Hello time bomb, I’m ready to go off.*

May 27, 2009

I know, I know. I haven’t been updating. And I’m going to continue in that vein, because I am trying hard to focus on stuff outside of my head. There was big drama a week and a half ago, and while not all of it was directly caused by me, you could say fairly that the underlying cause of it was the depression that’s been swallowing me slowly since some time in October.

I’m trying to repair the damage — to my marriage, my relationship with my kid, my home, and myself. I need to get out of my headspace for a while and focus on reality. I have spent months obsessing and analyzing and thinking and seething and resenting and despairing, and I don’t know how to fix it except to push it away and get on with life as if it’s not there.

I’ll be back around when it’s safe for me to do this thinking thing, this words thing. In the meantime, I’m almost always on Twitter if you feel a burning need to keep up.

Time to let reality sink in.

*Matthew Good Band


I don’t think it’s wrong, it’s just gone to my head. *

April 3, 2009

I did not actually see my doctor on Thursday, because she rescheduled for Monday. Today her office called and rescheduled again. Apparently tracking down my various medical records is harder than it should be, and it also cuts into the doc’s vacation time.

So I’m in a holding pattern for now — I don’t have my pain meds and that makes me cranky and useless; I’m not sleeping, but I finally have library access so the nights are better; I’m washing everything in the house that’s washable, throwing out everything worthless. And thinking a lot, of course, because there’s a universal law against moments of peace when it comes to me.

I’m getting pretty sick of my own “everything sucks” mentality. It used to be how I lived, but it’s too foreign now. My marriage is up-and-down lame/awesome and my body is disintegrating and I’m alone 95% of the time, but… the world isn’t ending, and I thought I’d taught myself how to recognize that. I know perfectly well that this is mostly chemical, physiological — some combination of months-old grief, sleeplessness, and boredom twisting my neuroreceptors back into their old patterns — but knowing that doesn’t change it.

Still, I’ve managed to do 35 loads of laundry in the past three days. (That number is not exaggerated. Many — most — of those clothes went to Goodwill or into the bin, but it is still a lot of laundering.) I got the kitchen almost all the way clean. My seedlings are rioting about the place, and it’s almost consistently warm enough to harden them off. I had company the other night and managed not to devolve into a raging bitch or a sobbing wreck (score one for self-control). I have cold beer on a hot day, and my mom bought me plenty of cigarettes to see me through the weekend.

Oh, and I’m quitting smoking. The doctor who washed his hands of me helpfully offered treatments for everything but the non-arthritis, and one of those offers was a prescription for Chantix. I turned it down then, but in the midst of all this self-pitying I thought that maybe quitting smoking would be one thing I could do to feel a little better. I pick up the prescription on Monday, and… well, we’ll see how it goes. I hesitate to call this public accountability (I mean, what are you going to do if I don’t manage it — boycott my blawggy-blawg? bah), but it’s something to announce, anyway. It would be better if I could have anti-anxiety meds already in my tight little palm before I start this experiment (reasons range from panic attacks to sleeplessness to fucking hell what am I going to DO if not smoke), but nothing is ever easy.

This year is almost 1/3 over. If 2009 were a painting, January-April would be one twisted plane of an unrecognizable face. I’m anxious for summer.

*The GooGoo Dolls

You’ll start to think you were born blind.*

April 1, 2009

Yesterday, within the span of twenty minutes, I whacked my leg with a vegetable knife while cutting carrots for Connor’s lunch and dropped a metal bedframe on my arm. The former was irritating but Band-aidable; the latter required five stitches and a tetanus shot.

I haven’t slept in forever and ever and ever, and it’s starting to be dangerous. I’m seeing my doctor tomorrow to (hopefully) refill the crazy pills I’m supposed to take all the time, because this shit does not fly. I’m going to ask about anxiety medication too; I’m going to ask for something to put my ass to sleep at night, and I’m going to ask for Vicodin because the ER doctor did not give me any pain meds, even before stitching me up. And, uh, this shit hurts.

