July 25, 2008

I’m going to tell you the story of me and Keith. It’s a long, ongoing story that can be disturbing and might make you question things between us, but let me be perfectly clear right off the bat: we are happier than we have ever been. Things are still rocky occasionally, but it’s no longer a constant stressor.

Now check what this involves and then you can judge if you want to read it. Domestic abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, severe mental illness, PTSD, and various mentions of relationship problems like sex and divorce and marriage and cheating. And young, stupid people doing young, stupid things.

This may be a series. We’ll see how far I get before I get emotionally drained by this retelling.

I saw Keith one time, a year before I met him. I was walking home from school, and some jackass in a black, huge ass Jeep was blaring some kind of screamo/rap? Something loud and strange. He zoomed down the street and took the corner so his tires squealed. I thought, “What an idiot.” I found out later that that idiot was my future husband.

Keith and I really met in college. He and and a buddy of his were in my acting class, and he did a killer Jack Sparrow impression (it was 2007, okay). One day, we went out for a smoke together and got to talking. I thought his friend was cute. I was in a relationship with a guy, my only boyfriend ever, whom I have written about on this blog (yep, that one) but I wanted to meet new people and was working up to leaving him and I thought, it’s college!

But I didn’t talk to the cute friend. I talked to Keith. He had so much to say (mostly about cars) and I thought, “What a cool guy.” So naturally I had to set him up with my recently singled best friend.

Thank god that didn’t get past the introduction. They’re friends, which is nice because we can all hang out together now. But then, I started hanging out with Keith more.

In the meantime, Keith didn’t waste any time to start hitting on me. He asked if I wanted to go out with him sometime (he asked it roundabout–you’ll notice this trend). I said oops, got a bf, but thanks! And then I dumped the bf, and asked if Keith wanted to go to a party with me. He said, sorry, but there’s this girl I’m really into, now, and I don’t want to mess things up with her. So I stepped back, and went, “Holy shit I do like this guy” because I was suddenly jealous and I knew what that meant. And being ace, I was not really overly attracted to anyone, sexually speaking, but I formed an emotional attachment. Not that you would’ve heard me admit it–I’m an intensely secret person about my feelings, or at least I was until I found blogging. I still am with most people with me in the real world.

But back to Keith. I wanted him–his attention. So I…kinda made myself available. I made friends with his friends (they were the COOLEST people when I first met them) and I hung around the student center where he liked to hang out and I went out for smokes with him and was his friend. I felt drawn to him.

And then one day, I guess he decided the girl wasn’t important at the moment. He and I joked, and flirted, and finally he made innuendoes and I returned them and he just flat out said, “You know, I would invite you back to my room, but I respect you too much.” And then I saw the look in his eyes–he was totally making fun of himself, he was laughing in those eyes. He knew it was the cheapest line ever. And I laughed and understood his humor and just flat out got in my car with him and went back to his dorm.

We had a friends with benefits thing going. But then he wanted to end it, after I was starting to develop feelings for him, because of that girl he liked–she found out we were fucking and threw a hissy fit over it and demanded he stop seeing me. No, she was not his girlfriend–she had been stringing him along for months, and the moment he started moving on, she seriously got mad at him for doing it even though she wasn’t actually interested in him. She was with somebody else and hadn’t told Keith so he’d keep pursuing her. She was a piece of work.

But then…Keith just couldn’t stay away from me. He invited me back to his place to “watch porn as friends.” Yeah right. We picked up right where we left off. He got weird about it, and finally I was just like, “Dude, I like you. I want you to know I am an option for you.” And he was like, shocked out of his mind. But…eventually he got over it, and made his decision. His decision was me.

To feel chosen, after only being chosen in a bad way all my life? That was fucking balm for my wounds. Keith asked me out by saying, “Will you…be my Valentine?” (in November). I tried to make him say it, but he was so bashful and playful. So I let him off the hook.

And then he left. He was a Marine Corps reservist, just finished college, so he was being shipped off to Iraq. He went to North Carolina for training, and then he went to 29 Palms, CA for desert training. We kept in very close contact–we visited each other every chance we got. We wrote letters and sent texts and called and continued our romance long-distance.

And then, I was hanging out at a friend’s apartment, and Keith called my friend. My friend took the call in the other room, and I was like, what’s going on? Friend came back. Said, “Just got off the phone with Keith. He’s gonna propose!” and then he spilled all the secrets to me and asked my ring size because he had been tasked with finding that out and then sent it back to Keith and calmly pretended like he hadn’t just told me everything.

So on July 4, under the fireworks, I waited for Keith to pop the question, as planned, about a year after we’d met. And…nothing. My information was bad. Keith had changed his mind and didn’t want to marry me after all. I was a little disappointed. I was so unsure, and a little relieved too. But then we got inside and made love and right as we’re naked he pulls out the ring. And I’m like, “Buh, wha?” Because I can’t shift gears that fast. And he was like, “It’s a ring.” And I was like, “I know.” And he asked me, and I said yes.

21 days later, we were married. His family didn’t know. We were gonna keep it a secret from his family, and have a second wedding when…if he came home. But if he didn’t, he wanted to take care of me, so he made it official with me fast. I was in his benefits and will, I had power of attorney, and he was going to a heavy war zone as Marine Corp infantry. It was terrifying. But I wanted to get through it together and then start our lives.

I’ll continue this soon.

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Oh yeah, I said, life goes o-on

Long after the thrill…etc.

