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I remember exactly half a lifetime ago, on New Year’s Eve when I was 16 (I am now 32), I lost my virginity. Ever since then, NYE is like “The Day I Lost my V-Card”, and since I had sex that night to “get it over with” (Oh, how many more nights have I done this since…), I always look at New Years with a sense of shame and dread. I don’t know, maybe in some ways I enjoy the resolutions, but I had such a yucky de-virgining experience that it kind of sticks out like a sore erection. Sorry, my blog posts are swirling together.

You see, I hope to blog more about shit that’s happened to me (like losing my virginity to an adult when I was a minor, which is technically my first rape, right? And that’s some interesting memoir-obilia.) But that’s serious stuff…

Yet I also hope to blog more in a completely funny way, because I do tend to be very dark on paper/screen, but I have a lot more humor to share.

So this NYE post might have to suffer a little Bipolarism. Which is only fair in my opinion…because that’s what New Year’s resolutions are all about. Its a mix of regret and shame of our past failures disguised as uplifting plans for how amazeballs we will be on Day 1 of the Future. Its like the TOFU CUPCAKES I made today because I am getting fat yet sort-of want to deny that and act like I just want to be super clever. Cheers to “healthism”!

I’m not getting fat, it’s just my winter coat. My indoor winter coat. I’ll be fine…  Let’s be honest, this post is a selfish and ashamed cry to the universe to Please Let Me Be Skinnier in 2016! Internet Gods, do you hear me?

  • Cruising along…I guess my resolutions are more like a Dear Santa/Dear God letter. I “want”….let’s see….to get more exercise.
  • work more regularly on my Continuing ed credits to maintain that professional degree that I won’t tell you about.
  • Go back to the gym before my membership expires. Its been many months since I’ve been and now I have the “Shame of Abandonment Syndrome” and feel like I can’t go back to the “hot mom herd”. Cleverly,  I shall weave myself back in among the chubby newcomers in January and perhaps that’ll make it easier.
  • I want to run again. When I was anorexic (QUESTIONIING this label a lot these days. It is a “noble” title but I sort of think I was, as i was 5’7 and weighed 112 lb, which was 1/4 comprised of jello and yellow mustard), when I was anorexic, I could run and like fly up in the air like the runner version of ET AND ELIOT ON THE BICYCLE. That scene. Whee! Now that I weigh (BIG REVEAL)…140lbs (Coat included), I don’t run and I know it’s because of the extra weight. So, basically, if I lose weight I will be able to run again.
  • Blogging. It’s a newer habit that I will be working on more in 2016. It’s so  good for the mind, and I really enjoy reading other people’s blogs, too.
  • Clothes and organization and clutter and stuff. I have to work on that. Ideally, I get a better sense of my own style this year. I currently really enjoy wearing a specific sweatshirt and sweatpants or Lululemon concoction (Just in case I go to the gym, lol, not). On days that I work in that professional profession, I dress up pretty nice. I was in pearls yesterday I tells ya, PEARLS. So I have a few looks that are very opposed. In the summer, I have a third look:  Dirty-Gardener. It’s pretty sexy but doesn’t translate well at the supermarket or library (which are BASICALLY the only places I go. #Recluse
  • If I got my clothes act together, that would entail me getting rid of a lot and organizing a lot. GOALS!
  • Give my dog her flea medication every month. Goals!
  • Go to AA or work on my sobriety in a new way. Funny to mention this so late in the post, but I really want to find my sober tribe. I’ve been sober for 1.5 yrs and its boring and lonely and isolating and antisocial. Im beginning to think that’ why people go to AA. Is it like a party? 🙂 The only times I’ve been certainly were a drag. I remember going there once for a college assignment to “observe” and even though it was a good 6 years before I got sore,  knew even then that I was not “observing”, but that I could have been a member, if I admitted to myself that I was a lush. That was such a sad day for me, lonely…
  • Spend 6 months Not actively trying to become a perfect, married person with a house and a baby (note: I do have an almost 12-year old but I’m getting scared of the empty nest coming my way, a RENTAL nest at that!!!)   This is a goal my new shrink gave me, because basically i need to bask in my awesomeness for being sober for a while)
  • Spend that 6 months finding a way to not be anxious! Not needing the future to happen now. Bask, bask, bask!!!
  • Do more things in my professional profession to make me  better professional. I think I know what they could be, volunteering or writing…just another step towards a bigger career move that I am not looking for in my 6-months of non-pushiness of the future.

