Oct 16

The Power of a Hashtag

So much power in such a little thing

Most hashtags (or pound signs as old people like me used to know them as) are pointless. Depending on how cynical and bitchy I am on the given day, my reaction varies from the benign shoulder shrug to me typing a rant about how cut and paste movements are often masturbatory, smug demonstrations of how enlightened a the followers of the hash tag are. (Thankfully,  I erase those rants because there is no bigger douche than a smug, self satisfied douche ranting about some harmless yet annoying internet trend and basking in the pretentious glow of their own cynicism and superior intellect. Yep, sometimes I’m that asshole.)

Sometimes, though, the interwebz hive mind hits on something great. Some times hashtags can do something wonderful. I’ve already had a window into it from my limited role in #YesAllDaughters.  I believe the new #MeToo has the potential to be another great one.

I once told a man I know to be a very good man that every woman I knew has been sexually harassed or assaulted in one form or another. I watched his brain reboot. He didn’t want to call me a liar, but I could see him have a hard time computing the information. In a perfect world, this man would have just taken my word for it. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have this problem.

Some of the angry push back to Me, Too I’ve seen is caused by women feeling like the fact all of us face this is common knowledge. Every single knows all of the women around them has been groped, pinched, followed or much, much worse. We share stories, comfort, or even just knowing looks. We share them between ourselves among other women who know. We don’t share it with all the men in our lives. We might tell our lovers or maybe, rarely, our close male friends.

This does not excuse the behavior of the predators or harassers. It doesn’t excuse the zealotry of disbelief. All of these things are still wrong. The beauty of this movement is it strips away the excuses. It demonstrates something all women know and shows men something they SHOULD know. Let me apologize here for writing  this portraying the victims as female and the aggressors as male. I know this not always how it happens, and I also know there is a lot more to gender than the two ends of the gender spectrum.

If deniers see walls of Me, Too, it becomes harder to deny. If people see fields of Me, Too they might understand how many people understand something of what they went through. Maybe Me, Too will open window shades of the shame of the things done to us and let the light finally kill those monsters. Maybe Me, Too will show someone how their behavior isn’t harmless fun. Maybe Me, Too will cut through lines and lines of “well, he just did this but at least this didn’t happen.” Maybe we will finally be able to face this shit head on.

So, here is my Me, Too:

I can’t point to one particular incidence or attack. I don’t have a rape or molestation to point to and say “this was when.” I’m left more with a feeling of an accumulation of a million little cuts.

I remember being really young and playing with my sister and the kids of some random people my parents knew. I remember there were two older girls my sisters age (8-ish),  a boy who was also 8ish, and a boy closer to my 6ish years with a visual impairment. I remember being forced into a wardrobe with the boy my age. I don’t remember if anything happened in the dark. I just remember it was dark, and I didn’t want to be there. I remember the boy professed his undying love for me and the older kids snickering.

That was the first time I felt like there was something so wrong with me that anyone who expressed interested in me was open to ridicule. It was the first time I felt like I was wrong and any desire for me was wrong. I also remembered learning a fear of being forced into the dark with someone who wanted things from me I didn’t want to give or even understand.

My entire childhood was adults of all ages and genders poking and commenting on my body and my weight. I felt like my body was community property. It wasn’t my own. I didn’t have agency over myself. My body was open to public discussion, and the discussion was about how it was flawed and in desperate need of fixing in order to be lovable, except by my mom. She thought it was flawed but still very lovable.

By the time sex actually became a consideration, I was so convinced I was so undesirable it was a mute point. I was this unsexed, unwantable thing. It meant I didn’t have many of the same painful interactions most young teenagers had. Now, as an adult I know things had to have happened, but I wouldn’t have identified them as sexual because the idea of someone interacting with me sexually was ridiculous.  It was all just so confusing.

Somewhere I just got this extreme discomfort at any sexual attention. It felt like any desire from males felt like this unspoken drive to take from me with doses of pervasive and unidentifiable shame. Of course, at the time I had no understanding or emotional vocabulary to express any of this, so I just shut down.

I had big tits and a big ass and a body that was community property, so I have had a lot of hands on me. I remember it was the fourth grade when I realized boys were noticing my boobs. I remember that’s when the grabbing and pencils or crayons began being thrown at my chest started happening. At the same time, the boys also made it very clear the idea any of them wanted to with me was clearly ridiculous. There were prettier, less weird, less big girls for that.

