Monday, December 10, 2012


I haven't written much, lately.

Life has been surprisingly mellow until very recently, and still, the turmoil is all inside of me. Nothing outside my mind and my soul...

I am blessed. Lucky.

And yet I can barely function.

I am going through the laborious task of weaning off of xanax. Comparatively, as difficult to quit as crack. And more dangerous than any other withdrawal. You can die, if you try to go cold turkey.
2 months in, I am down to 1/3rd of my highest dosage. That's huge, really.... everything I've researched assured that 18 months is an optimistic estimate for weaning off this drug.

But I am in hell.
I can't sleep at night. I sometimes can't help but sleep during the day. I am falling behind in every aspect of life. And without the cushion of the antidote to the anxiety that has accompanied me since I was 3 yrs old... I find myself .. frightened. Unsure. Disappointed.

Because I think about where I could've been right now, if I hadn't failed, continually, constantly. If I hadn't given up on everything, every day.
I am 28 yrs old, and I don't have a paying job. I have, through my insecurities and weaknesses, lost many people whom I was very passionate about. Lost opportunities that could have saved me.
Lost the ability to be what my children need. To give them what they deserve.
There is no worse feeling than looking at the people you love the most, and knowing that you have let them down. Knowing that you COULD HAVE done better, could have given them what they needed. And trying to think about how to do that in the future, you simply feel helpless. Paralyzed. Useless.

Knowing that you are on the speed train to destroying all the good that you DO have....

Every little victory I've had seems like nothing in this moment. It seems like a lifetime of work for no reward. Actually, for a negative benefit.
It's even harder to know you've given your all and it wasn't enough, than to know you didn't give your all.

It's horrifying to know that your all is 1/100th of most people's half-assed effort.

All I've wanted, all my life, is to be passionate about my life and to bring happiness to others.

Instead I observe the destruction that I have left behind me. I struggle to repair the cracks in my relationships. I fight the tears, nightly, that come unbidden as a result of the losses I have suffered merely because of my inherent personality.

I just want to be enough.
I don't care if I'm epic. Amazing. Famous. Rich. Successful...

I just want to be enough, for fuck's sake.. just enough.

If anyone's ever wondered how someone could want to take their own life, this post is a testament...
When you know what your potential should be, but you can barely step foot out of bed in the morning... it's very hard to see the point in continuing on.

PS, I can't afford therapy right now. Sorry.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Pro-Life" is so misleading... my journey from Pro-non-choice to Pro-Choice.

I think... I wish... that we could change these opposing opinions to "Pro-Choice" and "Pro-Non-Choice". Because "Pro-Life" as opposed to "Pro-Choice" is so... misleading. So ridiculous. They are not opposites. Can't I be pro-life, and pro-choice?

Yes, yes I can.

The thing is, a lot of "pro-lifers" think of "pro-choicers" as "pro-death". I think. And it simply. Isn't. So.

You see, I spent most of my life, most of my 28 years, very hardcore "pro-life". Anti-abortion, I should say. I felt there was no situation in which an abortion was appropriate. Because I know.. I know what it's like to have life inside my womb... I know what it's like to see that heartbeat and realize, there's a human being in there. I KNOW.

Let me crunch some numbers for you that you will judge me for, harshly.

I have had 10. Count 'em.... TEN miscarriages.
I have had 2 babies.
I almost had one abortion, but I changed my mind.

And that one instance changed my life and my entire stance on politics, "pro-choice", women's rights... everything, really. EVERY. THING.

You see, I took responsibility for every one of those other pregnancies. In a way, I even took responsibility for the last one. The one I almost aborted. The one that was a result of rape. The one that when I actually canceled the abortion,and then miscarried, I mourned.. and mourn to this day.

But THAT Experience made me see everything so much more clearly.... so very much.

Because when that pregnancy test came up positive..... I felt I had two choices. Abort my baby, or commit suicide.
Abandon my two living children, whom I had solid relationships with.. who I have worked my ASS off to be there for, to be a good mother to... who I have pushed myself to and through the limit to be a decent mother for.... ?? Or abort that baby. Live with the guilt forever, but know that for Sophia, and for Eli, I was doing what was best for THEM. Because I was alone. So. Very. Alone. And broke. And single. And barely emotionally stable.... on the brink of cracking, at any slight notice. And I didn't make the choice that led to that pregnancy. In fact, I took the morning after pill the very next day....
I put myself through the agony of a rape evidence kit at the ER. I filled out a statement that has probably been put through a paper shredder by now.

You guys, if you think reporting a rape is EASY.... if you think people do it for fun, or for vindication..... you need to go shoot yourself in the foot.... because no. It's humiliating. They ask you the worst questions you could possibly have to answer in the aftermath of being violated. They violate your privacy after your body has been violated to prove that your body was violated. They stick needles in you... I passed out cold, twice. I ran into my attacker, twice, afterwards, and was advised by the detective not to act as if anything was awry, because it could mean compromising my safety until they brought him in for questioning. Which they still have not. 8 months later.

I've been contacted by women's advocacy centers a million times..... but I have nothing to tell them. I have no evidence. My evidence hasnt' made it past the police dept that was dissolved within a few months of this. I can't. prove. anything. Short of saving the miscarried fetus and doing a DNA test (which wasn't exactly on my mind while I was in physical pain WORSE than either of my labors, and emotional pain i can't possibly describe).... I had nothing. Nothing at all to prove.

And this ... and so much political debating.. and so much hatred and venom and nastiness flying around this election... this is all why I am saying this right now.

I am pro-choice.
I have friends who have performed coat-hanger abortions ON THEM SELVES. Because it's so goddamn scary and shameful .. and EXPENSIVE... to get a legitimate, safe abortion. Because people are placing the life of a fetus so high above the entire family unit that existed before it. Because EVERY case is different but people are generalizing. "It's a child, not a choice"?
Well, excuse me. But Me, my daughter, and my son, are people. And had I carried this last pregnancy any longer, I can't promise I'd still be alive. My family could have dissolved completely. My daughter may have ended up with her "father" who doesn't even know her.. thousands of miles away from the family that has helped raise her. My son would be with his wonderful father, but without me... and without his sister, who has loved him so beautifully and completely since the second he was born.
All of that.. ripped apart....

I chose not to abort. I was going to adopt out. And that would have crippled me emotionally (even more than I am) for life.. but I was going to.. because I saw that heartbeat. And I didn't want to take the life of another human being.
Had I  not had the choice, that first week.... I was in bad shape even WITH the choice. But without? I would've been dead 24 hours after the second line appeared.
I actually considered every possible form of "back alley abortion" I could think of. Because I couldn't afford a legit one, but a wonderful woman came forward and lent me the money. Which I ended up spending on necessities for my family, and still owe her.... But she understood.  She, among many others, kept me alive.

When I told my mother what was going on, finally, she simply hugged me and said "no wonder you're so exhausted... you've been shouldering all this on your own." My conservative, mormon, pro-life mom.....
She was pro-MY-life. Because I am her child.

Because reasonable people understand that SHIT HAPPENS.... that you can't control. And you have to make a decision after that... a decision that could affect more than just YOU.  Two, Three... 5... 10 people... more... whole lifetimes....
These aren't decisions that MEN have to make. NO person.. man or woman.. should be legislating what we can or cannot do as far as our bodies. Birth control... early abortions in extreme cases... anything......
People are going to DO what they feel they HAVE to do to survive.
People kill ADULT people every day. People do very wrong things every day, like taking away women's rights... like taking away their choice.. like raping women, children.... I started my menses at 7. So, what if I had been raped and become pregnant then?
Would you all have been so adamant that I be forced to carry that baby to term when I was, literally, still a baby myself? even as an adult, giving birth to my first child broke my body... cracked my pubic bone.. couldn't walk for weeks... my second child, I hemorrhaged more blood than a normal sized person can live without.
I AM as PRO LIFE as one can be.
But I am pro choice..
Because until you've walked in someone's shoes.. until you've lived their life.. their dreams.. their fucking NIGHTMARE... you have NO RIGHT to make that choice for them, about what they will have to live with for the next ETERNITY. Because it's not just 9 months, you guys. It's forever. We live with it FOREVER, no matter what choice we make... not you. Us. So back the fuck up and understand.... that yes, there are assholes out there who don't care and abort babies for no good reason but their own selfishness. But there are so many of us who truly make these decision painstakingly, carefully... and at our own expense.. the expense of our own wellbeing and happiness.... knowing that we will NEVER ever forget or fully recover.. because we have to take care of not only ourselves but others as well. Because we have to consider 20 or 30 or 40 something years of a human life that we may not be able to sustain in such a situation, as compared to a fetus whose 2 day old heart may or may not be beating.. who may or may not feel anything at 6 weeks of pregnancy...

