Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Degree Doesn't Always Mean Success


When I did the "Getting to Know You" Christmas Edition, one of the questions asked about the worst gift I'd ever received. My answer was to say that the gift was actually something I'd wanted. It was a book called "An Incomplete Education" but a comment from my father turned the book into garbage. Referencing my on again, off again attendance of college, he remarked that I already had one of these (an incomplete education) and didn't know what I wanted with another. That comment has stuck with me for years. It really hurt me and pinpointed something which has always been a bit of a sore spot.
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I was speaking to Susan about this during our last session and as soon as I told her what he said, she remarked sarcastically "God, he's not projecting much, is he???" *Doink* If that didn't smack me upside the head. Crying out loud. I've been carrying that statement around for 15 years and, all along, it was about my father's own insecurity!! He never finished college and he was ashamed of that. And he put it on me. And I let him because I didn't even see it until Susan pointed it out.
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Probing a little further on the subject, Susan asked me why my college experience turned out the way it did. I was actually a great student. With a few exceptions, I had high marks. I took double Math classes every year, always getting A's. In my Junior & Senior year, I was in the National Honor Society. I got a perfect score on my Math SAT and a near perfect score on the English portion. I had been accepted to some good colleges.
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It was the middle of my Senior year when my brother was floundering and failing out of a community college. He was more interested in hanging out and dealing drugs instead of going to classes. At this point, and I reiterate middle of my Senior year, my father informed me that due to my brother's lack of seriousness about college, my father had decided that I would get more out of my education by paying for it on my own. No offers for a loan or for help. Just period. End of story. You're on your own, kid.
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Instead of going off to school, as I'd hoped, I took a full time job and went to a local college part time. In the end, the job and the money won out. And my father won out. I didn't see this for what it was until I had this talk with Susan. My father's decision had absolutely nothing to do with my brother. That was just a convenient excuse but he would have found one regardless. He saw me excelling. And he couldn't let me show him up. He couldn't contribute to helping his daughter be more successful than he. Most parents want more for their children than they had for themselves but not my father. It terrified him to think that I might accomplish something that he had not and it would further spotlight his inadequacy in his own mind. So he did his best to put an end to that possibility and hold me back.
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In a way, it worked because I never did finish college. The thing is though, degree or not, I am so much more than my father could ever be. Professionally, my father is quite accomplished. Well, so am I. Not to the same extent that he is but I'm okay with that. Because career is not my only success in life and that is more than I can say for him. I've worked harder than any college course would require in order to be the person I am. And I'm more proud of that that I would ever be of a degree. I'm a successful career woman with a fantastic industry reputation. But I'm also a good, caring, compassionate person. I'm determined to constantly grow on a personal level. I'm a good Mom who is very conscientous of the lessons I teach my daughter and the influence I have on her. I DO want more for her than I had. She has a happy home and a supportive parent. I want to help her identify and realize her own dreams and never hold her back.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Miracles and Wisdom

Merry Christmas, everyone!
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Yesterday was a little nutty. We were having an ice storm in the morning so I was off to a late start. I dropped Bianca off at daycare and went to work. It was actually fairly busy. Boss never showed up but was nice enough to call at noon and tell us to take off for the day. It was absolutely pouring out, all day! I picked up Bianca b/c her daycare was closing at 1pm. We had to make a few stops which would not have been bad, even on Christmas Eve, if not for the rain on top of the foot of snow, sand, dirt....blech. Wet, slushy, slippery, messy, yucky!!!!
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We went to a family get together at my BFF's parents house. We go every Christmas Eve. They are my "adopted family" and I'm so thankful for them. They are the extended family I don't have and I just adore them. Bianca was having so much fun with my friends 16 month old daughter. They were a riot together. The whole group is such a close knit family. I just soaked it all. It was joyous.
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Bianca and I got home around 10:30. We put on our Christmas PJ's and hung our stockings on the mantel. We left cookies and milk for Santa. We left carrots for the reindeer. We went to her bedroom and I read her some books. For the first time, I read her the true story of Christmas. I told her about the birth of Jesus and we said a little prayer together. Talk about Christmas miracles. First I said that I was thankful for her and her little eyes got so big as she said "Me? You're thankful for me?" So cute. And then I told her to tell God what she was thankful for and she said "I'm thankful for.....everyone!" After she went to bed, I was up til almost 2am cleaning, cooking and doing Santa duty. I was exhausted but it was SO worth it!! Oh, and I was sewing whiskers on her stuffed kitten because that is what she wanted for Christmas, lol. Fishing line....worked like a charm and made a Christmas miracle in her little world.
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She woke up this morning so excited. We opened the last day on the Advent calendar. We went downstairs where she was beside herself seeing the gifts, the eaten cookies, the filled stockings with her kitty on top, new whiskers and all. Holy cow.....the girl almost popped with glee! I let her open 2 gifts from her stocking and then we cooked breakfast. My Mom arrived at 9 and we had breakfast, nice and leisurely. Then we spent the next 2 hours opening stockings. (We have huge stockings!) We played and watched Christmas specials for a while. I made dinner which came out amazing!! And we didn't get back to opening the gifts under the tree until about 4:30. I wanted to let Bianca set the pace so that she could enjoy herself. Really it was perfect. My Mom left around 7:30 and I had a great time with her.
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At one point during stockings, Bianca and my Mom both got these ladybug magnets from me. We already have one little tiny one on the fridge but these were bigger. Bianca went to get the little one and put them all 3 together on the table, calling them Mommy, Daddy and Baby. She said that she wanted to put them on the fridge and my Mom says "That's what family is all about. Sticking together." I just noticed it as something that would have triggered me in the past but I let it ride realizing she was completely unaware what she was saying and that it didn't need to carry any weight in my present day life. (Clarification: despite the abuse that was part of my young life, my mother felt the only option was "keeping the family together") A short while later, while I was cooking, Bianca and my Mom were playing with this little train that has magnets between all the cars. My Mom kept trying to stick 2 of the cars together and Bianca was pulling them back apart. Bianca said "No Gramma. You can't make them stick together if they don't want to!" What a wise little girl I've got! :o)
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I hope that everyone had a peaceful, warm, safe and happy holiday.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bouquet or Field: The building of a bridge.




The perspective of another can be so enlightening. I ended up having a phone session with Susan, my T, on Saturday morning. We'd had quite the snow storm the day & night before and I didn't want my Mom to have to brave the back roads from her house to mine just to babysit for an hour. Though it would have been nice to see Susan face to face. Oh well.
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When I spoke to her, I told her I was doing well and we discussed various things. I feel like the conversation I had with Renfrew was a big turning point for me. When I spoke with LaurieAnn and felt so disheartened, I recognized those old feelings for what they were. And instead of letting them shut me down, I took a step to conquer them and move forward toward healing myself. It was extremely empowering. I feel there has been a trickle down effect in other things. I feel like the head to heart bridge is finally being built. And that is HUGE. Like monumentally, enormously, overwhelmingly HUGE. I've spent my life being an intellectual. Which I don't mean as a brag or a compliment. I mean I've tried so hard to "out think" the feelings instead of just accepting them as part of me. And I've questioned over and over and over again.....how do I make what I know in my head work it's way down to my heart? "Just feel it," Susan would say, "just feel it." GOD how I hate that answer. The whole point was that I didn't want to feel it. I just wanted it to *boom* be there in my heart with no journey in between. What a mistake that desire was. Because if it hadn't taken the journey then I'd not be ready for it. And I wouldn't be able to enjoy this feeling as much as I am. For anyone who struggles with this, I tell you....it's worth the wait.
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When I spoke to Susan about opening up to various experience, such as my recent appreciation of being mothered, she likened it to this. Imagine you have in your hands a beautiful bouquet of flowers. And you are so intent on keeping those flowers safe that you don't realize you are standing in a field filled with flowers. You can hold on to the little bit that you have or you can open yourself up to the possibility of so much more. I choose to drop my bouquet and experience the field. My senses are tingling. I feel so much right now and you know what? It's not even all that scary. It's been scary in the past but I feel excited. I feel hopeful. And I'll be damned if I'm going to let this slip by without sucking every ounce of opportunity out of it. I know I've more work to do but I am changing and it feels freeing. No, it *IS* freeing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

That's Bianca playing in the snow this afternoon. I was going to go to work this morning and leave when the snow began but then I decided....the heck with that! We're forecasted for up to a foot. I worked from home in the morning and then my office closed at 12:30 so I stopped working!
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We had to run out to get some medicine for Bianca (to avoid yet another trip to the ER). Her Doc took mercy on us and trusted my judgment, calling in a prescription for steroids. Thankfully the pharmacy is very close. Cleaning off the car took longer than driving there! We took some time to play in the snow. If you see that one little spot that's slightly cleared off in front of her feet, that's the bottom of a snow angel! We had about 4 or 5 inches at that point and it was still snowing HARD! It was accumulating at about an inch per hour! Too bad her snow pants, boots and sled are coming from Santa but not for another week!
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When we got home, we made hot chocolate with extra marshmallows, ate some gingerbread men cookies. We turned off the lights and sat in front of our tree (below), watched Polar Express and snuggled. Now this was a good day! Though I'm looking forward to her going to bed tonight so I can start the wrapping.......


