The Sins of the Fathers.

This used to be my thinking place. It was a place of solitude and safety, where I could sit and reflect. The cacophony of noise and loudness, the whir of background whisperings and hummings within and without; it would fade in this place. There would be an echoing silence, broken only by an occasional door closing or distant, hollow sound of a cabinet opening and closing if someone was in the sacresty. I would sit, contemplating whatever it was that troubled me. Sometimes, the answers would come. Often times, it was simply a calming, peacefulness that descended over me, making it easier to work through whatever it was that was causing me worry. I would emerge, cleansed somehow, feeling as if I had taken a short, energy-giving nap; my inner voice strengthened and restored to the forefront, where it could speak over the chaos.

Some would say that this was God. The Holy Spirit was working its magic, giving me clarity. Think whatever you wish. Whatever your beliefs, go ahead and attribute this to them. It’s okay. In choosing not to believe, I am perfectly fine with others who do. I almost envy them, as sure as they are of an afterlife and that God is walking with them. I don’t believe in those things, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in something. I just don’t subscribe to the dog and pony show that is religion, and especially Christianity.

From those first, overwhelming moments as a young child, when I entered through the front doors, I was in love with the surroundings within the walls of my church. I have detailed, before, that the pageantry attracted me, and the ritual. Those things held me in their thrall. When I was young, there was a much more thriving Roman Catholic community here, and we had not only a rectory for the many priests in residence at our parish, but a convent filled with nuns. That was a part of the fabric that made up my childhood; the nuns ruled our catechism classes and taught us all the things we needed to know and the priests were like kings who occasionally deigned to walk amongst us, murmuring words of encouragement about our studies.

There was one priest who was in residence in the 70s, when I was still young and making my first holy communion and such. He was quiet, and spoke gently, and his sermons were always interesting and soothing. He didn’t smile a lot, but when he did, it was beatific. His hair was black and well-kept. He was handsome, reverent, and commanded a room without raising his voice at all. He dazzled me, a child who walked home to a fatherless apartment, and whenever he would say hello to me, I felt annointed. In those days, most of the priests were addressed by their last names, as befitting some sort of decorum. He was Father Lynch. I am sure he never knew that a quiet, naive little girl thought he was lovely. No, I am quite sure he never gave me a thought at all.

There was another priest, much younger, who came to our parish when I was a young teenager. This was at a time when the rules were shifting a bit and the clergy was trying to connect with its parishioners on whatever level it could; this predated RENEW, a program introduced where the Church beckoned those who had left the faith, or had allowed their faith to lapse, to come back into the fold, and recruited new Catholics, too. At that time, revenues were down, the faithful were straying, and new priests and nuns were becoming a scarce commodity. What better way to attract new blood than to “wash all the sins” away and start fresh?

This young priest was absolutely refreshing to our bored, ambivalent CCD class. He was cool, treated us like we felt we deserved, and really connected with us on a level we understood. He got us. Plus, he stayed for a whole class, giving us a break from the Sisters, who were both exhaustingly strident and bipolar, chattering away excitedly one moment, then barking and growling the next.

This priest was Father Chet, as he asked us to call him, and he was the last priest to ever hear my confession. He encouraged us to do it face-to-face, and while I was violently opposed to confession and didn’t believe in it, I lined up, like everyone else, to do this brave, new thing. I don’t remember what I confessed; probably something about swearing and lying to my mom; but he was encouraging and kind and it felt like talking to a friend. I left the room feeling upbeat; I still thought confession was bullshit, but if I ever had to do it, that would be the way I would prefer it – as long as it was Father Chet sitting across from me. I felt connected to him, even though we never had another one-on-one meeting again. He was there; then he was gone. The Church was always moving priests around, and this was a sad consequence.

These two priests are amongst the small, handful of positive memories and effects the Church had upon me as a youth. I would find the courage, when I was 15, to reject the rules foisted upon me; the beliefs I “had” to have in order to be confirmed. I walked home the evening the Monsignor bombasted us with the rules and chastised us if we questioned why we could not have personal choice in things such as abortion, birth control, sex, service to the Church, and so on. I was livid, quietly fuming. My mom and grandmother had instilled, within me, the belief that a woman didn’t need a man and I was aggravated that this guy was telling me how I had to feel in order to have some Bishop place his hand on me. Fuck that, I thought, and entered the apartment, loudly announcing that I was done and I wasn’t going back. My mother’s response was disappointment, but she had also given up trying to force me into things because all it did was cause a fight. She was much more into doing her own thing in those days, which included men and bars. She needed my complacency to assure her a sitter for The Male Sibling Unit. In any event, I would continue to attend Mass and I would lead responses and do solos with the choir, but that was me, doing me; what I liked about attending. I didn’t have to believe in anything but myself in order to sing.

