Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Inauthenticity, Lack of Center, and Relapse

Yeah.  So I guess I'm talking about myself.
I present so well, don't I?
I got this brutally honest schtick down fo sho'.
Everyone is patting me on the back, I'm feeling like myself again, the story of how I got to be where I am becomes my shout out to the world: "I did this!  So can you!"
And yet...
I haven't gotten quiet for a long time.
I can talk about being broken without thought to consequence because I'm fixed now, right?
And yet...I fell into another relationship straight from my marriage.
I started drinking again because drinking wasn't really my problem, right?
I slacked off on my classes this quarter, obsessed about silly material things trapped in my ex husband's house, spent $300 of  student loan money on a stupid pair of Frye boots (Seriously, tho.  They are beautiful.).
I'm overeating, back in love addiction mode, and generally feeling like an asshole today.
I need to meditate.  Take a break from the man.  Look my kids in the eyes and love them whole heartedly.
I need to cut the crap with the false bravado.
Yes, I am broke.  Yes I live in transitional housing.  Yes I was in a Domestic Violence relationship.  Yes I was raped.  Yes I had an asshole for a stepfather.  Yes I had a Nervous Breakdown.
These all make for an interesting life, and they are a huge part of who I was.
But I can't stand on these stories like a child stands on a stack of books trying to get taller.
They were who I was.
Who am I going to be now?
I guess that remains to be seen.

We all come into this world dependent on the Nipple

Yo, I can't get that phrase out of my head.  It's making me giggle.
It was said in front of a large group of broken women in Rehab a few months back.
It was said by a therapist who thought quite highly of himself.
He had a Sylvester the Cat lisp going on, so please say the phrase to yourself in your best Looney Tunes lisp.
You're Welcome.
It was said accompanied by the beating of a drum to signify a mother's heartbeat.
And right before he said it, Ghetto Barbie turns to me to warn me:  This is it, this is that crazy shit that I told you about, yo.  This was not her first rodeo.
I liked most of the other therapists.  I'm open to different kinds of mind fucking.
But when you take yourself so damn seriously, accompanied by a god damned drum, for Christ's sake, you're gonna get played.
I haven't even told you the time that Sylvester prepared a god damned thesis on how Star Wars was a metaphor for the 12 steps.
Let me stop laughing about this one first.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My sister....

Bugs me.  Doesn't everybody's sister bug them?
Theoretically, I have 7 sisters, thanks to my parents marriages and mistakes, but this one is the thorn in my side, the type A to my Type Z, the anal retentive to my little red headed hoarder, the one who photographs better than me, the one who is taller than me, more gracious than me, saner than me ( although, truth be told, I have shrunk that chick behind her back more times than I can count.)
We have navigated our relationship through pretending to be rockabilly white trash in our twenties together to owning a business together to having our children together.
We give each other grief in a natural give and take that feels like a comedy routine.
We find things funny where they shouldn't be, but what are we supposed to do, be sad and serious all the time?
When our mom was diagnosed with cancer, I called my sister up.
After we shed a few tears, I said "Dude, didn't you take Mom to that terrible greasy hamburger joint a few months back?"
"Yeah, so what?" she said, kind of defensive.
"And wasn't Mom totally complaining of stomach ailments after that?"
"I think you gave Mom the Cancer, dude."
Total silence.  And then shrieks of laughter.  That joke lasted us until she died, bringing us respite from the daily wasting away of our mom.
When mom was diagnosed as terminal and they told us there was nothing more to be done after she had fought hard for a year and a half, my sister and I did what our mom had taught us to do best:  First we stuffed our faces, and then we went to the mall and shopped our sadness away.
It worked for a few hours, at least.
As we waited for my mom to die, we shared a comfortable silence that only sorrow knows.  Because really, what more is there to say?
When my mother had been comatose for days and was very near the end, I was standing at her bedside holding her hand.  My sister was on the other side.  Mom opened her eyes for the first time in 72 hours.  She looked at M.  She looked at me, and then she said this to me, very slowly:
"I.  HATE.  THAT.  HAT."
My sister and I were overjoyed, but ever the big sister, she said "Mom, don't let that be the last thing you say to Katie...quick, say something else!"
My mother shook her head, Nope.  She died a few days later.
Now when I wear that hat my sister tells me that I wear it so that Mom can recognize me from Heaven.  I think she's right.
I loved my mother with all my heart, and there is an ache that I still feel for her that is so primal I feel like a small child when I feel it.
But I realize that her final gift to me was bonding me to my sister during her dying days.
My sister, who grieves with me.  My sister, who gets me.  My sister, who laughs with me.
My sister, who bugs me.
Thanks Mom.  That is, thanks MOST of the time.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Help! I'm being accepted and loved by CHRISTIANS!