These are just the goals that I’ve come across during this free write. I’m sure there are more, that will apply to my relationships and activities…

TTFN and Happy New Year to anyone who survived this blog post!

 

 

 

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There are No Perks of Being a 32 year old Wallflower

Just saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower last night for the first time, which was written in 1999 and made into a movie in 2012. In 1999, I was a 16 year old-and dealing with a similar catalogue of inner fears as Charlie, the main character, and 16 years later (half my life later), I still harbor them.

Mainly, “would they want to be my friend if they knew I’d been to the “hospital”?”.

The older I get, the more I realize what an isolating, unique experience it has been to be someone who has been mentally ill enough to be hospitalized as a teenager. My blackouts were not psychological, like Charlie’s, but physical, alcohol-induced ones. The more “normal” I get, the more isolated, and isolating my memories feel of being that other person. The older  get, the less wallflowers I know.

I’m a very lonely wallflower around Christmas and the roots and petals of other people’s success (mainly procreatory, occasionally career-wise) contrast the small pot of my life. The roots of a wallflower a map of shame, an unlovable design. I just feel so, so unaccomplished.

Maybe this is why I need AA, not that I have gone since I was 15 and court-ordered to go a few times (a field trip from a mental hospital). Maybe I need a place where just being sober is something to be proud of. Normal people aren’t proud of that, and its tactless to ask an alcoholic like me how their “Sobriety is going”. And yet, this is the thing that takes all my energy, and isolates me completely, and makes me want to leap out of your house the minute I see your holiday spread of alcohol. A very good case for me to try AA.IMG_7691

I am like a houseplant who can only grow under very special lights and conditions. I can’t be moved. And though I will making to the spring, I falter in the darkness of December.

 

Year of Mercy post

I really like the idea of keeping a “Year of Mercy” page. Its a great idea that Pope Francis is instilling in the Church and i can meditate on things here in mown life.

So today I decided to relinquish all control and ask my sister to decide what mass we go to on Christmas Eve. She has 3 kids, and 2 are babies. Earlier, part of me wanted to go to a late mass or a mass at my own church just to feel like my opinion mattered even though I don’t have as many kids. But then I though about the Year of Mercy and texted my sis, to say “Your call, girl”. And it felt great.

It reminds me of Deepak Chopra’s “Law of Least Effort”. His theory is that the Universe pushes back when we do, and bends and gives and is gracious when we go with the flow and don’t try to force things, ideas or plans on people. Very inline with Mercy. It takes effort to be angry. Just ask my scowl lines, lol.

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Year of Mercy

Just went to Church, which I attend about once a month with my daughter.  Like me when I was a child, mine got “Church Drunk” within 5 minutes of sitting in a pew: that uncontrollably sleepiness that occurs when one finally sits, unadulterated by technology, for any period of time, especially when “churchy” music is playing.

The main focus of the priest’s Homily was that Pope Francis just started off “The Year of Mercy” on Tuesday, December 8th, and he explained that there will be a book on the alter where we can all put anonymous examples of mercy in. I think that is a really inspiring idea, and since I have been only blogging about the shitty shit, I thought I would run home and post this blog to basically remind MYSELF to have mercy this year.

And I think I will start with myself, my daughter, my sister, and my mother. Because, we all save our shitty side for the ones we love.