The Grand Jury Report about the widespread corruption and abuse of children by priests in Pennsylvania was published this week. The numbers are staggering; the heartbreak has one, single voice and it speaks to all. Those of us who were abused by authority figures in our youth understand the searing pain, anguish, and shame these victims have felt; we join our heartbeats to theirs to form a deafening sound. Their courage is unquestionable and our outrage is like a forest fire in a drought-plagued landscape. The horrors are legion: pornography rings, marking victims with gold crosses to easily identify desensitized youth susceptible to more attacks, pregnancies, sadomasochistic acts, lying, payoffs; pressure to silence victims, whistleblowers, and families.

This is not “God”. This is not “Satan”. This is “Man”.

This is corruption and blackmail, a rich, powerful entity cloaking itself in privilege and religious piety, deigning to judge others when it was perpetrating horror and hell upon innocent victims and then using that power to beat down anyone who spoke up. It is evil; pure in form, the most blatant, transparent evil ever to walk this earth. It is men in power, surrounding themselves with riches, wielding it in the most cruel of ways. It is inherently human.

Those two priests, Father Lynch and Father Chet, who were positives in my otherwise unremarkable, Catholic childhood? You guessed right if you suspected that their names are on the list of priests who committed abuse in our Diocese. What little faith in the things and people I believed were good back then have been reduced by two. Many names, I recognized; many were not a surprise, because there has been a lot of talk since 2002, when this blew wide-open in the United States. There was one highly-publicized case that occurred in this decade, and that priest was found guilty in a court of law and later laicized by the Church. He still lives here, walks proudly, almost arrogantly, amongst us, and still has his supporters. I even knew some victims of priests going all the way back to high school; I dated a young man whose family had been paid off. That priest is not on the list, which is troubling, because if he isn’t, others aren’t, and that means there are so many more victims out there, afraid to come forward. I urge them to read this report and, if they don’t see “their” priest, to speak up. I don’t care if said priest is living or dead; it all matters. You matter. Your pain, shame, and suffering matters. The only way to free ourselves of the chains is to speak our attackers’ names and expose them. I have to believe that if I am wrong, and God exists, that is what He would want. Therein lies the rub for me, also; what merciful God would allow this kind of pain to be inflicted in His name? But that’s perhaps another subject, for another time.

I’m going to have to find another sanctuary for my thinking. My quiet place has ceased to exist for me. Some might say, “Well, you’re an Atheist anyway. To you, it’s just a pleasant, calming atmosphere where you go to escape the chaos of life. It doesn’t mean anything to you spiritually.”

It does, though. I can never seek out peace, solitude, and contentment in a place where evil has held court. I would not hear the silence I crave echoing through the vast, fragrant space. I would hear the cries of the victims, their voices blending together in one, painful, wailing wave of numbing terror. There is no peace in such a place of blasphemous, malignant atrocities committed against the very weakest, youngest, most innocent of victims. It would be heretically wrong to ever try and find solace in such a place.

Burn it all down. Erase it from the world. Better yet, liquidate it, all of the riches and ill-gotten gains of the behemoth Church, a true monster on this earth, and do some true good in eradicating this world of pain, blight, and suffering. Those clergy left standing should demand a complete overhaul of the “system” and, if the Church is adamant about “a vow of poverty” and celibacy, then damn-well adhere to it. I don’t care how it’s accomplished, but it’s pretty simple: figure it out. That would be a small start.

For me, though? Nothing will ever be enough. Humankind keeps proving me wrong. At least it’s consistent.

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Let there be light, and hope, and peace.

Today, a little, brutal honesty. With myself.

