navel gazing

you look so hard
into
your own heart
using
other people’s eyes
are you lovable?
are you beautiful?
are you special?
are you good?
are you a good person?
do you deserve happiness?
so much time
energy
so much of your own
heart
but you never
stop
you never
look up
& out
to see what is in their
hearts
& to wonder
are they lovable?
special, beautiful, & good?
do they
deserve
your happiness?

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cat battle

so i re-did this page. it’s from december of last year when i was in a very dark place and realized that no matter how much i wanted to throw fidgit’s cat out the door for being a jerk…i could not risk breaking my son’s heart.
it seemed relevant to right now.
i am not a cat person.
much of the emotional abuse i suffered as a child was animal-related. pet-related. i wrote about it while my parents were visiting last winter.
it is something i still struggle with.
so
we had one cat–pepper–who we adopted from a humane society when fidgit just had to had to had to have a dog & all that was allowed on our lease was a cat.
i will admit that pepper is good–for a cat. he tolerates my minions & never* poops outside the litter box. he is also an asshole who likes to knock over water glasses & bounce on my bed when i am sleeping, but fidgit loves him.
pepper moved to rural illinois with us.
so then all the kittens started showing up. when i was a kid, that’s how we got new pets, they just showed up.
however, i did not keep the kittens; i took them all to the humane society knowing i cannot deal with cats in a healthy & mature way.
then roscoe happened. he was just hanging out on the side of the road. you know, a country road where seeing a cat corpse is not that uncommon. so there is roscoe, about 8 weeks old, clearly some barn kitten out for a stroll.
i stopped the car & picked him up.
i have a quick bond with certain cats. almost always brown tabbies. almost always rude & lovable all at the same time. usually a little bit wild (i will have to tell you about moose sometime–actually she is probably on my post about my cat curse….)
roscoe was one of those cats.
i resigned that we would have two cats.
unfortunately, roscoe had fleas…which i’m pretty sure is where my current fleaocalypse started. also, he did  not know what a litter box was (being a barn cat) and had to be trained over a few weeks to use a litter box.

then, not even a month later, shortly after i had successfully litter box trained roscoe, an orange classic tabby kitten popped out of the cattails by the pond when i went to hang up clothes. i’m pretty sure she was dumped off as cats often are in the country. there are the barn cats & then there are the dumped city cats. ginger seemed to be the latter. and, iggy wanted her. and i was stupid & tired & too easily worn down by iggy’s ability to work his angle…. i agreed to it against my better judgement and knowing i do not get along with orange tabbies.
and i never was able to bond with ginger.
on tuesday, after much grief & heartache and talking to iggy & the other kids about it, i took ginger to the humane society.
i was right.
i cannot handle having that many cats.
i thought about taking all three in. part of me really wanted to take all three in. end the cat chaos. the cat battles. end my seemingly constant hating of myself for not being able to deal with cats. i mean, taking the cats to the humane society, that’s at least better than shooting them in front of my kids (right, dad???)
while ginger was with us, litter box issues became common–when she would get stressed out, she would stop using the box…and then roscoe would stop as well. i had it fixed though…i had it under control & then my uninvited house guest from hell messed with the litter boxes. she actually put one box outside & shut the door to the others, leaving my cats with no boxes. i fixed the situation as soon as i became aware of it…but it was too late.
ginger started not using the box.
and roscoe stopped using the box.
and i started losing my mind.
i was hoping that with ginger gone, everything would go back to normal.
i don’t know if it was the flea spray…or if the situation is out of my control…or if my cats just hate me, but yesterday, roscoe & pepper (*first time ever) both stopped using the litter box.
and i fell apart.
i spent so long talking myself out of just getting rid of them…all they had to do was use the litter box….
i tried to talk myself back into getting rid of them. this is a big house. a carpeted house. it is not my house. there are too many unfinished areas–dead zones–in the house for a cat to have an accident without my realizing it.
i wanted to give up.
and then i started wondering what kind of example i am setting for my kids. i mean, it’s bad enough when i throw a fit because the cats are cats (yesterday morning i went into the kitchen around sunrise. there is not much natural light in the kitchen & it was rainy out. i did not turn on the lights. at one point i kicked something on the floor–so i turned on the lights to see the jagged bottom of a broken glass jar just next to my bare foot…and broken glass all around me–thanks, cats.)
but what does it say about me if i don’t even try (again) to solve this problem? i have to try again.
so i am cleaning & organizing a room where the cats can be quarantined and re-trained again to use their litter boxes.
i am trying not to ask myself what happens if they keep having accidents?
i’m trying to believe i can do this.
i have to do this.
i have to win a cat battle. i have to show my kids i can be a good cat mom. i have to show my children that problems can be solved…that taking time & having patience are good things.
i have to.