I should start with myself. I KNOW that I am experiencing a devastating identity crisis, because I am 32 years old and unmarried, and as Erick Erickson would tell me, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erikson%27s_stages_of_psychosocial_development) I am floundering in the stages of development. I “should be married and have a few kids”, yet I am a single mom, very financially insecure, and I totally am chalking this up to a major personal character flaw and as a personal failure. If I could take the Pope up on his plan, I could give myself a Year of Mercy. I think that would be really great. It is really painful to constantly compare myself to my age-group and feel like a failure.

When people congratulate me for getting 3 degrees (2 in the medical field), while raising a child, I always get teary and say it’s no big deal. As if, because I am not also married, 115lbs and towing several gorgeous kids around, nothing else I’ve accomplished matters.  Part of the Year of Mercy, for me, might just be allowing myself to take a compliment and maybe feeling good about all the shit I’ve done, not just reminding myself of what I haven’t done.

 

 

Judging you, Loving you

Your hair looks poor. You have a deadlock. It looks ratty. Yes, I KNOW I had dreadlocks before. That was before I reentered the real world and now we are in it, and I can’t stand to see you, in a gaggle of girls your age, be the ONE with the poor, poor, snarly hair. It is our give away.

Like my shitty blonde hair was a giveaway for a few years Look! I’m so poor I am bleaching my own dark brown hair to a cat-piss blonde. So sad.

Mortifying in hindsight.

I am our own worst critic, but that’s because I was so bullied at your age, kiddo. I know you don’t live that life but I am s0 afraid it will happen to you, beautiful, thin, pretty and nice as you are…having snarly hair just might be your achilles heel.

And the one thing that might be more painful than the  loneliness I felt all through my teenage years, would be to watch you go through it.

Sometimes, we create, conjure, the things we are most afraid of. We eat all the cake because we are afraid of having one piece. I tell you how ratty you look, before someone else does. But, that doesn’t make it easy for you to hear, and maybe if I were a better mother, I would never have let one god damn snarl cling to you, and you’d be perfectly groomed and would not have nails bitten to the quick, and we would always have party shoes ready.

And there would be parties.

 

***short rant, don’t take this too seriously, sometimes I write to rid.

 

Process

I woke up on my 5th day sober and in the hell I was going through, decided I would quit for good. The day after my last drink (a swell BBQ Blackout), I had simply told my boyfriend I wanted to quit temporarily. But the truth was, that was me being scared of losing my crutch permanently, and my escape permanently. I thought alcohol was my fire escape, but it was really the match every time.

By the 5th day, I had come to terms with myself, although I am constantly coming to terming. But this time, I realized I wasn’t qualified to drink, I wasn’t “normal”, and I could never go back. I was a clown, a circus freak in the liquor store. And I had to retire that red nose, or red wine bottle.

Diligently downing benzodiazapines, afraid as hell I would have the DT’s, I was already a hypochondriac and the initial drying out period was difficult for me. I was filled with raw eye-opening embarrassment, over my black-out at a big party (apparently I was nice, they said. But do they always say that?).  I was filled with raw embarrassment over my identity as a mother. Full of regret. I will say I was always a functional alcoholic, and mother, and lover, and worker, but this is all because the threat of shame makes me tell you this. In reality, I was mortified. And there was no alcohol to persuade my mood to lighter sights.

Unsurprisingly underemployed, one of my very first decisions in my neonatal sobriety was to find a good therapist. Little did I know how good she would be.  I located her quickly and she actually spoke to me by phone for a good 45 minutes before I met her in person. She left me with the firm belief that as long as I was committed to sobriety, she could and would help me. I’m certain there are not many therapists out there who would talk to a prospective patient for as long as she did that day, while I was still very sick.  In hindsight, it was unusual.

