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It’s been a while, as i expected. I’ve been writing in a journal to give to my mom come august. there’s been happy stuff and emotional stuff and, yes i suppose, lecture-ish stuff.

Mother’s day passed, and that’s a hard day. I can’t even express what it’s like to be on facebook to see everyone and their mom, quite literally, talking about how amazing their mom is, and sitting here not only not talking to her at the moment, but not feeling the same thing. I’m supposed to feel that same thing.

But instead i feel like thanks for birthing me but beyond that, go to hell.

I have a facebook friend who is recently divorced and she posts often about her ex-husband/son’s father. She just posted a rash of “when you’re down remember you’re mom” and “real dads are…” photos…

real dads

But there are no memes out there that say the same thing about moms. There’s nothing snarky i can post in my own frustration because real moms are just moms. They get this all encompassing forgiveness just because most of them are good. Dads get a bad rap because seemingly so many of them are bad.

My dad didn’t take care of me because the law told him he had to. My mom didn’t support us EVEN THOUGH the law told her she had to (monitarily) or because she was our god damn mother and that’s what moms do.

I feel like the only time i have a person to commiserate with is a child who lost their mother to death in their early life, and that’s simply not the same. I need a support group but, as someone on my photogroup said the other day when i used the prompt to photograph my mom’s journal “i don’t understand how a mother could let it get that far.”

yeah, me either.

and there just aren’t support groups for things that happen so infrequently that your desire for such a thing makes you an anomaly…

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“Do you think you are the only one to feel pain and abandonment?”

NO!

I want to stand at the top of a mountain and scream over and over with a voice drawing strength from the very depths of my soul; No, No, No, No, NO!

No.  I don’t think that.  I am perfectly aware that there are others in the world who have experienced pain.  are some of them in more pain than me?  Yes.  Are some of them in less pain than me?  Yes.  Is their pain, no matter how large or small, no matter how real or superficial valid?

YES!

I am an empathetic person.  I have empathy coming out of my ears.  I am a cancer, it’s what we do.  And while I don’t allow astrology to dictate my life I do accept the fact that everything matters.  Nature and nurture, DNA and the stars’ alignment at the moment you were born.  Everything matters.

Speaking of pain.  it’s not just the understanding of overall, worldly pain in far-off wars, starving children, mourning families of shootings and bombings and natural disasters.  Empathy out my ears; I try not to pay too close attention to those stories, but for the bare facts, or I would sit around and cry all day.  That’s no way to live.

No, I understand pain of others on a close-up scale.

I have a friend who has been transitioning from one gender to another and I was right there with her, spiritually if not physically, during what she says now was the hardest part of her transition.  She tells me over and over how much she loves and appreciates me and what I have done for her.  My reaction is, “Me!?  I am in part responsible for the beautiful person I see before me now?  But I didn’t do anything!”  Still it fills me with joy and pride and light to know that I’ve been so important to her.

I have a friend who is searching her own soul and the confusing and often misleading government documents to find out who she is and who she should have been if not for her trans-racial adoption.  she has educated me deeply and in doing so has opened up to me with incredible amounts of emotion and information.  We have known each other for at least six years.  Only the past two, since she’s been married and I first saw her family, did I know that she was even adopted.  And those two years have meant the world to me as she has allowed me a glimpse into her soul and truth.

That’s what I do.  Part of it, yes, is these different human experiences that I will never have for myself, and I like to collect these stories and learn about people.  But people are made up of ropes of strength braided of what we dredge from the waters of pain that are home to the buoys of hope, silver darting schools of knowledge, and a bright shining sun of joy overhead lighting the way so at least if you do not feel its warmth today, you can see where you’re going for tomorrow.

I jump into those great oceans of pain belonging to other people.  I am a large, sturdy hunk of driftwood; not impervious to the waters, but still apart from them.  I float about, here and there, just waiting for these people I love to swim by and grab hold; take a few moments’ rest to unburden some of what they’re carrying and then dive back in to do some more searching.

“Do you think you are the only one to feel pain and abandonment?”

I’ve already said no, but there’s another point i’d like to make about that statement, most especially because it was the first words I saw following the exposure of my hurt.

