Monthly Archives: April 2011

Lilacs Save My Childhood, Finally.

My sassy Virgo sister and I like to joke around about how we have no memories of our childhood.

It’s kind of a dark joke.

I have a few flashes of things, but no real coherent memories of life before, hmmm, approximately Junior High.  Just some vague sense that it was chaotic (it was) and that I spent most of the time wondering why everyone else seemed to know what was going on while I was clueless (they did).  It’s uncomfortable to think about.  It mostly feels like a big fuzzy grey fog of awkwardness, loneliness, outsider-ness, and heavy responsibility-ness.

Then, yesterday, after spending for-fucking-ever waiting in line to pick up a prescription for my Mom at Walgreen’s, I drove past a lilac bush that was just beginning to bloom.  It is hard to stay pissy when lilacs are blooming, it turns out.  Anyway, I almost peed my pants. “Lilacs!  Mom loves lilacs!  I love lilacs!  I have to have them right now!”

So, after flipping an illegal u-turn, driving up on a sidewalk (just a little bit) and turning on my emergency flashers when there was no real emergency, I stold procured some.  No big deal.  I only took two little bunches because the lilac-blooming was just starting, and people were watching.

I was so excited to bring them to my Mom.  Over-excited, really.

 It was more than just your run of the mill “Oh, these will cheer Mom up” anticipation.  It was more of a “I can’t wait to give these to Mom so she can see how considerate I am and how much I love her and she will think I am the best daughter ever and she will smile” type of feeling.  And yes, I’m (barely) 46.

Which made me remember how I used to scout around for lilacs on Mother’s Day so I could bring bunches of them to her on a breakfast-in-bed tray loaded down with cinnamon toast, Tang tea and homemade cards.  She always acted surprised and she always got tears in her eyes and acted like it was the best present ever and I always felt really proud of myself.

 And, wouldn’t you know, that memory led to other memories and then it was like an avalanche of childhood memories in my head.  No drugs were involved, at all.  I remembered all sorts of non-grey-fog-like things.

Things I loved.  Things that made me happy.  Things that don’t exist any longer.

A metal slinky.

Drinking ice cold water out of brightly colored aluminum cups at my Great Grandmother Nellie’s house.

The lavender bedroom I had in our house on Olive St.

A watermelon fight on a hot summer day in Oklahoma.

My first record player (in a suitcase).

The baby bunny I had in Oklahoma.

Playing upstairs in the farm house.  Grandma helping us play dress-up and telling me stories about my Mom.

Spring-a-Ling! (the original “red-neck trampoline” and probably the most dangerous toy ever made — two flimsy boards separated by four big coil springs — lots of ways to injure, maim or kill children.)

Watching Hee-Haw on our little black and white TV.

Spending Christmas Eve in my grandparents’ RV “tracking Santa’s sleigh”…

Listening to my Dad play guitar and sing.  Usually “Folsom Prison Blues”…

Picking peas from the garden.

Spending time with my Grandma Dorothy + “Blue Boy” (bird) and Missy (dog) and The National Enquirer.

Water-skiing on those homemade wooden skis that stuck together.

Spending the night with my friend Tammy, who lived at the Cow Palace Hotel.  (which would later become ground zero for Legionnaire’s Disease, fyi.) Which I thought was totally cool.

My brother in his little Broncos pajamas (with feet) out of his mind with excitement on Christmas.

Learning how to twirl the baton.

Putting the Olivia Newton John (pre-“Let’s Get Physical”) 8 track tape in the stereo and singing along with Mom.  We loved that shit.

When my Dad told me a “pedestrian” was a small, armadillo like animal and I believed him.

Our sheepdog, Eloise.  She always pretended that she didn’t see us drive up and then would act all surprised when we got within a few feet of her. “Oh…When did you get here?”  She would comfort me when I was sad.  When it stormed she would break into my bedroom (not kidding) get up on the bed and fart uncontrollably.  I loved that dog.

Fishing with my Dad.  Especially fly fishing.

Bringing my baby sister home from the hospital.  I was eight.  She smiled at me when no one else was looking.

Getting my ears pierced and showing them off on Show and Tell day.

My first crush in 4th/5th grade, Alex May.  (He dumped me for Linda Meerdink while I was out with chicken pox.) (HELLO issues around men!)

Winning the school spelling bee in 5th grade (I threw it in 6th grade so Alex May could win….) (That guy should totally be billed for  my therapy….)

Going to the Corner Pharmacy soda fountain – I loved this drink that was fresh lemon juice over crushed ice with salt, can’t remember the name…

Tire Swings and my famous Tire Swing Dance Routines (I said I was awkward….)

