November 18, 2014

Oh, Kirk!

Two posts in two days, huh? I guess I found my words again.....

I was hangin' out on Fandango the other day buying tickets for Chris and me to see Interstellar (which was fucking fantastic by the way) when I came across this little gem of movie magic:



I actually had to blink twice to make sure I was really seeing what I was really seeing. Then came the intemperate laughter mixed with tears. Then came the questions. So many questions! Where do I start?

1. The title- It's quite ambiguous, isn't it? What I want to know is whether it is a conjunction or a possessive noun. No, really. It makes a difference. A HUGE difference. If it's a possessive noun, that simply means the movie belongs to Kirk Cameron. If it's a conjunction, that ramps up the hilarity to dizzying heights. That means that Kirk Cameron IS saving Christmas. If he wanted us to all know that he is the star of the movie, he could have said Kirk Cameron IN Saving Christmas.... OR.... Saving Christmas STARRING Kirk Cameron. Clearly,with the world in the crook of his arm while threatening to bash our skulls in with a candy cane, Kirk Cameron is going to be the one doing the saving. And he by god wants us to know it!

2. By whose authority is he going about this feat? Has the Pope beatified him in the name of the lord Jesus christ to save his birthday from corporate heathens or the evil Happy Holidayers? Does he think starring in a second-rate 80s sit-com gives him heavenly blessings with which to overpower all those who've not purchased his Way of the Master books and CDs? I'd like to know.

3. Has he bothered asking anyone, anyone at all, whether or not we even WANT Christmas to be saved? Is he just taking it upon himself to speak for all us? Or even worse, is this going to involve him coming to my house? Or your house? I mean, how else will he accomplish this feat without the Santa Claus powers of worldwide speed-of-light travel to ensure we're all doing Christmas right?

4. Or WORSE! Is he going to MURDER SANTA?  When it comes down to it, that really is the only way to "save Christmas." Kirk Cameron must murder Santa Claus, proselytize the Way of the Master upon every mall Santa throne, and launch an all-out jihad against the global economy.

It is now my professional opinion that our government MUST include Kirk Cameron in the FBI's most wanted list of domestic terrorists.  For the sake of our children. For the sake of Christmas tree farms everywhere. For the sake of capitalism, Christmas parades, Black Friday, campy lawn decor, neon pink fake Christmas trees, and the visions of sugar-plums dancing in the heads of our precious babes, we MUST take a stand against this atrocity!

I just really hope that no bananas are involved. Please, let's just leave the innocent bananas out of this, can we?

November 17, 2014

Long Awaited

A little over 20 years ago, someone told me that the only reason a soldier would want to get married so young was for the free sex and maid service.

I was "better" than him, I was told. 

I should marry someone more successful (A husband's success also belongs to the wife, apparently.), I was told.

Why do you think you love him? I was asked.

Why do you have to get married right now? I was interrogated.

At the time, I was just a kid. I didn't have the answers to those questions. I just sat quietly and listened to the ranting, and then promptly slammed the phone down.

And then I married that soldier. And lemme tell ya, the free sex is FANTASTIC. I fail to see a problem here.

The maid service? Well, considering he's the only one in the house who knows how to use the steam cleaner, let's just say I fail miserably in that duty. My poor Andrew was relegated to dish duty as soon as he was tall enough to reach the sink. I've not washed a single article of teenage clothing in over a year. Chris neatly folds and separates his UNDERWEAR and socks and rolls his t-shirts so that you can see perfectly which shirt you are choosing. My chest of drawers? It's like reaching into a magical box and getting a surprise every day!

I don't cook. Instead, I sent my other kid to culinary school.

Without question, my loser of a husband has been carrying me since the day we met. And looking back on it now, my 17-year-old self can answer those questions that I frankly thought were none of this person's fucking business to begin with.

1) I did marry someone successful. No, he was not a first sergeant with 20 years in the Army and a chest full of fruit salad bling to go with it when I married him. He was an 18-year-old little green Joe straight out of boot camp with nothing on his class As but single sad little chevron. But he was a success long before that. He succeeded in keeping me safe in situations where my own well-being was not my concern. He succeeded in never EVER raising his voice or his fist toward me. He succeeded in raising two boys to adulthood who still actually love, respect him, and want to be around him. He succeeded in being in love with me, and keeping his wife in love with him, for the past 20 years.