I recieved an invitation from a Facebook friend to attend a women's retreat that her church was putting on. This woman has been following my journey with acceptance and love, even though we are as different as night and day.  
She is petite.  I am not.  She lives in a big house.  I do not.  She is a Christian.  I am not.
What she is to me is what so many of you have showed yourselves to be: my soul sister, lifting me up with kind words and a story of her own.
She has never preached to me.  She has never insisted that I pray with her, or that I accept Jesus as my personal savior, or told me to stop swearing, for Christ's sake.
I like her, Christian or not, I really like her.
So I went on this retreat, as the theme was "from brokenness to wholeness', and for those of you who don't know my story, that would be an appropriate title for MY LIFE, so I figured I'd better pay attention.
I checked in and was introduced to women that I immediately felt comfortable with, Christian or not.
We convened in a room with an alter, some crosses, baby jee jee and the whole bit.  They sang songs that had words that weren't in my vocabulary, with some shit about his glory being good and all that jazz.  I watched the woman playing the guitar and singing about giving it up to Jesus. She was happy, almost ecstatic.  It was a pleasure to watch her, so secure in a faith that was/is foreign to me.
Later, I heard two women speak about their struggles and how God had helped them through difficult times.  We all cried together.
My ass wasn't becoming a Christian, but I was sure as hell feeling more Christ Like than I ever have.
The next day a pastor from another church came and spoke.  She was powerful, funny and super honest about her failures in life, which I really appreciated.  There is nothing worse than a Christian who doesn't admit failure.  Think Jim Baker, before he got found out.
We broke for lunch and I sat with some awesome women who listened to my story without judgement or pity.
I was digging all these ladies!  I made some awesome new friends!  I wanted to be part of their community.  Their church seemed fun, unpretntious, and steeped in service.
There was just this little thing, not a big deal really.

I don't believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

Fuck me...really, Katie?  All of these other things were lining up and you have to let this one little thing get in the way?

I was raised Catholic, with some trips to the Ashram thrown in by an ever seeking father.  I never looked to God as the Father, instead choosing to focus on Mary, the Mother, who has saved my ass more times than I can count.  When the Christian dude at the Rehab told me I couldn't believe in a God that was Female, I told him to Fuck Off and walked out the door.

I'm Mary Magdalene, bitches.

I prefer my religion dirty and redemptive.
Jesus.  A prophet.  A phenomenal prophet, who spun words of wisdom worth living by.  But for me, he was not the Son of God.
I was kinda bummed.  Because as I was articulating this in my head, I realized that I had found a new tribe of women that I wanted to belong to.  Women whose faith impressed me, overwhelmed me, made me a bit envious...but there was this whole matter of belief, or lack there of.
I am thinking that maybe I will show up to their church some Sunday.  They can't deny me: I am one of the broken, the weary, a perfect example of the population they are in service of.
Maybe we can go lunch and not talk about God, just about Life.  It's not often you find a tribe of women that you want to belong to, Christian or not...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yeah, I'm crazy. So fucking what?

What to do, What to do?
I'd like to explain away my crazy, beginning with my attachment issues from  1970, but I'm afraid I'd lose you all.
I was born into crazy, and I'm gonna die being crazy.
Crazy is who I am.
That's the long and short of it.
I could tell you that I was the identified patient in my family, and that I played the emotional scapegoat for the sake of saving everybody else's ass, but unless you took that developmental psych class that turned me into a back seat psychologist it wouldn't mean anything to you.
Crazy is who I am.
I could tell you that I think crazy is fluid, just like sexuality is fluid, and that I have been more crazy at different times in my life, just like I have been more into chicks at different times in my life, but that sounds Crazy, doesn't it?
I could tell you that I have been diagnosed and undiagnosed with various mental illnesses, and at the last sit down with a shrink I was diagnosed with just plain old depression, and that even that went away when I left my husband, but I don't want you to think that I am explaining away my crazy, because I am not.
I like being Crazy.
It's who I was, who I am, and who I am going to be.
It's a work in progress, a work of art, a piece of my past and a key to my future.
I'm Crazy.
I hope everyone owns their Crazy.  It makes life so much more interesting.
If you don't have any, you can borrow some of mine.  I've got plenty to share.

Step Family Fairy Tales

We were not the family that we presented to the world.  We made it appear as if we were a modern Brady Bunch, but that was the furthest thing from the truth.  You can't throw 9 kids together and expect harmony.  You just can't.  Especially when those nine kids carried nine large pieces of baggage on each of their backs.
And when that family is being led by a Narcissistic Rageaholic who had his own best interest at heart...always...It is a recipe for disaster.
This is the hardest truth I will ever tell. I have a great deal of love for two of my step sisters, and we have shared many fond memories together.  I will assume that after they get ahold of this we no longer have a relationship, and while this pains me, I am no longer willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of others.
 I've been quiet for all of my life.  There was a family fable that we told to ourselves and the world, and if one ever dared to stray from the party line, the labeling, degradation, and ganging up upon was swift.
I tried to preach the party line.  Really, I did.
But from the time I was 5 years old I was being told one version of reality while I witnessed quite the opposite.
Harboring this secret has damaged me.  Trying to believe these lies has taken its toll.  I'm ready to give my version of the truth, one ugly memory at a time.
And remember, kids...
As always, memory is subjective...
to be continued.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dear Incompetent Social Worker

You fucked up, lady.
You were patronizing to me, mean and unnecessarily rude.
But you thought you could get away with it.  You thought that I was just another broke ass white trash single momma to be lectured to and talked at.
It's true.
I am a broke ass white trash single momma.
But I have a big ol' mouth.  And I can be vindictive as fuck.
So now I'm gonna have to school ya in public.  And after I'm done here I'm going to print this out and put it under the doors of every single broke ass momma in this joint, so that they can share in this empowerment that I am already feeling.
 I am going to file my grievance form that you practically threw at me, thank you very much.
And then I will make a phone call to one of the names on the walls of this place, re-introduce myself, and make the complaint personally to him.
You didn't realize who you were fucking with, did you?
Here's a little advice:
When talking to a client, do not assume that we are stupid.  We are not.
When talking to a client, a little respect goes a long way.  It's the law of attraction 101, baby.  Respect begets respect.
When explaining what chores and cleanliness are to a client, please straighten up your pig sty of an office.  It's unprofessional and embarrassing.
Last but certainly not least:
It's obvious you hate your job.  I'm sorry you hate your job, it's not my fault.  It sure would go by alot faster if you were actually pleasant about it.
When your boss makes you apologize to me, I'll be here, room 208.
And if you would like any lessons on customer service, or housekeeping, please let me know.  I'd be happy to help.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Leap of Faith, that's what turned my life around.

