Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Day My Music Died


As I was walking my dogs tonight, the friendly neighborhood drug dealer passed me as he often does. Unlike the normal scenario where my dogs bark and he keeps walking in silence, though, after we'd both continued to walk ten to fifteen feet in our respective directions, he called to me. I turned, and he yelled something I could barely hear, something that after about a minute of repeated yelling back and forth, a lot of questioning on my part, and a bit of pantomime on his, I finally understood. After all this time, he said, we both look exactly the same.

The drug dealer, who I've been passing on the streets of my townhouse complex for probably about ten years (save for an absence of a year or so when he mysteriously disappeared), was right. Save for my ever changing hair colors, neither of us really looks any different from how we looked when we first "met."

When we first walked past each other, the drug dealer and me, I was in my early to mid thirties. At the time, Griffin and I were closer than I knew a mother and son could be. Ever Friday we had an after-school coffee date that neither of us would miss for anything. One Friday, Griffin actually got in a fight (semi-fight?) with the singer of his band because he wouldn't miss coffee to go to practice. Those coffee dates lasted for years, maybe five of them, from middle school to early eleventh grade.

Coffee dates, of course, weren't the extent of our relationship; they just typified it. I used to barely get through teaching a class without a text from Griffin: memes, photos, song lyrics, random facts (are you aware a kangaroo has three vaginas, everyone?), trivial conversation. Griffin used to never leave me alone. We did makeovers and took walks and went out to eat. Once we even drove to Savannah on a whim to see the spot where they filmed one of his favorite movies, Forrest Gump. I protected him from his dad (even when, admittedly, he probably didn't need protecting), and he protected me from his dad, too.

I believe I even have a blog post where I write something akin to, Regarding Griffin, can I just say soulmate? Nothing else to see, move it along.

I'm thinking your inference skills are probably good enough to have realized by now that between me and Griffin, something's gone wrong. Two years ago, things started to change. Saying no to hanging out with Alex wasn't as desirable as saying no to practicing with his band, nor was bringing her along like we did in their beginning, and our coffee Friday dates stopped. That was really the start. In that time, our relationship has deteriorated hopefully not to beyond repair, but in truth I'm not so sure.

I won't go into all the details, not for the sake of privacy or propriety because we all know I care for neither of those things but for the sake of space. There are just so many details, and in the end, do they matter at all? We're both to blame in different ways (in addition to quite a bit of help from some outside forces, and far be it for me to be one to name names, but if yours either starts and ends with an A and has an X in the middle and you used to have pink hair but now maybe sport a faded shade of blue or you're someone who runs a couple thousands miles a year or at least you used to, I happen to be talking about you).

Tonight when I pulled up a few hours and one day after a fight during which, among other things, shampoo was squirted all over the bathroom and the hallway; posters were taken off of communal walls; toiletries were hidden in a car; someone was forcefully chest bumped, grabbed by the wrist, and thrown into the hallway in addition to being called one of two emotionally abusive and horrible parents, a fucking idiot, and insane; and another person was called trash and his ex-girlfriend called a whore, I saw a box peeking over the wall in front of my house. Upon walking up, I saw a crate full of records, a guitar, a record player, and other things that escape me now.

Even though I knew, I had to ask when I opened the door. What's going on? 

I'm gonna go stay at my Dad's house.

I was afraid of the answer, so afraid of the answer, I didn't want to ask, didn't want to know:

Forever? 

He didn't know.

***

That friendly neighborhood drug dealer thinks I look the same because he can only see me on the outside. If he could see me on the inside, he'd know I don't look the same at all.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mess

Summer's started, and like the past two summers before this one, I should be settling into my hotel, getting ready for a week of reading AP exams along with thousands of other teachers, college professors, and instructors. I'm not, though. Despite having a hotel reservation, a roommate who requested me, numerous confirmation e-mails, and I'm sure a name badge that annoyingly says Miramar High School AND Miami Dade College on it because when I applied to be a reader, I didn't realize the submitted text would be transcribed verbatim and no matter how many times I've tried to change it because it makes me feel like an ass, be assigned to me for the rest of my AP reader life, I'm not there. Instead, I'm sitting at my sticker-covered table writing this blog, losing over $1300, and waiting for a phone call that apparently I'm not going to get tonight from a nurse at a  psychiatric hospital saying that I can come get my son.

