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.

You marry your father?

They say that you sometimes subconsciously marry a man just like your father. But my husband is warm and loving. He’s not anything like the father I had hiding behind a mustache and a newspaper. So this saying clearly doesn’t apply to me. But maybe it does. There was a gentle and kind man in … Continue reading You marry your father?

The food of love

“We all have positive memories of being fed.”-Michael pollen quote from “cooked” My positive memories of food seem to give me a clue as to my current diet: Here they are: -coming home from summer camp for lunch and having a swim or time alone with my mom and eating Kraft dinner for lunch. I … Continue reading The food of love

to tell the truth

Truth wasn’t ever really a thing for me. It didn’t exist outside of circumstance. The Queen (my mother) would simply decide quickly if she was going to agree with what you were saying (thereby making it the truth) or if she felt like yelling at you (which means you must have lied).  Like the Queen of … Continue reading to tell the truth

guest post: the bear at the door

My sister, Lilac, has asked to share some of her memories here in this space. She hopes that her words will validate mine. But I think that they will serve to illustrate just how different our experiences were in the same madhouse. Maybe they are more similar than I want to think. You decide.  I (Lilac) … Continue reading guest post: the bear at the door

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, … Continue reading what’s in a name?

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. … Continue reading the loaded hug

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, … Continue reading papa, can you hear me?

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 Lilac 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 … Continue reading shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen

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 … Continue reading onions make me cry

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 … Continue reading on birthdays and presents

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) Lilac (sister b.1977) Lyla (me b.1982) It’s a … Continue reading cast of characters

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 … Continue reading don’t cry, you might worry people

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

and some more….