my anxiety writes a poem

if my oldest son
never comes home
i will have to take his homemade ship
to the river myself
to launch it
after so many times of telling him,
“no, not today…”
i will have run out of days to spend
with him
maybe i will set it on fire
have a viking funeral
as i wish he would come home
if my second son
never comes home
i will never be able to return the movie
we are supposed to watch together
i will have to keep it
and pay the library
for it
knowing i could buy a cheaper copy
i will never let go
of the movie we were supposed to watch
as i wait for him to come home
if my daughter never comes home
i will build a shrine of
barbie dolls
and tutus
i will sit and sing to myself
surrounded by her special things
i will wish i could hear her
speak words
have a conversation with me
just once
just once
as i hope for her to come home
if my youngest son never comes home
i will die inside
knowing i wasn’t the mother to him
that he needed me to be
knowing that i failed him
from the beginning
and the only way i can save him
is to save myself
and bring him home to me

sometimes when my kids go to visit their dad, i go to a special hell reserved for moms. sometimes i breathe and relax and enjoy my alone time. other times i climb the walls and let the demons chisel at my thoughts.

i didn’t intend to be a stay-at-home mom. however, when it came time for me to go back to work after fidgit was born, i found i couldn’t do it. at first i tried taking him to work with me, which was strangely tolerated. but i realized i was doing two jobs half-assedly and decided i needed to make a choice.
i chose being a mom.
and it has been a hard road. a very hard road. my ego has suffered a lot and sometimes i find myself wondering, “what if–” about my choice to be a mom at all. and then the catholic part of me kicks in and i live in fear that i have hexed my children with such thoughts.

being a mom is so fucking complicated.

i just want my kids to come home so i don’t have time to think about it.

a shithead in sheep’s clothing

i see you
i see you now
you hide in your chameleon’s skin
you turn the tables
you play victim
you say, “i wouldn’t have done it if you–”
you say, “but look at how awful you are”
you are a master of distraction
a master of disguise
while a moth wears predator’s eyes
for protection
you are a shithead in sheep’s clothing

bear with me, y’all. i am working through some angst & frustration.
nothing to see here!
it’s all a part of the healing….

now i need to go do some art.

(the minions are out of town & i am down in the dumps)

i told me so

i wanted to believe him
oh how badly i wanted to believe
that he really loved me
really wanted me
really saw now what he had done
wrong
how he had
wronged
me
i wanted so badly to believe
he really had changed
that things could really be
different
better
that there was hope still
even though the nagging little voices
in my head
assured me he had not changed
pointing out the little red flags
scattered around him

dusty and i were perfect and in love once. so so so in love. it was a long time ago. he was the center of my universe…and i’m sure i somehow fit into his universe.

and then i got pregnant with fidgit.
and everything changed.
i changed, my focus changed, shifted. dusty was no longer the center of my universe. he had to share the spotlight.
and dusty changed. a person emerged that i had never met before. a cold person. a cruel and judgemental person.

and that was the beginning of the end.

i was surprised when he started up with the love and adoration this last time. i guess i shouldn’t have been. i guess i should have remembered he will do anything he has to do to keep the status quo. but i was surprised because it has been awhile since he acted as if i were important to him. usually i am just a piece of the puzzle…but he started acting as if i were the puzzle itself. every piece.

but i told him “no” because i have to hold close the hurt he caused me so i don’t forget. like snapping a rubber band on my wrist whenever i want to believe dusty actually cares.

and last night i got my proof that i was right to do so.

while he was wooing me to keep our family together, apparently he decided to cover his bets & he also got back in touch with the woman he used to try to destroy me. the poor delusional twat who he would lie to as much as he would lie to me–except she believed him. i don’t know if she was crazy before he got a hold of her, but she was crazy by the end.

so, yay, they are back together.

i told me so.

