6 things you can’t live without
- My family
- Sex (sorry, I had to say it)
- My favorite Ine’s : Caffeine, Nicotine, Benzodiazepine, etc.
- The Internet
- My friends
Last week, I wrote Seeds of Affection, confessing the almost sordid, but sweet details of Xan and my secret burgeoning relationship.
We left off with Xan’s admission of when he recognize his love for me. Our moment was described in this:
Chronos smiled, freezing time for us, and only us. The night stood still, permitting us to slip between the cracks of space and time. We defied the continuum without breaking our bonds. And for those moments, we were more than just two solitary entities inhabiting the same space. We were the space; we were each others’ thoughts, voices, and breaths.
Something sparked that evening while we were painting. I doubt me being in my underwear had much to do with it. Art is an intimate thing, especially painting. There is a lot of physical contact and what remains is a representation of the emotion in the area. What was left was permanent. We were oblivious to this, but it certainly wasn’t lost on his girlfriend.
Neither of us could understand why she was so upset.
Familiar places, familiar faces, we once again found ourselves on our eternal carousel, orbiting one another but never to meet in the middle. Gravitation pull kept us circling, leaving others to be our asteroids consistently knocking us off course. Nearly two years elapsed before our irregular orbits had crossed paths once more. But other planets were aligning, creating a universal, cataclysmic event, speeding up motion and time.
Years passed, and we remained friends. There was a barrier of friends and lovers that stood between us, wiser and more perceptive. We had something, a certain something that can only be found between two people who were mean to be together. But, neither of us knew it. Individually, we had feelings for each other, but nothing that existed in the forefront of our minds. And both of us believed that the other would be unlikely to give the other a sideways glance in any life.
Regardless, we still gravitated toward each other. Through falling outs, jealous lovers severing our ties, and simply life leaving us in vague passing, we still managed to come back together.
The Eve of Omega and Alpha culminated at the end of a mighty crescendo. All in one space and time resided unrealized past, present, and future respectively as if the freshly laundered fabric of time had been folded, once over, twice over, then again. I was frozen, pondering the possibilities, and still too nearsighted to distinguish. My crossroads were much fuzzier and perilous than I had realized and my choices too weighted and narrow. Yet, he stood further down the path, silently beckoning me once again, always too far ahead like a time traveler. And for once brief moment, I caught his greyish outline in the distance, down the overgrown path. However, it wasn’t enough to detract from the bright signs, falsely guiding me down yet another treacherous path.
Confession #4: At one point, I had recognized that I had affections for Xan. This was months after we had started our pseudo dating. I had written in my journal, “What is the difference between a best friend and a lover?” Xan was my best friend.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again. Xan had seen me at my very best, attending my concerts, screaming and smiling while riding shopping carts down busy city streets. He had also witnessed my very darkest moments, all of the late night sobbing, the rages, vicious attacks and desperate, pathetic living conditions with alcoholism. Xan knew me better than anyone in this world. We shared more than two friends should probably have shared.
The spring air was crisp, and the beauty exuded more so than ever before. We spoke, old moths to the flame, drawn in, never missing a beat to the rhythm of the familiar drum. Perhaps we marked time to it, never straying far enough for life in all of it’s obstructive noise obscure it’s particular pulse. Our time was infinite. We walked the earth eternally, as long as the sky was blanketed in the celestial beings that kissed the sky. Even with every step I took, I felt my chains to the other becoming more cumbersome, the burden unbearable. I trudged on.
Xan and I spent a great deal of time on my balcony. We were forced out there, because my ex was occupying the singular room we were living out of, while playing World of Warcraft. It is not as if we were typically speaking words that shouldn’t have been overheard. It was just incredibly difficult to have a deep conversation with blaring metal music and Avi’s incessant, nonsensical babble.
Drunk words are sober thoughts. Confessions poured from my soul through my mouth faster than a river through the universe, traveling at the speed of light. I was the sinner and he was my savior, hearing every gruesome detail, redeeming me with stroking words, caressing my frail soul. The picture was black, the sound garbled like in a damaged film reel. The scene continued regardless; the show must go on !
Confession #5: I kissed Xan before we were officially together. In fact, I didn’t remember it until after we were officially together. Xan told me about how I had confessed my love for him while he dragged my limp, floppy body home from the bar one warm Saturday night. That was the same Saturday night that I took him to the trestle.
Come with me.
Such a simple phrase struck a nerve and coursed my stagnant lifesblood through my icy veins.
The “come with me” phrase was in reference to his college choice. He was finally ready to finish his degree, and was accepted into Tulane. I was distraught at the idea of him leaving. He put his hand on my knee and looked deep into my eyes. He said, “Come with me.” The way he said it was like, “Come with me, away from this place, away from this hell you’re in.” It was like he wanted to rescue me. It was the first time that anyone had said anything like that. He cared for me so much that he couldn’t stand to leave me behind.
That boy loves you more than you’ll ever know.
First synapses firing, connecting, the stirrings of conscious realization. The Alpha and Omega, overlapping in folds of time. The mirage eroded before me, and the poisonous cloud released.
For the first time in centuries, we were standing face to face within the labyrinth. Side by side, we made our way through its dark, narrow walkways. Our flames licked each other eagerly, separate for the very last instant of eternity. No walls remained, only the flesh and air between us.