It was confusing as fuck.

In college, I just accepted that people where going to grab me whenever they wanted. A lot of the time it was fun. When it wasn’t fun or unwanted, what could I say? I learned a long time ago my body belonged to everyone and a grope wasn’t desire or sex. I was not someone anyone wanted like that. The extreme shame and discomfort I felt didn’t matter. I had no reason to be upset about having to remove male hands from under my skirt or down my shirt even after I made it very clear I didn’t want them there. It was harmless. right? It wasn’t like I was being raped, right? So what if I felt so uneasy, so violated, and shamed. It was a part of being a grown up. It was part of having tits and an ass. Feeling unsafe was part of the deal that came with being female. We were prey to fight for our right to not  have unwanted things happen to us.

Things are different now. I went through a few iterations of mentally and emotionally abusive relationships. Finally somehow I broke away. I won’t say much because what I share with the Viking is his as much as it is mine, but I will say the difference that safety, love, respect, and acceptance makes is glorious.

As an old, happy lady, I have some perspective. I now know if it feels uncomfortable and wrong then it needs to stop. You always have the right to make it stop. You always have the right to remove the hands or get away from physical contact. You always have the right to tell someone their advances are unwelcome. If you can’t, for whatever reason, it isn’t your fault. If you freeze up and can’t say anything, if you feel like saying something will bring you further harm, if you feel too much pressure for whatever reason, and you can’t get out of the situation, it is not your fault. If you walk away from a situation feeling like you were taken advantage of and feel a vague sense of something wrong having happened, it’s NOT your fault.

It’s time we stop letting ourselves be quieted and controlled by “well, at least this didn’t happen” or “I didn’t want to be rude.” People survive horrific things. I know women who have survived and thrived after multiple terrible attacks. Just because you didn’t suffer that level of trauma doesn’t mean you weren’t traumatized. It doesn’t mean you have to shut up and sit down because much worse could have happened. Acknowledge it. Feel it. Survive through it.

As for being rude, I wish I could say fuck ’em, but until we live in a world that cares more about the safety of women than the damaged egos of males, we will always have to be careful.

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Jun 11

Stuff and Botheration

So, in January I hurt myself. I hurt my foot somehow, and it changed all of my plans for 2017.

What’s the line? While you plan, the universe laughs?

I spend most of my time without a lot of access to a real computer. (I’m sorry, I’m not skilled enough to write a post on a smart phone.) If I did have access to a computer, it felt like there was too much to write about it and not enough to write about. I feel like I’ve been a one-note whiny ass on social media as it is.

This was a thing that happened while I was gone. He makes me happy every time I see him.

 

I also spent a lot of time feeling like I was somehow wasting 2017. I was angry, to be honest, because I feel like a waste of potential, and another 6 months sitting on a couch didn’t make me feel any more accomplished. Out of my personal demons, this one is the most persistent little shit. I had also felt like nothing I would do would matter anyway. The world’s problems were too big, and nothing I would write, no perspective I could try to share, would help any of it. I felt stuck.

Then I got a private message on Facebook from a someone I never talk to. He told me he couldn’t  openly respond to anything I posted because of his business, but he was secretly cheering me on. He was someone who spent most of his life on the other end of the spectrum until recently. He still was a lot on the other end of the political spectrum policy wise, but he believed in what I was saying about social justice. He thought my posts mattered.

Sometimes the universe intercedes when you need a little light. That conversation was much needed shiny.

This also happened. The Viking bought him for me for Valentine’s Day.His name is Roderick. He’s pretty dope.

 

I have also been fighting to get health care. I’ve hustled and hustled and hustled. Tuesday I’m finally getting the surgery I need to repair my foot, hopefully help my pain, and reclaim my life. First, I’m so unbelievably fucking lucky to have Mom and The Viking. They’ve both taken so much care of me and helped me in so many different ways. They’ve made everything possible. I’m lucky to have them and the ability to do the research to find resources. I’m lucky and that makes me mad.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this in this post because this is a topic which deserves a post or four of its own to cover it. I think about people who aren’t lucky like me. They don’t have people who love them and who bend over backwards to help them. Some people don’t have my ability to research and find resources. They just end up sick, in pain, dead from treatable conditions, or some combination of the three. This subject has become a passion of mine. You shouldn’t have to be lucky to get medical care.