Most of you, who are close friends and family, and some of you, who are on the outer banks of my circle, know that I was officially diagnosed with depression and anxiety/panic disorder a few years ago. It was something I always had, from a very young age, but something I stubbornly refused to admit to or treat. My first suicide attempt was at 14. I was in therapy for about a year after that, and then decided I was cured. Throughout my life, I have made really bad decisions; unwise and dangerous for both me and my family. I simply never felt totally “human” or deserving of anything good, or kind, or loving. I settled for crumbs when what I deserved was the whole cake. (A little bit of knowledge for you: we ALL deserve the whole cake.) A combination of shame/refusal to admit that something left me vulnerable/and social stigma left me in the darkness, unwilling to ask for help. It did not go unnoticed; I was doing self-destructive things and behaving in ways that suggested that I did not care. I was, and remain, pigheaded and the very definition of a “runner”; if you spook me when I am not ready, I’ll disappear, right down into myself. Procrastination, avoidance, building walls – that’s my coping mechanism. My family did not know how to deal with that.

My physical problems have exacerbated everything. The loss of physical strength, the pain, and being a slave to eye drops and still not seeing clearly; all of these weigh heavily on me. Not only is my brain doing me in, but my body seems to be giving up the fight, too. This only makes the mental battle seem insurmountable. It is terribly isolating and allows for self-pity. I detest self-pity in others; my own is intolerable.

Bad things have happened to me throughout my life. From a very young age, I was victimized. It left me vulnerable to those who would take advantage of my desire to simply be loved. The victimization continued, and with that, it extended onto people I love. This became unacceptable for me; the hurt I caused with my choices, the terrible things that happened, as a result, to my family, and the victims I felt I created with those decisions. I have thought about/fantasized about/actually planned my demise so many times, it actually seems almost comical to me. What to use? How to do it? When? What will cause the least fuss?

I have been at the edge for a while now. Over the past few months, I tied myself to a tree in order to be there to help the ones I love more than my own life; the collateral damage of my poor choices has left, in its wake, more damage; damage I would not have dreamed of inflicting upon them. Damage that, as someone who has divided up pieces of her figurative heart and soul and given them out, I could have never foreseen occurring.

The pain is too much to bear. The pain I would cause if I took the easy way out of this mess would be greater. I know it. I feel it. I do not wish for that. But the pull is strong, the ropes are loosening, and there is the desire for peace. Somehow, there must be peace. I’m tired; tired of the struggle. I am tired of being strong, when I don’t feel it. Tired of feigning happiness, when my well is is dry. I’m tired of myself.

I sent up a “Bat Signal”, as a friend calls it, yesterday. Know this: I don’t do that. It’s a new thing for me; something I preach to others, urge them to do. If you need me, say the word, and I will be there. Talk to me.

And yet, I have not been able to practice what I preach.

Yesterday, a wave of panic/fear/self-revulsion/hopelessness washed over me that was so strong, all I wanted was an oblivion of nothing. I could have, should have walked into the next room and curled up in my husband’s arms. The thought came to me that he had to be so fucking tired of seeing the woman who stormed the castle to to claim his love, who rebelled against anything she found intolerable, who fiercely (and falsely) asserted her independence after a marriage of chains, taken down by her own mind. He didn’t sign up for this, did he? I reacted by just sending out a meme. The response was swift. A friend reached out and talked to me. She took me out of that immediate panic, where I was frantically trying to free myself from the tree and just run the short distance to the the edge, to darkness. I was able to move then, to rationalize. I was able to get through a day not without stress and problems. Others reached out in their ways. Two friends – one of 35+ years, and one of a lot less but still a great source of strength – reached out last night and let me talk.

They don’t know it, but they all accomplished the task of retightening the knots on my ropes. They provided a respite from my own mind. They gave me a few moments of clarity and a chance to rationalize. It is so very true that we do not know what battles others are fighting. Had you seen me yesterday, buying groceries, you’d never have suspected that I was flat-out stoned from benzos and still racing away from the panic that was pulling at me. The husband is my talisman; my patronus.

He leads me around safely, not knowing just how very essential his presence is in order for me to feel safe when I am in a blind. The things I preach to you all, in my quest to destigmatize mental illness – about tolerance, realizing that the walking wounded are all around you, and putting yourself in their shoes – has yet to formally embed itself within me. The mantras I whisper internally:

You are loved

You are needed

You would hurt them if you left

Find the good every day

haven’t been quite enough lately. Blame life, blame The Fucking Menopause, blame drugs not being quite as effective. Blame, blame, blame.

But, no more.