I live in an 8x10 room, down the hallhay from a bunch of other women and children who live in 8x10 rooms.  I pay $155 a month for this room, becasue that is 30% of my earnings.  I recieve $638 a month in general assistance, $500 a month in food stamps, and health insurance for my kids and I.
I left my husband in December of last year and went to stay in a Domestic Violence shelter.  I could tell you where it was, but revealing the location would be a misdemeanor, so I won't.
I have nothing.  The IRS tells me that I owe them more than $300,000.  I sold off everything I had to pay the bills, then when that was gone I let the bills go.  My credit is destroyed.  My ex husband pressured me to sign a quit claim on our house, so I am not entitled to any of the $400,000 or so in equity.  I don't have any stocks, bonds, IRAs, 401 Ks or rich relatives.  I am not recieving spousal or child support from my ex, as of yet.
I have no idea how I am going to come up with my half of my eldest child's private school education this fall.
I have been advised not to get a job until my support gets established by the Depeartment od Child Support Services.  I go to school, and recieve a small amount of money from Pell Grants.

I am happier than I have ever been.

Crazy, huh?
 Free, like I usd to be.
 Spirited, like I used to be.
Me, like I used to be.
I love my life.
I lived in fear for a long time, my arms wrapped around me tight.  We all know what happens when you lead with fear: You fall.  Over and over again.  And you can't figure out why you keep falling, or why your life isn't working out, or why you are not happy.
With your arms wrapped around you tight, how could you possibly balance yourself?  How could you possibly fly?
I leapt.  I have never been so scared to leap.  But I leapt.  And when I leapt, the Universe opened her arms and said "Welcome, Katie Girl!
We've been waiting for you!"
The world started to open up to me.  I opened up to the collective YOU, and you all showed me your humanity, one message at a time, one phone call at a time, one letter at a time, one text at a time.
I've never felt so accepted in my entire life.
Thank You.
You all allowed me to bloom when I thought there wasn't any more bloom left.
You allowed me to expose myself without judgement, and then you encouraged me.
Thank You.
I lived a life ruled by fear, slightly comforted by the baubles of mass consumerism, for a time.
And then I leapt.
My life has been a source of wonder and amazement ever since.
I hope everyone has this moment of grace in their lives.
Thank You for allowing me to share mine.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The real addicts of Recovery Ranch

I knew I needed to get some help.  I knew that I was in the right place.  I was kind of looking forward to 30 days of therapy.  I imagined it to would be like summer camp, but for fucked up people.  Fun!
I wasn't prepared to have my suitcase gone through.  This was turning out to be some real Dr. Drew shit.
I wasn't prepared to have a 23 year old Christian chick to tell me what pieces of my clothing were appropriate or inappropriate.
I wasn't prepared to have my razor taken away (thanks for ruining it for the rest of us, cutters.)
And who knew that Sunset Magazine was conrtraband?  Apparently, even gardening can be an addiction.
I shared a house with a motley crue of women, all of whom I later grew to love.  In the beginning, I was sized up and tossed aside: Not hardcore enough.  My eighteen year old roomate had alcoholism to the point of heavy physical withdrawl.  It was her 3rd Rehab.  My 25 Year Old Roomate was a heroin addict with Hep C, street smart and mean, I called her Ghetto Barbie.  She was tiny and blonde, half of my size and I was scared of her. Her second rehab.  These two, whom I later became closest to, could not be bothered with my stay at home mom depressed self.
The other women were just as entertaining: A sweet 20 year old boi, wise beyond her years and funny as all get up: Heroin addict, second time in, this time for sex and love addiction.  An extremely responsible 24 year old who had tried to commit suicide when her married lover left her:Sex and Love Addiction, Daddy issues. A mother of two, a devout follower of Bill W., who could never seem to let go and let God, but wanted to follow the big book to a T: Nervous Breakdown.  A suburban mother who hid her wine in Starbucks coffee cups when she picked her kids up from school:.Alcoholism. The Russian girl with attachment issues who had been adopted at age 6 and was the daughter of a preacher.  Sex Addiction.  A 55 year old lesbian whose family sent her there for "her" issues. We later figured out she was fine, it was them that were fucked up.
And my favorite character: "LA", from L.A., who showed up in the middle of the night with her Ray Bans on and wailed desperately: Is there ANYONE here from L.A.?  Her father was the C.E.O of a major cable company.  It was her 8th rehab.  Heroin.  She asked why the beds were so small. I realized that she had never seen a twin bed.  She came from Serious Money.  And still she was there. 
These women became my people, my soul sisters, and one of my favorite parts of rehab: learning to connect with other women again.
You can only keep up the facade of who you want to pretend to be to the world for so long when you are in rehab. Your cohorts won't respect you or let you in until they see you break.
It happened to me two days in, when I started sobbing like a baby over my Mama Guilt.
That's all it took.
For others, it took much, much longer.  They were like the lurkers of FaceBook: absorbing all of this energy yet never adding to tthe mix.
When you spend all of your waking hours with people...everyday... and they still don't crack, something is wrong.  Oh, Russia told us freaky stories about her sex life, but we needed to see the breakdown. It was  Lord Of The Flies, Rehab edition.
One week our group therapist told us we would be working on our first step.  We were handed a packet and told that we would be sharing with each other at the end of the week.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with any 12 step program, the first step is this:

We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Maybe that sounds easy to hard could it be?