Reading the Chronicles of Narnia over and over.

Hurrying home after school every day so I wouldn’t miss Star Trek for God’s sake!

H.R. Puffnstuff

Wild, Wild West (I don’t think my parents knew I was watching this)

My three story pink Barbie mansion and Barbie camper van.

My Grandpa Ernie’s house — huge sunken tub + a real slot machine = awesome!

My “I Dream of Jeanie” pajamas.  For real.

Clip-on roller skates.

My dolls.  Sasha, my little African American baby.  Rebecca, who was tall and had red hair in a ponytail that you could pull to make longer.  Oh, and Ricky Jr. – who was possessed by demons.

The Lamar Public Pool – working up the nerve to go off the high dive, laying on the hot concrete, getting those really big plastic pixie stix from the concession stand.

The Bookmobile!

Playing spoons with my family.

When my Grandma Dorothy came to Oklahoma to pick us up and we flew in a plane back to Colorado.  Very.  Big.  Deal.

So.  Yay!  Lilacs ! And fond memories!

What a relief!  I do have some memories of my childhood.  And they don’t totally suck! 

Why is it so much easier to focus on the less than good, arguably “bad” things in life?  Maybe it is just habit?  (But why!  Why!)

I’m getting pretty tired of being such a good pessimist.  Turns out finding the good stuff and  focusing on it is pretty refreshing.  Who knew?

Besides everybody else.

Just kidding.   🙂

xoxo

kim

p.s.  i’m having a major block around writing about my retreat last weekend.  hopefully it will move soon. 

p.s.s. mom is making tons of progress in OT/PT/speech therapy.  gamma knife procedure on the other two tumors is next monday.  also, the oncologist finally referred her to the clinical trial people so that could bring some good news!

p.s.s.s.  i hate the Moratorium.  especially now, i.e., springtime.

 

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Thank God for My Sassy, Virgo Sister. Seriously.

http://www.flickr.com/x/t/0096009/photos/b3ni/3253791868/My sister came in from Florida last Thursday.  In the nick of time

(whatever “nick of time” even means)

But here is a description of the situation as of Thursday:  Mom and I had been together, at home, virtually 24/7 since she was released from the Dreaded Hospital post-brain-surgery approximately two weeks prior.  I don’t want to put words into her mouth, but I’m pretty sure she was super-annoyed with me by Thursday.  I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  The situation was dire.

Basic Problem:  Mom is somewhat of a neat freak, and I’m probably a recovering hoarder.  And cancer.

Suffice it to say that Mom’s tolerance for disorder (and by “disorder” I mean “anything that isn’t exactly where she thinks it should be”  and is therefore a much broader term than “mess”…)  is equivalent to my tolerance for criticism of any kind of my writing.  Non-existent.  So, even in her post-brain-surgery condition (which is scads better than I imagined one could be after brain surgery) she, ummmm, noticed that her room wasn’t very orderly, her laundry wasn’t done and the kitchen could have been cleaner.  She also seemed to notice (ha ha) that I wasn’t containing my inner fuck you very well.

I was a mess.

It is one thing to care for the physical needs of another human being.  It is quite another thing to care for the physical and emotional needs of your brilliant, artistic genius mother (with great hair, even after brain surgery) who has been blindsided by her sneaky ovarian cancer branching out to her brain, especially when you are also in the midst of a mid-life crisis of seemingly epic proportions and all you really want is for your mommy to give you a hug and tell you everything is going to be ok.

Just writing about it is fucking exhausting.

And I can’t even really dig into all of it right now, because it’s scary and huge and sad.  Mostly I just want to say that I wasn’t coping well after Mom came home from the hospital.  I was still in shock (brain tumors?!?) and I was feeling overwhelmed with all the shit I hadn’t done for the two weeks she had been in the hospital + the need to get started on my thing before I lost all momentum.  And it seemed that every time I started to do something there would be an interruption.  The phone, the door, giving Mom her meds, getting her something from the kitchen, taking something back to the kitchen, helping her get around, running errands, etc.  And have I mentioned that we live in a rowhouse?  The front door is two levels (read: lots of stairs!) away from the bedrooms, the kitchen is in between and the office is one level up.  I love this place, but running up and down these stairs all day long is not fun.

So.  Instead of rising to the occasion, I began to shut down.

I have a picture in my head of how a “caretaker” should be and I would really really like to be that person, but right now I don’t look much like her.  The caretaker in my head rises to the occasion, probably cheerfully.  She knows what to do and is proactive, rather than reactive.  I, on the other hand, don’t always know what to do, I get overwhelmed, forget the basic rules of taking care of myself and then get bitchy.  And withdrawn.  And generally annoyed.  Mostly with myself, which then becomes a vicious circle that typically results in total shut down.  Oh, and it turns out that I am an emotional eater, but that is a topic for another post.

