Reflections, blasphemies, and seriously, no f*cks to give.

As I neared my fifth decade, I began to read more accounts from people of a certain age, who were taking chances and living their best lives and grasping onto really profound thoughts. They were driven by a sense of urgency and pushing past boundaries. They were attempting to live authentically and with purpose. The idea that one has less time left to live than they already have lived is sobering as fuck. I shuddered, at times, thinking that it all sounded pretty scary and daunting and more than a little depressing; as if I needed more of that particular element in my psyche, right?

Before I entered my fifties, I went through a divorce and remarried, became a grandmother, finally allowed myself to admit that I wasn’t mentally stable, and then my mother died. That event added little nuances to everything, it seemed. Forget the fact that I still had one living, breathing parent – and I use that term in the loosest sense of the word – I still felt like an orphan. Thus began two years of the undoing of my brain, when I blindly pushed forward, trying to right wrongs, do things, prove her wrong. And yet, she has been able to reach out from the grave occasionally and remind me that I was an option, not a necessity, in her life.

She never had any expectations of me, you see. She was unable to cope with a smart child with a high IQ who looked her nose down at this town and everyone and everything in it. I had deep emotions – so many of them! – tied to music and art and the written word and nobody got me. My singing, art, and writing was not considered important. The awards I received for essays; all the solos I was given in musical programs; prizes and accolades in art class; all were dismissed in an offhand way. I struggled to understand what it was that I needed to do in order to gain her approval. I wish that she had told me, back then, what she did shortly before she died. I had made the observance that nothing I had ever done was good enough for her. Her response was quietly honest: “No, I suppose it wasn’t.”

Well.

At least there was that mystery solved. Had she waxed poetic and told me she was proud of me, I wouldn’t have believed her, anyway. There’s just some shit you can never fake, and my mother was nothing if not totally, unabashedly disappointed in me.

I think she truly loved The Male Sibling Unit in a way she never could me. I was that thing she did to get my dad. It failed. He was that thing she did that ended up looking just like our dad. In a way, she won, that time. When his developmental delays were discovered, I really think that something inside her rejoiced, because now, she would never lose him. She could care for him in a way my father rejected. I know; this sounds like a sick, Shakespearean play, but wasn’t Shakepeare’s writing simply observations of reality, fleshed out onto the stage? Life itself is Shakespeare. I, for one, don’t enjoy Shakespeare, but I guess that’s because it’s just a little to depressingly real. The prose is fucking irritating, too. “Methinks the lady doth protest” packs much less of a wallop than “Woman, all you do is fucking bitch!”

Lately, since entering this oh-so-giving of decades (giving of new aches and pains, giving not one single fuck about anything, giving of courage, and of realism) I have wondered what it might have been like, had she loved me the way she did him. His life was fraught with so many obstacles in the beginning that we sort of joined forces to make things good for him. Education, special outings and programs, toys, foods, you name it. He enjoyed the sort of childhood every parent wants to give their child, because it was crucial that he fit in as much as possible and that every opportunity be given to him. It was important to enrich life and to show him how valued and cherished he was. There was no obstacle he could not overcome.

In his own way, he has become exactly what one wants to be: uniquely and unquestioningly himself. He has enjoyed every opportunity and lived quite a full life for someone with his disabilities. He has been fortunate in that he knows he has disabilities, but they are in no way limitations. He lives his life brazenly, out there and with no regrets. He has love, and social enrichment, and everything he could ask for, materialistically. He has a good life; indeed, he expects it.

I envy that.

When I was in the 9th grade, my best friend talked me into trying out for flag corp. This was a division of the high school marching band, which was, back then, nationally-acclaimed. I was not a “joiner” in the literal sense of the word. I did things my way, listened to my own music, followed my own beat. I had friends, but I only let them in so far. My bestie and I were as close as two girls could be, even though her family was well-to-do and mine wasn’t. She never judged me, and I learned that it wasn’t always good times just because one had a mom and dad and a nice house and some money.

I coulda been a contendah.

We sweated and worked and practiced for four days, learning a routine to Styx’s “Rockin’ The Paradise”. I was never a dancer, or graceful, and it was quite a momentous thing for me to memorize a flag/dance routine and not look like a fumbling, stumbling idiot in the process. I was taking quite a chance, socially; I had yet to make my mark on my classmates as that dark-witted, sarcastic side-talker who ridiculed teachers under her breath , but managed to be an amazing writer, singer, and artist, got good grades, and lived in the Explore Room most of the time. I was yet to be the girl just a couple of votes shy of being voted “Funniest” in my Senior year.

