Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Just Need a Little Space

We signed the contract for the sale of our house. Which means we have to be out in 73 days - not that I'm counting down or anything. Dealing with this has meant a lot of added stress. I did pretty good last week - the pressure of a major trial and those deadlines meant no time to deal with "personal" issues.

We went house hunting Friday after work. As soon as we drove off toward the first house, I had a rush of anxiety. Bad enough my husband asked if he needed to pull over so I could be sick. I took my medication, did some deep breathing and pulled it together.

The first house - the one we really think we like best - has a basement. I ~think~ I'd like a basement - great for a rec room. This one is turned around backwards and is really only partially finished. No fireplace and no bar. Lots of windows and light. So I think it would be okay. Husband promised we could paint the panelling white if we bought it. Other issue is the bathroom. There is only 1 1/2 baths. They are small too. I can't handle small, closed in spaces. I can barely handle two of us in our bathroom now - and these would be smaller. I think we could turn the 1/2 bath into a full bath though.

After looking at houses, Husband left to go hunting. Daughter and I had a "sleepover" where she slept with me and we ate cake in bed and watched a movie. I fell asleep with her at 9 and woke up, wide awake from my "Nap" at 11:45. Then I was up until 1 am worrying about the house, money, etc. Wondering how my "issues" are going to affect the turmoil of moving, packing, etc. All in and around the holidays.

I do not do well being unsettled. Not having things orderly and neat. Everything in its place. I'm mad that the basement/bathroom issue is even popping up. It makes me mad when I have to re-think plans because of my past. It makes me mad when the abuse still affects me. I've learned not to fight against it too hard. It just makes the panic worse. I'm still trying to learn where that line is. Too far back and the panic overwhelms me and I become a pile of mush - beaten down and run over. Too far forward and I'm pushing against a raging tide, not getting anywhere but exhausted.

I need a bit of space to absorb all this. It amazes me how many people have told me they enjoy house hunting. I don't find it enjoyable at all. It's just stressful to me. I am making a decision which will tie me up for the next several years. Which I will live with every day for the next several years. Yikes!

I'm fighting the control battle. Husband is encouraging me to take some time and just breathe. Not to get in a tizzy. If someone makes an offer before we make a decision, then it wasn't meant to be. We need to do this slowly, with much thought and prayer. I'm trying to do that - to give up the need to try to tie everything down immediately and control every detail. I'm fighting the SI urge. So far so good - but the last 2 days have been very tough. I know how welcome the relief would be - but also how temporary. Instead I'm going to go mow the yard - somewhat physical (although we have a riding mower) but not so much that I can't do it. Any distraction is a good one at the moment.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Recovering from Wrong Words and Actions

I have to write and comment about a post on Wrong Words called Will I Ever Feel Good? Al Johnson, the author, did such a profound job of putting to words the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head for so long. I started to put this comment on his post, but as it grew immensely long, I decided to post it here. I've posted his entire entry here (in blue italics) with my comments/highlights in green (and I bolded some of his writing for emphasis). I hope you will check out his blog and other entries too. They are really good.

Recovery can be difficult and long. Sometimes we may wonder, "Will I ever feel good?" A friend who is also in recovery just asked that question. Following is my answer based on what I've been experiencing since beginning therapy 18 years ago:

(wow - you mean it could take 18 years of therapy? I have to imagine it is not as intense all the time. I have to give a huge thumbs up to someone who sticks with it 18 years)

We Americans (and probably many other people, also) put a high priority on "feeling good." We try to get that feeling through all kinds of ways, nicer car, bigger house, changing spouses, changing jobs, taking drugs, etc. In some religious traditions the goal is not to feel good but to become more honest with oneself. In some religions the goal is even to suffer more, so that one can get closer to a better spiritual state. (I'm not so sure that we should look for suffering, but I do think that coping with suffering can be a special part of our spiritual journey.)

(I can relate to linking feeling "good" to achievements - to me a bigger house, nice car, good job, - all relates to security. I guess I find my security in the material things).

Suffering from abuse and neglect and abandonment is terrible. This kind of suffering should never happen, especially by those who are supposed to love and protect us. But it does happen. I think our goal in therapy is to become more open with ourselves about what happened, to face the reality, to feel the anger that we could not feel when it was happening, to grieve our loss, to try to learn to survive as an adult without what was lost. I'm not sure that our goal is to feel better. If it were, perhaps we should be taking tranquilizers, which is what many doctors used to prescribe and some still do. They can make us feel better. But they also numb out the bad feelings which will return when the tranquilizers wear off.

(This is the part that just really, really started to hit me. I viewed the goal of therapy as being addressing all this "childhood crap" and moving on. I have grown to realize that I do need to face my anger, grieve my loss and try to learn to survive. The part about our goal being to feel better really did hit me. At the moment I take a lot of medications. And it is working to 'stabilize' me a I work through things. I do, however, have a fear of what will happen when the meds wear off (I stop taking them). Will the bad feelings return? Or will I have learned enough to cope. That - coping - I think is a goal of therapy for me).

I don't know if we can ever stop grieving our losses. But I have heard that the pain lessens, that we can shift our focus to other things in life which are healthy for us and in service to others and to ourselves, giving ourselves time to love ourselves, to recharge, to relax, to be with people who are emotionally healthy. I think eventually when pain lessens we probably do feel some better, but I'm not sure that that is the goal. If it is, we may get impatient getting there and might not walk through all the steps needed so that our minds and bodies can learn new patterns of thinking, reacting, and behaving. I think it is a long slow process. And I'm not sure that the pain ever completely goes away. But I also think that the feeling of pain and loss is not the opposite of the kind of feeling we are searching for, even if we do not know exactly what we are searching for. I suspect that what we are really searching for is more like peace and joy, rather than feeling good.Feeling good is a temporary emotion, often based on our circumstances, our life cycles, food we eat, how much sleep we get, etc. But there is, I think, an emotion something like feeling good (probably a combination of peace and joy, I'm guessing) which we can have at the same time as we feel some pain. I suspect that joy is something we experience more by choice and feeling good is something we experience more as our body's chemical reaction to our circumstances. That chemical reaction results in something our emotions interpret as feeling good.

(I had to bold that part. OOH that is me - rushing the process. Rushing to get somewhere without knowing what I'm looking for or where I'm going. I like the answer - searching for peace. I think that is what I want. I understand life has it's ups and downs. I want a peace that will transcend the ups and downs. A feeling of comfort as I ride the roller coaster of life. I think for too long I "forced myself" to react a certain way and pretended it was good. Now I want to REALLY FEEL a certain way - to have a natural reaction, rather than a chemical one.

I think I have begun to experience some of this more peaceful, relaxed feeling. I don't feel so driven as I used to be, an addictive drivenness which tried to cover up my pain and a fear of feeling bad as I could hear old tapes running through my brain, and feel bad about myself with the lies I learned when I was abused. I'm not on a high now. I've tried to have highs in the past, from work, from achievement, from meeting some goal. But I'm not on a low either. I'm more level. I think it's more of a normal feeling, a sense that I don't have to do something artificial to make myself feel better, to drive out the bad feelings. Am I still sad about what I lost in the past, about the loss of security, about feeling loved by my father and then, sometimes fairly soon, getting beaten and hollered at and ridiculed by him? Oh, yes. But it doesn't hold so much power over me as it used to. I have tried to face it, write about it, realize how it was negatively affecting my relationships with others and my attitude toward myself. And I am trying to move on.

