over the river & through the woods

to candice, thanksgiving had become a torturous holiday of infighting, smoke filled rooms, droning televisions, & overcast skies inside & out.
food the color of the carpeting in her maternal grandmother’s sad apartment.
uncomfortable silences and meals that sat heavy long after thankfulness was forgotten.
all her boyfriends took it personally that she would not follow them on their annual treks to the houses of relatives who would make jokes at someone else’s expense causing candice to flinch from her invisible corner as some of the barbs (i’m just joking! can’t you take a joke?) hit a little too close to home.
candice dreamed of a day that the third week of november would blend seamlessly into the rest of late fall, no longer poking at the scars of her so-far survival.

so i have some thanksgiving baggage. i stopped going to my family thanksgivings as soon as i was able. i stopped eating turkey. i sought out thanksgivings full of music & non-traditional dishes with people who were also orphans of society.
one year, boycotting my first (& estranged) husband’s beige & dry family thanksgiving, i went out to a bar & asked everyone what they were doing for the holiday until i found a cutie who was going to a get-together of friends (hosted by a local chef.) i tagged in on his thanksgiving. the rest of that thanksgiving is a story for another day….
anyhoo
i like cooking (this year i tried to make potstickers for the first time) and i like drinking and i like hanging out with friends…but i still dread the holiday each year with flashbacks to a colorless palate of foods & people who were only spending time together out of obligation.
one day i hope i have banished all feelings of suffocation this holiday brings to me.

muted

you ruined my day
&
i can’t even tell you
because
it will just blow up
in my face
i’m muted
by my fear
of what you will say
what you will do
how you will react
if i tell you
you ruined my day….
you ruined my life
&
i could scream about it
until my face is blue
but
it won’t change
a thing
no matter
what i do
you will never care
never
notice
you ruined my life.

ah, quality time with the ex.
it’s emotional abuse–making someone terrified of speaking up. manipulating a person to the point where they are afraid to speak for fear of how you will react.
it is an emotional abuse i am very susceptible to & have extensive experience with…
& it pisses me off.

behind blue eyes III

i inherited my dad’s
raging temper
i inherited my dad’s
control issues
but i’m pretty sure
the self-loathing
is all mine
did he ever feel bad after screaming
at us
did he ever feel bad after
hitting
us
when i was twelve
i could see
he was happy
for the chance to hit me
& from that day
forward
i never gave him an excuse
to lay a hand
on me
seeing that particular glee
makes it difficult
for me to believe
he ever felt the remorse
that haunts me
every time
my throat is raw
from
screaming.

i also have my dad’s blue eyes…hence the reference to the song “behind blue eyes” which i always identify with a little too much.
feeling like a monster might be written into the very fiber of me…but i will continue to try to rewrite it. i know there is hope for me.
if not in this lifetime, surely in the next….

behind blue eyes

i hate being a mom
i fucking hate it
i want to drop them off
on their dad’s
doorstep
& let him be a fucking martyr
for the next 17 years
i hate all this motherhood
bullshit
it is not fucking worth it
i hate being the bad guy
the fall guy
the whipping boy
& scapegoat
taking all of the abuse
those matricidal maniacs
dish out
taking it
with a smile
because
isn’t motherhood a fucking
blessing.

so this is the page in my journal that i wrote when i was in the middle of a meltdown

it had been a long day. one of those days that started really nice with my feeling on top of the world…but the higher you are, the further you have to fall.
first i tried to set up an arrangement with my 14 year old where he would keep the floors clean in exchange for a monthly payout. it was like negotiating with someone who spoke a different language & ended with my mopping the floor while he pouted.
and pouted
and pouted
(the boy can hold a grudge)
so later i suggested we all go for a walk–insisting he should come because the exercise would help him feel better. which it did.
but then it was my 8 year old’s turn. my 8 year old is like the velociraptor in jurassic park who jumps at the fence, strategically to find the weak spots. i am a rapidly deteriorating fence to my 8 year old’s attacks.
he stopped halfway through the walk and refused to move because he wanted me to make hot chocolate even though i explained (over & over & over) that we were low on milk and could not make it until tomorrow when i could get more milk. which of course he translated to my being an unloving mother….
long story short, i was fragile by bedtime.
since i broke my knee in june, i have been sleeping downstairs. the 8 year old & 11 year old insist on sleeping in the living room with me. the 11 year old has started waking up with headaches from sleeping in a chair.
so i decided it was time for us to more back upstairs.
i haven’t seen the upstairs in months.
i ask them to clean it regularly. they either ignore me or tell me they did clean it.
i should have known better.
knowing me & how i react to out-of-control messes & how i react to realizing no one has been listening to me…i should have known better. but i went up those stairs, saw the unbelievable mess of the upstairs, and had a meltdown.