No, i’m not the only one hurt or abandoned, but the mere fact that you know that pain as well does not justify your ignoring it in others.  It does not justify your willingness to inflict it, even unknowingly, on others.  knowing that sort of pain actually gives you a special and particular gift; the gift of helping others respond and heal from those wounds and perhaps finding your own healing.

“Do you think you are the only one to feel pain and abandonment?”

the more I look at it, the more sure I am of the abusiveness of this relationship.  Fired off without thought, without pause between this idea and the next, but still not even the first time I’ve heard it.

My emotions don’t matter because you were hurt first.  I don’t think that’s how it works.

I would be a piece of driftwood in your ocean but that body of water has been put away in a tight mason jar and forgotten.  to suggest I do the same is to suggest that I tear apart the very fiber of my being I have spent a life time creating.

“Do you think you are the only one to feel pain and abandonment?”

For the final time, no.  We are all the same and we are all unique.  Every thought, action, word, feeling, voice and expression is valid no matter what the age, gender, race, creed, relationship or opinion of the person its being expressed to thinks.  Everything matters.

 

“feel all this, because it’s real, and it really hurts, but remain true to the most part of it, and the most part of it is that this is not your fault … and you are then to continue on, in your open, loving and brutally honest way of living (and learning) … do not dwell, beyond feeling these initial emotions and processing them. this will all lead somewhere, my lovely one …” my anti-mommy

My original plan for this post headed in a different direction than we’re going today. The longer I mentally composed it, the more things occurred to me to force me to realize what it really was I wanted to say. In the beginning I wanted it to be a story of what it’s like to grow up without a female presence. in the end perhaps it’s what it’s like to grow up with a strong male presence instead. The moment it changed the most drastically was when, at our Easter family gathering my sister-cousin told me to close my eyes and then commented, “You don’t even wear makeup and you know how to put it on. I always feel like mine is the scrawling of a 4 year old.”

That’s one of those things I had to teach myself because I had no one to do it. But I realize that the other deficiencies are minor and few. but the benefit of a fatherly run household are immense. This I realized because of Barbie.

I cannot align myself with the women’s groups who throw a huge fit over the fact that Barbie sets unrealistic standards for little girls. I wonder, does she really? or is it we adults who want to be Barbie and we project our wants on our daughters? Because I never wanted to be Barbie. Did I know subconsciously even as a child that Barbie is not a real representation of a woman? I don’t know. I do know who I wanted to be. Samantha Parkington, my American Girl Doll. I wanted to be her, with her round arms, chubby hands with dimpled knuckles, her soft and squishy middle and charming back story.

I do not have unreal expectations about my body or appearance. Yes, I am currently in the middle of a weight loss event; 16 pounds down 24 to go. But this is croc weight and my goal is neither unattainable nor set in stone. If I find comfort and happiness 10 or 15 or 20 pounds from now, fine. I only want to be at a healthy weight before I start my next pregnancy and have a healthy lifestyle that means I won’t gain as much as last time. I only want to feel good and not uncomfortable, constrained in my clothes. That’s really not actually a hard thing to do; yoga pants and stretchy tank tops are my very best friends.

I think I gained this ability to accept myself as-is because I did not have an example of a woman questing for the unattainable when I was young and impressionable. instead I had my dad; long hair, tattoos, ear piercings, wearing whatever tshirt was on top of the pile; looking the way he looked and not taking shit for it. yes, I wear make up, but it’s eye shadow and mascara, when I feel like it. Yes, I like to dress nicely in bright colors and newer styles, but it’s Old Navy that’s the store eating up all of my clothing budget. And it may be headed in the wrong direction to say this, feminism-wise, but I like causing my husband to think i’m attractive. I don’t want him to think of me as the frumpy hobo who watches his kid.

In the end I hope most that this is what the croc learns from me when she’s looking for a role model in loving of self and finding of beauty in flaws and the confidence to take it all in stride. I hope her eyes land on me and not some silly piece of plastic. I can be her good example and I don’t even have to temper my own actions; watch what I do or say. this is already the way I am; who my dad raised me to be.