I do not deign to know these things...
I couldn't stomach killing the life inside my uterus despite the fact that it was emotionally killing me.
But I do know one thing:

If we take away the right for a woman to choose how her body is used, what happens to it... what grows in it and what comes out of it....
We may as well just take back the last 100 years of progress. We may as well just make women slaves.... we may as well accept a horrific suicide rate .. and accidental death from "back alley" abortions... because YOU can't understand a situation until YOU ARE FUCKING IN IT. You can't. And you should NEVER be allowed to make that decision for someone else, because you will never BE THEM. Ever.

And this is why I don't vote.
Because I can't possibly vote for someone who would think to take away my rights to my body....
But I can't vote for the alternative either.. I just hold tight and pray. :(
The only thing I could really rally for at this time is harsher punishment for rapists, really. While mine runs free, driving a brand new car, working for the BLM, living under pseudonyms, and doing what he pleases with god knows what other women.

This isn't really all that productive, but I had to say it. I had to.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


This post could go a lot of ways. And probably will.

I'm home, when I had planned to go to a fun night of Zumba and possibly a little karaoke after, because Crohn's attacked unexpectedly, and I'm now barely able to move... joints swollen, intestines screaming, fever on and off... the usual. But it' sbeen a few months. And this is the first time it's ever beaten me out of my plans.
Does it get continuously worse?
I know nothing... and I can't see a doctor to find out. It's incurable and barely treatable, so why spend the money? I just wish I knew... what I am in for.

It's been a difficult 24 hrs. Without disclosing intensely personal information, there was an incident last night that was meant completely benign.... but brought back severe sexual assault flashbacks. And I haven't been okay. It's made me question my solidarity... my feeling that "I'm FINE" about all of it, that finally knowing and accepting the truth has been all the healing I needed. Because I wasn't fine, and I'm still not really fine.
And it's nobody's fault.
Nobody in my real life anyway.

The thing is... those men who took advantage of me in the past.. from god-knows-when/babyhood til I was 7/8... and when I was 13... and my entire adult life up until this May...  do you even have a CLUE what you took away from me? What I have to work so hard to try to restore? How it affects my beautiful, happy relationship with my boyfriend, the man I intend to spend my life with? How it has affected my entire life, my self-worth.... my will to live?

All of it just makes me sick at heart. And I know there are many who have suffered far worse than I.... and that makes me even more sick, thinking about how the hell those people have survived. How they cope every second of every day. how they ever maintain healthy relationships.

I'm tired... of not having enough money for my kids' regular preventative care.. let alone if something happened. I'm tired of not being able to even consider my own personal health. I'm exhausted from believing that I don't and will never be justified in taking money away from our income to go see a therapist, even though I need it. Badly. I don't HAVE anyone I can talk to like that.... about everything.... the people i thought I had have been taken away from me, because life is a bitch that way.

I want a baby, and my boyfriend doesn't, so every month is a fight between me hoping my period doesn't come and him rejoicing when it does... me fighting my disappointment and trying not to be angry at his relief.
I want to get married, but practicality gets in the way. Because men...

I want to be completely past the things that have held me back and hurt me. I want to forgive. But there are things i can't seem to just will myself into fixing in my heart and head.

I want to be grateful for what IS...
and I am.
I've never had it this good, and I'm happier than i've been in a long time.
Believe it or not.... (everyone needs to rant sometimes, even happy people)....

But my arthritis is flaring, a 2" piece of pizza has rendered me incapacitated.. I had to miss my favorite part of the week tonight... My boyfriend has to go to bed before I'm even sleepy. Every night.
We still don't know how we're getting his stuff moved in.
I'ma  horrible homemaker and I WANT to be better, I want my house to look good but it's not in my GENES, I don't think....
I just...
want the boring life. White picket fence. 3 kids. (5). Cars that work. A house with flooring that isn't full of mold and vomit, or cement because I couldn't handle the disgusting carpet.
I want to be pregnant and have people be excited about it with me.

I want to forgive....I REALLY want to forget... I want to turn back time for so many reasons.
I want to reach for my dreams but I'm too busy keeping things from crumbling in my personal life. Being practical.

Sometimes I think my heart is just giving up. And maybe that's okay..............

Dear Imaginary Person In The Sky:
Please let my pills kick in soon.
Please don't let me have horrific nightmares tonight.
Please help me be functional tomorrow because nobody's going to do it for me.
Please strike down the HOA owners.


Monday, October 15, 2012

No more "good" or "bad"...

A friend of mine posted a beautiful memorial today about a miscarriage she had long ago.

It made me cry.. and it inspired me.
I've been aching to write lately, but haven't had time nor the organization of thoughts to do so...
Not saying this will be organized, but it's time for me to let some things out.

Part of this ^ is that I'm having a bit of a "Relapse" of my "never heard" victim complex. I feel invisible, unheard, and like what I have to say and what I do in this life are not that important, and not important to the people I love.
This has been a huge issue since my child hood for multiple reasons.. I can't place blame... circumstances just shape different people in different ways. My circumstances made a quiet child quieter, shyer, and without an ounce of self worth.

As an adult, this is kind of silly. If I want to be heard, I  need to just yell. If I want to be seen, I need to stand up. I need to shine instead of letting the darkness overtake me when I feel lonely and upset about these things.
And yet old habits, sometimes, truly die hard......

Next month, I would have given birth to a baby. A boy, probably. The result of the rape I experienced back in March. I nearly aborted that baby, but after an ultrasound, and seeing that little heartbeat, my heart was bound. I couldn't do it.
And yet sometimes though you try to steer and direct your path in life, nature will take it's course, and I miscarried anyway. Possibly a result of all the unhealthy habits I was partaking in at the time though I cut them out as quickly as possible... possibly just because.
When I had originally decided to abort it was because I felt strongly that I was not strong enough emotionally to carry myself through a pregnancy when I was barely making it as a mother to the children I already had. No, not even barely.
I felt it wasn't fair to them. I felt my already-crippling depression would kill me.

And yet I still couldn't take that baby's life of MY own will.

And to this day I think about it. And many days and nights I lay with my hands on my belly and wish there was life growing inside of it... and so many of my friends are having babies or finding out they are pregnant right now.. it makes it sting a bit more.

But I've been thinking about the idea of not putting a label of "good" or "bad" on experiences. Though so many things I've been through in the past few years could be defined as bad, horrible, traumatic.... unbearable....
If I look at it from a peaceful, clear perspective, I see that everything has simply served to bring me to where I am today, which is a better place than I've been in a very, very long time. Healthier. Happier.

During the period of time when I was making decisions about that pregnancy, dealing with the physical and emotional pain of the miscarriage, and losing friends left and right, including the man who I thought was the love of my life.... I had to learn to trust my son's father again. Because I NEEDED him. Eli needed him. I couldn't be there, and he IS his dad. And I let go of my fears for just long enough to see that he was safe with him AND that his father is a good person, a kind person.

I learned to trust my mom with the darkest side of me, and learned that she loves me no matter what.

I learned to forgive people who don't have the ABILITY to be empathetic about situations they have never been in.

I learned to really appreciate my children... and even on the hardest days to make sure I hug them and make them feel important.

I learned to let go of many things, and many people, and many ideas. That even if something feels "meant to be" perhaps we don't know in WHAT WAY it is MEANT to be. That perhaps the 4+ years of my relationship with someone that I thought was meant to be FOREVER was really meant to be.... but only for that time. Only to teach me a lesson... about unconditional love. For someone else... and for myself. How to respect myself, and to ask for what I need from someone. And to move on if they put me down or make me feel bad for asking for those things. Really, I learned not to NEED from any one person... but to just accept what they CAN give and accept that the rest, they aren't capable of. And that's ok.

Today.. I still love Dan, and I still miss him, but I know for a fact that we are NOT healthy for each other any more. That we should not be in each other's lives right now.
Today, my family is TOGETHER... Eli's dad moved in last night, and I never had a moment of true doubt about this decision. We are all happier. I am loved and I have what I need emotionally. I am seeing my relationship through very, very different eyes.. we are the same people we were 4 years ago and yet so vastly different.

