2.46. The Wounded Soul – My Proudest Failure

This post is not about the many known names who have died over the course of this year from apparent suicide. Their deaths are sad and a loss to the world but there is nothing that can be done for them.  Their chances have ended. It’s sad but what can you do about it now? This is not about the unknowns who are gone from this world. Their story is no different. This is about the ones we can save. 

When I was 26, after my son was born, I suffered from postpartum depression while simultaneously suffering from an infection, which caused me to lose part of my right breast. The fake glue that was holding my doomed marriage together melted away. My world crumbled very quickly. I recall sitting in a bathroom and penning a letter to my child in which I apologized for failing him, for not being strong enough to have the desire to continue. I remember calling a crisis hotline while sitting on the curb of a dark street and telling some stranger I was a horrible piece of shit because I had a child but I wanted to die. I remember going to a hospital and asking for an evaluation. I sat in a cold, bare room, and waited for someone to tell me I was insane. After talking with Tom, he informed me I was suffering from PTSD, from events earlier in my life,  and Postpartum. When I said I wanted to die, he explained, I was simply asking to sleep…for rest…escape from pain I could not seem to get away from. I was released and attempted to pull myself out of that darkness. 

When I was eighteen, after being caught in the act, I admitted to battling Bulimia. It was a slow way out but I often hoped I would just become extremely frail and collapse and that same sleep would come. My mother told me to get over it. 

When I was 13, my father found me in our trailer in Clintondale, New York. I’d swallowed a ton of his painkillers and anything else I could find in the medicine cabinet. I was ashamed of my life. I was scared of being a nothing. I wanted to quit. 

When I was 11, I was admitted to a mental health ward, against my will (and my parents) for a mere 16 hours (a lifetime to an 11 year old btw). I’d gone in after a referral from a childhood therapist. Because I wouldn’t discuss things that were happening but implicated myself in several acts of self-harm, I was held for evaluation. I can still remember the screams and belligerent rants of those held in rooms next to me. After those 16 hours, I conned my way out of that hospital, claiming it was all an act and absolutely nothing was wrong with my home life. I learned how to lie on that day. 

When I was 5, a sibling found me on the ledge of our apartment window. When asked why I was up there, I said I wanted to die. My mother beat the ever-living piss out of me and sent me to bed. 

I have tried to die, thought of dying, hoped for dying…TOO MANY times in my life. I’ve purposefully put myself in dangerous situations, in the hopes that I would find release. Through those years and failed attempts…I never found it. 

I’m not telling you this because I want pity. Because I want you to think I’m epic and strong for “surviving.” I don’t know why I wanted to die from such a young age. I don’t know why I wasn’t “built” to better deal with the hardships of life. I don’t know why the unknown seemed so much better. 

What I do know are two things. 

  1. I was already dead. My body didn’t have to perish. TRULY, I believe I was a walking tomb. My son gave me my soul. I still struggle. I still panic. I’m still a hot mess. But I have never hoped for another breath the way I do now…as I have my son in my life. 
  2. Someday, I will die. I will not try. It will be against my will. And I will not want it to happen. I will feel pain as it all slips away because I will not see the tomorrows of my child, his children, the life I will miss. Someday, I will not have a choice. 

All of that being said…

I AM NOT AN EXPERT but I know the helplessness. I know the desperation. I know that feelings of sad hope that the damn phone will ring and someone…ANYONE will pull me back from the ledge and say, “I care about you. Please don’t go.” We all want to know that someone wants us to stay. That someone NEEDS us to stay. That our fire lights another persons world. We all need a reason to have no desire to step on that ledge. It’s ALL about love. 

The trauma that happened in my life, very early on, stunted my growth in MANY ways (so the doctors say). There are many times that I am stuck back in that mind frame of a child and I am terrified. I am frail. I am lost. It’s a fight to not go back there. To train my brain that I’m not reliving those traumas. That things are not repeating themselves. That I am capable of dealing with it IF they are. 

I am telling you all of this because we all know someone who struggles. Who is fighting. Who may be too quiet. May say the wrong things. May lash out at the smallest occurrence. May come off so angry. May push people away. May be an emotional punching bag. May live a lifestyle that is reckless. May be unaware that they are begging for help. May be pleading for rescue in their eyes but not their words. 