It is time to to free myself of the chains of the past and the lodestone of guilt that draws me down into the darkness. Maybe, with the right direction, I can untie myself from this tree and move so far back away from the edge of the abyss that I won’t be able to see it anymore. I have looked out into the darkness for so long, it has become my constant; scenery that is “home”.

Thank you, A, H, and J. In the words of a great singer:

And someone saved my life tonight sugar bear
You almost had your hooks in me didn’t you dear
You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar-bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye

Successfully Sibling-ed a Thursday

The Male Sibling Unit is riding a wave of happiness today. This is not a difficult achievement for me to accomplish as long as I stick to tried-and-true formulas:

* Buying him something
* Doing something for him
* Preparing foods he likes
* Indulging in his penchant for foul language
*Complimenting him
* Discussing his current interest

Today, I ticked five of those things off the list; all six, if you include the fact that I bought him something the other day in order to prepare him a food he likes.

Therefore, I bought him Suddenly Salad mix, even though I have never made it for myself.

Our mother loved it, and he loved it when she made it. I decided, why not? I tweaked it a bit, adding more bacon because, well, BACON, and more seasonings, and Parmesan cheese. It’s not bad at all. I am pairing it with pork chops, which would not normally thrill him, because, well, CHEWING MEAT, but I am Shake and Baking them, so he’s tickled. Don’t ask me why Shake and Bake changes the game, but it does, although I’m never going to Shake and Bake a steak for him no matter how much he whines, because that would be an insult to even a bad cut of steak. Not happening, fucker.

I was successful in contacting his case worker today and setting up an appointment for The Big Talk to occur next Tuesday, after work. I explained everything to her, because she’s new and doesn’t know all of the many facets and nuances that make up The Male Sibling Unit, resulting in the absolute delight that she will be experiencing. I think that she was overwhelmed, because there’s a LOT to explain, and simply meeting him at work and spending five minutes talking to him doesn’t even begin to expose her to the reality. She gets the polite, quiet man who simply agrees with her because he’s uncomfortable talking to those whom he judges to be authoritative. He’d agree to smear frosting all over his bald pate and pronounce himself a cake as long as she’ll LEAVE HIM ALONE. So, he’s very pleased about this meeting, because “Thank God I’ll be retired soon”.

I complimented him on his work numbers today when he reported them to me, via text, like he always does. I also managed to tick off the foul language delightfulness in that one text, pleasing him to no end.

Thursdays seem to be the only day they have a substantial amount of work, so he was relatively busy and his mouth was less-apt to get him into trouble. On those slow, bad days, I receive texts all day about “that bitch” and “that asshole” and a running commentary, listing the reasons why everyone is either a bitch or an asshole, along with the numerous outrages perpetrated against his person. Sometimes, all they need to do is look at him in a certain way that he deems offensive. Gawd help them if they choose to speak to him on such days, and infuriate him with crimes against his humanity, like

“That candy isn’t good for you”

or

“You have food in your mustache”

or

“I don’t like it when you tell me to go to hell”.

They are FUCKED if they smile at him “funny” on such days. His wrath, via text again, is swift and devastating to my eyes. “That bitch told me what to do and I don’t like her” and “I’m pissed and I’m telling” will be delivered to my inbox and then I must act.

Depending upon my mood, I will either use patient, encouraging rejoinders to walk away, let it roll off his back, smile and thank them, or just simply ignore the offender. On days when my patience is short, due to a never-ending litany of texts describing the awful conditions he is forced to endure, I will simply swear or send him the ambiguous “Dookie” text. That’s all I reply:

“Dookie”.

This is code for “I am not engaging in this nonsense so if you don’t want me to Gibbs-slap you, STFU” and guess what? It works. It’s a sibling thing, a big sister thing, and it has been serving me, and my blood pressure, well for a long time now.

Finally, we have been sending each other Ghost references, because he has finally listened to the new album in its entirety a dozen times over the last few days and he’s freshly obsessed. We have relived his first Ritual, reminiscing about his utter joy at hearing them play live and his stupified realization that Cardinal Copia is a living, breathing person and not just a face he sees on a screen.

