Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

The Tree Got Decorated, but Not According to Planned December 1, 2013

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like most things in my life lately, today did not go as planned.

We planned on going through all the many boxes of Christmas decorations and throwing out the junk and taking what we didn’t want to the secondhand store. We planned to decorate the tree this morning. It did get decorated…eventually.

My daughter S and her partner E came over early this morning and brought us breakfast. J got up feeling grumpy, but she seemed to shake it off. We ate and started making plans to decorate. J got upset and reminded us that she was going to church with a friend. We promised we would wait until she returned.

J has struggled a lot lately with bipolar, thyroid problems, and OCD. We are not a family that attends church, but J talked to a good friend who told her to come to her church and attend counseling with the preacher. I am not fond of this idea for several reasons, but I will save that for another post. However I kept my reservations to myself and wished her well.

She didn’t return until 2:00. She said it was great and she seemed happy. We pulled out all the boxes we needed and spread everything out in the living room. The dogs (4 of them) had played outside all day and managed to get all 16 paws filthy! S asked her sister a simple question. Nothing major; just a question.

“Are there still dishes in the sink?” (She wanted to wash paws before allowing the dogs to come in the house).

For some reason, this question from her sister sent J over the edge. She yelled at S and told her to “get off her back” and said she “couldn’t handle this right now.” She then stormed off to her room.

S looked at me and said, “I just asked her a simple question.” J SCREAMED “I can hear you, you know!” So S went to her room and tried to talk to her. She calmly told her that she just asked about the sink because the dogs needed to be cleaned, and that we had waited all day for her to help us decorate the tree, and we would really like her to join us. (S has learned how to talk to J when she gets like this from years of experience.)

S came out but J stayed in her room. We went through the motions of getting the boxes open to begin sorting, but to be honest I was in a daze and don’t really know what we were doing. After a few minutes, J comes out of her room with her keys in her  hand. I tried talking to her but she ignored me and walked past and out the door. I went after her, but she was already in the car. I told her to hand me her keys but she refused. I was so scared she would drive off and hurt herself! By this time hubs came out to help me. I kept asking and she kept refusing. I suddenly felt overwhelmingly tired to my very core. I looked at hubs and told him I couldn’t do this and walked away. He took the keys from her. As I reached the house I heard her scream “THEN I WILL WALK!” as she slammed her car door.

J began walking down the road. Barefoot. I don’t know what was going on in her head, and she doesn’t remember. She didn’t go far before she turned around and came back to the yard. She sat right in the ditch. Hubs walked out to her and it was as if she were coming out of some sort of fugue. She started crying hysterically and asking, “Why am I in the ditch? What happened?” He led her back to me.

We calmed her down. Then we decorated the tree.

 

 

Close to Perfection October 27, 2013

Fall Day and Night 2013 006Yesterday was magical. It was as close to a perfect day as you could ever desire. If you read my post yesterday, you know it began with coffee and quiet reflection before the sun rose. I then fell back asleep, which I guess I needed. I had peaceful dreams and awoke feeling refreshed. I did a quick house cleaning and washed a few clothes. (So, okay, in a perfect world those things wouldn’t need to be done, but I did say it was CLOSE to perfect.)

I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon painting. I put Pandora Radio on my Kindle and listened to The Tallest Man on Earth, Gordon Lightfoot, Incubus, Mumford and Sons, Fun., Blind Melon, and many others, old and new. The air was cold, but I painted on my back porch anyway. I love a crisp fall day! While painting, I used textures for the first time. I love the look of a textured painting, but I’ve never tried it. It turned out  pretty good for my first try. It didn’t even bother me that hubs didn’t like it; I know he is not crazy about a lot of my art, but he is supportive about it. I really like it, and someone already asked to buy it!

As I was winding down my painting, I started a big pot of homemade chili and sent a text to my daughters and daughter in law (What do you call your gay daughter’s significant other? Not sure about that.) inviting them over. I set the chairs up around the fire pit and we had a few beers while eating delicious chili. The night air was cold, but the warmth of the fire kept us toasty.

