Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Road Trip! Rekindling My Affair With My iPod and Recycling Blog Posts Like a Boss

We like to keep things green around here, and that means the three R's -- reduce, reuse, recycle.  I wrote this post a couple of summers ago and I'm proud to dust it off and present it anew.   (This is how I got through school, in fact.  I took essentially the same paper every year and rewrote it with a different focus, changed up the sources, and turned it in for a different class.  Boom.  Honors.)

So here we go:

Summer is the time for travel and this summer, I actually got to travel.  Seven hours round-trip to take my son to his friend's for the week so that he could play video games at their house instead of making me look like the shitty parent that I am by playing them unsupervised at my house.  Anyway.  I resurrected my iPod to go on a road trip.  I don't know where I had lost it (that's why it was lost, duh) but somehow I found it and I plugged it into my car's sound system and off we went.  I put the iPod on Shuffle and five days' worth of music lined up at my fingertips.  What on earth was on this thing?  I mentally rubbed my hands together.

I was alone in the car, which was a good thing because there was no one there to hear me say things like, "Oh my god I love this song!"  And then answer myself, "Of course you do, Klonnie, it's your own goddamned iPod."  In a different voice.  That was creepy, even for me.  Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance.  Redrum!

Here are some songs that I heard and the random thoughts that ran through my head when I heard them: 

1.  No Sleep Till Brooklyn, Beastie Boys.   Cranked up so high that the music resonated in my chest.  So loud that I didn't really hear it, you know?  I just sat back, feeling it thump the floorboards and pulse from the speakers in the doors.  No!! Sleep!! Till Brooklyyyyyn!  Duhn dahhhhhhn duhn.  No!!  Sleep!!  Till Brooklyyyyyn!  Nuhr Nuhhhhr Nuhr.   Good thing I was alone in the car.  My kids would have turned that shit off in a heartbeat.  How's that for irony?

2.  Lazy Eye, Silversun Pickups.  Cup of coffee in my hand + that hypnotic track on a loop +  me behind the wheel.  I've been waiting for this moment all my life.  There are two kinds of people in the world:  Those who thought the lead singer was a woman until they found out he wasn't, and those who are lying when they say they could tell right away that it was a dude.

3.  Work Me,  The Black Keys.  The Black Keys cover Junior Kimbrough.   Baby, work me, till I want no more.  I'm melting, sliding down under the steering wheel because I'm weak with lust.  Squirming in my seat, I can't lie.  "Chulahoma" is the sexiest album I have ever heard.  Barry White?  Al Green?  Forget about it.  These two white boys from Akron, Ohio, ladies and gentlemen.  Give it up.

4.  Dancing Nancy, Dave Matthews Band.  I have a live version of this song from Red Rocks in Colorado.  The spring that my mom died I would get in my car and play this album and just drive for hours and cry.  That was the year I discovered Starbucks and I would get the caramel macchiato and just suck that puppy down while I drove.  Something about that warm sweet milky coffee soothed me.  I was worried that people would see me crying at stoplights so I had to drive on the freeway.  Crying while driving 75 mph is probably right up there with texting while driving on the danger-o-meter, but but God watches over fools and mourners.  Could I have been anyone other than me?

5.  Beautiful World, Colin Hay.  Remember Men At Work?  Mildly entertaining 80s band from Australia?  This guy is the lead singer.  And a brilliant songwriter.  Acoustic version of "Overkill?"  Raise your hand if you first heard that on Scrubs.  Beautiful World is a song about getting older and looking at your life.  It's uplifting.  But the middle of the song picks you up and dumps you on the ground, emotional-reaction-wise.  Still this emptiness persists.  Perhaps this is as good as it gets. Suddenly I am sobbing.  Gut-punched.  I've heard this song 200 times and I still never see it coming.   Thanks, Colin. Jerk.

I pulled in the driveway and turned off the ignition.  I had to pee, but I needed a moment to pull myself together.  I was spent, wrung dry.  I took such a deep breath that my bangs blew back a little on the exhale.  Batshit crazy emotional chameleons like me should not be allowed to have iPod shuffles.  We do enough shuffling as it is.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Month: Recycling Blog Posts Like a Boss

Too much?  Ya think?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month which is incredibly good timing because it coincides with me needing to recycle last year's blog post announcing Mental Health Awareness Month.    Dumb luck or what?