If you are that person…tell someone. ANYONE. Talk until your blue in the face. But keep talking. If you’re talking…you aren’t dead. AND THAT IS BEAUTIFUL. If you know someone like that…listen. Listen and really hear. You don’t need to fix it all. Just listen. Sometimes, that is all a wounded soul needs. 

Dear Suicide – I am proud to have failed you. 

Sincerely not yours…this girl. 

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2.45. 38 Days (Camp NaNoWriMo Journey)

2 and a half hours in and I am at a road block.

I came up with the idea for my current piece on August 29, 2011. 38 days after my father passed away.

Now, here I am, 21 days from the two year anniversary of my fathers death and I am incorporating the father figure into the project. There is a phone call. A voicemail. A dropping of a phone. Panic. Screaming and a collapse in a hallway. Crying. So much crying.

I chose to use my memories of those moments to describe the call the main character gets concerning her father…

And this where I am stuck. Because, although I’d like to think I’m healing, thinking about those moments makes me relive them. And it makes me want to cry. And I want to scream and claw at my assistant manager and beg her to bring my father back all over again. I want to ask a guy I would normally ignore (my old DM) to please tell me it was a lie.

I am there. Avoiding their eyes…those looks of pity. I am there. Calling home, desperately. Hearing my sisters voice break. Hearing her say those words. I am there. Calling my fathers cell in hopes he will answer one last time. That he will call me “babe.”

I am there. Unmounting my tv so I could pawn it to fly home. Feeling hopeless and stranded. I am there…flooded with support of distant friends who flocked to me to help me fly. Looking at my son and feeling like he lost out. He will never have a memory of my father. His grandfather. He will never call him by some cute nickname. He will never hear an I love you from him.

I am there. Drowning in wine because I wanted to be numb so fucking badly. And yet, the alcohol did nothing. I am there, getting a tattoo for my papa bear. Grasping at anything that would bring me back. Bring what we had back.

I am there…in that driveway. When the floodgates opened and I couldn’t walk into my sisters house. Sitting on the back patio. Making my way inside and down that hall. And getting stuck. Not able to face it. The empty room that smelled of my father. Locking myself in that room and breaking down completely like I never have before. Dying.

I am there. Every second replays and I am cold.

I am here. considering re-outlining this part of the story and omitting the father. The father I molded from my own. Because I wanted to immortalize him. Because I wanted people to love this character just half as much as I loved my father. So the world could know his spirit through these words.

I am stuck. Because I NEED to write this. Because I always said I wanted to be a writer but my father never got to see me start. Because I waited too long. Because I have to heal. As much as here is painful in these moments…there…there is something that kills me.

I need my father.

2.43. Dear Daddy – Happy Fathers Day

I wish you were here. I wish I could call you again. I wish I could hug you. I wish I wasn’t so naive to think you would live forever. I wish I said I love you just one more time. I wish I could have stopped your pain. I wish I could have given you an even better life. I wish I made you proud. I wish I could say sorry for failing so much. I wish you could hug your grandson. I wish this didn’t hurt so much. I wish I could hear you laugh. I wish I could have avenged the wrong doings done against you. I wish I could have said thank you a million more times. I wish you knew how much I needed you then and how much I need you now. I wish my son could sit with you and pick up your habits of tapping your thumbs against everything. I wish we could go to Barnes & Noble one more time together. I wish you could teach me how to cook half as good as you did. I wish I could make you smile. I wish Heaven wasn’t so far away. I wish Heaven had phone reception. I wish you could have lived with us. I wish you didn’t have to see my life turn to shit. I wish you could see my life get better. I wish I knew what to do without you here. I wish you weren’t just ashes in a box on my fridge. I wish you didn’t just live in memories and songs. I wish we had new memories together. I wish we could have you back. I wish people appreciated you more. I wish you could see us reconcile. I wish you knew that we love you so damn much…it hurts.

Happy Fathers Day to the best damn father and mother figure I could have ever hoped for. I miss you. I miss you I miss you I miss you I miss you I miss you I miss you I miss you I miss you!!!!!!!!

 

2.38. I Am That Mother…

I will laugh with my son for hours.

I will encourage my child to make a mess just because we don’t always have to live inside the lines.

I will blast the music mid-afternoon and dance with my boy until we can’t stand anymore.

I will sing with my boy, at the top of our lungs, until our throats are hoarse…while driving down the highway.