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just In Case You're A Total Idiot.....

We were at the mall a few weeks ago and Bianca was getting a little tired so I rented this "mall buggy". Made my life easier as well since I had several packages which I stowed underneath. I was very pleased they placed this clear warning on the buggy not to place my child in the bag. Phew....I was about to stuff her in there and strap my purse in the stroller! Thank heavens the mall is prepared for the complete morons who may be wheeling children around.....
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All joking aside....this has been on my mind off & on for a few weeks. I posted here about an essay I'd written in 6th grade about something I'd done over the summer. And I wrote about an experience I'd had with a 30-ish year old man. An experience which included drinking wine and sexual activity. I never realized it should be cause for concern. My original post questions why the teacher, or other school officials, didn't get involved on some level.
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Why didn't the "better" question occur to me until now?
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Why was I, a 10 year old girl, left alone with a grown man who was not family?? (Not that family necessarily matters since they can obviously abuse as much as anyone else but at least there is some "expectation" of safety in a familial relationship) He was a man on my Aunt's bowling league who I had a massive crush on. They all thought it was so funny and picked on me about it mercilessly. I flirted with him. I used my unfortunately learned skills of seduction.
Sex as a weapon.....
sex is a way to get what you want....
all you have to offer a man is sex.....
you are good for nothing else.....
just give up what he wants from you.....
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I wanted to be loved. He paid attention to me. I liked the attention. I needed the attention. I threw myself on him and he knew he could take whatever he wanted from me. And he did. At the time, I thought it was the greatest experience in the world. I felt special. I had something that no other girl my age had. How jealous they would all be that *I* was so much more special than they. So worldly, experienced, grown up and loved by a real man.
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And when I told my friends, they said I was lying. What would a grown man want with a little girl like me? To them, such a scenario was preposterous. Impossible. Would never happen. I was a liar, delusional. They shared the story with others in school and spread rumors about me. I was so confused......the man who "loved me" was never heard from again. The friends who would so enviously ask me about every detail of my little love affair shunned and ridiculed me. And I was left wondering.....what is wrong with me?????
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What was wrong with my Aunt who thought it was okay to dump me at the home of her adult bowling league buddy just because I had a crush on him? Did I need to wear a warning: DO NOT PUT CHILD IN ADULT SITUATIONS. She is just a kid......

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

10 Honest Things

This was awarded to me by both Mile191 and April Optimist. Thanks to both of you. With this award, I need to post 10 honest things about myself.
Which means I have to find things that are not among the honest issues I post about everyday, I guess.....!!
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1. When I am overwhelmed with too much stuff to do, I tend to do nothing. Like here at work where I'm so behind. But it's easier for me to sit here and blog or do online Christmas shopping. Of course, that was also a "necessity" since I recently had no internet at home for 3 weeks!
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2. I await my fathers death with beited breath. And frankly, the more time that goes by with him still alive, the more it just really pisses me off. I know this is all wrong. I know I am allowing him to control me by feeling this way and that I'm not living in the now. But it's where I'm at. I don't know why I feel there will be some peace for me once he's gone. I definitely feel like he deserves to die even though I know that's not my call. There was a time when, if I thought I could get away with it, I would have killed him myself.
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3. I'm really crafty. I can make just about anything from painting to sewing. In fact, I painted an entire Christmas village of houses and people. Bianca is mesmerized by it this year. I used to have my own crafts business and I hope to get back to it someday.
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4. I have a bad gossiping habit. And I'm judgmental, too.
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5. I secretly plan out how I would spend the money if I were to win the powerball jackpot. Including "building" my imaginary future dream home.
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6. I'm a hobby writer. I have a huge chunk of a book written and it really just needs to be all tied together. I think the biggest reason I don't finish it is because I don't know what to do with it when it's done. The thought of putting it out there for feedback & criticism is more than I can deal with right now!
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7. There is a friend who I desperately want to see this holiday season. Except I'm so hideously ashamed of my weight gain, and change in appearance, that I don't want this person to see me in return. I think that if I did not have Bianca, I would be in true danger of becoming a recluse. That is not my usual sarcasm....I'm 100% dead serious.
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8. I've owned my condo for almost 2 years now and I've never seen the attic. Besides the fact that attics creep me out, I'm secretly afraid that the ladder will break when I step on it.
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9. I've had an incredibly difficult time doing this exercise. In fact, it's taken me a week. Everytime I start another statement, I think that no one is interested in that topic,or it's an "overshare" or it's stupid. See #4 above.....judgmental. Of myself more than anyone else.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Did you hear this news story?

Letter to Santa leads to man's molestation arrest


PHARR, Texas – A Texas man has been arrested after a 9-year-old girl wrote to Santa Claus asking that a relative stop touching her and her sister.
The Monitor of McAllen reports that a man from the town of Pharr was arrested Friday and is in the Hidalgo County jail.
A criminal complaint says the girl turned the letter in at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Authorities interviewed the girl after a school counselor reported the letter.
The complaint says investigators believe the molestation occurred over a period of four years.
The man is charged with continuous sexual abuse of a young child and could face as many as 99 years in prison if convicted.

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I recently posted about an essay I wrote in 6th grade that should have sparked involvement by the school and/or authorities but it went by without acknowledgment. I am SO thankful that the counselor in this girls school did the right thing. And 99 years sounds just about right for his incarceration.

Getting to Know You: Christmas Edition

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your blogging friends. I'm not going to tag anyone specific but consider yourself tagged if you feel like posting something frivilous and fluffy!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Paper for probably 90%. Bags for weird shaped stuff.
2. Real tree or fake: Fake because of Bianca's allergies & asthma. But I do love the real ones.
3. When do you put up the tree? First weekend in December, usually.
4. When do you take the tree down? Weekend after New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? Eh. I like the taste but the texture, not so much.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Horse back riding lessons
7. Hardest person to buy for? I don't buy for enough people to have anyone fall into this category.
8. Christmas eve midnight mass/service or Christmas Day: Neither, at this point.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? "Have"? Yes. Have set up? No.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, always.
11. Worst Christmas gift ever received? The gift itself was something I wanted but my father made it the worst gift by a comment he made. It was a book called "An Incomplete Education" My father, referring to my sporadic college attendence, scoffed "You already HAVE one of those....I DON'T know why you need another." I threw the book away.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Tough one.....probably the remake of Miracle on 34th Street.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Summer. I pick up things whenever I see something good.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yup.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Hmmm....I guess all the cookies my Mom and I bake.
16. Lights on the tree? Yes, white.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is my fave song to hear. O Holy Night is my fave song to sing.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Of course!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas day? Christmas Day
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Not enough hours in the days
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? We have a "family" tree....totally random collection of ornaments given to us every Christmas. Something representative of that year. Wouldn't change it for the world.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I don't have a specific favorite but I do usually make some sort of pork. Last year was Cranberry Balsamic Pork tenderloin.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? To see the sheer joy, excitement and wonder in my daughter's face.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Being Mothered