So here's an oldie but goodie that I post every year to try and keep it real for everybody and I hope you'll like it but I probably won't notice if you don't because I'm hanging on this emotional rollercoaster ride at the moment by a very thin thread.  Because OH BY THE WAY he finally signed and the judge finally signed so everyone needs to know that I GOT THE D LOL.  But you should totes be aware of mental health and PAY ATTENTION  because it sucks being blamed for being sick.  You just never know what's going on with someone so just don't assume.  Unless you see me wandering around in the supermarket in my bathrobe.  Because then you should assume that you need to take my elbow gently but firmly and lead me back to the car and drive me home.  But I digress. Surprise.

I wrote this post before I even had a blog.  I was inspired by a friend who had just been diagnosed.  She was in a full-blown manic episode.  Watching her go through that reminded me of what my own episodes were like.   I'm calm enough now to articulate what it feels like to be so brilliant that you can't describe it.  Which is pretty goddamn ironic, if you ask me.

The hallmark of mania for me is how I feel like a superhero.  Creative and brilliant and simply on *fire* with wit and humor.    When I was riding the crest of a manic wave,  I used to say that I didn't need to eat or sleep because I was bionic.  I got really angry with people who said I was wrong to feel that way and that I needed to go to the hospital and take meds so that I wouldn't feel that way any more.   I would get so angry that I would snarl at them and claw and hiss and refuse to get out of the car.  Wouldn't you?  After I was finished with the treatment that stopped that wonderful, invincible, genius feeling, I would quit taking my meds cold turkey.  I would carouse until all hours of the night, telling anyone who would listen my bright new ideas that tied up every loose end in the universe with one beautiful bow.   Holding court on the floor of my room in college, knocking over the bong with expansive sweeps of my arms as I pontificated to my housemates, who thought I was brilliant, but knew I was nuts.  Destroying relationships.  Winning hearts and breaking them. Staying in my room for days, talking to myself and scaring my roommates away.  Ending up in the nut house time and again.

Now I can recognize when that superstar quality starts to burn and I know I have to nip it in the bud.  I let the few people close to me know and I go see the shrink and get extra support and all that good stuff.  It is the hardest thing in the world to voluntarily let go of that genius feeling.  I simply cannot tell you.  But I know that I must.  As great as the high feels, the low is going to be a gut-punch that knocks me flat, even though I know it's coming.  So I take my meds and I gather my loved ones around me and I brace myself.

A Beautiful Mind     
The hallmark of a depressive episode for me is not wanting to be here. I don't think about suicide per se.  I don't want to die.  I just want not to be here.  Everything I've done wrong (which is basically everything), every mistake I've made, every conversation gone awry, every wasted opportunity with my kids, my career -- they all gather together in a threatening thundercloud that hovers over me.  The horrible angry voices of what I call "The Committee" begin the litany of exactly how worthless, no, harmful my presence on the planet has been.  As evidence of why I shouldn't be here.  Shouldn't *have been* here.  This whole time.  I just want to curl up as small as possible, until I take up no space.  No one sees me.  I'm not here.

So.  Staying in the middle is a good thing.  Boring and safe.   Learning to feel my feelings, but not too much.  That's a tough one.  Because I feel my feelings.  A lot.  Possibly more than I should, whatever that means.  Apparently there is a normal amount of feeling, though how you could measure it, I don't know.  It certainly doesn't sound very fun to me.

My job is to stay safe.  To have creative energy, but not too much.  And to channel it in ways that make me glad to be here.  And to let it be okay to feel sad, from time to time.  But if "worthless" pops up on the psychic horizon, it's time to blow the whistle.  Time to remember to do the things that help me, in addition to my meds.  Swimming.  Playing music.  Creating this page, working out my thoughts, writing, laughing.  Making people laugh and shake their heads in self-recognition.  And maybe a little relief that they are not alone.

I have a mantra that is blinding in its banality.  It's insultingly simple.  And yet it works for me.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but my mantra comes from a sitcom (yeah, I watch TV, I have teenagers, don't judge) called "How I Met Your Mother."

"When I'm sad, I stop being sad, and be awesome instead.  True story."

