My Father

Or Life With An Abusive Nascissist, In Short…

Me: “I’ve been to doctor after doctor and my organs seem to be failing, one after the other…slowly. I think I’m dying.”

Father: “But I suffer more.”

Me: “Did you hear me? I’m dying.”

Father: “It’s always about you.”

Mother: “We’re serious. She’s really sick!”

Father: “I’m supposed to react now? No one tells me anything!”

End Scene.

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Beautifully Flawed

“I like flaws, they make things interesting.” – Sarah Dessen

I’m an artist so you’d assume I’d prefer to pretty and perfect things to draw, right? And, sometimes, yes, I do like that but it can get boring after a while. I prefer something that’s more interesting, even flawed. I like something that draws the eye in and creates a bit of disharmony. It’s just more fun to look at. I feel that way about people too.

I like scars. That sounds weird, doesn’t it? But I do. I feel that there should be no shame associated with scars because they show that you’re a survivor. You’re strong and resilient. Plus, as an added bonus, they make you look kind of badass. It’s like a tattoo without the ink (though I have those too).

Same with stretch marks. Pretty much everyone has one somewhere on their body, either from a growth spurt or pregnancy or weight gain/loss. I feel like it’s such an inconsequential thing now. I’m so glad Chrissy Teigen made it popular to embrace your stretch marks. I think that’s pretty damn awesome! I feel like we punish our bodies for simply reacting naturally. How can I be mad that I have stretch marks after carrying two nearly nine pound babies? My body created life! It’s a small price to pay.

Our bodies are miraculous and we really don’t appreciate them. Their quirks, their uniqueness. It makes you you. It might even be the very thing that someone loves about you. I always tell other people to love themselves, so-called flaws and all. The flaws only make you interesting and unique. And sometimes kind of badass.

Oh, the Guilt

“Guilt:  The gift that keeps on giving.” — Erma Bombeck

I always joke that if you’re not feeling guilty about something, you aren’t a mom. We feel guilt about everything. I know that I felt horribly guilty going to work after the kids started school. Even though I only worked part time, I felt like I was missing out and disappointing them somehow. Never mind that they were busy and hadn’t even given me a thought. I tortured myself with what a bad mother I was.

Then it was guilt over not having enough energy. Pretending to be normal and trying to stay on top of everything was hard enough, but I wanted to be Supermom. I, of course, overdid everything out of guilt and exhausted myself constantly, which, in turn, caused more guilt. It’s a vicious cycle. And I was quickly burning out.

Luckily, I come from a very tightly knit family. We’re one of those large groups with dozens upon dozens of cousins and most of us live near enough each other that we can give each other a hand. I took my family up on it. My kids were some of the first kids from my generation so they kind of broke everyone in and the kids had a lot of fun. When my kids got older, they became babysitters and kid wranglers too. It takes a village.

But still…guilt. Was I doing enough? I couldn’t help but compare myself to other parents and find myself completely lacking. I’m a very harsh critic when it comes to myself. And one day I finally decided that needed to stop. I realized that if I had a friend who treated me the way I treated myself, I would hate her and get as far away from her as I could. She was toxic! So why would I allow that for myself?

I needed to start treating myself like a dear friend and that’s what I started doing. The guilt eased. Yes, I can’t do as much with my kids as other parents, but they get amazing experiences with other members of my family. They are making some great memories. Also, due to my chronic illness, they have become really compassionate young people. I was constantly stopped by their teachers and told how kind and accepting they were of everyone. Would they have been as open and loving had I not been sick? Maybe. But I definitely think seeing it all their lives affected them deeply and that moved me more than anything I could have heard from a teacher. It made me realize that maybe I wasn’t such a bad mom after all. I mean, I had two really great kids and that doesn’t just happen on its own, does it?

Inner (Bits &) Peace(s)

Or Having A Midlife Crisis And Your Body Is Falling Apart? Join the Club!

“Take all the time you need to heal emotionally. Moving on doesn’t take a day. It takes a lot of little steps to be able to break free of your broken self.”

I consider this place my sanctuary. It’s where I can tell my truth freely without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings and dealing with any backlash. I can rant about physical and emotional issues that are keeping me awake at night. Whatever is being a thorn in my side. Very few people who know me personally know of this blog. It’s my place of safety. Everyone needs a place where they feel safe.