My weekend was a little nutty. In fact, all of last week was pretty rushed and busy. Friday is my usual grocery shopping night but, after 3 days of rain and flooded roads, Friday brought drastically plummetting temperatures and icy roads. I wanted to get us home as quickly as possible. I spent time organizing Friday night which was helpful. My house is a disaster!
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Saturday AM, I had to help my Mom put together trays of cookies that we baked. I couldn't help for long as I had things that needed to be done including, God help me, going to the mall. Saturday afternoon + 12 days before Christmas + mall. You do the math. But I had to drop off an Angel Tree gift and they were only there from 12 -5. From there, birthday party for Bianca's friend til 5pm. And then a few other "busy-errands" on the way home. Sunday I had to sing at a different church which is about an hour away. Then they take us out to brunch as a thank you. Then back to my Mom's house to pick up the trays that I need to deliver. I was so exhausted. I layed down on a huge oversized chair she has. Bianca sat with me and we watched some Noggin while my Mom cooked dinner for both of us. Bianca kept leaning over and kissing my forehead which was the sweetest thing EVER. After dinner, my Mom cleaned up and she baked some fresh cookies for us while we decorated her little tree. Then all 3 of us sat on the living room floor and admired Bianca's tree decorating skills, eating warm cookies and singing "Deck the halls" (By the way, in Bianca's book the song goes "Deck the Halls with blah-blah-blahby, fa la la la la la la la la. Tis the season to say Hi-Ya, fa la la la la la la la la!)
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I guess this is the shift in how I've been thinking about the relationship with my Mom. I was so relaxed being there. And I felt so mothered in a really nice way. It's not in my nature to let anyone "do" for me, especially my Mom because I've been so busy spiting her all this time. I know how much she wants to mother and I never wanted to let her since she didn't do it right when I needed her to. Boy was I an idiot, lol. That was the best feeling. While I never see us being mother/daughter "buddies", it's nice to know that I can let down my guard and enjoy her for who she is and what she can bring to my life, and Bianca's life, now. And I think it's important for Bianca to see a better relationship forming between me and my Mom. I'm sure she is learning things about how mothers and daughters relate by watching us. I don't want her to see all the negativity that has been there for so long.
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I guess this is the "head" letting down into the "heart". For so long, I've known that the anger I held at my Mom did not serve any good. I knew that trying to spite her was benefitting no one. But I could not let it go. I didn't know how to "forgive" her and let her into my life on any more than a surface level. I couldn't see past the black & white of either keeping her at a distance or letting her in completely. And look what happened.....just like Susan said it would. I always demand from Susan "How?? How do I get it from head to heart??" She tells me "You stay in the present, keep aware and it will shift eventually." Whatta ya know? She was right. What I had been doing, holding onto the anger, was exactly what Eckhart Tolle calls "keeping the pain body alive". I wanted to keep that pain, anger, disappointment fresh in my mind day in and day out, hurting myself, hurting her. And for what? Who needs it? I know my Mom is sorry about what happened. I know she's incapable of making any other choices no matter what I wish for. But in learning to accept her limitations....her "human-ness"....and appreciate her good qualities, I have less anger and more peace in my life. And isn't that what healing is all about?

Friday, December 12, 2008

5 Warning Dreams About Holiday Stress

Thought I'd share this that I got from a newsletter I subscribe to about the power of dreams.
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With the shopping, cooking, decorating, guests, parties, cards, etc. we tend to put too much on our plates and before we know it, we're having a break down!
But if you pay attention to your dreams, they'll let you know when you've reached your max.
These are the 5 dreams to look out for:
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House Fires - Your nerves are frazzled, find something calming that will extinguish your stress
Drowning - You are in over your head in responsibilities, find some time to breathe
Explosions - You've got a short fuse right now, take time to yourself before you explode at someone
Clogged toilets - You are holding in your frustration, find someone you can trust to unload your grief on and that can give you some constructive advice
Falling - You are being too much of a perfectionist, realize that it's okay to make mistakes and not have everything turn out perfect... in fact, imperfections make things more interesting!
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What are you doing to take care of yourself during this busy time of the year?? For me, I make sure I spend at least a little bit of time each night sitting in front of my Christmas Tree and relaxing, either watch a show or do a little knitting. And I listen to Christmas music in the morning as I get ready because it gives my day a happy start!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sing, Choirs of Angels....!!!


Since I'm on a kick of naming posts after Christmas carols....LOL!
But here is the reason for the rejoicing.....after 20 long days, my internet is back up. Woo-freakin-Hoo!!
Hence the reason it's nearly midnight and I'm sitting here practically cuddling with my laptop, LOL! Okay, okay.....I'm going to bed. Would it be wrong to tuck my computer under my pillow while I sleep??

Oh Tannenbaum.....

Before you ask, no....this is not my tree!! :o)
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Maybe I'm just filled with the spirit of the holidays or the hope of a new year and things to come....
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We set up our tree last week when Bianca was sick with the stomach bug. Forced to stay home, it gave me a good project to work on while she rested.
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Christmas has been a bit of a thorn in my side for a long time...... I mean, as a child, naturally I enjoyed the gifts, the getting. As we grew into older kids, like teen years, and knew ours was not a happy family, Christmas became so forced. Trying to pretend we were something we were not. My mother was hell bent on materially overcompensating for what we lacked and every Christmas, she would spend roughly $20-$25,000. Yes. You read it right. Every Christmas from probably early teens through mid-20's. It would literally take us all day to open gifts with breaks for meals. And then what? At the end of the day, we'd all retreat to our own spots to be away from each other again.
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I got married in 1999 and my XDH, Walter, was a BIG kid. Despite the fact that he was 35 years old, Christmas was about toys, frivilous items and sheer volume of gifts to open. I remember one Christmas, we sat down to open gifts. He looked at his pile of presents and sullenly asked "That's IT??" Jerk. Even though I'd sworn I would not repeat the absurdity of materialism on Christmas, I found myself doing just that. Walter would buy me so much crap that I didn't want or need. And would sulk if I was not ecstatic about it. I'd ask for something practical like a crock pot and instead he would buy me stuffed animals and gag gifts. Nevermind the fact we lived in a 700 square foot house with no where to put this stuff....
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I digress.....I didn't even want to put up a tree when I lived with Walter. I was unhappy and, again, I felt the meaning of Christmas was lost amid all of this. He *made* me put up a tree. He knew I always had when I lived alone. In his mind, if I didn't put up a tree at his house then somehow he was a failure (?) and "ruined Christmas for me". (I could write an entire blog on the man's issues....) He was going to force me to enjoy Christmas on his terms. So I had to smile and pretend, again, just to keep the peace.
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When he and I divorced and I moved back to my Mom's house, I told her under no circumstances would this continue with the outrageous gifts. I put up a tiny tree. We had stockings on Christmas morning and made breakfast. It was just what I wanted. Then she left for my brothers house and I was alone for the rest of the day. I thought I wanted it that way....but I was miserable.
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Bianca came along by the following Christmas and, though it changed the holiday for the better, I've still been somehow dissatisfied every Christmas. I find myself, as I'm putting up the tree or doing something Christmas-y, ruminating over some aspect of my life that makes me unhappy. How Christmas just isn't how I planned or wanted. It's been bittersweet every year. Remember the Carpenters song that goes:
"Greeting cards have all been sent.
The Christmas rush is through.
But I still have one wish to make, a special one for you.
Merry Christmas, darling. We're apart, that's true.
But I can dream, and in my dreams,
I'm Christmasing with you.
Though the lights on my tree, I wish you could see.
I wish it every day.
Logs on the fire fill me with desire to see you and to say
that I wish you Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year, too.
I've just one wish on this Christmas Eve
I wish I were with you."
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That song has made me sad as long as I can remember and I've always attached it to either a person or even the idea of a person. An ex-boyfriend, someone I had unrequited feelings for, a father figure, a real family, the idea of a loving significant other. There was always someone I wanted to be with instead of being where I was or with the company I was in. I have a very vivid memory of driving home one Christmas Eve. I was probably 20. It may have been the last Christmas before my father moved out. We used to go to my grandparents house for a big party every Christmas Eve. My father was driving, mom in the passenger seat and me in the back. It was snowing. This song was on the radio and I was silently crying, just wishing to be anywhere, anyone else. And I had to just let the tears, and my nose, run because if I gave a clue that I was crying, there would be some sort of hell to pay.
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This year, I noticed a shift. There was pure excitement in putting up the tree. Bianca and I pulled out every ornament and looked at it, oohed and aaahhed over it. I have a "family tree", a collection of ornaments from throughout my life. So does Bianca...though hers is noticeably smaller than mine!! But we talked about what every ornament meant, who it came from and why it was chosen for that year. We placed them on the tree (and I redistributed Bianca's since she hung 30 ornaments on 2 branches......) Then we put on tinsel and candy canes.....it was lovely. I find myself so thankful this year. Thankful for what I have and not wishing for that which I don't. And finally that Carpenters song is just another song. I'm no longer longing for anyone other than who I've got. I'd call that a big step to living in the NOW!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Power of Now

