Friday, July 20, 2012

Quitting the internet

Like it's a fucking drug... And I'm shaking over here, tweeking, thinking "GOTTA HAVE IT! GOTTA HAVE MY PRECIOUS!!!".

One would have thought I would have been addicted to percocet well before this point.

So anyway, friends... You know where to find me. I won't be on Facebook. I won't be on Meetup (Generally). I won't be on WoW. I will be answering emails once a day and text messages sporadically. I need to step away from the phone. The laptop.

I need to stop worrying about when shit I can't control is going to happen or trying to make shit I can't control happen with people I'm not sure want it to happen with me...

Internet. Making people crazy since the Mid 90's.

I'm OFF YOU BIOTCH! (At least for a bit. ROFL. We'll see how this thing holds out.).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thirty Four: ForSrs?

My family has never been one that I could rely on in the long term for support outside the occasional, "Hey, we're having trouble paying this bill this month.". My relationship with my mother has been strained always, my father, formal at best. There's always been this feeling of "Why didn't you stop her from what she was doing to me? To us? We were just kids and shouldn't have been the target of bipolar rage.

So for the last 18ish months, we've been telling them that something is wrong with S. Or just not right. We don't know exactly because no one that we've seen knows for sure yet, but he has severe speech and fine motor delays, along with multi-sensory processing disorders. It is firmly believed he is Autistic or on the spectrum.

And for 18 fucking months all I've been hearing is, "Nichole, I don't notice anything wrong with him.". "He was with us for the weekend and he was fine, he just doesn't talk. Or eat.". And it makes me stabby. Beyond Stabby. No sane mother is going to go around telling people that there's things wrong with her child just for the fucking attention. No sane mother is going to put her child through what we've put S through to help him do things that a typical 18 month old does now that he's 2.

So my father was down over the 4th to take G and L on a trip. And he spent some time with S.We were talking about what his therapy will cost after the state stops paying for it because our insurance doesn't cover it, how much he's like my friend's 18 month old child, how his Dr is excited to get him to a developmental pediatrician... And apparently, the goddamn light bulb went off.

S isn't like my niece was at 2. S isn't like G and L were at 2. S isn't like any 2 year old he's known. Well no fucking shit. What was the first goddamn clue? He wouldn't eat solid food at 12 months on our family vacation?

And now, according to my brother, all this support and help is going to be offered.

No offense- But where was that support 18 months ago when we noticed something was wrong with our child? Where has that support been through these last 18 months when we've been dealing with therapy and Dr's and visits to Cinci by ourselves? Where has that support been because we're absolutely broke from Dr's visits and trips to Cinci and getting shit from my mother because we can't afford anything? Why have we been doing this alone until someone wants to play WebDr and research Autism on the internetz and freak out?

I'm stuck, though, between telling him to stay out of it because we've gotten this far just fine... Or letting him help in whatever way he's planning on... Maybe I should just be greatful that someone's sitting up and taking notice finally, but I can NOT let go of the bitterness when it comes to my family. I can't do it. There will never be a time when I can look at my parents and think, "What did I do to deserve that from you.".

But I fucking refuse to calm someone else down about my child when I've been trying to keep them informed and prepared for the last 18 months.

Now. I'm off to figure out how to pay for special needs daycare. I hear Dino Porn is a good business.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thirty Two:

As anyone ever had a friend- Ok, I guess that's a dumb question to ask, but it's the best way to start this. Have you ever had a friend?

Now, have you ever had a friend that has known you inside and out. Known why you were crying before you really had to get the words out. Knew exactly how to make you feel better... But, should they choose to wield the power, make you feel like a puddle of absolute nothing, craving that comfort of friendship again?

I'm not talking about your spouse. I, and Dave knows this, fully believe that he can't be everything to me. Dave is my husband, my love, my rock. I'm talking about that friend you can talk to at 3am when your rock has pissed you off and you two can plot how to hide said rock's body.

Doesn't have to be a specific sex. Just a friend.

I've had many friends in my lifetime. I have a friend from high school that no matter the time or distance, I can text her at 3 am and she'll answer me as soon as she wakes up. I have my Army wife friends who support each other irregardless of what is going on or where we are in the world. I have my local friends who are friends by proximity- Though, I'm finding that Jodi is turning out to be a distance friend, thank you, Tebow.

