Posted in Addiction, Goals, Life, People, random, Uncategorized, writing

Memory Lane in a BAD Neighborhood

Well, hello, strangers. I haven’t had a lot of time (or the inclination) to write much lately- life has been busy, and filled with a lot of stuff I don’t feel qualified to handle. Unfortunately, there IS no one else, so I don’t have a lot of choice. Work has been insanely busy and I’ve been trying to put in as much overtime as I can (as it turns out, that’s not a whole lot in my case), the little daughter has made it her mission in life to see how many times per day she can come perilously close to killing herself via a multitude of dangerous activities. The big daughter is also trying to get herself killed, only she, it is obvious, wants the old “suicide-by-mom” thing. She is the winner, this week, of the crazy making award. And also, my car is in the shop for a repair that is exorbitantly expensive for a thing that isn’t even freaking broken (timing belt). So I have been reliant on others to taxi me about since Tuesday. In other words, I’ve left my house ONCE.  So, because I’ve been sticking close to home and trying not to kill my children, I’ve had time to dive into the piles of crap I have squirreled away in boxes and bags in every nook and cranny of my home. I went through a small crate and large drawer that were crammed full of notebooks-everything I had written from 1993 forward.  I put my notebooks in chronological order, reading through each one, something I had never done before. What emerged, when taken altogether like that, was a really sad, really clear life story of a troubled, unhappy, desperate girl who has TERRIBLE taste in men. But there was some really great, hopeful stuff in there, too. That’s where I found what I’m posting today, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I stumbled across it the other day. It’s the story of how I felt when I finally got clean and got my life back. (written three years later around the time I relapsed…again…I must have been trying to remind myself of the truth). I am transcribing it word for word, so bear with the structure and the jumping of tenses-I never dreamed it would ever be seen by anyone but me.

10/2008

Today, it dawned on me that this mental beating I give myself every time I make this choice, it is exactly how I felt almost constantly for the 11 solid years I sacrificed to my addiction. Now, I say “almost constantly” because I do clearly recall having SOME fun, albeit bizarre, times in there. But I knew, I knew, I KNEW, as surely as I knew my own face, that I was doing myself a terrible disservice. The way that I kept on and kept on and kept on living that way, until finally it had been YEARS- I knew I was cheating myself, my mom, and my daughter. Just about every one who loved me, or who got sucked into the abyss that was my life, got the short end of the stick.

At some point, you realize you are using now JUST to stay two steps ahead of your own terrible reality sinking in. When you are already so weakened, so compromised, so ghostly, it is terrifying to entertain the thought of actually turning around & seeing the path of destruction you left in your wake. It’s just too, too much.

What I didn’t know then that I do know now, is that continuing to claw your way blindly and frantically ahead is not the answer. It is familiar, and how you do it, and strangely comfortable despite how it looks from the outside. When you are in the middle of  addiction, and it is YOUR horrible, bleak life, you are totally in your element. You know many other creatures just like you, in varying degrees, you have a language, a culture, a kind of code all your own, and you have lived in the shadows for so long that venturing outside of your tiny world causes you extreme discomfort. You no longer know how to interact properly with normal folks, you are too loud or too silent, too nervous, too shifty, too angry, too flippant, too self-involved to even notice how out of sync you are half the time. You get irrationally angry and immediately defensive when the slightest threat is even perceived. This is how you keep folks at bay, being short fused. People don’t press when they are afraid of what might set you off. You are moody and unhappy and you hate every single thing that there is, especially yourself. Except for your daughter. When you look at her, you hate yourself more than you even thought possible, but you love her in the deepest, most tender way. That love is like a weight on your back, only you can’t tell if it is making everything even harder, or if it is the sole thing keeping you planted on earth, or both. Maybe it’s both. But you look at that girl and your throat closes, and your eyes burn, and you can no longer escape the cloak of your despair.

Oh, I am so sorry, but I have to start work right now! There is more, and I will just make it a separate post later today. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this so far…it truly is that way when you are strung out for so long. It’s a nightmare, and you can’t even figure out what is wrong with you while it is happening to you. In case you ever wondered why “those people” are the way they are and do what they do. It’ s very sad. But it CAN get better, and if you check me out later, you can read the rest.

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Posted in family, kids, Life, love

Dear God

Dear God-

Hi! It’s me again. I’ll tell you up front that I don’t have anything really urgent to talk to you about, so if you are busy, you may want to get back to this later. Not that I doubt your multitasking skills for a minute, I’m sure you’re way better at it than your average human being, but…you know what I mean. I just wanted to check in, let you know I am still here, I haven’t checked out on you. I hope you don’t mind that I am putting you in my blog. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone, you know?