I can relate to that; don’t we all experience that moment of pure bliss when we see a band onstage for the first time and we’re confronted with their reality? I certainly felt that way at my first Ritual and was even more gobsmacked afterward, when I Met The Man and found myself snuggled against his delicious-smelling leather jacket for a few moments of deliriousness that I can only describe as life-changing. Then we talked and he focused those striking, green eyes on me and suddenly, I was the only woman on that street; then he bestowed upon me numerous, genuine smiles and if I believed in God, it would have convinced me that this was an angel standing before me. The Male Sibling Unit does not quite grasp that there is a man underneath the Copia mask, so I don’t know if he would feel as shot-through-with-moonbeams-and-fairydust as I did were he to meet him. It sure would be interesting, though. He has, at different times, declared that he loves him, so his reaction would be a true gamble upon our part – for both us and Tobias.


Four days before I met him, looking at another fan the way he did me. In that yummy jacket.

How Tobias might look if The Male Sibling Unit gets to tell him how he REALLY feels. But….those green eyes. *sigh*

Anyway, today was a home run in terms of me, doing the Sibling thing. I don’t often get two of those days in a row so whatever fresh hell awaits me tomorrow: I am ready for you, motherfucker.

The husband is bringing home refills of my meds, just to be safe, and there is wine.

Dildos I have known, or, rotate your mattress more than once every couple of years.

*****Fair Warning: If you don’t care for TMI, scroll, bitches. But if you’re my friend, you ought to be used to this. And if you came to this site, you’re a magnificent bastard. *****

The Male Sibling Unit assisted me with finishing up my cleaning and rearranging of the bedroom on Sunday. I moved my computer downstairs and set everything up so I don’t have to run up and down the stairs constantly. As I’ve said before, I feel like I only want and need things around me that I love, and so bags and bags of clothes, shoes, and junk have exited this house these past couple of months.

We had to move the bed, and I wanted to rotate the mattress and wash the canopy curtains. The Male Sibling Unit does not understand the logic of rotating the mattress and pronounced this “stupid” underneath his breath. The beauty of my repurposed door as a headboard and canopy eluded him, too, and he kept asking, “Why is there a door here?” I explained it to him, and then he needed to know

Where the door came from

and

What if I wanted to put the door back someday?

Valid questions, I guess.

Now, underneath the bed could only be described as “Lori, you need to reevaluate your choice of flip flops, socks, books, and Tim Horton’s coffee cups that you were keeping because you rolled up the rim and won a fucking donut. And then failed to redeem them.” It also revealed dust bunnies that were actually evolving into dust Predators, and various wadded-up receipts that I made for a cat to bat around. I also figured out where my underwear was disappearing to, and I will have two brand-new pairs of gloves for winter. I found a bag of Halloween decorations I bought after Halloween because it’s ALWAYS Halloween in my head. Now I have chains, a crow skeleton figure, and a rat skeleton figure festooning the boudoir, because this is the bedchamber of a Gothic demoness, after all (Shelby Margaret). Good stuff. But it was one such discovery that sparked a conversation that I never thought I’d have, and that I’d never have wanted to have in the first place.

It’s Shelby’s room. I just sleep there.

As The Male Sibling Unit helped me to pick up the mattress and prop it against the wall, I spied a purple, cylindrical object laying on the box spring and hurried to grab it. I wasn’t quick enough and, as I quickly threw it in the trash bag, he pounced.

“Why,” he asked, “have you got a big, purple crayon under your mattress?”

Disclaimer: I’m a chick, and I have needs. I’m also a chick who has had a hysterectomy. While I don’t feel the need to justify the fact that I own a vibrator, I do feel the need to point out that the husband knows, and in the very early days of being ladypart-free, he had to be EXTREMELY patient while I figured out what worked for me during Sexy Time. I had not ever owned a sexual aid before, but, in frustration, I purchased the Purple Miracle at Spencer’s on a day trip to Erie. It was very, very useful, and friendly, and patient. It also stopped working, like, two years ago, and I forgot it was even under there. I should have thrown it away back when I discovered that its get-up-and-go had got-up-and-went, but I guess I was too nostalgic (being a pack rat and all, growing Predators under the bed). After all, it had helped me through a very hard (not the best description but it’ll do, pig – the husband) period of time when I was afraid that I might never awaken the neighborhood again by repeatedly taking the Lord’s name in vain.


Dust Predator Bunny

So, I could have just said, “Oh, it was for coloring in bed.” I think The Male Sibling Unit might have bought that. Something, though, in the tone of his voice, told me that he didn’t believe it was a purple crayon and that his sister masqueraded as Harold on occasion at bedtime.