I will spend lazy days, on the couch, in our pajamas, eating cake and ice cream for lunch because we can.

I will have an all night movie fest with my boy while eating popcorn and telling stories under our make-shift tent.

I will not have a heart attack when my son draws on the walls…his art isn’t doing any damage paint can’t eventually fix.

I will let my boy pick out his clothes, even if they don’t match and they include my pink cupcake bandanna.

I will enjoy listening to my son tell me stories, sing me songs, read to me in his own silly language.

Nevertheless,

I am that mother that will pay the bill at a restaurant and leave without eating a bite if my son gets out of hand.

I am that mother that will put back an entire cart of groceries if my son decides to have a full blown tantrum over not getting the ice cream he demands.

I am that mother that will take my son to the restroom for a moment of discipline if he decides the aisles are a good place to throw himself on the floor, hit, kick, or throw things.

I am that mother that does not believe in hitting when angry BUT I will give my son one swat to his behind if he remotely thinks it’s okay to say a potty mouth word he’s heard from who knows where. (I know my curse words of choice and those are not it).

I am that mother that will send my son to his room and leave the tv off all day as punishment.

I am that mother that will raise her voice when my boy does the exact opposite of everything I have asked him to do.

I am that mother that will ALWAYS talk to my son about why he has been disciplined/punished. I will ALWAYS explain to my son that I love him and I want his behavior to always reflect the wonder of his amazing spirit.

I am that mother that will correct my son when he is misbehaving AND reward him when he is doing wonderfully…or at least trying to.

I am that mother that doesn’t have all of the right answers.

I am that mother that struggles to find the line of nature and nurture.

I am that mother that tries every day to strengthen my sons ability to communicate his feelings instead of acting them out.

I am that mother that talks to her son like he is a human being. Not a puppet. Not a dog. Not a baby. A human being. With a heart. A soul. Feelings. Thoughts. Emotions. Opinions.

I am that mother that will never stop working at being better and encouraging my son to do just the same.

2.37. In All Honesty

Spring is near…hell it’s Kansas so Spring may show up in August for all we know, but the overall symbolism of the season has set into full blast…kinda. Actually, it should be the opposite…the beginning of Winter. When life is ending, things die, everything is cold, quiet, and gloomy.

People say divorce is comparable to a death. And it is. The death of something you thought would last forever. Now, don’t have me mistaken with someone else; I chose to go through with my divorce…I asked for it. But I imagined it would be a rebirth. An opportunity for two miserable people to find their happiness again. What has manifested is a full blown war…a spiteful display of tyranny and a chaotic concert with nothing but hate blasting through the speakers.

 

I recently attended a class called FOCIS. Focus On Children In Separation. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case in the demise of my union. It has been an icy exchange. Something embedded with vengeance. Something VERY hard to deal with.

Before I go any further, let me make it very clear that I have no clue what I’m doing. That I’m making tons of mistakes. I am emotionally screwed right now. I have no idea how to have friendships, family ties, interactions with the adult species. The epitome of my understanding is with that of a three year old (my son) and even then…I get lost sometimes and just wish he would understand that I want to cry, to hide, to fade and not deal with the agony of breathing. But he will not understand my pain. He shouldn’t have to. He didn’t choose this. He sure as shit didn’t choose me.

During that FOCIS class, the instructor went over the 5 stages of grief, first really introduced by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”

  1. Denial and Isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression/Guilt
  5. Acceptance

According to the instructor, the journey through these stages…on average…can be between 18 months and 4 years. 4 YEARS!!!! I slip into each one of these stages, depending on the day.

I have isolated myself despite playing the open book. I have walked away from friendships without so much as a tear. Because these people will leave sooner or later. It always happens. It always will happen. So fuck it. There is no use in holding on to people who will throw me away like garbage.

