It Was A Good Week… But At What Cost?

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                Not one fight this week and it has been such a relief.  I don’t think during that “special time” of the month I could really handle any of that kind of emotion, it was bad enough I had raided the store for a bag of peanut butter M&M’s and Funions. Never fails. Always crave those two items during that “special time” HAHA.  If you add any kind of anger to that from another party all you are going to get is a bunch of tears and me running back to the store for more chocolate and that wouldn’t be a pretty sight.  I have decided that this special time really is like kryptonite for me. The spine that I have disintegrates by at least fifty percent leaving my protective force field a little weak.  You can’t have a weak force field.  

                Last night started out with her asking if we could stop by, she had baked a bunch of baked goods for my father’s lunches but she had plenty that she wanted to share with us. This sounded harmless so I made sure my hunny was okay with going over there for a little bit, it was his evening off of work and I wanted to make sure he didn’t mind spending some of it over there visiting her. He was okay with that but I could tell he was a little skeptical that it would be a good evening. We went forth and got our errands done before we headed over there. She needed a few things from the store and text if I could pick those up on my way over and I did.

                We arrived and she instantly greeted us with a warm welcome, so far so good. The tension wasn’t in the air today was definitely another good day for her. Her place was almost put together, which I know that was a big part of it. Whenever my mom’s things are not in their place or if they do not look clean enough it seems to become so chaotic to her that in her mind she cannot get any peace till it all looks its best. The one thing I never understood about her constant concern about that was she hated people. She rarely had anyone come over not even her only friend unless she thought her place looked presentable. She didn’t seem to understand no one judged her for this since she was moving in, we understood that her stuff wasn’t all there and that she was still unpacking. Yet in her mind it was horrible and it looked like she was a pig and she just couldn’t bare it. When she had coughed so hard she caused a hernia her doctor told her she was going to have to take it easy for a while, in hopes that it would heal itself, I came over and caught her scrubbing the walls by hand with bleach to prove to dad he never helped. The woman was almost in tears because it hurt so much but due to her stubbornness and the anger inside her for the place not being finished she was doing it herself, hernia still intact and now possibly getting worse. I remember trying to take the scrubby away from her and she just told me to leave.

                Today was different, much different. Her place was almost in order, it smelled of fresh baked goods that she had been making all day and she was happily walking around engaging in conversation with my fiancé and I, talking about her camping trip with my dad last weekend, we shared how the reunion went, she actually listened, didn’t cut me off once. She then pulled out a box of pictures and we travelled down memory lane for a while, one baby picture at a time.

                As we left though I was disappointed in how I felt about it all. Although I should be jumping up and down for joy that things went well, we had a normal day with normal interactions, I was not happy. I was depressed. It was a great day, it was a great week, but at what cost? Let me list.

Took parents out to dinner the Friday before- $60

Paid their storage unit fee- $150

Gave extra for gas so they could go somewhere for their anniversary- $30

Helped pay for medication (I do this bi- weekly for her) -$50

                This also included coming by just about every other day of that week which isn’t something I can always do. So for the next week and a half I did some heavy thinking and still currently battling my own thoughts on whether it is genuine or if it’s because I have been helping her. I reached out and said hello the other day which led to me going over there but it also was with another request. Needed to stop by the store and pick her up something. I did this. I think though, what if I couldn’t have done that, I was running short on funds because of the money I loaned them and if I had told her no would she have wanted me to still come over. I think even these thoughts could just be me over analyzing the situation but I cant help but feel this way when generally the good days only last so long. At least when it’s bad you know it’s bad, when it’s good you always wonder how long this is going to last and when it’s going to be taken away from you. Even in the past I have noticed she wasn’t happy with any of my boyfriends if they weren’t useful to her, thankfully my fiancé had helped them out on numerous times unlike the others and that seems to be how she judges your likability by what you can do for her. Its frustrating. I remember those words coming out of her mouth in regards to an ex once, “Well, what good is he then?” this was when I was broke, they needed some help and he was jobless so he was out of the question to ask.