Today, I am grateful for my community service job, for the people I have met, for the people I am able to serve, for the things I have learned. Despite all the pain that the DUI case caused me, it brought me here, too, and so how can I call it "bad"?

I still am sad sometimes. I still fail. I still feel old habits and thoughts creep in some days... but I'm getting stronger....
I think.. I've finally learned enough to allow myself to have some happiness.

Yay. :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Insanity or .....

So, someone recently pointed out to me the fairly famous saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

I can agree with that.
And you see, I've been doing a lot of things differently in my life.
In fact, someone came into my life that gave me an opportunity to basically REdo my relationship with an ex-lover who ... well, let's just say our relationship was THE Definition of insanity. We did the same things. Over and over. And kept hoping it would turn out better, but always crashed and burned.
We had good intent, we loved each other, but neither of us could change our ways, our reactions to each others, etc, enough to get a truly different result, until ultimately, we had to cut off contact completely because we WERE DRIVING EACH OTHER FUCKING INSANE.

The past few months have been months of healing and recovery for me from that. Looking back and realizing what was not acceptable, what I could've done differently, what I should do differently if faced with the same situation again. What I wouldn't put up with again. What I should be more kind and forgiving about.

And then ... along came this new guy. I literally probably only knew him for about a month. But that month could've been a near copy of exactly my first month or so with the ex I'm speaking of.
In many ways, I saw exactly what I needed to do differently, and I did it.
Until my worst case scenario happened, and then without even REALIZING it, I immediately reverted back to my old ways. My old reactions. My clinging. My complaining. The blame-placing, the trying to make him see he was wrong, the beating myself up over "being so wrong" and not being able to trust my heart when something seemed SO right.

I'm not going to say I'm totally past that, but I realized over the past.. er... 24 hours... that the universe had given me the opportunity to do things differently. It never promised I wouldn't get the hard parts of this. It never promised I would get the result I imagined.
It just gave me the opportunity to do things differently. Because if I did, there WOULD be a different result. I don't know what. But different.

I'm nowhere near perfect. I preached "living in the now" and "changing behaviours" and "letting go of outcome" and "not having expectations" for a month. I believed it. I tried to apply it to myself but then I found myself hanging on for dear life, crying over disappointments because I expected something I shouldn't have... weeping over a future I imagined and over the past that I am still mourning.

Today, I promise myself to try to do better.
Tomorrow, I will start my day off by promising myself to do better. Again.
And the next day.
And I might fuck up.
But then I'll recover, and promise myself to do better next time.

It's odd because I'm watching the very person who quoted me this.. I'm watching him repeat something in his life that didn't work in the past.
But maybe he's doing it differently. Maybe he'll get a different result, I don't know.

And on the other side of the coin, there are SOME things I do and will continue to do that aren't wrong. I will continue to be kind, even to people who hurt me. I will continue to be forgiving. And giving. Even though it often results in me getting stomped on.
And I don't expect different results.
Sometimes I will hope... but I do not expect...
and I don't think that makes me insane. As long as I realize that other people may never change. They may never grow, or they may have a lot of growing to do to catch up.....
That won't stop me from
Being Honest
Being Kind
Being Loving

and scariest of all, it probably won't stop me from trusting, again.
I do hope that I'm a little more careful with my heart though.
And that others will be, too.

Maybe I'm crazy......
Maybe that's okay.

Right now mainly I could use a hug. I can talk the talk but right now I'm not walking the walk very well....

Monday, July 16, 2012

What Makes Your Life "Worth It"?

And for that matter, what makes YOU worth it?

What makes you "successful"? What ambitions are worth your time, money and devotion?

If you don't have material possessions, or a Ph.D, or a flashy job, was it a waste of your time?

Considering what I'm seeing from ... well, mostly the MEN that I've dated (which is just.. fucking messed up) but even a lot of women that I associate with.. if you haven't gone to college to get a degree for something that will make you a lot of money... if you aren't working at least a 9-5 office job... if you aren't driving a nice car and have a pretty lawn and a boyfriend or a husband.. if you can't put your kids in the best (or any) dance classes, soccer teams, etc...

Well, then what the hell are you doing with your life?  Apparently nothing worthwhile.

According to society.

Which would account, I think, for a LOT of the depression among mothers in the world. For the vast neglect of the needs of the small children of those mothers who are made to feel that caring for and being there for their children is NOT ENOUGH. It's not a good enough example (?!?!). If all you're doing is being a mom, then you are a .. failure.

And what if you're a single parent? I think the pressure is even bigger... to "make something of yourself."

Well, trust me, I have hopes and dreams, but have we become so deluded that we believe that raising children (really raising them, I mean YOU, not a nanny or a babysitter or a daycare) is not worth anything? That you are... "nothing"?

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was 19 years old, shortly to be 20. I knew as soon as the second line appeared that her father would not be involved or helpful.
I had a choice to make, and I made it. I made the choice to be grateful for her existence. To take joy in the experience. To never let it be known that yes, sometimes, kids are a burden. That being a single parent is fucking difficult and sometimes even soul-crushing.
SHE is worth it, and I was bound and determined to make the decision to show her that.
And I've done my best. You know how? Maybe in a different way than some other mothers, and I'm not here to tell you that if you busted your ass to go to college when you had young kids, or that you worked 3 jobs to get by that you were doing something wrong. We ALL have different situations.
But in my situation and my life, the best way I could be there for my baby was to live with my parents for a while, not go back to work until she was old enough to go for a few hours between breastfeeding sessions, and take a part time job close to home where I could actually go home and feed her on my breaks.

From there, when she was 2 and a half, I got a job waitressing, because the hours were flexible, and the money I could make per hour was far better than any full-time desk job I could find. Really.
I had people telling me I was "too talented" to be "slinging pancakes". That I was doing a job beneath me. That I should get an education and reach my potential.
Meanwhile, I was working 5 hours a day and spending the rest of my time nurturing my relationship with my daughter. To its full potential. Learning how to be the best mom I could be to her.
It was worth it.

I won't go over in tedium all the choices I've made over the past 8 years of my life as a mother, but I will say that all of them (as far as work, living arrangements, etc) were made with the best interest of my children and our family unit in mind. ALL of them.
Is that not worthwhile?
Does that make me lazy, unmotivated, unsuccessful?
Because that's what people are telling me.

Men are telling me, they've worked hard to become successful in their careers, in their lives, they make good money and are good at what they do, and they deserve a woman who is just as ambitious.

I want to say....
so here I am saying:

I have worked hard to become a good mom, and I continue to work hard at it every day. It is and always will be the most important thing in my life. ALWAYS. I have other dreams that I strive to work into my life every day. If an opportunity comes up to chase those dreams that won't interfere greatly with my life with my children, or damage our relationship, I take it.
I nurture my love of music both through work opportunities and by doing little things like taking voice lessons when I can, going to karaoke to keep away the stage fright and strengthen my performance abilities...
I keep music around the house constantly and it is something that binds my family, and has for generations.

I am good at what I do. I'm a good singer, I'm a good pianist. I get good jobs because I am a good pianist. I feel happy when I sing. I use my voice to soothe my children, to sing my babies to sleep. I use my hands to wash dishes and clean house and cook healthy meals and apply ointment and bandaids to scrapes and bruises, I exercise and dance alone when I can, and sometimes I dance at home with my kids. I use my arms to hold my kids when they cry and to cuddle them when we have quiet moments together.
I may not be rich or live in a nice house, but I work hard to keep the house I have in order, safe, and comfortable for me and my kiddos. I may not be the best accountant in the world, but I manage to keep my kids clothed and fed, and when I have surplus, I usually use it to take them to do fun things that will be treasured memories for all of us.

I am ambitious. I am successful. I have beaten many odds, I have fought severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc... alone. While raising two kids, alone.
And I have not failed, we are still fighting. We are still together. We are healthy. The kids are happy, smart, safe, and loved.
And as they get older and spend more time out of the nest and out of my care, as older children will do (*sniffle*), I will then spend more time using my hands and my arms and my voice and my body and my ambition and my brain to succeed in other things.