But I have had one friend like the above. One friend who got me through the rough part in my marriage. One friend who knew how to make me feel better when I wanted to curl up in a ball and die. One friend who was better than a therapist... And because of that, I found myself becoming co-dependent. One friend who knew how to tear my heart out. One friend who did tear my heart out a la Mayan sacrifice and seemed to find joy in devouring it. The pain of what happened, what came to light, and what came to pass was almost unbearable. It shattered me... And of all the times that my "self" has been shattered, it's left the biggest part of me behind. It was the biggest part of me that got left with someone.

This was 3 years ago. This was at the end of the bad period in our marriage. It was right in the early weeks of my pregnancy with S. I mourned the end of this friendship like a death. I was in denial. I was angry. I bargained. Then I realized I was pregnant and didn't look back- I couldn't. It wasn't healthy.

S just turned turned 2. And I found myself in a position to be in contact with the person again. And the realization hit me that no matter what had happened, I guess I never assumed they'd be gone from my life for good. Probably because I've always considered them to be my person.

So contact was made. Conversations were had. Apologies made...  ... ...

Then I realized something tonight while talking to a friend who I will probably never meet in person but I consider family- I was starting to not recognize myself again. I was starting to feel like a 12 year old on Doritos and Freeze-Pops trapped in a cage. I was starting to not be the person who didn't look back and took control of her life and stopped being codependent on ANYONE... And starting to be this obnoxious, needy thing with an obvious missing piece. And only in situations when I was to be in contact with my above mentioned "person".

And it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had, again, managed to put myself back together after what happened. I had succeeded and made new local friends. Friends I love and would do anything for. Was losing myself worth the probable implosion of this friendship again- As from what I could see, they were repeating behaviors a week in? Was becoming this person I couldn't stand to be worth the attempt at the renewed friendship? Was losing myself for you worth losing my relationships here?

Would a successful friendship and being able to hold onto myself be worthwhile- I believe so. But 3 years wasn't long enough for me to hold onto me while letting you be you. You still can't be what I need or want you to be. Selfish, absofuckinglutely. But I've earned that.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thirty One:

So, one of our (Dave and I) long time couple friends had their first baby a few days ago. To explain our relationship with these people would take entirely to long, but they are the people our children are going to if Dave and I die in a murder/suicide. Anyway, a beautiful little girl. Considering what her father looks like, I think that her mother did most of the genetic work. L says she's our baby too and says she's his half sister.

I had planned to stay away a bit longer, though.

I am, however, going to make this about me because it is my blog. Deal with it. Being that we've known them as long as we've had, I'd ask the compulsory questions about how she was feeling during the pregnancy, about names- Standard fare. It's not that I wasn't interested or didn't care. By this time, we'd had three children, and they are the same age as us... It's that... Well...

Babies are a touchy subject for me. I say this as my last one crawls into my lap for the few minutes a day of contact I get with him. When most women get pregnant, it's a moment of joy, wonder, and hope for the future. You read the books, you daydream about what your future spawn will be like, about how you want your birth to go *Cough*, and imagine how your life will change for the better with this little piece of sciencey miracle in your lives. You imagine their future without any pain, difficulty, or hardship- Knowing that you will do whatever you can to take any and all of it away from them and bear that burden yourself. Die, if need be, so your children have a chance.

The last time I was going through that was 2 years and 9 months ago, almost exactly. I knew what I knew from G and L's pregnancies and infancies. I knew what I expected. I knew what to do. I knew what my pregnancy was going to be like. I had an idea of what our child was going to be like- Another boy? EASY!

And he was born. And he wasn't exactly like how L was like G. He was S. He was different. He needed almost constant stimulation. He wouldn't eat well. He struggled with certain things from almost the beginning. He's struggled with certain things, easy things, most of his life. He will continue to struggle with easy things for most of his life.

And it's heart wrenching. It kills me when I can't kiss my child. It breaks my heart that I can't hold him on my lap for a story or a tv show. I want to take away his pain of struggling through OT or Speech Therapy. I want to take his medical tests for him. I want to fix him... Or at least take him out of his struggles and pain.