I’ve been a little down lately. Seems like no matter how hard I try, things around here stay about the same, if not worse. I know I don’t do everything right, not by a long shot, and I don’t pretend that I have a clue about how to create the family and the results I long to see. I can see the end result in my head, but I don’t know how to get there. Maybe I just don’t have the right personality for domestic stuff. Maybe I just don’t have enough help…it would be nice if all of us around here could pull it together and work as a unit for once. It seems like we all just live together and have totally separate lives. This just isn’t the way I thought it would be.

I know I should be grateful, and I AM! I know how lucky I am to have two healthy, beautiful daughters, a fantastic and well paying job that I like, and coworkers who are like an extension of my family. I know how lucky I am to have a house at all, let alone in a safe, pretty town half a mile from the beach. I’m SO lucky to be healthy, to be safe, to be loved. I’m not trying to downplay any of that stuff. I let you know all the time how thankful I am to be where I am in life…I think I know better than some how much worse it could have turned out for me. And I know I will NEVER know as well as others do what it means to really be without. Even at the worst times in my life, I could always count on a roof over my head, food when I was hungry. All in all, I’ve lived a pretty blessed life.

So you’ll have to forgive me for being so selfish and telling you that, still, I want more. Can we talk for a minute about this relationship I’m in, God? I know, I know- I can FEEL you rolling your eyes at me, up there. I know you have much more concerning issues on your hands, like global warming, the middle east in general, and the end of times right around the corner. I get that, in the big scheme of things, my love life is really a non-issue, but humor me. You, he, and I know the whole story of us…you know how hard I have tried, how many things I’ve worked through, looked past, compromised on. You know the doubts I’ve struggled with since the very start. All of that, to wind up here-ambivalent, stuck, distanced. My heart is just out of forgiveness, God, and I don’t know how to move forward from this place. I don’t even want to forgive anymore, and that has been the one thing I had that assured me there was still really love between us. Without it, it’s like my heart is completely closed. I know he feels it, my disconnect, and I don’t want to make it hard on him, but I can’t help it. I’ve got nothing left, and there’s no way I can pretend differently. I start to feel bad about it, then it occurs to me that he absolutely brought this on himself.

Obviously, I can’t go on like this for very long. So the big question is, what now? I know it’s really up to me, that I didn’t seem to ask for a lot of advice when I was making all the decisions that led me to here. I don’t expect a giant arrow in the clouds pointing me to my dream life, or an email with a power point slide show detailing my options and all possible outcomes. Although, come to think of it, I wouldn’t turn that down, either. I guess I would just like to ask for some clarity, soon. If you could please help me pay attention, so I don’t miss possible answers. If I could just have a head that is quiet enough to really think this through.  If you could maybe help me feel certain when I hit on the right idea, instead of doubting myself into inaction like I’ve done so often. God, if you could please  just help me not be afraid. I’m choosing to hold onto unhappiness because I am so afraid of messing everything up.

It seems so wasteful to work so hard for something you thought was possible, only to find that it could never have become that thing, no matter what you did to help it along. I want to be happy, God, and not because everything is perfect and I am so accomplished and polished and wonderful-I want to be happy the way you are when your heart is peaceful, and you aren’t constantly on your guard. I want to relax, God. I don’t care if that means I have to be alone…I will miss the familiarity and companionship, for sure. I will miss having someone that is pulling their share of the weight of this life. But I will not miss hunting for the true story underneath his words. I will not miss the loneliness that comes with loving a man you cannot risk trusting. I will not miss the fear of all of the things I don’t know yet. Every day of our life together, I have felt their presence, a constant undercurrent.

Please help me be strong, sure and kind- help me not let my mean nature complicate things. Help me to remember that he is a good father, a hard worker, that he probably did the best he could, too. He’s just working with a different set of tools than me. If there is a way to mend this, God, I am all ears- I’d like to tell you that I don’t see how, but you’re the big miracle guy, here, so it’s your call. I don’t want to hurt the baby, and she loves us both so much. I don’t want to complicate my life by changing everything, AGAIN, but I believe I am of no real use to anyone like this.

Other than that, God, I think all is well. I am always glad, at the end of a day like this, that things tend to look less impossible in the light of day. Thanks for this beautiful life.

