, but those were the truly important things for me at the time. I think it was a duplex and i even remember the district and the name of the school i attended. He worked a regular job and he went there at the regular times, and she cooked normal meals at normal times, and their children all looked normal and did regular things. Of course they were, all of them, much more than that, but those were the truly important things for me at the time.

I immediately kenned what and who they were and when they took me out to supper that first night i called them Mom and Dad over Ponderosa steaks. I wanted them and their children and their life.
She sewed my clothes and curled my hair.
They had an organ and i learned to play a little, following along with the letters helpfully placed above the notes on the staff.
Their church was much better than Mom’s. They served torn bits of fresh, white bread and grape juice in tiny glasses that they passed around in polished silver communion trays.
The only time i was ever hit was a smack on the butt for smuggling the brand new Polaroid camera into the bathroom to take a picture, after i’d been specifically told No. I looked in the mirror, preparing to switch in anticipation of a beating…
I couldn’t see myself for the spots the flashbulb had left on my eyes.
It didn’t even hurt.
The children sneaked their Brussels sprouts onto my plate and i sat there at the table for hours, refusing to eat them.
It was all peacefully regular and wonderfully normal.

Once my mother got visitation it was all over, though.

They were the wrong church.
They thought they were better than her.
They forced me to call them Mom and Dad, which i let her believe, too afraid and ashamed for her to know it was my idea.
They were trying to have her parental rights severed.
They were trying to adopt me.
They were brainwashing me and trying to take me away from her.
You can’t believe them.
You can’t trust them.
They’re bad people.
They’ll take you away and you’ll never see me again.
They don’t love you.
You’ll never be their child.

I went Halloweening and i’d never been allowed to keep the candy before.
The children were upstairs in Mom and Dad’s bedroom for stories.
I sat on my bed and ate until i vomited all over the coverlet.
I wasn’t one of them; i didn’t belong there.
I had to go home.
I got a cold that wouldn’t get better. There were terrible tasting syrups but i could have a sip of water after.
My mother said that made the medicine useless. It had to taste bad or it wouldn’t work. They were doing it wrong and they were going to kill me. She said they gave me pneumonia.
On Christmas Eve a lady came to my foster family’s house and took me back to my mother.

My foster mom came to see me yesterday. She is one of fewer than a handful of people who’ve been invited to my home in the last 15+mos. She brought lunch and openly shared herself with me, and i heard what my life might have been like if i could have stayed; a regular, normal life, but Oh! so much more than just that.
I see the time i spent with her through my own eyes now, not my mother’s.

Last night i dreamt of betrayal and abandonment and drinking myself into oblivion in a house filled with death.

I’ll feel better tomorrow. Today i mourn.

I was an electrical storm on the bathroom floor, clutching the bowl
My blood was full of gags and other people’s diseases
My monstrous little memory had swallowed me whole
It was the year I officially became the bride of Jesus
~Magneto, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds