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.

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oh sweet jesus.

my mom just sent me a facebook message:

I’m adopting.

freaked me the fuck out. i mean, i know that she doesn’t have the money to adopt like a kid or something, but my first thought was hey, maybe she’ll finally get the daughter she really wants. har.

and then she said she was getting a kitty.

another kitty.

This doesn’t even really bother me, but then again it does. I’ve had the same cat since 2003. The fat old man is laying, belly up on the floor next to me as i type. Before that i had a cat for about three years but when i moved back home in a failed first-apartment-experiment i had to find a home for her because my dad didn’t want her in the house and she was totally a house cat. declawed and everything. it wouldn’t have worked.

I can’t even count the number of cats she’s adopted and a year or less later had to find another home for because she lost a job, lost a boyfriend, lost… whatever… and had to move.

yeah, they’re just cats. but at the same time…

it that sort of flightiness… instability… inability to commit to the raising of a living thing from birth to death (or independence) that is the aspect that frightens me most about her.

that frightens me when i think i could become her… unless i spend my life forcing myself to commit with a fervor for the commitment itself rather than the cause i’ve chosen.

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.

Today, at work, on my telephone job i was listening to a lady telling her mother about how she was getting trained for working the customer service phones for a health insurance company in a city here in this very state i live in.

it wasn’t just any insurance company. it wasn’t just any city here in this state i live in. It was THE insurance company my mom worked at in THE city she lived in. This lady i was listening to was getting a job at the place that i had driven by, had heard my mom talk about, and i actually have met/made crafts for some of the people she met at that job! yes, i thought of her.

So i texted her to let her know, cuz ha-ha, serendipity! I also mentioned, as an aside, that this woman on the phone had been bitching and moaning for the 25 minutes i’d been working her call so i could forsee her not lasting long before totally telling off an insurance client and getting fired (that didn’t happen to my mom; she quit that job of her own choice)

and she got insulted by it!

What!?

i mean, my wording was perhaps a little iffy, but with 160 characters you have to condense a bit. And the hell, i’m not going to text her just to insult her (that’s what i have this blog for, ha-ha). I was texting her to let her know that i had thought about her randomly throughout the day and to share in the ha-ha-ness that maybe this lady would be sitting in her old cube, chatting with her old coworkers.

nah, that doesn’t fly in mom world.

eggshells much?

I knew when i started this that likely my beef with brother bennie would leak in sometime. because if i am the copy of our father with my laid-back, bitingly sarcastic, book-wormy ways, then Bennie resembles our mother. not only in failing to remember the truths of past events, but in the amazing ability they share in saying truly horrible things about a person and then making it seem as if they’re the ones being attacked.

Now my issue with bennie is new, in the relativity of our lives together, and seperate from anything about mom. we hated each other as kids, as siblings do, and turned into the best of friends as adults. it’s been more than six months since i have heard a civil word from him and it kills me every god damn day.

what happened there doesn’t matter. a tale for another day, or maybe for another blog. where it ties into my mom-thing is in her complete refusal to talk to me about it. we have already had to plan three get-togethers where i have said, “Do not invite Bennie, we are not speaking.” and yet, not a word.

It’s not that i need to rehash it; i’ve done that enough with my dad, my best friend, my anti-mom. it’s the fact that not talking to my brother hurts me so much and on an endless eternity kind of scale. i still cry some days over the things he said to me and the fact that i have one fewer brother than i want/used to/deserve. i feel sick with sadness at all times in not having him in my life and it’s not like it’s a secret. i blather on about it on facebook all the damn time. yet my mom staunchly refuses to acknowledge that pain i can’t seem to escape or forget. she won’t commiserate with me in any way.

The next part? All conjecture.

Mom is super close buddy-buddy with Bennie, his girlfriend and her daughter. she visits them all the time. i can’t help thinking that as much as they are all together that she has heard his side of the story and in hearing his and refusing to hear mine she has take his side completely. That she thinks i am in the wrong.

Perhaps that’s not true, though. perhaps she really has stayed completely out of it, but i just can’t believe that. no single part of me believes that, not with Bennie’s girlfriend’s somewhat mean-spirited gossipy ‘tude (okay, that was a little harsh, but i do blame her, in part, for what has happened between me and him. but again, another day, another blog). Can’t believe it; not with the fact that they have both used the exact same phrase to describe me–walking on eggshells with everything they say to me.

Now, when my mom, the second person to use that phrase, hit me with it i paused and took a good look at myself. Just like i did, a few months earlier, when Bennie told me that of the Givers and Takers of the world i belong to the latter group. I stepped back and took a good hard look into the very essence of my being to see if i had been missing (or ignoring) these fundamentally destructive faults in my personality make-up.