i have control issues.
i have anger issues.
i have issues with cleaning up other people’s messes.
i have issues with being ignored.

it was more than i could handle. i became a monster.
through journaling (three pages in all) i worked through some of it & am hopeful that in the future i will handle myself better.
also, the next morning i had a talk with them. i apologized & tried to explain why i behaved as i did.
hopefully, i didn’t do too much damage 😦

queen of the imposters

it’s my grandma saying
“you’d be so pretty if only you dressed like a girl”
it’s my parents saying
“writing is a nice hobby, but what will you really do?”
it’s that boyfriend saying
“you might be sexy if you started jogging and lost some weight”
it’s the father of my children saying
“why do i have to work why you do nothing?”
the father of my children
questioning all my decisions while offering no help
the father of my children
insinuating i’m doing it all
wrong….
but they don’t even know
they don’t even know what they have done to me
that they have become a little voice in my head
telling me i’m an imposter
when i wear girl’s clothes & pretend to be pretty
i’m an imposter
when i say i’m a writer
i’m an imposter
when i feel sexy
i’m an imposter
when i try to mother my children….

a friend of mine was talking about how the judging voice in her head was “the white lady.” this made me wonder what the most disruptive voice in my head looked like.
so i meditated & journeyed into myself to confront the one who whispers “imposter” whenever i try to do certain things.
i couldn’t find anyone. no one came forward. i called & called, but no one answered. i assumed they were hiding from me.
but then last night as i lay in bed after being screamed at by my ex-husband who was visiting for our son’s birthday, i realized, my imposter voice was there…they just didn’t realize i was talking to them. they are oblivious to what they are doing to me. they think they have done nothing wrong. they see themselves as completely innocent.
this made me realize i need to start being oblivious to it as well. just drown it out by proclaiming, “i am not an imposter. i am a good mother. a good writer. i am pretty & goddammit, sexy too.”

breaking waves

the ocean of me
is trapped
in a bottle
kept on a dusty
shelf
i am the crashing
waves
the storm soaked sea
i am a siren
who has been
silenced
i long to shatter
the glass
of that bottle
escaping his hold
but
he has made me
afraid
of making a mess
he has taken
my boat rocking nature
& left me
feeling
helpless.

contemplations on why i am unable to break the bind that my ex holds me with. i don’t want to be with him, and i wish for a world where i never had to see him again…. but as the father of my children, i have to try to be tame towards him.
but it’s more than that. i feel like he has somehow silenced me. it’s one of the reasons i left him. i am muted when i am with him. i am not allowed to be mean…to be my feral self. he is able to turn me into someone i am not.
but why do i let him do that to me?
that’s the million dollar question.
if i can tame the chaos of my life to meditate on this, i will.
i truly believe, that if i can break the bind he has on me, i will be a better mother & a more confident person.
it’s been almost twenty years of this. such a big part of my life ensnared. it was better for awhile, when i only had to see him on drop offs & pick ups…but since he has been unemployed, he is insinuating himself into my life more than ever…& i let him? why do i let him?
why am i afraid to tell him “no”? why am i afraid to stand up for myself?
i just want to be free again. why can’t i figure out how?

maybe

did i embrace
the masculine in me
because
i could not trust
that the feminine
had any worth
or
if valued
valued for all
the wrong
reasons
was i safer
in my masculine
an identity
that would not
betray me?

random thought on nature vs. nurture, i guess.
i accept that i have a very strong masculine side for a woman. i always have for as long as i can remember. but was i born this way…or did i default to this setting due to the dangers of being a girl? i was born into a catholic farming family where “you only need one girl” but out of six, there were four girls born to my parents.
the catholic church was quick to tell me i didn’t matter
the matriarchs of my family quickly echoed the message
and a patriarchal society never lets a girl forget how disposable she is….
so
fuck me
did my sensitive nature embrace my masculine after a quick survey of my abusive surroundings in order to survive being a second-class citizen? or was my masculine nature something as innate as my “man hands” and stout build?
hmmmm….