Let’s be honest here, I had been depressed since Memorial Day. I had felt weak for being so upset. Everyone has the voice of someone who criticized them when they were still transitioning from tiny human to adult human. That voice always comes back to batter us when we need it least. My voice likes to tell me I’m lazy, I only write this or participate in social media to get attention, I need to stop being so weak and just suck it up power through my depression and anxiety to get a real job, how I take too much from others, and how I am obviously so weird for attention and I need to stop it. I fight that voice a lot. I felt it while I cried while the house slept. I felt it while ugly crying when Littlefoot’s mom dies in The Land Before Time, or any mom dies on anything. Then last night, I was talking to my Viking about everything going on, including my dad’s birthday and the 2nd anniversary of his death, and I realized I had a lot of valid, genuinely emotionally difficult things. So that voice can go fuck itself. I’m not weak, and there is nothing wrong with me being this naturally weird.

This what most of my life has looked like while I was gone. I spend most of my time draped in weenies.

 

Then Malea brought me pies. It’s hard to feel like all you’ve really got in your world is your dog, your mom, and your boyfriend when someone loves you enough to bring you pies with no other expectations than you eat the pies and feel better for it. I have a lot of wonderful friends who truly love me. You guys are always understanding about my oddities and anxieties. You guys always make me feel like I have value no matter if the only dragon I slay that day is eating something healthy. You guys make it easier to tell that voice to go fuck itself, and to believe I’m not a waste and my time recovering hasn’t been wasted.

I’m scared about Tuesday, but I know everything will be okay. Even if the recovery is hard, which it might not be at all, at least my body will be healing to wholeness, not just waiting for someone to fix it. I also have a lot of stuff to get done before Tuesday, but I know I can get it done.

 

It’s hard to not be optimistic when you have pie.

 

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Oct 28

She will Live with Me

Earlier in the month, I lost my friend LaNell to breast cancer. Normally, I write about these things much sooner, but I just couldn’t with her. Even though I know first hand going to funerals DOES matter to the loved ones, I couldn’t go to hers. I feel like a shit head for that, but I was having panic attacks so bad, normal people would have went to the hospital. Even before she died, she lived in my mind and heart. Now, she’s just there even stronger.

 

LaNell knew me the second she saw me. We worked at the library together. We started out being more friends than co-workers when I saw a kindred nerd in her. We both loved all the same stuff. We read the same stuff. She introduced me to some new fantastic writers. One of my favorite writers, Robin Hobb, is her recommendation. Then, at some point, I realized she saw the truer me I hid at work, and we became close friends. I would make her silly little people out of plastic spoons, and she laughed.  I went to Blizzcon while I worked at the library and brought her back a murloc, and she laughed.

He sat on her desk for ages.

He sat on her desk for ages.

After I left the library, we stayed friends. I still can’t explain how she managed to always be a soft presence in my life, yet at the same time she was strong as steel. We didn’t always see each other, but we always managed to see each other when we needed each other. She was the one who helped me come to terms with the fact the dickhead before my Viking was abusive. We were eating deliciously crappy Chinese food, and she put her thin, delicate hand over my meaty, clumsy paw, looked me in the eye, and said “Honey, he abused you. You were abused.”

That conversation lead to me going home, listening to Adele, and writing Strong Woman, the blog post that changed the way I blog and the way I view life. Her simple act of love and honesty changed my entire world forever. I could never be the woman I am today without her. I could never have the happy, loving relationship I have with my Viking without her.

This woman made of softness and steel always understood. She understood me before I did. She got that I had so many anxieties. She never made me feel bad for them. She knew I loved her very deeply, even if I didn’t show up a lot. She was one of my greatest supporters. I hadn’t intended on writing this today, but I looked at something on my site and say her name over and over again on my comments section. Her constant faith in me drove me to keep doing things and to not stop believing in myself. Even after being gone, her support still manages to keep me writing.  That was the magic of her.

 

So, I know she is no longer living, but it doesn’t mean she is no longer here. She touched so many lives. I will carry her with me until the end of my days.