I didn’t have to look too terribly long. i know for a fact, from past experiences and even the idea of a friend or loved one being in some sort of need, that i will do most anything in my power to help them. Perhaps not monetarily (the main factor in the original accusation) but with favors, sending much-needed coupons, spare diapers, toys to other mothers, donations of things i don’t need, being chauffeur to help in getting a job…my time, my ear, my understanding. to my very core, i am a Giver.

And the egg shells? just as laughingly inaccurate. i’m not easy to offend. Dirty jokes? Love ’em. Hateful words? tooth-gritting tolerance for the poor sap who spoke them. Insults? Usually laughed off or congratulated for their orginiality. Hell, i’m still making jokes about how much of a Taker i am in all things. it’s Hi-Larious.

In fact, the only thing i can think of that has offended me are things that my mother has said or done. that’s probably actually a symptom of that deep, dark thing that i have yet to name and am questing to understand.

I seem to have meandered off course but really, the ways aren’t marked here. I am without a map and alone and i don’t even know where this quest ends or even what country i’m in. i don’t know whether the outcome will be reconciliation or the cutting off of all ties. I can’t know until i get there and when i do it will be with relief and a lighter heart.

I’m not ready, i don’t think. in fact, i don’t know where i am, even.

I have a standing explanation that even if i’m logged into facebook i may be nowhere near the computer; i’ve got a kid to take care of and a house to keep clean. Or, since i work from home on the computer i may have my work stuff up and Facebook is only one of half a dozen tabs i’m running on the internet and i don’t have time for chatting.

It gives me an out when convesations are started that i don’t want to join.

mom messaged me the other day and i answered first off, but then i drifted away. when i came back a few minutes later she had added a comment about being lonely and wanting to talk to her greeting.

I just couldn’t. I can’t even explain the feeling i had. I didn’t want to talk to her, i didn’t want to try to make her feel better. i’m not ready for that yet.

I mean, i clearly see that this is selfish of me. That i have wanted similar things from her and never gotten them. and yes, i feel guilty for withholding something like that from her.

But guilty or not…knowing at that very moment that felt guilty and i was being childish, i couldn’t change it. I’m still in the middle of all of this, finally trying to sort it out and understand what i feel and why. making her feel better isn’t on my to-do list right now.

I mentioned in my first post the word hate.

It’s not a word i should’ve used because it is not an emotion that i actually feel. jealousy or envy are also emotions that were left out of the Book of Sahara. genuine fear also seems to be missing i realize as i think back on that time the pizza place i was managing got robbed by a very large man with a very large knife. mild annoyance; that’s what i felt that day.

I preach peace, acceptance, consideration, compromise, love whenever possible. negative emotions seem to have no place in me. And not even in the way of the Vulcans who feel emotions so strongly, so vividly that they must weed them out and supress them before they themselves are destroyed by the strength of feeling. Nope, they’re just not here inside me.

I can’t hold a grudge to save my life and who would want to? who wants to stew in that much hate all day long? even when i am so angry that i can’t speak and my hands are shaking…that passes and i’m still me, writing down everything that hurts to get it out and try to forget it. just me trying to get everyone around me to settle down and listen to each other. just god damn cooperate.

So no, i don’t hate my mother.

But what is it that i feel?

Guilt, i know. sadness, yes. Pity? sure. Anger, not much.

Hope?

I don’t know. if i didn’t have hope why would i be doing this?

If i did have hope would i need to do this at all?

Whole truths because i realize that even though this is nearly private and just for me that i’m still telling the partial lies to keep from hurting her feelings.

one month before we got engaged my then boyfriend and i were going to Vegas and i half jokingly was trying to get him to agree to a Star Trek wedding in lovely Nevada. No go. No biggie.

But mom, oh mom. on a laughingly unserious facebook post she brought the whole mood crashing to the ground.

“You better not because i expect to be there.”

Expect.

Really? what is it you’ve done that makes you think that you would be invited out of my honest desire for you to be there rather than a guilty oblication that i feel to invite you?

When i said i never wanted anyone at my wedding that was a partial truth. there is one person i wanted there more than anything. and even though he didn’t come he was never disappointed. he married my step-mom in the same way; small and private. he understood. and when i tried to explain it to him he stopped me and told me i didn’t need to. he understood. all he wanted was for me to have what i wanted.

But this is not about comparing him to her; there is no comparison.