Thank God for my sister.  She is sassy.  And a Virgo.

I don’t know how I got so lucky in the sister department.  Honestly.  She is eight years younger than me and the wisest, sanest person I know.  Which is only surprising if you knew her as a teenage wild child [insert wink]….  I should hate her.  She’s smart and she got the curly hair, the nice teeth, the dimples, the skin that tans, the pretty eyes, the organizational gene (Virgo!) and she can whistle.  Oh, and she can sing.  She also kicks ass at Rock Band.   I know, right?

Totally. Not. Fair.

Unfortunately, she is hilarious.  And kind.  Which makes her impossible to hate.  So I settle for adoring her relentlessly.

Anyway, she got here on Thursday and life got better for Mom and I.  She encouraged me to (a) be nicer to myself, and (b) to get away from the house for the weekend.  Which I totally did.  Yay!  A retreat!  (more about my retreat later…)  Then she laid some Virgo-love down — she cleaned and organized Mom’s room, she cooked and cooked and stocked our refrigerator/freezer with homemade goodness, she ran errands, organized Mom’s paperwork and probably more stuff that I don’t even know about.  When I returned home on Sunday the atmosphere in the house was entirely different.  And she made Easter lasagna, which was awesome.

This is not what I planned to write about.

I was planning to write about my weekend retreat, but I guess I needed to set the stage.  And express my gratitude for my sister. (My brother is fairly awesome also, but this is a thank-fucking-god-for-my-sister post.)  And also for her uber-supportive husband and daughter who sacrificed some time with her so that she could come help us.

I feel like there should be a moral to this story/post.  Instead I feel like I’ve raised a ton of issues that all need to be addressed in more depth.  Good thing I started a blog!

Anyway, gracias seester.

And thank you to all my family and friends and beloved new internet pals for all the support.

xoxo

kim

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The Book of Me: Notes On When You Are All “What Should I Do?”

Remember when I went to Portland for the Rally (Rally!) in March and flailed around in unproductive whininess and self-pity and didn’t notice that I was, in fact, doing serious “work” on my “self” and then I came back and a few days later figured out my thing?

That was cool.

I learned a lot about a lot of stuff at Rally (Rally!) and, especially, a lot about what I don’t know a lot about.  Which, it turns out, is a LOT more than one would imagine given my advanced age and years of therapeutic interventions.

Except what I really learned is that most, if not all, of what I absolutely need to know is already here, inside me. 

The truth is that when I’m struggling to make the “right” decision about something — which generally involves all kinds of churning and worrying and angst-ing and more worry —  I’m wasting energy + increasing the risk of coming to the exact wrong decision.  The trick is clearing away all of the crap and noise that has accumulated over the years so I can get to, and hear, what I already know to be true for me.

The sucky thing is that I have “learned” this little trick over and over and over again and, when the need arises, I can totally tell someone else how to do it, and then I forget it again.  So, this time I’m putting some Important Notes About This in the Book of Me, in purple magic marker, and with glitter, for emphasis.

WHEN YOU ARE ALL “WHAT SHOULD I DO?”  READ THIS:

Oh, sweet pea…

Here you are again.  Struggling.

I have really good news for you!  You can stop struggling right this minute.  Yes, now.

Struggling and churning and angst-ing are only good for one thing:  Putting You On Notice.

It’s true.

When you are struggling, churning and/or angst-ing it’s a super-big clue that you are not listening for what is inside.  And what is inside is the answer.  The way to peace.

It’s not woo-woo, it is just the truth.

(and, therefore, woo-hoo!)

(sorry, couldn’t resist…)

Here are a few things to remember in times like these:

  • There are no right answers, there are choices with different consequences.
  • You’ve made a hundred-gazillion-plus choices in your life and the vast majority of them were good!
  • The less-good, arguably bad, choices were learning experiences and you’re a pretty good learner.
  • The more uncomfortable and angsty you are about a choice, the more likely it is that you absolutely know what to do.
  • Almost nothing is black or white, this or that, now or never…. look for the compromise solution.
  • Make absolutely sure that you are making choices based on things as they are Now and not confusing things with Then.
  • Write about it!  Writing always helps.  Seriously.  Write already.
  • Are you reacting or choosing??  Reacting = usually bad!  Choosing = usually good!
  • If one thing doesn’t work out, another thing will.  It is the nature of things.
  • Are you asking other people what you should do?  You are, aren’t you…  Just Stop.
  • You are the expert on you.  Be still and listen.
  • Sometimes it just won’t be clear, choose to do the next right thing and eventually the answer will come.
  • Usually you know.  Remember “alignment” and “congruence” and trust yourself.

