Category Archives: family

Wasted

broken heart

 

There are few things that can bring the past back to me quite as viscerally as music can. Memories I might grasp for another time come sliding back to me, unexpected, with the right (or wrong) song playing in the background.

When you have the kind of past I have, it can be painful, sometimes- even the happy memories. Today, we were listening to the Dixie Chicks, a CD that once had permanent residence in my old Camry’s stereo. Cowboy, Take me Away came on, and I remember driving around, with the song turned up loud, the windows down, the sunlight streaming in- and this little tiny dark headed girl in her car seat in the back, singing along with me.

She’s all grown up now. Our lives were such a mess back then- well, my life was, and hers, by association. Any happy memories I can find, I cling to, because there just aren’t that many of them. It was a dark time for me, and I was very, very deep in my addiction. I didn’t know how to be a mother, or what it meant, or what, exactly, I was robbing her of. Oh, if only I had known. You know, my heart will very probably never heal from that. I know, I know- we are supposed to learn to forgive ourselves, to leave the past in the past…but I think there is a part of me that honestly doesn’t feel like I ought to forgive myself.  Like maybe punishing myself for the rest of my life is my penance for robbing my daughters childhood of the joy that was hers by right. I don’t know, but I do know this: However it is I feel, I won’t be talked out of it. Trust me, it’s been tried.

Heartbreak Town. I remember listening to that on our way to Reno, where I ran off to, to escape myself. There she was again, that little person in the back seat…always in the back seat. If you are curious, I didn’t fool myself into being someone different just because I crossed state lines. I was still me, still sick, still not a mother anyone should have had. Sometimes I try to imagine what it must have been like for her, but when I do, it hurts too much.

It is only recently- maybe just since she has been sort of a “grown-up”, or maybe it is because I am raising another daughter now, in such a completely different way- that I have started to sincerely wish there were some way I could go back, and do things differently. I know that kind of thinking is useless and foolish. I know I would be better off trying to make my amends to her now, by being the best mom I can NOW, and I do that, I do…but still. If I could just go back, just for one measly little day, and be tender with her. Give her my undivided attention. Just hold her, and love her, and do all the mommy stuff I have learned to do now…I would just really like to do that, that’s all.

This is a lot of stuff to carry around inside of one small heart. The memories, and the worry about what you may have inflicted upon another small heart, one that you created. To look back and see all of the time, and the chances, and the love you wasted. It doesn’t feel very good. I’m glad to say I don’t sit in this shit every single day, but when I do, I don’t even try to deny myself the opportunity to cry about it anymore. It’s a sad and terrible way that I chose, and if it didn’t make me cry, I guess that would mean I haven’t changed much, wouldn’t it? But I have. So at least there is that.

Letting Go of Old Resentments in Favor of Love:

God, it’s been so long since I have sat here and tried to write anything, that I almost don’t know where to start. I got stuck on the “Title” space for such a long time that I decided to just write first, and see if something came to me. In case you are curious, I will tell you that over the past two months, while I haven’t been writing, I have been doing a lot of work on myself. Trust me, there was plenty of stuff to work on, and plenty left to do…I’m not one to just leave myself be. Oh, if only I could. But that will never be me. Anyway, I thought about writing a lot, but I just didn’t have anything I wanted to say, here…then, the past few days, the urge started coming over me again. If you write, you know what I mean- little ideas start tickling the back of your mind. Nothing too pressing. Then, this morning came, and I knew it was time.

resentment

This morning, a friend of mine lost her father. He was in hospice, and so it wasn’t unexpected, but…she fell asleep beside him, holding his hand, and when she woke up, he was gone. She is devastated. Last week, a friend that I work with lost her mother. Like my other friend, she was there with her, right to the very end. We talked for a long time about it, and I told her that when I found out her mom had passed, I tried to imagine what it would be like to wake up in a world where my mother no longer resided- I really did this, at home, alone, trying to put myself in my friends place. Because, you know, I have never done that. No matter what kind of relationship I have with my mom- and it goes through phases- I have always had the assurance that she was there. I have taken that for granted every single day of my entire life. Imagine what it would feel like for that not to be true. Of course, if you have already lost one, or both, of your parents, you already know…but for the rest of us, it bears thinking about.