Have you ever heard of Eckhart Tolle? He is a spiritual teacher and an author. Susan, my T, is a big fan of his writings and has often mentioned his book "The Power of Now"
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Following are some quotes from Eckhart Tolle:
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"Nobody’s life is entirely free of pain and sorrow. Isn’t it a question of learning to live with them rather than trying to avoid them?The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind. "
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"The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now." (*Small disclaimer....I don't entirely agree with this statement but it has it's applications....)
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"What you refer to as your “life” should more accurately be called your “life situation.” It is psychological time: past and future. Certain things in the past didn’t go the way you wanted them to go. You are still resisting what happened in the past and now you are resisting what is. Hope is what keeps you going, but hope keeps you focused on the future, and this continued focus perpetuates your denial of the NOW and therefore your unhappiness.Forget about your life situation for awhile and pay attention to your life. Your life situation exists in time. Your life is NOW. Your life situation is Mind-Stuff. Your life is REAL."
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"You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection – you cannot cope with the future or recreate the past."
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I have never felt particularly compelled to read his stuff but I'm feeling like this is the right time. I think I need some help in developing my own spirituality since traditional religion has been a hot button of anger for me for many years now. I hope that nurturing a sense of spirituality will help me identify something I can relate to as a higher power. I also feel like doing some work around being more conscious of the NOW is an important step since I believe my eating disorder to be largely about dissociating. The first quote about human pain being self-created....for me, I believe it to be true. I punish myself. I abuse myself. It's unconscious. Susan calls this "keeping the pain body alive". If I can embrace the present, as it is, then maybe I won't feel like I need to escape so much. And maybe I can enjoy more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Stop. Look. Listen.


This is the approach they use in Bianca's daycare when the kids get too rowdy and are not listening to the teachers. The bell is rung. The kids must stop what they are doing, look at the teachers and listen to what is being said.
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I tend to be a "know-it-all" because of this deep seated fear of appearing "stupid" or inferior. I detest asking for advice. I detest not knowing everything. I'm sure it's an annoying habit and I try very hard to bite my tongue when I need to. Mostly, I avoid it by not asking for advice....
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As I prepare to take the next step to dealing with my eating disorder, it occurs to me that I'm gearing myself up to be the "know-it-all" again. I find myself labeling some of my habits or activities... "This is unhealthy; this is a trigger; this habit needs to be changed" I find myself particularly motivated to finish my eating disorder book and watch a series of programs on my TiVo about emotional eating. I actually envision myself going to see the nutritionist and basically telling her what my problems are and what the solutions to my problem are. ie: "you can't tell me anything I don't already know."
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I need to ring the bell on myself. I need to Stop, Look and Listen. I need to let my guard down and I need to open myself up to listening and hearing someone else. The most difficult step of all....I have to admit that I, in fact, do NOT know it all and I can benefit by learning from someone else. It doesn't make me weak. On the contrary, it makes me stronger to accept help.
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It's funny that I take steps toward getting help, recognizing it was "old" fears and thought patterns that were trying to lock me into the "I am all alone in the world" mentality. Yet when I recognize that and choose to take a leap of faith toward getting help, I continue to try to solve it on my own at the same time. I need some serious letting go.....I need to surrender. Oh my gosh....first step of overcoming addiction. I need to admit that I am powerless. Oy yoy yoy, that is HARD to wrap my brain around.
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I am going to lay out my plan in writing just to take it to the next level and give myself some accountability.
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1. Call health insurance: see what they cover for a nutritionist
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2. " " : find out if they will cover psychiatrist under medical or mental health and if I'll be allowed to see a psych as well as therapist.
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3. Go on health insurance website and print out lists of participating nutritionists & psychiatrists in my area and email them to Renfrew to see if any of their preferred people are on there. Actually, scratch that.....I'm going to email Renfrew and ask for a list of their preferred people in my 2 towns and match it up to my health insurance list. Seems easier that way.
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4. Begin process of finding child care:
(a) Ask neighbor #1 if she can do it, if they know anyone else in neighborhood who does it or if any of their daycare teachers might be interested.
(b) Ask neighbor #2 about her daughter doing it.
(c) Look on website &/or make contact with local college child development program.
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My goal is to begin following through on Renfrew's recommendations by the week of 1/12/09.
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PS.....is it really, really bad that after writing this all I can think of is swiping the package of Oreos out of the collection box for the food bank outside of our office?!?!? I mean, this is for people who don't get to eat regularly....surely, I should save them from the empty calories of evil cookies and replace them with things like applesauce and oatmeal, right? Public service.....??? No?? *sigh*

Monday, December 8, 2008

Still no internet

Just a quick update to say still no internet at home. We're at 17 days now.....totally frustrating. Work's been a little nutty and very little time to blog or read & comment on everyone elses. Feeling fairly good....I talked to Susan (T) on Saturday. I'm still really proud of myself for calling back and asking to speak with Rena and facing those fears and challenges. I have now just to put a plan into place on tackling the next logistical obstacles.
Had a crazy, crazy weekend. I don't know how I'm going to get done all that I need to do in the coming days!! I have lots more to talk about but no time in which to do it.....sigh. Most recent word from cable is that I "should" have internet back by Weds. We'll just see about that!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Forlorn