Of course it's not that easy.  But it reminds me that this too shall pass (god I hate that expression, yeah, this too shall pass like a goddamn kidney stone) and I will be awesome again.  Until I'm not.  And so on.  In the meantime, I have a blog.  And a page.   And a lot, I mean, like a metric fuck-ton of friends I've never met.  Who get it.  More than most people I know in real life.  I'll take it.  I mean, what else ya got?

Namaste.  And if you're wondering what that means, suffice to say that we meet in the middle where there's mutual respect and understanding.  We give each other the benefit of the doubt. We forgive ourselves and each other.  We're good to one another.   We don't have a choice. This is it. 

Namaste, you Nutjobs, you.    Happy Mental Health Awareness Month.  


Friday, May 1, 2015

I Understand and I Wish to Continue

You know that warning message you sometimes get when you're making your way through the blogosphere.  Content advisory.  You may not like what you're about to embark on, so click as you will, but don't say we didn't warn you.

I understand and I wish to continue.  Seven words, so simple and straightforward, yet they form a suitcase whose meaning would take a week to unpack.   The phrase resonates, a mantra of sorts.  Om.
I understand and I wish to continue.  It's not easy to rock a mood disorder like a boss.  There are days when I just crumple up into a ball, like the sheets of paper I used to wad up in disgust and frustration after trying to write the first sentence of pieces that started aimlessly and went nowhere fast.   Under the desk with the dust bunnies and the wrapper from my Atkins breakfast bar.   Don't mind me.  I'm not here anyway.  Or I won't be as soon as I finish giving this revolver a blow job.  KIDDING.  I don't have any firearms.  

I understand and I wish to continue.  But sometimes, just barely.   I really don't have a choice, do I?  Having extricated myself from a toxic alliance with a drunk in denial, having renounced my eldest's destructive behavior, I need to remain present for the people still in my life.   The struggle is real, and for once, I'm not being sarcastic.

My teenage son has been ill with a cold for several days, alternating between fever and chills.   Today was record heat, and when I got home from work, I could see he was miserable.  I knew what I had to do.  I changed out of the pjs I had already put on (as I often do because HOME FINALLY) and headed to OSH.  Two box fans, please.  Except for apparently Thursday evening is Happy Hour at OSH.  I am not even kidding right now.  There is a greeter handing out shopping bags.  There is party food.  There is a DJ.  The music is loud and terrible.  No one seems to want to sell hardware.  

It is truly the stuff of nightmares for an exhausted, depressed, overwhelmed mother with a sick teenager at home.  I will my rising anxiety and irritation not to go full panic and rage.  I talk myself down, it's okay, hang in there, let's find the fans and GTFO.  Which I did, notwithstanding the fact that they were difficult to locate and all the personnel were enjoying the festivities so I couldn't ask anyone even if wanted to (which I never do, it's weird I know, deal with it) because I was not going any closer to that crowd and that music than I had to.   I located two box fans (thank ye gods and monsters) and stood in a line that was four times as long as it should have been, as all the green-vested individuals were relaxing with cups of lemonade by the indoor cabana instead of DOING THEIR FUCKING JOBS at the checkout.  Got those fans, got em home, got em in the got-damned windows, and got my feverish son a cool breeze.  Like. A. Boss.

The point is that, despite a depression that currently has knocked me flat like that rogue wave at the beach that leaves you with water up your nose and sand in your pubes, I understand and I wish to continue.  And sometimes, somehow, I pull it together long enough to be able to.  

I read a comment on my Facebook page the other day that I can't get out of my mind.  The commenter had run into an old acquaintance who told her, "I remember you.  You're that girl that cried all the time."  Which was a horrible thing to say, of course.  People are assholes.  But I thought to myself,  "There it is.  There it fucking is.  I'm that girl who cries all the time."  

I understand.  And despite that understanding, against my better judgment, I wish to continue.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Birthdays Are Overrated and Other Truths of Life as We Know It

I woke up this morning super-early, realized it was my birthday, and immediately burst into tears.  Even though I've been rocking this mood disorder for over thirty years, I'm always surprised by the strength and swiftness of my emotions.  "That escalated quickly," I think.  "What the hell was that all about?"  Well, this morning it's about my birthday.   It's always a day where I'm force to reflect on where I am, how I got here, and (cringes, braces self) where I'm headed.  