2) My choice of the date of our wedding was out of convenience. No more and no less. He had a short amount of time between basic training and his first duty station. Your fucking grieving process meant, and continues to mean, nothing to me. That is your business. The world will not stop for you.

3) Yes, love can wait. But WHY? If we'd let love wait, I wouldn't have the amazing children I have now. I wouldn't have the amazing experiences of living overseas, the heartache and elation of watching my husband go to war and return home safely, the benefit of all the mistakes and lessons I've learned along the way, retirement at 37, a house at the beach, and 20 years to build a life where I have had so many free choices and advantages at an age when a lot of families are just beginning. I've had the opportunity to spend the past 20 years with my best friend. In the superficial realm, had I waited, I would have been in juvenile detention. I would have been in jail. I would have overdosed. Because of, among other things, YOU.

4) The one thing I can thank you for is showing me exactly the kind of human being I never wanted to become. Overcoming the demon that was you gave me the strength to take a path you were too cowardly to travel. You taught me to stand up for myself regardless of the size, incompetence, and frenzy of my berserker.

For the record:
1) I never feared you. I laughed at you. I played you. You're goddamned right. I was a master manipulator. I learned from the best, who obviously wasn't sharp enough to realize he was losing at his own game.
2) Our mother tried with every ounce of her resolve to protect us from every foul thought she had of you, even to the point of forcing me, against my raging, screaming will, to go anywhere with you. She did not instill fear. You did. The opinions my sisters and I had were our own, opinions you created with your own pathetic existence.

You once said, "the worst thing you can do to someone is not hate them, but ignore them." So, after reading this, don't say I never gave you anything.

Now go fuck yourself.  

September 7, 2014

Onion

Super early for one as me to be up on a Sunday morning. Accounting for the fact that I wake up every morning at 3 or so on the weekdays, I usually sleep in a little more on the weekends.

But now I'm up.

And I had this dream. It was a couple days ago. I've been remembering my dreams a lot lately, which is bizarre, because I never do. EVER. Except when I was a kid and had sleep paralysis. Hell, I remember those dreams to this very day. And sleep paralysis ain't the half of it. I still get it when I'm super stressed, but I also sleepwalk, sleep-eat (haven't in a while), and talk in my sleep. Which is what brings me here this morning. I just woke myself up talking in my sleep. But it's not tonight's dream I'm talking about. This dream was 3 days ago.

My parents, the boys, Sarge, and I took a vacation to Seoul.

The boys wanted to go exploring out on their own, so we told them that was fine and that we could meet up at the corner of such-and-much where the silkworm street vendor was in about 3 hours or so.

"Just be mindful of the street signs of have a metro map with you, okay?"

"Yes ma'am."

"And stick together, okay?'

"Yes moooooooom!"

And off they went.

Well, went it came time to meet up at the silkworm vendor and the boys aren't there. So, I start getting a little worried and decided to call them. But I forgot my phone. So I asked to use my mother's. Sure.

And she hands me an onion.

"What's the sam hell is this?"

"Oh, it's a phone. Just reg'lar. Look, all you do is take your fingernail and peel a little bit of the skin off it til you see the shiny part, then you talk into it. Ya know, tell it who to call.

Skeptical, I began peeling the onion with my fingernail, and once I got to the shiny part, I said,

"Call Jake."

And dagnabit, if that som'a'bitch didn't start ringing.

Soon enough, I hear "Mom, mom! Is that you? I just got hit by car. Andrew's okay, but the driver, he ran away and now I'm laying in the street! What do I do Mom?"

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And then I woke up.

Pretty fucked up, yeah?



August 11, 2014

Dead Poet, Fisher King

You never know the demons one battles
by the face they show
or the light they glow.
The sad ones.
The panicked ones.
The lost and hopeless and darkest ones-
The ones hardest to find.
The twists and caves,
the trickster’s waves,
the labyrinth of the slyest mind.
Evolved to think and feel and learn.
to build and let the passion burn.
Evolved to hide and smile away
the toll of funk they cannot pay.
Each day you step outside your door
Feel the suchness of the ground
of wind or rain
of scent and sound
of sweetness in clothed pain.
Yet trusting in the bodhi when you look in human eyes
shall be the death of all
if you cannot disrobe the man
and see his pain before the fall.