“That boy loves you more than you’ll ever know,” was spoken by my own father, one hot summer night while we all drank together on the porch. Xan had left to grab us all some more drinks, and my father told me that. My father, the man who approved of absolutely nothing I had ever done or ever planned to do. I could do no right in his eyes. But, he seemed to see something I didn’t.
Confession #6: That is among the dozens of reasons I married Xan. Parental approval was more than through the roof. I asked my mother how she would feel about our marriage, and she was thrilled. She put out the engagement announcement in the paper the very next week.
In the dead of night, so silent the rain did not dare make a patter in this moment, he grasped my arm firmly and wrapped himself around me. Underneath the long reach of the trees branches above, time slowed to accent the moment, and brand it in heart and memory for lifetimes to come.
I have always loved you.
He breathed into me, a life and fire to awaken mine. Our lips touched, melting into one another. Reunited, intertwined, conjoined at the purest moment of our final reunion. My being shot out so quickly reality could not keep pace. Time and space bent for us, allowing this moment to live in all of our eternities.
I, as well. I have always loved you.
It echoed louder than a chorus of angels, spreading throughout all the worlds to be recognized for the cosmic event it was. Twin souls, united, now indiscernible from one another. Two halves of the whole conjoined, intertwining with each passage, every last exchange. Our flames united into the blazing inferno, lighting up the whole world around us. He gazed into me as I gazed into him. And in that very second, we fell into one another, freed from the labyrinth. Only the world, our beautiful, majestic world, with the vast fields yielding those just emerging seedlings, existed among us.
Mo Anam Cara. It was in that moment that I knew in my heart and soul that I had found My Soul Friend, the English literal translation.
Final Confession: There is a concept beyond all descriptions of any kind of intense love that exists. It’s a love that transcends our physical existence in any time or dimensions. It exists everywhere, in all space, and in all time, defying the laws of nature. That is how I feel about Xan. And secretly, I think it’s the way I’ve always felt.
In Possibility and Ascension, I wrote an abstract post of sorts detailing how Xan and I got together. It didn’t have to be so convoluted and vague as it was, twisting and turning with enough imagery to put anyone into overload. But, at the same time, it did. Those were the only combination of words that I could put together to express how it had happened in my mind, and even more so in my heart.
Today, I’d like to make some confessions about it. The first being the translation.
In the first paragraph:
When one door closes, another opens.
And occasionally it occurs as overlapping events, rather than simultaneously. Such is the nature of life, with its interwoven fibers amounting to the gorgeous flowing fabric. We are the sum of our actions and the resulting events. But it’s not so simple. The seeds were strewn about our fields throughout a long period of time, lodging themselves deep into our soil. Then under the right conditions, they emerged to the surface to the light of day.
This was a sister prose of Decent Into Hell, if one was unable to tell. The seeds were those little, unconscious, benign exchange between us over a period of three years. I continued:
The seeds of our affections were sown. And yet, we were blind to it.
Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve – – – words that often arise when hindsight comes into perfect focus. Had I not been so engulfed in my failing relationships, I could’ve realized it.
Confession #1: Xan and I were dating before I had even left my ex.
It was not an intentional love affair. In fact, I was nothing of the sort. It was accidental, subconscious courtship. There was no physical contact. However, as I started to inspect our romantic roots, I realized the existence of our love far beyond any admissions or actions.
I worked in a bakery at the time, making myself pretty visible. Xan knew when I got off of work, and he would occasionally pop by unexpectedly. Then, he would invite me to dinner. I always declined, telling him that I just didn’t have enough money to go. He said he didn’t plan on me paying in the first place and that my prescience wasn’t requested. It was required.
In short, we had dates long before we were ever officially together.
The purging had ceased, inebriation started to fade while the sun battled his way above the horizon. The first dim morning rays crept into the room, scarring the darkness into hiding. Innocently entangled in one another, grappling for a certain reality that remained just shy of our reach, we breathed in unison. Our voices were so low that the breeze seemingly whisked our words away, leaving only remnants in my memory. What only remained was his gentle baritone murmur in my ears and the soft vibrations against my chest. However, one managed to sound loudly in my mind.
I want to make love to you . . .
Stunned. Paralyzed. I want to make love to you too . . . – stifled far too soon. It wasn’t the phrase. It was the sentiment.
Confession #2: Xan and I had romantic roots more than three years back.
The situation played out like this. My ex, Beck, and I had broken up for the first time shortly before this occurrence. His new girlfriend was having a welcome party for some of her friends from Colorado, and our mutual friends invited me, much to his chagrin.
Xan and I were competitive drinkers at the time. Well, truthfully, what weren’t we competitive about? Though there was a certain amount of attraction and affection, there was always this need to feed an ego. All of those things have stood the test of time, in case you were wondering.
TMI: So, after getting wrecked on red bull and vodka all night, we shared a cooking pot to vomit into. We were the last people with any remaining consciousness, and the whole house was silent. All of the other sleeping areas were taken, and we were sharing the smallest, most uncomfortable sofa in the entire world. It didn’t matter, though. There was something about being locked in his embraced. It wasn’t sexual. It was a feeling like home.
That is when he propositioned me. Confession: I wanted to. He admitted later that he wasn’t entirely serious, but he would have if I had agreed. But, I didn’t. There were a lot of factors that went into it. We were friends. I was seeing someone else. And somehow, a rumor had spread that gave him a bad reputation as a playboy. He never was.