This is what life is all about.

Fall Day and Night 2013 002

 

 

In Over My Head, and Then, Suddenly… October 15, 2013

I am drowning. I’m in over my head is so many ways and I don’t know what to do. Life is throwing me one curve ball after another, and stress is piled so high I can’t see the tunnel, let alone the light at the end of the tunnel. Things at work are getting harder and harder; I feel so much responsibility that I fear I will crack from the weight. At home, relationships are strained and nothing is easy. I miss my dog every single day. I don’t know from one day to another if J, (daughter with bipolar disorder) will be on the roller coaster high, where she becomes agitated, angry, and sometimes exhibits risky behavior; or if she will be on the roller coaster low, where she has trouble functioning and sometimes attempts to take her life. I feel I have no one to turn to’ no one to even understand. And then, suddenly….

Someone at work thanks me. A heartfelt, real, thank you. I feel appreciated.

My two dogs greet me at the door, full of love and energy. They need me and love me.

I look at my daughter and my love for her radiates from my every pore.

I have so much.

Suddenly, my life doesn’t seem as overwhelming.

Suddenly, I feel needed and loved.

Suddenly, I know I will be okay.

 

 

Unseen Burdens October 13, 2013

We all carry unseen burdens. Some hide their burdens very well, and you never know they exist. On the outside, these people seem to have it all, and many around them are envious. They look at their own flawed existence, and wonder why they cannot have that beautiful life.

I’ve lived on both sides. I was once the envied one, not because my life was perfect, but because I hid the flaws so well. I’ve also looked at others and wished I had their life. I’ve lived and experienced enough now, though, to know better. I have my set of problems, just like everyone else. None of us have it all figured out; we are all swimming in our own sea of doubts, fears, and sadness.

I no longer waste time feeling jealous of others. I also no longer hide the flaws of my world. It could be better, but it could be worse. I try to face my personal demons with humor. When depression sets in, I lay low and wait it out. When the good times come back, I live them fully and ride the wave of happiness as long as I can. When Bipolar Betty takes over my daughter, I help her through what I can, and remind myself it is the disease, not my daughter, acting and talking. We hold on tightly, and make it through together, as a family.

This is my life. These are my burdens. Don’t be jealous of me, and I won’t be jealous of  you.

 

Now What Do I Do? July 7, 2013

Just when I thought things might be getting back to normal, more shit hits the fan.

J has acted weird for a few days now, but today is really bad.  She spent the night with a friend last night and came in this morning. I could tell something was wrong. When I asked, she would only say she was having a rough time. I didn’t press, because that’s the way we are; we give each other space.

She stayed in her room all day, only coming out to eat. She looks and acts like a zombie. I asked her if I needed to be concerned, and she said no. I let it go. Later her sister, S, came by and I asked her to check on her. She said J was having terrible OCD issues. She thinks if she comes out of her room too many times something bad will happen.

OCD is not new, but this extent is. She has very mild OCD, such as rinsing a glass 4 times before filling it with water. As I said, nothing severe. Now, for no reason I can understand, she cannot leave her room.

So now what do I do?

 

 

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 is So Hard and He Said Hello June 3, 2013

WHY? WHY? WHY? Why does life have to be so hard for her? Why does she feel so much pain all the time? I don’t understand how these things keep happening to her, when she is such a good, decent person.

J had a terrible weekend. She has been cycling badly for days now. Her psychiatrist is out-of-town, and she will not see anyone else. Then Sunday, she went to the grocery store. Guess who she ran into? Yep, the rapist. AND HE SAID HELLO LIKE IT WAS ANY NORMAL DAY. She said she felt like vomiting.

Today her work called me. J had a seizure and the ambulance took her to the emergency room.

Turns out it was not a real epileptic seizure, but a pseudo-seizure brought on by stress. I’m sure it felt real enough to her.

Stress is a terrible, horrible monster. Trust me, I know.

 

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.

 

 

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.