In what seems to have become a matrilineal tradition now being transferred to the males of what I guess would properly be referred to as the Weinstein line, Keifer, like me, my sister, my mother, and my aunt, was Baker Acted. On Wednesday afternoon, I sat with him in a psychiatrist's office while he talked about his suicidal ideations and his willingness to act on them and then watched while despite his not having a plan, which is supposed to be a factor in being involuntarily committed, an officer frisked him against a police car, sat him in the back, and drove him to the nearest mental institution where he now resides with, among other people, a little boy who hears voices and stupid teenage girls who think cutting themselves is the thing to do. And now I can't seem to bring him home.

As if that's not bad enough, Kei being in a mental institution where he definitely doesn't belong because I promise you, that kid was not about to commit suicide this weekend, he's definitely been misdiagnosed, and instead of being treated for the depression he should be being treated for, he's being forced to pop Adderall two times a day for the ADHD he doesn't have even though Adderall, a drug that's banned in many countries because it's so dangerous, is one of the most addictive drugs around and people with drug issues aren't supposed to take it, and I keep telling his doctor and the doctor's PA and anybody I see in scrubs that Keifer has a drug problem and nobody will listen to me even though right now, right this very second, there's a text on the lock screen of Keifer's phone that says, keifer do you have OC, nobody at this godforsaken hospital will listen to me because Keifer says it isn't true and because he has absolutely no fat cells and a metabolism that enables him to be 5'10" and weigh 117 pounds his drug test came up negative (it's a thing, I promise), and what the fuck kind of psychiatric personnel listens to a fifteen-year-old who's in a fucking mental institution and gives him more drugs to add to his motherfucking potential-addiction list?

The word disaster is so overused that people don't realize the severity of one, but this whole experience has been a disaster in the most severe way. Not only is Keifer practically in prison being turned into a drug addict as we speak, but now he's completely distrustful of the entire mental health process and wants nothing to do with it. Whereas he previously wanted to see a therapist and get help because he was so tired of feeling hopeless, he's now afraid to ever again tell a mental health professional how he really feels, something that for someone with deep depression and anxiety could lead to the worst outcome possible.

At this point, I'm impotent. There's absolutely nothing I could do but wait for these people to let Keifer out of the hospital and complain (and what better way to do that than via this blog?), and I have to tell you, as a mother, it's plaguing me that I can't do more.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sick of Always Sorting Me Out

I'm a bit on the neurotic side. If you know me in real life, you probably know that. Even if you only know me from here, there's a good chance you know that, too. I'm animated with a tendency to overdramatize situations. You know how Buffy is a metaphor for the way teenagers feel like everything is the end of the world? Well, make me an honorary Scooby because I'm still in that developmental phase. Several years ago I was called hyperemotional and much more recently told I was draining with an overwhelming personality.

Although the person who told me I was draining with an overwhelming personality was Griffin and it's probably pretty normal for a seventeen-year-old to feel that way about his mom, the accusation initially upset me. When I mentioned it to my ex-Glenn a few days later, he didn't say anything about the draining part, but the overwhelming part he got right behind. He's obviously not rolling in the credibility when it comes to clear judgment of me, though, so I text a friend of mine, told her what Griffin said, and asked her if she agreed. She responded that I sometimes have bad anxiety and that leads to a somewhat draining experience at times and if she had to say yes or no, she'd say yes. She then told me I could change if I really wanted to and that by my questioning her, I was actually draining her right then. A few days later she sent me a link titled "You (and Your Therapist) Can Change Your Personality--Science of Us," which she admitted she only skimmed when after reading it, I found that it said inherent personality can't actually be changed at all.