And so, as a mom with a daughter, I stand behind Barbie. She is a vet and a doctor, a teacher and a flight attendant, a homemaker, best friend, big sister and mom. And if you can find nothing else positive about that silly piece of plastic, she teaches hella fine motor skills; those tiny velcroed outfits are a bitch to get on and off!

Mom’s on her way here for a visit. I’m straightening my hair, doing the dishes and watering the plants. Those are not things that are being done because i am expecting my mother. Those are things done because it’s Sunday (well, not the hair straightening part, that comes simply when the mood descends).

This is actually the second visit in a short amount of time. Late last month we finally made it to her house for Christmas… I had planned to be there much earlier, but she had decided to go back to school. Again. Our original plans fell through as my husband and my days off are weekdays for the most part.

I don’t remember what the conversation was about at “Christmas” something about “if i ever turn into that sort of person, shoot me”

to which she added.

“Because lord knows you’d shoot me without provocation anyway.”

No. no, that’s not it at all. not without provocation. That. that right there. that’s provocation for me to shoot you. the provocation of consistantly, repeatedly, wantonly ignoring the fact that you say horrible things to me and then expect me to be your best friend afterwards.

alright, that wasn’t so horrible. that was an offhand comment. She’s said worse.

but then again, they are all offhand comments. every single one of them hurts. and what cuts even deeper is the fact that when i try to express it i get rebuffed. dragged back into the past and told to get over it. but i’ve said all this before.

Anyway, the dishes are done soaking. I’m totally gonna ruin my St Patty’s Day day-glo orange nails, but whatevs.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. First it took some time to find the courage to do so and then after that simply finding the time and the words i needed to use.

I was a tantrumy kid and i think in the end it will make it easier for me to cope with and comfort my tantrumy croc. my parents did not do well in handling my tantrums, in my opinion at least. maybe it was because they did not have the experience to draw from of being unaccountably upset by something that you can’t control your reaction to; of passing that point of upset into a realm where you can neither stop crying without some comfort nor comfort yourself. a vicious catch-22 for a child who’s decades from discovering Joseph Heller.

I feel i was deprived pretty consistently of that comfort i didn’t know how to express i needed. hell, i still don’t exactly know how to express what it was i needed back then or the emotions or events that led to the tantrums in the first place. maybe that’s why i’m so diligent about listening for the change in the croc’s cries from tantrumy to just needing comfort to settle down. when i hear it i hug her and talk to her and maybe when she’s older we’ll talk to each other about what set her off and how to avoid it next time.

I needed that, i know that much. it would have made it easier over the years. it would have improved me over the years. but instead i feel i got worse and worse until i grew to an age old enough to understand myself. old enough to exert the amount of restraint and control that was required… which is a lot. I have always said i am a ball of chaos covered in a thin layer of sanity. That thin layer has only been in existence since my early teens but it could have been there earlier and been a thicker coat of that calm sanity that i so desire.

But as it was i was a wild terror when things weren’t exactly the way i wanted. I guess i can undertand how, out of frustration, my mother hit me the way she did that ended with me living with dad. (though if we’re being completely honest, dad spanked me too. Though i still have not figured out the logic of inflicting pain as a means to get a child to stop crying) but that’s all on them, not me. I didn’t fully understand what was out of tune with me, and i never was given a chance to find out.

But there is one thing that lands on me. because just a few weeks ago i hit the croc. it was a slap to the belly with just my fingers and no harder than the bottom spanks i gave her a few months previous when she was in her biting stage. but the look of confusion on her face, because unlike the biting episodes she hadn’t been doing anything wrong. she was so surprised; her laughing, bouncing, goofing around-ness ceased abruptly and i was finally able to finish changing the severely dirty diaper which had been in danger of getting everywhere the way she was acting.

She would not stop no matter how i raised my voice, but i shouldn’t have hit her for laughing. even though the precise image of the expression on her face has faded, i remember how shocked i was at her shock. she forgave me; was chattering and laughing a few moments later, and has probably forgotten. But luckily for her, i have not. i cannot and i should not.