We met in her office in a neighboring town, which was a perfect talking space. Not too big or too small, and with windows full of plants thriving behind partially opened blinds. Books in a bookcase were like the teeth of the greats of society, each one in alignment. Each there to offer supreme perfect guidance if one should need it-and of course, my therapist never did. She sat in a modest arm chair, and I as her patient, sat a good distance away, beyond an oriental rug that conveyed warmth, nestled in a chair with a throw pillow that each week, begged to be hugged. Tissues were always within arms reach and were often reached.

I met her once a week for exactly a year. She met me when I was just becoming clean and really held my hand through the process. I will always remember her contemplative nature. I will always appreciate her allowing me to phone-in an appointment during a blizzard (this during the year where my state had the most snowfall in it’s entire history, meant that we had several phone-in sessions. This was a rare luxury not found typically in modern practice).

My only lament is that she only said she was retiring about a month before she did. I had no time to process the termination of our relationship, and and only now, 6 months later, realizing how much she meant to me.  She was my raft, and I realize I am at a new shore, and I am alone.

I found a new therapist shortly after she retired, but she (how do I put this without sounding completely crazy?) “backstabbed me” by becoming pregnant and entering maternity leave just as soon as we’d met enough times for me to unpack my longings-for a “real life”, for a husband, for a baby, etc.

I’ve taken time off since then, since these are forms of heartbreak and are draining, so draining. Tomorrow, I will meet someone new. And I have already been assured, she will not be retiring anytime soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re-covering. Covering something again? Covering life events past in a more useful paint?

 

 

When my daughter does something new, and no one but me is there, I hold my own hand.

My daughter is about to go to her first swim meet.

For some reason, this fills me with loneliness and anxiety.

I will try to brush these feelings off by writing this post, venting.

I always feel so painfully alone when new milestones appear. Even, when they can be seen in the distance.

 

Maybe be its my codependency. Each milestone means she is closer and closer to being an adult, being home. I’m closer to being alone.

I dread the parents I will air with today, full of 2-parent cheerleading support teams, coming in fleets of minivans with dollar bills heading towards an oasis of concession stands. I feel feeble, impotent, impossible, in-valid.

Its just stress. But, I need a hand to hold.

Torn from the page

“As long as I live I will be redefining my daughterhood in the light of my motherhood.”

erica jong

 

ive been thinking of my old childhood trauma and drama lately, and the above quote, from “What do Women Want”, spoke to me. Well-as an offshoot thought it did. Basically as I lurch into middle school with my daughter (age 11), I am forced to recon front and redefine my horrible, bullied, neglected-feeling middling years. I want to protect myself through my protection of her. I want to provide her the things I never felt I had. Cliche?

You bet.

There is still an indignant Tweenager in me who got spitballs in their hair during CCD, and my hands get clammy waiting outside for my daughter when her catechism classes are over.

The clothes. Oh, I protect her with clothes, and if I could afford it, I would bullet-proof her social status with Lululemon and JCrew for kids. I was terribly dressed as a tween and thus never had a chance to make a good impression.

As the years of childhood race by, we are entering the terrifying years of my past. Where, soon, “I” will dissacociate, reading about possible sexual trauma I endured as a toddler. That’s in 9th grade and was a major blow-one that still feels like the beginning of the end. Then comes the alcohol poisoning, every year, often every month, for the rest of high school.  Sometimes I think that alcohol poisoning is subconscious suicide. How long that went on…how I despair that no one took me home from he hospital and said “You. are .worth. living.” And bought me horseback riding lessons (my extreme allegory of what I imagine quality familial love to provide)…

How can I define my adolescence, even face it? Such a powerfully shameful period in my not-THAT-long life. Yet-as mother to a Tweenager,  I am being drawn back, drawn…back.

Self-regret is painful and luxurious.

BlackFriday Tears

Behind every door lies potentialcries on way to work thinking-why, when I am wearing mascara, do I do this?

in car alone, Ben Folds Five inducing tears.

