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….)

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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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on the look-out for the next ex

relationships…

all i think about is relationships i don’t want to think about relationships why do i think about relationships so much?

bleah.

i recognize that part of me longs for the balance of a relationship.
i recognize that part of me loathes the idea of needing someone else.
i recognize that part of me is so injured that the idea of letting someone else in is terrifying.
i recognize that part of me is so damaged that i do not trust myself to choose a healthy partner.

ack!

this post is my letting go of obsessing about relationships.
sort of.
last night i dreamed about two exes.
back up…
recently i sent a series of “crazy” messages to my ex–the one i have trouble letting go of even though we broke up 21 years ago. i was angry because i keep asking him for help, and he ignores me. okay, sure 21 years, but he is always happy to respond when i am flirty & fawning…but not when i sincerely ask for help. when i sincerely ask for a friend.
i have spent 21 years apologizing to him.
for every fucking thing i did wrong when we were together.
and recently i realized something.
he has never once acknowledged that he did anything wrong in our relationship.
maybe he just doesn’t give a fuck.
maybe he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.
maybe i am wrong to expect we could be friends after everything we went through. maybe our strong connection was just imagined, and i need to let it go already.

let it go already.

last night in my dream he wanted to talk to me about my “crazy” messages to him. first he wanted to do it in a crowded room–so i asked for a private conversation.
once we were alone, i felt the need to hide, covering my face with a scarf and–literally–sinking into a wall.
he started talking to me, but then was distracted by a celebrity entering the scene, and steered off to talk to that person instead, weaving tales to entertain this new person and completely ignoring me.
and then i got up & left to go make green bean casserole for my kids. i didn’t care. it was status quo for us and i was done with it.

i guess i’m ready to let it go.

other thoughts on relationships were addressed by chani and his weekly horoscopes where i was told (as a cancer):

Being thoughtful about who you partner with will help you to create more thoughtfully. Being deliberate about your collaborations will make them more effective. Being conscious of how your insecurities and your need to please can get in the way of protecting your energy is a game-changer.

You can’t take every partnership up on its offer. You can’t pour your energy into every vessel that has room for you. You can’t make good on your promises when you over-extend yourself. 

almost every relationship i have had i have actively sought out empty & cracked vessels that could not possibly accept my love…or i have found them on my doorstep and been like, “okay, i guess this is my boyfriend.”

hence my fear of even stepping towards a new relationship. if i like a person, they are probably damaged…& if they choose me, they are probably damaged.

sigh.

so i read up on the red flags. i read up on the narcissistic tendencies that i seem to attract. i read things about nice guys vs. good men and i try to keep these things up front in my mind…just in case i ever actually meet anyone.

meanwhile, however, you know…four minions and a homestead full of livestock. plus art to complete and vegetables to harvest….

but for those of you that think i should just forget about relationships and focus on kids & homestead & art, i have this to say:  i feel like that would be denying a part of me that deserves to be taken seriously AND i need to do the work. whether i am in a relationship or not, i need to do this work to heal the damage i have in the area of relationships or i am going to wake up one day & realize i am in another fucked up relationship.

speaking of which, i am letting dusty visit this week for misha’s sixth birthday, so–right there–reason to keep fresh what i want & do not want from a relationship.

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…

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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.)

where am i?

the last time i smiled
was two years ago
in pictures since
it’s like i’m trying to smile
but i can’t
my smile is gone
he took it
& which is the greater sin?
that he took my smile–
or that i let him?

& daddy 034

there it is. my last smile. two summers ago when i first left dusty due to his refusing to stop seeing his girlfriend…of course, since i had left him, he was being super sweet to me…and that might be why i am smiling. fuck it. fuck that bastard.

i feel so lost lately. i am on auto-pilot. spirals of self-pity & anger. is this part of healing…or just another level of my own personal hell?

i don’t like that i have lost my smile. sometimes my smile was the best part of me. once when i worked as a baker behind a big glass window that people would knock on and i would smile at them (okay, that makes me sound like a zoo animal–nevertheless), a person slipped me a note that said, “i would walk a million miles for one of your smiles,” and i’m sure i still have that note somewhere.

who am i without my smile?

sometimes i wonder when exactly my heart fell into its current state of decay.

i try to do dating sites, but then i think, “who the fuck would want to deal with this?” meaning me, my life, my being trapped on a homestead, my four overwhelming minions, my general fucked-upness….

i have $45 in my bank account. i am seemingly unable to figure out how to make money. which is another trap. poverty. do i continue to borrow from my credit card? that seems like a bad idea…but what happens when i need gas for the truck? or toilet paper? there are only 4 rolls left. do i go pick leaves? switch to cloth?

a friend told me about a grant for moms who are artists or writers. i am both. i could enter in like four different categories–at least–i have that much material. since becoming a mom, i have done more art & writing than ever….
but what if it all sucks? surely everyone else is better than i am.  i could never win a grant. no one will publish me. i always get the, “we really enjoyed this, but…” rejections. which are probably just standard rejections designed so i don’t stick my head in the oven.

i started working on the inking shown at the top of this post a couple of weeks ago.
this is as far as i have gotten.
and i haven’t gotten any more work done on the project i have half a summer to finish….

what is the matter with me?
how do i pop myself out of this puddle of misery?
i’m not dancing. not smiling. & my dreams are a soup of anxiety.  the highlight of my week was getting two dairy goats. since then i have actually told them, “you complete me.”

i think maybe i was a shepherd in a past life…or a herd dog.

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….

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.