Day dreaming about what he was going to be like or what his personality was going to be- I never day dreamed this. And it's a kick to the teeth to see a fresh from the vag baby of some of the best friends we've had, knowing what I know now... That not everything turns out perfect. That things can turn out scary. Things can be difficult. Things can be painful.

So, those of you who are having babies soon, my advice to you is this- Snuggle those babies close. Dream. make plans. Know that life is beautiful, but it's also a dirty business. Don't be scared that danger is lurking behind every corner, but don't allow yourself to be blindsided like I was.

I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thirty: It's Anniversary time...

Every time this year, I get amazed and filled with romantic wanderlust. More so in the last couple of years than the past.

Dave and I celebrate 2 anniversaries within a month of each other, and then S's birthday is 6 days after our wedding anniversary. In two days, Dave and I will have been married for 11 years. April 30th was 12 years together.

Now, I've already talked about my love/hate relationship with Dave. More often than not, I love him, and love him deeply. Some days, he's lucky I've not put his head through a wall. I'm probably lucky of the same, honestly. I know I am not the easiest person to know, much less be tied to legally and genetically for life. I'm a strait up pain in the ass that refuses to fold laundry most of the time.

G is almost 10. L is almost 8. S turns 2 in less than 2 weeks. I am 29 years old and I got married before I would have graduated high school. Short of the time spent pissing off my mother, I never had that experience of figuring out who I really am. Those 4-8 years where you make mistakes, learn from them, learn what you stand for and what you'll fall on. I went from being a strong teen to a strong teen Army Wife to a strong teen mom to a single teen mom (While Dave was deployed) in less than 2 years. L came along, and I thought my life was over. And when he was born, my life really was almost over...

But I've carried on. I've never made a serious decision that didn't involve figuring out the ramifications and impact on everyone in my family. I can safely say that I have never made a decision purely out selfish abandon. They are all heavily weighted against the benefits and risks to my children and what Dave's reaction is going to be... And the 1 time that I did say to Dave, "I don't care if you want to go do this, I do, it's important to me and we're going"... We ended up not going because we got into a earth shattering fight about his behavior when I went to wake him.

I'm starting to realize that as I approach thirty, start college for the 2nd time with a goal that TERRIFIES me, I'm regretting more and more that I didn't have that time in my life to make stupid mistakes and have them blamed on the fact that I was a kid... Because during those formative years of my life- I didn't get to figure out anything, short of knowing that I love this man and want to spend the rest of my forever with him.

So, at the cusp of starting my life over, or again, depending how you look at it, I'm beginning to realize that the pieces of me that I am sure of don't fit with the pieces of me that I've been clinging to desperately.

My therapist thinks that I need to figure out the rest of me so I can deal with everything else more effectively. So I know what I stand for, and how far I'm willing to take that stand. What matters and what doesn't. How much I really can take instead of pretending that everything is going to be ok. It's with the goal that I won't miss those years as much as I have and currently do.

But what scares me more than anything... Is that even thought I know I love Dave. We've been through hell and back to stay together- What if I finally piece myself back together from where ever they are scattered across the universe- And it doesn't work for him anymore?

Can you ever be a whole person without having all the pieces of yourself? Will the person you depend on for everything still love you after you put yourself back together again? Is it worth the risk? Is my personal happiness of self exploration, fulfillment, and satisfaction worth even the lightest risk that my odds defying marriage might wither and die because he doesn't like the person that I've grown into?

Because it's almost died once previously... And it nearly killed both of us.

Clearly, on the eve of our 11 year anniversary, this is a love letter to my husband.

I love you. I have always loved you. I hope, with my whole heart, that you still love the person that I eventually piece together.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Twenty Eight:

Today, folks, we're going to deal with childhoods.

Was yours awesome? Nothing to complain about? A bit depressing? Abusive? Or somewhere in between one of those? Or maybe something else all together entirely?

Well, through my many years of therapy, mine has been described as abusive. Less so physically, but more mentally and emotionally. I tend to look at it like this, "Well, at least she wasn't beating the shit out of me every night.".