(I'm still working on not being so driven. On not having "busy brain" thoughts constantly running, like tapes on repeat, through my head over and over again. Telling me that if I re-do it enough I can get it "right". I'm glad to see Al Johnson not subscribe to the ""go over" or "forget about it" philosophy advocated by too many who do not understand things. I am especially glad to see the abuse doesn't hold such power and that he has reclaimed that power. I want to be there some day.)

I hope this is recovery. If better feelings come at times, that will be fine. But I realize that I already have plenty of opportunities even now for enjoying life, with the new, safer life I have, with my wife, good children, and their children, and some safe friends. It's better than it used to be. I can be content. I can continue trying to live in healthier ways, but I don't need to live saddled with so much guilt as I used to, not being perfect at recovery.

(I hope it is recovery too. First, because I love to see others "recover" - it gives me such hope and optimism for myself. I hope Al Johnson continues to write through this stage. So I, and others, can see what it looks like. And to continue striving for that in our own lives. I so enjoyed reading that he is enjoying life and has good friends - safe friends. That he is content. And most of all that he is not living saddled with guilt about being imperfect in recovery. Because I sure as heck, am not perfect at recovery).

Thank you Al, for sharing. I wish you the best of luck in your process. And as I posted on my post below, THANK YOU for sharing so openly about your journey.

Stop the Abuse - Blog Against Abuse

This was really yesterday but I didn't realize it. So I'll post my remarks today. I'd point you to a video I posted about earlier -Go Here. I'd also encourage you to check out the photo collection posted by Nick on his blog post

I am not sure what to add to the two links above. Except that I would encourage you to speak out. If you are being hurt, tell someone -- and keep telling until you get the help you deserve and need. If you are questioning whether to speak up on someone else's behalf - do it.

Speaking out has been one of the hardest things I've done - but no regrets.

To those of you survivors posting under your real names, speaking out publicly, writing publicly, singing, drawing, etc -- THANK YOU. Thank you for having the courage to voice what others of us can't quite yet verbalize.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I've Got the Blues - National Pity Party Day

It's National Pity Party Day (I proclaimed it so, along with Austin - for origins of this day and for how to participate - see here)
(feel free to use this symbol of National Pity Part day on your post/blog. IF you post, link to the comment section here - or you can post your response here if you want)

* Remember this is the meat and guts and dirty stuff people - not just whining * WARNING - this one gets ugly.

Why you should Pity Me - AKA Why I Deserve a Pity Party AKA Why I am Pitiful -

I am parentless. Actually it's worse that that. I have parents.

  • One (my Father) always promised that his "girls" would come first. He frowned on and criticized my mother for putting her boyfriend over us kids. Then he dumped his long time (approx 5 years) girlfriend that Sister & I liked, met a woman many years his junior, introduced us to his new "fiance" and married her. All within 3 weeks. She didn't like us - or at least half of her didn't. I now recognize she was seriously bipolar and probably had MPD - compounded by her abuse of heavy drugs, her son's Ritalin and alcohol. Not a good situation. I haven't seen my Dad in the 15 years since (except at Nana's funeral at which he caused a huge scene). I did learn that Dad adopted her four children. (guess that means I have those brothers I always wanted). And then when her sister was involved in a murder-suicide, took in those 3 kids for a total of seven children. I think his youngest is probably just now 18 or so. So while I have a biological, sperm donor father, evil witch step-mama and somewhere between 4 and 7 half/adopted/step siblings, I really don't count them.
  • Then you get to my Mom. She decides she has had it with my abusive father, and should leave him. Instead of just leaving, she decides to sleep with his best friend. Then instead of telling Sister and I about him, she invites him over the same day Dad moves out. When telling Friend goodbye, she kisses him. A real, deep, you don't want to know your Mom kisses anyone like that, kiss. Sister & I finally put two and two together. We are shipped off to Grandma's house. When we return, we have a new house, new town, new school and new roommate - mom's boyfriend. Friend (we'll call him Toilet) likes Mom's children better than Mom. But that's okay, Mom is willing to share. So we all live happily ever after until children wake up and smell the coffee. Mom chooses husband (she later married him) over Girls.
  • So LONG story short, pity me because I DO have parents, specifically the ones that I have. And Pity me because apparently I am so pitiful that my parents have chosen crack-whore, crazy, abusive, pervert, evil people over me.

Pity me because I can't track of my pets. They somehow wind up "lost" frequently. When my mom relocated us to our new apartment (complete with boyfriend) my pets "disappeared". You can't have pets in apartments. When I graduated college, my mom came to graduation. She could afford the drive down, but not to board my dog, so that dog "disappeared" too.

Pity me because I had a reputation as a story-teller and liar. How do you tell your freshman Spanish teacher, that while you promised to host an exchange student for a week, your step-father's propensity for walking around naked, fondling himself in public, and hanging out of his, all too short, maroon shorts, probably didn't make that a good idea. Oh and he prefers teenage girls. So I lied. She knew it was a lie. How do you tell your geometry teacher that you couldn't bring in the drinks for the class party because your mom said you were too short on money that week and she was tired of being "nickled and dimed" to death. So I made up an elaborate story of forgetting because of a death in the family. Unfortunately she had seen me at a store over the weekend and knew I had not been out of town so she knew I lied. How do you tell your friend that she can't come to your house because your step-father is a racist and will call her names and then force me to wash the kitchen and bathrooms with bleach to remove her "contaminants"? How do you tell your coach you are quitting swim team because your mom won't get up out of bed to take you to practice and can't possibly come get you in the evenings either - oh and the comments about you in a swim outfit are too much to handle? Your friends think you are always cold and your father thinks you are anorexic because you wear long shorts/pants and sweatshirts all the time - not because you're cold, but because you don't want to show any skin. You tell people you like your room really dark, but really it is because you hang a blanket over the window and cover the door crack so no one can see you dressing/undressing. You tell your Mom you enjoy the room in the cold, damp, dark basement because it is on a different floor than step-father, and the creaking stairs give warning when he is coming down.

Pity me because my school repayment loans are in the 6 figures and the monthly payments are 3x my mortgage. Apparently Dad's promise that I'd "never have to worry about college" was contingent on there not being divorce-attorney fees. oops - he forgot to mention that. And the promise to pay an amount to me equal to child support so I'd have spending money and could concentrate on my grades, rather than working too many hours - well that was contingent on something too. Never could figure out on what. But "don't come back here or call asking for money again, you money grubbing bitch like your mother" doesn't really set a good tone for asking questions.

Pity me because today I turn 32. Twenty years since I was sexually abused (boy was that a hard sentence to type -- whew). I still deal with it every day. Deal with it when someone startles me. Deal with it when my husband wants to show affection. Deal with it when I wake up in the morning and take a handful of medication. Deal with it when I pay the monthly bills and realize that I have bills for therapy, medication, doctor's visits. Deal with it when I sit down to do my monthly work allocation reports and realize I am behind -AGAIN. Because I can't concentrate. Deal with it when I wake up in the middle of the night afraid. Deal with it when I have panic attacks. Deal with it in the form of aching jaw bones and headaches from stress. Deal with it when I have to skip out on social obligations because I know can't watch that TV show, see that movie or listen to that music. I deal with it every day, all the time.