Well, I have PLENTY of thrills, thank you. Like a new Chromebook! Keith got it for me for Christmas, it’s so pretty and I finally have a new keyboard under my fingers after losing my old laptop (who was too cool and old to have a name, I like to think it was an eldritch horror trapped in plastic casing–Cthulu Computer. Anyway, that thing survived way too much to have been a mundane laptop).

Anyway. I have a new computer. And I’m typing on it and it feels like coming HOME. The steady tap tap tap of the keys, the invigorating movement of my fingers, the satisfying stream of words appearing on a screen. It’s beautiful and I want to experience it forever. And now I can for quite a while, hopefully. I will be doing my best to not break this one. Especially because it’s so small and cute. I feel like it’s a bunny computer. Maybe I will name it Small Fry in honor of my once-pet Small Fry, the dwarf rabbit I had once that I thought was male and ended up being female (her partner was Paige, thought to be female but was actually male–funny story, I asked both my divorced parents separately for a bunny for one holiday and they both obliged and were both told the wrong sex of the bunny. I had a lot of bunny babies after that).

Anyway! Life is pretty good. For the most part. I have to be honest, one thing is really weighing on me, but I want to talk about the good/mixed stuff first.

  1. Mixed: Edwin’s progress report from his mixed assisted ed preschool came in, and I had a long convo with his speech therapist (he’s autistic, like me, for those who don’t know–severe language delays, moderate fine motor delays, mild gross motor delays, processing issues, sensory issues, especially with food, etc.). He’s made a TON of improvement since last year, but he still has a long way to go to be “caught up” (aka matching his neurotypical peers, which I don’t think he necessarily needs to do–as long as he learns at some point, I don’t care how long it takes him, and even if he never learns some things, that’s okay, we will work with it). We think a lot of his issues is not processing incoming information, so his receptive speech is weird. Which of course throws off his expressive speech because he doesn’t know what he’s responding to, he just says whatever when you ask him a question. Example: He was asked “How was your Thanksgiving?” He replied, “Christmas.” Which is cute but not an appropriate response. So we’re trying to find where he’s not processing novel questions and see if we can help him understand. It’s a lot of work but I don’t mind, he’s my baby and I will do anything for him.
  2. Good: Keith is great. I know we’ve had a LOT of issues (and I will write about those at some point, proably soon). But we’ve worked through them, we STILL work through them, and he’s been amazing lately. Less rage, fewer downswings, longer time between downswings, and less severe downswings. He’s been very supportive, very understanding, very compassionate, very generous. Very sweet and attentive. I mean, he has limited time and energy, and he’s STILL taking care of me and helping me around the house. He only sleeps 4-6 hours a day, works the night shift, then does housework with me, maybe takes a nap and a shower, goes to class three days a week, does tons of homework and projects (he’s an engineering tech student, he’s doing really complicated math and he’s had to solve problems for actual companies and they might be implementing his group’s idea for efficiency and waste saving, it’s so cool), spends time with me and the kid, and he works over 40 hours a week, and then he sleeps just a little bit. Weekends are the best time, because he usually doesn’t have that much overtime and he can get a full night’s sleep next to me (I miss sleeping next to him at night, I LIVE for Saturday nights when I finally can). He works so hard, and he still finds time for us and supports us and has an active role in his son’s life and that’s amazing.
  3. Good: I have pain medication! For now, while I can afford it. I can only take it when the kid isn’t around or when I’m home from work, because it lessens my ability to function, but I have pain free time every day now and I feel incredibly about it. It doesn’t stop me being tired from all the pain I do have, and I’m still pushing myself too far, but my flare ups are fewer and farther between. I haven’t had any severe back  or leg spasms since I started them about three weeks ago. I’m also using fewer of my muscle relaxers, which don’t just make me a little woozy, they send me right to sleep so I can’t take them during the day unless I have time to nap.

Mixed/Bad:

Work. I love love love my job, I really do. It’s a small business, locally owned and operated, one store with a bakery, deli, and coffee bar, plus a little bit of a convenience store as well (we have like dairy products and eggs and snacks and condiments and butter and a truly impressive amount of sodas/energy drinks/teas/etc.). The sisters running it are incredible, they’re just so cultured and beautiful and poised and committed to the store and to the community and they’re just so wonderful, seriously. My job is good, there are amazing people working at this place, and it’s work I like doing. And it pays really, really well for food service/retail mixture that it is. Way above minimum wage, with regular raises if you’re a good worker (I am, I already got one raise after three months there, and not a small raise either). They’re generous and understanding and are working with me on my disability. And that’s what’s bad.

See, they’re having attendance issues. Girls calling off left and right. Doing it multiple times a week. No medical excuses, no shift coverage, people refusing to come in to cover a shift, but insisting others take their shifts anyway. I am part of this, but the difference is I have legit medical reasons and I get doctor’s notes to corroborate, because I know how unexcused absences can add up and tarnish your reputation. But alas, I have been sick a lot, and my son has been sick a lot. Often one leads to another so I’m out multiple times for each of us. And a lot of it is because the stress of my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is fucking with my immune system. I just get under the weather more often than non-disabled people. Today, after seeing a new policy on absenteeism posted on the board by the schedule, I got sick and threw up–because I had my flu shot yesterday and I get sick from those sometimes. So I had to go home. But I talked to the office first, with the help of the floor manager whom I’ll call L, and talked about how I don’t want to be  burden to the company and I feel like I’m an unreliable worker and I’m sorry for that, but my body isn’t cooperating, and I want to do better, but I’m under a lot of physical stress. They researched my disability on the spot, and are going to be reading up on it some more, and I think that’s lovely that they’re going to that effort to talk about it. I said I want to try lessening my hours, maybe, making myself take shorter shifts and spread out further, instead of my usual consecutive 6-7 hour days. However, if they decided I wasn’t right for the job because I can’t do the work, they can let me go for medical reasons without drama, I won’t fight them or sue them or something. They said they’d talk it over amongst themselves, and get back to me.