                So I will sit and count my blessings and enjoy the moment as I have been advised to do by friends, they know these spells, enjoy it while I can right? As much as this is not normal I will listen to their advice.

                I did try something different the other night though that almost makes me giggle. So I do enjoy reading about conspiracy theories, trust me, I do not believe everything I read but I do come with an open mind about it all. So with that said, I tried talking about aliens to her and surprisingly she loves talking about all of that too because its something both of us read about and watch and so we can share stories that we have come across with each other. My mother has a tendency to rant about a lot of stories I have already heard or she will start complaining about something for a really long time and the negativity can be draining, so when she started up about something I had already heard three other times before, I just said, “ How about them aliens? Did you hear the story about?….” It worked like a charm. I am going to see how long I can make that last HAHA.

The countdown continues : Day 20 of good days

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LEARNING SOCIAL SKILLS AT 30, GOING BACK TO THE SCENE OF INVISIBILITY

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    Today, I see myself as a strong and confident woman with only the same insecurities most women have. I use fashion as an art to create my identity and in my adult life have slowly grown into my own personality and building a spine one vertebrae at a time.

    That was much different ten years ago. Ten years ago I struggled with who I was, my personality was hiding in a closet too scared to come out, and my self-image was twisted. Although I am not an “ugly” duckling I definitely could have been taught how to wear make-up properly without looking like a ghost, help picking out clothes that didn’t look like I was attracted to women, or even just be able to feel that it was okay to want to look like a girl. My mom grew up naturally gorgeous and didn’t really have much to worry about rather than pulling on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and most of her wardrobe consisted of the color of black, asking her for help shopping was like pulling teeth, she hated going anywhere that had any kind of crowd.  Whenever I showed interest in wanting the frilly things and wanted to do my hair and makeup she would ask me how I was her daughter, “How did I have a daughter so different than me?” I would find myself going back and forth from wanting to wear skirts and dresses to trying to show off my tom boy skills to make her proud. Although she encouraged my academic pursuit it generally followed by how much of a nerd I was. That subject soon turned into a monster as I got smarter because somehow it was a personal attack on her, that I just wanted to be able to put her down when we talked.  It would get so conflicting though as she pressured me to get nothing but A’s so that I wouldn’t be a bum like the rest of her family. Graduating at least was very important because I would be the first on her side to actually make it that far. Most of my cousins even were headed down the same road as their parents. DUI’s, drug use, pregnancy scares for the females, and jail time for the males.  I didn’t want to be anything like them so I strived hard to make that name for us.  That is why by the age of six, when most little girls want to be mommies or ballerinas I was standing front and center of my classmates mentioning how I wanted to be a writer or architect. I can say I at least had a lot of hopes and dreams as a child but the concerns on why I wanted to be these things were not so normal. 

    Oh how I dreaded this day. The ten year High School Reunion. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my High School compared to most. It was a large old brick building in a small town surrounded by trees and having Mt. Rainier in the background was wonderful to see. The small town had a lot less issues then the school I was going to which had lovely drug dealers on the outskirts of our playground, highway right outside the doors, or teachers that looked like they belonged in a black hat and cape to go with their witchy faces and attitudes. The class rooms were small and the teachers were funny and I had my few good friends but the typical cliques still did exist. I probably would have been better off though If I had lived there from the time of pre-school to our graduation because once you came into that school at any other point it was difficult to find your place. I started in fourth grade and if any of you know small towns that just doesn’t work. What doomed me from day one was the fact my last name started with the letters H.A.M. therefore, if you can imagine,  I have heard every fat, pig, ham, miss piggy comment there ever possilbly was created to man. I was also short. These are not the greatest combinations. I laugh now because I have become quite talented  with funny trash talk and that is my own defense mechanism but back then if someone said something mean to me all I had was, “ Well, you are a jerk” Ooooooo good one Nicole. Not.