I am pitiful - I require medication to function. I carve up my legs to cope. I curl in the corners of bathrooms and shake. I throw up upon hearing certain words. I pass out because the room spins too fast. I require extra sleep but require medication to get to sleep at all. I am unable to function in everyday society. I am unable to show the true me.

I am pitiful because I am not liked by many. I have friends - but not ones that truly know me. Because I'm afraid to get attached. Afraid people will leave me. Judge me. Think I've got too much "baggage" to handle. Because I'm terrified to hit "publish post" because this one is ugly.

Pity me because I've been a prostitute - sold myself for love/affection. Actually not quite sure that is true - I didn't sell it, I just gave it away. Starting with Toilet, then onto a string of boy (deliberate space) friends (for the most part, they weren't really people I dated). I was fortunate to only get pregnant once, and to not end up with some horrible STD. Any boy that would put up a good front about caring for me. That would come rescue me from the House of Hell on weekends. That would call and talk to me on the phone and distract me from the ongoings in the house. I had a flashback this morning as I passed one of those silver lunch trucks. Mom and Toilet ran one for awhile. I would go along. Toilet would tell Mom to "lean over more" and flirt with the construction workers so they'd buy more. They went to regular stops and when I was along, there were questions about who I was. I was 15 (very developed and looked older) and these workers were much older than me for the most part. They would make comments about "watch out for that one" to Toilet - figuring he was my father or something. He'd be smart-alecky back - then tell me to go wait on them and flirt. I believe if they'd offered him $20, he would have sent me "out to play."

I am pitiful because I have no self-respect or self-esteem. I let Toilet act as a father figure. Latched onto him actually - especially after Dad disappeared. Listed him as "father" on all forms. He was there at college and law school graduation. Walked me down the aisle at my wedding. Having him at my wedding meant my sister didn't come. So while I judge my mother for choosing him over me, I did the same thing - chose Toilet's presence over my Sisters. Guess I am a bit like dear 'ol mom after all.

Pity my husband. He married a woman who appeared to have it all together. Successfully managed the house, was in school, and took care of all the details. Now she (I) have fallen apart. He's now living, as roommates, with a woman who freaks when he touches her, and lives in her own little world most of the time. Pity me because I am unable to give him what he needs and deserves.

Pity me because when I start writing stuff like this, I have more memories and flashbacks. I don't know how to leave well enough alone.

Okay - that's enough for now. I'm not a usual "poor pity me" type of person. Have never "allowed myself the luxury" of wallowing in pity. I think it was a good exercise - extremely difficult for me. I keep wanting to go back and write "yeah but" statements or justify things or explain that I'm not "that bad" or I've "overcome that part" or something. But that's against the rules. So I'll leave it there - no matter how uncomfortable it makes me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You're Everything

Go watch this Video called You're Everything

Thank you to Mirrored Grace for sharing it on her post.

Monday, September 24, 2007

General Update (insert catchy title here)

I have not been updating my "chart" in several days - it's a chart of notes I keep about how anxious I am, how depressed, what I eat, what meds I take, whether I SI (and what time), as well as whether I exercise. I try to look for trends and explanations. The Rationalization Method. I tend to get a bit compulsive (who me?) about keeping up with it. However, I got a new home computer and the chart is on my work computer, which I'm not having to lug around anymore. So it's been a forced separation sort of thing.

With the chart, I have been trying to find some trend, illness, excuse, reason for my anxiety symptoms and depression - other than the obvious. Tried to find a reason for the trends in SI, other than me. I was searching for some logical, rational, explanation for all my symptoms.

If you've read on here for any period of time, you know I despise taking the medication. It's like admitting failure. I know there is some connection there with my "control issues." Also, my mom's perception of medication as being ..... not sure how to explain it. Mom just never thought we should be sick or go to the doctor.

Anyway, had a conversation in T about the medication last week. And have followed the incredible progress of a friend (HI Friend !) who, after accepting the medication and not fighting it, has done amazingly well. I realized that I'm approaching this wrong. I've been taking the least amount of medication possible, and using it as a last resort when I can't otherwise cope. Hmmm if I could cope in the first place, I wouldn't need the medication. So in the last week, I've taken a different approach. I'm trying to be more scheduled about when I take it - at the same time every day. I'm also taking all the medication at the very first sign of any anxiety at all. I feel like I'm popping pills all the time (although I've not gone outside the prescribed limits). Funny, how when I do that I can then use my rationalization and coping skills to sort things much better. I can see things clearer. It isn't making the panic/anxiety happen less often -- but it is helping me deal better. Go figure!

I'm okay with this right now - for today anyway! (no promises for tomorrow) There is too much going on in my life at the moment for me to be unbalanced. We accepted an offer on our house on Friday, so I'm dealing with finding a new house and preparing to move right in the midst of holidays. Work is crazy - with several big trials and end of year stuff. I also have two seminars and a girls' trip scheduled before the end of the year. I want to be level-headed during all of this. I want to enjoy things. And I am in no position to (1) be trying to cope off meds or (2) be trying to have baby #2 which is the main reason (or so I tell myself) for objecting to the meds.

Also interesting, I've not SI-ed in over 1 week. I am taking a different approach with it too. I'm not looking it as something I can overcome on my own, with the skills I have in place. SI is something I do because I can't cope - so using my current coping skills to overcome it just isn't logical. I'm trying to take the meds as soon as the thought crosses my mind - instead of waiting until the urge "gets too bad" (when it is usually too late). After the meds kick in, then I try to think things through - I skipped a shower (a tempting SI location for me) one day this weekend (shh - don't tell anyone. My husband says I didn't smell too bad !!!) Before I would have convinced myself that showering was a test of some sorts and I had to try to shower without SI-ing. If I failed, I'd be down on myself the rest of the day.

All in all, things are okay. Really okay - not fake okay. I'm having ups and downs, but I think, maybe, that is normal. Feeling - REALLY FEELING - the ups and downs is certainly different. I think that is progress too. I feel like I've taken step 1 and admitted I'm not in total, 100% control here, and I need some help - step 2, accepted (albeit grudgingly) help from medication. We'll see how this goes for awhile I guess. I know this isn't the "cure" - but it's a step in the process. I need to be stable before I can deal with any of the other junk. Dealing with life is certainly easier when I'm stable and level-headed. So I'll try to stick with it for now.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Roller Coaster of Life

This week has been a roller coaster. I'm up -- I'm down. I can't keep up. It's like a roller coaster - rapid and quick descents that take my stomach away. In my case, the descent is in the form of a panic attack mostly.

I have been stressed about this huge work case I have starting tomorrow. I'm at a coffee shop with wireless and a huge cup of caffeinated coffee right now. I've got ear phones in with pumped up music playing. I'm working hard (well taking a break at the moment). Reminiscent of school days when I would spend hours in the library at my study carrel studying.

I was mad on Friday because the partner who gave me heck about scheduling a seminar all day Friday, didn't show up in the office. Slight dip of the coaster. But I got errands run and was able to deal with house stuff, so up the coaster I climbed.

Phone call to say we had an offer on our house. Whew, rapid climb. Husband tells me he's not sure of selling - stomach dropping dip. He evens out and I climb back up - slowly as I wait for the response to our counteroffer. It's accepted. House is SOLD. Huge climb, up, up, up - look at the view. How exciting. Look at new houses to buy and it is so fun. A peaceful ride around looking at the scenery.