Also, it always helps to read this essay (or anything else)(but most of all this one) by Mark Nepo:

Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry; an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God. It is this spot of grace that issues peace. Psychologists call this spot the Psyche, Theologians call it the Soul, Jung calls it the Seat of the Unconscious, Hindu masters call it Atman, Buddhists call it Dharma, Rilke calls it Inwardness, Sufis call it Qalb, and Jesus calls it the Center of our Love.

To know this spot of Inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the Infinite and by inhabiting it. This is a hard lifelong task, for the nature of becoming is a constant filming over of where we begin, while the nature of being is a constant erosion of what is not essential. Each of us lives in the midst of this ongoing tension, growing tarnished or covered over, only to be worn back to that incorruptible spot of grace at our core.

(Emphasis added.)

See, sweetie, everyone lives in this tension.  You know you have this spot of grace.  You’ve been there.  The illusion you tend to believe is that you are disconnected from it and you have to look outside yourself to find it again.  Then you start to panic and churn, like a panicked diver waving frantically for help on a choppy surface.  Using all your energy fighting the surface when just below there is calmness and peace and quiet and strength.

You have what you need, Kim.  Stop struggling.  Listen for your answer.

xoxo,

kim

photo: http://www.flickr.com/x/t/0091009/photos/coyote23/4107287660/

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Tax Day Tradition: Total Meltdown+Not Filing.

I have a tradition on tax day.  And, no surprise here, it’s not “filing my taxes”….

Every year, on tax day, I celebrate “Beat Myself  Up Unmercifully for Being a Disorganized Loser and Also Totally Panic!” day.

It’s kind of like Christmas, but with more stress and fewer presents.

There is anxiety.  And frantic searching for things I stashed in “safe” places months earlier.  Last minute calls to get copies of things that I should already have.  Constant chatter in my head about how I can’t believe I’m doing this again and what a loser I am.  Then a mad dash to file for an extension or a throwing up of hands altogether with no filing of anything at all.

Basically it sucks.

One might wonder why, given my awareness of how fucking awful the day is going to be, along with my awareness of why it’s going to be awful, I don’t, ummmm, take action to minimize and/or alleviate the abject awfulness of the day, i.e., get my shit together before tax day.

Except “why?” is usually not the right question to ask oneself.  Especially if you’re Me.

Gawd I’m complicated.  It’s utterly exhausting some days.

I’ve noticed that when someone (me) says something like “Hey, why don’t you/haven’t you/aren’t you [insert whatever it is I’m not/haven’t/aren’t doing] already?”  I hear something completely different:  “Hey, LOSER, you’re 46 years old and a LAWYER, shouldn’t you have your shit together by now?  Everyone else does…”

And then I’m all “You’re right, I’m a total loser, when will I ever change?” and/or “Fuck you for judging me!  I’m not doing whatever it is you think I should do because I don’t want to and you can’t make me!  And now that you have mentioned it out loud, I’m really not going to do it!”

Neither of those responses result in anything actually getting done/changing.

Methinks it is time for a new strategy around taxes.

The problem is that I’m not sure what the problem is.

Is it a Fear Monster that I need to talk to?  Could be.  I do have a lot of emotion around money and managing money.

It also feels like some sort of wall. 

Shut the front door!  This is highly unusual.  I’m pretty sure this problem involves a Fear Monster and, behind that, a big, sturdy, stainless steel wall that looks suspiciously like something one might find at Fort Knox, but with a better lock.

I guess we need to talk.

Now I know how men feel when they hear those dreaded words, “we need to talk”.  Oh alright, that is a gross generalization about men, so sue me.  Anyway, it is like a sinking feeling — an exhausted sinking feeling that something difficult is about to happen that I just really don’t want to deal with right now, or maybe ever.

Me:  “Dude, I’m tired of  tax day awfulness and horror, I need to understand what stops me from doing the things I need to do to make it tolerable.  I can see that there is a big, scary looking wall, but I can’t even get close to it because you are acting like an angry whirling dervish and won’t let me get past you.  What is up?”

FM:  (breathless and a little hoarse from screaming)  “For the love of God, STAND BACK!  You do not want to approach that wall, do you understand me? The ground is very unstable — think “lava chute”….  How many times do I have to tell you to leave this alone!  Listen closely:  YOU ARE NO GOOD WITH MONEY AND THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.  Please just turn around and walk away.”

Me:  “You’re scaring me!  Lava chute?  That is horrifying!  Is it really that bad?”

FM:  (emphatically)  “WORSE!  Better to leave now.  I’m afraid you are going to get hurt and then where would we be?”