But when I am old and dying and looking back on my life, I know one thing for sure:
I will not regret spending these years being a mom. I will not regret being "unsuccessful" or "not ambitious enough" for the shallow minded men and women of this generation.
I will be glad that I spent the extra hours with my babies while they were babies. I will be glad I saw their first steps, and heard their first words.
I will be glad that even though we struggled financially, constantly, they always knew I was there for them and that somehow, I would find a way to take care of them. No matter what.
I think they will be glad, too. I think they would rather say "my mom was there for me. I have so many good memories with her as a child", than, "my mom had such a great job and a degree, and I only saw her for like an hour a day but she could pay for swimming lessons and dance lessons and soccer camp and expensive clothes and a pretty car".

I think.
I hope.
That is what I believe.

I also believe that in all actuality, a man or woman who doesn't believe that, is not worthy of me, and in fact, is not all that successful in life after all.
I won't be the one with regrets later, even if your comments and insults hurt now....
I will look back and be satisfied that I did the most important job in life that one can do, and did it as well as I possibly could. On my own, no less.
I have screwed up, I do screw up. I make mistakes. I have fallen down and had a helluva time getting up. I have had to ask for help. I still sometimes have no idea what I'm doing, except that I'm doing my BEST.
But any of you out there who haven't screwed up once or twice in your endeavors...? Let me know and I'd love to take a class or two from you.

I am ambitious, I am successful, I am driven. I'm worth it. My kids are worth it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

If It Makes You Happy (then why the hell are you so sad?)

So, sadly but somewhat amusingly, the relationship that I spoke of in my last entry is now over and done with. It was pretty sudden, but everything about that relationship was a clusterfuck of confusion and jumping the gun and being overly impulsive, but.. happy. For a minute.

A friend of mine (big time blogger Dan Pearce at once wrote a blog about how time is a relationship's friend. I will paraphrase it badly, but basically the gist of it was, we get so scared of things not working and WANT this happiness so badly that we force it, we jump too fast, we figure if we can lock things down sooner, then better, because then we're.. um. Trapped.

Yeah, trapped.. doesn't sound so good now, does it?

But the thing I've learned about life is that you're never trapped. If something isn't working, you can either try to fix it or you can let it go. If it isn't fixable you better let it go, or you're gonna be really unhappy.
When you have two people involved in the "will it work?" equation, then both have to be totally on board if you want to try to fix it. Obviously.
Or it should be obvious, but again, I've learned that people (ME) are silly and .. will try for ages to carry a relationship on their hope and love alone, when the other person has a foot or even both feet out the door.

In most of my relationships, one or both of us have had a foot out the door in some way. Maybe we didn't want to admit it to even ourselves, but we did.

I did it with my first long-term relationship.
The one after that, the other guy did it, in a huge way. And got me pregnant, and then had two feet out the door, running. And that was the beginning of me learning how to be dysfunctional in a relationship. How to have a backup plan at all times. How to assume that when a man looked me in the eyes and said he loved me, that was probably lying to get laid.

So, this time, I started the relationship with a foot out the door. And he started it without an ounce of trust. So the damage was done before anything got done... And we both just made it worse, day by day, meanwhile trying so hard to love each other and make it work.

We are both good people. We both really cared about each other. We both really wanted it to work.

But two good people do not a great relationship make, and here we are.

We lied to each other.. he went behind my back. He invaded my privacy, I broke his trust. He did things that put my family's finances in jeopardy, he lied when he told me everything was okay... he broke my trust too. The day I was ready to get my foot out of that door and be all in, he did some things that proved to me that WE would never be okay again.

I was so scared to let that relationship go, even though it was a weight on my shoulders.. always being watched, always being judged, never being good enough. I was scared because for the first time in years I felt like I was LOVED. I felt stronger because of it.. I got more done in that month than I've gotten done in a year. I was motivated and... mostly happy.
But I was sad, too. I cried at night after he fell asleep. We fought because he made me feel inferior, because HE was insecure.
We were the perfect mirrors for each other to see our own ugliness, magnify it in the other person and hurt each other, all in the name of "happiness".

The thing is... I'm not upset.
I'm a little sad, and I will be for a while, but this time, I KNEW when it was time to let go. And I just did it. Cut the ties and walked away and kept walking, and amazingly, instead of walking back into the arms of someone from my past like usual, I'm just walking ahead. Alone. And it's okay.
For the first time, I feel like I can do this. And I don't need to be loved my anyone but me and my kids. And we're okay.

We are okay.

I'm redefining my happiness, and it's kind of cool. I love learning lessons... I love finding out how strong I am. Even when it hurts.

I don't like this sunburn, I could go without that, but at least I won't forget sunscreen again. Like, ever. Ever.

And if there's another relationship in the future, I'm either putting both feet in or none at all, cause that's the only way to do life. All in.

Now if I could just get my house put back together.. I will be sleeping on the couch for a while. :-p

Monday, July 2, 2012

So Scary: Healthy Relationships after Dysfunction...

When unhealthy relationships become so normal, so par for course, that you actually begin to crave certain aspects of them...
well, that can perpetuate years and years of unhappiness.
It begins an addictive cycle like unto that of drug abuse, where the majority of the time, you are fighting withdrawals, pain, emotional and physical trauma, lower and lower self-esteem by the day, and trying ever and always to mold yourself into whatever someone wants you to be so you can get your fix. And you get your fix, and it's this huge, crazy magical high, and then the next morning you wake up alone and it starts all over again.
And you like it, for some fucked up reason. You love it. you can't get enough of it. And a "normal" relationship looks like .. boring. it looks like "settling". It's not psychotically passionate so it's not love, right?

eh, wrong.

Luckily for me (I can't believe I just said that), the main "target" of my dysfunctional affection (and I, the main target of his) was so unwilling to commit that we never got in far enough for it to be an outward, financially, life-habit-changing difference for me when we finally said enough is enough, and went our separate ways. For good. However, it was and has been one of the most painful emotional experiences of my life. I have been in pieces.

This was in March... though I saw it coming for months. And held on like the family of someone who is dying of a terminal disease... hoping and praying for a cure... disbelieving. In complete denial.

And so began a lot of soul-searching. And writing. And traumatic events. And revelations.
And all of it led to me finding that instead of 1 day out 20, it was more like 2 days out of 5, I was waking up and feeling like I could maybe LIVE through that day. Like maybe I could get up and take care of my kids. Maybe I could sit and hold my son on my lap and just bask in the moment instead of my head wandering off to places I should've kept closed and locked. Maybe I could listen to my daughter tell me one of her long "riddles" or stories without wanting to scream "STOP TALKING" just so I could listen to my own dismal voices in my head.

I was getting better.

I still missed him. But I was getting better.

And one night, this random guy I'd talked to a few times on facebook posted that he was having a hard night. His son's mom had effectively kidnapped him and taken him to live 6 hours away without even allowing him a goodbye...
He needed a friend. I didn't have my kids that night, and for once I was in a place where I felt like maybe I could be the one who wasn't falling apart. in fact, maybe this was my chance to finally lift myself up by lifting someone else, again...

That was June 7th.
Last night, we finished moving his stuff into my house.
in the middle of all that, we haven't spent a night apart yet.

I didn't know what was happening. I still missed my ex, every day. I still cried in quiet, lonely moments. I got scared, I had doubts, I talked to other guys, I tried to "keep a few on the line". I told people I didn't think this would last very long and I had jumped in too fast. I sabotaged.
so did he. We were both scared.

But what I KNEW was that in the middle of all the confusion, when I was in his arms, or holding his hand, I felt good. Happy. At peace. I haven't self-harmed for a month now. My drinking has slowed to, generally, a glass of wine or the equivalent (in wine coolers or something) each night before bed, or sometimes no drink at all. On nights out with friends (which are becoming rarer due to work) I will drink, but still not extremely heavily. I don't think I was ever a full-blown alcoholic, but I was using it as a crutch. And I don't need it anymore.

And I found that I was falling asleep easier. Fewer nightmares. I had moments when I was excited about the future.
moments when I would look at this boy and just smile because he was there.
Moments when he would walk in the door and I felt myself heave a sigh of relief, like... he's home...I'm home.

I'm not going to lie, I don't know what's going to happen. When I made the choice to have him move in, it was largely out of a need for a roommate. Yup. Financial convenience. But I also enjoyed his company, knew we got along, trust him with the kids, and we were consistently spending the night at one another's houses anyway. He had to move, so why not here?