Rapid dips and plummets as reality sets in and I realize I have to find a house, arrange financing, pack and move -before Christmas. Add in one girls' weekend, two legal education seminars, one Thanksgiving holiday and a ballet recital. YIKES!

Hubby brings up money again - my fault again. Dip in coaster. But this time I stop the rapid descent and argue back. Around some dips and curves as we argue back and forth. I've had it. All the peaceful, calm "I feel" statements have gotten me nowhere. "when you say this, I feel blamed, hurt, upset..." blah blah. "I need for you to do this." blah blah "It would really help me if you could do this instead." blah blah. So I resort to "look here you Jerk. I've had it. This is me - you knew this when you married. Accept it and STFU. I'm done, over, finished. Either accept it or move on - I'm not going to continue to live with this thrown in my face." Ironically when I'm driven to that point - Hubby backs down. Why oh why can't he get it any other way? I mean, if I ask you not to do something, why can't you have enough respect not to do it. Why do I have to "get ugly" or have a "really good reason" for my request. How about - if you love me, respect me, appreciate me, honor me, you would ..........

Go to dinner to meet up with some girlfriends. Cruising along nicely. I get there and they have balloons, cake, presents and are singing "Happy Birthday" to me (it's really next week). Boy was my face RED! But I cruised up and was high in my coaster for awhile. Stayed there while having after-dinner coffee, laughing and catching up. Such fun. Such wonderful friends.

I wonder if "normal" life is like this. I'm really not sure what NORMAL looks like. Is it the rapid switching - up and down? It sure is different than the stale, stagnant numbness I lived in for so long. I'm liking the highs, although they do make the lows more noticeable. But I did manage to think rationally, a bit, about them. I seem to be more aware when they are coming and be able to apply the brakes just so slightly and, when in a good place, plan ahead. Take my medications, get myself in a physically safe place (away from my home bathroom), avoid going to office (where second stash of SI materials is), get away from the noise of a husband/toddler, avoid the interruptions which turn into arguments from a husband who is panicked about moving and thinks we need to pack NOW.

So here I am - at the coffee shop. No sharp instruments around. Took my meds. Drinking energy boosting, vitamin shake for supper. It's back to work for me now - while I'm on this nice, steady even keel part of the roller coaster of life.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Okay, next week is Pity Party day. Yesterday was Focus on the Positive day. Today is VENT DAY.

I just need to scream (but that is easier said and done for me with verbalization issues - I don't scream). I will however, go to the park for lunch maybe and try. Or stomp my feet (I'm good at that). Hit the steering wheel and say GRRR in a raised voice. That's about as good (or bad, depending on your perspective) that it gets.
  • We are expecting an offer on our house today. That is supposed to be good, right? Except we haven't looked much for where to move. It took us forever to get the house listed because DH wasn't sure. Then he decided that was what we needed to do and do it right there and then. Last night, he said maybe we shouldn't move. UGH. Too late now buddy. You flip flop worse than the Democrats on the war issue.
  • Last night at 9:30 pm as I'm winding down for bed, DH thinks we need to look at our finances? Right then and there. Sure, except I've got a huge trial and no time and no brain cells left. But I put aside a few moments to talk about it. Apparently, according to him, it's my school loans and medical bills (in particular jaw surgery, braces, counseling and anxiety/panic medications) that are causing us to spend too much. It is not the fact that DH has this concept that all of his "least favorite things" should be done during work hours. He can't possibly have his hair cut, mow the lawn, run errands, pay bills, or anything after work, in the evenings or on weekends. Because that is fun time. And the other is work. So, instead he takes extended lunches or leaves early. He says I do it too - yes, but big difference is that I'm on salary and as long as my work gets done, it doesn't mater. I can work any time I want - my office is always open, unlike his that has set hours. I can also work at home. Besides he only works until 4:30 so he has time before things close at 5 to go do them. I work about 55 hours a week average. He works 40. If he works overtime, he is scheduled to work 45 but he typically only takes advantage and works 42. In fact every other person is his department is on overtime except him - his boss said he never took advantage of it, so why offer it to him.
  • The senior partner who freaked out that I was going to a legal seminar today, because we just HAD to prepare all day for our trial, isn't here in the office yet. It's 11 am. He may just work from home. UGH. So I missed seminar for nothing. Finances be darned, I treated myself to Starbucks this morning. And leaving early (or taking a long lunch) to pick up my contacts which have been in for almost 2 weeks and to pick up my drycleaning (lest I have to go naked to court on Monday). Course I'll make up my hours tomorrow.
  • I am going to the grocery store to get necessities - bread and milk. DH thinks we ought to cut back on our spending. So I ought to buy cheap stuff - like canned spagetti-os and white bread. Regular Kool Aid and not country time lemonaid. Never mind that eating so poorly will increase our medical bills. Oh, but never ever buy anything but Clauusen (refrigerated, expensive) pickles, brand name (Jif) peanut butter or Kraft mac&cheese. He doesn't like those. And he should still be able to splurge when we go out to eat (which he insists is necessary at least 1x a week) and order whatever he wants, instead of using a coupon we have. He must order a soda/tea (which at $2 each adds $8 - $10 to every meal) instead of drinking water.
  • DH thinks DD ought to cut back on her activities. She's taking dance now. Daycare is bad about hitting us up for $2 here or there. $10 every once in awhile. For a magic show or pizza party or something. It does add up. But she shouldn't be the only child not going. Yet DH thinks nothing of spending gas to drive back and forth to his parents to hunt every weekend.
  • DH is cutting back in one way. He cut his counselling to every 3 weeks instead of 2. Yeah that says a lot about your priorities buddy.
  • I know I'm going to have to cut back on scrapbooking, girls trips, my coffee addiction, my shoes addiction. I've already stopped getting my hair colored and do it myself. I drink coffee at work now and treat myself rarely. I look for deals on scrapbooking. I use coupons.
  • We're not broke. We make good money - it's just not managed well. DH wants to cut our home phone line - which I use to dial in to work from home -and which I deduct on our taxes. But he doesn't want to cut cable TV. He doesn't want to learn to turn lights and TVs off when he's not in the room. He doesn't want to stop taking huge, hot baths (yes he's a weird guy there). He doesn't want to eat leftovers.
  • I need dreamless sleep back. I take ambien sometimes. But before it used to knock me flat. Now I dream with it. And wake up panicked. And remember the dreams. I need sleep - good sleep. Safe sleep. I need to sleep somewhere where I know someone is watching out for me. My husband has become restless at night - tossing and turning. We turned on the AC last night (again) to cool it down and hopefully let us both sleep better. But last night (second time this week), he got grabby in his sleep. Major panic attack in the middle of the night. He swears he tried to move me over because he came to bed late and I was sideways in the bed. But then he tried to snuggle. We've had this talk - do NOT snuggle when I am asleep. Do NOT put your arm on me or around me. Do NOT come up behind me. Typically I growl, elbow him and move. Last night I sat up straight, totally panicked, thrashing. I would have screamed but see paragraph 1 as to why I didn't. I did make odd guttural noises though. Went and turned bathroom light on. Shook for awhile. Took a xanax, and back to bed, with huge pile of pillows between us. What I really need is a safe place to sleep. In my office, I jump at noises. At the park, I usually jump as cars drive by. Do the hire out sleep monitor people? Little work required. Play on your computer, watch TV, read a book, whatever- just make sure no one "gets me" while I sleep.

