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.