Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

Love From Afar July 1, 2013

I finally did something I have dreaded. In fact, I put it off for two weeks. Each time I thought of doing it, I found some great excuse not to. And I feel bad, REALLY bad, for having those feelings of dread. Guilt racks my body when I think of it. But, it is what it is, and I feel how I feel, right?

I finally called my mother.

I know how that sounds. It sounds like I am a horrible daughter (and I can be), or that she is a horrible mother (she can be). But I am trying to be transparently honest here in bloggo land, so here is the truth: I didn’t want to call her because of Riley.

My parents are not “dog people”. They both know how I am about animals because I’ve been that way my entire life. Every stray dog that came through the neighborhood got a good meal, de-ticked, a good bath, and a good dose of attention from me. Every time I begged to keep the dog, and every time the answer was no. I’m also the kid who found a wounded bat and kept it as a pet until my mom found out. As well as a bullfrog, various lizards, cats…..you get the picture. I’m crazy about animals and would live on a farm if I could.

My parents also knew how much Riley meant to me. I had my daughter email them when he died because I knew I could not carry on a normal conversation with anyone at that time. (Neither could she; that’s why she emailed). I also knew that my mom, who is well-known for having no tact, would piss me off. And of course, she did.

Some of her comments: ” He’s just a dog. Get over it already.”  “What did you expect? He was sick. Didn’t you know it?” “You got another one of the same breed? What is wrong with  you?” “You always acted stupid about animals anyway. You shouldn’t have any.”

I love my mom. I do have a love-hate relationship with her, though. This is the same woman who accused me of lying when I told her I was molested as a child. She also thinks J should “get over it”….in other words, get over bipolar.

My parents are old. I know I will be devastated when something happens to them. But most days, I have to love them from afar.

 

 

Today June 23, 2013

Filed under: about me,all,death,depression,events,family,grief,journal — rainey46 @ 6:29 pm
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Today was the hardest day since the day Riley died. No particular reason; just a really, really hard day. I’ve cried so much I look like I was beaten in the face.

If you are not a dog person, you don’t get it. He was my little boy, my constant companion. If you averaged the time I spent with humans and the time I spent with my two dogs, I know for a fact I spent much more time with the dogs. He slept beside me at night, curled up under my left arm. If I rolled over, I felt his little fur weight pressed against my back. In the morning, he followed me to the bathroom, waiting patiently until I finished so he could be let out for his turn. If he got scared, he ran to my arms. He greeted me at the door every single day, joyful and happy that I came home again. If I went out-of-town, he moped and refused to eat until I returned. He loved to play ball, and would let me work on the computer for just so long before he insisted that I take a break and play with him.

Dogs have always had my heart. Riley came into my life when my girls went away to college and I felt so lonely. Hubs works 12 hour shifts so I am home alone a lot, especially in the summer. Not long after that was when J started the first downward slide of bipolar, addictions, and disorders. It was a hard time for hubs and I, and it drove us apart for a while. Mental illness is not understood by the general public, as you all know, so I had no one. Except Riley. He was not a trained therapy dog, but he might as well have been. When I cried, he stayed by me, licking my tears as they streamed down my face. When I calmed down, he would gently bring me his favorite ball and look at me with those huge, understanding eyes. God how I miss those eyes.

Hubs called to check on me today. I can hear in his voice how worried he is about me. He knows my tendency toward depression, and that in recent years it has gotten worse each time. He wants to go get a new puppy tomorrow. My first reaction was NO, but it’s not to replace Riley. That will never happen. But our little girl, Soph, is out of sorts and so lonely now. And if we get a puppy, it needs to be in the summer when I can train it. I’m just not sure I’m ready for that. Hubs is just trying to stop my downward slide, I realize that. It is so sweet. I’m just not sure.

 

Different June 22, 2013

I am different. Yes, I know, we all are. I guess I should say I am VERY different from others. By “others”, I mean people my age. I don’t have a problem with it, though. It is just a fact.

