Archive for January, 2007

Grr….

Posted in From My Brain on January 31, 2007 by TodaysAddiction

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I need a day off… and a few minutes of peace.
Maybe Saturday.
(I’m trying to sound passive-aggressive here, but it’s hard to pull the whole *tone* off when writing)

Ooh, I feel a little better already 🙂

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A picture and a thousand words…

Posted in Addiction/Mental Health, From My Past on January 29, 2007 by TodaysAddiction

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Daughter #5 went to Newport Oregon today… she sent this picture from her phone, not bad eh?

If this bridge could talk, it would have a story to tell… one from “the good ‘ol days”.
This bridge would tell you a story about a very stupid and drunk girl who bit off more than she could chew one night and nearly ate shit on that bridge.

I was on this very bridge, oh about 18-20 years ago late one night (early one morning). I had been drinking for the better part of the day… not a beer here and there for me, oh no… I’d already polished of the better part of a 5th of tequila and if I remember correctly a fair amount of peppermint schnapps.
The funny thing is that normally I am very afraid of heights, I generally avoid even standing on a chair to change a light. Ladders terrify me… anyway, I digress (twice in one week). But part of the charm of drinking for me (back in those days) was that I was fearless. At least for a little while.

A “friend” and I had driven to the coast late one night in hopes of spending the weekend. If I remember correctly, we found a place near the bridge in the wee hours. After securing a bed and whetting a whistle, we decided to go for an adventure. We decided at some 3:00am to walk across the bridge. Being as neither of us was walking very well at the time, it seemed like a hearty adventure.

We got about a third of the way across the bridge (see the large arch in the middle?) and my friend decided it would be fun to freak me out a little. He began to scurry up that arch and went up it several feet before coming back down. Feeling fearless and seeing this as a challenge (in my furry state of mind) I took that challenge and upped it a notch. With my back to the arch, I began to back-walk up the arch on my butt, using my feet to push me higher and higher while my hands clung to the edges of the metal for balance. It felt like I was near the top, but likely I was close to half way before I looked down and realized there was nothing but ocean and highway, very very far below me.
I froze.
The friend was trying to talk me down, but I was sure I would fall, coming back down looked very steep (and it was). My feet kept slipping as I tried to support my weight to come back down. For a moment I contemplated jumping as I was certain I would fall if I tried to slide back the way I had come and I had almost convinced myself that jumping would kill me less than falling would. I was stuck and couldn’t go forward or back.

We must have screamed at each other for a half an hour…
“Turn around so you’re facing it”.
“I can’t”.
“You have to”.
“I can’t”.
“Just let go with one hand and turn”.
“I can’t”.
“You have to”.
“I can’t”.

Eventually, my friend coaxed me into turning around on that narrow ledge so that I was facing the arch and get a little better footing (and I would no longer be looking directly at how steep the incline and how high I was on the arch). At last I made it back to terra-firma.
I remember we laughed our asses off about that for months.
Years later, when I had sobered up, I was horrified.
This was but one of the incredibly stupid things I did when I was drinking.

I’d forgotten all about it until I saw #5’s picture.
huh…

Egos and houses…

Posted in From My Brain on January 26, 2007 by TodaysAddiction

So I bought a house (a rental for investment).

It was a practical decision that works well for me, for taxes and as an investment. A bonus was that I got to buy it from daughter #2 which helped her out to boot. It seems like a win-win on the surface.

It was a bit of a challenge, although not nearly as much as I had thought it would be because my credit isn’t horrible, but it’s not super stellar either, and because I’m self-employed (they consider my income to be unverifiable), but it all worked out well.

Part of that practical decision was for me to buy it myself… as in *not* with husb. There are a number of reasons that was a better choice for us financially. AND we have the type of relationship where we keep our finances separate and we both recognise that we do not have to do everything together. We don’t always agree with the decisions the other makes, but we respect our individuality enough that it works well for us. BUT we decided the house thing was a good idea for both of us at tax time and a good investment… we both decided that it would work better if I went ahead with the deal independently. I let him know that if he had any issues with this that we needed to talk about it before I went ahead with the purchase and he assured me that he was fine with it…

So here’s the thing. Every time I mention “the house” or “our house”, he corrects me and clearly states “No… it’s YOUR house”. Sometimes he will even say that he drives “My truck” (it’s in my name for the better interest rate, but he’s paying for it).

