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.”

page17

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.

page18

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….

page11

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.

page12

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?

page15

(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.)

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)

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.

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.

love, art, & tarot

it is not my responsibilty
not my place
to heal your pain
i cannot endure
carrying your damage
along
with
my own.
please stop expecting me
to be your hero
let me heal
my own wounds
& then
then i might be
strong enough
to be
your friend.

i have been carrying the weight of dusty for so long. i just want to put him down & walk away. but he clings to me. so tightly! he wraps himself around me & refuses to let go.
i’m exhausted.
he is refusing to let go of the idea of us.
in my mind we have been dead so long that the smell is starting to waft away as we are turned to dirt by worms. dusty & me. so dead.
but he does his best to keep the wounds fresh.

meanwhile!
i wonder at starting new relationships.
going in new directions.
growing.

if i am karma, and i am used to handing out punishment for bad things done…what happens if i meet someone who deserves the love i can reward?

i did my tarot today as i had an opportunity present itself. my tarot said, “he who hesitates dies alone.”
or, you know, in a nutshell anyway.
me being the nutshell….

in other news!
i sent the minions with dusty for a few days and am getting some loooonnng overdue alone time.
so i’m trying to do art.
i am working on illustrating a story for a friend.

i have rough drafts for 3 out of 19 pages….