Silence, with the exception of our constant dialogue like a clear flowing stream. It was never the conversation that was important, but rather the continual contact. We caressed each other through discreet discourse, as if our words were hands searching each others’ darkest secrets. Outright confessions would’ve been too forward and obvious. Physical displays would certainly be condemnable. Our verbal intercourse continued, flying low under the radar as an innocent act of friendship of which even we were both eagerly convinced it was.
We stayed up for late night chats a lot. There is really no other way to become truly intimate with a person than to share early morning hours with them. That was years in the past. We didn’t pick that back up until our subconscious courtship prior to our abrupt relationship.
His bare bedroom walls were soon filled with the colors of our affections.
Confession #3: The words that sparked our relationship were, “I have always loved you.” When did always begin?
I asked him that question shortly into our relationship. He had asked, “Do you recall that night we painted my room?”
I did remember. I remember being in some pseudo-screwed-up-relationship with my ex, Beck. Xan, being the devils advocate that he is, said to me, “I’m bored. Do you want to ransack Sasha’s (Beck’s long distance girlfriend) stuff to find something to do?” It was devious. I loved it. It was so us. We had done mischievous things to friends before, ranging anywhere from sending bogus text messages to “misplacing” things.
We found her paints, and we made a night of it. I recall taking off my jeans and throwing them in the hallway. He inquired. I replied, practically, “So I don’t get any paint on them, duh.”
Confession: I actually kept that pair of blue underwear with the yellow paint stain for several years afterward. Xan was doing my laundry one day and asked, “Are these the…?” “Yep.” It turns out, we both have decent memories for the sentimentals.
To Be Continued….
Writing your Pleasure List
1. Take a clean sheet of paper and head somewhere you feel safe and relaxed.
2. Divide the paper into four sections:
– Section 01: People and Pets (who bring me pleasure when I think of them)
– Section 02: Places (that bring me pleasure when I think of them)
– Section 03: Things (that bring me pleasure when I think of them)
– Section 04: Things I like to do (that bring me pleasure)
3. Then write as many examples as you can under each section.
4. Remember to allow yourself to feel happy!
Section 01: People and Pets
- Xan, my husband.
- Beast, my son
- Dill, my friend
- Zen, my cat that passed on last year
- Rees, my friend.
- Ruby, my friend
- Carla, my friend
- Monday, my friend
- My MIL
- My FIL
Section 02: Places
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: It is absolutely, hands down, my favorite vacation spot. The beaches are huge and sandy. The local, southern food is amazing, and the local people are very friendly. I have some of my most fond memories there. When I was sixteen, it was my first taste of freedom. It was the only town I was ever allowed to wander around in unsupervised. I was free to go wherever I wanted within a certain 15 block radius in either direction. For Myrtle Beach, that’s a lot of territory. I spent my honeymoon there with Xan. It was the first time I had ever gone on vacation as an adult. We just had the most lovely time, I recall. Good food, peaceful setting, and a lovely beach. I got to wake up every single morning to go out on the patio and watch the sunrise. It was magical.
- Virginia Beach, Virginia: I recall Virginia Beach having one of the most impressive boardwalks I had ever been on. Anything you could ever want was on that board walk. I was thirteen years old, and I’d sneak out to my very own balcony in the middle of the night just to watch the moon rise on the ocean. It was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. It was fairly close by car, so I wasn’t stuck in the car forever with my parents. And, since I had my own room in our suite, I had a huge amount of privacy. It was the best vacation I can remember from my childhood.
- The Fountains in Pittsburgh: There’s something about those fountains. Pittsburgh has plenty of them, because we are so close to the river. There was one in particular that I loved, and I took a photo of it right before my surgical consultation the August before last. Something about it was calming, and settled me down to think about the beautiful things in life. I even wrote a post called, “All the Pretty Things”.
- The Trestle: By my old house, in the same neighborhood I grew up in, there was this old, abandoned railroad trestle. My best friend showed it to me when we were in our early teens. We used to hang out there to drink and smoke pot. Then, we’d have these deep conversations about our thoughts and feelings. Those were very intimate moments.When Beck, my ex, and I became secret lovers behind her back, we used to frequent the trestle. It was the place that I had my first kiss with a boy. And he and I would sit there for hours, holding each other, talking about our dreams, and making plans for our future together. And after Beck and I broke up, I didn’t go back again.
Until there was Xan, three years later. At the time, we were living with my ex, Avi. I felt a bond with Xan that I couldn’t quite explain. So, I took him there, so that we could be alone. We hung out and we drank. It was a beautiful alone place, even if it was a rusted trestle. You could see the creek below, and it was surrounded by trees, a rarity in that neighborhood.
It was the place where Xan and I spent our first night together as a couple. We sat up all night and talked. I don’t recall what about. The past. The present. Maybe even the future. I know we went through the story of our developing relationship, and how we got to this point. And I remember we held each other in the rain until the morning light.
Section 03: Things:
- My computer
- My Samsung Captivate Glide
- My stuffed animal from when I was a kid
- New clothes
- Overhead Lighting
- Bejeweled Blitz
- My blue coffee cup
- My brown skirt
- The Internet
- My blue blanket
- My journals
- Inkjoy pens
- G2 Gel Pens
- All no bleed Sharpies
- Office supplies
- My medication
- My contacts
Section 04: Things I like to do:
- Go for long car rides
- Eat at this little mom and pop diner a few towns over
- Get dressed up (sometimes)
- Take hot showers
- Visit my in-laws
- Take on a new project
- Write on WordPress
- Read on WordPress
- Do selfless acts
- Practice Tang Soo Do
- Play computer games
- Watch my favorite TV shows
- Create things
- Play with my son
- Spend time with my husband
All that I am, all that I ever was...