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Oct 27

I Might be on to Something

Three months ago, in order to support my Viking on his diet I started making food changes myself. Every single time I’ve done this in the past of done something involving constant monitoring of what I ate and how much I was exercising which always spun into my life being controlled by this spiraling obsession with food and self-loathing brought on by failure.
I have an eating disorder. Calories in versus calories out will always be true, but nothing will ever stick until I change my relationship with food. I will always fail if I have so much emotion wrapped up in the food I eat that “falling off the wagon” could make me feel like a worthless failure. This does not set anyone for success at weight less, or more importantly, life and happiness.
Speaking of happy.. Look at my bad ass dye job

Speaking of happy.. Look at my bad ass dye job

This time I decided to learn to separate food from emotions as much as possible. I stopped putting value on food. It was no longer this strange idea of eating a ‘good food’ somehow increased my worth, and eating a ‘bad food’ chipped away at my value and bred shame. Food is food. It is a collection of ingredients which smell, feel, and taste a certain way. I am neither bad nor good for eating the food. Some food is more nutritious than other food. Some food fuels our bodies better. Some food isn’t necessarily kind to our bodies, but damn it tastes good.
 
Instead, I focused on how the food made my body feel. Drinking water makes me feel better, so I’ve started drinking more water. Generally, unhealthy food made me feel bad, so I eat far less of it. I feel better when I eat more plant based foods, so I eat more plants. I don’t drive myself nuts about if this celebrity doctor says this plant is a super fruit or if this vegetable is bad for you. I’m eating plants Good enough. I still thing Kale is a joke skinny people are playing on fat people.
 
I still eat my carbs. I love carbs. If I deny myself carbs, the self loathing comes out. Losing weight is not worth hating myself. I eat when I’m hungry. I pay attention to what I eat. I don’t eat food that makes my body feel gross. I’me learning to separate food from my self worth.
And I found out today I’ve lost almost 30 pounds.
I must be doing something right.
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May 03

Pecan Pie

Today is Dad’s birthday. This morning Facebook showed me the picture I posted of taking Dad’s dog, Petey, to the nursing home so he could have a piece of forbidden pecan pie with his best friend on the front porch. It made me sad because I realized it was the last time those two were ever together.

Before Dad’s death, Mom and Petey’s relationship was, shall we say contentious. They spent a lot of time yelling at each other, and Mom did a lot of cussing, but their love of Dad kept them together. Petey’s grief was palpable, though, and in the period after Dad’s death, Petey and I spent a lot of time holding each other. Now, Mom and Petey are friends.

That picture made me think of all of that.

Today was going to be an emotional day. I felt today looming in the future like an emotional boogeyman waiting in the dark to creep up and grab me. Some people try to ignore days like today, pretend like they aren’t happening, but I’m not a person who can do that well. My emotions will out no matter what, and I’ve learned it’s better for me to face them. If I don’t, I never how they will manifest, and that shit could get wild.

Mom and I decided to face today head on. I have some sort of bronchitis and sinus infection from hell that I spent yesterday at the doctor’s office getting stronger antibiotics for, so we decided it would be best if she came over here. We didn’t plan anything big or elaborate, just the two of us facing an emotional day together.

So, I got up this morning to shake the Viking out of bed and put on a roast. Facebook showed me last year’s picture. I went back to bed. I woke up and realized something I didn’t expect about today’s emotional day.

My two strongest emotions today were hope and love.

Losing Dad wrecked me. My father and his love were one of the pillars of the world. It was one of those unshakable truths like gravity or the sun setting in the West. Then one of those foundations of the world felt gone. The world felt wrong and scary. I got lost.

Maybe it was finally getting some sleep and feeling better or facing that picture, but I realized I have healed through some of my grief. When I was my most lost and things were the most dark, I felt like I would always hurt, like there was always going to be this toothache in my heart. I’m going to school for computer technology, and everyday I am surrounded by things that remind me of him. Six months or so ago, being reminded him as much as I am now would have had me on my couch desperately watching Bob’s Burger or Archer to calm the pain and panic, so I could breathe. Now, I still miss him, but I don’t feel like a desperate and rudderless ship. I’m not going to drown in it. I realized I’ve been feeling hope more lately instead of just the panicky struggle to find a way forward. The sleep and antibiotic are really good, too.