It's fucking hard.  Giving birth hard.  Asking someone out for the first time hard.  Getting your heart broken hard.
Yes, we were powerless over our addictions, we all knew that...
But how EXACTLY had our lives become unmanageable?  It was like confession time at the Church of the Broken.
Saying what you are ashamed of...what your secret life was like before you sought help is one of the scariest things I've ever done.  I was abusing Adderral even though I knew it made me irritable and crazy around my kids.  I sought out encounters with strangers  knowing how dangerous it get the gist.
On that note, it was also one of the most freeing things I have ever experienced.
My sins felt as if they had been absolved.  Thank You Baby Jee Jee.  Thank You, my tribe of beautiful women.
Russia had a hard time giving up the goods of her powerlessness. Sex Addict/preacher's daughter keep telling us that she "had done some really bad things"
Well Shoot, homegirl...spill!
She kept going on and on about the really bad things, and someone finally said, look: we feel gipped.  We've given you our guts, give up yours.  She got all defensive and screamed to the group:
"Look, it's not that big of a deal!!!  It's not like I DRANK IN THE MORNING or anything like that."  It was directed at my lil roomate, whom Ghetto BArbie and I were fiiercely protective of.
Lil' K says to her: "So you think that your "problem" is not as bad as my problem?"
Russia continued to feebly defend her position, with 7 crazy addicts giving her the stink eye.
Ghetto Barbie, squatted in the corner of the room like a bad ass chola,  said this, all quiet and gangster like with that southern accent of hers:
"Look.  I may have shot mad dope in my arm, but I AIN'T NEVER FUCKED 4 DUDES IN ONE DAY"  She looked at her wryly and said "I think that's a problem, don't you?"
Oh.  Hell. Yes.
Consider that girl broken.  She started working on that first step right quick.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I was a teenage SLUT

I'm taking back the word, just like my afro american friends did with their cringer word.
Hell Yes.  That feels good.  Try it, after your significant other has gone to bed.  Do it in the mirror.  Own it.

Even if you weren't a slut, go do it anyway, it feels kinda sexy and powerful all at the same time.

I was a Slut because I was violently raped when I was 15 and it forever skewed my understanding of sexual equality and mutual respect.

Take a moment.

I'm so disassociated from this shit sometimes it feels like I'm just telling a story...that it didn't really happen to me, so don't worry about me, I'm fine (you and I both know that I am not fine, but whatevs, let's pretend)

I was taking the bus home from Santa Clara to Willow Glen, and a man followed me of the bus.  It was late, and I had no danger radar whatsoever.  I was walking down Curtner Ave as he was ambling along beside me, fucked up on something, slurring his words and not making much sense.  When I was almost to Cottle Avenue I told him that I was going to turn there, so see ya later.  Hr grabbed me by the throat, and started strangling me.  There was an orchard in front of a house, and he dragged me from the sidewalk to the orchard by my neck.  When he stopped, he struck me, and got so close I could see the tastebuds on his tongue and he said: "Bitch, I am going to kill you after I am done".

Stay with me.  I know this is hard.

What do I say now?  You know what happened.  He raped me.  He hit me.  He raped me.  He hit me.
I couldn't cry.  I tried to, but I couldn't.  I tried to prepare to die.  I wasn't sure how.
So I said this:
"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among sinners and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary...Mother of God..."
Are you ready for the miracle?
I saw bright lights.  I thought I was dead.  I heard a car door slam and shoes on pavement.  It was a police officer.  I don't use names her, but the man deserves recognition: Officer Bruce Ady hit the guy on the head numerous times with his baton, cuffed him, and took him away.

I was taken to Valley Med, where I was treated with kindness and respect from a woman named Toby.  They took away my clothing for evidence, but I really didn't want that Misfits shirt that said "Die, Die my darling."  My Mama picked me up.  Thank God my step father was out of town.  I got to sleep in my Mom's bed.  So that's what I did  They gave me some heavy duty sleeping pills and I slept.
I woke up the next afternoon and went straight to the bathroom mirror.  There were deep purple bruises in the shapes of fingerprints on my neck.  I had two black eyes.  There was straw and dirt clods and gravel stuck in my hair.  I looked in the mirror, and said to myself: "this is who you are now."  Crazy Warrior Woman came out, and she solemnly painted my war stripes across my face.
This is who you are now.

I'm still here, me and my disassociated self.
Are You?
Thank You.

I went to trial.  I testified.  he claimed that the sex was mutual and that I liked it rough.  His defense attorney asked me if I had an orgasm with Mr. Winbush.  My sweet 15 year old self looked at her and said "what's an orgasm?"
The jury gasped.  They asked for a break.  When they came back, their eyes were red.
He was convicted and sentenced to 40 years (thank you Judge Cordell).
And I was left to continue to lead my life.