In sum, everything sucks. I’m gimping around today, trying to accomplish spring cleaning, by which I mean “getting rid of the two rooms and four closets full of crap I can no longer manage.” Michael is balking, because that is what he does these days, but I seriously cannot handle everything in our home right now. It’s time to simplify.

In the meantime — and that is such a good word, because this time is very mean indeed — I’m trying to write. I’m trying to write because it’s what I do, and I’m trying to write because I no longer have friends or therapists or a husband who gives a shit upon whom I can dump all of this crazy-brain stuff. It’s an up-and-down process, but it’s tried and still true. Some of that, like the last post, might end up here. Most of it, again like the last post, won’t be particularly pretty, so remember that I have a blogroll over there in the sidebar if you want to click away now.

In other news, my seedlings have exploded. Not (quite) everything sucks, and y’all should kick me if I forget it.

  • matchbox twenty. Oh, the shame.

I close my eyes and the flashback starts. *

March 30, 2009

when we met we were like twins. oh, not in our selfhood — but in our dailies, we were the same. we loved the same people, the same music, the same activities. we were one. we loved everything but each other, but i guess you loved me then so nothing really applies. we went everywhere together, did everything together.

i was that girl who’s always okay. i was so bright then. i was the center of our group, which was our world. my word was law, and i brought you and everyone to your knees. i knew how to keep it all inside then, and while my scars were an advertisement they were also a mystery. i had no past but what i told you, and you loved every story of it. i had no trait but what i chose, and everything i chose was lovely.

of course, you all knew something was wrong with me, but it seemed a normal kind of wrong. teen angst not yet outgrown, maybe, or a kind of malaise that we all experienced to one degree or another. we walked everywhere when it wasn’t dark, but you never knew that everywhere i went was dark. i don’t know who i was then, really. all i know is that i love her now, and your eyes were never good enough.
the first time you told me you loved me i drank an entire bottle of vodka in five gulps. it burned but i kept going; everyone knew what you’d whispered in my ear, and the last thing i needed was your love. i threw it up extravagantly on the back porch, just fifteen feet from the shed where you stood bewildered, and went inside to change into a borrowed neglige√©. i slept with anyone but you that night, and you knew exactly why.

i don’t know where that girl went. i was everything to everyone, and my ugliness was safely tucked away. i lost that skill — both skills — along the way, and it’s so easy to blame you.

even after that travesty you were there, my shadow. my other half. my receptacle of scorn and humor; my target for pushing. the power i had over you, then, it extended to all of us — even me. i would have been just as in love with me then, if i was me now. maybe i was half in love with me then, anyway. i know i loved the attention, the centrality of me. my entire world was you and us and everyone, and it all turned on me. i can see objectively, like i did then, why you were so besotted.

still, i was myself, and my secrets were my own. we were like the military, about me: nobody asked, and i never told. i loved it, the power of being us, and the privacy of being me. you were all beneath me somehow, and you most of all; i was at the bottom, of course. it’s so heady, being both above and below. altitude isn’t only physical, and i was dizzy with the life i thought i’d made by myself. i was so pretty, and so heartrendingly young. i slept with your friends, i called you names, i laughed and kissed your cheek. i played games that i thought were just my personality, and i never counted the cost. never.

i left and came back changed, different, scared. i’d been alone, and i decided nothing was worse. i crawled beneath your sheets and i said just for now, just for a while, just for this week. we kissed drunkenly and video’d each other singing ballads — then i ran out into the storm and sat, sobbing and soaked, wishing for something more than you. when you followed, i thought it meant my own need. my first thought when i peed on the stick was oh, shit. shit. every molecule of blood fell from my face to my feet to the ground and you said nothing.

i changed from a slum to a halfway house, my mom and my nascent roommate crowding into an icebox, and you did nothing. you said nothing, but you were there and i thought it counted. i dragged my gravid self from icebox to home, and i thought in my shared apartment — we could do this. the apartment was nice and my roommate was a rock; i traveled miles every day to better myself and what i had was already pretty good. my roommate and i, we could do this. but there you were, and i shook it all off to come.