So since I'm not one to just whine without a solution - here's my plan.

Option 1 - we get monopoly money and "cash" our checks. Divide the "money" into envelopes for gas, food, bills, fun money etc. If medical bills (a necessity) take more money than is budged in that envelope, we cut back somewhere else. Let us see where all this is going.

Option 2 - divide bills. I will take my school loans and 1/2 of every other bill. DH gets other half. Give it 3-6 months. Let him see that despite my school loans, my increased salary is benefit ting him more than he realizes. Because I can afford to do that - he can't. Despite my school loans, he can't afford 1/2 of the lifestyle we live now - we live it because of my salary. I've tried SUPER hard never to use the "I make more money than you" or "I'm more educated that you" card. That's not fair. Because I know I couldn't do my job without the flexibility of his (his having set hours which makes it certain he can pick up DD if I get stuck late). But it might make him take the blinders off.

And Solution 2 - leaving right now for an early lunch, picking up either contacts or dry cleaning (opposite end of town), heating up leftovers I packed, and going to park to scream - or at least try.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Focus on the Positive

Since next week is National Pity Party Day, I'm going to do an "about face" today and focus on the positives --

  • I took care of myself this week - went to my orthodontist and kept my doctors appointments.
  • I ate healthier (dieted) without going overboard into the "not eating at all" phase. I even splurged a tiny bit on occasion.
  • I managed to relax my healthy eating enough to join in the September birthdays celebration at work - eating chocolate cake.
  • I didn't beat myself up for skipping working out in favor of more sleep - given I had stayed up late working.
  • I am blessed to have a husband who is stepping in to take care of things this week with my crazy work hours.
  • I finished a HUGE work project and received a compliment from my boss on a job well done.
  • I learned something new this week - figuring out complex financial reports.
  • I didn't panic when a co-worker who I've run into several times in T's office lobby brought up a video she had been lent by them. Actually I admitted having seen some of the things in the video and we had a really good conversation about how neat we thought the studies were.
  • My daughter ran over to me when she saw me at daycare, jumped up in my arms, hugged me and said "Mommy, I love you."
  • I'm letting myself take breaks during this hectic crazy time to eat, sleep and even have fun - have been witness to some hilarious conversations between my dog and her friends. I've even thrown my head back and laughed out loud at a few. (NOTE - I've had several people ask about this - here's the link to I Also Live on a Farm. Check out the last few posts and comments. The author also has another blog - Heart to Heart - which I found really funny this morning)
  • I was able to turn the AC off and open the windows and sleep with the windows open. I was also able to do one of my favorite things - roll the windows down, turn some upbeat music up REALLY loud and drive fast through the country side.
  • Yes, that was me dancing in the living room to "Happy Phantom" by Tori Amos - and I'm not letting the fact that I dance like Daffy Duck get to me.
  • I made dinner plans with the four awesome women that I attended the Extraordinary Women conference with - to catch up and tell how God has been working in our lives since the conference. I plan to eat whatever I want that night - no calorie counting.
  • I got my laptop up and running.
  • Tonight my realtor is doing a second showing of my house to a woman who really likes it and needs to move fast because she just signed a contract on her house. I managed to stop my panic on the "what if" thoughts and just say "okay God - this one is in your hands."
  • I was able to stop myself from writing negative comments minimizing my accomplishments and actually hit "publish post" without having the negative comments there. (I'll save those for next Thursday!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I hereby designate National Pity Party Day

In Austin's comment on my post below, she had an awesome suggestion. So in her honor, I hereby designate next Thursday, September 27th as National Pity Party Day. If you would like to join our Pity Party, table for many, post your Pity Party on your blog (or comment on mine). Reservations are required. To reserve your spot - post your website/blog address in the comment section below. This way we can be sure to visit your site next Thursday. (and if you forget to RSVP, we might take pity on you!) Austin created this awesome logo which you may feel free to appropriate and use on your blog post.

On Pity Party Day, you post on your blog your reasons for having a pity party. No self-deprecation. No justifications. No objectivity. No rationalizations. Just straight out whining. You can start with, "I'm pitiful because..." or "You should pity me because...." or my favorite "I'm whining because........". Then there is the "poor pitiful me........" No kicking into self-protection or survival mode. To quote Austin, "just lay it all out there."
AUSTIN SAYS - I think it should be serious pity if we really want it to be. I mean for real, not trying to be politically correct and stuff like that. Not trying to be a survivor for that entry. No worries that someone will think badly if we tell how we really feel about life as a survivor. I intend to let jokes aside and tell it like it is, no holds barred. September 27th y'all will hear a whole new Austin.
I agree with Austin - no "pity me because I have straight hair and I want curly" or "I really wish I could afford a 2000 square foot house instead of just 1,200". This is serious stuff folks - the bare your soul, let's get dirty.

Why did I choose Sept 27th. First, to give us time to prepare. A proper party requires preparation. And second, it's my (birthday) party, and I'll cry if I want to!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Woman in the Mirror

A few days ago, my husband was whining about all the stuff he had to do with Church. It aggravated me. I told him he needed to quit whining and stop signing up for things he didn't (our wouldn't) commit too. Later he said something to me about wanting my support and not my criticism and that he ought to be allowed to complain to me. It made me think. I should support him. I try too support him. I just get tired of the same complaints when he's not working to fix things. When he complains about the same things every year, but continues to sign up for those activities over and over again.

It made me think though - I don't tend to do well with whining. Or with pity parties. My mom is the biggest whiner. She is always having a pity party for herself. Just talking to her on the phone is enough to bring me down. I subconsciously made it my life's mission not to be like her. I posted here about my mom's inability to decide whether to visit my Sister or her parents. I just received an email from my Sister - she forwarded me an email from Mom. Appears that Mom finally got up the nerve to approach a co-worker about switching some days. She is planning a two day trip to her parents and then two days to my Sister's house. So that will approximate four days in 2 years that she has spent with my Sister and her three children.

I started a post on here the other day which was very much like a self-pity party. The closest I come to complaining is on here. I feel like I can let loose with my real feelings on here. Not feeling the need to hide how I'm really doing. I'm not a whiner or a complainer. (or at least I don't think I am!!) If there is a problem that needs addressing, I tackle it head on. If someone asks me how I am, "I'm fine" or even on the bad days, "I'm okay." For me, "Things are going okay." When the doctor asked me the other day to rate my pain on a scale of 1-10, I said a 7. The doctor looked at me funny and wanted to know why I was still standing. The answer was because I had too. I had to work. I had to drive myself (husband didn't hear the 15 phone calls, 1 text messages, and 6 voice mails). I just had to do it.

So the other day today I was thinking -- what if I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity just for a few moments. What would that look like? What are the first few thoughts that would come to my mind? I got stuck. I found it impossible. I always end up seeing the other side of things -- talking myself out of it being "all that bad." I tell myself that it "could have been worse" and I need to "suck it up and deal with it" or "move on." Those same words I had thrown at me all my life.

People see me as this strong person. Whatever (eye roll). A couple of years ago, I had a meeting with work about maternity leave. I was coughing and choking back tears - ME the "I don't cry person" - what is up with that? I'm dreading the next big work meeting I need to have. I remember an intense confrontation in school when I was an RA - and getting all choked up and not handling it well at all. I tend to cough and blame the scratchy voice/tears on allergies lest anyone think I am weak. I'm a strong advocate for others. However, I'm not at all strong when it comes to me. I don't stand up for myself. I never have. I didn't stand up for myself in the middle of the abuse, and I don't do it now.

