The world as seen through the eyes of an exhausted, caffiene addicted, homeschooling, atheist mama.

Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

It’s good for the soul

I haven’t written in a long time. A really long time. Since early May, in fact. I feel bad about that. Or, I would feel badly about it if I actually didn’t. My intentions were so fucking good, so I don’t feel too bad that I didn’t bog all three of my followers with whiny shit. I just figured we’d move to Dallas and everything would be okay and I’d start blogging about all the wacky and crazy adventures we were having out there.

I didn’t want to talk about how much I miss my brother and how I don’t know how to deal with the loss of the only other person in the world who lived, and could vouch for, my childhood.

I didn’t want to talk about how sad it is for BB to miss his cat and how it breaks my heart to comfort him as he cries.

I didn’t want to talk about how Hubby was let go from his job and we were left scrambling for a way to pay our rent.

I didn’t want to talk about how he found another job that took him to Dallas or about how he left us behind, me with my grief and BB with his, to pack up and say goodbye to the only life BB’s ever known.

I didn’t want to talk about how hard it’s been to be a single mom for nearly two months or about how exhausting it is to pack up an entire life all by myself.

I didn’t want to talk about all the tears my son has cried over leaving his house and friends. I didn’t want to talk about all the tears I’ve cried over the same. I didn’t want to talk about how moving makes me feel like a six-year old, how I don’t want to be an atheist homeschooler in the bible belt, and how freaking scary it is for me to open up and make friends.

I just thought I’d move and then I’d give a happy update about how well we’re all adjusting, how awesome Hubby’s job is, how awesome all our new friends are, and how I was worried about homeschooling in the bible belt for nothing because there are TONS of great secular homeschoolers out there.

That was truly my intent. Please believe me.

But no. That’s not at all what’s happened.

Hubby was laid off last week and he’s back home now. He’s home and all the the money we lost trying to move us to Dallas is just plain gone. He was let go on Friday morning and he got home late Friday night. Just in time for Father’s day on Sunday.

And that was good. Oh. That was so good. Having my husband home again. Getting to spend Father’s Day with him. That part was good.

But that other part, the part where he’s unemployed and has no real prospects on the burner…that part sucked.

Wait.

It still sucks.

So the two of us spent the whole of today looking for work. It doesn’t matter what; we’ll do whatever it freaking takes to be okay.

And I was sad and scared, but I thought “At least we have a house to live in.”

Oh. Dumb, sweet, naive Mom’sEye.

Our landlord has decided he wants to sell the house and he still expects us to move out at the end of June.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!!!

What the hell? What’s going on? What the fuck is happening????

Where is the Zombie Apocalypse already? Why why why???? Why can’t everything be okay for once????

I was an abused child. My brother was an abused child. His abuse eventually killed him. My abuse made mothering the most difficult and triggering thing in the world. But I thought I was doing a good job. I don’t do drugs. I don’t drink excessively. I don’t beat the shit out of my son, cheat on my husband and spend my days chasing random men for my next high. I’ve never made my son homeless, I’ve never blamed him for my own shortcomings. I’ve been a really good person. I’ve been the best person I could possibly be.

Maybe I’ve not made all the best choices, but when your mother is an abusive drug addict, how do you learn to be responsible? I did the best I fucking could! I don’t spank. I don’t hit. I don’t scream. Sure I yell sometimes, but I’m not abusive. I’m not.

I’ve tried to break the cycle and shit is supposed to be better because of it.

But it’s not.

We’re two fucking weeks from being homeless. We  have no jobs. We have no money. We have no family to rely on or to help us.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to wrap my head around the shit that is my life. I don’t know how to wrap my head around the knowledge that I brought my son into this life and I’m just setting him up for future failure. He doesn’t deserve this. Me? I do. I can accept that I deserve all the fucking shit that the Universe wants to throw at me. But my son? No. He deserves more and better than I can do for him.

How does a mother deal with that?

I’m so tired. I’m scared and I’m sad and I’m grieving and and I’m tired. More tired than I’ve ever been in my life. More tired than anyone should ever have to be.