“Pleasure is the only thing one should live for, nothing ages like happiness.”
~ Oscar Wilde ~
The first exercise toward building better self-esteem is to focus on the positives. Now, I’m not a convert into the positive thinking movement, in fact I find books that proclaim all we need to do is think positively and everything we want will magically appear out of thin air complete crap. I don’t believe someone can ‘pretend away depression’ nor do I believe thinking positively will cure you of cancer or the myriad of other illnesses that people suffer from.
However, thinking positive thoughts about ourselves can bring about an attitude change toward better self-perception.
Once upon a time I was in a counselling session. I had seen this counsellor for several sessions and in each one he noted how stressed and tense I was; how I sat in a…
View original post 557 more words
Personal positive experiences…
1. Take out a clean sheet of paper and a pen of your choice.
2. Divide the paper into eight sections: Courage, Kindness, Selflessness, Love, Sacrifice, Wisdom, Happiness, Determination.
3. Under each section write about positive personal experiences that come under that category.
4. You don’t have to limit yourself to one example for each, the more you can think of the better!
5. Keep the paper somewhere handy so that (a) you can read it frequently and (b) you can add to it whenever you fancy.
- I fought cervical cancer for four years, and I’ve hopefully won.
- I underwent two surgeries for the cancer.
- I underwent four biopsies.
- I am going public with Lulu Stark. I’m going to be courageous here and put my name out there. I am actually Tiffany. But, I prefer Tiff. Please keep calling me Lulu though. I like it. I think it represents something in me.
- In June 2011, I started As The Pendulum Swings, my first mental health blog.
- I co-founded A Canvas of the Minds, a community mental health blogging site.
- I supported Occupy Pittsburgh when they were camping in town.
- In 2006, I lived without basic utilities in a dilapidated house.
- I recently moved away from my hometown.
- I had the courage to finally break ties with my extended family and put my parents at a distance.
- I’ve finally accepted my son’s diagnosis of Pervasive Development Disorder.
- In 2009, I sought treatment for bipolar disorder.
- Before my surgery in 2011, I chose to live by my own hand.
- I take late night phone calls for friends in need.
- I used to volunteer for my family’s church.
- I am fiercely loyal to friends, even if they don’t deserve it.
- I occasionally give to charities, especially those for children.
- I taught music in a youth program for underprivileged children.
- I make it a point to comment on people’s blogs at least once a day.
- I encourage online friends to email me when they are having a hard time.
- I help my husband finish his work at home.
- I leave love notes for my husband.
- I once made a blanket for a child I was a nanny for.
- I was a summertime nanny for two children plus my own.
- I get up an hour and a half before my husband each day to get him off to work.
- I always do without for my child.
- I always make sure that my husband gets the big piece of chicken at dinner.
- I cook, although I don’t often feel like it.
- I take classes that my husband is very enthusiastic about me taking.
- I make sure my child’s needs come first.
- I am staying at home instead of working to take care of my son.
- I am working hard to get my son services for his special needs.
- I am always able to put my own stuff aside for a friend in crisis.
- Over the last year, I have put off numerous appointments in order to accommodate my husband’s climb up the career ladder. I still am.
- Sometimes, as a result of my husband’s work, I find that I end up being the sole parent for most days. I rarely ask for anything in return.
- I lay my husband’s clothes out every morning because he’s colorblind.
- I have forgone getting a new pair of glasses for two years because it’s not in the budget.
- Sometimes, I make my medicine stretch just a little longer so that I can see everyone else is taken care of first.
- I mentioned I help my husband finish his work at home. I do so unpaid.
- During Summer Semester 2011, I pushed a little girl around the wheelchair at the zoo. If you knew the Pittsburgh zoo, then you know it’s very hilly.
- I have never abandoned someone because they were “too much work”.
- I put everything I have into my son.
- One of the reasons we moved to the place we live in now is so we could take care of my husband’s family, all of whom are disabled now.
- I write prose to my husband. Sometimes, I stick cute notes in his work laptop.
- I will do anything to immediately soothe my husband’s panic attacks.
- I will hold my son for hours when he’s having an emotional day.
- I am always telling my husband wonderful things about himself.
- I am not hesitant to be affectionate with my husband, even when he is.
- I recently passed up a job offer to stay at home with my son.
- I have not pursued the last four credits of my Bachelors, because the money would come out of pocket.
- In the summer of 2011, I taught summer semester while having undiagnosed walking pneumonia for over a month. We needed the money.
- In 2010, I had to surrender my dog Nikki. She was too big for the house, setting off Beast’s allergies, and we didn’t have a big enough yard for her.
- In 2006, I dropped out of college to work. The man I was with at the time and I had some really wrecked finances.
- In 2006 and then again in 2009, I took a job in a commercial bakery when I had two different Associate’s Degrees. I was desperate for work.
- Becoming a mother is sacrifice in itself.
- I am holding off on having a second child for my husband’s sake. I may not be able to have children as I grow older, and I take the risk that the cancer will return.
- In 2012, I started Sunny with a Chance of Armageddon to help share my experience with others so they might not feel so alone.
- I regularly give advice to friends and family.
