if you’re not nice to the mama…

“i’m a good father!”
he tells me
& tells me
& tells me
and to paraphrase shakespeare,
i think the fellow doth protest too much.
who is he trying to convince?
and i say to him,
“but you are a crappy partner.”
and something eggs at me
until i realize
you can’t be a crappy partner
and a good father
you just can’t…
to be a good father
you have to be good
to their mother.

(i had a full post written…and i lost it. so now i’m pissed off & trying to remember what awesome things i had written….)

page16

dusty came for the weekend because it was misha’s birthday and maybe–just maybe–i was trying to sabotage myself because i was feeling too happy…too healthy…too on top of my life….

was i trying to sabotage me?

well, if i was, it didn’t work! the day after he left i finished my application for the sustainable arts award for moms who are artists &/or writers. i got my shit together and even figured out how to make a pdf file of my pages of moses jones.
two days after he left, i finished all my rough drafts for “mistress of mud.”

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of course, why he was here, i was sick to my stomach. literally. nauseated the entire time. so so sick.
my body does that.
if my brain won’t listen…my body goes on strike and some sort of illness manifests. so many boyfriends have resulted in flu symptoms.
meanwhile, dusty is telling me what a good dad he is and thinking that my passivity due to nausea means i am flirting with him?

holy crap.

we were having a good conversation one night. we went out and watched the moon rise and stars fall out of the sky. it was amazing & awesome and we were there together.
then
i was like, “okay, i’m going to bed” seeing as i am always up at sunrise and pretty much always sleep deprived.
and it was a light switch.
gone was nice dusty
& out came hostile dusty.
fuck that bullshit.
he thinks we are going to somehow someday have some fucking happily ever after? and if i don’t reciprocate, i get treated like garbage?
i don’t want to lead him on. i want to be honest with him that it is over and would take a miracle of biblical proportions for us to ever be a couple again…
but i am afraid of his reaction.
i feel stupid for it. silenced.
why can’t i be civil to him without  him thinking that means he is going to get laid?
i want to be able to say, “no” without it turning into an attack on me.
fuck this bullshit.

fuck it.

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death of a turkey…

when i was a kid
there was so much violence
so much abuse
so much animal death
my pets gone–just like that
that i learned to disconnect
to stop loving
to stop caring
to stop bonding
and as an adult this continued
this disconnect
i had trouble with relationships
sure that they would leave
or god forbid they had self-destructive tendencies
it was too much for me
i disconnected
i could not bond
and i would try to have pets as an adult
but it was easier to hate them then to love them
love is a fragile thing
so easily killed
i was repulsed by neediness…repulsed by being needed
i closed down
shut off
i often wondered if i could ever even have kids?
was i capable of love at all?
sometimes i still wonder….

shortly after the above picture was taken, a raccoon killed one of my turkeys and injured the leg of another. i named the injured turkey isabeau and took her into my house. i dressed her wound, fed her blue berries and honey and put apple cider vinegar in her water and bathed her when she got too stinky.
months went on. spring turned to summer. her leg healed, but she stopped walking. her non-injured leg became palsied. one wing became disfigured by her always laying on the same side. i would try to put her on her other side–or in a sling–but nothing seemed to help.
and while her brothers & sisters grew huge and mature

she remained frozen in her juvenile state, a third the size of them.

i felt myself turn off. i mean, i cannot pinpoint the exact moment, but it happened. i started being annoyed by her. frustrated with her. dreaming at night that she finally got up and walked again, while watching every day as she just kind of flopped around. i admired her perseverance…but in the end, she just gave up.

i just wish i hadn’t given up first.

i thought i would be relieved when she died. she had become a burden…a difficulty…one more thing to take care of on a busy day. i mean, i knew she would die eventually. there was no way she could continue on like that–what if she tried to lay an egg–that alone would kill her–painfully. she was so vulnerable….
and now she is no longer suffering….

so why do i feel like i failed her? because my heart shut down? because i could no longer muster the energy to care about her even though i was still caring for her?

i don’t like that i learned to shut down when there was danger of pain by abandonment (be it death or whatever.) i want to feel the pain & live through it. i want my heart to warm back up and not be so quick to disappear.

i cried today. i did not expect to cry over my dead turkey.
but, like most mourners, i am not crying for her…i am crying for me.
as i try to assure my kids we did everything we could for her…in my cold heart i feel as if i should have done more…i wish i were capable of having done more.