Love,

Courtney

Posted in family, kids, Life

Motherhood (Raw and Uncut)

Well, hello, you good people of blogger-land, Facebook, Twitter and various other internet locations. I hope you haven ‘t forgotten about me. I know it’s been a few days. I did not turn my computer on once this past weekend (I never sat my phone down once, though)- I needed a break from the constant stat-checking I’d been doing. So on the sixth AND seventh day, I rested. And also the first day of the next week, and then it just started to become a bad habit. I figured I better sit my ass down and dredge up something clever to say quick before you guys didn’t like me anymore. I have no idea if I will be able to achieve that or not, seeing as how I have a headache, Nick Jr. is blaring out of the TV, and my toddler is periodically climbing up behind me and doing something to my hair. I’m pretty sure she is checking me for lice. I hope she doesn’t find any.

So, while I was rushing around trying to cook dinner, keep the baby occupied,  and not accidentally step on the dog (simultaneously)this evening, it occurred to me that this was not exactly what I’d envisioned being the mother-person in a family would be like. I don’t really know where I got my weird idea that it would be this easy and totally gratifying experience…perhaps it came from every woman with a child I know saying, at one time or another, that their children were the greatest blessing of their lives. Not that they are NOT, don’t get me wrong. I’m a subscriber to that particular belief, myself. I think it’s a chemical imbalance you develop at the moment of conception that keeps you from throwing your infant out the window after the third sleepless night in a row.

Now, girls, if you really think about it- how many times have you conversed about motherhood with a childless person, and contributed blatant honesty in your statements? Because when I think about it, I realize that I have been guilty of a whole lot of glossing-over-of-the-truth, myself. Which is weird, because I am normally a really, brutally honest kind of girl. I can’t help but wonder if maybe this is another instinctual glitch deep in our animal brains meant to encourage the human race to be fruitful and multiply. Or maybe it’s just what we’ve been conditioned to say, as mothers-“She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” “I can’t remember what it’s like to NOT be a mom.” “It’s hard, but it’s worth it.”. All of those things are true, and maybe we are scared to tell the WHOLE truth…but here, again, is one of those things that no one really talks about so everyone feels bad about it. Thinking that they are the only freakish, soulless female in the world who ever thought about how nice it would be to have a nervous breakdown just so she could stuck in a mental ward for a week or two, and rest, kid free.

Well, if you are thinking those thoughts, love, rest assured- you are not alone. Here are some other things you either already know or, if you don’t, you really ought to be told:

-Pregnancy may or may not suck for you, but I encourage you to enjoy being the object of such affection and attention while you can. The minute you pop that baby out, it’s like you barely exist anymore. Of  course, that isn’t really true, but after months of people doting on you and treating you so sweetly, it’s a bit harsh when it all gets yanked away overnight. You may find yourself  spouting the words “I just had a baby” an unreasonable amount of times in all sorts of inappropriate conversations. I know I did! I wanted people to know I wasn’t just dumpy, I had leased my body out to a smallish human for almost a year. It got a little too small for her and she had to move out, but she left the place a mess!

-People will give you so much advice that you will not know what the hell to do. Everyone sounds very sure of themselves. When you tell them, timidly, that you plan on going back to work when the baby is four months old, they will look at you like you just added “and I was going to just leave the baby out in the yard with the dog.”  to the end of your sentence. These well meaning folks will find fault with anything you say that does not mirror what they believe to be right. Don’t worry about it.

-After the first two days of being a mom, you will probably have to be alone with the baby. It’s okay if you don’t really feel all that excited about this stranger you just gave birth to. I was shocked by how ambivalent I felt towards both my kids for the first little while after they were born. I mean, I LOVED them and thought they were amazing, but it wasn’t how I thought it would be. It took a little bit of interacting to get to that adoration phase.

-IMPORTANT! The first three months of being a mom is sort of nightmarish. I mean, it is freaking hard. You are fat, tired, sleep deprived, soggy and  isolated from the real world. Your whole life suddenly revolves around this fragile little person that you can’t even leave alone while they are sleeping (I checked my infants constantly for signs of life  while they slept, even poking them when necessary) . It is really a thing you have to go through on your own, no matter how great the dad may be. He isn’t the one dealing with the hormones, the body changes, the life altering craziness of it all. But it will get better. It really does. And I’m not just saying that to encourage you to breed, I promise.

Wow! That was really long, really quick. I think I will have to do this in segments-Yay! A plan! So I’ll meet you back here really soon, and we will talk about the truth about toddlers, ok? Now I’m outta here. I have jury duty tomorrow. Oh! And feel free to add your thoughts about how much infants suck, sometimes. And how much we love them, anyway.