Tonight I found myself sitting on the couch with the Viking and the fuzzy wiener and my mom in an arm chair beside us as we were watching some British mystery.  I realized how much love I have in my life and how much love I had surrounding me right then. Hope and love for the lost girl. I wouldn’t have traded it for any book deal, amount of money, or Caribbean island.

We spent the day remembering him. We ate pecan pie. And, most importantly, we loved each other. I think Dad would have considered it a fitting tribute for his birthday.

We all made the sacrifice and had a piece in his honor

We all made the sacrifice and had a piece in his honor

 

 

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Dec 20

Just When I Thought I Couldn’t Be More White Trash

Okay, before I launch into this story I need y’all to understand somethings. I’m bat shit crazy, but I’m bat shit in a super loving sort of way, not a ‘cut your ass’ sort of way. I’m generally pretty mellow about most things unless you hurt one of my loved one. I also genuinely believe in trying my hardest to be a good person. I believe being a good person is the most important thing I can do in life. I may never write anything that sells a single copy or doing anything remotely interesting or considered important by other people’s standards, but I do want to leave this place better than when I slid into it angry and covered in ick.

This belief generally means trying my best to be kind. I catch myself thinking unkind things all the damn time, but then I go back and correct myself in my head. Our thoughts become our words, and our words affect our world. It also means meeting a lot of bullshit with a smile and kindness. I know when I’m in a bad mood its because I’m tired, hurting, or sick, and so when I run into a person who is being totally foul, I try to react with empathy. A lot of times a smile and a compliment can do a lot to lift someone’s mood. It’s not always easy, and sometimes the best I can muster is just ignoring the person. Sometimes, when the person’s attitude is really terrible I go even further to be kind. Disney movies have taught me that nasty people are often the most wounded. A lot of times it works.

Sometimes, though, I really learn how bad of a person I truly am.

This is what started it all

This is what started it all

Tonight, I drove into town to pick up things for my sick mother. I decided to pick up food on my way home. The Viking wanted food from one place and a drink from another. I didn’t agree to go to both places because I’m a good person; I agreed because it’s his birthday weekend and I want to store up points for a day when I need some soft serve from OnCue and want him to pick it up for me.  The line at the first place was ridiculous, but I survived it relatively unscathed.

The line at the second place it stupid long and slow. I’m waiting through it just to get a $1.09 Coke. (I really wanted some salted caramel pretzel frozen yogurt karma points.) This place had two lanes, and  one lane had a shorter line. I gave the Range Rover in front of me about 4 minutes to take the place then I pulled up. I try to be nice and not get competitive about inconsequential things but not moving into a shorter line is just wasteful. I got to the speaker minutes before the Range Rover and order my soda.

Normally, one lane orders and that car goes first, then the next lane orders and they stack like that. Tonight, the procedure was messed up because of some sort of massive delay, and my order was in about 3 minutes before the Range Rover, making me in line before her, so I pulled forward and continued to wait a crazy amount of time. Somewhere in there, the Range Rover lady decides to start screaming at me.

RR- “Your going to get my order.”

Me (desperately trying to stay calm because this shit really doesn’t matter)- No, I ordered a while before you, so my order is next.

RR- No, that’s not how it works! They take one lane then the other!

At this point I bite my tongue. I know if I try to explain to her staggering only works if orders are taken in the same time frame, my voice will sound super condescending causing her to claw my eyeballs out. Seriously, screaming at someone at a drive through about who cut who in line is not exactly rational behavior. RR then yells something at me and makes a hand gesture. I inform her I would move if I could but I can’t because of the person behind me.

While I’m waiting for my turn to give the person my one dollar and nine cents for the single soda I have ordered, I think about why someone would act that way. I decide she is probably having a horrible night, so when I get up to the window, and guess what, it was my order *GASP*, and I pay for the woman’s order, all like $26 dollars of it.  While I pick up my soda, I hear the woman bitching about how I probably got her order then I see her bitching out the kid at the second window. I pull forward, lean out my door, and yell at the top of my lungs, “I paid for your dinner because you seem to be having a bad night. Merry Christmas.”

Let me interpret that with subtext: I bought your fucking dinner because you are being such a raging bitch that you must be having a bad night. Merry FUCKING Christmas, you miserable hag!