1a: Bereft, Forsaken b: sad and lonely because of isolation
2: nearly hopeless
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Yep. That pretty much describes how I feel. I got a call back from LaurieAnn at Renfrew. She is the one who did my intake evaluation a couple weeks ago. She called me back with her recommendations, which are as follows:
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1. A dietician
2. A pshychiatrist
3. The evening group at Renfrew for emotional eaters
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Here is how I feel about that:
1. I don't need to know what to eat. I know what is good for me and what is not. I understand what healthy balanced eating looks like. What I don't know how to do is control addiction based zone-outs when I binge without realization or care. Last I checked, this was not the area of dietician expertise. I said to her "I don't understand this suggestion." and she said "It's perfectly acceptable that you don't understand it." You know what?? Don't try that on me because I'm a Mom and I've been in therapy too long for the gloss-over answer to work on me. So NO. No, it's not perfectly acceptable that I don't understand it because I'm a "Why" girl and if I don't understand it, I'm not going to do it.
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2. Just the word makes me shudder from past experiences. I asked her why I would need a psychiatrist and what benefit that has over my long term trusted relationship with Susan (my T). LaurieAnn says because a psychiatrist can prescribe medication. I'm already ON medication. I can hear LaurieAnn rifling through my papers on the other end as she mumbles "Yes, you're on....umm.......but clearly it's not doing a very good job" Really? It's not? Because the meds I'm on are for panic attacks and mine are now pretty few & far between. So, as far as I'm concerned, the meds are doing their job. And correct me if I'm wrong but there is no med you can RX to me that will make my addiction go away. I wish I *were* wrong about that. In any case....see the end of #1 above....this is another one I don't understand and have no real desire to try without a reasonable explanation that makes me think it could be helpful.
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3. Yes, the group that I've agreed would be excellent for me but that I have absolutely no ability to attend thanks to childcare limitations. But thank you for your suggestion that I call the local high school to see if a total stranger 16 year old wants to come to my home and take care of my baby. Don't think so.
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She seemed very agitated and nervous. I wonder how long she has been doing this, really. Or if she just felt the coldness in my tone. I'm pretty shut down to the whole thing at this point and feeling like I just need to do it alone. I know part of that is old.....I've been disappointed and I don't want to try to reach out again. I don't want to make myself vulnerable in, God help me, THREE new situations all at one. And, for crying out loud....how much extra time and money do you think I have to see and pay for all these co-pays for specialists, new meds, babysitters?
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Okay....as I was sitting here mulling this all over, I was feeling many different things. Anger at LaurieAnn for not taking my statement seriously enough to give me an answer. Fear...real fear at opening up for help and having it not work again. "Old stuff"...self protective, shut down, deal with it alone stuff. And then realizing I was feeling old stuff, I tried to see past those fears into rational, present day solutions. And the biggest thing I felt, in the end, was this nagging thought that I'm trying to throw roadblocks. Blech I hate to admit this.....I'm trying to find ways to make this impossible so that #1: it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy of "no one can help me, I'm all alone in the world" and #2: so I don't really have to face change.
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So I called Renfrew and asked to leave a message for Rena who is the other intake evaluator. She did my eval last year. To my surprise, Rena actually picked up the phone. I told her I felt very dissatisfied by LaurieAnn's explanation of the recommendations and reiterated that if I don't understand WHY you are recommending something, I am not likely to pursue it. If I think it's futile because you've failed to explain why it could be helpful, then I have no motivation to seek it out. So here is what Rena told me:
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1. "Dietician".....first off, Rena was quick to dismiss that term and say Nutritionist instead. And a nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders because they are out there. Who knew? She did alot of explaining about this but her final statement is what sold me. She said "you have to speak to someone who represents the food" That while food itself it not the root of my problem, it's where my problems manifest. And, admittedly, I give food essentially human qualities in my world. It does mean so much more to me than just nourishment. So that makes some sense, now. At least enough for me to try it.
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2. Psychiatrist. She said all she's asking is that I go for an initial evaluation, not an ongoing regimine in place of counseling. While my GP (who RX's the Effexor) may be great at her job, she's not a psych with a full knowledge of cutting edge phych drugs. Rena said there actually are certain medications that can help with the urge to binge. And again, there are doctors in this field who specialize in eating disorders. Alright.....I guess......(feeling my roadblocks being knocked over one by one....WHY did I call her, again? I was so miserably content up there on my self-righteous high horse.....)
3. Emotional Eating group. LaurieAnn had told me this was a 3 night a week program from 6-8. In fact, it's only one night a week from 6:15 - 7:30. It happens to be Tuesday nights....which means I would have to give up choir. I hate the thought of that because it's one of few things I really enjoy. But, Rena said, this is not forever. She said make a 2 month commitment to it and put choir on a small hiatus. Honestly, I can do that....and if ever there were a time for me to do it, it's January. We don't have anything big again til Easter. And really, I can still perform the few Sundays we'll sing in that time. Okay....so now the fear of finding someone to care for my baby. But it's now only 1 night a week, for a few hours and I'd be home in time to put her to bed. Soo....that brings my neighbor back into possibility, maybe. And, if not her, there is another neighbor I'm friendly with who has 2 daughters. She's offered up sitting services in the past. There is a college near me. An older girl would make me feel a little better than a teen. And Rena offered some realistic suggestions on a slow integration of this person to make us all more comfortable. As I allow myself to breathe and let my guard down......I can admit it sure would be nice to have a local person who I trust to watch Bianca. Maybe I could actually do some grown up things once in a while, too.
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All of a sudden this seems like more of a possibility. It excites me and scares the crap out of me at the same time. Maybe I should change the name of the post to "Yikes"?? I suppose I need to get back to work now....I sure hate opening my office door after I've been crying. I'm soooo transparent when I'm upset. My eyes, nose, mouth & chest will stay red for another hour. Curse this Irish skin.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Disconnected

In more ways than one.
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I'll start with the literal explanation. Internet. Still disconnected. STILL!!!! For 10 days now. I had an appt for last Mon 11/24 & they were a no show. Appt for Weds & the guy didn't have the right equipment. Appt Friday morning, right equipment but it was defective and he only had one with him. Appt yesterday, no show. When I called about it, their "records" indicate the appt was cancelled because the issue was "resolved". WTF?!?! People, I have a dead modem. All I need is a new one. This is NOT rocket science. I've spent hours on the phone with them, waiting for them, hanging at home. All for naught. I'm livid. I just missed out on listing my Ebay stuff for the biggest shopping weekend of the year. I missed out on special internet buying opportunities that were only good over the weekend. I brought my work home with me and wasn't able to touch a scrap of it. Ohhhhh did they get a earful from me and I'm not done yet. They are supposed to come fix it tonight but I have yet to receive a confirmation of that fact. Rat Bastards.
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Moving on.....oh where to begin??? Bianca is feeling better, thank goodness. On Weds, I picked her up from school and she was still pretty miserable. She even asked me, more than once, to take her back to the hospital! :o( Breaking my heart. I thought I was going to have to for a while there Weds night but she finally stopped coughing and was able to fall asleep. By Thurs, she was much improved. I'm glad we had no plans on Thurs. Just hung out, relaxed and watched the parade. Friday we went to my Mom's house for TG dinner, stayed over and baked Christmas cookies all day Saturday. Yesterday was largely spent cursing (both silently and aloud) at the cable company.
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I feel like I've been run over by a truck. I haven't slept much. Starting from last Tues where we were at the ER. Then Weds, she was up late coughing again and I was on edge so not sleeping much. Thurs up late doing cooking & packing for the weekend. Fri at my Mom's....dear lord what an uncomfortable bed!! I barely slept at all and when I finally got out of bed in the morning, my back was killing me. For some cruel reason I can't figure out, I felt totally wide awake Sat night and stayed up til like 2am. Bianca, naturally, woke up at 5:30 Sun AM. She woke up crying, telling me she'd "had an accident" (wet the bed). So I got up to help her and she had like 2 drips in her PJ's.....virtually nothing!! But she was all worked up and didn't want to go back to bed, insisted we go downstairs. I layed on the couch while she played but didn't get any worthwhile rest. After a few hours of "Watch me! Let's play this game! I'm hungry, will you make me breakfast? I'm thirsty, can we make hot chocolate? etc, etc" I finally got up to shower & get ready for the cable co...who never showed up. Last night, between the cable nightmare, & being stressed about not accomplishing anything, I couldn't fall asleep.
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**Warning....the following is a shameless whine**
I caught Bianca's cold. My nose is very unhappy. It stings. My sinuses feel clogged. I have a headache. Not a migraine but the sun was very bright this AM on wet roads causing a glare like I've never seen before. It was making my head feel like icepicks were being shoved through my eyes and was making me nauseous. I'm severely dizzy and can't figure out if it's migranous, sinus related or sleep deprived. Maybe all of the above but I can't walk a straight line. Every time I take a step I feel like electric shocks are buzzing through my body. And every time I cough, I feel like my skull is going to split in two. I feel sideways.....I don't know how else to explain that. I'm not sure the origin of the sensation but I feel like I'm tipped forward and to the side. It makes it incredibly difficult to function. This morning while getting ready, I whined and whined and whined. I felt horrible. I layed down on my bed after my shower and felt like I needed to have a breakdown. I opened myself up for it and I eked out three measly tears. Seriously? I can produce more eye water than that from a good yawn!! I don't know what's wrong with me. How can I manage to feel so tightly wound at the same time I feel so disconnected and fallen apart??
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Remember when I had the viral conjunctivits a few weeks ago? And then the virus travelled the rest of my body making me basically one with the couch for 3 days? Well, my special reward for enduring that was ending up with a pilonidal cyst. If you're not familiar, it's basically an abcess at the bottom on the tailbone (which is the nice way of saying the top of your butt - gross) My plan was to leave it alone. Without getting into gory details, it basically takes care or itself after a certain amount of time. But it's come back 3 times in as many weeks now so I did a little research and found that, left untreated, recurring cysts can lead to skin cancer and blood poisoning. Which means now I basically have no choice but to have it surgically removed. I can't tell you how the thought of that makes me squirm in about a dozen different directions.
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Eating....still out of control. Blood sugar levels not improving one iota, even on the medication. I feel like an absolute freak of nature blob. I don't want to be seen. I don't want to see myself. I dress like a frump in whatever mismatched ensemble happens to be baggy enough to not make me feel suffocated. This, from a former fashionista, is so mortifying. I detest myself. I've not heard back from Renfrew since last Weds. I've already shut myself down from the idea of them being able to help me. I don't know where to turn next but I feel like it's up to me alone. And right now, I want to be alone. I just wish I could have some peace. I have no peace.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Never a dull moment....