I become so angry, it’s sickening. I hate people who are happy. I hate people who complain about petty shit. I hate people who have it all figured out. I hate people who have no emotional understanding. I hate people who assume I should just deal. I hate people who pass judgement on my every fucking move. I hate people who think, for one second, they could deal with this pain. I hate people who have never been single a day in their adult life telling me to not feel completely lost. I hate people who have no courage to be alone telling me to stay strong…ALONE. I hate people who use that bullshit line, “you think you’re the only one in the world who…” No shit I’m not the only one going through shit. But I’m living my life. Is a rape victim supposed to think, “well, someone else went through this and worse so I should just get over it.” UM, NO! I hate the bullshit optimism and then the continuous “whatever” mentality when everything doesn’t go as fucking wonderfully as you’ve tried to convince me it would. You were wrong. Accept it. Admit that being a part of my life was a mistake and walk away. I’m giving you the option. Because I hate, more than anything, anyone who will stay in my life and is miserable because of that connection. Just walk.

I have bargained. I will do anything. I will die if it means peace for my son. For people around me. I will shut up and take it. I will forget. I will forgive. I will pretend to be happy when I’m not. I will do whatever…if only…

I have fallen into depression. I feel guilt every fucking day for existing. For just being alive. Wouldn’t people be so much better off if I were gone? Wouldn’t they all just be happier if I never existed? I have cried myself to sleep and screamed to a God I don’t believe in. I have begged for mercy. I have prayed on the phone. I have called hotlines. I have puked out the remnants of an empty bottle. I have lost myself in the pure feeling of being a mistake. I have been ashamed of my feelings because I have a child and I should never think of my own end. What kind of mother am I if I don’t want to jump out of bed every day to look at my beautiful boy? I feel guilt that he got such a pathetic ass excuse of a mother as me. I feel guilt that I am not better. That I don’t even know how to be better.

Acceptance is supposed to be that one when things make sense and there is a sense of peace and clarity. But in my acceptance, I have come to an understanding that none of this pain will EVER go away. My life is meant to be shit. And it will never change. It will always be this hard. It will always be this dark. It will always hurt this much.

Feel free to have a rolling of the eyes session, a “this bitch swears” moment…I seriously don’t fucking care. These are my emotions. These are my thoughts. This is my life. It is not and does not have to be a part of yours.

In all honesty, there is only ONE thing I am certain about…just one…but it is the most important thing for me to know – I love my son. I love my baby boy with every ounce of my being. I do not care if not one single person on this planet cares about me as long as my son knows I love him and I live ONLY for him.

In all honesty, my son is the ONLY thing I’ve done right in my life. The ONLY thing I am proud to be a part of. The ONLY reason I have the tiniest glimmer of hope in my heart that this life can be beautiful. As hard as the days get, I know this life has possibility…for happiness, for love, for laughter, for growth, for beauty…ONLY because he is in it.

I am a flawed human being. I am struggling to find peace in this battle. I am lost, scared, uncertain, feeling broken…

BUT I am willing to continue my journey, no matter what, because my son will always know I kept going…despite it all…FOR HIM. Here’s to healing, to growing, to figuring me out. To fixing me. One stage at a time.

2.35. Humbled But Happy

 It’s all about POV. 

I’ve spent the past year or so thinking…he has a home, he has a relationship, he has a great paying job, he has vehicles that work, he has family that lives in this state, he has everything I don’t. How did this happen? What’s the point of me trying…

I have a one bedroom, a car that doesn’t work, a job that pays fair but nowhere near what I realistically need, no family in this state, and no one that cares about me on a romantic/relationship level.

In speaking to a friend today, reflecting on the situation, recognizing how much I’ve been smiling lately…

He has stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. And is still a miserable, bitter, angry person. And that saddens me.

On the other hand, I have my son. I have genuine people in my life. I have a clear head and an open heart. I have so much more than I could have ever hoped for. I’m not to my destination but I’m definitely on my way.

This life is about your POV. I may have “nothing,” to many but my “nothing” is absolutely everything to me. And I’m happy.

Can’t say that about the other side. And with no ill will do I hope he gets there. I hope he learns to enjoy life a little more, smile a little more, appreciate a little more. Because the stuff doesn’t matter. The stuff will all go away.

In losing all of the “stuff,” I’ve gained my life back. Knowing just how hard these past two years have been…I wouldn’t change it. Not at all.

My POV is not about what I have or don’t. It’s about cherishing every single awesome moment with my child, every personal accomplishment (no matter how big or small), knowing genuine gratitude for beautiful friends and family, finding peace in myself, spiritual calm, and learning about the ability to take life as it comes.

It’s not going to be perfect here on out. That’s not the really real world. But damn if I don’t feel optimistic about tomorrow. Because each day has grown to be better than so many of my yesterdays.