So I’m like…well, either way, my job is going to change. Either fewer hours, or I lose it completely. I really don’t want to lose it, but if that’s what I need for my health, then that’s what I have to do. I am going to be pursuing disability once I get all my medical records together. I just have to request the records from my pain doctor and my psychiatrist, both of whom I see this month. Then…a lawyer my therapist recommended out in the next city over. If he wins it for me, I pay him out of my monthly disability payments. If he doesn’t win it for me, I don’t pay a dime. It’ll probably take a year or so to get this all through, but…we’ll see how it goes.

So. There you have it. A long-ass post glimpsing into my life right now. Seriously, how long is this damn post? And it’s only a fraction of what’s going on lately. Man. I have a lot of life.

Under Pressure

I was going to talk about the stress I’ve been under, but instead I’m going to talk about why I cannot listen to Under Pressure by Bowie and Freddie Mercury without getting flashbacks.

See, I was in this play in college. From Up Here. Good play, really bizarre, heavy subject material, minimalist set, a really really horrible/amazing song in the middle that I still sing sometimes, I got to be shirtless on stage. 

But anyway. It opened with my character, Aunt Caroline, dropping from the 40ft ceiling of the auditorium, from the lighting catwalk down to the ground, stopping halfway to give a short monologue about how I’m climbing in the mountains. the director was really adamant that I descend from the ceiling. And because I’m an Aries, I said SURE to the wacky plans no one else wants to actually do, and suited up. I had actually ready taken the school’s Adventure Course. I was used to hanging from high places.

But here’s the kicker. Did she get one of the xsports guys with big muscles to lower 215lb me down those 40 feet? No. The director used another of the people in the play, who didn’t have a scene til later. This kid? Half my weight.

Okay, but there are safety precautions right? Well, they taught the precautions to J, the guy, once. And then left.

I’ll cut this story short. He dropped me. Three times. Three separate times, two during one rehearsal and one during the next. The director sent me home early both days because I fell about twenty feet the second time and only a little fewer on the first and third times. I legit thought I was going to die before he magically caught me and got the safety measures back in place because he hadn’t done it right the first time (or second or third time). 

Why does this have anything to do with Under Pressure?

Well, the show had a playlist going while the audience was sitting waiting for the play to start. To get them in the mood. And the final song before my cue to drop?

Under Pressure.

Specifically the end. When they go, “under pressure *dun dun dun dundundun dun*” three times? I would jump my butt off the single slab of wood sticking out from beneath the lights, barely attached to the catwalk, right after the last *dun duns.* 

So every night, it was places, and I would climb up into the catwalk, and I’d sit on that ledge, and I’d listen to Under Pressure while wondering if I would die that night in front of an audience. And now I can’t stand listening to that song without being like NOPE.

The Week of Bad Luck or Bad Karma or SOMETHING THE UNIVERSE IS PISSING ME OFF

Here’s my week:

Monday: Go to work. Halfway through my shift, have a miscarriage. Walk home to have it in private, and then call my doctor, only to have them put me off til the next day and express doubt that I’m miscarrying at all. Spend all day crying off and on, and then have to take Edwin out for trick or treating in spite of severe cramps and back pain. I did have a good time doing that, but I was all out of spoons and thensome at the end of the day.

Tuesday: Go to doctor, have them express doubts I’m miscarrying even though I KNOW I AM, get jabbed multiple times by incompetent blood drawer leaving a bruise, have a miserable day, projectile vomit all over my bathroom and have to clean it up.

Wednesday: Vow to stay inside. Don’t stay inside, go to gas station and get sexually assaulted by a creepy older man who “fell” into my back, pressed his dick on my ass, held my shoulders, and said, “Sorry darling, I lose my balance around pretty girls.” Elbow jackass in the solar plexus and fucking leave because life sucks sucks sucks and I’m not in the mood. Rage clean my house despite physical pain and push too hard. Have Edwin attack me because he wanted candy and not dinner–literally, he hit me, ripped one of my piercings, and tried to bite me and screamed bloody murder, had a total breakdown. I had to take away his candy completely, just forbade him from eating anymore candy period. Had to put him in time out and restrain him so he wouldn’t keep hitting me.

Thursday: Spend the day I’m supposed to be resting running around doing errands and grooming myself after not all week because of depression, have my husband say he only does nice things for me so I’ll give him blowjobs (not sure if he was joking), and then get my consent violated on my writing blog by someone I thought was part of a gift exchange I’m participating in on there, but turns out they’re a foot fetishist who won’t answer questions and they’re trying to have sexual congress with my feet via the Internet, I thought they were thinking of buying me foot products for Christmas but it turns out they were just trying to get off because they want my feet? Without asking my permission or discussing what they wanted from me, just trying to take it before I noticed. Also Keith decided to sneer at me about my political beliefs and say I’m stupid and gullible for voting Democrat and putting me down and gossiping with the landlady about how Trump is just misunderstood and there are false reports and Hillary owns the media and I’m a fucking idiot for buying into her “lies” and all that shit. Plus he mentioned a ton of casual homophobia he was enacting at work among his fellow former servicemen. And snapped at me a lot and kept arguing with me for no reason other than to give me a hard time, which he knows I hate.