    I think the worst part was just not existing. Although somehow I was found by a few people who wanted to become my friend, I did go through most of my school days trying to be as invisible as possible. That was no one’s fault though. I did that to save myself even more embarrassment the minute I had to try and explain to the kid that, “ Im sorry my mom isnt having a good day so I cant have anyone over”.  That wasn’t exactly understood by children who  wanted to play. Therefore my friends were few. The only one really allowed over without too much of a fuss was my best and only friend at the time, Julie, she was my next door neighbor and I would escape to her place as often as I could. The first time she came over to my house my mom walked out in her George Carlin shirt that said, “ Go Fuck Yourself” on the back, very appropriate for a fellow fourth grader to see, thanks mom.

    I found my sanctuary in music for the longest time, being given a flute for free I picked it up quickly and let it take me away. Especially when mom would have an episode and take it out on either the house or my father, if it wasn’t me she was seeking I would sneak off to my room and start playing. This only made things worse as I became your fellow band geek, I am totally okay with that but It just caused me to seclude myself that much more away from socializing as I found I would lock myself in my room for hours practicing. A lot of that was for nothing as well since over half of my concerts were missed by her because she wasn’t “feeling good” even though, to this day, she will tell you every missed event was because she was working. Not the case. So who was I playing for anymore? As much as I love playing for my own ears, I like to share that music.

    So the day came, I had tried just like every other classmate to look my best. I didn’t lose a thousand pounds like I had hoped but I was definitely healthier looking then my senior year. Happy was more of the look I was going for and my man had definitely made sure that was evident. At first another good friend of mine had planned on going with but she flaked, fearing that an ex spouse would be there, an ex high school sweetheart spouse. As frustrated as I was with her bailing since I could of really used her support, I did understand the risk she didn’t want to take. So I went there with my man by my side and yes, my dog. You will hear more about my hound here and there, he is nine and such a character but he also has seperation anxiety so he goes where we go. When we first arrived I tried to leave the old hound in the car for just a moment to find out if where we would be sitting he could join us but he started howling profusely from the car, sounding like an injured seal that had washed up on the beach. I shook my head, had my hunny run and grab him before he really made a scene.  As I walked up, no kid in tote, but an old hound instead all I could do was laugh, of course I would be the only one with a dog there.  It was a flash back in time, the seating area was outdoors so at least we knew the dog was able to be there. I immediately went and saw my friend Julie who was there with her fiance but then I noticed, the tables were segretated into the same old cliques no different then walking into a high school cafeteria. This did not surprise me. I put on a big smile and I walked around anyway and found a seat. It took me a minute to losen up but I was proud that I was able to keep my head up, be nothing but all smiles and endgage in actual conversation. Let the socializing begin.

    My main reason to go to this was make my apperance and show everyone I wasn’t the same shy, insecure girl I was back in high school. Yet I realized once I got there how quickly that girl can come back. I stuck to my old nerd crew and not for the reasons I had thought I would. I did because they were the ones that always treated me with respect. No one was mean but the invisibility still existed among the others. One of my fellow band mates that played tuba came to my side and started talking to me and we chatted, nothing out of the ordinary, your typical, “How’s it been going?”  It was what he said as he walked away that made me realize I wasn’t the only one feeling nervous that day.

    “ Thank you for actually talking to me.” He said with a great big nervous smile.

    “OF COURSE!”  I couldn’t believe my old friends were feeling the same way I was.

    I didn’t leave that circle the rest of the night. With the guidence of my man we kept conversating with the others and whenever it started to get awkwardly silent we would start up another conversation. If someone started to walk up and looked like they weren’t noticed I would say their name and get them involved in the conversation. Everyone that was there that day deserved some normalcy and to feel like they belonged and were missed and someone was eager to hear their story, whether it was exciting or not. Whether it was who they hoped would ask or not.