Me: It’s not a crayon.

Him: It isn’t? What is it then?

Me: What do you THINK it is?

Him: Well, I dunno. (giggles nervously)

Me: (fishes it out of the bag and shows him) What is this?

Him: (laughs really loud) LOOKS like a crayon.

Me: But it isn’t. Do you know?

Him: D’oh!!! Oh my GOD!!!! (hunches over and slaps his leg, laughing loudly again)

Me: So? What do you think it is?

Him: It’s a, umm, it’s a DILDO.

Extra points to The Male Sibling Unit for knowing his sex toy terminology! I was impressed! But only for a moment, because then, he disturbed me.

Me: So you know what a dildo is, then? By the way, I call it a vibrator.

Him: YES I do! Hahahahaha!!!!

Me: Okay, what do you do with it?

Him: You smack your ass with it!

Me:…….what?

Him: Yes, you do! You smack it on your ass!

Me: Uh…you think I take this and hit myself on the butt with it? That’s it?

Him: Or Scott does it.

At this point, I needed to sit down. The visuals that popped into my head made it hard for me to breath through the honking, nose-running-because-the-dust hysterics that had overtaken me. The Male Sibling Unit was thrilled to have elicited such a response from me and wondered aloud, “I think Carol might like a dildo. I should ask her!” Through my shrieks and choking laughter, I said, “So you won’t have the sex with her but you’ll smack her ass with a dildo?”

“Yes!” The Male Sibling Unit then did a little jig. Through my epileptic-like peals of hysteria, I managed to say, “No….Carol would NOT like a dildo. So please don’t ask her!”

Perhaps the dead Purple Miracle (may it rest in peace) awakened the 15 year-old in The Male Sibling Unit, though. Out of the blue tonight, he sent me a text from his man cave:

See the light, maybe.

I’ve begun a trial of steroids in my eyes again, after a period without them. One has to be careful about how long one administers prednisone, because it increases the pressure in the eyes. After, again, another really bad stretch, I am feeling pretty desperate. The amniotic membranes only provided a bandaid, and after that wore off, the pain, stinging, dryness, and grittiness returned with a vengeance. Cloudiness, aching, light sensitivity, and extreme mattering also have returned. At night, I have to coax them open in the dark. It’s almost as if my eyelids lock closed. The prednisone seems to help, if only a little. I am going through Genteal at an alarming rate. I had it down to one bottle a week, but that’s not the case now.

I don’t want anyone’s pity or for you to feel sad. I do want to apologize to anyone who I may have disappointed because I can’t hang out, or go to meetings, or even just take a long walk. This has limited me in so many ways; my ability to look at a computer screen, to focus on the television, to see my phone. I, the lover of books, cannot read, because we tend to blink less when we concentrate on reading and that dries them out even faster. I pray for decent days so I can read a few more pages of the latest Stephen King book, which, in the past, would have been devoured in a weekend. A pile of brand-new books sits, spines uncracked, waiting for the day I can open them.

Exercise is difficult, because the sweat is like battery acid in my eyes. My “new” glasses are not a perfect prescription, because my eyes are too bad to actually write an effective one for them. The heat bothers them; the cold does, too. There is really no happy medium. There are simply days of mediocrity where I breathe a sigh of relief because I managed to do something constructive.

And there are many more bad days, where I sit in darkness, my mind my only avenue of recreational activity. That is not a good thing when you’re also diagnosed with Severe Moderate Depressive Disorder. I always kinda chuckle at the “severe moderate” characterization, because it feels like so much ridiculousness. How can “moderate” still be “severe”? I know, it’s all in the way it’s interpreted. I have a really bad case of only a medium-to-dark color blues, not the darkest blues that are nearly black. I only feel like killing myself a moderate amount of the time, instead of every, single day. Maybe the futility of this life crosses my mind three times a week instead of seven. You feel me?

The point is, it’s dangerous for a person like me to be forced in to sedentariness. The blues get progressively darker as I contemplate all the things I need to worry about: not currently working because I haven’t yet found something either accepting of my limitations as a person with impaired vision and spinal stenosis, or economically sound enough to do from home. Not being able to follow through on my writing commitments (like here, in this blog) because I simply can’t stare at a screen for long. There are bills that need to be paid, property taxes and such, and at the moment, eating and keeping caught up are proving to be an “either-or” exercise. When I’m really in the low, I don’t want to eat, so at least that cuts that bill down. I’m eternally grateful to my genetic makeup for this; I don’t “eat my feelings” like some; I’d have been dead years ago from morbid obesity if I was that type.

