I am… still here

I am a mother trying to do her best
I wonder if my mother felt this way too
I hear people tell me that I’m not her- that I won’t hurt them like she hurt me
I see my happiness but I can’t always feel it
I want to do right for my children
I am trying so hard every single day.

I pretend that I am not always hurting
I feel like a liar and a fake
I touch their cheeks while they sleep
I worry- of course
I cry and hate myself too often
I am a woman trying to be a person

I understand how lucky I truly am
I say that I will keep myself safe
I dream of what quiet could feel like
I try to stop thinking and follow the rules that I set for myself
I hope that my children don’t hurt like I do
I am proud of each day I live to give them a mother

spirit driftwood

 

This “I am” poem is the third iteration I’ve written.
The first two were in 2013. You can read them here and here

Linking up again for Old School Blogging. Thanks to Kim @ makemommygosomethingsomething.com for the inspiration.

It never really happened

I am about to dive into some murky memories.

These aren’t quite blog posts but they need to be written somewhere. As I start to let them in, I can see them playing out in my head like scenes from a movie. It’s a very weird movie, this movie of my life. So, I will write them here – in whatever incomplete state they come to me. I might use analogies or speak in third person. I might go back and edit or add to certain stories after they have been published (something I don’t do with my blog posts). I don’t know where this will go. But this is part of telling my story.

It’s the story of growing up with a father who had given up on life and a mother who was self-described, “Benevolent Dictator”; and who has never seen any mental health professional but has been diagnosed by her family as suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. She is a narcissist with a masters degree in manipulation.

I hope that telling this story- bringing it out of the dark and facing my own shame at having been a part of this, will allow me to close the book on the past and move forward with the rest of my life.


 

what’s in a name?

My mother never bothered to remember my name. It’s not that she couldn’t remember my name. She could list off her four children (only in order of age). She just didn’t think it was important which name went with my face. As a kid, teenager and adult, my mother would look at me and say “S.J., Zeed, […]

the loaded hug

I’ve never told anyone this story. I guess it’s funny or not a big deal, but it’s hard for me to see it in context. When I think of it, I still have the shame of that little four year old girl with the wet underpants. I was in JK. I was four years old. […]

papa, can you hear me?

Fun fact: The popular tv show The Walking Dead is actually based on my father’s life. That’s not really true. The show is about typical zombies. My father was actually an inverted zombie: dead on the inside, alive on the outside. I will now tell you all the warm fatherly feelings that I can remember: When I was 6, […]

shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen

I want to write about a (not so) funny story that has become part of my family’s narrative. When my sister I.J. was about 9 years old, the family was getting ready for a party and she asked mom to trim her bangs. Her hair was in her eyes and it was bothering her. Mom was irritated by […]

onions make me cry

We got a new stove. I cooked on it for the first time last night. I never cooked anything other than pasta or oatmeal on the old stove. We’ve lived here 6 months. Before that we lived in a condo for 2 years. I can’t recall cooking food on that stove more than maybe 5 […]

on birthdays and presents

I had about 11 birthdays from the time I was born until I was 11 years old. For my 7th birthday, when I was just starting grade 2, we had a new live-in nanny who started in early September. She was really nice. Her name was Lily and she was from Mexico (I think). Lily […]

cast of characters

Might as well give you a simple reference for the cast of crazy characters that may come up on this journey back in time. Since my family of origin will be figuring prominently here’s a simple tree: Mom – Dad (married 1970) S.J. (eldest sister b.1972) Zeed (brother b.1974) I.J. (sister b.1977) Lyla (me b.1982) It’s […]

don’t cry, you might worry people

When I was in grade 7, a classmate’s father committed suicide in his car in his garage. A friend called to tell me and I remember my first thought was “o shit, they are going to catch me. They are going to know that I thought it and I will get in trouble now.” I was […]

It never really happened… and it was a long time ago anyway.

I am about to dive into some murky memories. These aren’t quite blog posts but they need to be written somewhere. As I start to let them in, I can see them playing out in my head like scenes from a movie. It’s a very weird movie, this movie of my life. So, I will write […]

 

I see me in you

Saw an old friend yesterday. He made an offhanded comment about his mother yelling at him from heaven for walking on wet grass in white socks. His mom died of cancer a few years ago. He really loved her.

In the car later, I told my husband that I feel bad for our friend. I actually said, “If there is any holiday that’s going to make you miss your mother, it’s Passover.”

My husband asked me if we were still talking about our friend.

Why could I connect the dots of his pain so clearly? While mine were still stuck in a rorschach ink spill.

I spent much of my life trying to be emotionally self-sufficient. I learned that needing emotional validation was a weakness. Yet, I gain so much comfort from reading other blogs and books. The feeling of “me too” is so powerful. Someone told me once that we read stories to understand ourselves. Maybe in hearing eachother’s words, we can finally see ourselves.

One of the most powerful effects of group therapy (both in person and through online portals) has been the opportunity to feel empathy and worthiness for others and thereby for myself.

I remember sitting in a room full of other mothers and their new babies. They each spoke of their feelings of worthlessness and despair. But I could see them each as beautiful women who were deserving of love and belonging. I could see their worth but not my own.

When I read Brooke Shields’ book Down Came the Rain, on her experience with postpartum depression, I could see parts of myself that I didn’t know were there. She wrote about how hideously ugly she felt. I thought that if someone so clearly beautiful could feel that, perhaps I wasn’t actually as hideous as I felt either.

So, to all of my dear friends who are locked in a struggle with your own broken brains… I hear you. I am writing so that you and I can both read these words and try to make sense of where we are.

We are not alone. We feel alone but we are here to catch eachother and to write letters to eachother that allow us each to see ourselves and love ourselves.

I love you all so much.

"The Delivery" by Amanda Greavette

“The Delivery” by Amanda Greavette

Jealous of the living

I’m tired. I want a break.

I want a break from work, from expectations of me, from winter, from to do lists, from responsibility, from meals…. but we all know that none of these things are really the problem. The problem is in my brain. The problem is always in my brain.

I need a break from people talking to me and also from being alone.

I need a break from missing my routine and a break from having a routine to miss.

I need a break from feeling alive and also a break from feeling dead.

I wish I weren’t so dead. I shut down in the middle of yoga class today. I just had to escape and the only piece of my day that I could let drop was to mentally check out of the one hour I set aside to actually be in the moment.

I had to stop moving my body. It was too heavy. I heard the instructor guide everyone through a beautiful flow while I laid there in shavasana (corpse pose). Jealous of them. Jealous that they were alive and able to move and I was just a dead corpse and couldn’t participate.

Then some tears fell onto my mat. They were probably mine. It just made me so sad that I was dead and I couldn’t do yoga.

I have a vague memory of finding an ability to feel joy like a fluttering bird warming my heart, but I must have relaxed and left the cage door open, because it flew away.

I have a necklace with a picture of a bird on one side and the word “happiness” on the other. It reminds me that eventhough happiness flies away from me like a flighty bird, I am supposed to keep chasing it.

But I’m tired of chasing. I don’t feel like I am able to catch that bird. Today I’m the half eaten worm already hanging out of his mouth.

Dear month of March, I kinda hate you. I know that sometimes I say that to all the months. But you hold a special place of disdain in my heart. Whenever you are around, I always end up dripping tears all over the city.

Galatea of the Spheres by Salvador Dali

Galatea of the Spheres by Salvador Dali – I love this painting.