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.

August 5, 2014

Cogito, Cogito, Irrumabo

Midlife crisis alert! Here's the vague set-up.

1) You suddenly discover that you are much closer to attaining a goal that you never really set out to attain, but that society considers honorable.

2) You're entire basis for your child-rearing techniques has been for your children to NEVER become another brick in the wall, to question everything, fuck society, follow your dreams. Idealistic? Maybe. Should I have changed my tune by the age of 37? Sure. But I haven't. And I still believe it.

So, now I find myself in this position where I have this thing laid before me and all I have to do is take it. Do I -

A) Take the thing that holds a much higher level of collective respect and produces much more financially beneficial results, would give me plenty of pats on the back and "atta girls" by people whose opinions I care little for.

Or.

B) Do I take the thing I have always wanted since the day I was old enough to speak the words, yet the thing that would cause a pitchfork-carrying rabble of American pragmatists to grumble with pretention and cast upon me the dreaded academic scarlet letter of uselessness?

"A" would go against everything I have taught my children, my entire perspective on academia, cause me to be emotionally miserable yet highly respected among people whose opinions mean nothing to me.

"B" would at the very least prove to my children that true learning can only happen when your heart is set on it. And true learning should not be forced by the influences of corporate ladders, paychecks, or 401(k)s. I have no desire to get any other job than the one I already have, so I would not be doing this to "further my career." I would be doing this to further my knowledge, grow my brain, expand the boundaries that are keeping me from reaching beyond myself, it would STOP ME FROM BEING SCARED OF DREAMING.

It's going to cost money. It's going to cost time. And if I choose B, it will probably end in nothing more but a bit of expansion of the little bubble in which I live, more understanding of self and of what I know I should be doing right this very minute.

In plain speak- Should I choose to become something practical because society says it's good. Or should I try, and probably fail, to become a rock star instead?

To all you parents out there who are guilty of telling your rock stars they must have a "back-up plan," let me say this. I am 37 years old. I have never had a back-up plan. And I have never told my children to have one, either.

I don't have a back-up plan. I either become a rock star, or I remain Aimee, pleasantly demented forevermore, inexcusably foul, much older, a little wiser, but can at least say that I tried.

Or, do I become something I am not for the pleasure of all those who would call me useless?

I have the intelligence and ability to do either. But I only have the heart to do one.

Sure, this entire rant is nothing but the archetype of gonzo journalism, but without subjectivity, I'd have little else to say on the matter. Which probably means I have already made up my mind.

But I know many of you are school teachers. You are grad students, professionals, academics, true believers in pragmatism and common sense.

And in that vein (certainly not to exclude those on the contralateral side of the matter), you have the floor. Tell me what to do.

July 20, 2014

Phone Dump

Or- "Playing With Filters While Emptying Folder"



Backyard Storm


Proof

Follow Your Dreams
(Or- Famous Last Words)

In Sepia Times

If You Build It

Narcissism

Follow Your Dreams II
(Or- Your Dreams Aren't Down There)

Narcissism II

Mass Hysteria

We Keel You!

Spanish Moss Holders