August 7, 2014

Mother Me Darkly- A Story Of Postpartum Depression

I pitched this to a magazine not long ago, and it was accepted. Just found that out today. But. I declined. Far too personal to pimp my life story out to a chick mag. I wrote it a while back, maybe even a couple years ago, so I've updated it a little bit. It isn't normally something I would post on this blog, and the blog I originally posted it on, I have allowed to die. I don't need it anymore, though some of my writing there was brilliant, and this is a small part of it. It's very different than the snarky, superficial bullshit you might be used to on this blog, but it is a very real part of me, just one I don't advertise. But I am not ashamed of it.

I know there is one person in particular who may appreciate it. I am not going to call her out, but I'll just hope that she perhaps comes across the link on Facebook and knows she is not alone.
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I've never liked babies.  When I hold a baby, I assume I must feel much the same as a long-haul trucker.  Not the real long-haul trucker who eats rewarmed biscuits and gravy from a roach-infested truck stop on that ghostly stretch of nothingness of I-40 through the bowels of Oklahoma. But the badass, tattooed trucker who secretly listens to Harlequin romance books on tape and can do a downward dog in his sleeper cab.  The kind. If you can imagine for a second that kind of comical maladroitness, then you can see how having my own babies would have knocked me a bit....out of my comfort zone.

Now, add to that the fact that I was in a deep denial regarding my mental health. The first time I saw a psychiatrist, I was 5 years old. It was also the last (for many years), and I will never forget it. Before puberty, before boyfriends, before marriage, before adulthood, I was already deeply psychologically unstable, though that is another story entirely. Now, add severe postpartum depression and toss in ridiculous doses of Depo Provera, and it's utterly amazing that I never pulled an Andrea Yates.

From somewhere deep in my defective brain, I found a little maternal ability.  I did truly and completely adore my children, I just didn't really know what to do with that love.  I went through the motions of being the mother of babies.  I did what I was supposed to do.  I nursed them.  I held them.  I bathed and changed them.  I snuggled them.  I smelled their little baby hair.  But the second their needs superseded my 18-year-old ability to give a shit, my husband swooped in to rescue them from my apathetic clutches.  Thus, no Andrea Yates. 

It should be fairly clear by now that I was not a doting mother who would have, if Facebook existed at the time, inundated my wall with fat baby-cheek pictures, professing that my new hatchling was "my whole world" with exclamation points and text hearts.   

After my youngest child was born, I did try to get help.  I began with a sad attempt at talking about my problem with my obstetrician during my first postpartum checkup.  It was simply impossible for me to even consider seeing another psychiatrist at that point. I was so ashamed, so terrified.  Though I was desperate enough to squeak out a mousy-sounding "heeeeeelp," I was far too weak and scared to storm the fortress and demand it.  So, with no explanation of my psychiatric history, my OB just tossed me a little Zoloft and sent me on my way.

Little did I know at that time, someone with my underlying issues taking SSRI antidepressants and hormonal contraception is almost as disastrous as someone who is allergic to penicillin....taking penicillin.

But I didn't know that.  And I was far too ashamed to expose myself enough to find out.  So, I popped some Zoloft and surrendered to the zombification of my anima.

And, for the subsequent 3 years of my life-

I....just....simply....had....no....feelings. 

With the Zoloft and Depo Provera, I proceeded to gain about 50 pounds.  I reached my highest weight, as sickening as it sounds, many months after my youngest was born.  I eventually packed 160 pounds onto my 4'6" Lilliputian frame.  I slept.  I ate.  I lamented the approaching event horizon of misery that had become my life- the point of no return.  I could feel it coming.

Along with being altogether disgusted by the hollow image staring back at me in the mirror, I also became disgusted at the thought of my own husband touching me.  I became incapable of having an orgasm.  Absolutely physically incapable.  It was nothing less than soul crushing. 