- Despite our rocky relationship, I counseled my mother while she had difficulty taking care of her own mother.
- I know that I can only believe none of what I hear and only half of what I see.
- Get me once, shame on you. Get me twice, shame on me.
- I realize that life is what happens when a person is busy making other plans.
- There are some things that I can help, and there are some things I cannot. It’s up to me to have the wisdom to determine which is which. I am pretty good at that at this point.
- I always remind others that you can’t change people.
- I find that I always remind others that happiness and health are more important than anything else. Money and duty sometimes have to take a backseat.
- In 2008, I took a honeymoon to my favorite beach, Myrtle Beach.
- Also in 2008, I gave birth to one of my sources of joy, my son, my Beast.
- Also in 2008, I married the man of my dreams. My other half, maybe my better half, Xan.
- My family takes regular long drives through the country.
- I adopted a kitten in 2011.
- In 2007, my long time best friend, Xan (my now husband), got into our romantic relationship. We had a whirlwind romance that ended up with us being married in less than a year.
- I’ve had five wonderful years with my husband.
- I have wonderful friends who would do anything for me.
- I’m now living in the nicest house I’ve ever lived in.
- I have so much land and I don’t live on a busy street anymore.
- I’m in the best shape of my life.
- I will finish my degree one day, and finish higher degrees.
- I will find a good therapist and get on the right medication.
- I will combat mental illness, and come out the other side better for it.
- I will continue to get in shape and stay in shape.
- I will belt up in Tang Soo Do.
- I will continue to keep fighting cancer, even if the doctors are sure that it’s gone.
- I will help my son catch up in his development.
- I will help my husband be the best father, husband, and employee he can be.
- I will never give up on myself, my goals, my dreams, and my friends and family.
- Exercises to build self-esteem: #3. Personal positive experiences (sunnywithachanceofarmageddon.wordpress.com)
- Exercises to build self-esteem: #3. Personal positive experiences (myjourneywithdepression.wordpress.com)
- Building positive self-esteem in our children (tina7serrano.wordpress.com)
- Exercises to Build Self Esteem: #2. Love your talents and gifts (sunnywithachanceofarmageddon.wordpress.com)
- How to Rebuild Your Self-Esteem (dr-carol.com)
- Building positive self-esteem (myjourneywithdepression.wordpress.com)
- Exercises to Build Self Esteem: #1. Pleasure and Happiness (myjourneywithdepression.wordpress.com)
- Self Esteem Activities (budiwibowos.wordpress.com)
- Disorder and the Internet : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (acanvasoftheminds.wordpress.com)
- The Cost of Mental Health (acanvasoftheminds.wordpress.com)
All that I am, all that I ever was...
So far this week we have looked at what self-esteem is; the value we place on ourselves and how we see ourselves in general, what low self-esteem is; when we as individuals hold deep-seated negative beliefs about ourselves, and how we can work toward improving these beliefs through altering our perceptions of who we are.
First, by focussing on the things that bring us pleasure (rather than pain) and secondly, on how it isn’t narcissistic to love our individual gifts and talents.
Today, we look at our experiences.
As many people who suffer from low-esteem may relate to, I spend a lot of time living in the negative space of my life. All day, every day, I am constantly reminding myself of all the things I have done wrong; of when I let my friends down, of when I…
View original post 1,851 more words
My son, Beast. He’s . . . spirited. I’d love to leave it at that, but this is The Friday Confessional.
I love my boy to pieces. But, I knew he was going to be a handful long before he was even born into this world. I had a rather difficult pregnancy. And he hilariously went silent and still whenever anyone tried to “feel the baby kicking”. While he was on the inside place, he managed to kick himself to a position where he was constantly ramming his head into my cervix. He accidentally got his foot stuck in between one of my ribs and struggled wildly to get free. Once he was free, he did it again for what I can only consider as fun. People don’t seem to think that fetuses can have emotions or fun. I know differently from my son.
My son was born with this particular temperament. He was a lazy and impatient nurser, who refused to nurse and preferred the bottle. That’s my son. Obstinate beyond all logic. When that boy puts his foot down on something, that is the word. And we clash at every point.
It’s not entirely his fault. In June 2011, he was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. In short, that puts him on the higher functioning end of the Autism Spectrum. I wrote:
I’ve always said that nothing in life prepares you to be a parent like being a parent. Truly. In my youth, I’ve helped to raise so many people’s babies and toddlers, but it was nothing like becoming a mother myself. Sure, I had the care basics down, but that’s not even scratching the surface.
So therefore, nothing can prepare you for a professional telling you there is something wrong with your child. Not even if you suspect it yourself.
That was over a year ago.
In truth, I’m in denial.
The battle wounds are still fresh from my youth.In those days, I found I was the most comfortable in the tiniest of places, completely unlike today, where confined spaces are cause for the air being vacuumed from my lungs, and my brain to catch fire. Those were only places I recall being safe; wedged between the sink and the wall, tucked in the back of a closet, curled up in a cabinet under the sink. Those places were quiet and dark. The only places I could find serenity and safety.
I remember instances where my hulking brother would hunt me down. Those were my go-to places. As long as I took refuge when the violent fits started, I had a chance of being safe. He may have tried hard to swipe at me, but I had the advantage. I was a small girl who could ball up and disappear from this world. In those places, I could be safe from brutal, unprovoked attacks.
Out of sight is out of mind.
And out of mind it out of sight.