(i just realized that if we had stayed married, today would be our 14 year anniversary)

just leave me alone

you want me to be the mirror
to your healing
but i can only see the person
you have always been to me
you haven’t changed
you’ve just gotten better
at faking
you want me to be your validation
that you are
different
but i can only see the toxicity
the same toxicity
with more sugar coating
i know you are hurting
i know you are afraid
but i cannot save you
cannot heal you
cannot bear you
in my life
anymore.

dusty just won’t fucking stop. funny how once i wanted this attention so badly. once i would have eaten up his words as if they were the only thing keeping me alive. i wanted to hear him say these things to me so many times when he was cold to me. when he was treating my like second..third..last choice….

of course he is saying the words, but they are lies. he is saying the words, but if i don’t listen & respond & believe, he quickly switches back to the old script. the script where everything is my fault. the script of blame.

dusty can’t keep his disguise on with me for very long if i don’t play along.

he does this thing.
he will woo & woo & woo & flatter & lament his own faults & stupidity…and i will say “no, i’m not buying it. goodbye.”
and, literally, the very next thing out of his mouth is:

we need to decide what to do about the kids.

or something to that effect. something that triggers my anxiety about losing my minions. ever since fidgit was a baby–whenever things get rough & i say i am leaving:

i want the kids half-time.

why is that a go-to move if he is so eager to fix things between us? if i play along and pretend we have a future, he never pushes the child custody envelope. he never asks to see them more than one week out of a month. i know he loves seeing them, but he often resents them as well. yes, sometimes i resent them too–or no–not them–but my decision to have children with him. i resent that he has control over me via the kids. i resent that i do not have a partner willing to support me as i mother our children–willing to parent beside me, sharing the work of it equally. i resent that. being only human, sometimes my resentment effects my mothering…i wish it didn’t.

he has anxiety now. i never noticed it before. maybe it’s because he has cut back on his pot smoking?? but now he has terrible anxiety and it emerges as obsessive texts to me, begging me to talk to him. it is ridiculous. i mean, i am sorry he feels anxiety…i can remember trying to cling to him to ease the madness of my own anxiety…i wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  but i am trying to take care of four kids and a small homestead and a sick turkey and a neonatal kitten and a household of laundry, dishes, meals…and he is freaking out because i haven’t texted him right back.
half the time i don’t even know where my phone is.
i feel sad that i have learned not to let myself feel that need to soothe him.
i feel angry that after everything he has done to me he still turns to me to soothe him.
i feel hopeless that anything will ever change between us.
he says all the right words–but if they don’t work–he says all the wrong ones.
and he has rewritten our history to suit his own needs.
i think he might be delusional.
the alternative is too scary to think about…that he knows exactly what he is doing….

not alone

i thought it was
you & me
against the world
but
i was all alone
the whole
time
i was all alone

i have a key around my neck with the words “not alone” engraved on one side and a heart engraved on the other side. it was made by a woman who suffers from anxiety to remind us that even when we feel alone, we are not.

i am not alone.

i mean i know that when i hear a song on the radio and wonder how the artist got a hold of my journal. even a poem i wrote last week reminded someone of the lyrics of a tool song. he sent the lyrics to me, and i was blown away by how much the writer of the song was feeling what i felt–and also by how much better he expressed it.

sometimes i feel very, very alone though.
sometimes it is hard to remember that i am not.
i have to remind myself & convince myself that i have a tribe out there that i have never met. (i have seen the blind melon video so i know that it must be true–right?)

i wrote the above poem for dusty. he cannot seem to grasp how much he hurt me. he won’t stop with the words that are ten years too late. he threw me away for other women and broke parts of me that i did not realize hadn’t already been broken. and now he just wants everything to be magically okay. so i have nightmares all night long. living with dusty in my dreams. trying to thaw his coldness. one dream had three men break into our place. i was trying to save the minions; dusty disappeared. the dream ended just before i was going to be raped. that sums it up. i don’t feel safe with him. i don’t feel like a priority. i feel like he is never on my side. that he does not have my back…not at all.

and that is what i need. i need someone i can count on.

not dusty.

so right now, i am alone…but not for always.