Now, think for a second about the resentments, big or small, that you carry around. Are they worth the price they will cost you if they are holding you back from fully loving someone that gave you life? This is a question I asked myself, and it may be worth asking yourself, as well. I am not saying that just because someone is your parent, anything they have done should be forgiven- I know there are horror stories of abandonment and abuse, and I am not talking about that. I am talking about things…well, I guess I am talking about the things that I have carried around, that hold ME back. I suppose what I am saying is that I have chosen not to love as fully as I could, maybe not consciously, because of my own resentments…things that belong in the past, to people who don’t really even exist anymore.

We grow up- children are not the only ones who grow up, who change. I certainly have, and I know my parents have, too. I want to love them with my WHOLE heart, and that is what I hope to do. Because they are still here, and I am a lucky daughter, indeed. I look at how strained my relationship is with my mom and dad at certain times (whether they know it or not) and I hope more than anything that my kids don’t ever have that kind of resentment or any of those kinds of feelings about me. But, boy, I have sure given them plenty of good material to use.

Here’s the thing- my parents are human beings, and human beings mess up. I know they had the best of intentions, like every one of us do, and they did stuff they regret anyway. I know this to be true, not just because I lived through it but because they’ve told me. With their own mouths, they have said to me:  “I wish I would have done things differently”. My mom has beat herself up for years over things she cannot change, decisions she made, that, at the time were the VERY BEST she could make from the options she had. And you know what? We are okay, anyway. My brother and I love her, we go to her with all of our stuff…but in my heart, I know I have held myself back. She can’t go back in time and change anything, anymore than I can go back and give my daughter a happy childhood with a mother who was not on drugs, not abrasive and full of rage. I can never, ever do that. But I hope she forgives me. I need forgiveness, too.

Today, I am letting go of that shit- those old resentments I have carried for far too long. I am going to love my parents fully, both of them, because they deserve it. They have loved and forgiven me for a lot of stuff- it’s time, for all of our sakes, that I leave the past in the past. I am so glad my mom and dad are still here, that I can pick up the phone and call them just to say “I love you.” And maybe this blog didn’t make a lot of sense to you, but my heart sure needed to puzzle this out. Thanks for reading- hope to see you again here, soon.

 

 

Chasing Waterfalls

waterfalls

 

My Beautiful Daughter-

Ever since we talked, yesterday, I have been walking around with this terrible ache in my heart. When you told me, weeks ago, that you were planning on moving hundreds of miles away from me…well, honestly? I dismissed it as a flighty, temporary, whim of yours. I didn’t worry, because I didn’t think it was real. But yesterday, when you told me it was happening, that you were leaving in a month, it really started to sink in.

I’m sorry if I seemed angry. I know I pointed out all the reasons it was a terrible idea, when all you wanted was my blessing. My support. I guess the truth is, I was never really angry…the truth is, I am sad. You are so much more than just my kid. You are also one of my favorite people on the planet, and, besides your sister, the only family I have here. The truth is, I will just miss you terribly.

That isn’t all of it, though. The bigger truth here is that it is selfish of me to withhold encouragement, to squelch your excitement, when you are doing exactly what a girl your age should do, in my opinion. You are spreading your wings, finally, being the brave girl I have always known you to be. I am so proud of you for that.

Here’s another thing- you don’t need my approval. You are an adult now, and you are free to do whatever it is that you want to do. I might not always like it, but I will always, always, always love you. So don’t worry about how I feel about things. Just know that I will come around, if I can, and even if I don’t, I am still your mom. I will love you fiercely.

I’m sorry for telling you that you were making a huge mistake. The fact of the matter is, I have no idea if that is true or not. That was just my own fear talking, and I hope you never avoid doing what you love out of fear. That is no way to live. You know what? A huge part of what makes life great is taking risks (you know, reasonable risks) (Okay, that was just scared mom again) and seeing what happens. Making mistakes is also a big part of living a wonderful life…it means you are trying things. I don’t want you to live a boring little cookie cutter life. I want you to do exactly what you are doing. I really do.

I was listening to the old TLC song “Don’t go Chasing Watefalls” on my way home this morning, and I realized something. I DO want you to chase waterfalls. You absolutely should NOT stick to the rivers and lakes you are used to. What fun would that be? Just, you know, wear good shoes, and maybe a life vest. That’s all I’m asking. See the world. Have fun. Dream big. LIVE big. You deserve the big WOW that life can be.