Me:  “You’re making a lot of noise and making dire predictions but you aren’t telling me anything.  I just want to be able to get my taxes done without it being such a last-minute nightmare.  What, specifically, are you trying to protect me from?”

FM:  “Everything!  This isn’t just a tax issue, it is an everything issue.  You may start with taxes but the next thing you know you will be swallowed up by an avalanche of other issues.  Big issues!  Ones that we don’t want to look at!  Like your student loans, sending the kid to college, your retirement, medical insurance, estate planning, your credit score, and lots more scary things.  And then you will get paralyzed and depressed and it will all be too much.  So there is that and then there is still the wall.  I don’t want you to get to the wall.”

Me:  “That is scary.  I can see why you think you need to protect me.  The thing is, I am already paralyzed and depressed.  Knowing those things are out there and that I’m afraid to look at them is making it even more scary.  You’re right though — looking at them all at once seems like a really bad idea.  Let’s make a deal.  I will take baby steps.  I will address the tax issue and only the tax issue right now.  I don’t have to solve everything at once or even acknowledge everything at once.  I will put some systems in place re: taxes so next year tax day won’t destroy me.”

FM:  “You’re no good at systems, have you seen your office?  That seems unrealistic.  Better to stick with what we know.  Walk away.”

Me:  “It’s true that, historically, I haven’t been very good at setting up systems and sticking with them.  But that was Then and this is Now and I’m learning the value of systems.  Plus the pain of not having a system for my taxes is very fresh and that is motivating me.  I don’t want Next-Year-Kim to have to go through anything remotely like today.”

FM:  “That might work.  But you have to promise to stay just with the tax issue for now and, this is really important, please stay away from that wall.  I’m pretty sure that if you get to the wall everything will change and you won’t be interested in systems or anything else having to do with money.  Ever.  No good can come from it.  Doom I tell you!”

Me:  “That sounds ominous.  I am very afraid of the wall.  I don’t think it is as bad as you say, but I’m not ready to get near it.  I feel too fragile right now.”

FM:  “I agree.  Everyone knows you’re like a delicate flower….”

Me:  “Very funny.  So I’m not going to get closer to the wall, but I am going to get this tax issue under control for Next-Year-Kim.  In fact, I’m going to set it up so that she doesn’t have to get anxious and fearful about taxes any other day during the year either.  Paying taxes will still totally suck, but we will be on top of it!  OH, and she will be able to find any tax record her heart desires because they will all be in one place.  And in order.  In pretty files. And all the systems and procedures will be set forth in the Book of Me so she can refer back to them.”

End of Discussion.

It is nice to know that I don’t have to deal with that big mean wall before I take steps towards getting my taxes under control.  Yay for baby steps!  I feel good about this plan and I’m going to get to work on it tomorrow.  In the meantime, I’m TIRED!  This was a difficult post to get through, especially on tax day.

xoxo

kim

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Embracing My (Our) Sucky Attitude

Unfortunately, you can’t throw a bedpan around our house without hitting a sucky attitude.  We (my fabulous Mom and I) are trying our hardest to be peppy and all “This little brain tumor issue is just a bump in the road!  It means nothing!” and “Oh noooooo, we aren’t bitter that Dr. Death (Mom’s first oncologist from hell) completely dismissed our concerns about possible issues with her brain last fall and just ordered a CT scan to shut us up when, as we now know,  you can’t  see shit with a CT scan, water under the bridge!”

But we are not peppy.  And we are bitter.

And the next person who tells us that we “shouldn’t” be “wasting  time” feeling what we’re feeling will be disemboweled.  (I’ve always wanted to use “disemboweled” in a sentence!)(seems like it should have two “L”s, but it doesn’t, I checked…)

Because fuck you!  We get to feel what we feel, dammit!

And I know we shouldn’t sit around wallowing in our sucky and defeatist attitudes forever.  Forever would be a waste of time.  We are, however, entitled to a few days of WTF?! and THIS SUCKS! and WESTERN MEDICINE IS CRAP! and LET’S SUE EVERYONE  OR AT LEAST RUIN THEIR CAREERS! and NOT FAIR!

We just are.

We’ve been fighting it for several days (first we had to just get through the nightmare that is brain surgery + paralysis+ part of brain is gone confusion + learn to use right side again for God’s sake) but I’ve come to the conclusion (in the last five minutes, literally) that we should stop fighting it, actually feel it, and get it over with.  Because fighting it feels worse than actually feeling it.  And beating ourselves up for having to fight it in the first place feels worse than actually feeling the things we are fighting. 

And who makes up the rules for this shit anyway?