And yes, I said she. My mother... How so I begin to describe what my mother is without describing who she was? None of us have that kind of time. I'm also not really interested in reliving the emotional drama that came along with having her as a mother. I've moved past it. I'm mostly over it. I bear little grudge and/or chip on my shoulder.

I will touch on a few points, because friends, it all leads into a greater point. I believe she is undiagnosed Bipolar 1. When she would get angry she would do everything from break things to slap me. I would never know what mood she was going to wake up in. You get used to living in a constant game of "Watch What Happens Next". I spent a majority of my childhood grounded for extensive periods of time for infractions such as talking back. Which caused me to lie about things. Which caused me to get caught lying. Which caused more grounding, physical and emotional punishment. My mother would get in fights with my father about who's turn it was to buy groceries and weeks would go buy without anyone buying food- Which resulted in snacks of toast and ranch dressing. (For some reason, there was always plenty of both.) There would be stand offs about everything from who's going to mop the floor in the kitchen after someone spilled a pitcher of Koolaid (Eventually one of the kids did it after a week) to who was going to do the dishes after mom decided the best place to do the dishes was in the bathtub, had a manic crash and we took showers with plates, silverware, peas and scraps of steak for at least one evening.

About 16, I stopped giving a shit and just did what I wanted. I met Dave. He saved me from myself. He gave me something to care about instead of finding the next guy to sleep with or more ways to piss my mother off.

Now, from what I can gather after I was kicked/moved out at 18, my mom has been calmer, a bit more thought out, and had more proportional responses to perceived injustices by my father. (Again, a dynamic that would take to much time to cover fully. Let's just say, he makes more money than she does at Pizza Hut. He's a saver, she's a spender, and when he doesn't give her everything she wants, that makes Hulk Angry.) They will go months without speaking to each other, and then she'll calm down and they will be fine until something new happens that he doesn't take her side, he doesn't give her money or she gets 15k in liens against the home, and they stop speaking again. (Public Record, friends.)

Now, in total, she has 4 grand kids. G, L, my niece P, and S. P and S are almost a year apart.

I have gotten one apology out of my mother for the way she treated me when we were younger. It was right after S was born. Completely out of the blue and never to be repeated. "If I had known then what I know now, I would have taken my medication like I should have. I'm sorry.".

What do you say to that? Find a therapist and a new set of medications, because clearly, you're still bat shit nuts? Stop taking your Prozac until it starts working and then stop because you think you're better and don't need it anymore? SHIT DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT!!!

So now that all the pieces of this puzzle are in place, we had an event this weekend. My mother and my sister got into a fight. My mother was bad mouthing my father to her again because he didn't give her money. My sister told her to grow up and stop bad mouthing our father. My sister left. My mother broke dishware in and outside the house... And possibly her toe.

My father calls me? to ask me about S's birthday gift and then begins to tell me about the scene he came home to- "Nichole, it looked like someone had a snowball fight with coffee cups in the driveway and in the diningroom.". My father isn't one for hyperbole. He's also not one to call and tell me about my mother's latest fiasco. He's also not one to sit on the phone with me for 45 minutes, learning of things about my childhood that he never knew.

About how, when I was 9 and my mom was mad at my dad, my mother came into my bedroom and told me that the only reason that they got married was because she got pregnant with me and I was the reason her life was ruined. Or how she got mad at me because I wasn't cleaning my room fast enough and she cleared off my desk with one arm, then stepped on my glasses and refused to replace them- Making me absolutely blind for 5th grade. Or no, Dad, she really did throw my things out the window into the trashcan in the driveway and scream at me that I didn't live there anymore and to get out because when she asked me who I was talking to on my cell phone and I told her it was Dave. The cell phone I bought and paid for with my 2 full time jobs that I had to work because she refused to buy me things like... Shampoo and tampons.

Now, I know that my mother is stressed about her "kids leaving her" and my brother's custody battle to the death with his ex cunt...  But when do you draw the line and say, "Enough is enough. I have to protect my kids from what you did to me when I was a child?". Because, as smart, funny, and lovable as those boys are- They aren't me when it comes to emotional strength. They aren't their daddy. They've been taught that their feelings are ok, irregardless of what they are. They aren't forced to hide them until it almost eats them alive.