The most important thing of all for you to know is this: No matter what happens, I am here. And I love you. And you can always, always, always come home. That offer will never expire.  I will always pick up the phone when you call. I will be here when you need me. I will leave the light on for you.So go out into the world and do great things. I will be here, cheering you on.

Love, Mom

Safety

safety

 

As an addict, no matter what your drug of choice is, no matter whether you are using or not, one of our commonalities is that we generally crave safety. We crave it as much, really, as we crave whatever we are putting in our bodies, or whatever fucked up thing we are doing to change the way we feel. Because any addict can tell you that, eventually, you don’t really get high anymore. Nope, that rush from the beginning flees quickly. What we really want is safety. Distance from our feelings, some space from our self loathing, to shut up the voice inside of us that will not let us be- the one that tells us how stupid, and useless, and lacking we are. We just want some relief from whatever it is that haunts us, and the addict knows the fastest way to get there. Of course, this is WAY oversimplifying it, but in essence, this is the truth- you don’t want to hear about brain chemistry, genetics, and compulsive disorders, anyway, I bet. And if you do, you should probably talk to someone else, as I am just a drug addict with some experience, not a doctor.

Now, I know what I have said- that addicts are seeking safety- sounds completely the opposite of what an addicts life looks like. I realize that. But think about this for a second…all the stories of the way addicts lie, the way they manipulate everything in their environment. Yeah, that is terrible. And by the way, it’s exhausting, too. But what is that really, more than an attempt to create a world where we have some semblance of control over our surroundings? Sure, it is misguided and horrible, but when you are so helpless in every other way, the only thing you can do, out of desperation, is to try to create some type of order out of the chaos. To know what to expect. To have some feeling of safety, we manipulate. You have to remember, an addict in the trenches of their disease is desperate, and desperate people on drugs do not have the ability to see how insane their actions and choices are. They literally are not in their right minds. They just want to survive.

Now, here’s the thing: It doesn’t start off like this. No one starts off in this desperate state. I always, when thinking of my own story, refer to my disease starting up at the age of 19, but that isn’t even true. The truth is, I discovered my drug of choice at the age of 19, but I started putting drugs in my body long before that- sure, it was just smoking weed and drinking, but I was 13. I had low self esteem, I had a weird life, and I just wanted to fit in. The best idea I could come up with, having a limited set of options, was to get high. And it worked for me. I found no shortage of kids just like myself with whom to surround myself, and I created a persona out of all of that, so that I could fit in somewhere. I had no idea what kind of game I was playing. How could I have? And not everyone was destined to wind up like me, either. That’s the funny thing about it- you are rolling the dice, and you don’t even know it. Many of my friends were able to put it down and walk away. But a lot of them- a lot- were not.

Because I was so young when I started down this path, I had no experience with the way “normal” people lived. I didn’t understand how controlling I was, whether I was clean or not, or how emotionally volatile I was. I had no idea that my behavior was a major issue, preventing me from being happy, either on or off of drugs. I can tell you this, though- the minute I realized that my drug use had become nothing more than a symptom of a far bigger problem, my life changed. It took me a really long time to get there. A really long time. I went through treatment, well into adulthood, twice, and had years clean (after which I relapsed again and again) before I got it. On drugs, my behavior was terrible. Off drugs, my behavior was terrible, and it lead me back to drugs, to make me care less about my terrible behavior. I had to come to this understanding on my own. I just wasn’t hearing it from anyone, or any place else. I am not saying it wasn’t taught to me, that no one ever mentioned it. I just wasn’t able to hear it.

This is still a struggle for me. Even knowing what I now believe to be true- that my own behavior can make or break me- I struggle to break the old habits, to find new ways to deal with my feelings, ways that are not so damaging to me, or to others. I spent a lot of years being one person, so it makes sense that being someone else is hard. But I know it is vital that I do. I don’t want to use drugs anymore, but I still behave like an addict sometimes, whether I show it or not. That person is sitting inside of me, commenting on far too many things. I am, and will always be, a work in progress.