I respond as reassuringly as I can. And the fact is that it doesn’t matter who’s name things are in or whom is paying for it… everything is “ours” legally (after all, how many wives have walked with the house in the husb’s name in a divorce?).

I think he feels badly that I did it without him… but that was the plan, and “we” would not have qualified for the purchase together… I understand how he feels, and am sensative to it. I want him to feel better about the purchase and about himself. I wouldn’t mind if he were a little proud of me as well (but I don’t see that in the immediate future).

(Dear Abbey:) Any ideas or input on how to hurry up and heal a bruised ego?

How long does Cyber last?

Posted in From My Brain on January 24, 2007 by TodaysAddiction

Have you ever wondered what will become of your blog long after you’re gone?
Who will read it?
What will they piece together about you and about life in general during this era?

I had a delighful story to tell you about the grandmonster and a poopie…
but then I began to wonder if future historians (or my grandmonster) would read it one day…
Yeah, kind of like cyber-hieroglyphs on cave walls.
SmileyCentral.com
Lucky for you, I digressed.

Advise… to me.

Posted in From My Brain on January 21, 2007 by TodaysAddiction

I was talking to a daughter tonight.
She’s been having a tough time adjusting to multiple changes thrown to her all at once.
Anyone would, but things seem particularily difficult for her to shake right now.
Since we often cannot change those around us, since circumstances can be difficult to change quickly… I was trying to get her to focus on the things we can change in ourselves to make life easier to manage. It’s all about perspective.

Among others, one of the things we talked about was “self-talk”.
I asked her:
“If I talked to you the way you talk to yourself (in your head), would you like me very much?”
The answer was “No”.
“Is it any wonder then, that you don’t like yourself sometimes?”
A light came on. Yes, a connection.

The conversation continued…
We talked about how we give others common courtesy and positive affirmations,
and the absolute least we can do is to treat ourselves as well as we would treat a friend.

And then, of course, it hit me.

The advise we give, is generally the advise we need to hear as well.
So the next time you lend an ear to a friend and offer your words of wisdom, take just a second to see how that advise relates you things you need to hear as well.
I’d be willing to bet that there is a correlation.

Yes… when it comes to friends, we should be our own best friend first.
And when it comes to needing advise, we often have the answers we are seeking.
Sometimes when we reach out to others, they are really the one’s who are helping us.

Don’t say a thing…

Posted in Addiction/Mental Health, From My Past, From The Girl on January 17, 2007 by TodaysAddiction

The girl is now 15.
She was recently reunited with her Mother… a savior in the girl’s eyes, she’d been rescued from foster care after all.
Unless one was lucky enough to score a good family, on your 18th birthday, you are “released” from care. A thrill when you have the safety net of a family, terrifying when it looms like a deadline.
The girl had developed a phobia of her 18th birthday while in the state’s care, even though she still had three more years to prepare for it.

Having a home and a family, a real family, was such a relief. The girl knew that her remaining teen years would be happy and carefree, now that she had her Mother and her Step-Father.
Mother and daughter were getting to know each other, the transition was easy for the girl as she had become accustom to new homes and changes in guardianship. This was even better though, she belonged here, she finally belonged to someone.
Life was going to be “normal” now that she had met her Mother.
Sadly, no one thought to see that the transition was smooth for the parents.

Meeting her Mother just a few months earlier was like a dream come true. Very quickly the two settled into a routine such that it seemed so natural that sometimes she actually forgot it had not always been this way. Life was good. The girl liked school, she made some friends. She had even met a boy she liked… a group of her new friends went to do something most every weekend and he was always there, happy to show her the in’s and out’s of her new town.
The girl hoped he would ask her out on a date someday.
Yes, for the first time, the girl felt like just another kid.
And that was all she had ever wanted.

One Saturday, the boy asked the girl out for a burger and a movie. Just the two of them, this was a real date. Her first ever.

The night was fantastic and the girl’s head was still swimming as he walked her to the front door. After a wonderfully awkward moment or two, he told her good-night.

The living room was dark when she entered the house. Dark and quiet. A survival skill she’d developed early on was to listen to the feeling. The feeling you got when you knew something was wrong. Except for the feeling, if it were any other night, she might have thought her parents had gone out for the evening. It was just a dark room after all.

She stood still, near the door. Listening.
She found a single clue that she was not alone, the red-orange glow of a cigarette tip in a far corner. The glow was all she could see, even as her eyes adjusted to the darkness.
The glow slowly moved and she heard her Step-Father’s voice a long moment later.