Then one night, I passed out at his house, exhausted from the lack of sleep that most "honeymoon phasers" suffer from, and he took me and my phone to bed. My daughter's dad texted me at 2:30 ish am about some things we'd been talking about the night before, and thus, my boyfriend got to read every insecurity and every doubt and every assumption I'd made... he got to hear how much I still miss my ex. He got to read that I was still considering running off to California to be with my daughter's dad.

And the next day we fought and I knew it was over because I learned over the past ... 7 years? That in a relationship, if I screw up, if I piss the guy off, if we fight.. if something cracks, we throw it out. We don't even try to super-glue it before it gets worse, we just throw it out and run. Go find a new version.
And sometimes come back later after we've superglued OURSELVES back together and try again, until the foundation starts to falter again. And then we run. Again.

And then the rain started pouring... my utilities were about to be shut off. My car has been without insurance for months. My front tires were bald and one had a bubble in it. I have to start my community service for my "driving impaired" charge... the A/C in my house died THAT day (it was 98 degrees inside the house and 95 outside, with the week forecasted to be near 110 every day, and it only gets worse in July...). I was inconsoleable.
And I just wanted my boyfriend's calming presence, I wanted him there to tell me it would all be okay, but I had ruined it.

And then he called me, and he told me it was all going to be okay, and that I don't have to do this alone.
And he has told me every day... that I don't have to do this alone. And instead of throwing it away, we talked. We made up. We worked through things, we set boundaries, we compromised, and the cracks disappeared.

All of this is such unfamiliar territory that I feel like a visitor in a foreign country, where I know nobody, I don't speak the language, I don't know the laws or rules or how to act properly and not land my ass in a foreign prison. That's how weird it feels.
But it also feels like seeing something extraordinarily beautiful for the first time and having this weird happiness that I don't really understand, that doesn't come from the satisfaction of groveling and begging and changing who I am externally to please someone and finally getting a few moments of attention from them.. it comes from knowing the person I'm with accepts me exactly as I am. Faults and all, faults that he sees clearly and knows may be a part of me forever. He accepts me.
He works his ass off. He has 10x my energy and understands that and encourages me to reach beyond that but also doesn't cut me down for not being able to keep up some days.

He is a good man. One who's been screwed over, but who didn't let it turn him into someone who uses that as an excuse to treat the women he's with like trash.

For the first time in my life I'm "in it together" with someone. Like, really. Equally.
And at night before we go to sleep, I feel so right it's ridiculous. I wonder if this is what love is supposed to feel like. I wonder if this is the foundations that real, lasting relationships are built on.
I hope.
I don't ever let myself hope, but I hope.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning after he's left for work and look at the empty side of the bed, and memories of my ex fill my head. And it hurts. But most of the pain now is just residual pain, from the ways he tore me down, the ways he squashed my spirit and my soul... It's the pain of wounds almost healed, but that will always leave scars.
It's the pain of knowing how wrong something was for so long and wondering how I could have thought it was right.
It's wishing that he could have loved me back the way I loved him, but in the same breath being grateful that he didn't... because it never would have been like this. I never would have felt completely safe... And I  never would have been able to be me.
Or hope. It would've been a life of fear of the next disappointment.

It still hurts.
But I have someone that's willing to walk with me through the pain, and every day, I find a little more joy than the day before, and a little less pain.
I know that things will come up. We will disagree, we may fight. We may hurt each other's feelings. But we are people who fix things, especially things that are this valuable. You can't just replace a person, and I found one of the best.

It's a good thing. Love. The real kind.

And now I need to go try to get at least a few things done while he's at work. Eek.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Me, Stripped

Where to start, really?

I, without realizing how deep this would go, started a "fun" project a few days ago that has turned into a soul-changing experience.

I have long known and told people that I look like an entirely different (and "ugly") person without my usual "war paint" or fairly heavy makeup that I NEVER leave the house without, and often sleep in (mostly waterproof/smearproof) in case someone comes to the door early in the morning, etc. I don't WANT to be the person under the makeup and I don't want anyone to see her. She's somebody I left behind when I left behind being Awkward. Ugly. Unaccepted. Shy. Friendless. The weird homeschooled girl.

At some point in my life, I turned into the kind of person I can't stand the most now (have we talked about mirrors yet? I'll get to that) -- a chameleon.
I changed to please whomever I wanted to like me. I would be whatever they wanted me to be.
And I hate people like that. But whatever we hate in other people is generally just a mirror of the things we can't accept about ourselves.
OK, pretty much always. Case in point? My whole life.

Ask me how that's translated into my adult life and I'll tell you it's not fucking pretty, and it's caused me a lot of pain.

I'm getting ahead of myself, but if you read my blog you know how I ramble.

I don't think I QUITE realized that there was anything I really hated about my appearance (except freckles, I prayed for God to take them away when I was 8) until I started going to classes at the local middle school. Though we were all homeschooled, my parents encouraged me and my siblings to take extracurricular classes once we hit Jr. High age. Choir, Band, etc.
One day in choir, two girls who were fairly popular and well liked (and pretty) came up to me and said "you know what, you should let us do a makeover on you! It'd be so fun and you'd get to feel PRETTY..."
and they went on and on about how fun it would be to do this wonderful service for me.
At first, I was thrilled that these girls were even talking to me, as an insecure 12 yr old will be.... (and they were JUNIORS)... but...
then I got to thinking.

Why do I need a makeover?
Am I not pretty, and therefore they need to MAKE me pretty? I'd always known that I had what I felt was a very "Different" look from any of my friends (who literally all looked the same, and better than me in my eyes). I never liked it but I never thought of it as something I could change. I grew up wearing thrift store clothes and hand me downs. The day these girls approached me, I was wearing a button-up hawaiian shirt and black stirrup pants with a purple skirt attached. My hair by nature has a strange half/wavy half/curly style with what I call the "plig bangs" (you can only understand if you've lived near Colorado City) in front.
Really, really awkward.
No sense of style. No sense that I should care. .I was raised by people who taught us never to focus on outward appearance, but to judge people by their actions alone.
So I did.
Until then.

It was bad enough that I was shy and had no friends. I felt completely without personality. Because I had nowhere to express myself.
Now I was ugly too.
And didn't know how to dress.

From that moment on, I made it my mission to FIND a way to look better. I bought Cosmo Girl and TEEN magazines, etc, and hid them under my mattress (they were forbidden in my home). I memorized every beauty tip and trick I could find. I looked at the pictures of the models and memorized what "beautiful" meant to the rest of the world. I picked out every part of me that didn't match that ideal, and began hating myself, one body part at a time.
And changing myself, however I could. Or disguising myself.

Straightening my hair... drawing on eyebrows.... wearing mascara... finding the right colors to compliment my features... learning about makeup and concealer and getting my first job at the age of 14 so that I could buy my own peer-acceptable clothing.

I was still awkward, don't get me wrong. I didn't grow into this new me completely probably until I was 18 years old, and even since then my makeup style has evolved immensely.
At first it was about accentuating my good features and hiding flaws (mainly bad complexion, which having children has mostly fixed).
Then I realized one day, I didn't have to look like ME at all anymore, and oh, what a wonderful thing that was.
I could buy a pushup bra that would make me look like I wasn't a 12 yr old boy. I could buy longer shirts to cover the booty that I despised so much (but is my claim to dating fame these days, lol). I could wear short skirts to make my legs look longer, and wear heels all day every day (and yes, I did, until my arches collapsed, and then when the pain went away from that, I started wearing heels again. EVERY. DAY.)

I could pluck and highlight my eyebrows into the perfect (too-perfect) shape, I could use eyeshadows, liners, special mascaras, etc to make my eyes look bigger, wider, brighter. I could use dark lipstick to make my teeth look whiter (ha, what a joke). You get the idea.

Eventually I realized that the day I could look in the mirror and feel beautiful was the day I no longer looked ANYTHING like

And I just accepted that. I thanked the gods of makeup that I could finally be pretty enough for boys to notice and for girls not to be ashamed to hang out with. People started asking ME for makeup and style tips. People started telling me how amazing and captivating my eyes were, whereas the only physical compliment I'd received before all this, EVER, in my life, was that the color of my hair was beautiful and unique. Just the color.

Someone posted something on twitter the other day that stuck with me, and I think it might have kind of spurred me in this direction. It was (and I can't directly quote it because I can't find it now) "Maybe she's born with it, or maybe she was born ugly as fuck and is covering it with 10 lbs of makeup."