Addicts are also very contrary people. We know what we want, and we do the opposite. Our intentions don’t always match our actions. We want to do right, but often find ourselves doing wrong. We have huge egos, and low self esteem. We say one thing and do another. We are often very smart, and live stupidly. We dream of a safe, happy life, and do everything in our power to make sure we never get there. It makes no sense to you, and it makes no sense to the addict who is living it. That is the terrible truth.

Addicts, whether we are clean or not, want what every breathing person wants. To be safe. But our fight is a little different. We carry our biggest obstacle with us everywhere that we go. The face that looks back at us in the mirror is often our greatest enemy. The battle we fight is with ourselves, over and over and over.

You may wonder why I come back to this subject again and again, why I identify so strongly with this part of me. And my answer is- because this is still the biggest part of me. Even though I am clean, the fight is the same. The person I am fighting, and the thing I fight against, and all of the little flare ups I have, they all come from the addict in me. I have a voice, and I want to explain it to the world, so that maybe you can understand an addict in your life, or yourself, a little better. But I am no longer afraid, and I am not sad, and I don’t feel sorry for myself. I feel glad that I have named my enemy, and, even if it is a life long fight…at least I have the tools I need to do my work against it.

And that makes me feel a little safer. I sleep better, knowing that.

 

Are You Going To Have Faith, Or Not?

faith

For the past month or so, my life has really been sweet. My recovery is good and strong, my life full of all the things I want and need- meetings, and new friendships, movies and walks and books and laughter. My spiritual life felt robust and I felt connected to my God in a way that I hadn’t in such a long time. Meditation was really getting easy and enjoyable for me, and I felt my days slipping by with the kind of grace and ease that I had longed for forever.

Then, last Tuesday, two days before pay day, I found myself completely on empty, driving to my therapists office, with not a single dollar in my pocket. I was flat-ass broke, and I had to figure out how to navigate life for the next two days with no gas and no money. Now, let me remind you all- I am a drug addict! We are some of the most resourceful, crafty people in the world, when it comes to getting what we want, would you agree? And yet, in that moment, on my way to my therapist, and then my favorite NA meeting in the world, I had more than just a moment of panic, more than just worry. I was in full on assassin mode.

What I mean by this is, I was, internally, berating myself for my stupidity. It wasn’t just that I had run out of money two days before payday…it was “How could you be so STUPID? What kind of forty year old person doesn’t have a savings account? Why are you so messed up that you don’t even have a credit card? How can you be trusted to raise children when you can’t even afford to drive?” Yeah, it was bad. And just like that, all that good stuff I had been feeling, all that positivity, that connection I had been feeling…it faded out, like a dark cloud over my world. I was really down.

Now, what you need to keep in mind is- all of this happened in the space of one fifteen minute drive. I can do a lot of damage in a short time, trust me. But then, what happened was, just as I was turning the corner to my destination, this other voice popped up in my head, and it said “Courtney! Are you going to have faith or not? Because you either do or you don’t.” And, because this voice ALSO belonged to me, I knew what I meant- that I had lived through much worse times than this, and that, no matter how many times I had been down, no matter how far down I had been- I had always, every time, without fail, been okay again. Was I really going to let a matter of a few dollars reduce me, and my opinion of myself, to this?

And as I turned that corner and pulled into the parking lot, the answer was no, I was not. All of my hard work wasn’t for nothing, and my connection to the Universe was still so good, and I was still really proud of myself, and my life was still good…it was just that I needed a few bucks until payday. And I was going to have faith that everything would work out, just like it always does. And it did.

Since that day last week, I have come back to that thought- “Are you going to have faith, or not?” Again and again and again. Today, in just a few minutes, I am going to wake up my beautiful four year old for her first day of school ever. And I am terrified. Excited and thrilled, of course, but mostly, I am terrified. It is my job, as her mother, not to show this fear to her, so I will pull my shit together, pray, and I will choose faith this morning. Faith that God pays special attention to precious children and their crazy mothers, and faith that many other parents are feeling just like me this morning, and they are getting through it, somehow.