I wanted a place where I could work through issues, even if it meant they stayed unresolved. I believe in baby steps. I feel the effort is important. I might not find peace in my love life any time soon, but maybe I will further down the road because I was willing to look at why I fear it. I never liked being afraid of something. I have always had a need to confront my fears head on. The more frightened I am, the more I need to face it, trembling, tears running down my face, unable to catch a full breath, my nails digging into my palm. I don’t know why but I felt I had to prove myself somehow. To whom? I don’t know. Myself, maybe. Show that I was strong even though I was housed in this fragile flesh.

I was always sickly. From birth it was either allergies or infections or some sort of sickness or other. The only reason I never was held back in school was because I was a smart student. School was easy for me. I never had to study. I’d read something once and remember it well. I was an excellent test taker. I was horrible at gym, but my parents never cared about that anyway.

Bring sick so often made me feel useless. Worthless. I couldn’t pull my weight. Do my share. It was devastating for my self-esteem. I felt guilty and ashamed a lot of the time. Still do, if I’m really honest. I hate not being able to help out. I feel like I’m lounging about while everyone else works, even though I know that I physically cannot do that work myself. But since when is the mind solely logical? Eventually, usually, the guilt and the shame turn to hatred, making me feel like a burden to those I love most. It is also another reason why I avoid relationships. Why would I have someone fall in love with me only to have to take care of me the rest of my life. That’s like opening the wrong door on Let’s Make A Deal! Cruel and unusual punishment…

I veered off on a tangent, didn’t I? I do that. I was talking about baby steps…

So sometimes. Make progress in great leaps and bounds, sometimes in baby steps, and, of course, there are times I backslide. It’s eventual. Happens to us all. But I still consider it progress of a sort, just not linear. More of a circuitous, spiraling pattern where you, at times, need to step to the side and step back in order to move on. It’s still going forward, just doesn’t seem it if you don’t know the dance.

Love Is A Many Splintered Thing

Or Why I’ve Committed To Not Committing…

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Let’s just say that I have trust issues. Not exactly surprising, I know, given my upbringing. I mean if you feel you can’t exactly trust your parents, who do you trust? I had no peers to rely on. Anyone I’d get close to would eventually leave me in the end. Oh, yes, tack on abandonment issues. I’ve either been stabbed in the back or left by most of the important people in my life. So, for a very long time, I kept nearly everyone at a distance. I made sure not to get too attached. I left first. I was still lonely.

I was sure that love equalled pain. That’s all I had ever seen. Unhappiness, pain, feeling trapped. Why would anyone want that? I flirted and flitted away. My main source of stability was my male best friend. It was the ideal relationship, minus sex. There was no way I was going to do anything stupid like ruin it with sex! We had a good thing going! He, thankfully, felt the same way. Things were great. I helped him out with his relationships and he was a constant in my life. Until, one day, after 15 years of friendship when he decided to lash out at me after his girlfriend dumped him. I took it for a while. I knew he was hurting and, hell, he had gotten me through my divorce. We’d been through stuff together. I wasn’t going to walk away because he was mean. But then he became really cruel and hurtful and I warned him to stop. I told him he was going too far and there would be no coming back. And he kept going. So I said goodbye. He never apologized. Never even tried to take back the horrible things he said. 15 years of friendship gone in one night and he was okay with that.

I wasn’t okay. To be honest, that was, and still is, the hardest breakup I’ve ever had to deal with. I still cry about it sometimes and it’s been a good four years since it happened. I know he doesn’t deserve it, but the relationship I thought we had does deserve a mourning process. I guess he was more important to me than I was to him.

Unfortunately, that seems to be a running theme for me in my life. I feel I get discarded quite easily and it hurts. I don’t know what it is about me that causes people to do this. I’ve often wondered about it so I could change it. Stop it from happening so much. People always told me I put up these walls and let no one in but can you blame me? I let down my guard only to be betrayed in one way or another. It’s why I make no effort to make new friends. It’s why I try to hide away at home so much. I’m trying to become invisible. That way I’m a harder target. It’s a sad and lonely life, but easier to deal with than a knife in my back. I want to be able to love and trust but I don’t believe it’s possible. I feel like my heart is constantly bleeding out. I just keep pulling out splinters and watch the blood spill forth. And no one cares anymore. Not even me.