I fail at being a good person AND not getting into yelling matches in fast food parking lots. At least I came away with a funnier story than her.

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Dec 03

Small Things

It’s been awhile. Life has been both oddly full and empty at the same time. I had a birthday, took a trip, got sick, and put on Thanksgiving dinner. There might have been a shit ton of Netflix in there somewhere.

 

I’m just going to start writing and see what all comes out.

 

In October, I went to my shrink’s appointment, and through talking to her I realized I was super depressed. I know some people would think it should be obvious if you are depressed or not, but it isn’t always especially when you have real, logical reasons to be sad. Grief and depression are sometimes hard to tell apart. I was crying every day. I had no motivation to do anything. My house got steadily more disgusting. I didn’t cook. I had no desire to play video games or make things. I didn’t even really want to read. I never don’t want to read. I wondered if I would hurt like that forever. I was also having frequent and intense panic attacks. Thankfully, my shrink picked up on it and double one of my medications. The veil is starting to lift. (My kitchen is still gross, though.)

I was afraid for Thanksgiving. My mom and my sister’s family all went to visit our family in Louisiana, and my only family with me was going to be my Viking and my fur babies. I knew it was going to be rough because it was my first since losing Dad. I was so happy for Mom going to enjoy her family, and I knew it was so good for her, but a selfish part of me wished for them to be here.  Anyway, I had to decide between trying to pretend Thanksgiving wasn’t happening or cooking a big meal, celebrating it in our own way, and accepting it’s going to hurt. I chose the second option. The Viking’s parents came over and we had a great time. I lit a blue candle for my dad as a silly remembrance and enjoyed my new family.

babybunny

This is my first fur baby.

I have the worst sinus infection right now. I felt it coming on as we were pulling out of the parking lot of the hotel we stayed in Eureka Springs in the beginning of the month. First of all, Eureka Springs is amazing. I want to go there often. Anyway, I knew it was coming on but kept quiet. I was busy, and I had the stupid idea it might go away if I ignored it. By this last weekend, it was so bad I couldn’t sleep because of all the pain. It’s a sharp and maddening pain. Finally, Monday night I ask the Viking to take me to the doctor.

I know logically I should have went much sooner. I know I wouldn’t be in pain if I had, and it would be easier to get over if I’d have went before the infection was able to take such a hold of my head. I know the Viking wouldn’t mind taking be to the doctor and getting me medication. I know this.

I also know most of my life I’ve felt unworthy. I’ve felt like I can only ask those I love for so much before I become too much hassle. I’m terrified of this invisible line I’ll one day reach where I’ve asked for too much emotional energy, cost too much, or been too much trouble, and the people in my life will walk away. I KNOW it is stupid, but it is engraved in my heart, and all I can do is yell it down as a liar. So, it is a big deal for me to ask and to receive help from any but a select group of people. I was also raised by two people who grew up poor and to whom going to the doctor would often end in them getting punished. Damage like that can jump generations no matter how hard you try.

Last night, the Viking came home after a long day of work and took me to a convenient care clinic. He waited for me in the waiting room, bought me dinner, then picked up my prescriptions. We even stopped in for frozen yogurt. He could have given me money to go by myself and stayed home to rest after work. He chose to go because he knows it makes me feel loved and cared for. It was more important to him than watching Youtube videos. This is why I’m keeping him forever.

 

One last thing:

My parent’s girl dog moved in with us the second week of November. She’s a bit of an old girl, but I love her very much.

How could anyone not love this face.

How could anyone not love this face.

I now have the most amazing princess wars going on between my dog, my rabbit, and my boyfriend. The dog and the rabbit are finally starting to be okay with each other, even with the rocky start because my rabbit bullied my dog. The Viking and Shorty, though, continue to have little battles. One day, I was going to the bathroom, Shorty, of course, had insisted to be in there with me until the Viking made a noise in the other room. She preceded to run out to bark at him. A few seconds later, she came running back in and went behind my feet. The Viking was close behind her and chased her around my feet so he could pet her and pick her up. Then they both rushed out of the bathroom, leaving the door open. I sat quietly for a second thinking about what just happened to me, then I started to laugh hysterically. What can you do?

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Oct 05

New Beginnings

Today has been an extremely bittersweet day for me.