Why don’t you blog? asked Hubby.
Because I don’t want to whine and be depressing.
Eh. Just do it. It’ll be good for your soul.

And so I did. I’ll let you know if it was good for me when life gets a little better.

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Self-Indulgent Whining

Hubby left for Dallas last night. He’ll be gone for nearly a month. I know that’s a blink of an eye, hardly a moment, a nano second compared to how long other husbands are gone from their families.  Did  you know there are some military families who are separated for months or YEARS at a time??? That would be way worse.

But this…This is hard for me. I didn’t make the choice to marry a military man. I never expected to have to be away from him for so long at one stretch.  Holy hell, I am so sad. I feel self-indulgent and petty, but I’m just sad. Really, really, really fucking sad.

He’s out there for work. And when he comes home in a month, it’ll be to load up our house and move us. Move us away from everyone and everything I love. Everyone and everything I’ve worked so hard to get over my personal shit to let in.

When I was in high school, I had a couple of boyfriends. Nice boys who were afraid and confused like me. Nice boys who were able to see past my shit and try to insert themselves into my life despite the Roger Waters-esque WALL I built around myself to keep them out. They kissed me, they gave me tokens of their affection, a few brave ones even told me they loved me…Poor boys. I wanted nothing to do with that. I wanted nothing to do with “needing” and “loving” and “forever”. Oh hell no. Life was too unpredictable and scary to let someone take me from me. No flipping way would I let some boy in and let him have access to me. No way.

When I was in college, I had a few boyfriends (and not boyfriends) proclaim their love for me. I had a few suitors express how I was the awesomest awesome chick who ever was awesome. I even loved a few of them. And when those relationships ended, it hurt.

But this…This is worse than anything I’ve ever felt before. It hurts like my soul is being pulled out of my bowels. It hurts like my heart is being yanked through my eyeballs. It hurts like my stomach is being  pulled through my toes and then up through my nostrils before finally being ripped from my body.

I love my husband. He’s the other half of me. I know that’s not exactly cool to say, but it’s true. He makes all the other love I ever felt before feel like swimming in a tepid, plastic, wading  pool. He makes all the feelings I’ve ever felt feel like a sneeze. Sure, they were satisfying, but in the end, they were fleeting.

Hubby is bigger than that. He is more than that. He possesses more of me than that.

My husband is gone for a month and I feel like part of my brain is gone. I feel like part of my soul is gone. I feel like part of who I am is just gone.

I love you, Hubby.  I love you, I miss you, and I don’t even care how uncool I sound when I whine about you being gone.

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It’s the Little Things

This whole grief thing sucks. No, really. It sucks incredibly bad.

When my dad died eight years ago, that hurt. It hurt more than I thought something could hurt. But this…this hurts even worse than that. Maybe it’s because I just always expected that my brother would always be around. Everyone expects to outlive their parents, but outliving your younger sibling seems wrong somehow.

There are whole days where I feel fine. I feel strong and competent even though I feel sad. I go whole days where I don’t even cry. But then, out of freaking nowhere, I start to cry. And I’ll cry and cry and cry and cry. I’ll cry until I think there are no more tears left–then I cry some more.

I try to take notice of things that make me feel better. Little things that nurture my heart or make me smile just a little bit:

Walking barefoot through the clover we planted

My big-ass dog, Harvey

Little Tippee (with two Es!) looking over the wall

Our dumb-ass cat Sofe with water all over her face

My beautiful kid laughing

My handsome hubby

My wonderful, handsome husband wearing kick-ass sunglasses

On Being a Mother and a Daughter

Four years ago, I cut my mother out of my life. I have mentioned that I talked to her while planning my brother’s funeral. Of course, I had to. Stuff needed to be done and I had to have some of her input. Her son had just died and she needed help planning things. My brother had just died and I needed to take care of things in a way that I felt would honor him. I went out there to lay my brother to rest, not to mend fences or re-hash the past. I drove 12 hours through barren dessert for a reason that was much bigger than her or me. I went out there with the intention of putting all of my own baggage and shit aside for a few days so that I could focus on the task at hand.