So the question for you today, my friends, is this- are you going to have faith, or not? Because you either do, or you don’t. I hope you do. We all need it. Have a wonderful day, and send some good thoughts over to this crazy mom, please.  🙂

Things I do when I am sick (That I would never do if I was well) (…probably)

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I have had to veer off course in the “Five Day, Five Photo Challenge”, mostly because I have been hovering on deaths door, doing my damnedest not to cross the threshold…just kidding, although I do have a nasty, terrible, no good, fucking awful cold. The second one in about a month, actually. Which probably means there is some underlying cause, most likely fatal, terminal, or otherwise incurable, right? Which leads me to the inspiration for this fine list- the crazy shit I think and do when I am sick. Please, enjoy my neuroses, and my trashy behavior. There should certainly be some benefit to the world from these.

Here goes:

1) As mentioned above, I have never just had a cold. It is always, in my head (and confirmed by WebMD) a symptom of a much bigger, probably fatal, underlying disease. I don’t get headaches, I get brain tumors. It’s never a cold, it’s always early pneumonia due to undiagnosed HIV. The cough is really lung cancer. The achy muscles are Rheumatoid Arthritis. I actually even entertained the idea, briefly, yesterday, that there was probably a tick somewhere lodged in my body, and I was completely riddled with Lyme’s disease. Actually, that could be true. I am sure there are lots of places on my body where a tick could live happily for YEARS. I am not nearly that thorough in my self examinations, that I would spend the time necessary to locate a tick. Let me remind you, I have a four year old. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I took a bath alone, let alone one where I could thoroughly search for ticks.

2) Due to my (hopefully imagined) impending demise, I become extremely weepy, loving, and tender with my children. I imagine how fucked their lives will be when I have the nerve to die young(ish), and I imagine myself looking down on them from heaven as they cry and mourn. Even as I write this, I realize how mental I must sound. I’m even a little embarrassed for me.  Anyway, because this is such a horrible mental road to go down, I then become full of resolve to beat this horrible cancer (my cold) and vow to be well, against all odds (or with chicken soup and Robitussin, whichever is easier). Which leads me to-

3) The part where I turn into a sleep Nazi, screaming at my children, the dogs, and my phone every time it rings. Don’t these idiots know I am coming back from the BRINK, here? I must rest! I must imagine my body attacking the cancer (germs. cold germs, that is all they are) so that I can survive! FOR THEM! Don’t they see what is happening here? ( I can actually see my older daughter rolling her eyes at me in disgust as I write this, saying “Why? Oh, yes, because you are DRAMA.”)

4) Other and miscellaneous things: When I am sick, and I need medicine, which I never seem to have when I need it, I will go to the store in my pajamas and slippers without a single fuck to give, and I will zombie walk to the cold/flu aisle like a kid in a candy store. If a kid were a zombie with serious sinus problems, anyway. I spent forty dollars yesterday on shit for my cold. I know that I can’t cure it, but I just wanted to feel better. You and I both know, though, that nothing apart from time really works.  If I didn’t have kids, I’d just continually use Nyquil to knock myself out until the symptoms passed, but that seems dangerous with a four year old in the house.

5) I religiously spray salt water up my nose when I am sick. I know I am not alone in this, but it seems to funny to me every time I do it- we spend every well moment of our lives vigorously avoiding getting things up our noses (well, okay…you know what I mean) and the minute we are sick, we actively begin squirting shit up there. Or, I do, anyway. I have no idea if it actually even works, but at least I feel like I am doing something.

6) I take baths with no thought of hygiene whatsoever. I sat in a bath full of kids vapor crap yesterday, just for the hope of some relief, however brief. I nearly scalded my skin off, but dear Jesus, I could actually breathe for the duration of the bath. Unfortunately, I was too sick to bother actually washing any part of my body. It never even crossed my mind. Being wet was good enough in my book.

7) I will literally blow and or wipe my nose on ANYTHING when I am sick, so the best bet is to keep something intended for that near me at all times. This is why people walk around with Kleenex boxes when they are ill- to save the curtains. I actually wiped my nose on my own pajama bottoms the other day. I am pretty sure I am still wearing them. Guess how much I care?

8) I will gladly let my four year old eat nothing but Popsicle’s for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. Only when I am sick. At least she is eating something, right? Now that I think about it, this may be WHY I am sick again so soon- she is probably diabolically licking all the rims of the clean glasses in the house, planting her pre-school germs (of which there are plenty) in hopes of Popsicle’s 24/7…I better keep an eye on her.

