Saturday, May 12, 2012

A letter to my children on Mother's Day

Hey.
Little Wise Woman.  Wild Thing.  Little Man.
This is a conversation I've been meaning to have with you for awhile.
Thia is a conversation about how much your unconventional free spirit mother loves you.
This is a conversation about us as a family.
We are 4.
I need to apologize to each of you for the mother that I was not during the most crucial years of your lives.
I need to tell you that there are no excuses.
I need to ask you for your forgiveness.
Yes.
I need to ask you.
14, 7, and 5 years old.
I can't ask you in person so I ask you on this thing I use as therapy, this blog of emotional barf:
Forgive me.
There I was, stuck in a depression from the years of a controlling abusive marriage, from the years of grieving my mother's death, from the years of not dealing with my own shitty childhood.
And there you were: needing a mother.  Needing me.
I failed you then.
I can't take it back.
I own it.  I carry it.  I bear it.
I damaged you all.

Deep Breath.



Here we are.



If you knew how much I adored each of you you would roll your eyes to the heavens above.

If you knew how much I admired you, was proud of you, was inspired by you, you might barf a little on the inside.

We are a family, us 4.

I don't own you.  You are not extensions of me.  You will live your own lives when the time comes, and I will do my damnedest not to interfere.

But you must know....

I smell your heads when you are sleeping.

I am in awe of your magic.

The happiest I have ever been is to watch the three of you interacting with each other.

I took precious time away from your childhoods because of the choices that I made in my life.  I can never make that up to you.

But what I can do is to love you.

Unconditionally.  Unequivocally.  Uninterrepted.

I'm back, babies.

I'll never be the mom in the poster.  Please don't expect the norm, I think we all know this has never been a possibility.

What I will be is sane.  What I will be is your champion.  What I will be is your mother.

So on this day that Hallmark created and we all fell for, I say to you:

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be your mother.

The universe has truly blessed me.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

To the people who get me.

To the people who get me:
Thanks.
Some people don't, and they are vocal about it, and when I hear shit that they've said, I won't pretend that it's easy, cause it's not.
San Jose remains a small town.
I hear alot about what y'all think of me.
Tonight, validation.  Validation from people that I care about, people that I respect.
People that I have known for 20 days.
People that I have known for 20 years.
They see my process, they see that it is necessary to my sanity, they see ME, they acknowledge me and so it is.
So it is.
To the people who get me:
A thousand thank yous.
Because you knew me when I was a young thing, and you know me now, and you see that I am the same, save for a ten year hiatus in cray cray town.
To the people who get me:
You see that I am a powerful woman, even if you have only known me for a few months.
You see that I care about you, your children, and your situation.
You see that I am for real, Outkast style.
Thank You.
I am doing some real work, y'all.
In public, unabashed, I don't care what you're whispering about, this is shit I've got to say.
Take it , leave it, gossip about it, forget it.
I know who matters.
Me.
 My three children.
and the people that get me.
Thank You.

Same story.

I talked to another one today.
One who has been addicted, tagged as mentally ill, set up to fail because of her afflictions, the color of her skin, who the fuck knows.
This time I met her at school, but they are in all areas of my life: my new home, my best friends, my former relatives...
I'm getting sick of this story.
This story is making me sick.
This time, with this woman, she was raped as a child for 10 years.
It's the same story, slightly different versions.
Step father.  Mother knew.  Did nothing.  Sold her out.
This classmate of mine looked like she needed to talk.
I sit across the room from her, we never talk in class, and yet today, our paths intersected and there we were after class, discussing the more intimate details of our lives.
She is depressed.  She is an addict in recovery and yet still, here she is: depressed.
Three kids.
Husband still using, she's convinced it's her fault because she cannot give him the intimacy he wants.
she's thought about using again, she's thought about suicide.
She never thinks about herself.
I asked her point blank:
"How many years were you molested and by whom?"
Because at this point in my life it comes as no surprise.
I can almost always deduce that if the rage and the depression that  renders you immobile and the walls that one puts up are impenetrable, chances are you've had some dark shit happen to you in your younger years.
We are conditioned to think that it MUST be our fault.
We are given the diagnosis du jour, handed some pills, and told to go to a 12 step meeting.  Call a friend.  Reach out.  Exercise.
Yet nothing works.
Desperation starts seeping out of our pores, the mask starts to crack, and lo and behold...someone is using again/committing suicide/acting out.
She never stops to consider that the weight of the shame that she carries from being used as a child for a sick man's pleasure just might have something to do with her grief.
She is doing everything right: She's clean, she takes her kids to soccer practice, cheerleading camp, drama club.
She's make in school, making the grade.
She goes to church.  She cooks every night.
And yet...still nothing works.
Meanwhile, I see the elephant in the room.   That giant bastard son of a bitch motherfucker of an elephant that won't go away.
She was betrayed by her mother, used sexually by her step father, controlled by her husband and
SHE'S the one who has to carry the addict/crazy/abused title?
Somehow this doesn't seem fair.
How do we make peace with the dark shit?  How do we walk through the pain and the shame and set it free?
I guess it starts by talking about it.  I guess it starts by feeling the pain instead of reaching for something...anything...to make it go away.
I don't know why or how we started talking today.
I don't know if we will ever talk again.
What I do know is that the same story after the same story after the same story is making me sick.  and mad.
and when I get mad I mobilize.
For the girls, the women, the boys, and the men who are still hiding this shame.
We are with you.  Always.