Predicting Friday: Go to work, have a miserable day, experience further dips into deep depression, then get stuck in a car for two and a half hours on the way up to the in-laws’, where I will face casual racism and sexism and get ignored by my husband and deal with passive aggression from my in-laws and have to watch my kid while he totally misbehaves like he ALWAYS DOES UP THERE because they let him get away with EVERYTHING and defy my authority and undermine me. This will be on Saturday and Sunday too. I will have to drive back on Sunday, despite the fact that I have trouble driving and don’t really like doing it, because Keith will want to fall asleep in the car on the way back because he has work Sunday night and we don’t leave until the very last minute and he only gets two hours of sleep for the entire night and then spends NEXT week in deep sleep debt and then takes out his frustration and irritability on me.

What the fuck happened? What negative energy am I taking on? Where is it coming from? Did I incur bad karma? Did I commit some heinous act? Did I walk under a ladder or break a mirror and not notice? I get walked by by a black cat all the fucking time, Wobbles lives here, but he hasn’t caused this before. Have I done something wrong? I don’t know what to do, I’m crumbling and having a breakdown right now. I can’t stop sobbing.

I had a miscarriage yesterday. Went to doctor’s today, she half-confirmed it,  half-denied it, and then sent me for bloodwork to be absolutely certain. But it’s identical to the 3-4 miscarriages I’ve had before, plus I know I was pregnant, but the official doctor peestick said negative, so hence the bloodwork. But the first time I miscarried, a few months after Little Man was born, the peestick came back negative too, and the bloodwork showed positive but dropping within hours of it happening (I went to the ER for that one, not having experienced it before and not knowing what to do). So I guess I’ll get it confirmed tomorrow when the lab gets done with my bw, and…that’ll be that. Nothing will have changed.

So I’m grieving. And in pain. And bleeding, like still a lot for me, though not nearly as much as when it actually happened (while I was at work, I then had to tearfully tell the owners what happened and then WALK HOME because my hubby was too far away to give me a ride). I didn’t realize how much I wanted it until it was gone–I was like, is this a really good thing? It felt good, but I remember the sleeplessness, the diapers, constant fucking diapers, the worry and the pain and the fear, the frustration, though I would know better this time around what to do, I think. But then…what if I pass on the autism again? What if I pass on the EDS? The depression and anxiety? I know these things aren’t like, the end of the world, at all, and they’re at varying levels of hard to deal with, but I don’t want my child to struggle like I am already, like Little Man has been, and might still yet to come? (his joints look hypermobile, unusually so…).

But I guess I did get my hopes up, because here I am, crying on and off, unable to get off the couch to even do the damn dishes, or make myself dinner, or anything. I’m nauseous, I’m deadly craving water, and my cramps and back pain are still fighting against me, and now I’m in sweats (I haven’t worn sweats in like a year) and I desperately need a shower but I’m like…wtf is the point of anything. I’m in a deep depressive downswing, guys, and it’s not okay or pretty or timely. I think I’m just gonna stay in bed tomorrow and do nothing all day. Read, or something. Like I used to when I had nothing to worry about, when it was summer and I was alone and I had nothing with which to fill my days but books and TV and video games. No job, no SO, no kid, no bills to pay or house to keep clean, nothing. I crave nothingness.

Now that I’m sufficiently drunk:

I can tell you about my father.

No, seriously, my cranberry vodkas are in 21oz glasses, and I put about 5-6 shots in each one. I’m on my second. This is needed. Because this is so fucked up and I can’t even begin to process my feelings on it because I lived my whole life with one perception and it got crushed, man.

So my father. Is paranoid schizophrenic. All my life, my mother called him an asshole, and I was like…is mental illness so bad? I didn’t understand, then. She said his illness made him into the psychopath I now know he is. And yeah, schizophrenia is technically psychopathy, I know that. But I didn’t think it made him a bad person? He was weird, and unsettling, but harmless, right?

WRONG. First, when I was about…oh, six, seven? I was sick. And I was there for his weekend custody, he lived with my grandparents, had his own wing of the MANSION they lived in (seriously, it’s famous locally, it’s still named after my family even though we moved out in early 2000’s). But anyway, I was there, but I was sick. And I wanted to go home–I wanted my mommy. So I climbed up on the radiator between the kitchen and the dining room, because that’s where the phone was, and I started to call my mom. She picked up–but my father hung up the phone. He didn’t want me to go. So I picked the phone up again. And he threw me–lifted me up, and threw me against the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, in the open doorway.

My hip split open, and I started bleeding. I ran to the bedroom where my grandma and grandpa were taking a nap–I needed a bandaid, clearly, that’s what my young mind focused on. So I ran through the house and woke them up from their nap, and I don’t remember anything after that. I think my mom came and got me and my sister, or was it just me that time? I don’t remember, like I said. I don’t remember my sister being there, but usually we were there together, so IDK. But I know after that my mom called child protective services, and then my grandfather, who was a locally famous lawyer (for being so good, and for taking so many pro bono cases), lied and said that he had been in the kitchen at the time and saw me, and I fell, I wasn’t thrown. I fell a whole three feet into the wall opposite the radiator instead of down like physics intended? Yeah. But such was my grandfather’s reputation that he was infallible in the eyes of the local judges. He did anything to protect his son, including abandoning me.

But custody got overturned. Me and my sister did not want to see my dad anymore, my sister more clearly because she’d had previous issues with him (yes, he abused her too, though differently, as I’ll explain). So we stopped going. I only reconnected with him and my grandma when I was about 11 years old, because I wanted to see my family again and I was old enough to make that decision and take care of myself.