    Every now and then my fiance would do something goofy like feeding our hound dog like a child, the ice cream we were done with, making the airplane noises as he fed him with the spoon.  Children from every which corner kept showing up to pet my hound, he eventually became the personal petting zoo. My man even started walking around saying hello to every table even though none of them knew who this guy was. He just made me smile the entire night, even as I secretly was trembling on the insde I didn’t show it on the outside and as silly as that may sound to most this was an accomplishemnt for me. WHOOHOO! I am going to enjoy this moment.

    As the outer circles started to drink and get drunk. I stayed sober and enjoyed the conversation with my old band, honor society, and knoweldge bowl members. We didn’t talk about what was “hot” or what was “cool”, we discussed everything random under the sun which included that you can use the word “buffalo” as much as you want in a sentence and it will always be grammtically correct. You are welcome for that useless information. HAHA

    The reunion didn’t turn out nearly how I had invisioned over the past ten years as I feared its coming. It was better. I didn’t stay to try and impress the people that didn’t care about me, I didn’t stress about where I was in life as I told my catch up story, I didn’t even care that I didn’t stay late and party. I did what I set out to accomplish. To see the ones that I cared about that always respected me. To hold my head high for the first time in front of all of them, happy with who I was no matter what my past was like.

    I realized in the end it didn’t matter if you were 17, 27, or past your 30’s, we all want to feel like a diamond. We ARE all diamonds. If not to the world to at least one person that we know. So shine on my friends…. Shine on….

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Holding Onto Hope

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I Grew Up With Three Mothers

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I grew up with three mothers

All three did love me

One was caring, loving and gave much empathy

One was fun, care free, barefoot and dancing

And one was angry, selfish and ruled to her fancy

I grew up with three mothers

Only one was there for me

One was busy running from her problems

One was busy causing more

But one did try from time to time to lead me to the right doors

I grew up with three mothers

All did create me

One cherished that with lots of love

One forgot that quite often

And one abused that knowledge to control the situation

I grew up with three mothers

I dont have to like all three

I will always love the one I remember

Get frustrated with the one I have to raise

And hate the one that has been taken over by the disease and rage

I grew up with three mothers

All of them are slipping away from me

One can barely hold on

One has already let go

And one has completely lost their way back home

I grew up with three mothers

All three of them do love me

I try hard to remember that when she doesnt always remember me

 

 

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Why Do You Hate Me?

08/18/2013

I was excitedly packing for my two day get away with my fiancé. It had been a month at his new job and the days off he had received were pretty nonexistent so when he told me on Saturday that he had Sunday and Monday off we had to act quick. Cannon Beach, OR here we come. We were about an hour away from leaving and that is when I received what seemed to be a friendly text from my mom, “ Hey, hope you had a good week, just thought I would say hi”. In a normal family this would be a wonderful thing to get or I guess normal message to receive from your mother. In my life though it usually meant she wanted to know if I was having fun without her. I knew she didn’t really care.

I hadn’t talked to her since last Monday, which wasn’t common for us. Until recently I would at least text her every day to make sure I asked how her day was, how she was feeling, and when she wanted to see me or needed anything. Lately though there hasn’t been much of a break in between the fighting and our silence treatments were lasting longer. I would hold out even longer If I could but unfortunately she usually is the one that breaks first and I have no choice but to deal with it. I’m sure everyone has seen that toddler throwing a fit in the middle of a grocery store isle, trying to get their mother’s attention, well, that toddler would be my mom whenever she wasn’t getting her way.

So I replied, “ Good, long and slow week at work, saw a friend I haven’t seen in a few years on Thursday and today I’m packing up to go camping in OR for a night while Rick has the time off. We tried for four like I told you but only got two, two will do. How was yours? What you up to today?”

The conversation was going good so far but I had that sinking feeling that all it would take was one wrong word before I would hear the eggshells cracking under my feet.

She said, “Kickin it…gonna BBQ at the river later, taking the dog.” I told her how much fun that sounded and to send me a picture.