Well, that is it for me. I am going back to bed now. Gotta nip this cancer (cold) in the bud. Have a wonderful day!

Beautiful Human Machines

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I had intended to title this post “Stupid Human Bodies”, to be honest with you. I woke up this morning with only half of one nostril cooperating in my breathing effort. I have the kind of congestion that can be neither blown out, nor, uh…breathed in? I suppose the proper description would be “hocked up”, but that sounds so yucky, doesn’t it? Either way, if you are reading this, then you probably are saddled with one of these disease prone, periodically snot-addled, human contraptions we call “bodies” yourself, so I am sure you understand. The throbbing headache caused by sinuses that are malfunctioning- or is it hyperfunctioning? I am really unsure. The achy skin inflicted with fever. The goopy eyes, runny noses, dry, cracked lips. And this is only when we are dealing with the common fucking cold!

Don’t even get me started on the rest of the insulting things we must suffer through- the flaw in our design that put so many nerve endings in the places where we are most likely to ram them into things (think little pinky toes, my friend), the acne as teenagers (and adults), the metabolism that runs like a dream for so many years, only to leave us high and dry when our terrible eating habits are firmly ingrained in us…leaving us looking, bewildered, at the cellulite on our thighs and the rolls of blubber encircling our middles. Uncomfortably warm, permanent (seems like), hugs from the fat fairy. Yeah, life inside these bone and skin tents can be trying.

I was feeling all kinds of sorry for myself this morning, hobbling around with my achy, common-cold bones, hindered by my fat hug and the insurmountable mucus battle raging in my head…I was feeling whiny and bitchy and all kinds of pathetic. And then my daughter woke up. As you can see from the picture above, whatever is wrong with me is WAY less important than whatever the hell is going on with her. Yesterday, I thought she had a bug bite near her eye causing that swelling. Today, I am leaning more towards some type of cellulitis, perhaps conjunctivitis with a little something extra…I don’t know.

But it’s amazing, isn’t it, how quickly ones perspective can change? First of all, when I got out of “poor me” mode, and jumped into the impenetrable armor I call “Mommy Deluxe” (motto: don’t fuck with my kids, you hear?), my cold symptoms seemed to just float away. But, more importantly, I became acutely grateful for this wonderful machine that house our souls from day one through day…whatever you make it to. Because if this fancy contraption was not SO smart that it could send up distress signals you would need to blind to miss (ie: this eye is swollen even WORSE today, lady, so the Benadryl ain’t working! Help! Help!), how would I have known that something was seriously up with my kid? Answer: I wouldn’t have. I would not have known.

Our bodies are such precise and miraculous little systems. They are so complex, there are things even the most highly trained doctors, the most insanely educated scientists, are still mystified by. They protect us, they wage wars we often know nothing about, they suffer such abuses at our hands, and they still do their job, to the best of their ability, every single second of our lives. How cool is that? They find ways to communicate with us that we can understand, each body learning the language we will hear so that it can tell us how to help. And what do we do? We complain and whine, and get upset when things go wrong…Yet, how often are we grateful for all the many, many things that go right?

Today, I am going to stop whining, and appreciate this marvelous (if a little chubbier and snottier than I feel is totally necessary) temple that has been with me since the moment…no, since BEFORE the moment, even…I was born. Also, I am going to call the doctor for Cammy. That eye does not look good.

Have a beautiful day!

Keys

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This little picture up above is my house. It may not look like much, but I assure you, it is kind of a big deal. First of all, it is all mine- I found it all on my own, I rented it all on my own, I did all the stuff it takes to get into a house all on my own, with additional hoops to be jumped through (as usual) thanks to my checkered past.

In the world we live in, there is a subset of people that live in what is almost an alternate reality: The world of the drug addict. That reality is a place I called home for many, many years, and because of that, I will always look at things a little differently. Because it  was my home for so long, a little piece of me will always remain there. I know this is probably a hard thing to understand- it’s not an easy concept for me to accept, either. Like, if it’s in the past, why not leave it there, right? But if you really examine your own life, can you say, 100%, that the things that shaped you in the past truly remain in the past? We carry our past within us, and we leave little parts of ourselves behind.