The injustice perpetrated on me went far beyond that. That was considered excusable behavior due to my brother’s condition. I was told things like, “He can’t help himself, but you can.” I never did anything to purposefully antagonize him. I feared him. And when my parents would practically reward his behavior by conceding to his every desire, I hated him. Even to this day, I still hate him for all of the gifts and attention he siphoned off from me. I was a model child with straight A’s and glowing reviews from teachers. He was a terrorizing monster.
When my son was diagnosed in the same spectrum, I was crushed. Some parents can say they were blindsided by the diagnosis, but I certainly was not. I saw the signs long before a doctor had to confirm them. I was just hoping that there was some alternative explanation. I don’t love him any less. But, in truth, I see him differently. Maybe differently than a parent should.
I remember being pregnant. And I remember having serious talks with the sky boss. I pleaded, “Please, God. Please don’t let my son have autism. I can’t handle that. I wanted to deny it. I would tell people how high functioning he is, and how his developmental deficits were not that of a child with autism or aspergers. When he was denied entry into a regular preschool because they aren’t equipped to handle him, I was crushed again. My hopes that he was developmentally appropriated were dashed.
The truth is, my son is disabled. And he needs my help, now.
And here’s the worst part of my confession. I have a certain amount of resentment for his condition. I find it difficult to interact with him appropriately. When he acts out aggressively, I meet him with a certain amount of aggression of my own. I refuse to be terrorized by my own son, a huge, strong little four year old. It makes me feel small and scared every day of my life.
There is rare gratification. Most parents have children that will play with them. My son tries, but he can’t seem to make it happen. I watch him struggle with basic things. I feel like a failure of a parent, because he’s not potty trained and mostly refuses to wear clothing. I resent him when I am cleaning up bodily fluids he carelessly threw everywhere, like a little animal. And I hate myself when I liken him to a puppy in my mind.
But, there a moments where he looks me dead in the eye and says things like, “Look Mommy, out the window. Look, the trees!” Or, the day that we were outside and he scraped his leg. He straddled me and we held each other, rocking for awhile. Then, he grabbed me by my shoulders, held me away to look at me and sang, “I yuv you. You yuv me!”
There are those rare moments of hope that I hold to. Even in my darkest hours.
My ability to articulate emotions.
The way that I think (mostly).
The way I don’t do anything half-baked.
The way that I love.
All of the love I have to give.
All of the empathy I have for my fellow humans.
How I am able to pick up on people’s personalities.
My education in psychology.
The relationships I’m able to build, even if I have difficulty sustaining them.
My eyes. They’re pretty.
My fashion taste. I like pretty things.
All of my crafts and the pride it gives to me.
How I am a survivor, above all else.
Sometimes, my faulty logic!
My ability to willingly and lovingly play a support role in the lives of others.
My fierce loyalty to friends and family.
My forgetfulness. It’s hard to hold a grudge that way.
The way I’m able to be introspective.
My chest. I mean, come on now!
How I have the tendency to be honest to the point of bluntness.
How I am not able to lie.
My drive to keep going.
And my openness to exercises like this.
- Building positive self-esteem (myjourneywithdepression.wordpress.com)
- Exercises to Build Self Esteem: #2. Love your talents and gifts (myjourneywithdepression.wordpress.com)
- Exercises to Build Self Esteem: #1. Pleasure and Happiness (myjourneywithdepression.wordpress.com)
- How to build Self-Esteem: (the-coach-approach.com)
- The Importance of Self Esteem – Why It Matters (afriqtalk.wordpress.com)
All that I am, all that I ever was...
Since beginning this blog in 2007 I’ve spoken frequently of the importance of loving ourselves.
When I wrote this post I was worried it would make me look like a narcissist. When I recently reposted it as part of the Voice of the Past series this same fear of being viewed as arrogant and self-absorbed returned; resulting in several arguments with myself over whether I should post it, and after I did, whether I should remove it. To this day I still think it makes me look self-important, vain and narcissistic.
But does it? Aren’t those fears yet another example of the negative way I view myself?
If we do not love ourselves, we cannot expect other people to love us; and if we don’t believe in ourselves, then how can we expect anyone else to believe in us?
Learning to love yourself is not an…
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10 Persons I Can’t Live Without
The following ten people are people who exist in my real life. No offense to my blogging lovelies, this list could go on for miles. I had to put a limit on it, so I’ve limited it to those people in my real life that I have close to daily contact with.
We sat together, alone on a Friday night. What an atypical Friday night, without people hanging from our rafters and music blaring. A couple of cans of beer and a pack of cigarettes were the only occupants of the old grainy table with red paint peeling. I chipped at it a little carelessly while watching him intently. It was him and me, peacefully alone, deep in light, airy conversation.
I was mildly distracted by the clarity of his voice. No ambient noise of idle chatter engulfed his words. They slipped from his full pink petal lips, with the crispness of mildly intoxicated honesty, confessions from a fortress of a man. He explained his position, the station in which he found himself in within his own self. My ears perked up at the heaviness of the content, and I felt the weight shifting from a crushing burden of existence onto him, sliding onto the table, begging for me to grasp it.
All I had desired, each last truth and beautiful, intimate moment sat before me, ready for my embrace. However, I failed to understand the dimensions of it. He began to clarify, “I need you.”
Befuddled, “Need me how?”
“I need to be with you. I want more time with you.”