But that’s not all. I just found out something that I was scared of, that I didn’t remember on my own. See, I have this memory, very clear, of being in my dad’s bedroom, looking up at the ceiling as I’m lying back across the bed, and seeing my dad’s shadow above me. According to my sister, who only just talked to me about this this year, he used to take me into his room and lock the door, presumably so we could have “father-daughter time.” I’ve had dreams but not clear memories of what happened next, but I’ve pieced it together. He was probably molesting me.

Now, I’ve always done my best to forgive my father. I know his mental illness doesn’t make his life easy, and he acts based on his hallucinations and delusions, and he’s never been able to be on medication steadily because it makes him “feel funny.” And he did horrible things to my mom, and horrible (though not sexual) things to my sister, and then…me. His favorite child. But at what cost? I used to come home from weekend custody at his house and wet the bed, and one time I got an “infection” and couldn’t sit down because I was so cut up down there. But it wasn’t an infection, was it? That’s what my mom told me it was. But it wasn’t.

And I’ve spent my whole life just trying to excuse him. Trying to come to terms with the fact that he’s not a father, that he’s a sperm donor who doesn’t live in reality.  But he’s the connection to that side of the family, aside from my grandmother, who loves me very much and would defend me to the death–unless it’s against her son, whom she has always stood up for (not knowing, never listening, because her husband told her differently and his word was law). I don’t want to lose that side of the family, so I keep quiet, but I know when my grandmother–who is 93, turning 94 soon–passes, I will not keep quiet anymore. She’s the one I’m sparing. If I speak up, I know some will not listen. Some will condemn me as a liar and attention-seeker (namely, my uncle, who defends my father as my grandfather did). Some of my cousins might take issue. Some might question. But honestly, I’m ready to be done with those who won’t believe me. I have lived my entire fucking life trying to keep quiet about shit because I didn’t want to lose what I had left. Because that’s how women live in this world, right? We’re just liars and attention-seekers and hysterical? Even though my dad has a history of severe violence, but because my grandpa said it wasn’t true, no one believed me. I was just a kid. Why would a respected gentleman such as my grandfather lie?

But really. My father only just got treated within the past year because my sister took action against him multiple times and talked to a doctor and got them to see reason. My uncle fought against her, trying to convince the doctors that he was harmless. Yeah, fucking right. Within the past couple years someone has been going door to door at night yelling about criminals and terrorists and wielding a gun and a mask, and you know what? It’s in my dad’s neighborhood. I bet it’s him. He had tons of guns, but thankfully the local police took them away when he got diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia officially, not off the record like he was before. We finally got my family to admit there’s something wrong with him. But still, they won’t see. What he truly is.

And I still have to put up a good front, for my grandmother’s sake. I’d never break her heart by cutting off my father, I’d never argue with her. I love her too much, she’s too old and too fragile and I don’t want to lose what little time I have left with her. But once she’s gone…it’s out there. I won’t care. I won’t have anything to lose–those I really love will stand by me, and understand, and as much as I look up to the rest of my cousins and aunts and such, I’ll know they don’t really care based on what I say and how they react.

So there it is. My father. The molester, the schizophrenic, the abuser, the creep (he used to come watch me sleep, but I wasn’t sleeping, I knew he was there, and I never knew why). The psychopath who hurt me and never thought there was something wrong with it. Who denies it, and lies, and won’t get the fuck out of my life.

He’s still there. But not forever. I just have to wait.

Random Update, or, a study in numbers

  1. Had a theological debate yesterday with my Super Christian friend who thinks I’m going to Hell. Not because I’m a bad person, but because I was born with sin and haven’t repented to God. My view is that, if God exists (which I cannot know, and never will, and I have decided to act on my own morals rather than the words of MAN claiming to be the word of God because even if God said something I highly doubt men would get the message and not put their own agenda into it, okay? Especially once the Bible started to get edited and stuff. Plus I believe in science, so I’m really not into the allegorical stories as historical fact, get me?), he’s got a lot of Pride and therefore has sin in his own estimation and therefore is a flawed being.

    Why else would a God REQUIRE ultimate belief and dedication to allow otherwise good people into Heaven? So people who are good good people, who are kind and strive to be helpful and moral and follow the law and all that, go to Hell, just because they didn’t say, “Dear God please forgive me for shit that I didn’t even do.”

    I respect people believing and having faith, I do, but I don’t agree and I have my reasons. A lot of those reasons are on this blog. What I was debating with my friend about is why God subjects innocents to pain, and he explained and I just…do not want to worship a God who punishes people for things they didn’t do and then continues to subject them to it even if they dedicate their entire lives. I don’t think the afterlife is guaranteed, I’m not going to pretend I believe in God just on the off chance Heaven exists. I’ll take my chances being a good person on my own moral standards, because I believe it’s making the world better, not because I believe I’ll get in trouble and get tortured forever in Hell if I don’t.