In the world of the drug addict, I am a fairy tale ending. I know this sounds nuts, right? I have been out of treatment for a matter of weeks, not for the first time…I have relapsed so many times over the past eight years, I’ve lost count. But I sit here this morning on my laptop writing this to you, and I am sitting in my own house, getting ready to get ready to go to work at a job I have had for many years. In my house, I have furniture- yeah, most of it is covered in laundry that needs to be folded, and the rest is covered in dog hair, but it’s MY furniture. I have lived in places before where it was too much trouble to figure out how to get a couch- all of my energy was used up on trying to figure out how I was going to get my next sack of dope.

In my house, I have two dogs, a cat, and two kittens (let me know if you want one.) that depend on me to care for them, and I do. They love me, and can’t wait to see me, and they celebrate every time I walk through the door- well, the dogs do. The cats are cats, and you know how they are. In this house, there are rooms with electricity and heat, there is a refrigerator with food, there are dishes in the dishwasher and clothes in the wash machine. There are TV’s that are on too much, and a bath tub that always has twenty million toys in the bottom, no matter how many times I pick them up. In my house, the work is never done- I am just realizing that this is a literal cliche. The work really is NEVER done. But I am grateful for each part of it.

The most important thing of all in my house are two beautiful kids, both generally happy (one as happy as a teenager ever really is, the other happy by even a four year old’s standard) and pretty well adjusted.. Both healthy and thriving in their own way. I wake up every day and thank God for them, that I can be their mother, that I don’t have to continue to inflict damage on them today as I have in my active addiction. Every day that I can actually be a mother to these girls is a victory. Every minute of it.

And in my purse, or on my dresser, or somewhere in this place, right now, as I write this, is a key ring. It has a whole bunch of keys on it- two keys for my front door, two keys for the storage’s in the back. There is a key to my car, and a key to my daughter’s car, and a few keys I probably need to toss out because I don’t know what they go to anymore. But for someone like me- a girl who carries the past of an addict at the very surface of her heart, so close it is right there…a girl who lived so long in that alternate reality that it’s still hard to trust herself…those keys mean a lot more to me than they might to the average person. I know what it is like to have no keys to any door at all. Man, am I grateful.

Thanks to mark for inviting me to do the Five Photos Five Series Challenge. Have a beautiful day!

Cleaning House. I mean, Literally.

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I spent a good portion of my day, yesterday, in my pajamas, on the couch, snoozing. Before that, I spent a good chunk of time back in bed, snoozing some more (and watching TV). Before that, a good friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in years came by, and we drank coffee and chain smoked on the front step, which is also really bad- the chain smoking, not the coffee. (Don’t you dare judge me, quitting smoking is the hardest, most unpleasant thing I have ever tried quitting. And trust me, I have quit a lot of stuff. Baby steps, man.)

At around two o’clock yesterday afternoon, I was so disgusted with my pajama clad body, horizontally sprawled on various cushioned surfaces, blearily staring at the tv, or the insides of my eyelids. I was so filled with self loathing at my sweaty self just left moldering in the nastiness of my filthy, garbage filled home…I just didn’t know what to do. I mean, I knew what I SHOULD do, but what I didn’t know was how to get myself upright, and actually DO it. I had no energy. I felt angry, disgusted, and frustrated with myself.

Well, I figured out the “BIG SECRET”. It’s pretty simple, actually, though harder than it sounds. Are you ready for me to lay it on you?  Okay, here goes: You simply get the fuck up, and do what you need to do. That is it. Like the Nike slogan from years gone by- JUST DO IT. Just get up off your lazy ass, and start handling your business. Isn’t there some law of physics that says “A body at rest tends to stay at rest unless someone forces it to move it’s slovenly self?” Well, here’s the bad news- it has to be you, the operator of this big machine of skin and bone, that does the forcing. I mean, unless you are independently wealthy, in which case, you can just call Molly Maids, or whatever, and have them come do it for you. If that is the case, I don’t know why you are up so early, reading my blog. I would suggest you go back to bed until it’s time for your pedicure and massage, princess.

Seriously. though, it took me four hours- it could have taken me a lot less time, had I cut corners like I normally do. Doing a half ass job takes half as much time, of course, but the end result sure isn’t as satisfying. I let no dishes “soak” this time, I washed them, dried them, and put (most) of them away. I removed all my “neatly stacked” piles of mail that I am still so resistant to opening- ( hey, I am a work in progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day). I actually did a very good job.