When does it become ok to tell your mother, your kids "loved" grandmother that she isn't going to see her grand kids again until she gets a mental health evaluation and is stable? Is it ok to tell her that you're afraid for your special needs toddler, simply because you have no idea how she's going to respond to him at any given day? Is it ok to outright tell your mother that you don't trust her with your children at the present moment?

I say loved, because at 7 and 9, L and G are very aware that Grandma isn't all there. That they are unsure of how to deal with her when they are there by themselves because they don't know what mood she is going to be in. About how she "mega yells" at them for things they didn't know they weren't supposed to do while Grandpa is gone, but is always very quick to apologize.

Is it ok now? Is it ok to unfurl this fireball of hell towards my father and siblings, simply because I live the farthest and can ignore it? Is it ok to do everything in my power to make sure that the fucked up dynamic that I survived, but just barely sometimes, doesn't affect my kids any more than it already has? That my children don't ever have to worry that Grandma is having a bad day and they need to hide out in the basement because mommy made the mistake of letting them spend the week at Grandma and Grandpa's house? Is it ok that even though I want them to be real, functioning people with common sense and a bit worldly, I don't want them to get it the same way I was forced to get it?

Or is it, like it's going to seem to the irrational mind, that I'm just holding her grand kids over head until she does what I want her to do?... Not that I want her to get help for ALL her 4 children and 4 grandchildren?

G said it best. "Mom. Why is it that I have to go to a therapist for my anger issues, but she doesn't? Why do you and Dad choose to go for your crazy problems, but your parents won't?".

Why is my desire to fix her so strong? After everything she's put me through, even now, why do I still desire some sort of functional relationship with her? I'm almost 30. I've had a functioning mom for less than half those years- I should be used to NOT having one...

But why is her denial of her mental health issues going to be the thing that shatters me... When I am so much stronger, smarter, and clearheaded than she'll ever be?

Why am I, as an adult, letting someone's medication use become my downfall?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Twenty Seven:

I've been in a reflective mood the past few days. It may be my bipolar 2 acting up. It may be that I almost died a few months ago. It may be that I am making some serious life changes in the next few months. It may be the stress over S. It may be financial pressure. Or any of the above combination.

I generally tend to believe that you can't live life full of regrets. That shit will tear you apart. I've done some serious and seriously painful things I should regret. In the very long run, in my deepest self, I don't. They were choices I made consciously, as an adult, with total regard for circumstance, setting, emotion and situation. They were things I tried miserably to fix that were much like that children's rhyme.

"All Cholie's effort and all Cholie's tears couldn't put Humpty together again.".

But I don't look upon any of it as something that I shouldn't have done. I don't even look upon any of it as something that I wouldn't do again, if given the same set of circumstances... Even if, at times, I left little pieces of myself in places that I will never be able to retrieve them. In places or situations or with people in which I will never have closure, even if I reapproached those things in search of them.

So, I find myself wondering, having left little pieces of myself scattered in various corners of other people- How do you ever become a whole person again?

I enrolled in the local community college yesterday, full time, after having been out of school for 12 years. LARGE step. Massive. Habitual procrastinator. (Most of the time, it takes me 20 minutes to get up after I realize I have to pee, because I figure if I wait longer, I will have more time before I have to do it again and get more time on my couch. No judgement, peanuts.)

My best friend and I were having the conversation of what the goal in it was- Because she had enough college credit at various universities in another state to have an Bachelors in Bullshit. (AKA Independent Studies) She said to me, "Because after all that, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.". I laughed, filled with irony. There we sat, two grown women, closer to thirty than 29, both with husbands that we've had in our lives for double digit years who have successful careers, and multiple children (G's much older than her oldest, though.)... And we both had the exact same thought.

When I'm a grown up...

But, can you be a grown up without being a whole person? Will I ever become a whole person again without those pieces of myself that I've left scattered across various parts of the universe? Or does a mental/therapy band-aid count as filling? Will I forever feel like that carnival ride that you KNOW is held together by rubber cement and adhesive strips? Enjoying the ups of life, hating the stomach turning downs, not regretting the things that required the rubber cement and adhesive strips, not wanting to get off, but wondering if I'll ever be enough to feel satisfied with myself?

Because the only thing I want to be right now is a grown up. A whole grown up.