But my life wasn't mine anymore.  It belonged to Crazy Warrior Woman, and she needed power, and she needed control.  So she set about getting it by fucking her way through the town.

At night I saw things that weren't there, and I was jumpy.  Compounded with the childhood I had, it wasn't a great recipe for a successful life.  When I had had enough, Crazy Warrior Woman stepped in to prevent me from feeling any emotion.
 I drank.  I used drugs.  I ran away from home.  I dropped out of school.  I used sex and love as tools to obtain power, or saw them as a way of losing my power...It was completely black and white to me.
I thought I was so liberated and cool, but I realize now that was false bravado.  I still had moments alone where I was terribly sad, angry, isolated, and they were unbearable.

I have slept with 60 or so men and two women.

I am 41 years old, and between the ages of 31 and 41 I was married and faithful to one man.  You do the math.  I was busy (Crazy Warrior Woman was busy).

I regret most of those people that I bedded, probably 85% (sorry, random french guy.  sorry, pierced penis guy, sorry drunk barfly...I see that this has potential for a whole new post)
What I do not regret is owning the word.
I was a Slut.
And now you know why.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

They're just Things, right?

I am in the middle of what promises to be a nasty divorce.  Co-parenting doesn't exist, unfortunately.  There are no compromises on ANYTHING, and as usual, I am called nasty names in front of my children. It's a chess game I am tired of playing, and we are only two months in.  I'm not good at this.  I'm not good at this.  I can't do this.  I can't do this.  From the bottom of my newly liberated soul, I beg you, wounded man:
Release Me.
I had my lawyer email a list of the things that were mine to his lawyer.  After two months of not having a hair dryer, sheets on my bed, a strainer, a mirror...
He finally submits his approval of all the things I requested except one.  
Something that was my mother's.  Something that was very dear to me.  
I feel sick.  My breath is shallow, and I'm having to gulp to get more air.  I'm furious, I'm sobbing angry tears, I am so fucking helpless, right back where he wants me.
Right back where he wants me.
When he upsets me on purpose he has control.  It's the only control he has over me now.  He can't touch me, he can't stalk me, he can't berate me, he can't repeatedly tell me I'm crazy,
but he can hurt me by claiming my mother's things as his own.
I'm not much of a jewelry person.  I sold the Patek a long time ago, and looked up into the heavens and said "Thanks, Ma". 
 It was the stupid things that make me happy to think of her: The pajama top that she wore while she was sick, some silver that she bought in the southwest in the seventies that she wore with her jean skirt and crisp oxford shirt, an outfit that was timeless, an outfit that I mimic every once in a while.
I treasure her straw hats that she wore when she was hanging out at the vineyard, the place that brought her the most joy.  This thing  of my mother's that he is claiming to belong to both of us is sentimental to me like all of those other things.  And he knows it.
I have a decision to make here.  As my breathes get deeper, and my heart stops beating so fast I realize: They are just things.  And he can't steal the grace and beauty that were my mother away from me.  I will always have it.  I will always have her smile in my heart, her words in my head as I am raising my children, her genuine nature that endeared her to so many.
You can't fuck with me anymore, wounded man.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Here and Posing in Los Gatos