 

i love my kids…but i hate being a mom….

i hate being the one in charge
i hate being the bad guy
i hate having to be the one who makes sure we don’t run out of
toilet paper
clean clothes
toothpaste
shoes that fit
food
i hate being the one that has to make impossible ends
meet
i have to
no one else is going to do it
i have to find ways to fix
messes that seem impossible to fix
i have to referee fights
that seem to have no end
i hate being referee
i hate being mom
i want to not have to worry about everything
to not be the one who is supposed to have all of the answers
i want to find room in my heart
for me
to not feel overwhelmed by them
i want to be able to breathe

it’s not them though
is it?
it’s not being a mom so much
as my being damaged
damaged by life
damaged by parents, damaged by exes
never taught to love myself
in the way a person needs to be able to
so that person can be a good mom
neglected by my own mom
leaving me unable to cope
abandoned
abused
by the man who was supposed
to do this with me
be there for me
now
i just want to hide, heal, and lick my wounds
but as a mom
i just can’t seem to
there are just too many other things
that need to be
done….

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yesterday i collapsed in a heap and all i could think was, “i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom.” it was both a relief to think it…and horrifying.

i didn’t always hate being a mom…if you read my wordpress profile thing-y here, it sounds like i used to really think i was a good mom….
(i wish i could remember that feeling.)

though it was a cruel awakening when i became a mom and realized i was working harder than i ever had before–but i wasn’t getting any pay or benefits. after a lifetime of supporting myself, i was now dependent on a partner who was–well–crappy. he would tell me my position as a mom was pointless and why was he the only one earning money? he would tell me to get a job. i was exhausted to my bones–and he was telling me i wasn’t earning anything therefore i was lazy…useless? and he wasn’t the only one. our society echoed him. subtle or blatant, i got the message loud and clear.

i was a mom now–and now i did not matter.

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gone was my independence. my ability to just pack up everything i own and go somewhere new. just go. whenever i wanted. be free whenever i felt caged. now i was anchored. by one..then two..then three..and finally four little anchors.

gone was time to myself. my crappy partner put that last nail in my coffin. no art. no writing. (right now i have a five year old begging me to color & i really really don’t want to color–i want to exorcise this demon–i want to write.) no exercise even because no one would let me. seriously. i was not allowed to do the walks i used to do daily to clear my head & keep my weight down. if i wanted to go–everyone wanted to go with me–and it became an unbearable circus…

page13

i know there are people out there devastated because they can’t have children. i used to be one of those people. i wanted to cry every time a friend or a sister got pregnant. i tried for 10 years before i got pregnant. i dreamed of being a mom. i dreamed of having that love in my life. of course, i thought, being a mom will fix what is wrong with me.

but i wasn’t careful about with whom i had my kids. that was my mistake. my biggest mistake. i didn’t realize how much that would change things…taint things. that partner who doesn’t value you–or your role as the mother of his children.

it’s devastating…at least for me…it has damaged me so deeply sometimes i feel like i am unable to love at all.

but i love my minions. i do. as much as i hate being a mom sometimes–i never stop loving them.
so that’s something, right?

something salvageable?

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(these illustrations are more  from the project i am working on “the mistress of mud” with a friend of mine. yesterday i posted that i hadn’t gotten any work done, but i realized i actually had…and i did the one at the top of the post last night as i played around trying to emulate david mack’s style.)

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.