  2. I’ve been having depressive downswings in the evening after like, 5pm, I just go downhill and start getting hopeless and helpless and tired and fatigued (more than usual) and depressed and sad and I called my doctor because that shit’s got to stop, I can’t stop living life because my brain chemicals aren’t in balance when I can do something to fix it. The doc suggested I take one of my night pills (that I take at bedtime, around 9pm because I’m boring and need lots of sleep) and move it back to 5pm so that’s what I did and I’m waiting to see if I get sad as time goes on. We’ll see.
  3. I’m gonna have to write a post about my dad. I think I’m ready to talk about him, and how life was with him, and still is, and how confused I am and how I’ve basically given up trying to feel something about him and am now just happy to ignore his existence until I can’t anymore. Recently I discovered that he wasn’t showing up where he was supposed to, so I had to check on him to make sure he wasn’t dead, especially because I have been having dreams that he killed himself, like two in the past month, and that is perfectly possible so. Yeah. I know I sound like a monster now, not giving a shit about a man who could possibly kill himself aside from obligation as a daughter, but…there are reasons. I really have to just…step back and not interact with him as much as possible. I’ll write it up tonight, maybe, or another night. IDK. At some point.
  4. I picked out Edwin’s school picture outfit and he is going to be the most stylish little fucker at that preschool. He’s getting the rainbow splash background, at his own request, and I’m dressing him in a mildly off-white henley, jeans, and a BEAUTIFUL old vest, with music staffs and pianos and calligraphy music terms on a faded antique background and it’s SO CUTE I WILL DEFINITELY SHOW PICTURES OF HIM IN IT. That happens next Thursday so…eeeeee. I am so excited, I love getting him ready for picture day. I love dressing him up stylishly. Usually he wears jeans and tshirts and comfy stuff but sometimes I like to see him look like a tiny hipster because I think it’s hilarious and adorable so.
  5. I am a good cook, okay? I am. But I didn’t learn that many meals before I left my mom’s care. She didn’t really keep recipes and we didn’t have a lot of money for me to experiment and so I went out with meat-n-potatoes basics and an ability to follow recipes perfectly and a basic understanding of why certain things do certain things, aka the science of food, but I didn’t have much experience and while I very much enjoy cooking it tires me out and gets rid of my spoons faster than most things. Lots of hand movements and standing around and multitasking, so I’m like…ugh. Exhausted by it. But recently we had some extra money so I asked Mr. Riah if we could buy some nice cuts of meat instead of ground stuff like we usually do, so we got pork chops, two steaks, and a few pounds of chuck roast.

    The chops are in the freezer because I couldn’t cook them by their use-by date, so they’re chilling up there. I made the steaks last night, marinated them in balsamic vinegar and rubbed them with my own mix of herbs, and then I read up several articles on “How to cook the perfect steak” and went over advice I’ve gotten about cooking them before and I tried mixing several things and FUCK it was the tastiest, juiciest, tenderest steak I’ve ever had. Like I’m never buying a steak from a restaurant again because they all SUCK (unless it’s like, an actual NICE steakhouse where they know how to cook it, and don’t overcook it just because they’re lazy).

    And today I’m making the pot roast in my slow cooker, which I had to pull out of deep storage and clean up yesterday, but it’s in there now with some Sweet&Spicy Molasses sauce I decided to try and it smells SO FUCKING GOOD and it will be ready around 8pm. I’m about to check if it’s getting close to cooked, because it said 6-8 hours on low, and it’s almost at the 6 hour mark (I started it at noon), but this slow cooker isn’t a great one and I might have to put it on high for the last two hours to get the meat cooked all the way through.

So.

How are you guys? How are things? What should I write about besides my dad? Are you guys curious about anything?

The Performative Nature of Me (a total and complete rambling rant)

And all living things, come to think of it. See, I got drunk and maudlin, and I listened to the soundtrack to “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (Darren Criss version, best version, realest version, I will fight you to prove it) and I was sobbing over lyrics from “Wicked Little Town” and “Wicked Little Town (reprise)” and “Midnight Radio” and I just sang my heart out and cried and then I got in the shower, and whisper-shouted in my head at myself for all the ways in which my life is a performance and I am not genuine.

I feel like I can rarely be myself, outside of the internet where I bare all (and even then, because I am always aware of people watching me). Everyone sees a different side of me, and they’re all me. But I’ll use a Richard Adams metaphor that I completely stole and I am not ashamed, because it’s wonderful–it’s like I’m wearing see-through masks. It’s always me you think you see underneath. But it’s always playing a part. I’m a natural born actress, ask anyone who’s seen me act, and I do it every. Fucking. Day.

Take work. I know the people there see me as an idiot, half the time, and vacant, and clumsy, and probably a little lazy, and probably faking the big smile and the compliments I pay everyone (one of the few genuine parts of me there, actually–I try to find something beautiful about everyone who comes in and let them know I did, because everyone needs to feel better about themselves in this fucked version of the multiverse). They see me as ugly, because I don’t wear makeup, I don’t do my hair nicely, I don’t accentuate my figure with nice clothes, I wear sensible ugly shoes, and I don’t bother trying to perform femininity there.

Because that’s what femininity is to me, most of the time–a performance. I see little point for my own well-being in putting on makeup and making myself closer to some arbitrary vision of beauty that no one agrees upon anyway. I like myself, most of the time, and even though I look in the mirror and don’t like some things, like my acne breakouts or my ruddy pink uneven skin or my double chin or my jiggly belly fat, you know what? I can live with those things. Because no one is fucking perfect and everyone is just pretending they can be and obsessing over becoming that. But there IS NO NORMAL. Normal is a fucking lie, there is no one perfect vision of beauty and I won’t kill myself to conform to something that doesn’t actually exist.

I’ve actually been called ugly at work, by the way. Three times now, I think? Two or three. I distinctly remember two, the third might’ve been a dream or it might be a vague memory that I brushed off and thus forgot. I mix those two up all the effing time.

I won’t perform for these people I barely know and who have limited impact on my life until I let them in a little (I’m Facebook friending them one at a time, actually, because it would be nice to have more friends, but I’m not expecting a new bestie out of this or anything). But my instinct, in the whole 240lbs of me that is fucked up, is to perform anyway. I want to look my best to everyone, be what people need me to be, please them, be likable. And I’m fighting that instinct tooth and nail while at the same time performing for it, so that I know I’m acting and don’t get caught up in the rush of doing well while still remaining true to myself in some limited capacities.