When I think about it - when I think about wallowing in self-pity - when I think about being seen as weak - I see (huge gag) my mom. And I don't want to be her in any way. Big, whack myself upside the head, revelation here - If I am not in control, strong, have it all together, I see my mom - if I have pity, a bad day, cry, whine I see my mom. And I hate that so I don't allow myself to be that way. I insist on being the strong, in control, have it all together, professional. But inside I'm really not. And I hate that inside part of myself. I want to cut it of me - literally some days.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Angel - A cry for Help

A few days ago I wrote this post Here about the songs that speak to me. Concrete Angel by Martina McBride is one.

I recently stumbled across a video version by slvrgrl2029 on Youtube. The song plays in the background, while images of abused children and statistics scroll in the forefront. I'd encourage you to watch it - and remember that these are real children being talked about - not just statistical numbers. (trigger warning - the video is very stirring and may be triggering to some).

It's sad to see the number of reported cases. Sadder still to realize that the large majority of cases go unreported.

The song goes like this -

she walks to school with a lunch she packed
nobody knows what she's holding back
wearing the same dress she wore yesterday
she hides the bruises with the linen and lace
the teacher wonders but she doesn't ask
it's hard to see the pain behind the mask
bearing the burden of a secret storm
sometimes she wishes she was never born

CHORUS: through the wind and the rain
she stands hard as a stone
in a world that she can't rise above
but her dreams give her wings
and she flies to a place where she's loved
concrete angel

somebody cries in the middle of the night
the neighbors hear but they turn out the light
a fragile soul caught in the hands of fate
when morning comes it'll be too late
a statue stands in a shaded place
an angel girl with an upturned face
a name is written on a polished rock
a broken heart that the world forgot
(Click here to see Martina's Version - music video)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two Hundred Fifty-One Posts

This is my two hundred and fifty first post. Wow! I started this on January 30th of this year. Seven and one-half months ago. I started out writing just for myself. My blog was entirely private. Then I let a few friends in. I then made it public on February 10th and started getting comments. I'm still anonymous, in that I don't use my name or others' names. But in the grand scheme of things, the readers of my blog (that would be y'all!) know me far better than many people in my life who know my name.

I've made some great friends in the blogging world. Some have mailed me inspirational books. I've met up with others. And I chat frequently by email or IM with still others. (You know who you are!). Browsing on other blogs and posting there have brought readers here to my site. And I've met some wonderful people that way.

I've received more support on this blog than I ever thought possible. Best of all, it has helped me get in touch with my feelings again. I used to write all the time when I was younger. Then I stopped and stifled all my feelings. Writing here has been a good release for me. I enjoy starting my days with coffee, writing on my blog, and checking the blogs of the others I read. When all else is going wrong, I can write here and feel supported.

A huge ((((hug)))) and thank you to everyone who reads this. I'd love to hear your comments and just to know you read this. Cheers to 250 posts under my belt and I'm looking forward to many, many more.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Telephone Call from Mom - Role Reversal Again

My mother called me last night. Three years ago we talked every 4-5 days, but at least one time a week. We IM-ed every other day or so and emailed just as often. She came to visit every 2-3 months. Then I started counseling and there was that joint session with Mom. Things changed around that time. Partly because there were things said at that meeting. Partly because my attitude has changed toward Mom and I've come to accept and deal better with my feelings toward her. I'm less likely to hide things and "fake it." I think it's healthier. So now we talk when she calls me - about 1 time a month. I call her every few months. I've not seen her since Easter. We IM every few weeks and email group emails to the family every few weeks too.

So Mom called last night. We got through the awkward stuff. Because we don't talk as often, I forget that she's not up-to-date on my life. She had no idea I had stayed home sick. Two years ago she would have been the first person I called the day I went to urgent care.

I asked Daughter if she wanted to talk to Grandma. Then came the awkward pause where I had to explain that it was Grandma and not Grammy. But they talked. Then Daughter wanted to pass the phone around and have everyone talk. Husband was making faces the whole time.

Then Mom goes back to talking to me. We chit chat. I ask about my grandparents. She updates me. Along with the distance between Mom and I, has come distance with my grandparents. After the joint meeting and then the pointed emails exchanged, she must have vented to my grandparents. They don't email me or write letters much anymore. Anyway, Grandpa's health is poor. Mom started her pity party - she only gets 1 week vacation and doesn't know where she should go - to her parents or my sister's house. She has not seen my sister since Easter - before that it was the Easter before. She's not been to her house in about 3 years probably. Her last vacation she took with her husband (Toilet) and before that to her parents. She is worried that if she doesn't go to her parents, it might be too late. Now if it were me, I'd leave on day 1 and drive to parents, stay 2 days. Leave on day 4 to drive to Sisters, stay 2 days and drive home on day 7. Sure it would be tiring, but suck it up and deal with it for family. Of course, Mom can't do that. So I had to listen to her pity party. I think she wanted me to give her advice and tell her what to do. That whole role reversal where I counsel her and make decisions for her. She wanted me to say it was okay to go to her parents. Then when it came up with my sister, she could say "well I talked to (my name) and she said it was okay." I didn't fall into her trap.

Mom did do very well in abiding by the "rules" this time - no mention of her husband or use of the words "we" or "us." That was nice.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Nana

This week marks the 4th anniversary of my Nana's death. Nana was Dad's mom. She was fiesty. She worked almost up until her death. She worked as a nurse in a retirement home and often joked that she was younger than most of her patients. It was only in the last year of her life that she really began to slow down.

Nana would not stand for anyone to say anything negative about her family. Even if they deserved it. She bragged endlessly about her grandchildren. Nana lived up north. We would visit most Thanksgivings and every summer. My dad's family owns some property that is lake front. On it are three cottages where we would stay during the summer. My happiest times were at the lake. It is my safe place -where I go in my mind - when I need to feel safe. When my mom and I's relationship was at it's worst, I was sent to Nana's for the summer. That summer was the best summer of my life.

My senior year of high school was when Dad remarried and cut my sister and I out of his life. However, my dad's side of the family all banded together and arranged for Sister and I to come to the Lake that summer. It was the last summer I spent there.

I continued to write and call Nana often. She never said a negative word about my Dad and didn't stand for Sister or I to gripe about him either. But she never defended him. She let it be known that his actions were not acceptable. But he was still our father and her son and we were not to be disrespectful. In an odd way, I respected her for that.

While in college, Sister and I drove up to visit Nana one time. She was so super excited to see us. She brought all her elderly friends over to visit and show us off.

In 2001 I was awarded the use of my work's time share. Rather than go somewhere exotic, I decided to go to the Lake. Nana had cancer and I knew she would not live much longer. I arranged for Sister and her family (she had two children then and was pregnant with her third) to drive up for part of the week. We spent a lot of time driving around our old vacation haunts. We also visited with family. That was the last time we saw Nana.

Nana died in 2003. I had just contacted her to tell her that we found out we were expecting a girl. One of the last things she did was purchase two adorable pink outfits. I received them after her death - at her funeral.