I worry about my family and their individual problems and rail against my limitations, because I could help them if I could “do” more. I’m the mom/wife/sibling who can only listen and advise, not fix dire situations. For that, I feel like the worst and biggest failure of them all. That torpedoes my mood, along with triggering my panic disorder, which interferes with sleep, productivity, and the ability to see past my own fears.

Like flowers in a church yard, I am imprisoned.

I’m not a person who can be forced out of her comfort zone; being my life coach would be the worst job on earth, right up there with working in the Trump Administration. If I don’t want to do it; if I am afraid, or paralyzed by my own darkest thoughts, I’m not going to budge. That’s survival mode for me, so if I say I am not doing the thing, don’t think you can coax me into doing the thing. YOU do the thing. Leave me out of it.

Right now, all the things seem beyond my reach. It is difficult to think about the future when you’re questioning the point of it all. Don’t get me wrong; I feel very, very fortunate and I attempt to channel that at least once a day, for my own sake. It’s just that I don’t think the drugs are working quite as well as they should; perhaps there is simply too much on my internal plate for them to blanket their chemical security over. In any event, I’m sure that, on my next doctor visit, my doctor will internally groan. “Not this again.” She seems to be a very focused, empathetic, caring person; at the last appointment, she enveloped me in a hug, and my “please don’t touch me EVER” resolve just melted and I allowed it. Maybe she really can help me. It’s just that there is so much, too much, and it feels like a crushing weight on my body. I see myself as walking, slumped in half, under the weight of my own life. I used to be able to channel it into movement, writing, doing…..perhaps running away, but it worked. I watched the Robin Williams documentary last night. You can read about it here. I know why I felt a kinship with him; he was the exact same. He had to move. He had to escape the dullness of not being distracted. I want to focus, to obsess over something, so it captures my brain and forces it to go into another room, where there is light. I want to drink, because it numbs me and I sleep. I want to medicate, because that is the great escape. None are the answer, the right answer, or the wise one. I lack the motivation to actually do any of them, and the means with which to facilitate, anyway. Being poor can actually be a good thing in this case.

Today, though, I choose to focus on things that make me pleased. Not happy; pleased.

The two, fat chicken breasts that I am going to stuff and bake for the husband and I for dinner.

Sleeping kittens on my bed, purring away contentedly.

The sunshine and lack of humidity.

The sight of my husband, wielding first a big, gas-powered weed whacker and then a saw as he does yard work and cuts saplings and wild shrubbery down along our property line. The sight of him, working, doing “man things” gives me a sense of great contentedness. He has the best forearms I have ever seen.

The mint green nail polish I am going to put on my toenails which will accentuate the tan lines made by my flip flops.

For today, this has to be, and will be, enough.

We soldier on.

Every time I open my mouth, out comes my mother

On Saturday, I made a comment on the big, blue social media site about how I knew that I would pay, in one way or another, for The Male Sibling Unit’s generosity in staying home that day to help me with housework. Normally, he has an abbreviated day at his community center, Steps. He offered to give it up to assist me because he knew I might let him run the hardwood floor steamer, which he finds fascinating. I did, and he was thrilled.

I was correct, as per usual, about paying for it, inasmuch as he had an ulterior motive. He was wonderfully helpful, a fact he has seen fit to remind me of on an hourly basis ever since. Toward the end of the day, I simply acknowledged his sacrifice and thanked him. By the end of the evening, I was contemplating buying a bag of generic, gold medals to hand out to him for every “sacrifice” he makes because that truly is a motivator.

Yesterday, it was beginning to get a little old. I mentioned – again on that big, blue social media site – that I heard my mother every time I answered him, which was really, fucking irritating, and resulted in me falling into a pretty dark hole, before sleep last night. I missed her pretty intensely. The six year anniversary of that last sunset with her is drawing near and I had assumed the sadness was pretty much gone. It isn’t. I fell asleep with the memory of holding her hand as she took her last breaths and was jarred awake momentarily in a panic because I couldn’t remember if I kissed her. After reassuring myself that, of course, I must have, I fell into a deep sleep. I awoke in a funk.