It made me grouchy, for a little while- the first hour was hard, and I did it grudgingly, even with the awesome music blaring from my stereo. The second and third hour, I was just in numbed out cleaning mode. The final hour, I was pretty tired, but I could see the results of my hard work, and it kept me pushing through. I will confess to you right now that the bathroom did not get finished, but the truth is, I wasn’t going to do it at all until I saw how filthy the tub I was about to put my kid in was. So I went ahead and washed out the tub and the sink, while I was at it. And also, the top of my dresser in my bedroom did get overlooked. I will try to get to that today.

However, even with those two little things, I woke up this morning and was treated to the sight and feel of walking through a clean, clear, organized home. I go back to work today after a pretty long stretch of time off, and it feels good to have given myself this gift- a clean home to wake up in and start my day, and a clean home to come back to tonight. As much as I didn’t want to start on it yesterday, I was so glad I made myself do it last night, and I am even more grateful this morning.

So, there you have it- the secret to cleaning your home when you are a lazy, lazy woman. Go spread the word, lazy brethren and sistren (is there no female equivalent for brethren?!) . Go share it with the masses. I mean, if you can get up off the couch, that it. Hahaha!

Have a reasonable Monday (it should help that Monday is happening on a Tuesday this week. There is always that. 🙂 )

Glimpsing The Truth

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I have been sort of coming up empty handed when it comes to stuff I feel like writing about lately. I have been working on some other, non-bloggy, stuff. And there have been at least two blogs I WANTED to write, and that you all really would have enjoyed, but nevertheless, these blogs would have caused me deep shame later, so I opted out. I am trying not to be an asshole, no matter how satisfying being that person is at times.

Today though, as I was driving, and, as so often happens when you are driving, I was nowhere near my laptop, I was struck by inspiration. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time unconsciously making plans for my imaginary life. What I mean by this is…well, my thoughts go something like this “When I am my perfect self with a perfect life that is perfectly organized and totally “normal”, and my house is always clean and I have awesome, perfect, friends whom I invite to perfect dinner parties, then I will…” Fill in the blank with whatever thing my imaginary self will then do in my imaginary life. Now, of course, I don’t actually compose this entire mess of run-on sentence in my head. It’s more of just an implied personal nirvana life, you understand.

Anyway, you ever have moments when the veil of your perception lifts, slightly, just for a moment? You ever get just a tiny little glimpse of the truth, and it leaves you completely thunderstruck? Well, this happened to me today. It suddenly occurred to me that- hold onto your pants, now- that perfect life, that perfect me? It doesn’t exist. Now, I am not saying that I could not be a better me. I fully believe, and expect, that I will continue to see all kinds of versions and levels of a better me, as time goes on and I continue on this path. But the perfect me? No. Not only can that not exist for me, but it doesn’t really exist for ANYONE.

And that, I think, is the real issue here. I forget that what I see, the surface part of peoples lives, the  things they show to us, are not their reality. I am basing my ideals for myself on the selected portions of life that other people decide to share with the world, the part they are comfortable with showing. Jesus, to be quite frank with you, were you to scroll through my Facebook timeline, you might think I was a pretty together chick. I don’t even LOOK like ninety percent of the pictures I post of myself. Hahahahaha!

I am not always thoughtful, or funny, or cheeky and positive. I am not any of those things most of the time. I am just a normal, middle aged (and goddammit, I AM middle aged, I am 40!) single mom. I have kid problems and man problems and a mole on my chin that three hairs grow out of (two black, one grievously gray) more rapidly with each plucking. I can’t seem to keep track of my socks, I am generally behind on laundry, and I hate washing pots, pans, and my dogs. And if your life IS perfect? I don’t even want to be friends with you. Who needs that kind of pressure?

But I will tell you what I do have, right now, today: I have a little house with a big yard, and an outstanding view. Inside this house are two beautiful daughters who love me more than anything- one who tells me everything I never wanted to know because she trusts me, and one who still thinks I can do anything, because she is four. I have two dogs, and one cat, and more love than these walls could ever contain. We have food in the fridge and the lights are still on, somehow. We are doing alright.

Maybe the truth is, this is my perfect life. Maybe it doesn’t get any better than this.