“If you do not want to see me again…”, the old suicide song. It always reminds me of September 2001, waiting for soccer practice to start in college, walking around the track, watching planes take off from Logan, where one went awry and collided with the world trade towers in that recent past…but that song makes me think of my sister, in that time, and how

distant I felt from her. I can’t hear that song without crying.

 

Sometimes I drive and listen to NPR or classical. Other times I drive and look for songs to cry to. What a woman I am. To sing and cry is utterly me.

I also heard Ben Folds’ “abortion song”, and the line “can’t you see? It’s not me you’re dying for” always makes me think of the small moment when I reconsidered my abortion 13 years ago, but my boyfriend shut the idea down quickly (mercifully? Mercilessly? The memory spins)

I heard, I found-rather, Pearl Jam’s “Don’t call me, Daughter…the picture, it will remind me”…which gave me new tears to cry, as this song does, because it reminds me that I have a father I will never see again, someone who might have a picture of me in his hands or in his heart but will never know me know, and how much I want to be known as a man’s daughter. Thanksgiving being yesterday makes me mourn this noun-less state, this fatherless-ness. I think that being a child of a divorce and not ever being raised with a father is one of the most profound emotional wounds I have. I’d love to come to peace with my paternal orphanage. I’d love to feel “not less than”, and “less loved”. I wish more people loved me. I wish my dad loved me (maybe he does), but I wish I had a dad that could love me and be my cliche…but it’s too late for me to have that. I’ve lived my whole life as a fatherless child.

 

Just because there are so many of us paternally abandoned, does not mean it’s easier for us by ourselves.

i remember in catholic school as a kid, I’d go to meetings for children of divorce. It was called The Rainbow Club. I’m glad I did. It’s funny how there is no support group for those of us with abandonment issues as adults. Maybe AA, OA? But nothing specific. Our issues are left to bleed into our lifestyles and pop up at unexpected moments of vulnerability,

or when a certain song comes on the radio

and we are all

alone.

State of the Uterus Address

My sister just had a baby this week, her 3rd in 7 years.  I have one “baby” who is almost 12. We visited her in the hospital yesterday and held her baby while she slept and rested. Newborns naturally remind me of my own time with my own one. Sadly, that time passes all too quickly. Although I wept a bit when my daughter went to sleep-away camp for 5 days this summer, I will weep for so long when she leaves for college…

I will be 38 when she leaves for college.

I could start over. Again.

You see, there is nothing that staves off my own death like the preoccupation involved in raising children.  They are so alive that it is impossible to dwell on one’s death.  There is no room for it, it is preposterous, these hips are for carrying babies on and these breasts are for convincing men that I am absolutely full…of potential.

But the feeling of supreme femininity that we ride as we float/claw through early motherhood, when we resemble the entirety of the universe to ur children, it fades.  Our children get old enough and soon we wee our replacements entering the door after school, waking up with rosy cheeks and batting longer eyelashes than you will ever have, with no creases on the sides of their eyes or sadness drooped or clenching in the corners of downturned lips.

 

This sounds so depressing but it IS November and I am in full custody of a seasonal depression and I’m required to write as often as I can about the lament of the mortal.

What I’m getting at is that as your child gets older, the dread of our own deaths becomes more apparent. When you have your child young…you can tend to look at the possibility of having another child as an escape from the inevitable, a reversal in time.

And not just the physical death, but the cultural death that happens when one’s nest is empty. How frightening? I have sheltered my mothering life with my daughter’s friends, my niece and nephew, children-feeding them, tending to them, entertaining them and being entertained. For them to all go, would leave me pathological, with nothing…

I am being glum. I know I can build a new life in 6 years when my daughter leaves the nest…but it would be soon much easier in some ways to add ore twigs, pad up a few more feathers into the walls, and remain safe in a nest, safe in a motherhood, for a few more years. Just one more time?

These are the thoughts I have when surrounded by others’ fertility in a maternity ward. How lucky! How lucky to be so oblivious, protected from death in that special way that being essential imposes.