Sunday, May 6, 2012

My mother, myself...My daughter, myself

My mother was a busy woman.  9 kids, a baby of a husband to tend to, a circle of about 10 friends who all vied for her attention, a full time job, and volunteer work to boot.
I remember her being distracted an awful lot of the time, I remember depression disguised as cat naps in the afternoon, and I remember car trips.
We drove alot, my mom and I. Sometimes it was across town, sometimes it was 2 hour trips to Sacramento to visit her ever aging parents.
When I was nine, ten and eleven years old I relished these trips.  I had her all to myself!  I got to be her baby again!  We ate junk food, she told me stories, and there we were: Driving Miss Katie, suburban version.
In my teen years I hated her and her choices in life that effected me, but all of that melted away every time we got in the car.
She let go, I let go, and we became two people getting to know one another, one mile at a time.  She was not the wife of the most dominating man in history.  She was not the charmer who knew everyone she passed on the street.  She was not the teacher of hospital corners, elbows off the table, napkin on your lap, please.  She was Nancy.  I was Katie. And clearly, we had lots of stuff to talk about.
She told me what it was like to grow up with the cranky pants that I knew as Grandpa.  She answered questions that I had about my father with a careful, thought out tone.  We talked politics.  We confessed dreams and hopes.  We grew to love one another again.
The bottom line is, I could never get enough of her magic.  Like everyone else in her presence, she intoxicated me.  I wanted her all to myself, all the time.  I needed more of her that she could give me.
Those times in the car soothed me.  They soothed my rebellious, pain in the ass teenage self.
Fast forward, 25 years.
My mother has been gone for 4 years.  My daughter has been living with her father for 2 years while I clawed my way out of a depression and terrible marriage.
Today I trapped my daughter in the car for two glorious hours.
This time, as the mother, I was privy to this glorious feeling of being wanted by my normally aloof daughter.
This time, as the mother, I sit in awe of my Little Wise Woman, who clearly is going to BE SOMEONE some day.  Correction: Who clearly is already SOMEONE today.
She makes my heart sing.  She is my daughter.  She doesn't belong to me.  I don't own her.
But I have known her since way back when.  I am invested in her as a human being, and I must say:
She is making her way through this world with grace, thoughtfulness, and presence.
I was giddy the whole day.  Drunk on her wisdom, intoxicated by her view of the world, so so happy to not have tension between us.
Which of course makes me revisit the car trips with my mother from long ago.
I have to wonder, did my own mother feel this way about me?
Damn, I sure hope so.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First thought NO!

Isn't that what you recovery folks say?

I am trying to live by that creed without losing my "me-ness"

I have come to know myself as a pulling no punches kind of gal.

Yet what I am feeling right now is empathy, compassion, and a desire to spare them from my arrows.

( I am not talking about who you might think I am talking about.  That was 35 years of my life that I am still working through.  I still have arrows for him.)

My God!

Is this what they call growing up?

I've spent my life REACTING.

The past couple of days in the heat of a reaction I called my way back soul sister instead of slaying someone with my words.

It was in talking to her that I realized that one of my addictions just might be DRAMA.

Maybe, just a little bit.

The good news is that when I felt like perpetuating drama I called a friend, just like any addict would do if they felt like taking a drink, scoring some dope, whatevs.

The bad news is that now I realize I have some serious 12 step esque work to do regarding this new epiphany.

Fuck.

Will I still be me after the "oh no she didn't" blog posts are gone?

To my nearest and dearest family and friends, I know the answer will be 'always'.

That's enough for me right now.