It seems like there is this unspoken (or spoken) “rule” that you’re not supposed to be pissed off when bad shit happens to you, especially cancer.  Because, you know, you wouldn’t get cancer unless you did something to deserve it.  Like eat food. Or go on a killing spree in a past life.  Karma is a bitch, right?  Ummmm, whatever, Namaste, motherfucker.

But I digress.

It is not politically correct to say “why me?” or “this isn’t fair” because, as we have all been told ad nauseum, Life Isn’t Fair.  Apparently we are supposed to be all ““Ohhhhh, Life Isn’t Fair, so I shouldn’t be surprised or (gasp) upset when some horrifying shit that is completely out of my control happens to me.  I must soldier on!”

Sounds like something the Republicans came up with….(“Stop whining about being born into a never-ending cycle of poverty, Life Isn’t Fair, suck it up and work your way out!  What?  You have no access to education or transportation or safe housing or health care?  Not Our Problem.”)

Oops, I did it again.

Where was I?

Oh.  I question the validity of these rules!

Generally I am kind of a “rule” person.  (Is that even true?  Shit.  It might not be.)  Anyway, this whole, “Be brave, tough it out and if you don’t think positively every single minute you’re doomed”  rule or social mores (totally pulled that out of my ass, thanks Sociology 101!) goes a little too far, in my humble opinion.

(Which is usually right.)(fake smile)

It’s too much.  It’s exhausting.  It isn’t real.  Why do we have to be brave all the time?  How does that even help?

I, for one, don’t think it helps at all.  From now on everyone (everyone!) has permission to feel their feelings, dammit!

Everybody scream and shake your fist at the sky:  Bad Shit Sucks!  Cancer Sucks!  Pain Sucks!  I hate it!  I hate not knowing what is next!  I hate being scared! I am NOT HAPPY!  Fuck it!

Doesn’t that feel better?  I think it does. 

I also recommend crying it out.  With gusto!  And drama!

We have been trying really hard not to cry.  Because, of course, that would suggest that we aren’t being brave.  Trying not to cry when it’s perfectly appropriate to cry, i.e., you and/or your mother are in pain and fucking full of cancer and you don’t know what is next, typically results in crying when it’s less appropriate.  Like over your Greek Salad at the Cafe where you are supposed to be Writing.  Or while you are picking up a prescription at Walgreen’s.  Or in the shower.  And the crying is less satisfying because it’s shameful and hidden.  Fuck that, I say!  I’m going to dedicate a few hours to crying my eyes out and wailing and snorting (family trait) and sobbing into my pillow loudly and trying to talk while I’m crying hysterically.  I’m going to exhaust myself crying.  And then take a nap.

And I’m going to encourage Mom (and everyone else in the whole Not Fair World) to do the same.

Then we are going to eat an entire package of Sugar Cookie Dough (a/k/a Magical Food) and maybe some ice cream sandwiches.  For LUNCH.

And then we will hug and decide that we are definitely going to be brave, just not right now.  Maybe Monday.

xoxo

kim

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very bad no good under the covers day(s)

I had a very bad no good hide under the covers day on Sunday.  Literally.  I came out from under the covers for about three hours in the middle of the day.  I had been looking forward to meeting a friend to see a movie, so I showered (woo-hoo!), went to get my glasses fixed, got some more bad news re: Mom, went directly to bed and cancelled the movie plans.

Monday wasn’t much better.  Maybe a smidge.  I got to raise my voice at a nice but naive and uninformed new Doctor and then fall apart in a spectacularly public way which resulted in me getting what I wanted, so I can’t say it was all bad.  It was just mostly bad.  The only thing that got me through the day was looking forward to crawling back under my covers as soon as I got home.

Yesterday my fabulous, genius, creative Mom with great hair (even after brain surgery) came home from the Dreaded Hospital which should’ve been cause for super-sparkly-celebration and it kind of was, but I was ready to get back to my hiding spot under the covers around 6:30 p.m. — maybe earlier.

In theory, hiding under the covers is a good idea — safe, alone, protected, warm.  Unless you are me and you have monsters. 

There is a Monster Rumpus under my covers.

It is anything but quiet under my covers.  The little beasts are screaming for attention and feeding off one another and probably eating a LOT of sugar and washing it down with espresso.  Their eyes are huge and panicked and some are actually crying.  They look like they haven’t slept in days, maybe weeks.  And, unfortunately, they are starting to smell.