Bianca has asthma. It is sickness induced. She is on 2 types of preventative medicine year round. But generally within 24 hours of getting any cold-like symptoms, her asthma flares with a vengeance. At that point I have to start her on her "rescue" inhaler. I'm allowed to give her 3 doses at 20 minute intervals and then a 4th dose an hour after the last of the 3. If that doesn't help....it's off to the ER.
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So last night, I picked her up from daycare and brought her back to my office. This is a usual routine for Tuesday nights since I have choir rehearsal on Tues. She was coughing, coughing, coughing. This is her manifestation of asthma, BTW. She doesn't get the wheezing so much as the brochospasms. They are just painful for both of us! The poor kid is so sore from coughing all the time, non-stop. And my pain is watching her in pain. Any of you who are parents know the ache of being helpless to make your baby feel better.
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Anyway, here at my office, she was coughing so long and hard that she ended up vomiting. Fortunately I know the noise and I was able to catch (most of) it in my garbage can. I'd already decided not to go to choir and that certainly solidified that I'd made the right choice! So we went to the pharmacy to pick up a new inhaler since we wore out the old one. I maxed out her dosage on the inhaler. I put her to bed. She couldn't fall asleep. Cough cough cough cough cough. After almost an hour with no improvement I knew we could not avoid the ER any longer. So I got her out of bed. She was so sad looking. She follows me into my bedroom where I'm putting some public-appropriate clothing on (pink snowman pj's didn't seem like a good idea for ME)She says "Mama, I just don't feel very well." As I was sympathizing, she lets out a series of coughs and with no warning *Blaaaagh*...pukes all over my quilt and my carpet. *sigh*
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Summing it up.....I took her to the ER at 10. We were there til after midnight. They gave her a nebulizer treatment and a loading dose of steroids. She slept solid and quiet for 5 1/2 hours and then got up like a trooper at 6:30am. She was NOT going to miss her party at school!! She was adamant. While the steroids "typically" take 48 hours to kick in, that's not typical for Bianca. She is usually better after the first dose. This AM, she was coughing her curly little head off. I maxed her out on albuterol again. Very little improvement. I brought her to school, I gave them the story and told them to call me if she can't finish out the day. I called her specialist and filled him in. He told me to give it til tomorrow and if she's not improving, bring her back to the ER. And he thinks they are going to change her everyday preventative medicine to something stronger after this episode is over.
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Her daycare just called me and said she's getting worse as the day goes on. Unfortunately, I'm maxed out on treatments for the day. I have to hope that the next dose of steroids helps. Dr said to try a cough supressant but I know that doesn't help her when she's like this. My heart is breaking for my little bean. She's so miserable. So I'm finishing my 3 things I need to do at work and packing up. Going to get her shortly and go home.
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If I don't post again before tomorrow, I hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving!!

I wonder....

A post by Mile 191 got me to thinking. She mentions flirting with a male teacher at a young age and it triggered me remembering a story I wrote in 6th grade. I was....what...11 years old? Actually, I think I was 10 because it was the beginning of the school year. It was a writing assignment to describe something that happened over the summer. I wrote a very sexually charged story about something seriously inappropriate that happened with a 30 year old man, including drinking wine and other unsavory details. It never occurred to me at the time that it was wrong or disconcerting.....it was my reality. Manipulation and sex had been part of my life for many years at that point and I didn't give it a second thought.
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It occurs to me, though.....Why didn't my teacher give it a second thought? If you were a 6th grade teacher and a student submitted such a story about drinking, sexual activity and older men....wouldn't you do or say SOMETHING?? This was almost 30 years ago....not like today when teachers have to be so ultra-careful of broaching any personal topics with their students. Even if she'd turned it over to the principal, nurse, guidance counselor or someone...anyone...to ask me if I was okay. In the back of mind, I wonder if maybe my parents were called about it and it was dismissed as a young girl with an overactive imagination. But I'll never know.
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A few years later, my sophomore year in HS, I was a big time cutter. I used to lift Exacto blades from the graphics lab and slice up my wrists over and over and over. I often wore wrist bands (hey, it was the 80's) to cover the marks. But I also used to draw pictures of razor blades on my desk in every classroom I sat in with a caption "Choose Death" (Again...this was the 80's...remember the Wham! slogan of Choose Life). One teacher did approach me in a caring manner and asked me if I'd written that on the desk. Even though it was also written all over my notebooks, I said no, of course, and he let it go. None of my other teachers ever mentioned it.
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I just wonder how loudly a child has to be screaming for help in order for an adult to hear it and react.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Whinings

I left work early yesterday to meet the cable company at my house. My modem died over the weekend and they were supposed to come replace it last night. When they didn't show, I called them to hear they have me scheduled for Sunday 11/30 at 10am to fix my TV service. Um, ok. None too happy...but whatever. Managed to reschedule for tomorrow. Certainly can't go a long weekend with no internet.
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I called my Mom at one point last night because I wanted her baking input. She's an amazing baker. Turns out she was baking also. Apple pie. For my brother's birthday. My brother, my abuser. I'd all but put it out of my mind that today is his birthday. Why did she have to remind me? And remind me that she will never accept what he did to me so she still bakes pies for him.....
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**Possible SI Trigger Warning**
I'm really, really tired today. Like can't keep my eyes open tired. Was up late decorating cupcakes for Bianca's Thanksgiving party and then just couldn't fall asleep til late. I woke with one of my weird migraines where pain is a secondary factor; I was having severe nausea every time I moved and seeing shooting lights and auras when I opened my eyes. Took me a long time to pull myself together. I had a rough drive in. My commute is about an hour and I often fall asleep while I'm driving. There are a few things I do, most of them are unhealthy tactics, that keep me awake. This morning I opted for stabbing my arm with my T pin. I have to confess, I was out for blood this morning and it felt so good to feel that sharp point poke through my skin. There is a level that produces a pinpoint drop of blood and then there is a another level that makes it really start to bleed. I had a sense of urgency to create pain and see alot of blood today. I describe this in detail for the purpose of saying I haven't felt that way in quite some time. Usually the point of the SI in the car is more for staying awake than anything. This morning, not so. Staying awake was a good side effect but I was really desiring and needing to SI.
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I joined a Yahoo Group for food addicts yesterday. I'm hoping it will serve as at least some sort of support for me. It's OA (Overeaters Anonymous) based and therefore focuses on the 12 step program. I have no concept of a Higher Power. I'm not ready to address my God-issues yet. And I don't know how to figure out what my HP is. Frankly, all I think of when I look at "HP" is Hewlett Packard, LOL!!! Seriously, though, it seems an integral part of the program and I feel like I need to identify what a HP will be for me before I can give it an honest try. Any suggestions on how I figure it out?
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Got a call from the woman at Renfrew to say that she's talked my case over with her "team" and they are trying to determine the best course for me. She's placed a call to Susan, my T, and is waiting to hear back from her. I am confident that Susan will come in strong on my side of needing a group environment and be able to give some clarity to the emotional weight of my addiction. I may not hear any more til after the holiday, though. So...I wait.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hello, Open Wound? Meet.......