“Well why don’t you stop by and say bye?” it was no more than a second later that she replied to herself, “ Never mind.” As if I was trying to argue with her about it, as I started my reply another one came in, “ You could at least say Hi more often” another second later, “ We are done aren’t we? No more family huh? Bye Nic” finally she ended it with “ Have fun”.

I told her that we would come over and I didn’t understand why she immediately had said never mind. This was normal for us and there were times I wish she was never handed a cell phone that she could text with because her obsessive behavior barely gave me time to reply. When I finally got mine through she was calling….

I answered the phone immediately and was polite trying to keep this on a calm and normal path. There was a slight awkward silence after I was trying to act normal.

“Why do you hate me?”

She said this out of nowhere like I had been screaming it at her or something. Then she started bawling and every other word was coherent. It had only been four days and she was crying that I never see her. I asked why she didn’t come over last Sunday or Monday when I had asked and she came up with multiple excuses, they were busy, she can’t make it up my stairs, then finally, my fiancé makes her uncomfortable. Three different excuses in no less then fifteen minutes. She has stairs, she makes it up them fine so why was coming over to my place any different? My fiancé that she said made her feel so uncomfortable always talked to her, always put a smile on his face and pretended everything was fine, would cook for my parents, give them money, fix their car…. the list continues, yet he made her feel uncomfortable. I told her she was being ridiculous on that subject. I asked her why she didn’t ask how my day was. Honestly I was getting tired at almost thirty having to be the one that thought of everybody. It would be nice if just once in a while one of my parents would think of me to ask how my day was. Simple for most but it would mean the world to me.

She didn’t ever have an answer to my questions and in between the gargles and reasons that didn’t make sense she finally handed the phone off to dad and said she couldn’t do this anymore she had to get out of there, meaning moving somewhere. Dad started to talk to me and ask what was wrong but I didn’t have an answer for him, I didn’t even say anything to her before she blew up and said she couldn’t take it. I begged him again for help with her and started to cry at this point. My father has raised me since I was three and a half, I had always been there for him and I really needed him but all he could say was sorry and that maybe we will talk a little later. He started to hang up when I heard my mom say in the background, “ You will never talk to her again!” Click.

Okay. Not sure how to react to that. I cried for a minute but made sure it wasn’t too long, I didn’t want her to suck me into that unhappiness hole, I was getting ready to go have a good time. So I wiped my eyes and got up to pack some more. The phone rang again…

“Can we stop?” she asks.

“Stop what? The fighting? Of course…”

She continues on how she doesn’t know how to fix us. I told her how to fix us, she needed to seek professional help, get on SSI so she could get the care she deserved. That got nowhere though and she just begged for us to come over before we left. I asked if she knew that meant Rick would be there and now all of a sudden that was just fine, she didn’t have a problem with him. So I hung up and I turned to my guy and he already knew. He agreed to go over there and put on his happy face, he grabbed a movie he knew she would like to give her, and took everything down to the car for us. I loved that man.

When we arrived, before we entered her apartment we knuckle bumped and gave each other a kiss for good luck. He truly was the best partner I have ever had, dealing with my mom is not something just any man can deal with. We started walking up stairs when we heard, “ He makes me uncomfortable” and mom shut her bedroom door with her country music turned up. Are you serious? She JUST said it was fine for him to be there. He just gave me that squeeze that it would be okay and we continued up stairs. My dad greeted us, he was just sitting in his chair playing a video game. He told us mom was just getting cleaned up, even though we knew that was a lie, we just heard her say she didn’t want to come out with my fiancé there. So we visited awhile and about thirty minutes went by and she still hadn’t come out so I went to her. When I opened the door her bedroom was dark, she had the lights off and the curtains drawn. I wanted to ask her if someone died but I knew that would be inappropriate.