First, my friends, well they are really family but it’s hard to explain how but they just are, had their baby today. I’ve spent the entire pregnancy praying (the closest I could come up with) for this baby. Stevie, the baby momma, had some issue that made pregnancy not so fun or easy, and at first I wanted so badly for things to go well because I love her and Kyle (baby daddy) so much, but when the baby developed enough for me to feel him, I started to love him, too. I worried over Stevie, and I worried over baby, and I loved them all. I don’t know if they ever knew how much of my heart stayed with them all the time. They also better be okay with him being one of my beloveds, one of my kids.

Part of me wanted to be with them today, but I’d have been as useless as a box of hair. Births are this exciting rush of love and fear and anticipation, and everyone wants to be there. I knew as much as I wanted to hug and kiss Stevie and Kyle and dance with Chompy Trex (not his real name, but SO his name), there were others there who should hug and kiss and dance first. I will kiss and hug and dance some day soon, at their home when things have settled.

Artist interpretation of not the new baby.

Also, quite frankly, my heart is still newly broken by Dad’s death, and I don’t think I can have a lot of joy at a hospital yet. They are still the place where I had so many complicated days and nights with my father. Chompy deserves pure joy, not my haunted, hurting heart as it would be in a hospital.

So, all hail Chompy Trex born on 10/5/15, roughly the size of a watermelon at 9 pounds 3 or so ounces and 19.something inches, my newest beloved.

What I did do today is help, and I use that term loosely, my sister move into her new house. I’m very proud of my sister. The only person I’ve ever known that worked as hard as she does is my father. She surpasses him, though, in her ability to be a loving, engaged mother. My dad was by no means a bad father; she is just that good of a mother. She and my brother-in-law have raised these smart, funny, wonderful kids. They are teaching them to be giving, kind, and mindful of others.

At one point, I sat watching my brother in-law playing out on their big, green, gorgeous new front lawn. They were all chasing each other, including the littlest, Cow Fart (she named herself that, by the way), and laughing and screaming, and it was one of the most breath taking things I had ever seen in my life. A wave of contentment and knowing washed over me. Deep somewhere in my being grew this knowledge that this was a good place for them, like a burning coal of foreknowing that her family would grow up happy and strong there. It took everything I had not to cry.

I felt Dad everywhere today. Some of it bad, like when Mom and I talked about how much driving we did between home and Oklahoma City and the hospital, or when we passed the hospital he did most of his dying in. Mostly, though, I felt him in good places. When Mom and I were trying to help unpack Cow Farts room and found this laminated sheet of pictures of Dad, Mom, their other grandparents, and everyone’s dogs they had originally made for Girl Child but Cow Fart stole. Cow Fart is a little thing still, but she and Dad had this deep bond, and even her choosing her name speaks of his spirit in her. Mostly, though, I know how proud and happy he would be to see what I saw today.

I’ve cried more today than I have in a while. I’ve hurt a lot today. I don’t think it’s bad, though. Let’s call it growing pains.

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Jul 25

Grief and You, a Handy Guide

Yesterday, I went to my monthly shrink appointment. When he asked me how I was doing, I answered honestly: pretty shitty, you?

I reminded him of Dad’s death last month and told him about all the problems I was having. Some days I felt like I was made of panic and loneliness. Some days I hurt so bad, I couldn’t look at the pain for fear of it overpowering me. Other days I would spend the whole day working up the energy to clean the kitchen. Sometimes, I couldn’t even do that much and would lie in the dark and tell myself stories in my head. Good days where the days Mom came over for Homemade Family Meal night. Mostly, I’ve been hurt, lonely, and very tired.

The doctor looked at me with so much sympathy it made me ugly cry harder.

I told him I knew it was all grief, and even though this isn’t how I expected it to be, I know my grief won’t feel like this forever. I also told him I know I needed to let myself feel this pain so I can start to heal. This level of pain is temporary.

He told me I have an excellent outlook everything. I explained I decided if I was going to be batshit crazy for the rest of my life, I was going to do it well, and with flair whenever possible. To his credit, he laughed.

Then I got to Mom home, not Viking home (life is weird, don’t judge me) and I found this.