I felt bad about the exchange, bad enough to complain about it to a friend I had brunch with last weekend, and obviously bad enough to write about it right now although feeling bad isn't really the reason I'm writing but rather because of the marked difference in an exchange I had with someone else today. One of the things my friend who agreed I was draining mentioned was my body obsession. Now, admittedly, I'm a little on the crazy side when it comes to my weight, but that's a disorder. Obsession with my weight was ingrained in me starting when I was about two, and it's going nowhere anytime soon. About that, she wrote this: "Even if you want to ask me if you look fat for the 17th time in a 2 hour period [which is a gross exaggeration btw; in fact, I haven't asked her anything about looking fat since January 15 when she told me she would 'no longer be participating in body critiques'], work on looking in the mirror and telling yourself you look great so you don't feel the urge to do that. Cause that shit is draining."

So now for what happened today. I was messaging back and forth with someone who I've probably talked to about the same thing five thousand times and when, at the end, I thanked her for putting up with my craziness, she responded that she didn't mind at all and thanked me for putting up with hers, too, to which I responded pretty much the same. Although she's not crazy at all, I responded that way because even if she were, I wouldn't care. Even if she called or text me every single day at the same time with the same question/issue/fear, I wouldn't mind because that's what people who care about people are supposed to do. They're supposed to put up with the neurosis, the drama, the issues, the fears. They're not supposed to say they're all about being supportive or empathetic but only to a certain degree because after having told someone something once or twice if that person doesn't take their advice, that's the person's own fault.

That's just not how friendship works.
It's also not empathetic at all.

Now, I'm not saying this person isn't my friend. She's been my friend for a long time, and I'm not looking to put our relationship out. I'm just noticing a self-centered trend that I have absolutely no desire to be a part of. I will never tell a friend I won't participate in his or her ___________ anymore because I think s/he shouldn't be that way. I will never think somebody else's feelings aren't as valid as mine.

Incidentally, in the past couple of weeks since the being called overwhelming thing and the text telling me how I could change, I've thought about it a lot, and I mean, a lot, a lot--neurotic, remember?--and I've decided that if I'm overwhelming then I'm overwhelming. Just like I took the hyperemotional thing as a sort of compliment--because my God, who doesn't want to feel?--I'm taking that as one, too.

Namby-pamby is the last thing I want to be. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Why Does Everything Fall Apart Even When It's Glued Together?

First, let me start this blog by apologizing to the reader who loves to tell me to die. It's been such a long time since I last posted, you may have thought I actually took your advice. But bubble? Let me introduce you to my pin.

Now that my sincere apology is out of the way, that long time since posting? Let's discuss.

I haven't posted since September 25, by far the longest amount of time I've gone without writing a blog since I started blogging, both here and on the long-since-deleted Hudsy's Girl (and any other blog I may have had that I can't remember now). After the whole getting-spanked thing, I wasn't in the mood to do much other than reflect on my life and the situations I always seem to be getting myself into plus it was right about that time that I picked up a hobby that takes up a ton of my time (which will not be mentioned for reasons you'll soon read), and if I add my wallowing to that hobby and throw in my propensity to waste time doing absolutely nothing, you get just that...absolutely nothing. By Thanksgiving I felt like writing again and totally had plans to sit down and write my annual "Happy Holiday, You Bastard!" post, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. A few weeks later, on Christmas or maybe New Year's, I intended to do it again, but more of the same. I just couldn't make myself write that post, and well, that's what I'm here to discuss: "Happy Holiday, You Bastard!" and why I just can't write it.

For those of you who don't regularly read me, I like to do an annual holiday blog in which I make a list of things for which I'm thankful and then discuss. My last one was full of things for which I'm thankful as was the one before that, similar to a birthday post from last year where I also discuss specific things that make me happy. It's a blog I've always enjoyed writing and like I said, totally wanted to write this year. So why didn't I write it?