But then, I’ve always been different. As a very young child, I lived more in my imaginary world than I did in the real world. I didn’t have any friends who lived nearby, and I grew up in a time before play dates and “Mommy and Me” outings. My two best friends were my imagination and my dog. I had friends in school, but no one I even remember well.

Fast forward: teen years. I suffered typical teenage angst, along with the shameful taste of molestation. I was rebellious; hell, that’s putting it mildly. I was sexually promiscuous and without limits. If there was a way to get high, I did it. I “tried on” various groups; you know, the jocks, the nerds, etc. as I searched for a way to be accepted. Truthfully, the only group who came close to feeling right was a group of misfit druggies. They weren’t the  hip stoners I thought were so cool in their total disregard for authority, but just a motley crew of kids from bad homes, or kids who struggled in school and turned to drugs to make it hurt less. They were a sad lot, but they accepted me. But even then, they knew, and I knew, I didn’t fit in. For one thing, I was too smart. I could easily make A’s without trying, so I failed on purpose. Another problem was I came from a good home. By this time, my dad worked his way up and brought our little family out of hovering above poverty to solid middle class. I had both parents and a nice house in a good neighborhood.

Fast forward: meeting my husband. When I met my husband, I left behind my old group of friends and hung out with his friends. The sad thing is, none of my old friends missed me and I didn’t miss them. My new friends liked me and accepted me into the group. Well, the men did. I was still reckless and a tomboy, willing to try new things. I played ball, went fishing, rode motorcycles, and would do almost anything on a dare. The girls of the group took a while to like me and accept me, but they did eventually. My husband loved the wild side of me, but he ignored anything he didn’t like. The molestation?  The gang rape? I told him about it and he pretended it didn’t happen. I mentioned it years later, and he seemed shocked. We all bury our heads in the sand, I suppose. Anyway, they accepted me, but I still felt different, like an outsider allowed to come inside for a bit.

So, you see, being different is no big deal to me. At this stage in my life, I am comfortable being me (most of the time). I no longer try to conform to what society or, even forbid, the neighbors. I have friends, but most of them are much younger than me. (Does that make me immature? Probably. Do I care if I am immature? Of course not…haven’t you been paying attention??) The only people I really spend time with are my two daughters and my husband.

It is at times like this, when I my heart is breaking, that I wish I had the type of friends who would come and get me to shake me out of my misery. When I suffer inside because of J’s bipolar/addictions, or when bad things happen in my life, I really have no one to turn to. Sometimes the price I pay for being different is steep.

 

I Took Back My Power From the Rapist June 9, 2013

 

TRIGGER WARNING: Rape

It’s strange how J mimics my own life in some ways. I wish it wasn’t so.

She saw her rapist at the grocery store.

The same grocery store where I saw mine.

Years ago, as a very young and wild teen, I was gang raped by “friends”. Long story….I know I wrote about it already, but I don’t feel like searching for it to create a link. Maybe later.

A year later, I moved on. I made all new friends, cut my ties with that so-called group of friends (all of them, not just the ones who raped me). I literally moved on to a new boyfriend (who became my husband) in a new town. The first town is about a 35 minute drive to the town I moved to. I grew up, married, had kids, and became a teacher. My life moved forward, but my soul did not. Just as I did with the molestation I endured as a child, I covered it up and pretended it didn’t happen. If I don’t think about it, it can’t hurt me, right? Or so I thought.

One year, one of my students happened to be this weird little dude I will call Paul. I taught fourth grade, and some little boys having a crush on me was the norm; it goes with the territory. After a week or so, they usually get over it and fall for a more appropriate love interest, like the cute blonde with freckles who sits next to them in class. Paul, however, persisted to fawn over me all year. Like I said, a weird little dude. I met his mother several times during conferences and we laughed together over his strange infatuation with me.