so i came. there we were, you and your parents and me, and nothing fit. i gave birth mostly alone, because my friends couldn’t drag you from the ice cream counter. my ex-roommate made worried faces and made outlandish trips for mocha cravings and when i started writhing she stormed out, angry and loving about my pain. who is your advocate? she asked, and i had no idea, though she was trying. when you came in you said nothing, so i kicked everyone out and traveled alone. when the baby came pride of place was yours, but you took less than a minute before handing him off and asking for someone else. i smiled through the pain and embarrassment and publicity, and missed my baby and you. i don’t remember you through the rest of the stay, but when we came home it was your mother who found us our own.

you never protected our sanctity and for the next years i fought. i fought everyone, fiercely, trying to uphold our tiny family’s right to exist as it was. i was drinking far too much, sleeping never, bleeding out everything i could have used, and you didn’t exist in our house. the baby was gorgeous, an irish baby if there ever was, and you could not have cared less. you went out and made new friends, and somehow the center of your world shifted. i wasn’t the capricious and necessary center i’d been; instead, i was yesterday’s fish and chips liner. alone in the house with a baby i loved desperately, i drank to die.

when our wedding came i had to be completely plastered before the vows. i appointed the one friend who still adored me matron-of-the-booze and she poured shots down my throat at the appointed intervals. i was rotund and red-faced in the dress, too tired to care if you found me beautiful. you hadn’t in a year. my friends came to celebrate, yours came to lament. your family shut me out, telling me acerbicly that i was welcome to the “crazy part” of the family, neglecting to mention the other part. at our reception there was no family, no groom, just me the booze and the few who still loved me. i pretended the girl i’d been still existed and made plans for a new place, a new way.

at a year i lost a baby and while i was still in the hospital bed you told me someone else was carrying your real baby. i stared and blinked and tried to remember how to keep a lid on all this. they used to write things like, “face immobile, never cries, monotone” on my charts, and i used those as my script. i came home and bled and bled and your chippy showed up at the door. i pretended ignorance and squeezed my own child, now truly my own, no part of you. we moved, and moved again, while i shed friends like taffeta. by the time we landed i was ostensibly alone, you with your parents and me wihth my two jobs-no sleep-death wish. i was no longer capricious or fun; i had become my ambition — scarlett o’hara, is there anything more clich√©d? — and i was hard. i worked and i worked and when i didn’t work i panicked.

when i finally made new friends you panicked, and i mistook it for love and need. we found a new home and i stayed home. you never came home at night, but i didn’t need a life anyway. i had our baby and our home and no sleep. by the time there was a problem i was isolated: friendless, jobless, cashless, hopeless. i begged for your support as i found my feet, but you turned away. i held the course. i forgot what feeling was. i wrote about our bright shiny home, kitchen, garden, child. i spent hours each night watching you out loud, waiting for you to speak to me.

i found a mass in my body, and it was removed. it could have been a baby, it could have been lining. i was terrified for two weeks and you vanished. i went in for surgery, surgery i paid for by begging, and on the way home you asked to go to denny’s. i thought about the pain and loss of my future, and went out to the car. when it turned out to be lining i was relieved. i no longer wanted your children. the day after the surgery, stitches and pain fresh in my body, you left me in the store with pounds of bags to lift and no way to do it. when i started hemorrhaging and company arrived, you decamped for parts irresponsible. i spent the weekend irascible, dizzy, sleepless, and bloody.

we moved again, and i could no longer keep our story straight. together or separate, i hurt. together or separate, i was alone. my hands twisted into black forest shapes, my hips turning both inward and outward, until i was a hunched and deformed shell of myself. i kept everything gleaming and you were never around to see. i lied to myself about love, about happiness, and i looked around and said it was good. the house, the garden, the kid, the cooking. it was all good and it was all none of you. i didn’t need anything because i needed everything and there was no well from which to draw. i found lie after lie and i ignored them because men — men — they will be men.