Salt.
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I made my last post on Friday evening after my workday was over and before I went to pick up Bianca. After the evaluation appointment, I'd had to shut down the emotions so I could function to drive, pick up Bianca and have my Mom over for dinner. Friday, I held it in all day, finally posting about it and then again, immediately shutting down so I could go about my night. Before I left work, I IMed my friend Jermaine. I told him I wasn't ready to talk details but I needed to just connect. This is part of my effort to do less isolating. Sure, he said, he would be home that evening. I told him I'd call him after Bianca went to bed. Which I did. He was in the midst of putting out an unexpected work fire. His company does international work so he's frequently working odd hours in order to interact with employees in other countries during their workday. He said he'd call me back when he had things under control. He text messaged me about an hour later and said he was still trying to finish up. I told him we'd just talk the following day....I was going to bed.
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During the hour I was waiting, I went to use my computer. Figured I'd check back on my blog or maybe do some writing. And....my modem was dead. I called the cable company and they could only offer someone to come out this week and replace it. So...no internet connection to my cyber-support friends.
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Saturday I had counseling in the morning. I told Susan (my T) that I wished I could just take all the info in my brain and upload it to hers because I SO didn't feel like talking about it all. We talked about the Renfrew experience and she was as unhappy as I was. She did say they are not the only option in the area if they can't work something suitable out for me. I just don't feel up to doing this again right now. Anyway, she said I had every right to feel disappointed or angry. But also to realize that the intensity this is hitting me with is my "old" stuff. It's old feelings of not being able to get help, of looking for assistance and not finding it. She asked me how old I felt. Interesting question. I was not able to answer. She said it's a valuable question to ask sometimes and can help with distinguishing if you're feeling "old" feelings. I felt entirely blank as I pondered that thought. I think my ages are all messed up. I think I have inner child issues surfacing but, when I was a child, I had such grown up problems and responsibilities. I don't know how old I feel at all. I talked to Susan about a dream I'd had the night before that followed no pattern at all to me. She said it was just a myriad of negative feelings and emotions....anger, rage, abandonment, fear, helplessness, etc. All the things I'd been supressing for the past 2 days.
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The rest of Saturday was filled with errands and stuff. While out, I bought Bianca the movie Wall-E. Super cute, we watched it twice when we got home.
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Sunday, I had to sing at church in the morning. Usually Jennie and I go out for breakfast after church. Last week she emailed me that she made plans with her niece so she wouldn't be able to do breakfast. Reaching out in hopes of being able to have a connection, I asked her if she could at least do coffee after church and she said sure. So we went to Starbucks and I told her I'd had a really rough week. I told her I was glad we were able to go out because I was trying hard not to isolate. Bianca was being a typical 4 year old. She wanted my attention, she was playing with a stuffed animal she brought with her. I was frustrated at one point because she was testing my patience with a particular potty issue that may be the death of me. And all of a sudden, Jennie goes off telling me that she thinks I spend too much time alone with Bianca and it's not healthy for me or for her. Telling me I need to have more adult time and should dump Bianca at my mother's house every other weekend so I can do things for me. Tells me that Bianca is too clingy because she won't leave me alone when I'm on the phone and giving me advice on what to do about that.
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Jennie is my oldest and dearest friend. I value her input. But this was such extraordinarily bad timing, I was knocked flat on my back. I felt like everything I'd just said went right over her head about having had a bad week and needing to connect with my friends. I could tell it's something she's had on her mind for a while because the delivery was HARSH and abrupt. I started to cry and then she tried to soften it up a little saying "I don't know what I'm talking about, I'm not a parent", etc. But it was too late at that point. Bianca came over looking for my attention and I felt like Jennie was just waiting to see how I would handle it after she'd just given me her opinion on not catering to my daughter so much. I said I couldn't sit there and listen to any more of this and feeling like my parenting is being judged. And I told her I had to go.
~
I went into the weekend feeling low and wanting to reach out. Attempt #1 Jermaine, didn't work out. Attempt #2 Internet, no access. Attempt #3 Jennie, got verbally beat up. Just left feeling like reaching out for support is not so worthwhile for me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Morbid

Morbid
Etymology: Latin morbidus diseased
1 a: of, relating to, or characteristic of disease
2: abnormally susceptible to or characterized by gloomy or unwholesome feelings
3: grisly, gruesome
Grisly
1 : inspiring horror or intense fear
2 : inspiring disgust or distaste
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Whoever decided that the term "Morbid Obesity" was a good idea has alot to learn about sensitivity. Because, really, it's not enough that I struggle with this day in and day out? My self-esteem and body image are not in the toilet enough? So someone has to make sure that I'm equated with a word meaning diseased, unwholesome, grisly, gruesome and make certain I'm aware that I inspire horror, fear, disgust and distaste?
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I had my intake assessment at The Renfrew Center (eating disorder clinic) yesterday. I was flipping out beforehand (see 2 posts down). I was chewing down my Rescue Remedy pastilles like m&ms. Renfrew in CT is located in a beautiful old home that's been redone to accomodate their function. Well, the home is currently under renovation so they had to temporarily relocate. If I'd not been to the other location in the past, I think I may have left once I got to this office. First off, it's in an office building and all the way in the back corner down a very narrow hallway that is like a maze. Suffocating and scary, particularly when I was already in panic mode. I get to the door and walk in. The entrance is cramped and tiny; it's stark. Decorated in an outdated contemporary style of silver and black with harsh light fixtures that cast pointed shadows on the wall, looking like devil horns atop each light. There is a girl sitting in one of the 2 waiting chairs that are smashed together in a corner. I'm not particularly feeling like being that close to another person at the moment so I stand at the counter. The shiny, cold, silver & black counter. One of the counselors comes out and calls the girl back. I'm standing there alone. No receptionist at the desk. I'm getting antsy.
~
A few minutes pass and my anxiety is climbing. I have a scheduled appointment. Why is there no one here? Why didn't the counselor say anything like "Someone will be right with you"? I'm invisible. I'm worthless. I'm not even good enough to acknowledge. I cough and clear my throat a bit, trying to make a little noise and hopefully alert someone that I'm there. My mind is racing. I have another Rescue Remedy as I fight the internal battle between reality and story telling. I walk to the hallway where the counselor came from and look, listen. "Hello?", I call out. Nothing. I pace, pulse escalating. I've had migraine symptoms for an hour now. Not so much the pain but visual auras, shooting lights and vertigo. I look at the emergency exit and think about making a run for it. No, no, I tell myself....I'm here to make a change in my life. Don't run away. I walk back over to the hallway that leads down to the offices and call out louder "Helllllooooo??" A moment later, a woman comes out and asks if she can help me. I tell her I've been standing there for 15 minutes. "You must be Kim" she says. Okaaay...so she's expecting me and still wasn't checking to see if I've arrived? Nice. Women come to this place to deal with a shameful disorder/addiction and you're going to leave them standing alone in a horrible little waiting room? No bell on the desk or anything? No sign?? The woman apologizes for my wait and then says "You should have come around the corner to find me." WTH?? I respond to her "Really? How would I have known to do that? There is no sign or anything to let me know that I shouldn't expect a person to be at the front desk." She gives me another apology and sets me up with paperwork to complete. On the first page of paperwork...."Emergency Contact" section which I leave blank. Because I have no one to contact.
~
LaurieAnn, the woman doing my evaluation, shows up a few minutes later. Her "usual" office isn't open so we're going to have our appointment in this corner office where I'm filling out paperwork. This horrible, dirty office that is irregularly triangular in shape, has one full wall of windows to the parking lot outside, has a glass door from which you can see the waiting area and 3 straightback uncomfortable chairs. I don't know about everyone else....but for me, I need a certain kind of warmth to my setting when I'm going to let down my guard and talk about my deepest, darkest fears, pain and secrets.
~
LaurieAnn tells me to get comfortable and I tell her that it's really not possible. There are too many unnerving things in my surroundings. I'm very much on edge. I'm not comfortable. I start to cry. I pull a second chair in front of me as a barrier because I feel so totally exposed and vulnerable. To her credit, LaurieAnn rearranges the room a bit to make it better for me. Not good, but better. We start with a couple easy questions. The interview questions are actually arranged quite well. Easy stuff, slip in a tough one, ease back up, more toughies. It went nicely back and forth so that it didn't remain intense for long periods of time. Not surprisingly (for me, anyway) was the ease in which I can discuss my "trauma history" as they call it. I can detach from that so easily to share the facts. The food issues were MUCH harder to talk about.
~
Last time I did this evaluation, the counselor first recommended that I attend the partial residential program which is daily, M-F, 9am-2pm. I told her there was no way I could do that because I'd miss work. So instead she said I could do the evening program, 3 nights a week from 6-8. In theory that sounds alright except, logistically, it just doesn't work. I'm willing to leave work early 3 days a week but I have no one to watch Bianca consistently. I don't have a support network. I don't have a sitter. Because of my past, I cannot leave her with someone I don't know and trust. My mother works evenings. We live an hour from her daycare and 90% of the teachers don't have cars so they are out of the question for babysitting. By the way, the 10% who DO have cars are Moms themselves which is why they are not able to babysit. I have one neighbor who I would trust but she has 2 kids with a 3rd on the way and her kids bedtime is well before I would be home to pick up Bianca. My friend Jennie would be good except, again, distance...she lives 45 minutes away....but also her work schedule. She's not done at work til 7-8 at night. I could drop her off at Jennie's parents house because they are like grandparents to her. But that would mean leave work to get Bianca, drive 30 minutes to drop her off there, drive an hour southwest to Renfrew, then an hour back northeast to get Bianca and then 45 minutes back west again to home. Which would mean not getting home til 10:00 three nights a week and that is too much for her. Also, I'd have to quit choir during this time since one of the night meetings is on a Tuesday and, finally, there would be 3 nights a week I would have virtually no time with my daughter. Nothing more than the car ride.
~
In any case, LaurieAnn says at the end of our meeting that she's going to recommend the evening program for me. I tell her I can't do that due to childcare issues and I really need the day program. Well, she tells me....the day program is now only for anorexics and bulimics. I feel like the room is closing in around me and my knees get weak. All I can think is "Oh my God, even in a supposed safe place where they help women with eating disorders, I'm still the freak." I don't belong. Because I'm the fat one. The Morbid one.....stay away from her. She's not welcome....she's gruesome. I am not entitled to the same healing that they are. I am relegated to the cast off night group. The group I can't attend, anyway, because my life is a fucking shambles with no one in my support system. And now I see why....because this is what happens when I reach out for help. I'm slapped away and put back in my place to deal with it on my own. I begin to cry and shake. LaurieAnn grabs a chair for me (we'd moved into a different room at this point) so I don't pass out or something. She asks me what I'm thinking and I just blurt "I can't have gone through all this again for nothing. I can't do the night group and I just went through all of that again.....for nothing....AGAIN!"
~
She tells me that she will talk to the other counselor and see what they can come up with; that maybe it's as "simple" as me just seeing a nutritionist. FFS, woman....I don't need someone to tell me what to eat. I already know that. I don't want a one on one. I need the support of a group because isolation is such a HUGE factor in my addiction. I need to learn how to change my emotional relationship with food. If you think giving me a copy of the food pyramid and weekly weigh-in's is the answer to all of this, then you don't deserve to be working at an eating disorder clinic.
~
I had to run out of there because I was late to pick up Bianca. At the beginning of the interview with her, she asked me a list of questions about my moods and feelings. She asked me if I felt hopeless and I said no, that if I felt like there was no hope then I would not be there trying to make a change for the better. Well, after the way our meeting ended, I told her that I changed my mind because now I *DO* feel hopeless. I feel like I spilled all my heart and guts to this perfect stranger and then she went "Psyche! We can't really help you! But thanks for all the juicy details of your lowest moments in life!" I feel like there will never be an answer for this. I feel alone and isolated, ashamed, humiliated. Alone. And if I didn't already say it....I feel alone. The worst part of that is that I don't want to be alone but it's the only thing that feels safe right now. My safe little prison of solitude.