“She never wanted you, yah know. But yoouuu just had to come here anyway.
You ruined her life. Again.

She was desperate to get rid of you, yah know.
She tried to kill herself tonight to get away from you, and damn near did…”

~There was a long silence before he spoke again.
The cigarette tip glowed bright as he inhaled.~
“She’s in the hospital.
And you… Yoouuu were on a fucking date.”

The girl felt like a bad penny… something unlucky that just kept turning up again and again.
Make a purchase, get it back as change.
Just a penny, the coin with the least value. Garbage in the bottom of your purse.
Even though the situation quickly changed for the better, the feeling stuck for sometime.

The next day, he made her promise to never tell anyone that her Mother was so desperate to rid herself of the girl. People would think poorly of her, and of him.
He feared people would think she was a ‘bad Mother’ to do that.

But she wasn’t a bad Mother, or a bad person.
She just needed help and lived in a time and place where it could not be asked for.
Help wasn’t something you asked for, it was taken only when something unspeakable happened, help was imposed upon you. It was the only acceptable way to get help then.
Often any help received was scant and inaccurate, at best it was merely palliative.
The Mother bravely held it all in. The transition, the feelings… until she cracked.
Luckily, she did not break.
But the girl developed a new crack that night too.

At first the girl feared he was telling her the truth.
Later, she held a white-hot hate for him for saying that.

Now she knows that deep inside of every adult is a small and sometimes frightened child, the child can live quite close to the surface under certain circumstances.
The little boy inside of the man was terrified that night.
So terrified that he showed that fear without any regard.

Nothing that happened that night was ever mentioned again. No questions. No answers.

~

We all seek some place to lay blame when we are in pain,
each of the characters in this story did. We all do.
But often times there is no such place. That’s reality. And it’s OK.

My lesson in all of this?
I try to listen to my small child, and when she wants to speak,
she borrows my fingertips and types it all out.

Have you?

Posted in Family, From My Past, From The Girl on January 16, 2007 by TodaysAddiction

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Have you ever promised not to tell?
Have you ever wanted to say it once, just to break the promise?

I was told something once, something that I promised not to repeat.
I was told something that completely stripped me of any self worth that I had built upon a very tenuous foundation.
At first I didn’t tell because I feared it might be true… Eventually I learned that it was something said from anger, fear and ignorance.
Be careful with your words, they are the most powerful weapon you own.
The people who hear your words may not be as impervious to them as you’d think.

~

There are so many things that we have an understanding of today that was not heard of a generation ago. Depression. Addiction. Family dynamics. Healing.
Even as we began to understand these things, they were still kept in the dark, never talked about directly.
Oh sure, you could discuss the problem the neighbor has, or the woman at the PTA meeting whose dress is a bit too low cut… but heaven forbid we ever discuss our own problems… our own history… the things that happened to us that helped to form who we are today.
The goal was to achieve perfection in the eyes of everyone who is looking.
Peace was to sit in the back seat… sometimes it was locked in the trunk.
Society says:
No matter how distraught you are, asking for help is a sign of weakenss. Never seek help. It shatters the illusion of perfection. Rather… wait until you crack and break.

But the aftermath is like an earthquake, those closest to the break are the most damaged.
Damage can be repaired if you are willing to pick up the tools and fix it.
If you’re willing to invest the time in yourself.

We generally talk about the good stuff, rarely the real stuff. The fear is that we will be judged for that, even if it’s not our fault… even if it’s no one’s fault at all.
And although we seek to place blame, often there is no legitimate place to put it.

I come from a long line of fearlessness, complex, strong women who (I think) were rarely understood (and sometimes afraid dispite their ability to leap forward anyway).
So that they (we) would not be mis-understood, often we stoically keep our secrets.
There is far less to try to explain to a world that does not understand.
But I am here to tell it and to let it go.
The world ~does~ understand because they are keeping secrets too.
Interesting family dynamics are just that… interesting. Not good, not bad.
A generation ago (and still today), everyone was pressured to be the same, to be perfect.
Well I want to tell you it’s not perfect and we are not the same… no one is, no matter how things look. And that is OK.

A chapter about the girl is coming soon.

How do you know, when you have a secret, if you should tell? You tell it someplace safe and see what happens. This is my safe place and we’ll see what happens.