birthday drawing

once upon a time
my birthday was one of my three
favorite holidays
once upon a time
i would count down
from like six months away
telling an unwilling audience
every
day
how many days it was until my birthday
i never had a party
(tried once & nobody came)
i just would spend the day basking
In the glory of a day
that was mine…
then i married a man
who refused to celebrate me
then i had kid after kid after kid
and realized
no matter what day it was
i still was expected to be a mom
then my brother died
and i no longer got my birthday call
from  him
asking, “so what else is new,”
and actually listening to what i said….
once upon a time
my birthday was a glorious day
for me…
i want to find that girl again
she was damaged…but not as scarred as who i am
today
i want to find that birthday girl
and i want to celebrate her
anyway

i feel better today. back on my journey to healing. i feel better–stronger–more able to tackle life.
i wish my birthday didn’t knock me down like it does. i hope i can somehow recover my old sweet love for my birthday.
it is a journey…healing…and sometimes i wander off the path and into a patch of poison ivy….

my minions were sweet to me. iggy wrapped up a dozen rocks & shells to give me. fidgit drew me this awesome picture. misha made an elaborate show of hiding “barbie” dolls & stuffed animals for me to uncover for my birthday. my minions are awesome creatures…even poppy who is three but one day won’t be anymore (please god!)

so i survived another birthday and am back on my journey to being a better me.

still-life for sawyer

today is my birthday
so
of course
i deleted my facebook page
and turned off my phone
not
because
i don’t want people to celebrate me
but because
i so desperately do
want that.
so if it doesn’t happen
i will be hurt
and if it does happen
i will be suspect
once a year?
once a year you remember me?
once a year you stop by
to say “hello.”
i know.
everyone is busy with their own lives
and how often do i reach out?
but don’t you see
how difficult it is for me to reach out
when all i expect is rejection
and disappointment?
today is my birthday…
i want fireworks, fancy chocolates, and fancy drinks
with loud & happy people…
but i suspect that won’t happen
i’m not that special
no one would even remember me if it weren’t for facebook
so i hide
from disappointment
& insincerity
i curl up in a ball
& cry
because
today is my birthday

it’s like dusty. all of a sudden he is saying all of the things that i wanted to hear ten years ago. and he expects me to just jump into his arms and eat up the bullshit.
but i can’t
because it is bullshit. ten years too late and said in a voice that makes me think he is being coached by someone. someone else. he never listened to me when i told him what i needed from him. now he is listening to another voice that is telling him what to say to get me back. maybe an inner voice…maybe an outer one. should i be flattered that he is trying so hard? to win me back?
but i’m not
because it is insincere. it is trap. it is manipulation. it is his trying to survive by pulling me under and floating to safety on my body. i have to remind myself of this–that his sweet words cover up a poisonous person.

and when i reject his come-ons…he resorts to talking child placement. he starts talking about how he wants the minions half-time. it’s like his next move after i block his move to capture my queen. talking about what an excellent father he is and how much he loves them.
he never did value me as a mother. i have put everything into being a mother, and for a while, i even believed i was a good mother. but he spent the past 12 years belittling my role as a mother. 12 years basically ignoring the minions. he was a dad when it was fun to be a dad–but when it wasn’t fun, he abandoned ship. his character in my moses jones comic wasn’t intentional. i didn’t set out to make him be an absent father figure…but dusty is an absent father figure. he is literally here, but he is gone. away. making himself unavailable to us even though he is right in front of us. it’s a weird gift, i guess, knowing how to make people not ask for your help or your contribution even though you are right there and completely able…and now because i won’t play his game, his next move is to remove the minions from their primary caretaker on a homestead with room to run and a life to live, to live with him half-time. where? at his mom’s house? or when he meets another woman–her house? dusty isn’t one to get things done  himself…he likes to take the easiest route possible. how will he care for four wild minions half-time?

and it’s my birthday.
and i’m broke.
i can’t even bake myself a cake because i have no money to go grocery shopping, and i somehow didn’t get the renewal for my foodshare (yes, i am on foodstamps) so i am desperately trying to get the state to renew my foodshare so i can buy groceries. fortunately, we have a garden giving us potatoes, beans, herbs, & greens. chickens for eggs–though they do so reluctantly. and a small store of dry goods–but no flour or honey for a cake.
and i was supposed to buy two goats this week…but i don’t have the money. obviously…. i am torn–it seems like a good investment, but how do i pull money out of my ass for goats when i am not sure how i am going to take care of every thing else?

i need a life coach. i need a fucking life coach. there has to be a way to make money. i do so much every day. surely it’s worth something to someone?

fuck.

happy birthday, me.