one thousand cuts

just because what he does
isn’t the worst thing
he could do
just because it isn’t
completely
wrong
doesn’t make it
right
is death by a thousand cuts
any better
than being destroyed
all at
once?

more thoughts on the “little crimes” done by past boyfriends & not-my-boyfriends. i got some texts from mr. 2-to-tango (who apparently reads my blog) after each of the last two posts…but i did not read them. so!
my dreams have moved from oceans to smaller bodies of moving water. i am taking this as a good sign. like maybe i am getting some direction? direction would be nice.

don’t put that in your mouth (a cautionary tale)

you ever been with a guy…not really a boyfriend…just some guy & you’re messing around with him & maybe he’s just given you some pretty lackluster oral & now he expects you to return the favor but instead of asking he just starts pushing your head towards his crotch?
and you wish you could say, “hey! motherfucker, use your words. i’m a person, not a sex toy,” but instead you just play dumb until he gets all frustrated & pitches a fit like a demented toddler, muttering “it takes two to tango” reminding me of my psychotic school bus driver….
and is there anything scarier than naked adult male anger when all you want is to feel safe & valued? don’t you just want to go back in time to protect younger, dumber you? to kick those assholes in the balls & say, “who the fuck are you to treat me like this?”

this came pouring out of me at 2am this morning when i was trying to fall asleep. twenty-four years after it happened.
why did i contact him again? why did i still think of him as a “good guy” despite my most vivid memory of him being his yelling, “it takes two to tango!” when i didn’t want to suck his cock?
why do i convince myself–why do i second guess myself–why do i tell myself it’s no big deal when it is?
like when my boyfriend punched the wall so hard he broke his hand because i wasn’t having as much sex with him as he wanted?
at least he wasn’t punching me–right?
at least he wasn’t raping me–right?
so i tolerate it? i spin it in my head. say, “he didn’t mean it. he was just ___” fill in the blank with whatever will convince you to stay when you really really should go.

i had a dream that i was in a deranged & dangerous building that has been a regular dream location. however, in this dream the other night, i knew it was the last time i would be there. hopefully the building represented toxic men.

“good night”
8X10 inking on watercolor paper
$45

burn the world down

i am feeling a bit angsty. pissy. out of whack in the zen.

february 23rd was the wedding anniversary of my dead parents. they were married on february 23, 1963. my brother was born november 30, 1963.
why would anyone plan a winter wedding in illinois…hmmmm.
so during my hike/meditation on the 23rd i started thinking about it. my dad’s family always treated my mom like a second class citizen. like “white trash.”
did they get married because she was pregnant? she always claimed she had her period on her wedding day…but i think that might have just been a cover?
so i started thinking more and more. places i have not let my brain go before. whether or not my mom “trapped” my dad into marriage, his family must have believed it, & i suspect that he also did.
i tried to think of an instance where my dad showed love to my mom. i mean, he was obviously attracted to her sexually…but thinking back i cannot think of a moment where he showed her love. devotion. usually he was ridiculing my mom. acting like he was better/smarter than she was. often times he was downright cruel.
she, however, was crazy about him (literally at times.) she loved him & was utterly devoted. even dying within a year of his dying.
then–after reading a romcom novel & really really enjoying it to my own dismay & then wondering why i felt so uncomfortable with romance–i started applying this model to my own life. and found a disturbing pattern. let’s use dusty as an example….
when dusty was devoted to me, i looked down on him…considered him beneath me.
when he abused me, i loved him and became almost manic in my devotion.
and i could apply it to other relationships.
many other relationships.
my model taught me to ridicule men who are devoted to me while adoring men who abuse me.
fuck.
fuck fuck fuck.

but now i am aware of this. now i can start healing it.

ps. on 2-22-22 tuesday, i thought it was a good day for a love spell…so i did that. i did a love spell for my perfect man.
of course, i will keep y’all updated on my magical pursuit of true love.

“burn the world down”
9X12 inking on watercolor paper
$45 plus $5 shipping

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