curtains

this same window
i spend my day
creating
art
from the light
shining through
this same window
i used to sit
as a child
staring at the dark
reflected
back
at me
waiting
for my father
to come home
wishing
for my father
to never
come
home
it’s a different window
though it is
the same
only light comes through
now
no
more
dark.

i scribbled this thought down a few days ago, and remembered it today while reading JGomez’s beautiful & powerful piece “Disintegrate Elsewhere.”
my father always came home…and his homecomings were generally stressful…if not terrifying. a family walking on eggshells while a father waits, determined to take his temper out on someone. i learned to be quiet. i learned to be invisible. i learned to not draw the disturbed glare of his blue eyes.
i watched as others took the brunt of his temper. wishing him away. wishing to feel safe.

i live in the same house…but it is a different house now that he is gone. i wish little me had gotten to feel the peace that i am now, finally, able to feel.

burnt fingers

why have i let them
why have i let men
have the best parts
of me
giving my everything
to them
apologizing
for it not being
enough
holding torches
that just
burn my fingers.

a short poem…a simple drawing. liberally using my white space.

i borrowed from my figure drawing book (expressive figure drawing) for this one.

broken people

i’ve always loved the broken people
always always
i am drawn to them
but not like a moth
to a flame
because i am also the fire
my damage
at least as deep
as theirs
i love them because i think
they will understand
they will know me &
they will love me
because i am like them…
thing is
when both of you
are broken
who is picking up the pieces?

*this post was inspired by all the feelings i have when i hear lovely the band’s song, “broken.” which, coincidentally, played on the radio as i was illustrating this page.

i think a lot about this, especially since the song came out. i mean, dusty always said he was attracted to me because he could tell i was damaged. and even when i look for a healthy relationship i always find myself oogling those obviously broken men, trying to cover up their damage with cynicism & dark humor.

seymour was not broken. while i was with him, every broken man i saw turned my head. i never had that problem when i was dating damaged guys. i focused on them & obsessed over fixing them. but seymour had nothing for me to fix. so i wandered away. stupid girl. stupid stupid girl.

turns out, those of us who are broken, we need someone who isn’t broken. if we the broken choose other broken people to love, all we do is keep on breaking each other.

feeding the scavengers.

the predators
come at night
whether you believe in them
or not
the predators
come
at night is when
you should leave
little sacrifices
gifts
so that those
scavengers
know
they are welcome
if not wanted
that yours is a protected space
give them a little
but not too much
& send them
on their
way.

something is living in my compost. or, at least, visiting every night.
i bury things, he digs them up.
every night.
and i wonder if i should dig a deeper hole, or just leave the scraps on top and hope for the best.
he dug up the remains of the lambs (the remains of the lambs an anthony hopkins mash-up coming soon to a theater near you)…and digs them up again every time i try to put them to rest anew.
so the other night, i butchered a duck. i went ahead and did it on top of my compost and just left any unused parts laying out for my compost dweller.
my thinking is that if i keep the critter fed, it won’t set its sights on any living creatures in my yard.
is this faulty thinking?
i don’t think so.
there is enough for all of us…i can live & let live as long as my compost companion does the same.

in other scavenger news…
dusty will not stop texting me. fuck a fuck a fuck. seriously? he is trying to evoke a response from me, and i am seeing what he says for what it is–bait. manipulation. espousing his own reality as if it were fact.
it is nice to be able to spot the bullshit…but i wish i did not have to.
he is due to visit saturday morning through sunday for iggy’s birthday.
i am trying to mentally prepare myself…but mostly i just feel pissed off & stressed out & filled with dread.
then i remembered another fucking thing. april 22nd, the day after iggy’s birthday, is the 8 year antiversary of our divorce. i divorced him 8 years ago.
eight years.
why haven’t i managed to move further away from him in those 8 years????
but at least i’m moving now.
i’m moving now.
watch me go.

the queen of swords

when i was doing the pages, killing off dusty, a friend commented to me that it was strong magic i was doing–that it would have an effect on me.