It’s not that i don’t like my step-mom, i think she’s wonderful and at 21 i suddenly had a mother i could depend on. but i ONLY wanted my dad and i didn’t know how to not-invite her without hurting her feelings. and then, if they were both there, i had no way to not-invite my mom and it all became too much for me–pleasing other people. the word “expect” hung around my head like a black cloud so i chose to please only myself.

I do not lie when i say i loved my wedding day, i had fun, i did not miss out.

And it remains true, in this situation, that those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

The baby is a source of contention too. not just the real live, tooth-gnashing, dimpled crocodile that lives in my house right now, but also the emphemeral idea of Baby which dates back years beyond even meeting my husband. but let’s start somewhere nearer, because ancient history is so thick.

Yes, she was 19 and unmarried when she got pregnant and she didn’t want that for me. i get that and i appreciate it, but it doesn’t excuse the way she’s behaved.

It does not excuse the way that when i called her, at 26 years old, to tell her that i was going to marry the man that i’d been dating, living with, laughing at, loving for six years her first words were:

“Are you pregnant!?”

Punch in the gut. i could have cried. i didn’t even have words or breath to speak with for several seconds and i managed to hold back my angry retort once i did.

It does not excuse the way that, two months later, she responded to a facebook post where a friend jokingly told me “have a baby” when i spoke of having no model for the baby bibs i’d just made to sell. This i laughed at because only moments before the first pangs of morning sickness had passed–i didn’t know yet, not for sure, but i *knew*. and this wasn’t an accident, this pregnancy two months into our engagement. we’d been trying for months. six of them according to my calendar of counted days and color coded remarks.

“You better not, i’m not ready to be a grandma yet.”

Since when is this about you?

I did cry that time. and i revealed all to my aunt. my not-mom. my anti-mom. she was the first person i said the words “out loud” to; not even my fiance yet knew of my suspicions. I had to tell because i couldn’t keep all that hurt inside me where it would poison that bright, shining thing i had begun to craft out of bits of him and huge chunks of me (a clone of mama, the little crocodile is. Jango and Boba Fett we are).

It’s no wonder i told her last. i told her in a letter so i wouldn’t have to risk hearing that pause of disappointment over the phone.

I’ve tried to tell her about these hurts but it always comes back to the things i’ve already said; fights about the past. “Get over it.”

There’s one part i haven’t mentioned to her. that i’ve kept hidden safe, deep inside me now that the croc is out and it can only hurt me.

The day of the crocodile’s birth.

I had already decided and informed everyone that i wanted no visitors in the hospital. i realized later, once the time was upon us, that really i wanted no visitors waiting around in the waiting room while i was in labor. And after 37 hours i think i was perfectly justified in not wanting to entertain guests or share this little clone of myself with anyone but my husband. at least not until i’d gotten some sleep.

She was born at 3:26 in the afternoon the day after my due date; the day i’d been scheduled for an induction but she came on her own. Everyone knew where i was and what i was up to, just waiting for the stats.

I called my dad. I texted my anti-mom who’d once again been the first to know as i sat on the toilet at 2 in the morning too stunned by the water-breaking event to properly freak the fuck out (my husband did that for me, the dear).

And my mother? unreachable.

For that afternoon. for the entirety of the next day.

It wasn’t until the following day, the second full day of her only daughter’s first child’s life that my phone rang as we walked through the door to our apartment and our brand new life.

Her excuse, something about a no-charge battery and being out of town, was a glancing blow. i hardly had time to notice and it wasn’t as if i didn’t expect some subtle slight from her.

But that irk has festered. it’s rolled around in my subconsious hiding in dark places and cluttered corners growing quite fearsome.

The excuse did not excuse and the only way to expel the beast is with words on a page she will never see becasue she refuses to be open to the emotion turmoil her reckless words have caused within her daughter.

The last time we talked about all this, perhaps the last time we will ever talk about it, i told her i would likely always be angry with her. by the end of the conversation i had retracted the statement because i could clearly see that she could not or would not understand.

I am not angry about the past; it is what it is and i am me because of it. all i want is to be treated with respect.

i suppose it may be a lot to ask that she be the mother i wish she were when i have refused to be the daughter that she wishes me to be. but honestly, at this point, i’m not even looking for a mother. she can be like an aunt, or a friend.

But i have given up on potential friends sooner than this for lesser crimes. i won’t be made to feel bad or angry or frustrated by a person i call friend, so i break the ties and let them go on their way. we’re better off not together.

I’ve been through childbirth too, but i wonder how much foundation, how many retries that really entitles a mother to. I think i have given more second chances than required and even still i want to continue to try, even if i know it will only end in more pain.

That’s more than she deserves and she doesn’t see. and that makes me angry.