Since the birth of my children I have had to learn to accept some bodily flaws as a part of who I am, and something I CANNOT change.
Stretch marks, for one.
Stomach skin that will never be supple and smooth, ever.
Breasts that are smaller than they were when I was 9 yrs old, and somehow still manage to sag a bit.

And I've had boyfriends who blessedly praised my beauty, even with the lights on, even with all my stretch marks, even with all my flaws that I blushed over and tried to cover for years. They told me every inch of me was gorgeous and I saw that they were telling me the truth. They believed that.

But my face, I still could not accept my face. That's the real representation of me, right? That's the first thing people really notice when they look at a person. Their face. And my face isn't even mine. Not the one that I accept when I look in the mirror. The one that I try to ignore for the minutes until I can get it covered with the appropriate perfected makeup.

(as a strange but connected side note, I recently watched a movie called The Skin I Live In .. it's foreign, has Antonio Banderas in it. Don't watch it if you aren't prepared for a lot of sex and some very raw material, but it was a good movie and has also led me down this strange path of self discovery.)

How we look is a huge, huge part of who we are. If we didn't have our looks, whatever they may be, how would be define ourselves? What would be left? How would anyone know who we were when we came into a room?
(I could go into a whole diatribe about energy, because there's a REAL answer to this, but that's not what this is about. Yet.)

Over the past few years, everything else in my life has been stripped down to nothing. Naked, broken.... something that I cannot put back together as it once was, but a blank canvas, shattered pieces, to be built and painted into something completely new. Because it has to be. Because I'm ready for something better and what I had built was so complex and so unhappy and so fake that ... my soul couldn't stand for it anymore....

I decided to strip the last piece of that away.

And it's been a helluva lot more painful, and a lot more eye-opening, and a lot more of a huge, raw, bleeding wound than I EVER imagined. It has opened pathways of thought that I have closed myself to for most of my life. It has forced me to revisit and explore memories and feelings of complete inadequacy as far as my very being, my very essence.

I don't know who I am. I lost that person long ago. And I have an extraordinarily deep-rooted and terrifying belief that who that person is is not good enough, will never be good enough.

But I have to realize that she is. And I have to get to know her. And I have to let you all get to know her too.

And it starts here.

This is my journey of pictures so far this week. By now most of you know what I look like on a normal day, full war-paint on, hair done... I can be in my pajamas but my face will never be less than picture perfect. Til now.

It started with this picture, and I was just goofing off. Really.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
I posted it on Instagram with the caption "do I really look THAT different without makeup?" and followed it with these:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I asked for people's opinions. And I WANTED HONESTY, because I was prepared to hear (and almost wanted to hear) that I looked better with makeup, and should stick with it. Yeah.
I got zero comments on the makeup picture. An overwhelming response to the other, saying that I was beautiful, adorable, gorgeous, and people were stunned.

Still, I have to take this with a grain of salt, because it's me who has to accept that girl. And it's still very, very hard.
But the next day, I took another picture before I did my makeup, and I posted it. Because the more I know people have seen me without makeup, the more I can just accept that they've seen it, good or bad.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

^ I don't find that girl attractive.
But I'm getting closer to accepting that some people might.Or that it might not even matter if they do. (WHAT?!)

then I applied makeup, but only about half of what I usually wear, and posted the pic and asked for opinions again, as compared to zero makeup or my usual look:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Again, overwhelming positive comments, with a few comments about using more natural colors, etc, but that people were blown away by my "natural beauty" that I'd been "hiding" all this time.

Yep, still taking it with a grain of salt, and later in the day I did add a little more eyeshadow, mainly because my eyeliner kept bleeding onto my upper eyelid (who knew eyeshadow could help with that?!) 
Nobody said anything to me at work, but I don't know many people there anyway. I was dressed in workout clothes and old jeans so they probably thought I was just "dressing down" for our last rehearsal. Haaha. 
However, I DO think the girl in that picture is pretty.

Last night, when I got home, I washed my face. And that's when I really started to think about all of this. And I started crying, and sobbed. For hours. Over how deeply this has affected me, my opinion of myself, other people's opinion of me, my entire LIFE, events in my life, allowing abuse because I wanted always and only to be wanted and loved... that's been my motivation for everything. And through it all I have believed ABSOLUTELY that the real me, whom I had so successfully buried, was NOT anyone that anyone would ever love or want. Is not. 
Whoever the hell she is.
And then I realized that if I ever fall in love again... and if that man falls in love with me... I want to be who I really am.
And I want him to love ME. I want him to be okay with me painting my face to look pretty for a night out on the town but I want him to be just as attracted to me if my face is naked. If I'm not wearing a padded bra. If I'm bloated and my stretch marks are showing.
If I'm acting like the 8 yr old girl who laughed with her only best friend til she peed her pants.
Because that girl, that 8 yr old girl, holds the key to everything for me right now. She is the last remaining piece of the person that I am. She's my soul, and I left her behind.

And oddly I feel the need to apologize to her.
To myself.
to everyone...
Because in believing that just me is not enough I have put something out into the universe that I have been trying to fight out of everyone else I know. But how can I, when I can't even love myself? Or find myself?

I'm so sorry.

I'm trying to fix it.

I admit, today, after only 2 hrs of sleep and a lot of tears, I'm back in full war-paint. I'm not completely ready to step back into that 8 yr old girl and feel that way again and start from scratch building "okay-ness" about the real me. It's the worst, most raw, most heart-rending pain in the world to go this far back and re-live the insecurity, the aloneness, the total rejection of my self. But I gotta go back if I'm going to fix it.

Bear with me. I think this is the start of something amazing. 
But it's not going to be easy.

How I Feel Today (for lolz):

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Question For the Masses Re: Dreams and Parenthood

ESPECIALLY single parenthood.

I know that a lot of married mothers (especially mormon moms - whom I was raised by and around - as it's soooo discouraged for them to work outside the home) sacrifice their pre-marriage/pre-mommy dreams to devote their life to parenting.
My mom gave up everything for us. She did music here and there but.... I often wonder, if she hadn't had 9 children and stayed home with us, would she be a big-time concert pianist? Probably. But her biggest dream was to be a mom.

When I found out I was pregnant with Sophia, I knew a few things instantly:

  • I would vow to myself and her to be grateful for every moment, because she was a gift, even if she wasn't planned. It's not her fault that she was born into a single-parent home.
  • Her father would not be any help, and I had to accept that I signed on for that.
  • My dreams would be put on hold until she was school-aged and I felt okay about spending more time on "me" stuff.
this worked out fine. 
I worked very part time and lived with my parents until she was 2 and a half, and then I got a full-time job and moved out on my own (which started a series of crazy disasters in my life).
When she was 3 years old I met the man I thought I was going to marry. We moved in together, got engaged, and I was happily thinking that this would be my ticket to a little more room to "grow" into my dreams. 
Less than a month after we got engaged, and a mere few days after he cried "happy tears" at my 7 week ultrasound, (oh yeah, I found out I was pregnant about 2 weeks after we got engaged) he dumped me for his ex-girlfriend, kicking me and my daughter out of his house and back into my parent's house.

OK, sigh, dreams on hold again. I was still only 23 years old. PLENTY of time. Right? We even had to put some of my daughter's stuff on hold.. her dance classes. The trip to Disneyland.
Last year, we finally went to Disneyland. And I worked up my courage and went to voice lessons and got myself pulled together and went to several auditions, all of which tore down the confidence that I'd been building up all this time.

Other things transpired, tragedies occurred, life... just happens. Life keeps life-ing, and I feel that line, "head under water, and you tell me to breathe easy for a while" [sara bareilles] is my life's theme. 
This year, relegated to Keyboard II at a fairly prestigious local theater where I've been in the orchestra for 13 (yes, 13) years, I'm feeling the void in my life. Excruciatingly. 
My son will be 3 in July. I will be 28 in August.
I can't remember the last time I went to a voice lesson, or really worked on my piano skills. My job doesn't challenge me or even excite me. It's been years since they gave me "the good part". I just get to fill in string, percussion, harp, etc so they don't have to hire 12 other musicians. 
It's not that I can't do it...
I think they can see that I've stopped loving it too. And I've become a different (less alive) person over the last 4 years. 
It hasn't been easy. I lost my brother. I fell in love hard, with a few different men (not all at once, jerk), and they all broke my heart and stomped all over it like it was a bug to squish.
It kinda feels like a squished up bug lately.
My son has been a trial that I never, ever expected, after 4 years of raising a brilliant, obedient and sweet, even-tempered girl....
Now I have a brilliant, disobedient, blatantly contrary son with a MAJOR temper that drives him to senseless violence.
He's adorable, and I love his guts. But he takes up every second of my time, and every ounce of my energy + some.
I've had to deal with a car accident that totaled my car, and the physical recovery time plus financial recovery (still recovering), a bogus DUI, lawsuits, court dates, car repossessions, moving around, job hunting.. failures.... mind-numbing depression.