i’m decaying now. losing control now. it’s been years now, and i am less able to polish turds. the twisting that began in my body is running its course and i am something out of a horror movie — angles that should not exist, not alongside recognizable breasts and calves and stomach. i have forgotten how to immobilize my face, how to keep to a monotone, so i hide. my child had begun to hate the monster and you are nowhere to be found. you are lying and escaping and withdrawing and scathing. i scream sometimes when i must be straight and you are disdainful. you have turned me into a monster with no friends, no life, no ability, no ease, and no grace. you hate me, my twin, and that hate is my own. divorce has become a useless and meaningless word, and every day i draw closer to a word that still retains its strength. you still say nothing, but i think i’m accustomed now.

  • Taylor Swift
  • * Ed. Note: I quibbled forever before putting this one up, and then I thought fuck it — these blawg things used to be called journals, back in the day. And now I’m paranoid. The end.

Worry — why do I let myself worry?

March 10, 2009

The more I think about it, the more my ongoing health nonsense disturbs me. It seems like I should be able to receive some sort of care or relief — or, at least, a diagnosis — but I am always butting up against more questions. I have been working on the assumption that my Problems and Issues are a result of arthritis; it seems logical, as I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis very young and a lot of my symptoms (deformation and swelling of joints, pain in joints, more pain in joints, fatigue, yet more pain) are arthritic.

When the doctor told me my bloodwork showed nothing arthritis-related, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I think I actually said aloud something like, “Bzuh?” I was not prepared to consider that something was just wrong, and I was all too familiar with my own history — my history of arthritis, arthritis, arthritis.

I should have known something was off, maybe. I have had random symptoms for the past two years, none of which really connect to arthritis. I gained 45 pounds in 2006, and they have not come back off. I lose vision in half of each eye at random times. I throw up sometimes, for no apparent reason. And, of course, there is the ever-worsening joint pain and deformation, which is what I focused on. It’s also the only thing that really sounds like arthritis.

I don’t know what to do about any of this, and neither does my doctor. Everything is getting worse, and it’s happening pretty quickly — this time last year I was gardening and maintaining a sparkling home and chasing Connor around for hours and working 6 hours per day and cooking fabulous meals. Now, I am spending most days in my pajamas, in an increasingly messy house, trying desperately to think of ways to amuse my kid that don’t involve expending any energy. (Here, Connor! Wouldn’t you like to fold this paper over and over for hours while Mommy takes a nap?) I haven’t cooked anything substantial in several weeks; these days, I mostly use the Crockpot or toss random food-like items at Michael and Connor. I am working less and less, spending more of my computer time clicking and reading, avoiding anything that requires typing. I can’t get moving, sometimes I can’t even get upright. Everything is overwhelming and painful and exhausting.

I wonder, sometimes, about the inevitable day when I have to call Michael home from work because the pain is too bad or my joints are too stiff. I can almost feel the sobs in my chest, but I can’t imagine what he’d say. I know what I would say — something like, I’m sorry, but it hurts too much, I need you to come take care of Connor, because I can’t. I don’t know what would happen after that; what would be the point of calling anyone? The doctor I can afford can’t help me; the doctor(s) who can help aren’t affordable. I’ve been to the ER for this three times, and their procedure (a painkiller, some X-rays) isn’t going to change. All that’s going to change is me; one day, probably soon, I just won’t be able to take it anymore.

I only ever have panic attacks anymore when my hands and hips are particularly bad, but when that happens, the whole thing is a clusterfuck. I wake up in agony and unable to move, which makes my heard start to swim as my mind tries to get away from the trap of my body, and when it can’t? All hell breaks loose. I can’t breathe, I flail my aching limbs about in their shattered joints, my heart races along with my mind — I can’t move, I can’t move, OH MY GOD I CAN’T MOVE — and by the end of everything I am totally out of commission.