At the end of the year we had a big awards ceremony. The day before, Paul gave me a strange smile and said,”My dad is coming to awards tomorrow.” I was slightly shocked,  as Paul’s dad had not attended any events that year. In fact, Paul NEVER talked about his dad, so I assumed he was a very un-involved parent. Then Paul said, “My dad knows you.” He giggled and ran off.

I truly didn’t think anything of it until the next day. I was standing in my classroom when Paul’s dad, my old friend and rapist, stood in my doorway. Time stood still as our eyes met. The world around me faded away and all I could see where those eyes in the darkness. I was unable to blink or breath until he smirked and turned away. He told his son he would see him at the ceremony and then he was gone. When I was able to move again, I looked at Paul, who stood there, staring at me, with that same smirk. Like he knew.

Somehow I got through that day. I pulled Paul’s records and realized I lived one street over from my former friend. We lived one street apart and I never knew until that day.

But he knew. He knew the whole time that I was Paul’s teacher.

That summer I saw him again. This time at the grocery store. I left my groceries in the cart and walked out.

It began to eat away at me. I couldn’t sleep without nightmares. I began spending most of my waking hours doing the “What If” game. What if I had pressed charges. What  if I called him out in front of his wife. What if…

Finally I realized this was very counter-productive for me. I had to take my life back. I could not run from this anymore. A few days later, in the same grocery store, I saw him. I followed him. When he saw me, the blood drained from his face. I was angry and I did not look away. I would not back down. I took back my power when I looked him in the eyes and loudly said, “Fancy meeting you here. Does you wife  know you are a rapist? Does she know how you gave an under-aged girl drugs until she passed out, so you and your sick friends could rape her?” I saw true fear in his eyes for the first time. In that moment, I got my power back. He and his fear no longer controlled me.

Life is funny. That was years ago, and I have not had a chance encounter with him since. He still lives one street away, but it no longer haunts me. In fact, I hadn’t thought about him and those events in a long time.

I wonder how long it will be until J gets her power back.

 

 

Life Goes On June 1, 2013

TRIGGER WARNINGS

She refused to do anything about the rape. After that day, she didn’t want to talk about it. J is  much like me in her ability to bury things deep inside. It kills me to see her do that, because I know what burying secrets does to you. The secrets come out at night and haunt your dreams. They creep up randomly in the middle of the day and make you unable to breathe. Secrets that you keep buried eat away at your soul, swallowing it bit by bit. Trust me, I know.

But burying secrets is a way to survive and keep living. It is a coping skill; a bad one, but a coping skill nonetheless. I was once gang raped by a group of guys who I thought were my friends. I was drunk and high on drugs, so the next morning I buried it away. After all, I put myself in that position. It was my fault. Those were the thoughts I had at the time, so I pretended it didn’t happen. Even when I saw them later in the week, I pretended nothing was different. Inside, I felt dead. I continued doing drugs and drinking heavily for a few more years. I attempted suicide several times. When I wasn’t attempting suicide, I lived as recklessly as I could. Dying seemed better than living.  I was in a bad place for a long time. It was years before I could grieve and even admit to myself that I was raped.

I worry so much about J. She carries so many wounds and she is not tough like I am. She feels every little jab deep in her heart. She is so trusting, yet she keeps getting hurt. J is a good, loyal person with a heart of gold.  She trusted that when she said no, he would listen. It wasn’t a playful, ambiguous no. She was crying. She meant it.

My anger is still boiling. She begged me not to tell anyone, not even her dad or sister. So I have another secret that I must carry, because when I make a promise I keep it. I do not know what will happen if I run into him somewhere. In this small town, it is bound to happen. I know where he works. I could easily find out where he lives. I lay in bed at night and dream up scenarios of what I would do to  him if I could. I will not share with you what my twisted mind concocts because it frightens me to think I can even  dream of such terrible things. But she is my baby, no matter her age. She is handicapped mentally and he took advantage of that. To me, that is more inhumane than the horrors my mind creates.