You know how people are always telling other people to count their blessings? To be grateful for whatever they have because they don't know when it will be taken away? To appreciate the things they've been given? Well, I've done all of those things, and I have to tell you, as soon as I acknowledge anything good in my life, it pretty much immediately goes bad. You think I'm crazy, I'm sure, and maybe I am (just ask my older son. He'll affirm this for you, I have no doubt) but not because of this. For evidence, though, let's do a little not-so-long-in-the-past investigation.

That birthday post I talked about? From 2016? A copied and pasted excerpt:

In mid December, I started running regularly again, and this year I'm on track to run 600 miles, which is 97 miles more than I ran this one. Here I am writing right this second. I read a book over Christmas break. I lost five pounds.

And from my last "Happy Holiday, You Bastard!"? Let me copy and paste a little more: [I'm thankful for] My car. Mermaid is her name, getting me wherever I want to go is her game. 

Okay. That second copy and paste? Where I talk about being thankful for Mermaid? November (and let the record show that not only did I post about my love for her in that blog, but I talked about her often. I'm keeping her forever, I would say. I never want a car payment again). The first one when I talk about running again and losing five pounds? January 17.

January 19, two days later?

I'm sure you know what I'm about to say because how could you not, but I'll say it anyway. There I was crossing the street in front of my house when a woman made an illegal u-turn right in front of my car which caused me to crash into her, which caused my airbags to inflate, which caused my car to be declared a total loss and my calf to somehow get injured, which caused me to not be able to run, which caused me to get depressed and also to gain that five pounds right back, and I swear to God if I'd never said anything about being thankful for my car, my running, and my five pound weight loss, none of it ever would have happened at all.

Need more convincing? Well, don't worry. More convincing I've got.

To summarize (I'd say for the sake of brevity, but we're long past that), I also, in my last Happy Holiday post, talked about being thankful for my family unit and for Alex because she makes Griffin so happy and blah blah blah, I'd vomit all over if it weren't my table I'd be vomiting on. Not long after that post, Alex and Griffin became Sid and Nancy, and sometimes things are so bad, I'm not kidding when I say that I hope that analogy proves itself wrong, but the other one that comes to mind is Kurt and Courtney, and well, that one is just as bad and in some ways, worse.

And the Happy Holiday post before that when I say "Griffin. Soulmate. Capital S" and express thanks for five years of Friday afternoon coffee dates and joke about following him to college so they can continue? One, those coffee dates didn't need college to come to an end; two, the capital S in soulmate wasn't as big as I thought; and three, please don't even get me started on college if you don't want me to cry.

There's more, of course, but I'm thinking that's enough evidence to prove my point.

From here on out, if something good happens, do not expect to hear it from me.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

That's a Little Bit More Information Than I Needed, Vince

Warning: This post is going to be more personal than what I usually write--I know, you're wondering how that's even possible, but believe me. It is--personal enough that I questioned if I should even write it, but you know me. No other way to process. Processing isn't the only reason for the post, thought; the incident about which I'm getting ready to write brought me to a realization, and sharing realizations that bring about tolerance, well, that's a good thing. Sharing is caring as everyone knows.

Okay, so, right off the bat, let me just tell you: I've been sleeping with this guy. Not for a super long time, just a few weeks, but we've been friends for almost five years and have made out a few times over the last twoish years since my ex-Glenn and I have no longer been a thing. The point is, this guy is no stranger who just appeared out of nowhere. 

What this guy, however, is, is super into BDSM. I'm not. Like, I hurt and bruise for a week if someone pokes me too hard. With a pinkie. Being hit during sex--definitely not my thing. And this guy knows that. We've talked about it off and on over the years and pretty extensively over the past few weeks, and I think I was pretty unambiguous when I text, and I quote, That's gross. I could never have sex like that and that he got the text and the message when he replied, I know (sad face emoji).

And yet there I was, naked and unsuspecting, when this guy said something like, I just have to do it once. 

And there I was, naked and unsuspecting, when a sound like a firecracker exploded against  the semi-regular dull thud of mattress meeting wall and heat like fire seared my skin.

This guy had spanked me.

Hard..

How hard?