Sometimes I can stave it off with Pilates. Sometimes, frequently, I can’t. Even when it’s not that bad, it’s bad enough. I can’t write, I can’t carry things, I can’t clasp my watch without using my leg because my fingers don’t work. I can’t open my own water bottles or play Legos with Connor. I can’t wash the silverware because I can’t grasp the silverware, so it piles up in the sink. There are so many I can’ts and no solutions in sight.

I have been close to making that phone call, the biggest I can’t of all, at least twenty times. Maybe thirty. The only thing stopping me is the realization that it wouldn’t really do any good. There isn’t anything anyone can do until we know what’s wrong and I can afford to fix it. All the pajamas and Advil in the world won’t change a thing. What am I going to do?

*Patsy Cline.

About stuff.

October 26, 2008

I know I said I’d update by Wednesday, but you’ll notice I didn’t technically specify which Wednesday it would be. So this update could be early! Really, I’m not a huge slacker.

… Except I am, of course. I don’t know what is up with me lately, but I just don’t want to do anything. I want to sit around watching TV with occasional breaks to lie in the bath and read a book. I am still doing things, of course — working, cleaning the house, playing with Connor — but all the non-essentials have fallen by the wayside. This might be part of the “grieving process” (a phrase I hate with a fiery passion, or would if I had the energy for fiery passionate hatred), or it might just be a reaction to the turning season. Whatever it is, it’s kicking my ass, in a slow-boring-death-by-ennui sort of way.

I have also discovered that one of the drawbacks of my awesome job is that it’s always there. Every moment I’m home and not immediately occupied, I feel like I should be working. Part of that is the massive water bill we have to pay on Monday, but a much larger part of it is just that the job is always there and I have some weird Protestant mentality wherein a single moment not working sends me spiralling into panic and self-flagellation. I’m working on it, but in the meantime that water bill still has to be paid. This whole dynamic is so strange — I don’t want to work, like, at all, but then if I don’t work I hate myself and end up frantically trying to make up “missed” time, even if that time didn’t need to be spent working in the first place.

I don’t know. It’s all avoidance, I think. The truth is that I just don’t feel right for some reason. I am in the doldrums. Not the big, dramatic, oh-my-God-I-want-to-die doldrums, just the everything-sucks-and-I-just-want-to-be-still doldrums. It’s boring and kind of painful and it makes everything, including updating this here blaaaaawg, pretty difficult.

So. The service for my great-grandmother was lovely, and it was really nice to see my family and my great-grandmother’s friends — many of whom were incredibly kind to me throughout my childhood. We stopped at the park by my great-grandmother’s house afterward, the same park where she took me for swimming lessons and walks and bike rides and games and secret garden-hunting, and I had a long, hard cry in the car while Connor and Michael played. I wanted to drive by her house (which is now my great-aunt’s house), but I felt weird about it — I wanted to stop by the house and visit her gardens, her rooms, but it wasn’t really her house anymore and my aunt certainly wasn’t having a better day than I was.

Then we picked up our lives again, went to Target for Connor’s Halloween costume, and came home. Anti-climax, but what can you do? My drained, pessimistic self wants to get all woebegone about how NOTHING! There’s NOTHING you can do, everything is pointless, oh agony, oh the humanity, but I won’t let it. This will pass and life will start to interest me again and before you know it I’ll be updating three times a week just like I used to. Promise.


October 10, 2008

I’m going to a little get-together to remember my great-grandmother tomorrow, and this week has been kind of eaten up with making enough money to do that… and watching craptacular movies and TV… and grieving… and fighting with Michael… and putting the garden to bed… and working, did I mention working? It has been busy, and when it hasn’t been busy it’s been hard. Thus my never-ending round of excuses for not updating continues.

I’ll be back on, oh, let’s say Wednesday and be pleasantly surprised if I’m here in force on Monday. In the meantime, you should all congratulate my mom in the comments — she went out in this economy in that state and got herself a real, live, good-paying job. With lawyers, and stock options, and stuff. Seriously, that is pretty hardcore.

ETA: I just checked my spam filter and surf-ins, and WTF? Who are these people with the paper doll fetishes? Srsly, Intarwebz, get a life.