When do I have time to work on me?
People tell me, try to write music.... they say, my foot in the door will be turning my poetry into music and singing it for people. I'd love to.
But you wanna know how long my LONGEST session at piano (besides at work) has been in the past YEAR? 
5 minutes.
And 3 of those were me desperately trying to learn a song by ear while my son banged on the higher register.  

I gave up in tears.

Wanna know how many poems/lyrics I've written in the past SEVEN years?
Probably about seven. Whereas before, I could bust out 7 in a day, on a good day.

Even the little things.. Zumba, Karaoke.. stuff I really enjoy that keeps my body and voice in shape... things that I made sure I was doing because it kept my head slightly above water most days... I have to give up, for the most part, so that I can make a living, and when I'm not making a living, make sure my kids still know I'm here for them.

My question is THIS:

Can a primary parent, particularly a single mom or dad with full custody, be both a good parent, support their family financially AND follow their dreams?

or is it just a selfish wish that I need to put aside?
Is it important enough that I'm truly fulfilled instead of just sometimes okay (if I'm lucky), that I should spend that much less time with my children, focusing on them?
Is it important for them to see me "go for it" and maybe fail sometimes, maybe succeed once or twice, so that they have an example? 
Because god forbid they don't follow their dreams. 
I want nothing more than for them to be happy. But can I do both? Can I follow mine and be enough of a parent to help them achieve theirs, and give them a happy life full of love and beauty?

Digging even further, do I need to... "redefine my happiness" and force myself somehow to be completely fulfilled simply being a mom, even though I think I was BORN with these dreams inside of me? I'm not throwing that one out as a possibility.

but... is it possible within the realm of any reality?!

lately, my brain is telling me no. Big fat fucking no. Hell, one of my dreams is to get married one day, and I can't even get out and date, so....

Right now I'm looking at going to school for women's psychology (if I can get enough grants/loans to mostly live off that and not have to work 2 jobs because that'd defeat the point).

It's sensible. I could get a well-paid job when I'm done.
It's logical. 
I might even love it. I have loved the idea, at times...
But then I think about how much I want to sing.... how much I want to be  able to do the things I see so many other people doing. And my heart sinks.

Please, discuss, comment? Suggestions? Anything... I'm really interested in opinions and ideas.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The "Duh!" Moment That Changed My Life

I had this "duh" moment a while ago. I won't call it an epiphany because it seems too stupid that I didn't have it figured out to begin with.

See, I've had a really, really difficult 4-5 years. It really started in 2007 but didn't really knock me on my ass til Feb/March of 2008. I haven't ever fully gotten back up.

And all along the way I've blamed a lot of people and things, and some of those people, I won't back down on blaming. They were assholes. They sucked. They did bad things to me.
Buuut.. in the end.... (and this is an epiphany I've shared before, so it's not what I'm writing about) how you react to a situation is the only thing you can control. The only thing.
I had to learn that and at this point in my life I know now that my biggest obstacle to happiness is MY OWN DAMN SELF.
Stupid self. IDK why I've been denying my happiness all this time, and I'm still not THERE, but I know kinda how to get there. I'm getting the idea. 

I'm a little slow. Sorry universe. It's hit me over the head with a few bricks to let me know I'm kinda dumb.

The DUH moment actually came somewhere in between this time last year and.. uh.. now. I'm really not sure exactly when it occurred to me, but when it did it really changed a lot of things. Like, I stopped losing friends all the time.
And I wasn't like that dumb angry bitch ANYMORE, whose anger and bitterness was only hurting HER. (Me).

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." - Buddha

Buddha was a smart motherfucker.

See I had this problem.

I'm single and I hated married people. Weddings pissed me off. My friends being in happy relationships pissed me off. I didn't want to see it, I didn't want to hear it. I mean, I had some legit reasons (you don't have time for ME anymore, jerks!) buuuut mostly it was just this:

I felt like if I can't have it, nobody else should either. Happiness in any form, but especially anything I really miss in my life or feel a void about. Relationships, money, fun, whatever.

And then I was thinking one day and realized that just because somebody else got something in life that I wanted, doesn't mean that it's taking away from my ability to get it. There isn't some limited quantity of happy relationships allowed in the world at one time. There isn't a limit on how many people can be happy in their job situation. There isn't a limit on how many people can live securely financially.

There isn't a set limit of people who can be fucking HAPPY

ummmm... DUH.

So, even though at first it was almost impossible, and I was mostly faking it, when a friend came to me with good news, I smiled and congratulated them. I tried to experience their joy with them instead of begrudging them. Begrudging their happiness certainly wasn't getting me anywhere before, and it hurt me a lot. It hurt other people sometimes. I'm really surprised some of my friends stuck around through me yelling at them about how unfair it was that they got to do _______ and I couldn't and they should find a way to make it work for me. Or that I didn't want to see them because their husband would be there and it would remind me how single I am.

Sometimes I still felt shitty. And mad. Like, why not me?
Sometimes I STILL wonder why not me?

But it's not their fault that it isn't me.


And you know what? I'm a lot happier these days. And I find that when a friend shares happy news of an engagement, or a new baby, or a success at work, or an unexpected flow of money, I can actually feel happy for them.
It's a cool feeling, to love someone and be happy that they are happy.


jumpropingjesus I'm a slow learner.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Depression + Parenting

I have been thinking about writing this blog for a long time, and the conclusion that I came to is this:

It's not something I can write publicly about, not in vivid detail. Not really delve into it. Because if you're a parent and you've experienced the crushing grips of depression and anxiety while trying to parent, especially without a partner, you know that if you speak honestly about what really goes on in your head, in your life, in your home, and in your family....

people will tear apart what little you've managed to scotch-tape together during your few decent moments, the quiet times when you feel what you've come to known as "good" which is most people's definition of "depressed". They might take away the very thing that is keeping you from falling apart permanently. From going away, permanently.

Good is: functioning, not crying uncontrollably, not breaking anything, not hurting yourself, able to feed your child something besides chicken nuggets, and possibly have the will to brush your teeth.
Good is hiding your feelings deep enough that you can go out in public without someone wondering if you wandered out of the psych ward, or possibly just an open grave.
Good is being able to smile and nod at your kid that you love with all your heart, but it's a fake fucking smile and you hate yourself for it. And you have to force yourself to listen through the screaming going on in your head about how much things hurt, and say encouraging words to that child. And you're faking it. But that's doing GOOD.
It's better than it could be.

I know that there are times when I'm hanging on by an invisible thread until the next break I might get (the kids sleeping, Eli's weekend at his dad's, whatever), and sometimes the thread breaks.
Married parents usually have the fortune of knowing that they can probably hang on to the edge of that cliff until their partner comes home, even if the partner isn't an awesome parent and might even be a lazy bastard, having backup is essential if you're parent with depression.
It's essential for all parties for so many reasons.

Parenting with depression and anxiety is fucking impossible. There is no other way to put it.
And yet we still do it.
Some people crack and do really stupid, crazy shit.
Those who love their kids as much as I do, have a plan for when they crack. We have a little voice in our heads that tells us who to call, what not to do, what to destroy instead of hurting yourself, remember that if you can hang on for 5 or 10 minutes you can call in the troops. If you're lucky like me and even have troops (friends or family that know your situation and will help).
But we crack
and break
and there are days when I don't know if I'll ever get back to good enough, ever again. To where I don't need to call in the troops every day.

And that's why sometimes I wonder if it'd be better if I was just gone, because there would be no more emergencies or wondering how I will face the next thing, or having to text someone to ask them to call and make sure you're still alive in the morning.. There would be no more stressing your family out with 4 am phone calls or begging in tears for a break at an inconvenient time.
Everyone would adjust, the empty space would eventually become mostly barely-there.....