It sounds a lot like this:

AARRGGHH! Mom can’t come home, how will you take care of her?  You’re all alone!  No one will help, they say they will but then they don’t and it will be just youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.  Why does anyone think you can do this?  Why do they think you are strong and brave?  You’re NOT.  You’ve never been those things, why should it start now?  And what about money??!!  If you take care of Mom you won’t be making money and then she will die and then where will you be?  Homelessssssssssssssss.  Homelessssssss!  Such a failure.  You had such potential….. Disappointment=you!  What if you get super annoyed by Mom and you are mean to her!  She’s dying and you are a horrible, selfish, bitch and everyone will know it.  This is just the beginning of the end and you will have NO LIFE until this dying thing is over and then what?  Then you still have no life because you will be depressed.  How can you even think about your silly life when Mom is going through all this?  Overwhelmed!  Sadness!  Nothing will be good ever again, or at least for such a long time that you will be super old AND probably get ovarian cancer, so it just won’t be good.  And do you think your one child is going to take care of you when you get sick?  He needs to have his life.  You don’t want to be a burden on him, but you will be an orphan and sick and all alone.  You will probably live in one of those homes where sad, sick, old people live and no one will remember you.  And you will still owe money for student loans!  LOSER!  Good thing you got married so many times before because you are never ever going to find anyone to love now.  Who would want to spend time with someone who is going through this nightmare with her mother, much less get involved?  And when this nightmare is over you will be even closer to (or god forbid over) 50, FIFTY!  You think you’re going to find love and companionship when you’re so old? You probably won’t even be able to find casual sex!  Sadness!  Fear!  Overwhelm! And don’t forget you probably have to move out of this house that Mom had to have and you have to do it all alone.  And the house is huge, you will never be able to get it done and where will you live?? Doom!  Doom!

Ya, it sounds like that, but much, much worse.

I’m not sure why it has taken me this long to realize that the monsters have all but ruined my under the covers experiences and, more importantly, that I have the power to reclaim the safety and protection of under the covers anytime I want.

Which is now.

Me:  (with bullhorn – the pink one) “QUIET!  I want to talk to the Loudest Monster right NOW.  Everyone else will be quiet.”

(lots of whispering and squealing and shoving and jockeying for position until an altogether beige and dreary looking, droopy monster with sad eyes makes it’s way to the front of the pack and says….)

Monster:  (heavy sigh) “What do you want?  I’m really very busy right now and would appreciate it if you could refrain from interrupting me when I’m working.”

Me:  (momentarily speechless…)  “Excuse me? You and your band of doom and gloom and all things awful are driving me CRAZY.  What is this all about?”

Monster:  “You are our person.  We are trying to protect you.  As usual…”

Me:  “By depriving me of a safe space and convincing me that I am useless, a disappointment and powerless and nothing ever works out?”

Monster:  “And reminding you that you are alone, you are just one person and this situation with your Mom is too much for you to handle.”

Me:  (chest feels heavy, sadness)  “I can see why, when I was much younger and things were truly out of my control, you believed that you had to protect me this way.  Thank you.  But that was Then and this is Now, I’ve changed and you haven’t.  It makes me sad to think about how long I’ve listened to you and believed you, even in the face of evidence that none of what you say is even true.”

Monster:   (defensive) “What do you mean it isn’t true?  Of course it is.  Look at your history.  I, we, love you, but you have made some bad decisions and you are, in fact, all alone.”

Me:  (again with the sad…)  “You guys really do only live in the Then, don’t you?  You must be really tired dealing with all of the crises that you create.  I think we need to come up with a better strategy.  I would like to just get rid of you altogether, but that would make you sad, plus it is totally unrealistic.  On some level you must be helpful, right?  Or maybe not.  I don’t know, but I do know that I just need you to quiet down.  What will it take to make that happen?

Monster:  “We are tired.  Maybe if you didn’t wait until you were under the covers to acknowledge our existence and we felt “heard” we could relax a bit.  Maybe even take a nap or have some quiet time.”

Me:  (indigant)  “I am pretty fucking good at acknowledging my fears – out loud – so I’m shocked when you say you don’t feel “heard” — do I have to be freaked out and overwhelmed and bawling before you feel heard?  That is bullshit.  Now I’m pissed. You don’t just want me to acknowledge you, you want me to buy into you.

Monster:  “Of course we want you to buy into us, duh.  How else could we control — oops, I mean protect you.”

Me:  “This discussion is not going the way I had imagined.  I thought I needed to embrace you and try to acknowledge you and I was prepared to try to do that, but I don’t think you care about me at all, so why should I even bother with you?  I can handle some fear and sadness, I know they will always be part of my experience, but this whole monster-palooza in my head and taking over my life needs to be over.  The party is over.  Pack up your shit and get out.  This past few days of misery were your last hurrah.”