When the team was chosen, I was on the list of two alternates, should anyone drop out. I knew I’d done my best, mostly for my friend, because she really wanted to be a part of marching band. Did I ever consider myself good enough? Not at all. I wasn’t “one of them” and had pretty much made my peace with that. I wasn’t going to be able to go on band trips and eat out at restaurants and come up with spending money for big city excursions. I had to save every penny I made babysitting to buy my own school clothes. This was a pipe dream my secret, tucked-away self harbored; not the solitary, resolute hardass who didn’t give a fuck persona I put out there to avoid the pain of rejection. And so, life went on.

Until a day, about a week later, when the flag corp advisor called and excitedly offered me a spot. Someone had declined. I was in! Inwardly, I rejoiced. Put-away girl opened the door a crack and looked out, hopefully. Was this finally going to be the key to being accepted by someone bigger – an important entity in the community – than myself?

Then, the list of requirements arrived. Uniform prices, out-of-pocket things like certain Nike sneakers, shirts, socks, costs, and the list went on. At the time, it was about $150 in stuff. Today, that’s not a large sum, but, back then, it might as well have been $150 million. I showed it to my mom, thinking she had to be proud of me for getting an opportunity to be in the band, who had marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and gone to Disney World. I was only marginally good enough, but still! I would work hard and get better and be good enough. She had to be so proud of me!

“I don’t know what you expect from me,” she said. I stammered, “Well, I’ll work hard, and I’ll babysit more, and get a job as soon as I’m allowed. I’ll pay you back.” She fairly seethed at me her answer.

“Your brother has school clothes he needs. He grew out of everything. And I don’t have the money to waste on this stupid idea you have. You’ll never be able to go on trips. We don’t have the money. Forget about this. You’re not privileged like those other kids are.”

“I hate you.” I managed, and retreated to my room, where I turned the metal up as loudly as I could to drown out my angry tears.

I composed myself and called the advisor back the next day. “I’m sorry, ” I said, distantly and with a coldness I didn’t feel, but hoped to convey with my voice, “but I have too much going on at home and I’m committed to babysit nights for someone. I can’t accept at this time.” I’m sure this wasn’t the first time some poor girl had to decline, so she probably saw right through me. No matter. With that one phone call, something in me turned to ice, and stayed that way, for a long time.

Had my mom congratulated me, assured me we would figure it out, and allowed me this one chance to blossom in a normal way, who knows what might have happened for me from there? Maybe the mistakes I ended up making after that – in spending my entire first year of college drunk, and dropping out to marry a monster who scarred both me and our children, and all the years of poverty and suffering and his control, squandering my gifts and letting both my mother and him convince me that I was, indeed, nothing special – maybe I would still have made them. Maybe I was irrevocably damaged even before that flag was placed in my hands and I learned to wave it around. There is no sense wondering what if, and I always insist that I regret nothing, but that shit is partially a lie. I do regret some things. I regret not using that dark, angry, pissed-off girl as a weapon to save my children and myself sooner than I did. She resurfaced with a vengeance when I finally left, but she grew out of control because she was out to prove she was bulletproof. And she was not.

I am not.

What advice can I offer to anyone with kids, or deciding to have kids, or finding themselves totally befuddled by the mystery that is their teenaged spawn?

Don’t fucking do any of that shit to your kid. Seriously. Don’t be an asshole, and then unleash another asshole on the world. That asshole will spend decades trying to figure out why he or she is an asshole and, in the end, you’ll get the credit you so shamefully deserve. Let’s hope that, if you’ve already begun to make a clusterfuck out of your child’s life, you STOP. I mean it. Stop.

Now, a year into my fifth decade, I want nothing more than to wipe all traces of a painful past from my consciousness and to focus only on the good stuff. I want to spend my time loving who I love and welcoming beauty and grace into my life. I want to continue to make sure The Male Sibling Unit continues with the charmed life he leads, but I would like a little charm to bleed into mine as well. I can’t cast out my living dead girl; she is me, as sure as my eyes are black. But I can let her laugh. And I can let her be brave.

 

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.

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.