I am here, drinking my coffee and beginning my day. J spent the night with a friend and is planning her best friend’s wedding. The birds are chirping and the sun is rising. Life goes on.

 

Sunday Morning Update on the Family May 26, 2013

Happy Sunday morning! It is early morning here as I sit on the porch and drink my second cup of coffee. It’s a “linger and take small sips” kinda morning. The sun is shining but there is a cool crispness in the air. I hear the crow of the neighborhood rooster in the distance. He seems to insist for you to get up and start the day. A morning dove calls her lonely song out and other birds chirp “good mornings”.

I love that it is never quiet in the early morning hours. The sounds of nature put me at ease.

I haven’t done an update on my life in a while, so….

I’ve dealt with much anxiety in the past month, mostly over things of my own doing. <Heavy sigh.> Will I ever be able to stop making my own life hard? On a better note, school is out in 2 weeks and I will be home for a little while. I’m excited to have time to get a few things done for me. I’m no longer waiting for Hubs to do things, because it never happens. So, I will do it myself.

I’m not a church goer, so I will spend my day doing all those things that don’t get done during the workweek. Also, I don’t think I shared some wonderful news: my daughter S and her partner E just bought a house! It’s a cute old  house in the historic section of town. We are busy helping them move this weekend. It fills my heart with joy to see her so happy taking this step. To think she is only 24! She is so traditional in everything she does (except of course she happens to be gay.) I hope the wanderlust that plagues me never gets into her heart.

I also have exciting news about J (my daughter who has an eating disorder, bipolar, and anxiety issues). SHE STARTED BACK TO COLLAGE! She took the steps she needed to do to get financial aid and sign up for the courses she needs. The classes are online and she started this week. She has made an “A” on every assignment so far! I am so proud of her for doing this. She’s dealt with some strong anxiety in the process, but she did it.

My heart is full of pride and happiness for both of my girls.

 

 

Truth or Dare…If You Dare! May 12, 2013

Truth or Dare time….

TRUTH: I once flushed a set of car keys down the toilet. In a mental hospital while visiting my daughter. Did I mention they were rental car keys and I was 2,600 miles from home?

TRUTH: I used to pretend to like steamed oysters just so I could hang out with my dad and his buddies. I really thought they were gross (the oysters, not his buddies), but I loved spending time with my dad.

TRUTH: I am sometimes attracted to men, and sometimes to women. I think it is  a certain quality I find appealing, not sexuality.

TRUTH: Dog poop, dog vomit….neither bothers me at all. Let a kid throw up, and I am running the other way!

TRUTH: If I burp, I ALWAYS say excuse me. Even if I am alone.

DARE: I dare you to tell me a truth about YOU!

 

Firsts May 11, 2013

It takes guts to try something you’ve never done before. When I think back to many “firsts” in my life, I can still feel the butterflies in the pit of my stomach.

 

My first bicycle ride without training wheels: My sweaty palms gripped the handlebars of my banana seat Schwinn as I pushed off the pavement in my sneakers. My dad had his hand firmly on the sissy bar, so I started off well. The moment I sensed his hand let go I began to wobble. The front wheel jerked back and forth as though it were having a seizure, and my heart nearly pounded out of my chest. I had no control over the direction it took and in seconds the row of mailboxes loomed in front of me. I heard screams of “Hit the brake” but my legs were frozen and unable to respond. CRASH! My first ride ended in tears and bandages. Learning to ride was put off until I could lick my wounds and heal my pride.

 

My first time teaching my own class: I am not going to lie; the first day I was alone in my classroom I cried with joy. It took me seven long years to get my teaching degree, and it was the hardest thing I ever accomplished. I was proud and overwhelmed to finally be there, in MY classroom. Nerves drove me to dive in and prepare the bare room for my 24 students. Books were labeled, shelves were filled, and bright bulletin boards were assembled while the butterflies danced so hard in my stomach that I couldn’t even eat. I bet I rearranged 50 times before the first day of school! When my students walked in on that first day, all my nervousness disappeared. I knew I was right where I belonged. I stepped to the front of the class and began teaching.