Los Gatos never turned me on the way it did for some people I know.  To be quite honest, I avoided the town like the plague all through my teens, twenties, and thirties.  The crowd in front of the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company attracted me only because of the sheer buffoonery of it all.  Men and their motorbikes, men and their road bikes...Hey Mister, I'm diggin' your $6,000 Pinarello as much as the next gal, but your balls are super compressed in those shorts.  I'm embarrassed.  You should be too.
I did not step foot into the Black Watch until I was 40 years old, and even then I refused to order the Kamikaze.  Fuck you Los Gatans and your trendy traditions!
I suppose you could say I had a chip on my shoulder about the small town.  It was a very large chip.  It must have been very hard for me to carry all that attitude.
I grew up in a bunch of different neighborhoods in San Jose that I maintain pride in to this day.  Born in Saratoga, lived a few doors down from the fire station.  It was a smaller town back then, less concerned with test scores, more concerned with teaching 'the whole child' (who remembers Mrs. Peck, the greatest kindergarten teacher of all time?)  Onward to the Rose Garden, where my older brothers were supposed to walk me to school and help me cross the Alameda, but that never happened.  Have you ever used that underpass to get from one side of the Alameda to the other?  Smells like pee, bums sleeping in there.  Imagine being 7 years old with that scenario.  Maybe that's when the chip started to develop.  From there it was Naglee Park, which I swear was called 'Downtown San Jose' in the 80's.  Walking home on East Santa Clara Street from St. Patrick's School turned out to be even scarier than the underpass.  Add all the halfway houses on 13th street to the mix, and you might see why Los Gatos did not appeal to me.  I was turning into a street smart kid who didn't want anything to do with affluence or the appearance of.  (anyone who knows my background must surely be laughing at my hypocrisy.  My mom and stepfather were wealthy.  Very wealthy. I was the reverse Alex Keaton I suppose).  Willow Glen was the end of the road for us, as far as my childhood was concerned.  Sad Sad Willow Glen in the 80's.  Bergman's was going under, it was all banks and blue hairs.  Yawn.  I moved out of Willow Glen on the day I turned 18, and moved back downtown. When I was 21 I was hired to be a bartender at Ajax Lounge, where I refined the fine art of shit talking and brutal honesty.  I probably wasn't as gracious about as I am now.  But I learned that when the suit wearing cigar smoking Belvedere ordering boys came in and snapped their fingers at me chances were that they were probably from Los Gatos.  I also learned that it's quite empowering to ignore someone while they are snapping at you.  Oh, brothers and sisters!  The chip was growin'!
I moved back to Willow Glen in my late twenties and remained there until 2010 when
What the Fuck.
Oh, I was a poor excuse for the bad ass I am now.  My marriage was going nowhere fast.  My mom had died, and every time I drove down Lincoln Avenue I thought of her and it made me sad.  The family was falling apart.  Willow Glen didn't feel like home anymore.
Wounded Man and I began to list all of the reasons why Los Gatos was a better fit than Willow Glen.
We could start over, the schools, the scenery, all of the wanna be affluent mofos who were spending out of their means to keep appearances up.
Oh wait.  That was us.
Anyway, we sold our brand new, state of the art no detail left undone 3000sq ft house and in exchange we got a dilapidated hadn't been touched since 1949 termite infested fixer upper right across the street from Highway 17.
Those schools better fucking be amaze balls, that's all I could think.
I asked a friend about the socioeconomic diversity in Los Gatos.  She told me that when the mountain people came down, SOMETIMES they were wearing mismatched socks and had unbrushed hair.  Then she went off to her tennis game.  
I learned that there were tiers of wealth in Los Gatos, tiers that directly corresponded to the schools and the moms at the schools and how much work they have had done on themselves.  Public Schools: botox twice a year, gym membership.  Catholic School: Restalyne, lip implants, Courtside Club.  Private school up on the hill:  Fuuuuuck, that chicks face looks scary, personal trainer at home.
I learned that if you wanted to avoid the endless  mindnumbing chatter of women with their golden retrievers, it was best to avoid the trail in the morning.  Housewife hour.  And, if you wanted to pick up a married man on said trail, 4:30 would be your best bet...mountain bike side.
As you can probably deduce from my previous posts, My marriage didn't quite work out, so after six blissful months in Los Gatos I moved back to Willow Glen.  Well, homegirl here had to go get herself a J O B, and what better place to work than in LOS GATOS, the very town I was learning to hate.
And what better way to torture myself more than by getting a job at the newest, hottest restaurant in town (for the next three months)?
I don't want to get sued, so I'll just say that the restaurant was in a former mortuary on North Santa Cruz Ave.
Oh shit, I'm gonna get sued.  Oh well.
One of the owners was an affable man with a string of successful restaurants behind him, and a trophy wife beside him. The wife was sassy, sweet, and down to earth.  The other owner was the devil...if the devil had ADHD, anger management issues, and no customer service skills whatsoever.  His wife was a zombie who thought that Marshalls and TJ Maxx were perfect stores to decorate a high end restaurant.  They didn't quite know where to put me, as I had no restaurant experience.  So they put me in charge of the hostesses, who all became very dear to me except that slutty one who called in sick 6 times, and that dumb one from the east coast who was living with her VERY high profile aunt (real estate, initials CJ...fuck I'm for sure getting sued now.)  We had a closet at the hostess stand where we could duck in if we needed to laugh at a ridiculous boob job or cry when the devil owner was screaming at us in front of customers.
Helping a Persian princess plan a party for her husband was fun...until she called me on my personal cell every night after I got off work to obsess about the details.  That's OK, lady.  My kids haven't seen me in 12 hours, but you go right ahead, obsess away.  And when she wanted the world and didn't want to pay for it, and didn't want to tip the right amount, I looked the other way when the wait staff hid a couple of bottles of wine for their personal stash.
Cocaine is still a big deal, apparently.  Boys and girls, when you go to the bathroom together and come out wiping your noses together it ain't rocket science.
Dumb ass throwing a wine society dinner at a Mexican restaurant? Common sense, dude.  Next time: Tecate.
Semi famous artist sitting at the bar getting more and more wasted: the drunker you get the more you start to look like Ron Jeremy.  A sweaty, bloated Ron Jeremy.  Go home.
Plastic surgery face guy: You look like Jackie Stallone, not Sylvester Stallone.  It's creepy.

There were good times serving the Los Gatos public.  They were few and far between, but they were there.
I met my boyfriend while I was working there, and we are dating to this day.
I had some great connections with people that I admire: sweet, funny, down to earth people like the jeweler/spin instructor, the bitchy gay couple who I'm convinced run the town, the Aussies who might possibly swear more than I do, the old school 'we were Los Gatos when Los Gatos was crunchy' people,
the yoga studio dude who's all shamanic and shit, the kick ass bakery owner, the boho retirees who anchor the town.
But all in all, I wasn't a very good Los Gatan. I'm glad I don't live or work there anymore.
And I'm pretty sure the town of Los Gatos is glad too.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

This is what Domestic Violence looked like to me

I can't believe I am going to expose myself like this.  For so long I believed that I was 'crazy', 'slutty', 'inappropriate', 'lazy', 'bad mother'...the list goes on.  I believed it because that's what he told me.  When someone keeps telling you all of these terrible negative things about you, you start to believe them.  For ten years I heard this.  
I come out to the light.  I tell you my truth in the hopes that you share your truth with me, that you share my truth with others that might need to hear it, and allow some healing to take place for all.
I'm terrified of sullying Wounded Man's reputation.  I still think he is a good father to my two younger children (For those of you in the dark, my eldest child is 14, my old soul, my sweet wise woman-child-is from a different baby daddy, who is a calm and loving man, and an excellent father to boot.)
I'm scared to tell my truth because I was not a saint in this co-addictive mess.  I called names.  I fought back. I once threw something at him while he was holding one of our children.  I flirted, then I cheated.  I became crazed, depressed, passive aggressive.  I was a terrible housewife.  I spent money that we didn't have.  
But the worst thing that I did was to pretend to myself and everyone else that everything was okay when it really wasn't.