But I hadn’t spoken to her in years, and I’ve spent those years agonizing over whether or not I did the right thing in telling her to back off. I spent those years mourning for the mother I needed but knowing I’d never have her, no matter how many chances I gave. I spent those years fighting the demons of my childhood–trying like hell to be the kind of mother she wasn’t. Trying like hell to be the mother that my son deserves.

When you grow up in an abusive home,  that abuse is always inside you, just looking for a crack in the armor so it can get out. As a mother, I’ve struggled with finding appropriate ways to deal with appropriate childhood behavior in my son. The appropriate reaction to a kid who doesn’t want to eat his salad is not to throw him into a wall or force the food down his throat. Hell, even toddler could tell you that. But that reaction is in me and it takes a lot of work and self reflection not to let that reaction out. When you grow up hearing that you can never count on anyone, that everyone will eventually let you down, that you should never get your hopes up because you’ll always be disappointed, when you you grow up hearing  “get the fuck outta my sight” , “you ruined my life” and “it’s your fault”, you start to take it to heart; you start to believe “it” is your fault, whatever “it” may be. You start to believe that since your own mother felt you ruined her life, then clearly you must not be worth much to anyone else. You start to think you are worthless, ugly, stupid, unlovable, unloved. When you grow up knowing these things are truth, it’s hard to back up enough to realize that what you know as truth is nothing but a pack of lies that were spoon-fed to you so that you wouldn’t struggle, so that you wouldn’t question, so that you wouldn’t complain or cry. They were lies that were spoon-fed to you so that the one who was really and truly responsible could absolve herself of responsibility.

It has taken years of anguish and hard work to realize that I wasn’t at fault and that putting up clear boundaries wasn’t selfish or wrong, it was a necessary step in becoming the mother I want to be–the mother my son deserves.

While driving through all that barren land, between calls to the funeral home and family members, I was trying to wrap my head around seeing my mother again. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared shitless. I didn’t know how I would feel or react when I saw her. The ball had been in her court of a long time and she never bothered picking it up and tossing it to me. God, I was terrified that seeing her would make me feel like a small child again. I was so afraid that I’d just fall right back into the role of trying to please and appease, knowing perfectly well that I would fail.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. Apparently, all the agonizing I had done over the years since I cut her out had been part of a healing process. I saw her, I hugged her, I let her hug me, and I took care of business. But I never felt that rush of guilt I expected to feel. I also didn’t feel an overwhelming need to mend the fence, either. I pretty much felt…empty. I felt like  the desert that I drove through–capable of sustaining life, but just barely.

A desert landscape

I was capable of being gentle with her, I was capable of  being kind and compassionate as she dealt with her guilt and grief. I was able to be patient as she tried to find the words she needed to express her wishes or thoughts concerning my brother. I was capable of keeping things on task as we sorted through his stuff and chose clothes for him to wear. I was capable of holding my tears back so she could shed hers. It turns out, I was totally capable of being a wonderfully decent human being.

But I was incapable of falling into those old patterns. I was incapable of just forgiving and forgetting. I was incapable of pretending that my brother’s death was the thing that would make me see that life is fragile; life is tenuous and unpredictable, so I need to patch things up with the only mother I’ll ever have, before it’s too late.

My brother’s death helped me to see that by letting go of my mother, I have become a better mother. His death has showed me that I am a strong and healthy woman in part because I was able to put up boundaries with my mother. My brother’s death helped me to see what my son and husband couldn’t: It’s not my fault. I am not a horrible, vile, evil person for making the choices I have made. I am a good mom, I am a good wife, and I deserve all the love my family has to give me. I deserve to be happy, I absolutely deserve everything she taught me I didn’t deserve.

I wish her well in her life. I wish her happiness and love. I wish her health and friendship. And if or when she can do the things I need in order to have her a part of my life, I will be here. The ball is still in her court, I’ve just stopped caring whether or not she throws it my way.

I’m With Stupid

When I was about nine or ten, I had a favorite shirt that I wore everywhere. I wore it to bed, I wore it to school, I wore it to the store…Hell, I’m pretty sure I even tried to wear it to my grandparents scary, tongue-speaking, hands-laying-on, rolling on the ground with the love of Jesus church.