She looked frail and weak, which was because she had exhausted herself with the drama and the tears. I sat next to her and we started to talk. She informed me she didn’t want to get on pills, she couldn’t be helped by a counselor, and that I should just be coming over more. I asked about SSI again because she can’t afford the care now but that would help get her care. I have been bugging her about applying again probably every month for the past year. That’s when she snapped and informed me she tried two other times and both denied. She didn’t have the denial letters to show me though, I knew she was lying. At this point I admit I was kind of a smart ass.

“Oh, I am sorry. Why didn’t you tell me six months ago when I was drilling you about it? Now I feel like an asshole. I apologize I just wanted to see you get help and get what you deserved but if you did it already and got denied, then you are 100% right, applying again will do no good.”

I said this while looking her straight in the eye to see if she would confess to lying but instead she stared blankly at me and just said it was alright. She never let something like that go that easily without going into more detail. She then wanted to know why I was so different. Why I showed no emotion. Which wasn’t true, my eyes were watering but I was sucking it up because any sign of weakness she thrived on.

”You know why I don’t cry anymore Mom? I remember bawling before and getting slapped and told how much of a drama queen I was, so that is why I do not cry anymore, I am protecting myself”

I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth but they must have been waiting for quite some time to come out. There was silence for a minute on her end but then she started talking again like she didn’t hear what I had just said. Figures. Once again she wanted me to know this was a goodbye, like every time we talk. She was moving to Spokane with her sister, she couldn’t take it here anymore. She hates it over there so I told her she would only be punishing herself. That’s when she changed it to Chehalis possibly. Then who knows. She wanted to see if I would get upset at the thought of her moving away. I didn’t. So then she asked again why I hated her. She had asked that I counted, at least ten times within our conversation. I told her to stop, I didn’t hate her, If I did I wouldn’t talk to her anymore and I wouldn’t be there sitting in her room trying to solve our problems, again. This could go on for hours and I really didn’t have that much time. Finally I told her to just come out and try and say hello to everyone before we have to leave. At first it didn’t seem like she would but she followed me out soon after.

To be dramatic she put a chair facing away from Rick near her living room wall. She could only see Dad and she could turn to see me if she wanted. Rick handed her the movie and asked if she had that one. She didn’t so she accepted it. He got her to talk about her favorite author’s movie’s, Stephen King and that’s all it took, she lightened up and started talking. They didn’t ask what we were doing or seemed to care but she wasn’t mad at the moment and actually talking to us, so we stayed. A good hour went by when we had to head out and stop at his mother’s for minute just to drop off a coupon. The minute we mentioned that and gave our hugs goodbye you could tell she was instantly upset again, because we knew once again, it wasn’t enough.

We got out of there and practically ran to our car. The sad part was when we arrived at his mother’s house she greeted us with open arms, hugs and kisses. We hadn’t seen her in probably four to five months but she didn’t care, get upset or try and make us feel bad. She joked it had been a couple years but that was it. She mentioned how great I was looking, since I have been losing weight, and was proud of Rick for his new job. So much love from that women and Rick hadn’t done anything for her lately or even seen her. So this is what unconditional love looks like I thought. I wanted to cry. You really don’t know how bad it is till you are around someone that is normal. You get used to the chaos and the negativity that being around someone so understanding seems weird. We couldn’t stay too long since we had a few hour drive ahead of us but she didn’t make us feel bad for it, she thanked us for the time we were there and we planned on seeing her soon after that. That was a mom I would visit regularly if she was mine. I try and see mine once to twice a week, she would prefer every day and honestly if she was sweet and caring I would probably give her just about every day but not when I get put down the entire time I am there, who wants to be around that? I didn’t even really feel bad for myself that day I felt worse for my fiancé. He had to hear her say how uncomfortable she was around him and that really hurt him. He goes out of his way, more for them then his own parents. So I could tell that may have been a last draw for him and I didn’t blame him one bit.

I was glad we were headed out of town, we really needed this. Every time we were able to escape it was like a piece of Heaven, and although I wished we could go far, far away, Oregon would do, it was at least a whole state away from her.

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