It wasn't mayhem all the time.  I loved him, and I know that he loved me.  he was very supportive at key moments in our 10 years together: The birth of our two children, the death of my mother, my final descent into madness before I awakened from the coma I was in.  He borrowed money to get me to the Loony Bin. He took us on some amazing vacations.  He bought me some really nice jewelry that I have since sold because he has yet to pay any spousal or child support.Ask him what happened in our mess of a marriage.  I imagine that he'll tell you that I was an addict, a cheater, crazy, lazy.  It is true.  I was all of those things.
Wounded Man 'only' hit me three times.  
But there was also bullying, name calling, financial abuse, stalking, gas lighting, property destroying, and in general, a tearing down of my soul, one insult at a time.
I guess in telling this story the conclusion that I have come to is that life experience is subjective.  And somewhere, in a parallel universe, Wounded Man is telling his version of the truth, which also must be respected.  Good for him.  But this is my blog, so I don't give a damn about his version of the truth.


It wasn't like I woke up one morning in my early thirties and decided that I needed an abusive man to come along and sweep me off my feet.  I was in a successful business with my mother and my sister.  I was earning a living for myself and S.  I had my own little house, I dressed pretty cute, was as funny as I am now, you get the gist.  My life was mostly good.
I suppose I should have known.  He hated his mother.  You know what they say about a son that hates his mother.  RUN. THE. FUCK. AWAY.
But I didn't.  I had Daddy issues to play with, and at 11 years my senior, he filled those shoes.
He was dapper.  He drove a nice car.  He had a JOB.  He looked  good on paper.
I was a woman who went toe to toe with him, and he liked that, at first.
What I did not know was that he held a Pygmallion/My Fair Lady fantasy.  Meaning: I was a woman who could be molded.
Everything was whirlwind fantastic at first.
We flew to Telluride to ski two weeks after we met.  We rode to the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle.  We went to Italy.  
He walked the walk, he talked the talk, and yet...
The control was subtle, at first.
He took me clothes shopping because he thought I could stand to look a little more 'polished'.  He told me that sometimes my behavior was not acceptable to him.
There were clues that I chose to ignore.  
He had a mean streak.  He told me stories of revengeful things that he had done to people that made me uncomfortable.
He had temper tantrums.  He wasn't speaking to any members of his family.
He called me a dumb cunt 6 months after we started dating.  He hit me two months after that.  He was teaching me to ride a dirt bike in the family vineyard.  He explained compression braking to me.  I didn't get it.  I got off the bike and was met with a smack upside the head with my helmet still on.  I saw stars.
Years later he tried to tell me that the incident never happened.  Recreating reality was his favorite past time.

I got pregnant two years in.  Sweet G. was born in 2005, and we were ecstatic.  We sold the family business with an understanding that I would stay home with the kids.  He took care of me.  If he raged at me, refused to go to family functions, spoke ill of my friends and family, then I was just going to have to try harder to be better.  It must be my fault.  It was always my fault.
When baby G. was three months old he raged at me in front of S. and called me a vile cunt.  While he was in the shower I tracked down his ex girlfriend's number and broke down.  She was silent at first, and then in a small voice she told me "It took me years of therapy trying to undo what he did to me"
And still I stayed.
Life got bigger, better, faster.  We moved on up to a house that was twice the size, twice the mortgage, and twice the stress.
By 2006 I didn't have very many friends left.  He didn't like most of them, and it was easier to not rock the boat.  I made excuses.  I thought I was so clever.  I picked fights with my friends and distanced myself from my family.  I would roll my eyes with my mother at his babyish behavior.  It didn't take a genius to figure out that I had married a version of my stepfather, who had been a rageaholic.  In some twisted way, it made my mother and I have something in common.
Things got better.  Things got worse.  I believed everything he said about me until 2008. 

Two things happened in 2008: my mother died.  I got on Facebook.

Now you are probably thinking "what the fuck do thoe two things have in common? "

They don't have anything in common.  They just happened on the same year.  Oh, and they changed my consciousness.

My mother died.  I was grieving.  Fuck you and your name calling, put down and tantrums...MY MOTHER IS GONE.
Facebook made me remember who I used to be.  I was funny!  I had friends!  I was communicating with the outside world.