Even decades after it was lost or left behind somewhere, I remember exactly what it looked like; exactly what it felt like. It was positively the bestest shirt ever. Wait, not just ever. EVAH!! It was a soft blue tank top with two-inch shoulder straps. On the front was an iron-on decal of a yellow diamond with a Left Turn Arrow and the caption: “I’m With Stupid”.

I'm with stupid

Oh, my god. I can’t even explain how much I loved this shirt. When I was in the fourth grade, I wore it so often that my teacher (Mrs. What’s Her Name) asked me if I had any other clothes at home. This shirt was a warning bell to her that something wasn’t right at home–mainly because I wore it in November in Colorado. She worried for the little me that wore it like a security blanket.

I remember wearing it and walking to 7-11 with my little brother, who couldn’t yet read. I made him stand to the left as we walked, and he knew the arrow was pointing at him, but he didn’t know what the shirt said. Being the big sister that I was, I told him it said “This person is awesome!!!”. Poor kid totally believed me.

When I hit my twenties, I told a boyfriend about this shirt and we had a damn jolly good laugh over it. How funny it was that he had a girlfriend (sometimes fiance) who had parents trashy enough to let her walk around in a shirt like this! Oh! Dear, sweet, Momseye, what would have happened to you if I hadn’t come into your life to show you how fucked up you were as a kid? How adorably white trash you were!

This boyfriend (sometimes fiance) and I didn’t really mesh and we most certainly didn’t make it past the boyfriend (sometimes fiance) stage. But when BB saw this shirt at Target and just had to buy it, I thought of him and his mockery. I thought of little me and my adoration for the snarky, and I let him buy it. Well, Hubby and I agreed to let him buy it.

And he wears it proudly; A look of devious satisfaction on his face as he suckers someone  (Dad) into standing next to him. Now the message is tempered with Mickey Mouse, but the feeling of power and strength it brings to the wearer isn’t.

I can’t wait for the day that someone holds a camera and takes a picture of me with my son, his shirt proudly proclaiming that “I’m With Goofy!”

Goofy and his son

And Hubby, I absolutely love you for letting your son feel the awesome feeling of pride and power he got from “tricking” you into posing with him. You are an amazing dad. I love you–Goofy (tee-hee!)

The Things That Matter

We have so much freaking stuff. This weekend we had a yard sale and got rid of a fair amount of stuff. That will make packing a bit easier, but there’s still so much stuff that we actually need. Or I think we need it. It’s hard for me to tell the difference between what we need and what we don’t right now.

I guess I can see why it is generally recommended not to make major decisions after a death. Grief blurs the lines between what matters and what doesn’t. As we sorted through a bunch of crap that we don’t use, I just felt like everything could go. I mean, Hubby and BB are alive and well. What else matters? My logical mind said “Okay, you’re not going to sell your cast iron. You have to feed your family. And obviously, we all need clothing, so clothes stay…” But it was really, really, really hard for me to discern what really matters and what doesn’t.

In the end, I suppose I had it right. We have clothes, we have food, we have each other. The rest is just frosting.

A whole lotta BB

My handsome hubby

my handsome hubby

Happy pets

awesome cookware

Promises To Myself

I will allow myself time to feel the sadness when it comes.

I will acknowledge the pain and the regret.

I will hold his memory in my heart.

I will breathe in and out. In and out.

I will allow myself to smile.

I will acknowledge that laughter in not a betrayal.

I will take time to enjoy the way the sun feels on my face.

I will make sure to eat good food and drink lots of water.

I will allow myself a break when I am overwhelmed.

I will acknowledge my fear but I won’t let it consume me.

I will write. I’ll write for me and I’ll write for my brother. I will write so that I don’t forget–so that the things we went through together will not be lost. I will write so that my son can read about his mom when he’s older. I will write so that he can better understand my quirks and fears, so that he can know how hard I try to break the cycle I was born into. I will write not only to honor and remember my brother, but also to honor and help the living and yet-to-be-born.

I will remember.

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