See how much this ugly bastard LIES?

You know what's keeping me alive right now? I know that my daughter's father would fight for custody and.. he might win, even though he's done absolutely NOTHING for her in her 7+ years. He's only seen her 3 times. He might win.
so I can't leave.

I just stay and hang on by a thread, but sometimes, it breaks.
When I see other people who have a partner who loves them. When couples joyously announce engagements. And weddings. And pregnancies.
Stuff you do together.
When I see other people who have a built in troop who lives in their house and holds their hand.

I've been waiting too long....
but I still have to keep hanging on.
It's impossible but we do it, don't we? Because we love our kids. Impossibly.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Things That Piss Me Off

This could be long. Hold on tight or GTFO. Just sayin.

Also, I had to edit the beginning to say, the word "fuck" is in this post more than I think I have ever accomplished. Count them for me. I'll give you a cookie.

 First of all, starting in May, southern Utah is pretty much the hottest place on earth, and not in a good way. I'm a true-blue red-head (uhh.. weird mixology of terminology) and I just can NOT take it. Temps reach 90 and you won't find me anywhere but a room with blankets covering the windows and the a/c on high. Or McDonalds with my kids, because they get really annoyed with my vampirism. The thing about McDonalds is, there are other kids there. And I hate other kids. Seriously.

 The hate really is more geared toward their fucking parents. Who shouldn't have fucked in the first place if they weren't prepared to teach children basic decent human behavior. Like, by the time you are 8 years old you should know that it's unacceptable to take a 2 yr old's toy from his MOTHER and try to walk away with it. And your FATHER should probably not just stare in amusement. Unless he wants to get junk-punched. Also, stepping on the 2 yr old will get YOU junk-punched. I'm just not tolerant of idiot behavior. Unless you are ACTUALLY mentally retarded, there is NO excuse (that's directed at both parent and child).

 My 2 yr old son is a handful. But you will not see him stealing other children's toys, hitting them, or trampling them. He is smart. He may be defiant, but he has been taught to behave on a level slighter higher than that of an untrained puppy BECAUSE I TAUGHT HIM THAT. If I can do that, as a single mother battling severe depression and anxiety plus other aforementioned situational things (PTSD, RTS, etc) ANYONE CAN. Got it? Cause next time I'll have your ass thrown out. While we're talking about age-appropriate behavior, I want to address this Time Magazine breastfeeding thing. (P.S. the linked article is, I think, a great tongue-in-cheek statement on the whole thing) Actually, just, here's the picture:

If you flinched, felt grossed out, disgusted, or turned on, you've got issues.

 Not the kid, not the mom.

 Let's start with some basic information. The breast on a female is made for feeding offspring. That is it's primary use. Kinda like, the butthole is used for pooping, but you can use it for other things (like sex) if you like it. Seriously, that's my take on it. It's about equal.
 The biggest difference is that nobody likes to see buttholes, really.. OK, some people do, but most aren't going to admit it, whereas breasts have been objectified to the point where MOST WOMEN (especially in Utah or southern California) feel the need to augment theirs to the point where they no longer look like breasts. They look like baseballs (or, pick a larger circular object) with nipples on them. That's not even the natural shape of a breast but whatever. Porn has ruined a lot of things.

 Oh, also, I don't condone pooping in public, but eating in public should be free reign for any person of any age, honestly. And hey, if you're in prison, this could get a lot more complicated.

  OMG, my analogies are not working out.

The thing is, I think that if you see someone using their butthole for it's intended purpose (i.e. somebody taking a shit) and you are totally turned on and then feel ashamed and want that person to cover up, I think you might have some issues. Wow, I've kind of gotten off-topic, because this is more about "EXTENDED" breastfeeding than public breastfeeding. Both things seem to offend people, but there's absolutely no good reason for that. Doctors and health specialists and basically everyone can agree, and in fact cannot argue that breastmilk is basically awesome, and pretty much liquid gold. It IS made not only exactly right for a human baby's nutrition, but YOUR body makes it exactly right for YOUR baby's nutrition. It's kind of amazing actually. If your baby is getting sick, your body reacts and makes antibodies and distributes them to your baby through your boobies. Freaking awesome!!!!

Depriving your child of this for any reason besides serious health issues or not having breasts at all is frankly selfish and disturbing to me. Depriving your child of eating comfortably at any time or place that they need nourishment is ... child abuse and neglect.
 I think if CPS came to your door and you were forcing your child to eat their dinner on the toilet every day, you'd have some issues, and yet people do suggest that women breastfeed in public bathrooms rather than offending them with the site of a little boobie skin (usually, we don't even get to see that awesome nipple or areola part). Usually, less skin is shown than you would see if someone was wearing a low-cut shirt or even a swim suit, and yet, there is always someone ready to throw a shit fit if they see a woman feeding their kid the way they were intended to.

 Because the breast has been sexualized. And women have been objectified. And men and women alike have agreed that the sex part of the breast is more important than what it's actually meant for. And BECAUSE it's been so sexualized, a 3 year old breastfeeding really gets people going. I mean, clearly that child is going to have some sort of Oedipal issues in the future because mommy continued to give him good (the best) nutrition and comfort for longer than a few months of his life. The long-term amazingly awesome side-effects of breastmilk are ENDLESS. Meaning they don't stop. Not at the age of 6 months. Not at the age of 3. When the breastfeeding relationship stops I think should be between mom and baby and NO-FUCKIN-BODY ELSE.

 Personally, I got sick of it when my daughter was 2, and managed to wean her by 2 and a half. Here is the most offensive picture of ME breastfeeding that I could find. Sophia was 26 months old in this picture. She has no known issues. At all.

I felt like I'd done my duty. But I wasn't apologizing to anyone when she asked me for a snack at the restaurant cuz by god, I was eating too, ya know? That's like saying "NO. Eat your fucking manufactured pink-meat chicken nuggets instead of this amazingly nutritious and readily available FREE meal I can give you right here and now!" ..... inane. Fucking inane. I don't get it, you guys. I don't. Why should a mom have to stop giving her kid something good because of the kid's age? Just because YOU find it sexual? the kid doesn't. I can tell you that. And if you push that idea on the kid, THAT'S when the issue starts.

If you tell the kid it's not natural or you start making a fuss, that's when the kid's head starts getting messed up and WHY DO YOU THINK THE WORLD IS FULL OF CHILD MOLESTORS AND RAPISTS? I'm just saying. Stop fucking people's heads up with your own fucked-up-ness. It's kind of like how a child is never going to look at a child of another race and say "wow, I hate that nigger because she has a different color skin than me. In fact, because she looks different I will treat her like shit and maybe make her my slave". That kind of shit doesn't occur to children. We put these twisted ideas in their heads. So if you stop acting like something is sinful and horrible.. something that ISN'T SINFUL AND HORRIBLE... then we're probably going to avoid those oedipal issues you're so worried about, you psycho.

 Go get therapy.

 Just a side note about fake titties. I love them. I'm probably going to get them. But I'm past the point in my life where my breasts are being useful to anyone at all, and I'm flat like a man, and I want to fit into clothes like a normal female. I think that's a natural desire.
 And kind of like my butthole, it's up to me if I want to sexualize them when they're not being used for their natural purpose. Just sayin.

 Other things that piss me off --

 Don't turn right onto a 4-lane road and pull into the LEFT lane right in front of someone going the speed limit and proceed to go 25 mph when the right lane was perfectly empty and there for your use, or I will honk my horn and probably flip you off. If I could moon you and drive at the same time, I would, but I'm not that talented.

 People who oppose gay marriage.


 That's it, basically. That squirrel is a smart motherfucker. Two young women that I love are getting married in Boston today. I wish they could be getting married here, but they can't. Because of people who think that them getting married is really going to make their marriage somehow less valuable? I don't fucking get it. I guess I just don't understand stupidity. I guess that's really what this is all about.

 If you're stupid, I don't understand you, and I kind of want you to either make yourself LESS stupid or go fall off the earth.

 People named Liz. I've never met a Liz that wasn't ruining the world, causing cancer or permanently harming small children and innocent men. Don't name your child Liz. Just don't. Save the world one less Liz at a time.

Anyone who doesn't appreciate Adam Levine. You have a problem.

 I was going to write about depression and motherhood today, but I feel a lot better now that I've vented. I'll save that for later. Peace out, fuckas. I'm sure I'll add to this list later.