My friend Adriel sent me a copy of a piece of music he wrote and a letter telling me to read the dedication

My friend Adriel sent me a copy of a piece of music he wrote and a letter telling me to read the dedication

dedication So, I set to sobbing all over again. Earlier, even before the shrink, I had cried earlier when I was thanking my friend Renee for using her ninja mind powers to get me out of the house the Friday before. I hadn’t even realized how much ninja mind trickery she had used until I was discussing it with the Viking the night before.

Today, someone posted about a loved one losing someone soon, and I typed out this long post about caring for her loved one and herself, then decided it wasn’t the best place. Here is the right place

Grief and You, a Handy Guide: (As told by a complete novice at being a human and grieving)

Grief doesn’t always happen like it is shown, you know, every where. Dad’s death wasn’t a surprise. I had planned my grief according to the way everything shows grief happening. Week one: Shock and being busy with the plans. Week Two: being there for Mom and start facing my own pain. Week Three: the week of suck and self care. Week Four: Start the process of healing. Yeah, so much no, did not happen like this AT ALL. Okay, well, week one happened like I thought it would, after that everything went all wonky. 

I think my brain released all sorts of strange chemicals, or I was super good at lying to myself because the first few weeks I was mostly fine. The night before Father’s Day sucked, but even that was in a manageable range. I felt sadness and pain, but nothing like I was expecting. So, a month later, when I’m hurting so bad, I was confused as hell. I was supposed to be getting better by now. How is it possible that I’m hurting worse? Why am I crying in a Mexican restaurant because Dad loved the place? My grief was sneaky ninja grief. Now that I know what is going on, I can forgive myself and be a bit kinder to myself about crying at everything and having bad days.

Mom, on the other hand, has been a damned superhero. She’s been my rock, along with the Viking. We also created Homemade Family Dinner Night. She comes over in the afternoon and we hang out while I cook a good homemade meal. I love cooking for family, and it makes sure we both take care of each other.

You never know how much those quick phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages mean. If someone you love loses someone they love, send them those messages. I promise you it means something to them. Sometimes people would text or message me, and I would respond with one or two words, but it wasn’t because I didn’t appreciate them, my brain was just not capable of responding.

We realize you were there for us at the funeral/memorial. I’ve always eschewed going to funerals because I never thought it would mean much to the person you were going for. God, was I wrong. When my friends showed up for me, and some for Dad, it meant everything. I might not have been able to express it enough because of brain melt, but I will always be thankful for it. Thank you.

Remind us as the weeks go on that it is still okay to be hurting. I feel like such a baby for still hurting. I know logically it is normal to still hurt. I know I’m doing okay. I know this in my logic brain. Unfortunately, my logic brain has less control over my feelings than I would like. Stupid logic brain.

Some of us will never ask for the damn help we need no matter how bad we need it. Seriously, I have this wonderful group of friends, and I never ask for help when I need it. I’m stubborn. I get that from Dad.

 

That’s all I have figured out right now, but I’ll let you know if anything else comes up.

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Jul 19

I’m not even going to pretend any of this makes sense

My mind is all jumbly, and this blog will probably be just as jumbly.

Friday, I had my first social outing since my dad died. I mean, we put together a fairly large 4th of July thing at our house, which turned out wonderfully, by the way. I passed my first big hostess test, or as we called them, woman olympics. I hadn’t done anything with friends, though. It felt good.I even held a huge snake.

I look like hell, but still, I'm holding a huge snake

I look like hell, but still, I’m holding a huge snake

It couldn’t have been more different from the weekend before.

I was alone Friday and Saturday, and I was so depressed I could barely move. I missed my dad, and I felt desperately alone. I didn’t want to bother anyone with my sadness. Tina had her own grief she was dealing with, and I was afraid if I called Mom, I would only depress her further. So, Saturday when I woke up feeling like I was made of loneliness, panic, and sadness, I forced myself to focus on the show I was binge watching and tried not to think and feel. It was the first time in a very long time that I felt like it was a little dangerous for me to be alone.

Later, I talked to Tina and Mom and realized I was being stupid for not reaching out. Grief shared is made lighter for everyone, not heavier. I’m just not good at asking for help. I survived it. I learned a new way not to be stupid.

I meant for this to be a longer blog, but PMS is a bitch. I have a migraine and need chicken wings.

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