Those two sentences struck me with the force of a wrecking ball, crumbling every wall throughout each layer, penetrating me into a sweet surrender. Simple words completely ravished me, turning my entire world on it’s ear. And in this entire duration of the last six months, I had been none the wiser.
I wrote an article for A Canvas of the Mind entitled, “Disorder and Love: What We Do and Don’t Know”. It went into a detailed analysis of relationships and how disorder can come to affect them. I wrote:
Mental health disorders have a way of putting blinders on a person. I have to say, there are a lot of things in this world that I miss. Whether it’s because I’m wrapped up in my own head, or I have one of the different shades of the multiple pairs of glasses I don on, I know that my own perceptions are often distorted. In short, I miss things. Sometimes, I miss very important things.
I am not one to take a hint. So, one of those subtle things, such as love, often slip past me or whiz over my head.
This admission was far beyond my own powers of perception, interpretation, and insight. Riding a ten year roller coaster of various states and natures of friendships and romantic partnership, I came to expect that no further surprises existed. He had seen me in the worst of lights, beyond any imagination of my own personal wreckage. This is just as he had seen me in my greatest successes, radiantly reborn each time out of my own ashes. And I witnessed him in his own pits, disheveled, yet hiding it well. With each crack beginning to show, every time pulling himself back into flight. We ran our own cycles again and again.
People don’t change, they just become more so. Murphy was sorely mistaken in this context. And I had made some serious fallacious conclusions in this progression.
Have I folded into myself so tightly that I failed to see this? Clearly, this desperate longing existed within him, stirring and quaking for eternities, extensively understated. Had I walled myself into such complete introversion that existing within his own mind and heart was an impossibility?
It no longer mattered. The blinders came off, and he had never been so radiantly focused though my own eyes. We were unencumbered by the shackles of responsibilities and obligations. In that moment, we were young lovers, engulfed in each other, professing each perfect droplet of affections in fine, caressing detail. The purity of those exchange brought definition and order into our world of chaos and illusion.
That simple phrase was so multifaceted, in such a simple package with a little satin bow. He had lost me, the pure, undistorted, unadulterated me before him now so many times. He had lost me to our child, sacrificing so much time and energy that there was not much left to give. Again, I disappeared into the abyss of postpartum psychosis, and dropped even further into the depths of bipolar disorder. Each relapse must have been more inexplicably painful and confusing for him than it was for me. A wild woman emerged in each episode of psychosis, severing him from me as reality slipped through my fingers and out of my grasp. In the last six months, he had to have been suffering the same loneliness and mourning for the life and love we shared.
“I’m not going back there,” I assured him. “I am better, and I will keep getting better. We know what’s wrong with me. And we can make me better together. You don’t have to lose me again.”
“I just want it to be us.”
And it is. And forever will be, us.
(Note: Originally Authored on June 14, 2012. Since, read The Family Furnace and The Scorpion and The Frog).
Day 10 : Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
This is a rather difficult post, because most of the people that I could’ve written about in this topic were let go years ago throughout certain circumstances. A lot of things change when a person gets married, and even more so when a person has a child. Many people fall away, as a result of the social structure changing. Even so, many people were disassociated voluntarily, most through unfavorable circumstances. That being a marriage to a highly desired man. Or, a certain amount of jealousy toward my family and the woman no one expected me to become. And lastly, over interpersonal struggles that had been present for many years.
Plainly said, I don’t allow a person to exist in my life who does me harm.
With one exception.
Family. An antiquated notion anymore, and yet we all still are drawn to the traditional definition of such.
What is family? It has different meanings to different people. For some, especially many that were raised by people that are not related by blood, family are the people closest to you, care for you, and treat you as if you belong. They are the people who love you unconditionally, and would do anything to oversee your health, safety, well-being and general welfare.
For others, family are the people that are kin by blood, or by marriage through blood. These are the same people that share genetic matter with one another. It is the blood that bonds, and should generate those protective and loving emotions. The family contains a mother, father, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins (however distant), and grandmothers and grandfathers (however prefixed with great or otherwise). It is the hierarchy that provides the structure and governs the family system.
In this setup, certain rules of conduct exist. Family members are expected to treat others with a kind regard and respect at all times. Family members are not permitted to have all-out fights, as it insinuates contempt for another, and spells a potential of a deviation from the family. Although, if there is a deviation from the family system, that person is excluded, because they abandoned their duties to the family, meaning that they have not the love required. Family members are obligated to each other, even when there is a dislike between two members. Dislike can exist, but can never be expressed openly. And family members are private, to be kept within the family system. No outsiders.
The second is my family system. The family system that attempts to replicate those of 1950′s television families, and falls incredibly short. The reality of a family and the fantasy of the television family cannot intersect, because there is no commonality, except the tradition of family.
Now, I come from a heavy Scottish heritage. Scots are notorious for their clans and said allegiances. The thing about clans is that they are often family. And the thing about rival clans is that they are often family, too. They are several branches of family that had irreconcilable differences, due mostly to conflicting views and stubbornness against compromise. Scots are a proud people and intensely loyal. And that’s how a Scottish family system operated. Family looked out for each other, because if they didn’t, who would? And chances are, if you weren’t affiliated with a clan or didn’t follow a clan’s way, then you would be abandoned and left for dead.
What does this all have to do with someone I need to let go of? I need to let go of the antiquated version of family I grew up with. I need to expel the notions of the Cleaver family, and realize that it is nonexistent. Well, in my family anyway.