i thought it would put the last nail in the coffin…however, it seemed to cause me to look at my dusty differently. like i had killed off his evil doppelgänger and the curse was lifted & we would live happily ever after.

what?
where the fuck did that come from?
so dusty came to visit when he returned the minions and i was all warm & fuzzy towards him….

what?

it’s true. sad, but true. i started letting myself fantasize the easy fantasy.
what it the father of my children wasn’t a narcissistic asshole? what if he could return to us and be there for me every day and help with the kids and help with the homestead and i wouldn’t have to be alone anymore and i would have someone to talk to…to laugh with…to cuddle and have delicious sex with….

so after he was gone away again, i kept trying to think of ways of making it work out. ways to invite dusty back into my life again. i didn’t want to make the same mistake i had made
over
and
over
and
over.
i would take it slow and think it through and make the right decision.

so i texted him asking if he was dating anyone. i thought this would be a good first step.
he texted back “well psychotic hello kitty cunt-face (not her real name) wants us to be dating but…”

holy fucking christ in a toaster

quick timeline for clarification
2013-2015 –cheating on me with phkcf behind my back while i am pregnant with his fourth child, giving birth to that child, and taking care of an infant & 3 other children.
2015-2016 –telling me he is going to break up with her/refusing to break up with her/ she meanwhile is stalking the both of us and leaving weird little notes, graffiti, presents all over the neighborhood we live in
2016 –i move to fucking manitowoc, wisconsin to get away from the two of them because he won’t break up with her. he immediately breaks up with her (after i have moved away) and supposedly breaks ties with her.
2016-2017 we move to illinois together & try to make another go of it but fail. he goes back to wisconsin where i realize he is back in touch with her & i tell him he cannot be friends with me while remaining in contact with a person who did as much damage as phkcf did.
2018 –i realize he may still be in touch with her because all of a sudden the kids are talking about max the cat whom last i knew he had given to her (in 2013) probably so he would have an excuse to see her. so he got his cat back from her. which means there was definite contact. he says nothing to me. then he casually name-drops her as someone he could be dating?????????????

does he not get it? does he not understand that i do not want this person anywhere near my life? if he wants me in his life in any capacity, she cannot be in his life. why does he not understand that? or does he just not care? he says she means nothing to him & that he wants nothing to do with her…and she is ruining his chances of having any kind of friendship with me…yet he still corresponds with her (at least–he could be doing more–it’s not like he tells me the truth about anything.)

fuck a duck.

so here i am.
i let myself have the fantasy. i let myself go there.
now i am hurting for it.

i should have known better.
why the fuck didn’t i know better?

is it hope or stupidity or human nature or a damaged soul that lets me think he could change?

an open apology

to all the men i’ve loved before
& to the ones
i didn’t care all that much about
but played with anyway
to all the hearts
i crushed & twisted
pushed & pulled
like play-doh
to shape into something
that pleased me
but they never did
& i was quick to
toss
them
away
far
away
hurl, more like it
shot put champion
with the hearts of men
this is my open apology
to my many men
some hurt me back
some never got the chance
but
i wish
i had been better
more noble
more careful with those
possibly tender?
probably tender?
then bruised
hearts.

i feel like i’m doing a 12 step program. i thought of actually contacting my list–but holy crap there are way too many…and i only know where a handful of them are…and some of them i cannot have contact with for my own safety.
so!
here i am. realizing through old journals, conversations, and introspection, that i was a shitty girlfriend to a lot of lot of lot of guys.
crap.
when i did bother to remember this side of me, i always remembered her as kind of a warrior, kick-ass take no names, awesome bitch.
but
but but but…she wasn’t nice.
i wasn’t nice.
and i think a lot of it had to do with thinking that no one really cared about me so i couldn’t really hurt them.
but that’s no excuse. i shouldn’t have been such a shit–and often to guys who didn’t even deserve it.
i was a shitty girlfriend. i was a shitty wife. i’ve touched on this before, that i saw my mom as a weak victim…and i internalized that i needed to be the opposite. so i was. i broke hearts & abandoned relationships.
frequently.
so this is my open apology.
i have no idea if any of my exes even read this blog–and it might be more rude than nice to tag them all–plus, that would be a lot of tags…but if you do read this blog & did once get walked over or callously treated by me, i’m sorry i was a bitch.

mostly sorry.

(i recently commented to someone that i am better at understanding than forgiving…it occurs to me with this that i am better at knowing i should be sorry than actually being sorry….but i am mostly sorry)

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