Well, there's a perfect handprint, fingers splayed open, across the left side of my ass (and can I just say, seriously--I knew my butt was big, but the entire imprint of a male hand on just one side? Can that thing be more out of control?) and  although it isn't the blood red color it was last night, it's still vivid enough that I'm pretty sure it's going to leave a bruise.

To be honest, I'm pretty sure he hit me harder than I've ever been hit in my life, hard enough to at first make me mad and at second to make me almost cry, not from physical pain, which I've never cried from, not even during childbirth, but from another kind of pain, a kind of pain that filled my insides with a heat almost as hot as the heat that burned my butt. It was the pain of humiliation, the same kind of pain and humiliation that burned inside me the few times my father spanked me, the kind of pain and humiliation that caused me to use the word "hit" instead of "smacked" just now because really, that's what this guy did, he smacked me--he smacked me--the way a parent smacks a child only I'm not his child, and I didn't do anything wrong, and I didn't ask to be disciplined, and I was naked and unsuspecting, and could anybody do anything worse to a naked and unsuspecting person than smack him or her as if s/he'd done something wrong?

And so after I was mad, I was, to greatly understate and simplify,  sad. I was sad and naked and humiliated, hot with shame, lying in the fetal position trying not to cry, telling this guy how anything that makes me feel parented in any way is completely unacceptable, and then this guy was leaving, and then there I was,, naked and humiliated but now alone, the heat of the shame dissipating somewhat throughout the night but never really going away, and now here I am today unable to think about anything else, sick inside, sick and cold,  and wondering why this incident disturbed me so much and feeling dumb for reacting as strongly as I did.

One of my closest friends told me I'm not overreacting and that since I'd made it clear I wasn't interested in anything associated with pain, what this guy did was borderline abuse. Another very  close friend didn't use the word abuse but confirmed my reaction was not an overly sensitive one, and I have a right to be upset. I came up with something else, which is where my realization comes in, and that's simply that I was, and God, I hate to use this word but it's my realization, that these things actually exist, triggered. For whatever reason, that smack triggered me in a way I never imagined a snack could, and thus far it's a trigger I haven't been able to disengage. I suppose it could have something  to do with my rape although I don't really think it does but more likely it has to do with the resentment I feel toward my parents' control  and as a result, anybody who tries to exert any control over me at all. It really makes perfect sense. One of the running fights I had with my ex-Glenn revolved around what I saw as him acting like my dad instead of my husband and last night before this guy and I had our thing, I stopped talking to another guy because he text me too much and got annoyed when I didn't text back just like my mom.

So where do I go from here? In both my life and in this post? It was, after all, an exercise in processing and introspection, and I suppose that's done, on a superficial level at least. Well, in this post I'll acknowledge that triggers do exist although I still can't get behind so-called safe spaces. We need to be ready for real life and trigger-free, pc places aren't the way to prepare us. And in my life? Therapy, I think. Unlike last night, it couldn't hurt.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Don't Settle Because You're Scared of Being Alone

Not so long ago, somebody commented on my blog about how transparent I've been through my whole divorce process. It made me feel good, but it also made me think: Am I really transparent? Do I depict things as they truly are? Make things seem better? Or maybe worse (we all know I have a tendency to veer toward the melodramatic)? The answers, respectively, are yes; at the moment of writing; I don't try to; and I don't think so. Still, thinking about past posts, I can't help but think there's a lot I've left out.

Two days ago was the Fourth of July. Independence Day. Sitting on my couch alone that night, watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I couldn't help but think about the symbolism of the holiday in relation to my life. I have my independence now, all right, I thought to myself, and I'm honestly glad to have it, but along with that independence comes a lot of things for which I didn't plan: isolation, loneliness, and depression among them.

What I've realized since being alone is that I absolutely hate being alone. I've had discussions with people who have said, and read articles in a similar vein,that people have to truly like themselves and if they do, they'll like spending time alone, and to that, I have to say, bull. Maybe not for everybody, of course, but certainly for me, and if for me, then surely for others as well.