So I continued in this vein for 3 or 4 years.  For a while, the rage and explosive episodes that had become me since the day of my birth became dormant, and that rage was the one thing that, unlike the frigidity or apathy, depression or lack of self-worth, really did the most damage to those around me.  I was truly grateful that it was gone.  But sooner than later, the blackness began to creep back into my deep self, and once again, those I loved were feeling the heat of my incessant solar flares.

With my husband in the Army, I was alone with my children quite often.  I can't even begin to speak to what was going through his mind during this time.  I'm not even sure if I want to know.  The confusion and fear he must have felt, incapable of helping me, not even knowing how to begin.....I know now, all these years later, that he spent many hours on the phone with my mother trying desperately to understand me.  They both tried so hard to reach me.  But I was drowning from within myself, far too deep in the trenches, and the immeasurable weight of all that disjointed logic continued to shove me farther into myself.  It shoved, and it shoved, and it shoved.

The memories I have of that period in my babies' lives are vague and smokey.  When I think of Mother Me, I only see ghosts and shadows of a woman moving in slow motion through her day.  I think of a woman lying in bed at night beside her husband, pretending to be asleep so he wouldn't touch her.  With the Zoloft and hormones coursing through her veins, I can see her dragging her feet through the muck in her dirty pajamas.....filling sippy cups....changing diapers....forgetting to brush her teeth....banging her head against the wall at the sound of a crying child....locking herself in the bathroom and crying into her hands.  I see a desperate woman, an empty woman, pasty, fat, asexual, and alone.

But all of this- my tragedy, my wallowing, my darkness, my selfishness, my rage- all of it came to a fulminate end the day I almost hit my child. 

He was such a tiny thing.  Certainly not the 5'11" and 200-pound monstrosity of a 19-tear-old boy working through his second year of culinary arts school.  No, he was just a whisper of a thing.  A 5-year-old little boy.  Tiny little naked legs, standing in the hallway of our house only wearing his little Power Rangers underwear.  Leaving nothing unsaid, I remember him standing there in front of me.  Looking up at his mother with his wide, scared eyes.  His hands were clasped together, pulled tightly next to his naked chest, almost as if he had begun to pray.  And I. His mother. Just stood there screaming at him.  I screamed and spit my visceral hatred only inches from his soft baby face.  Even now, I remember the tears on his cheeks as he backed away from me until his path of escape was blocked by the wall behind him.   

How dare that little mother fucker back away from me.

And in that moment, I raised my hand to him.  With a closed fist.  I towered above him, saw him flinch and turn his head, bracing himself for the inevitable- his mommy was going to punch him in the face.  He knew- this little naked child with his bony knock-knees squeezed together, his hands holding each other, his precious hazel eyes squeezing out more tears than any 5-year-old child should ever cry- he knew he had done something so bad that his mother wanted to punch him in the face. 

But she didn't.  That day, a day no different from any other miserable day in my atrophied world, my hand was stayed.

I spent the rest of the evening locked in my bathroom vomiting into the toilet.  I was physically ill at the thought of what I had almost done.  The depths to which I had allowed myself to sink disgusted me.  I disgusted me. 

It was the next day that I crawled through hot coals on my hands and knees and begged for help.  I sat in a psychiatrist's office for 3 hours that day.  I eviscerated.  I regurgitated my entire life to this woman-  from my earliest memories of pulling out my own hair and screaming until I lost my voice, all the way up to the day I almost hit my child.  And she listened.  She gave me tissues when I needed them.  She let me rest when I needed to.  She calmed me down when I shook.  And, most importantly, she told me I was worth it.  I was worth her time.  I was worth helping.  I was worth listening to.  I wasn't damaged beyond repair.  And I could become a good mother.  A good person.  A person worth loving.

I like to tell myself that my son doesn't remember that day.  That same teeny little child is an incredibly badass 19-year-old young man now.  Happy, smart, quick-witted, talented, and remarkably well adjusted, along with his 17-year-old little brother.  We certainly have the kind of relationship in which he would not hesitate to bring a memory like that up in conversation.  But he never has.

If he remembers, I am ready.