 

My first pregnancy: Unless you have experienced this firsthand, you can only try to imagine. Having a life, a real, tiny human, growing inside of you is beyond anything else in this world. My nerves were at times so bad I would shake. Other times I felt confident that I would be a good mother. As my belly grew, I became more afraid. I was terrified I would do something that would damage this wondrous little piece of perfection. After giving birth, I held my body so tightly clenched the nurse kept telling me to relax. It was weeks before I finally gained some confidence and began to enjoy my baby girl.

 

Firsts can be scary, but trying new things or doing something for the very first time makes you feel more alive. Even if you fail, you gain from the experience of trying. I haven’t had any firsts or new things in a while, so maybe that’s what I need. I need to find a good, worthwhile “first” to try. It’s time to shake things up…

 

English: A Schwinn banana seat with sissy bar,...

English: A Schwinn banana seat with sissy bar, bobbed fender, and slick, square-profile tire, on a bicycle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

THIS is What I Wanted to be When I Grew Up? May 7, 2013

Life is crazy. And weird. And never, ever what you expect it to be.

When I was 10 if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a vet. I wanted to help all the animals in the world. Never mind that I couldn’t stand the thought of putting one down, or the realities of surgery. I just wanted to love and help them all, in some vague way. Oh, and get paid for it, so I could afford the ‘farm’ I would have. Never mind the real hard work that goes into such a farm; I just liked the idea of it.

When I was 13 if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a rock star. I idolized those who could rock out: playing a guitar and singing their way across all the countries of the world. I wanted it all: the fame, the fortune, and the fans. It was just a minor problem that I had no singing talent at all, nor could I play any instrument. Unless you counted a play electric organ. I could beat out Silent Night like nobody’s business.

It’s strange, looking back. I had this idea of who I would be and what my life would be like. In some ways, parts of it came true. I always wanted to get married and raise a family, and I have done this. I wanted to stay home with my children and raise them like my mom did with me, and I did. I stayed home with my girls until they started school. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I eventually decided to be a teacher, and (other than the lack of money) I never regretted that decision. Although I still sing in the shower, to keep the vocal chords warmed up, just in case…

My life did not turn out to be exactly as I thought; life has a way of shaping  you and changing your beliefs and values. Things that I once thought to be important are now of no consequence to me.

Funny, as I was growing up, not once did I ever think to myself, “When I grow up, I want to be a semi-crazy mom who raises one drug-addicted,  bipolar daughter with life issues, and one daughter who has strict, traditional values. Except for being gay, of course. Oh, and I want a husband who is old-fashioned and out of touch, so I can carry the weight of our problems by myself. Throw in a dog I love, but who has unexplained seizures, and THAT’S the life I want!”

No, none of us really get what we think we want. But you know what? I’ve made a life. I have a sense of humor that saves me most days. I have a family I love who loves me back. I have an interesting job that is great most days. This is my life, and I made it mine. It is not what I expected, because it is so much more.

 

I Saw A Moment in Life April 7, 2013

I saw a small child unknowingly

drop a beloved stuffed dog

as his mother pushed the stroller

hurriedly, distractedly,

throughout the store.

I saw an elderly man

grunting, with great effort,

stoop to retrieve the ragged mutt

calling out in a deep, trembling voice

unheard and overlooked.

I saw the elderly gentleman

clutching the symbol of comfort

lurching with a slow

and painful gait,

follow the sound of crying.

I saw the distraught mother

desperately searching for a beloved toy

maternally knowing the significance

of the ‘Made in China’  item

to her much-loved child.

I saw the old man gasping for breath

quietly reach out a shaking hand

silencing the child with the gift

the mother’s face filling with relief

as her child felt safe once more.

I saw time stand still

and as a small incident in life

unfolded before me, I realized

there is a goodness in all

the little moments of life.