And then there’s my marriage, or my parenthood. My man needs certain things from me, so I become those things. I would love to do nothing but sit around all day and write, and relax, and watch TV, and maybe go to work for the money but mainly try to enrich my mental world, because that is where I primarily live. I mean, I’m fucking asexual (grey asexual actually) and my sexual desires are few and far between, so that connection is moot except on rare occasions. But I do it, and a lot, because my husband is both ENTP and a Scorpio, so it’s like…oh, all the new weird things. I’m willing to do those things, but it’s a performance, yet again. Not that I’m faking it, just…I’m doing it when I’d rather do something simple, because he wants it and I believe in compromise. And I do chores, and I talk about his interests as well as my own, and I act selflessly on mostly minor and some major levels like most humans do, and he does the same (sort of, he’s not very good at it most of the time, he’s a straight white cis dude who grew up with moderate privilege, he doesn’t exactly do empathy like ever because he was exposed to so little of it and too much neglect, but that’s HIS story).

And my kid? I’d happily let him do whatever he wanted day and night, because I have had too much of performance in my fucking life if you haven’t guessed it by now, and I want him to be himself, truly, at all times, but I know that’s a fucking lie too and he HAS to learn to perform in some ways. We all haveto learn to adapt to our environments.

Or maybe people just do? I get confused sometimes. I had to learn to adapt, and adapt myself, and code switch, and all that jazz, because I’m neurodivergent. Autism lends a certain…distance from personal identity, for me? I look at human beings as test subjects half the time, and scripts the rest of the time. Have I told you how much I took from movies and TV as a kid? Like a fucking alien discovering a new culture through TV, like in that awful live-action Scooby-Doo movie. I talked weird, I acted weird, because I was performing, because I didn’t really feel like I was normal and I wanted to be normal. I got a lot better at it over time, and now it’s pretty much seamless, I just do it and I don’t hiccup much but you know, I do slip, because that’s when people look at me like I’ve got three heads. It happens so fucking much, especially at work. I get the weirdest looks from those girls, and I’m like, uh-oh, be human, Riah, you are not actually an alien, you can assimilate.

I just don’t think I should have to? Ultimately, I would like to be me at all times. Me, who likes tattoos and piercings and leather and lace even though my body shape dictates that I don’t deserve those things in modern American culture (which can fuck itself). Me, who takes in stories being told through every medium like I’m starving for them. Me, who appreciates to the point of obsession the sensory pleasure that is good food. Me, who swears and rambles and goes off on tangents and can’t keep to one conversation at a time without serious focus. Me, who daydreams about other worlds and other universes and believes that everything is scientifically possible if not probable, me who wants to grasp those worlds and tell those stories and reach out and touch people. Me, who strives to understand human nature and behavior through any means necessary because I am an observer first and a participant second. Me, who hurts to the point of paralysis and has to take eight medications just to balance her brain chemicals and faces a slew of side effects because of it. Me, who wants a clean beautiful house but is unwilling to do the work to keep it that way, but does it anyway because you can’t fucking not, right? Me, who bounces from foot to foot when I’m indecisive and fidgets when I’m nervous and has an image of myself that is not reality at fucking all ever and me who procrastinates and me who laughs loud and long and me who loves contact with cats more than contact with humans because cats have never hurt me and me who’s been betrayed by literally every significant male figure in her life and still can’t help but hope for the best in them and me who dreads my body and accepts it depending on how well the meds are working that day and me whose brain runs about five times faster than I can comprehend on a base level and me who tries to record it and me who sits here and just fucking can’t get it across because it’s so inexplicable to me and I could have the words, I’m sure I could find them if I just searched long enough. But me, who can’t wait to find those words and just spews out everything that comes to mind in the hopes of being understood because for my entire fucking life I have never felt like someone just got me until I went online and started living the fandom life on Tumblr of all goddamn places and the people I think understand me the most don’t want anything to do with me because I am too needy, too intense, too boring, too whatever to function on a level that is attractive to those sorts of people (and I am invariably attracted to older women who have lived lives of queerness and otherness and have wicked senses of humor that I cannot match and want to support me but can’t because again, I am too too too too much).

I just…can’t see a way to move forward as I am without exhausting myself. I need a fucking break. That’s why I drink sometimes, or overload on coffee, or other mind-altering substances, because then my filters drop and I’m me, and I don’t perform, and I just live in the moment and don’t think too much because I am always thinking too much and my brain will not shut the fuck up.

I sleep so little, and dream so much, and I am tired, tired, tired.

Roller Coaster Tycoon

Not the video game. Me. I am the tycoon of roller coasters. Emotional ones. Mood ones.

See, I was absent because I was just…so depressed? My pain was immense, and I was feeling…well, like giving up. Permanently. I have clinical depression, so this happens sometimes, I get into those low places, but the pain was exacerbating it and I had an appointment on Tuesday and…the doctors still can’t help me, or won’t help me, technically. They COULD help me, but I’m young, so I don’t have a serious illness, obviously, even though I’m disabled, I’m too young to feel *real* pain, right? Yeah, okay. Tell me that when YOUR joints pop completely out of socket and your muscles knot and spasm around it and you have to CONTINUE TO USE THOSE JOINTS EVEN THOUGH THEY DON’T WORK…tell me, doctors, have you ever experienced that shit EVER? Maybe if they did, they’d have some fucking idea. But they don’t.