He didn't like that very much.  He was convinced that I was using FaceBook as a hook up site.  His paranoia became unmanageable.  He started destroying property, checking my emails, putting GPS devices on my car so that he knew where I was at all times.
He hit me again, this time for 'flirting' with a stranger.  I was so drunk, I woke up to him slapping and hitting my face and calling me the usual line up of names.  I woke up with bruises on my face.  The kids asked what happened.  I lied.
Incident after incident...things were getting bad.  He threatened my life and hit me again in front of G. so I called the cops (finally!)  Oh he was so remorseful after that time in jail.  He was so sorry.  He promised to go to anger management and get help.  Do you think it happened?
I left for the first time in late 2008.  I cashed in some some stock and rented a tiny cottage in North Wiloow Glen.  The kids and I were happy, for a spell.  We experienced peace, for a time.
Then the stalking started up again.  He broke up study groups at my house (inappropriate) he sent my young friend an email telling the poor soul how misgiuded I was, and what a whore I was.
That was kind of awkward.  Understatement of the year.  
Because we were in this co addicted fucked up marriage and we both seemed to thrive on the chaos.  S. was pissed.  She had seen the writing on the wall a long time ago.  
We moved to Los Gatos after he pressured me to sign a quit claim on the new house.  I did it.  I was a fool. Changing the zip code did not change the man.  Now I know.
One night he lunged at me.  I screamed.  I ran.  S. was in the living room still up.  She was shaking and moaning that she wanted her Dad.  She was clearly traumatized.  And it was my fault.
She told me a few days later that she would not be coming back to live with me.  She was 12 years old.  She had had enough.
It is the regret of my life.  I lost my child because I couldn't keep her safe from a crazy man.  It haunts me still.  How could I do that?  How could I sell her out like that?
Because I had two little kids that I didn't think I could support.  I thought I was useless.  He told me I was crazy and I believed him.
That was July 2010.  A bunch more drama and shit happened, but I'm gettiing tired of this story, and when I get to the part about S. leaving I always need a little sob break.  So imagine that I am crying.  Because I am.
I left for good on December 17th, 2011.  He told my little children that mommy left because "You don't matter enough to Mommy"
I left with $26 in my pocket and a full tank of gas.  I went to a domestic violence shelter where I stayed for a month while I figured out how to get on welfare, apply for student loans, get my kids health insurance and its also where I learned to trust myself again.  I found transitional housing in downtown San Jose where I am basically living in a dorm room for single mothers.  My little kids love it!  We share custody which gives me an opportunity to study when they are not around.  S. and I are rebuilding our relationship one drive home from school at a time.  I am grateful that she has an awesome step mom who stepped up to the plate when I could not.  I woke up from my coma, and I am never looking back.  I pray for Wounded Man daily, and I pray for a civil relationship, for the sake of our kids.
Do you know of anyone who has a relationship like this?  
This is Abuse.  I heard it from countless trained professionals but I never believed it until I wrote it down.  He tried to stifle the very best things about me because... Who knows?
Contact the YWCA if you need help.  Or email me and I will listen.
It was my Leap of Faith.  I was scared to death, but once I took the leap I started living again.
Thanks for reading.  I leave you with this:

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Listen, I'm sorry I had to decieve y'all.  A few months back I 'checked in' on Facebook at the Nashville airport, with the comment that I was 'pursuing my country music dreams'.  I hate most country music ('cept Hank, Willie and Merle...maybe Lefty, too...), and can't play any instruments.  I can't sing a lick either.
I really went to Rehab, in a tiny town called Nunnelly, an hours drive from Nashville.
Look, it's not like I was addicted to anything in particular.
It was a whole slew of things.
Basically, I didn't want to deal with my emotions, so I came up with a bunch of awesome ways of avoiding them.  I took up compulsive behavior in many different things.
Allow me to recollect:
Shopping, sex, food, love, Ms. Pacman, Facebook, self help books, Adderall, alcohol, and my personal favorite: compulsive masturbation.
If I was a super hero, my name would have been COMPULSIVE GIRL with the catch phrase
"Avoiding emotions, one compulsion at a time".
Don't try to steal it, I already trademarked it.
One day, after I had reconciled with my shitty husband for the umpteenth time, I stopped everything cold turkey.  Yes, even the compulsive masturbation.
APPARENTLY, quitting a prescribed methamphetamine cold turkey can send you into a downward spiral of depression.
Another possibility MIGHT have been that quitting all those vices forced me to look at my fucked up life and I really didn't like what I saw.
So, I did what any normal housewife who is having a nervous breakdown would do.
I retreated into a closet into the spare bedroom, wrapped my self into a painting tarp very tightly, and laid there weeping for hours.
The 'retreating to the womb' metaphor is as obvious to me as it is to you, people... don't bother private messaging me with your psych theories.  I'm a fucking master at this shit by now.
I couldn't get up to take my little kids to school.  I couldn't get up to pick my little kids up from school at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Everything that I did not wait to deal with came and sat in my mind, my little red headed step child self whispering to me: It's Time.  " You will surely die if you do not deal with this"
I had to do something.
So I went pursue my country music dreams, so to speak.
I became besties with my 25 year old heroin addicted hep c ghetto barbie room mate, participated in drum circles, countless "anonymous" meetings where them country boys in overalls taught me the most beautiful things.  Eight hours of therapy a day without phones, internet, TV, or controlling, shitty husbands.
I highly recommend a month in the clink (look it up, fellow stay at home moms) to anyone suffering from a crisis of the soul.
Call 'em up!  It's called the Recovery Ranch.  Ask for the depressed almost suicidal compulsive housewife special. Tell them I sent you.
If they don't remember me, mention the masturbation thing.
It gets them every time...
Now you know.  Spread the word.  We should all experience this kind of healing...
SOUL HEALING, brothers and sisters.
To be continued...cause I gots some fuuuuuny stories from Rehab...