Everyone in this world has at least one secret desire that they know is absolutely impossible for them. That is exactly why it is a secret. One of my secret desires is to have family that unconditionally loves me, and treats me like I belong. I have always desperately wanted parents who treated me like they appreciated my individuality, and could come to terms with the fact that I am not the child they envisioned. I’ve always wanted them to be proud and express positive emotions toward me. I wanted loving parents, who weren’t afraid to say they love me, and show physical affection.
I wanted an extended family that I could really know. Scots are notorious for their huge families. I mean, that’s how you grow the clan, right? I have a huge extended family. I’ve stated this before, but my “sister” is not biologically my sister, from the same parents. We are related by blood as third cousins. Yes, my family is close enough that I know my third cousins. My son and her son will likely grow up as family, cousins, although according to the state of Pennsylvania, they are not related. (5th cousins. Who can say they know their 5th cousin?) But, as my extended family goes, my sister is the only one I continue to have a good relationship with.
I knew my Pappap. We had a fantastic relationship before he passed. I miss him. I really do. The anniversary of his death is coming up – 16 years ago. And he was the head of our clan. Hell, he was the head of two branches of our clan. (That’s how I know my sister’s family at all). And when he passed, the glue of our family started coming apart. He was the only thing that held it together.
But, just because my Pappap held the family together does not mean we were apart of each others lives. In fact, quite the contrary. My aunt, also serving in the capacity of my godmother, made the attempt. The fact was, she just didn’t like children. Another aunt of mine lived in distant California. Another aunt of mine was just too jealous of the fact that my mother had a daughter and she had two unruly boys. Another aunt of mine was a part of my life, and really was my friend. Until she met her now husband and moved away. Then, there was my young uncle, a bachelor and professional. He hardly made an appearance at any of these events. We were quite estranged for many reasons. Many that I couldn’t understand at the time.
As a teen, the question always lingered in my mind; Why don’t I belong in my own family? If I didn’t belong anywhere else in the world, why couldn’t I seem to fit into my family. In theory, there should have been a guaranteed spot where I would be accepted, understood, and loved unconditionally. But, as I grew more symptomatic, the more I was pushed away. The gap was noticeable at that point, and I came to the realization that I didn’t fit some kind of mould that was created for me. I wasn’t a lovely blonde girl with big blue eyes who spoke softly, smiled sweetly, and was brilliant in a humble way. I was something entirely different, almost monstrous.
It was at that time that I discarded any sentiments that I could fit in, because I knew it was just not possible for me. And I stopped trying. It actually inspired me to attempt to embody everything that was the opposite of what was expected of me. I didn’t want to conform, because I did not want to “belong” to anyone. Love should not have contingencies, and I should not be expected to be anyone but myself. That should be more than good enough to people who call themselves “family” to me.
That does not mean I discarded my longing for family. Family are the people who love you, no matter what. Feats or failures. Achievements or disappointments. They are the people who help you, not out of obligation, but because they really want to see you in a better place. They don’t judge you. They don’t hold grudges or debts. Family should be the people that are guaranteed confidants, supports, fail safes, and friends.
I longed for parents who would provide me with support, affection, and guidance. I longed for grandparents who would fawn over me, and lend me wisdom. I longed for cousins that could be friends. I so desperately desired aunts and uncles that could teach me about life, give insight on my parents and adulthood in general, and be confidants. Instead, I got parents that berated me for being me, and gave up on parenting altogether when I turned seventeen, because in truth, they didn’t really want to be parents at all. I lost my grandfather young, and ended up with a grandmother who was indifferent to her grandchildren. (According to my mother, she was indifferent to most of her children too. I don’t take that personally). I had cousins who held a grudge because I was “the baby” and the only girl on this coast. My eldest cousin resented me for having the responsibility for looking after me during family events and vacations. I had an aunt who despised my existence, and another who attempted to use me as a surrogate child, and later decided she wasn’t cut out for kids.
And between all of these people, throughout the years, silent grudges and resentment started opening up. I had realized that I was caught by accidental crossfire, but it hurt just the same. All of the trauma still follows me, and I’ve felt like the only resolution would be to have that ideal family.
I need to let the notion of family go. The only way to resolve that trauma is to understand that definition of family is not the only definition of family. I didn’t have a mother for guidance. I stumbled around adolescence and had to find my way to womanhood alone. I didn’t have a father in the traditional “daddy’s little girl” sense. I had a dictator, who wasn’t much of a male role model for later men in my life. I had to fumble my way around dating and men myself. And in the end, I still ended up with a man much like my father, without the hands-on approach to family.
I need to give up on the idea that my parents will suddenly become parents, even though their sudden appearance as grandparents gave me false hope. They are who they are, and they’ll always regard me as the person I am, no matter how much I grow and change. My mother said to me, with a sigh, “I see a lot of myself in you. A lot of the things that you tell me about your . . . mind, it rings a bell.” It gave me false hope. It gave me this idea that she would become my mother and help me in hard times of my marriage and parenting. But, I know she won’t. My father will never be a father to me. He hardly ever was. He is at least a friend now, anyway. But, he’ll never brag to his friends about his beautiful, intelligent, talented daughter. He’ll never express pride or admiration toward me. Neither of them will.
That’s the way it is. I need to let go of my family and let it be what it is, instead of hoping that it will suddenly turn into something it never was, and never will be.