There is this show i loved on USA that was cancelled at the end of its second season. this fact still brings me gripping pains in my Tv-watcher’s guts. It’s not just because of the second season’s wonderfully angsty, mistake-ridden not-quite love affair between the main character and the new addition; a slick, cocky-haired fella who could’ve kissed her or rolled his eyes at her… yeah, he did both. The reason i really loved the show was because the main character was a laywer turned mediator and that aspect, mediation, finding compromise; that speaks to me.

My biggest wish in the world is that i had more time to write but that too is actually a story for another blog… my other blog, in fact. i wax on about it constantly there but have never really mentioned my blood-and-bones love of writing here. i feel i express myself most clearly in writing. some may think it a cowardly way to operate but i know that if i need to express something very specific, every emotional in a well thought-out, un-tantrumy kinda way i have to do it in writing. and though these letters have been referred to as being “told off” or that i’m talking in circles and passing judgements it has only been said by my mother and Bennie (okay, my step-mom also. but i have realized that she too fits into the same mentality as mom and bennie, just does not have the maliciousness to go with it).

As long as i can remember i have been in the middle. I don’t hold grudges and i don’t take part in others’ grudges so i am always the one who speaks to both side of pair who are not speaking to each other. I think nothing of simply passing along information between these people, or of listening to their problems. For months and months before Bennie stopped speaking to me i did exactly that for him and for his girlfriend… but this is getting into Bennie, and that’s not where i want to go right now. I try to mediate a little, i listen, i give my support but i try not to take sides.

I know that God cast out those who refused to choose a side in the war against his fallen angels too. I don’t take too much stock in religions themselves, but the moral behind it is solid. to put it in pop culture terms: “Why me? Every time Metsler says, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way,” I get out of the way.” -Joe of Idiocracy. i keep this in mind when overcome by these foreign wars that threaten my boundries. i do not stand by and wait to support the victor. i would fight both sides to the death (oxymoronic, i know) just to show them that there is an equatable solution to this horrible battle that has begun. I will fight them to prove that niether of them is exactly right (so would say “E” of the Pale Skin; a rejoinder of “Yes, but neither is exactly wrong either,” from “E” of the Dark).

And this is where my writing comes in. i belive that my ability to create stories and relationships on a page of paper has given me this ability to step away from a situation and see it from both perspectives. sometimes i can even do this just knowing a person well; i don’t even need to hear their side (But i always do; every gritty, gruesome detail). So i listen. and i follow my own collection of mediation laws i impose on myself regarding what i can repeat, what i say, how i say it. what i suggest for resolutions are always just that; suggestions, never commandments. Never judgemental (though privately i do have my personal opinions as well. of course i do. I feel that i stood behind and supported my brother long past the point where i actually thought he had a leg to stand on in the supposed wrongs towards him…)

*They* want my ear. *They* are the ones who say to me, “I don’t mean to put you in the middle but…” and i do my god damned best.

These letters are a last resort (But in actuality, this blog is my lastest last resort). they come when i realize that they want only my ear but none of the suggestions i can offer. When it becomes clear to me that they want to fill me up like an empty steamer trunk with their convoluted angers and arguments and simply walk away, that is when i explain to them what it has felt like for them to do that to me. Because emotions, i has them. treating me as a garbage can for yours disrupts my zen.

These letters are crafted with care. they are revised half a dozen times and i remove my angry judgements that get in there on accident. I tell only the truth and i will make one more plea for compromise. They are not accusations. the people who read them that way simply don’t have any other mindset than a general “fuck you” to and from everyone they come in contact with. They read it with a ready-to-be-pissed off attitude and if i simply do not agree with everything they say when they say it then my opinion and my feelings don’t matter.

I’m seeing more and more that i don’t need people like that in my life, even though i just want to reunite with my brother and have something stable with my mother. I’m so torn between the Wanting and the What’s Bad For Me. these people who take and take and consider no one else. These people who insult me when i don’t even know what i’ve done wrong because all i want in the world, really, is for all of the people i love to go on loving each other because and in spite of all the wonderful things that make us different people in a wide and varied population.