Seriously, I was in so much pain I just broke down crying in my pain management doctor’s office. And she was like…here, have a tissue, but shrug, make your next appointment, do some exercises, you’ll be okay. And I was like, I may never see you again, because I’m going to go home and do something really really stupid here.

But then Edwin came home. I almost did something, I really did. But I couldn’t bear thinking of Edwin being stuck on the bus because I never came down the stairs to get him off, and they’d call my husband and they’d come in and find me and…no. I can’t make my son see that, I can’t make my son experience growing up without his mother, like I didn’t want him anymore, like I abandoned him. No. So I lived, and I got through the downswing, which ended…approximately on Friday night.

Sometimes you just need to find one thing to live for. Who will feed your animals? Who will take care of your kids? Who will comfort your loved ones? What about that video game coming out, or that movie you’ll never get to see? Stay alive for that, just for that, one thing at a time, and you can get through. And keep finding something, anything. Even if it’s the lovely feeling when you go to sleep, or eat your favorite food, or see a sunset, or binge on Netflix, or blow some bubbles or something. ANYTHING. Any little reason to experience a feeling other than pain. Do it, whatever it is. Me? I looked at my son, and I overdosed on caffeine and alcohol in turns just to make my body feel less like a lead weight. I didn’t do any chores, I just watched a funny TV show (Brooklyn Nine Nine, always amazing for my down moods), and I drank a lot of cranberry vodkas before bed and a lot of coffee in the mornings. And I got through.

And talk it out. Going to my therapist on Thursday helped immensely, and he gave me what I needed to move on from the despair–hope. There’s this lawyer, see, in the next city over, about 20 minutes away, that SPECIALIZES in getting disability for people with chronic pain syndromes. I didn’t know about him. He only takes money if you win, and only takes a portion of your disability check each month. If I have an official disability ruling for myself? I can get access to a lot more treatments, like medical marijuana when it becomes totally legal in NYS (here’s hoping, I’ve gotten some out of state before and it’s incredible for my pain, whoosh, gone). I may have to leave my job, but…I could. I mean, I don’t want to, I like working, I like my coworkers and I like having something to do with my life and I like the spending money, but I only work a little bit anyway, you know? I could keep my job if I negotiated it right and didn’t work too many hours.

See? I have plans, now. Hope. Something to look forward to. Something to DO with myself that isn’t exacerbating the pain. Any little thing to cling to.

I’m gonna keep clinging. Til next time.

 

Eff you, Dayquil

No, I’m just kidding. I love Dayquil. It’s allowing me to breathe right now. Not all the way–I’m still a little stuffy, but it’s much better than the total blockage I had this morning. Also? Whose bright idea was it to put menthol in fucking Dayquil? It tastes ridiculously disgusting, and I’m a big fan of menthol generally speaking. But not with Dayquil? That’s a particularly…yuck. I just. Cannot.

Anyway. I’m in a good mood. It turns out, 11 hours of sleep is my prime amount. I feel very well rested after 11 hours’ rest on muscle relaxers and Nyquil. And I’m in a good mood. Usually I’m not that great at being in a good mood, I kind of sulk inside (I’m perfectly friendly and lovely outside, of course) and I’m a little mopey. I admit it, it’s the dysthymia plus a lifetime of negativity. I just…tend toward sadness. But apparently not today, when I’m well-rested and off birth control (it was apparently affecting my mood pretty badly, as well as making me nauseated and unable to keep food down) and covered in acne? Yeah that happened, but I suppose I’ll wear makeup if I have to leave the house. Or not. I don’t particularly care if other people think I’m pretty. But I don’t like acne? It’s annoying? Anyway.

But yes, good mood in spite of that. And Edwin is in a good mood, too, which is nice after several days of complete meltdowns in which he literally attacked me: tooth, nail, and fist (and occasionally feet and head too). But he’s great today, cuddly, sweet, funny, loving on the cats and on me, kissing everyone and everything (including the walls?) and not speaking much but generally being great. He had a whole conversation with our old beaut of a cat Bishi, telling him how funny he was and asking for kisses and asking how he was, stuff like that. But he won’t speak to me? That’s okay. We all have our brain quirks in the autism spectrum. If he can express himself to the cat and not to me, that’s okay. The cat is a great companion, let me tell you. He’s been with me for over 13 years (his whole life, barring the first 3 weeks when he was under a barn in a Farmer’s Museum) and he’s been through EVERYTHING with me. I cannot tell you how much my kitty means to me. He is like…my first baby, I feel about him the way I feel about Edwin, genuinely. And he’s getting old and…oh hush, Riah, don’t get emotional.

Seriously, he’s the best cat ever. He literally tries to heal me with his purrs whenever I have an injury or illness or particularly bad flareup. Just, goes to where it hurts worst, lays on or next to it, and purrs. He does this no other time except to sleep on my head at night. On it. Like a cap. He takes up most of my pillow.

Anyway. Other stuff. This is just a general update, as I am sure you can tell by now.

Umm…

Oh! I am going to be writing again soon! I haven’t written fiction (aside from a few little “drabbles,” or very short stories, like less than a page, just peeks into a story) in MONTHS and I am rusty as hell, but I have an idea and it wants to be written so tomorrow night when everyone’s asleep I’m going to SIT DOWN AND OUTLINE AND START WRITING A STORY. YAY.

Other than that, life is pretty boring. I did the dishes. I swept the floor (I also had a bout of aphasia about that, I couldn’t think of the word “sweep” and instead I said, “I have to brush the floor.”). I watched TV and scrolled through my various social media sites. And now I’m here, rambling on because I am so bored out of my mind and have so much energy that I’m like, I should do something.

So there it is. How are y’all doing today?