Sister and I flew up north for her funeral. It was the anniversary of September 11th and the family delayed the funeral one day so we would not actually have to fly on the 11th. We stayed with an aunt. For the first time in years we would also see my father and his wife. The funeral was difficult. Dad had no idea I was pregnant and that was a shock for him. He made a scene - typical of him - because he was not invited to sit up front or speak. What he didn't realize is that there were no invitations - the rest of us family just gathered and sat down. And if he had shown up to participate in the planning, he would have known that anyone could speak. After the funeral we drove back to my Aunt's house. The whole family was gathering there. Dad chose not to come. Instead he left a message on Aunt's answering machine. They wouldn't let Sister or I hear all of it, but there were some harsh words ("bitch" and "whore") said - mostly directed toward my sister I think.

It has taken awhile but I can finally think of Nana being alive. Instead of just remembering the funeral and the scene Dad made. Nana was always active and fiesty. I remember her drinking Diet pepsi out of a can and not sharing. Turns out Nana liked a bit of rum in her pepsi can! She would let my cousin and I fetch treats - hidden in her pantry. There were always Twix bars - no matter how late at night and close to bedtime. Nana taught me to cross-stitch and knit. I picture her tap dancing on the clouds in heaven. I miss you Nana!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Saying it Better than I Can

(Warning - this is a LONG post ;) )
I have fallen in love with Itunes. I enjoy such a wide variety of music genres and it is impossible to find a pre-made CD with all my favorite songs on it. From country to jazz to classical to heavy metal to rock to contemporary Christian. I like all of it - if it has a good beat and good lyrics. A few weeks ago I downloaded a bunch of songs onto a CD I’ve labelled my "Survivor" CD. Some ("Concrete Angel") prompt tears. Some ("Goodbye Earl") make me laugh. Some ("Fighter") give me a fighting spirit. Some ("One" and "Janie’s Got a Gun") just have a kick ass beat to them. But all of them have lyrics that speak to me for one reason or another. Here are some excerpts -

Concrete Angel - Martina McBride
She walks to school with the lunch she packed

Nobody knows what she's holdin' back
Wearin' the same dress she wore yesterday
She hides the bruises with linen and lace
The teacher wonders but she doesn't ask
It's hard to see the pain behind the mask..........
A statue stands in a shaded place

An angel girl with an upturned face
A name is written on a polished rock
A broken heart that the world forgot

That was me - the girl who walked to school with no one knowing what was going on. The teachers had the clues but never asked. And I wore a mask all the time (still do).

Holy Water - Big & Rich
Someone ran away with her innocence - A memory she can't get out of her head

I can only imagine what she's feeling When she's praying - Kneeling at the edge of her bed.

That is me - my innocence is gone. I'm not sure the last time I had it. And the memories sure don't leave my head. Except I didn't pray. Didn't know it was an option. Well, I take that back. I prayed some - like "God help me" and "why" but those weren't exactly answered then.

Fade Away - 12 Stones
I will not be ashamed

Just because you don't believe in anything that I say

Now I turn and I walk away from you -- I won't fade away -- I won't fade away again

I wish I could do that - not be ashamed, just because my mom didn't believe me - doesn't believe me really. I have turned and walked away though - distanced myself from her. I am trying not to fade away again. To keep my head above water. To keep from falling into quicksand of numbness again.

East to West - Casting Crowns
Here I am Lord and I’m drowning
In Your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest.

This song is relatively new and goes on to talk about the "new" creation wanting to know that their "old" self and sin is as far as the east is from the west. A good concept. But this verse struck me. I feel like the chains of yesterday are weighing me down and I yearn from rest from dragging the stupid things around.

Independence Day - Martina McBride
Well she lit up the sky that fourth of July

By the time that the firemen come
They just put out the flames, and took down some names
And sent me to the county home
Now I ain’t sayin' it's right or it's wrong
but maybe it's the only way
Talk about your revolution

It's Independence Day
Let Freedom ring, let the white dove sing

Let the whole world know that today is a Day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay, it's Independence Day

My sister and I used to have elaborate fantasies of Toilet dying. Some of them involved us killing him. He got really sick last year and we waited for news - to figure out when we needed to plan the celebration party. I know that is totally contrary to Christian principles of forgiveness. But to have that total peace of knowing he is gone - I will never run into him in a store - I will never have to deal with him surrounding my mom's eventual death - and most importantly, he can't ever do to anyone else what he did to me. For me his death will be an Independence day - it's the day that he (the guilty) will pay - I believe there is a special place in hell waiting for his arrival.

One - Metallica
I can't remember anything

Can't tell if this is true or dream
Deep down inside I feel to scream
This terrible silence stops me
Now that the war is through with me
I'm waking up, I cannot see
That there's not much left of me
Nothing is real but pain now
Hold my breath as I wish for death

Oh please god, wake me
Darkness imprisoning me

All that I see
Absolute horror
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body my holding cell

This song is about a man whose arms and legs are destroyed by a landmine in a war. I used to listen to this song over and over back when I was still living in the House of Hell. I wanted to scream - because nothing felt real except the pain. I wished for death. But the silence won and the scream was stifled - stuffed deep inside. I felt trapped inside this shell of a body - still feel that way often.

Fighter - Christina Aguilera
'Cause your greed sold me out of shame, mmhmm
After all of the stealing and cheating
You probably think that I hold resentment for you
But, uh uh, oh no, you're wrong
'Cause if it wasn't for all that you tried to do
I wouldn't know just how capable I am to pull through
So I wanna say thank you
'Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

I didn't like this song at first because it says "Thank you" and I sure am not thanking anyone for what I went through. But then I realized that I did become more capable, stronger, worked harder, wiser, a fighter, learned faster, and have thicker skin. So why I'm sure not saying "Thank you" to him, I am seeing the value of those skills. Besides, this song has a rocking beat and just comes off so positive and empowering.

Does Anybody Hear Her - Casting Crowns
She is running100 Miles an hour
In the wrong direction
She is trying But the canyons ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart.....
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Lord does anybody even know she's going down today?
Under the shadow of our steeple with all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

She is yearning For shelter and affection
That she never found at home......
If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people Who can't see past her scarlet letter And we never even met her

The first church I ever went too sure didn't turn me on to Christian people. It was very strict. On the one hand, I liked the black/white rules. You knew where you stood. But on the other hand, I was looked down upon. My parents weren't there. I sure didn't receive the love and affection from others. I was judged for not making it every Wednesday and every Sunday (I often had to work, or was at a required visitation with my father). I felt like no one heard me or saw me. I just was invisible there.

Ask Me - Amy Grant
I see her as a little girl hiding in her room

She takes another bath and she sprays her momma’s perfume
To try to wipe away the scent he left behind
But it haunts her mind.
You see she’s his little rag, nothing more than just a waif
And he’s mopping up his need, she is tired and afraid
Maybe she’ll find a way through these awful years to disappear.

Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did he go in the middle of her shame? .....

This song bugs me. It's a contemporary Christian song. First, the opening lines are just powerful. The image of a little girl hiding, spraying perfume, being someone's rag and a little waif. And the line about "he's mopping up his need" and she'll find a way to "disappear." I can relate all to well to those words and feelings. I had to really look up the words to this song. Originally, I thought it said "I see no mercy in calling down his name in vain" but it really says "I see no mercy and no one down here's naming names -- Nobody's naming names." Toward the end of the song, the young girl grows up - and while she still "listens to the quiet of the house" and "leaves a light on in the hall," she realizes "noone's left to harm her, she's finally safe and sound. There's a peace she's found." The song continues to ask the question - "She said his mercy is bringing her life again. She's coming to life again. He's in the middle of her pain, In the middle of her shame. Mercy brings life. He's in the middle..Mercy in the middle."