A recent sunset my daughter captured that reminds me of the night my mother died.

Funks are nothing new; I exist, sharing an uneasy residency with depression in this body, and we go to Funkytown frequently. Depression is such a generous roommate, you see; it spreads the misery 365 days out of the year. Despite the pills and the “be gentle with yourself” messages and the optimistic phrases I repeat to myself, willing them to become mantras, they never really stick. The coexistence is uneasy at best. I might have known, though, because with the worries I have on my plate right now, my roommate has been seeing an “in” and raiding the refrigerator to eat my shit (that was MY FUCKING LEFTOVER PIZZA, BITCH!) and wearing my clothes without asking. You’d think I would have figured out these dirty tricks by now, but I’ll be fucked if I can find a truly foolproof alarm to signal the breech. And so it goes.

This new trip to low-down Funkytown has made me wonder what The Male Sibling Unit actually feels; does he also “hear” our mom when he goads me into flipping out? Does he do it to elicit just such a response? Maybe the reaction he receives, which causes my blood pressure to rise and my voice to take on an ominous, rapier edge, is actually as comforting to him as it is irritating to me. I used to hate how she would fly off the handle at every, single, thing he said, and I pride myself on the fact that I have always had a much higher reservoir of patience with his compulsory chatter. When he pushes me up to and over that edge, it feels like failure to me instead of a comfort. Until today, when I had that thought, I always thought he probably hated it, too. Maybe he pokes me because this is how he gets “his” mom – the one who bellowed, shrieked, and told him to get the hell out of her face while simultaneously buying him all his comfort food and washing his blanket and planning outings for him and chuckling as she called him pet names “Horse’s Ass” and “You shitass” – back for a brief, shrill moment.

Anyway, today we are back to normal, and it is a Steps day, which means he stayed up too late, got up too early, got all his morning chores done, and was chomping at the bit for noon to arrive so he could call the center to ask, “What’s for dinner?” (he already knows it’s leftovers from their Thursday picnic but he compulsively has to ask) and advise them he’ll be there – a fact they recorded Friday, the last time he was there. We’ve already gone through the day’s bullet points:

* Should he eat leftovers for lunch today?

* Should he take another shower tonight because it’s hot and humid?

And

* What am I going to do while he is gone?

The latter resulted in Mom emerging yet again, and I think that’s exactly how he wanted his Monday to go.

Glad I could oblige.

One of the last photos my mother took of The Male Sibling Unit on her phone.

Day Three of my ranting….

Normally, I put my own words here – my thoughts, my opinions, my literary pukeage of brain farts. Nothing is sacred once it’s in my brain and permitted to fly around in the rafters of my skull. Most of the things I think eventually make their way out of that unfortunate drapdoor in the front; I try to contain the really out there fits of authentically offensive ponderings that beat against the walls like bats in a proverbial belfry. I admit; my filter is broken and there are no immediate plans for replacement/repair.

The President of the United States, however, has no such security measures curtailing his obviously batshit rantings and hateful sewage that deserves to be flushed – not shared amongst millions of other unprotected humans. Someone needs to put a body condom on this tweeting, vocally-combustible, demented blowhard. I mean it; I fear for his safety and well-being. See what I did, there? I showed EMPATHY for another human being who I have nothing in common with and with whom I do not share the same skin color. I learned my own lesson from yesterday!

So yeah, back to the whole “my own words” thought process I was having here until I went off on some wild tangent. See? Bats in the belfry.

These need no introduction. I am quite happy to give credit where credit is due. These are the actual words of the President of the United States, when discussing refugees seeking asylum in the US. Go ahead; read his words:

“Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large ‘Caravans’ of people enter their country. They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws.

“Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People. Border Patrol Agents (and ICE) are GREAT, but the weak Dem laws don’t allow them to do their job. Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!” – Donald Trump, in a series of tweets on April 2, 2018.

“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — we’re stopping a lot of them. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.” Donald Trump, May 18, 2018, in a meeting with his Cabinet

Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters! – Donald Trump, using the word “infest” to describe human beings, in a tweet on June 19, 2018

And if those words aren’t enough to make you sick, ashamed, outraged, or, well….anything with negative connotations….then here’s an interesting little article that was published back in 2016. Chronological vomitus! It’s true! Tweets never, ever go away.

Crappy reading, y’all!