Here's the thing. I like myself just fine. I think I'm smart and funny and pretty and fun; I admire the originality of my thoughts; I have damn good musical taste; I go places and do things and finally live, live, live my life. If I weren't me, I'd totally be in love (and kind of have a hard time understanding how everybody is not). But I am me, and as much as I'm sitting here patting myself on the back for who I am, I'm not my friend. Spending time with myself is exactly that. It's spending time alone.

As I spent time alone on the Fourth of July--which is really no different from how I spend most of my time--I thought about my life circumstances and how I got here. I thought about having a husband for almost twenty years, very good friends who have moved away, a very good friend who drifted away, people I valued as my friends who didn't value me, lovers I've had since my divorce who I didn't care about at all, and I realized that despite how happy I am to have this new life, I'm also really sad.

But then, as I was watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I thought about something my mom said to me either earlier that night or the day before regarding C.

Don't you wish you could just turn your feelings off? she asked, which now that I think about it may actually have been what led me to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

No, I said. I don't.

Why? You like liking him? she asked.

I don't remember what I said, but I can answer that now with a resounding no. Of course I don't like liking someone who it makes me miserable to like. Despite that, though, I would never turn my feelings off, and I certainly never would, like in the movie, opt to forget they existed in the first place.

And that doesn't go for just C.

That goes for everything I've ever felt, good or bad, even this horrible bout of sadness in which I'm currently immersed. These things are what make me the me I'm so smitten with (albeit not entertained by), and I'm not interested in being anyone else. Plus, according to the movie, we're all going to just end up where we were anyway, memories or not. Some things are just meant to be.

At the moment, it just so happens I'm not sure exactly of my specific meant to be, but sure or not, I know that it's something. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

If You Can't Be with the One You Love, Honey

I haven't mentioned this--probably because I never write anymore--but in mid-January, I got into a car accident. It was pretty tiny as far as car accidents go, but still--I got hurt. Not badly hurt, really closer to barely hurt, like barely enough that if I weren't a runner, I wouldn't even have known I was hurt, but I am, so I did.

The pain started the first time I ran after the accident, about half a mile into my run. I finished running, took a few days off, and then ran again. The same thing happened. A perfectly timed series of events got me going to physical therapy for about a month, during which I couldn't run, but also during which my calf started feeling way better, so once my month was up, I ran. The first time was great; the second not so much. I had to stop running again.

Over the next few months my runs were sporadic. I went from running almost every day prior to the accident to running twice in February, six times in March, eleven times in April, and thirteen times in May. I'd run, things would go good for a while, I'd get all excited, I'd think everything was completely fine and dandy, and then in the middle of a run, the pain.

Last week during a three-hour conversation from here to Kansas City, the subject rolled around to exercise. At the time of the flight, I hadn't run since May 28. It was June 10. When I told the man sitting next to me about my injury, he asked me what I do now. Be depressed, I said. He laughed. No, he said, I meant for exercise. 

Embarrassed, I didn't say anything for a few seconds.

Nothing. 

I thought about it for a minute.

Nothing.

The rest of the plane ride, my response kept popping back into my head. I thought about it on the ride to my hotel; while I unpacked; while I waited for my friend, Danielle.

Nothing.

When Danielle picked me up, I told her the story, and we talked about it. We talked about how I love to exercise, and I love to be healthy, but because I can't do one specific exercise--my specific exercise--I don't do anything at all.

I have this image of myself, and in that image, I'm a runner. I'm not a walker, I'm not a swimmer, I'm not an exercise-bike bicyclist, I'm not a lady who ellipts. I'm a woman who runs, and in the past however many years, it's shaped my sense of self, and when I no longer could do it, instead of finding an alternative, I got depressed and gave up.

If I couldn't run, I wanted to do nothing at all.

How silly of me. Ridiculous, really. Dumb.

A sad fact of life is that sometimes we don't get what we want, but that doesn't mean we're supposed to stop living altogether.

***

I ellipted this morning.