(monster panic ensues “nooooooo, you neeeeeed us!” and “but, but, but…!” and “you will never survive without us!” and squeaking and whining and crying and stomping of feet…)

Monster:  “Interesting.  You can make us leave, but we will be back.  You don’t even know how to do life without us.”

Me:  “Whatever.  I am totally onto you guys now.  You may be back, but you will never have the same power over me and your visits will be much shorter and less fucking painful.  Maybe you should re-evaluate your process and see if you can, in fact, find a way to be helpful and protective.”

Monster:  “Oh ya?  You’re still all alone.”

Me:  “Except for the fact that I’m not.” and “Fuck you.”

THE END

Wow.  That didn’t go the way I thought it would.  I’m a little riled up and pissed off at those monsters.  And at me for listening to them.  Oh well, live and learn, right?  I think they will be less of a problem from now on.

Mom is home and it isn’t as awful and scary and doom and gloom as I imagined it would be.  She is really happy to be here and is getting around really well, even tho our house is almost entirely stairs.  Thanks for all the support and love and telling me I’m not the worst person ever to walk the face of the earth.

xoxo

kim

 

 

 

 

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Hello Resentment…

Remember when I posted about my newfound peace — “it’s all good” and “everything is part of everything else” — ummm, yesterday?

Today Me is having a laugh at Yesterday Me, “Aren’t you precious! I love when you think you have things figured out, silly girl.  Don’t you know by now that as soon as you think you have things figured out it’s like an invitation for something to come along and challenge what you think is true?”

Even though Yesterday Me was completely sincere about all that good stuff and the “survive!” thing when she wrote it, things changed.  As she was driving home from the Dreaded Hospital late last night she had a little, nagging, tingling less-than-positive-thought, which has now ballooned into a full-fledged Resentment.  The kind of Resentment that suggests that things are not, in fact, all good.

Awesome.

Now, instead of doing the stuff I planned to do this morning, I am compelled to deal with this Resentment right fucking now.

Hold on….

Me: (in a “Hello Newman” kind of way…)  “Hello Resentment

Resentment: (really bitchy tone) “Oh joy, she finally noticed me….”

Me:  “Don’t push me.  I am beyond unhappy about your existence.  I don’t have time or energy for you, what is this about?”

Resentment:  “Interesting…you are going to pretend that you don’t know what this is about because you’re ashamed of me.  I’ve been festering for quite a while, I’m surprised that you even have the guts to talk to me at this point.”

Me:  “You are right, I am ashamed of you.  And I’m afraid to even look at you, much less talk to you.  Probably because you relate to my Mother and my Son and my Son’s dad (Ex #1) + Guilt — I can’t imagine a more emotional combination of things.  My heart is beating really fast right now.”

Resentment:  “I’m not going anywhere if you can’t even say what I am out loud.”

Me:  “Fine. [deep breath] I resent the fact that my Mom seems to have these spectacular medical crises when I am supposed to have time with my Son.  I know it isn’t her fault, she doesn’t have control over these things, but it is really bothering me.  I don’t have a lot of time with him and when I cancel on him to take care of my Mother, Ex #1 has a field day:  “What kind of parent are you to choose your Mother over your Son.” and other variations on that theme.  Then, even worse, my Son echoes the same sentiment.  That is like an arrow to my heart.”

Resentment:  “Yes, this has happened over and over and now you just missed having Spring Break with him, which was probably the very last chance you had to spend meaningful time with him before he goes off to college.  And he is getting ready to graduate in a matter of weeks but all plans are up in the air because of your Mom’s illness.  So, you’ve missed precious time with him to care for your Mom and now she is probably going to die soon and your Son will be away at college and you will never be able to be “home” for him again.”

Me:  “STOP!  This feels horrible.  I am so sad.  I’m sad about Mom, I’m sad about my Son.  I’m pissed at the world.  How can this be “all good”?  It feels all bad.  I feel like a shitty mother and a shitty daughter.  It is a no-win situation.”

Resentment:  “Damn I’m good.  Not only do you have me, you feel horrible about having me and are generally miserable.  My work here is complete.”

Me:  “You suck.  Plus I am not even sure that what you say is true.  I mean, there might be another way to look at this that isn’t so fucking doom and gloom awful.  You are making me physically ill – my stomach is in knots.  You need to go.”

Resentment:  “Whatever.  I’m still here…”

Me:  “Damn you and your tenacious spirit!”

THE END (for right now)

AAARRRRGGGHHHHH!  I don’t want to feel this!  I don’t want this to even be a thing!  And you know that as soon as I deal with this Resentment, others are going to be all “What about us, smart girl?”

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Maybe I should put my profile back up on Match.com….

Totally Kidding!

The Moratorium is safe… right this very minute…

xoxo

kim 

 

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