The problem is that I didn't feel God in the middle. Frankly I'm glad of that. Who wants to feel God's presence in the midst of something so utterly disgusting, degrading and shameful? The real issue I have with this song is that it doesn't say HOW - how did this girl come to life again. How did she find God in the midst of her pain and shame. It doesn't answer that question.

My Immortal - Evanescence
Cause your presence still lingers here

And it won't leave me alone
These wounds won't seem to heal.

This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase.

This song kind of sums it up. Toilet's presence lingers - where I least expect it sometimes. It doesn't leave me alone. The wounds - well they aren't oozing as bad as they were, but they've sure not healed yet. The pain is real and there is so much that time will never erase.

I hope for the promises in Amy Grant's song that I will find mercy. Mostly mercy for myself. For the ability to let go of some of this pain and all the other junk. To climb out of the numb part, stop wishing for death, and to feel again - to win again. To find me again.

(for more on this topic, see this prior post here)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Changing colors again

There may be a lot of color changes coming up - I just can't handle the light colored font on dark background - kills my eyes. So I'm still playing with it - if you see something you like/hate just yell. I'm open to suggestions.

Breaking Free of the Status Quo

A friend commented that my writing seemed funnier lately. Not as serious. More light-hearted. She wanted to know if that was really how i was doing or whether I was in denial. Good question. I guess if I came out of "blah" long enough to think about it, I might know the answer. Course then I might have to actually deal with some of this unfinished stuff. Instead of just living in the status quo.

I might have to deal with the fact that I'm still SI-ing - except I really don't care.
The fact that I'm still taking a plethora of pills every day - except I don't care enough to try to do anything about getting off them.
The fact that I don't think about trying for baby #2 very often at all anymore - have I given up my dreams?
The fact that my husband and I live like roommates - and I have no desire to change that.
The fact that we are 75% of the way through the year and I'm only 51.6% of the way toward my monetary goal at work - and I can't work up enough energy to do anything about it.
The fact that I'm going to have to call the jaw doctor because I can't stop clenching my jaw and I have headaches every day - and I really don't care that I may be throwing $6,000 (and rising) worth of jaw surgery/procedure money down the drain by re-damaging it.
The fact that I've gained over 30 pounds, none of my clothes fit, and I can't afford to buy a whole new wardrobe, especially of suits - and yet I still eat horribly every day.
The fact that I get out of breath going up the 3 flights of stairs in my office because I'm out of shape - yet I still skip working out at least 1-2 times a week.
The fact that I keep having random health problems - chest tightness (anxiety I think), back pain (kidney issues which I think I conquered with a whole ton of cranberry juice), asthma issues - yet I am in denial and keep coming up with excuses for each one instead of going to the doctor.
The fact that I'm living in "okay" instead of dealing with whatever it is that is keeping me just "okay" and stuck in the status quo - because I'm not sure why I'm feeling this way and I certainly can't begin to deal with anything unless I know the "why" first.

The status quo is sort of like "numb" - I'm just going along with the flow of things. I keep telling myself I deserve the break. That I'm just slowing down until I get back on the fall schedule and adjust to all the activities starting back up. But that too, would be an excuse.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ditizness Strikes Again

It sure is Monday. I have been feeling much like a fattened cow lately. I've gained way too much weight. This medication makes me hungry all the time. However, in the medicine's defense, I'm the one choosing to eat chocolate and ice cream and donuts all the time. When I look in the mirror I see something resembling the creature I saw at the zoo last week.

This morning I decided to have a better week. Woke up and hit the gym. Was patting myself on the back for getting up and having a good workout when I realized I had packed two different black shoes. Not only that, but they were both for the right foot. So I decided I would get dressed, put on my sneakers and just try to stay hidden at the office. On my way to court, I'd run back by my house and pick up the correct shoes.

Then as I got dressed (or tried to), I realized my pants didn't fit. Not in the "a little snug" way -- but in the "no way under the sun these things are going to fasten" way. Hmm....guess I've put on a bit more weight than I thought.

So home I go, rushing to change clothes and find the correct shoes. Show up at work only 30 minutes late to find out I had forgotten about an 8 am appt and they have been waiting 30 minutes. Rush through it to find out opposing counsel is in the hospital so my court date is cancelled. All in all, it's a Monday all right. Now someone tell those donuts to stop calling my name!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Terrific - Terrible Threes

It's finally quiet here. Whoever told me that "terrible twos" was nothing compared to "terrible 3s" was exactly right. I am in the midst of Toddler terrors. While I am ready to throttle her and scream, a part of me can't help but admire her spunk. I'm struggling with disciplining her without crushing her spirit. I don't have many examples and role models to fall back upon. So it's a trial and error thing here at my house.

Yesterday my husband went to play golf with the guys. So I got up and decided DD and I would go run errands and have some girl time. We started out with a trip to the coffee store where I purchased caffeine for me and a chocolate milk for her. She thought she was "hot stuff" carrying around her coffee cup. So our day started out great. Then I wouldn't let her do something and the melt-down began. "But I never got to do that...." ----- "Why mommy?" ----- and our latest favorites "You're mean" ---- "You are NOT my best friend" ---- and "I don't like you." At home it is stomped feet, thrown things, hitting objects and even biting things. While I am grateful she has learned not to throw things AT me, hit me or bite me, I still don't like her attitude. We've done lots of time outs in the bedroom. (Number one on my husband's "honey do" list is to fix her bedroom door so it will latch). We've had talks. I've had time outs (if I lock myself in the bathroom, turn the water on, turn the fan on, and shout "la la la" it's ALMOST enough to drown out toddler tantrums). Right now, Hubby is taking his turn. He took her to the store (brave man). When he returns I'll get to try to figure out what will not cause a meltdown for dinner and get her bathed and in bed. No easy feat. Then we will both collapse on the couch and wonder why on earth we ever thought having children would be fun! A friend at church told me today, "this too will pass." I keep saying that over and over again.

I think the biggest change recently is my daughter's level of understanding and comprehension. It is amazing and wonderful to see her put things together in her head. She is figuring out relationships - so if (name) is your sister, then she is my Aunt, and her children are my cousins. Things like that. However, along with those new, advanced thoughts come the questions I'm not quite ready for. Like, where is your Daddy? Can I go see him? Who is Grandma's husband? Do I have two Grandpas?

I'm not sure the approach to take yet. In some aspects, I'm fortunate because my Sister, whose children are older, has already been down this path. So I can borrow her version of events. It's hard to explain to a 3 year old that my father is out there somewhere but chose his new wife over his family. That Grandma's husband is not "appropriate" to be around children. That Grandma doesn't want to come visit and won't make the efforts to come see her. That no, we can't go to Grandma's house because it's not safe there. I am extremely glad my daughter has my husband's family - a little quirky, but relatively sane. And safe - that's the biggest thing. Next weekend, she will go spend the night with Grammie and Pop-Pop while I get some girls' time and Daddy goes hunting. I'm grateful she has those influences in her life.

Anyway, enough rambling. I need to enjoy my last few moments of toddler-free and quiet time.