no words

I fear if I say a word right now, the tears will begin and they will not stop until I fall apart completely. So I hold them inside, as tightly as I can until........??

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm freakin' out a bit.....


I'm going to be leaving soon for my evaluation at the Renfrew Center (Eating Disorder Clinic) and I'm having a minor panic situation.
~
Trying hard just to breathe and stay calm.
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I don't recall being so nervous the first time I did this. Maybe because I didn't know what to expect. Maybe because I was up in the air about treatment. Whatever the reason....send some calming vibes my way. I need them.
~
I will post about my appointment later or tomorrow. Right now, I can hardly breathe.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Being Human

How I detest being human. Can you imagine a more ridiculous thing for me to waste my energy on? Trying to figure out how not to be confined to human limitations? It occurs to me as I get off on a tangent of lamenting these limitations that there is absolutely no way in hell that I will ever love, value, respect and accept myself in this life until I can QUIT trying to find a way around being what I am really fortunate enough to be. A human being.
Yet I despise.......
I despise.....

Emotions

Hurts, emotional or physical

Requiring nourishment

Desires

Needing human contact

Physical limitations

Needing sleep

Bodily functions of any kind

Not knowing the answer to any and every question

Being subject to criticism

Making mistakes

Having to deal with any sort of ambiguity

Not being 100% on top of every single thing in life, at home, at work

Feeling like a failure at anything

Questioning my value as a person, a friend, a parent

Judging and feeling judged

Getting sick

Hearing my voice

Disappointing anyone at anytime

Not being able to do everything for everyone at a moment's notice
It must be perfect. Every single thing I do.
Every single.....

Word from my mouth
Action I take
Parenting choice
Meal I cook
Project I undertake

Advice I give
Sentence I type

Photo I snap
Choice I make
Mile I drive
Song I sing
Story I write
Game I play
Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.
I know I cannot be. I know I am not. Yet I'm still driven by this desire to somehow find the key that unlocks the ability to achieve the impossible. How do I let go of this? How do I find self-acceptance? How do I come to believe that it's okay to be just what I am? It's not like I'm fooling anyone. I'm fairly sure there is no one on this planet who looks at me and thinks I am soo put together and fabulous that I must not even be human!!?!?! So what drives me to keep feeling this way?
Oh my god....it's the inability to be. To just be. When I stop hating myself for being something that I know I will never be then I will have to live with myself as I am and accept that. And it's the feeling that I need to be tormented by something, that I don't deserve peace. That is why I can't let it go. It's not that I can't accept my lack of perfection. It's that I spend my energy fretting over a desire wholly futile to keep my brain from resting and getting to know myself as I actually AM. And to say it's okay. Despite the messages that were programmed into my psyche so early in life, I don't have to be any more than I am. Go figure.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Broken Alarm


(And miscellaneous father ramblings)
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I've been getting really into dreams lately and trying to "teach" my brain to make better use of my dreams. I bought a book which includes a dream journal. It's pretty cool, asking questions about the day, certain events, prevalent emotions, recurring thoughts. You write all that down before you go to bed and also write down if there is anything in particular you'd like your dreams to address that night. The following morning, you write down what you remember of your dream(s) and compare it to the day before to see if there are any parallels.
~
Saturday night, I had a most interesting dream. In my dream, my father came to my house, uninvited, and I found him sleeping on my couch. I left him a note and I went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, he was gone. I could not figure out how he got out of the house without setting off the alarm, since he didn't know the code. I looked at the note that I'd left for him to find that my mother (who was not in the dream) had written back to me on it. I went to my bedroom and was laying in bed when I realized that someone had broken into my home. I was trying to set off my alarm by opening doors and windows that are wired into the central system but my father had broken the alarm and I could not make it go off to alert the police. The intruder caught me and I woke up in a panic.
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The first thing this said to me was that my father (one of my abusers) "broke my alarm" and left me unable to protect myself when I needed to. Because of his actions, his messages, his abuse...he beat me down to a place that I didn't know how to defend myself. Nevermind HOW to defend myself....I didn't even know I deserved defending. If that was the way my father would treat me...my father....who is supposed to be my hero, my supporter, my protector.....then how would I ever feel like I was worthy of love and respect from ANY man?
~
I haven't quite put my finger on the meaning of my mother writing back on the letter I left for my father. I imagine it has something to do with her trying to make up for his behavior, overcompensating to pick up his slack or trying to make excuses for keeping our family together....not quite sure. As I re-read this, I'm also seeing other nuances...while in my home, my father was sleeping, ie: there but not "present". He left before I awoke, ie: abandonment.
~
These are my most vivid memories of my father:

1. When he threw me down a flight of stairs because I ran the dishwasher without putting his dinner plate in it first.

2. When I came home from a date and he greeted me at the door by grabbing my wrists, twisting them so hard that I had to bend down to the ground to avoid them being broken. He demanded to know what I'd been doing with the boy. When I said we'd gone to the movies, he kept yelling "What else?? What else?? What else did you do??"

3. When I finally told about the abuse from my brother, my father confronted me and made me say that I was lying and made it up for attention. He made me apologize to my brother for saying it.

4. Our final correspondence, 8 years ago. I initiated it through a Christmas card, tried to reach out yet again and see if we could address the past. These are but a few of the "gems" he threw my way:
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"Kim, I was not going to respond to your letter. It seemed totally pointless. But perhaps you are seeking some kind of closure. Many people need that. I will not address each of your comments; I do not see any merit."
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"Sometime I did something that terribly hurt and angered you. You have never told me what that was. In all likelihood you believe I should know but sometimes what is devastating to one person is inconsequential to the other. "
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(*Important to note…read this with MASSIVE sarcasm intended*) "It's a good thing you are doing, or have done. Ending the abuse of this family history, understanding the dysfunctional background, no doubt forgiving your brother for his behavior as he too was subjected to that same loveless, tyrannical upbringing. Yes, you should be proud of yourself for that. "
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"I believe you will never understand what I feel when I say what I am about to (I guess I am speculating, which I said I wouldn't but). The last thing that you probably want or would accept; but a piece of fatherly advice….let it go. Move on with your life. You will never understand me, so let it go. "
~
Doesn't he make you all warm & fuzzy inside??