It’s all about your POV. Do you have the right one?

2.18. For The New Year

Dear 2013,

Your predecessor sucked. I have high hopes for you and the possibilities you may bring.

  1. Finalize this divorce. 
  2. Move into a larger space so Hunter has his own room.
  3. GO TO DISNEY WITH MY FAMILY!
  4. Visit NYC with Hunter
  5. Get a better paying job.
  6. Take (at least) one college course.
  7. Start working out on the reg.
  8. Take a cooking/dancing/something class with my bestie
  9. Start a savings account solely for Hunter
  10. BUY HUNTER A DOG!
  11. Kiss the muse aka submit my writing for critique/publication
  12. Give Hunter everything he deserves.
  13. Be happy.

Sincerely yours,

…..

2.17. The Purpose of A Life

Fingers across the sky

Ten paintbrushes designed to nurture dreams.

Fingers digging in the dirt

Ten shovels to clear your path…

The path to get you there.

Kiss the wind and taste the air

in which aspirations bloom from seedlings of hope.

A mother is your river.

One that flows for you, ethereal child.

This heart of mine is yours.

I breathe, solely, for you.

2.16. Letter To Daddy

Dear Papa Bear:

It’s been 17 long months since you went away. Tomorrow is Christmas and I wish for nothing more than to hear your voice. I wish I could call you to say “I love you,” one more time. I wish for many ‘one more times.’

The past 17 months haven’t been easy, Dad. I’m sure you know that. I’m sure you know I’ve felt broken for so very long now. I know you have seen me curl into a ball and cry until there couldn’t possible be anymore tears. I know you have watched, helplessly, when I have silently begged to be with you because it feels that hard.

But I can’t be with you right now. I have to stay here and fight this battle. I have to figure out how to make things better so I can give your grandson better tomorrows. Because when I am gone, I hope he loves me just a portion as much as I love you.

I didn’t make it home, Dad. I know you wanted your girls to be reunited. I couldn’t keep that promise to you. I’m sorry. I am truly sorry. I tried and failed. But I will make the best of this and I will do all that I can to keep the bonds strong. The bonds I know you prayed about.

I signed one of Hunters presents “Love, Grandpa Santa.” As I always will.

I miss you, Daddy. And the child in me is coming out as I type this. I regret so much that I didn’t have my life in order when you passed. That I still don’t. I know you loved me. Greatly. But I wanted your pride. Your respect. I wanted you to go knowing that I could take care of myself. That you didn’t have to worry for me. I’m sorry you went out not knowing.

I’ll keep trying. I won’t quit. I promise.

Love, your babygirl.

P.S. If there is a God, Dad, could you tell him/her to please have mercy on me. To give me a chance to be better. To give me a chance to gift my son with the life you always wanted to give to me. Just put in a good word for me or something.

2.12. Tis The Season…To Be Enlightened

Most people consider this time of year to be a religious time. I’m not one of those people. No disrespect or disregard to anyone for their particular beliefs. As the mother of a young child, I view this time of year as a cultural celebration. My son may have a best friend who celebrates something different than him. He may love someone who doesn’t celebrate at all. Either way, he will be enlightened to show respect above all else.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, or some other unknown cultural celebration – this is your time to do so with pride and joy in your heart.

Christmas December 25

Hanukkah December 8-16

Kwanzaa December 26-January1

Three Kings Day January 6

I look forward to enlightening my son about the different meanings and celebrations surrounding this time of year. To have him be enlightened, respectful of others beliefs, and appreciative of what may matter to others. This season is not about materialistic possessions, money, or self-righteousness. This time is about the love of family, the desire to bring a smile to others faces, the sharing of stories, of food, of life, of laughter, of love.

If you say Merry Christmas to me, I will repeat the same. If you say Happy Kwanzaa, I’ll chime right on in. If you say Feliz Navidad, I want a hippopotamus for Christmas or hey F your face – you’ll get it back just the same. I’ll give you the same respect you give me…or disrespect if that’s how you want to roll this holiday. I’ll not say that one celebration is right or more relevant than another. Culture, not religion, is what allows our differences to shine. Allows us to meld and merge, co-exist and flourish as a unified display of individuality.

So enjoy the season for what it is…to you. But be mindful, the house next door might be celebrating something a little bit different. And that’s just beautiful.