And the feels descend.   First comes Anxiety, always the front runner, with Panic moving up on the rail.  Here we go.  Next up, Sadness, digging in against Despair.  This is the year that I will finally be single.  (Oh, did I not mention he finally signed the papers?  I would make an event out of it but I'm STILL NOT DIVORCED because it's still not official till the Judge stamps the front page of the inch-thick Petition, soon to be a major motion picture).  

I closed the door on a major section of my life this past year, really the only one of any significance.  SO FAR.  I mean, right?  I have to keep thinking that the best is yet to come, although the Hallmark Hall of Fame called and they want their cheesy cliche back.  But I HAVE to keep thinking that, or else, you know, visions of cliff-driving and vein-opening and revolver-fellating and all that nasty shit comes to call.  

So here comes a day of tearbursts, reading the fond wishes of my Facebook family, hearing from people I don't know in real life but who know and understand and "get" me better than most people I do, feeling valued, smart, kind, important.  Good shit, mang.   Cue Sally Field.  Again.  

Thank you.  Seriously.  You have no idea.  

Hold up.  Yeah.  You do.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Annual Anonymous Winter Holiday Blog of Familial Hostility, Part Three

Hello everyone, and welcome to the third round of insanity this holiday season.  You better buckle up because it's Christmas Eve and you still have so many feelings to eat so much shopping to do.

I took several weeks off from The Klonopin Chronicles because I had a metric shit-ton of major life hurdles to, well, hurdle.   One is that I sold my house for an insane and record-setting amount of money.  You totally want to date me now, don't you.  Don't lie.  Bunch of greedy bastards, you lot.

Another is that I took a real vacation -- two weeks tripping around Mexico with my daughter, PreMed.  (A side note -- she has changed her major, but I'm still going to call her "PreMed" because "PreMBAinWorldHealthandCommunityDevelopment" is just too fucking long.)

The third and most important hurdle is that I found a new place to live and signed the first lease I've ever held BY MYSELF in my fifty-one years on the planet.  Coming up on fifty-two in a couple of months.  I will finally be playing with a full deck.  Boom.

At any rate, I owe you guys the third in the triptych of the Annual Anonymous Winter Holiday Blog of Familial Hostility, or as I like to call it, "The Qualifying Round of Passive-Aggressive Olympics."  Some of you guys have been on the podium a record-setting number of Olympiads.  It's an honor to compile your season's greetings and a joy to undercut them with snark.

I know, I know, Urban Outfitters.
Funny tho.

So without further ado, let's get started so we can finish  . . .

I’m thankful that no one is coming to our house for Thanksgiving because it looks like we’re auditioning for Hoarders.

(Through to the next round!)

Screw this dysfunctional family.

(I'd say, "fuck them" but I'm just the editor.)

It's so great to see you, Mr. and Mrs. Douchebag.

(Allow me to present Mr. and Mrs. Enema.)

Birth control is your friend. Just saying.

(! ! !)

I just stuffed the turkey full of Xanax so we can all have a relaxing and unstressful holiday.

(That's money.)

Dear MIL -- Stop glaring and rolling your eyes at me as I sit on the couch while you wash dishes. I am not lazy. I am saving you from being stabbed in the heart.

(A mitzvah, MIL - you have no idea.)

You are about to become a mother.  Please pull your head out of your butt and realize the world does not revolve around you.

(Speaking of heads coming out of butts, let's hope that baby's not breech.)

Thank you for deserting me when my husband threw me and my three kids out because he's a fucking control freak narcissist. Thanks for ALWAYS being there for me and my kids -- with a knife ready to shove into our backs.  You guys suck, for real.

(Some of this shit is just real and that's no joke.)

Hey, mother-in-law, about the "vegetarian" thing? No matter how small you chop up BACON and simmer it in sauce? It's still a fucking animal.

(She's got you there, MIL.  Your move.)

Go fuck yourselves. It's miserable spending any holiday with any of you.

(No further questions, Your Honor.  The witness may step down.)

I'd like to give thanks to my family for offering to visit US at our home for Thanksgiving before my husband, your brother and son, leaves for Afghanistan next Tuesday. I'm sure we'll be showered with your support while he's gone, too - all ten of you.

(And by "showered with support," she means "roundly ignored.")

Here's to another year of togetherness with the very people can suck the fun out of something simply by entering a room.

(And we're not talking nitrous oxide here.)

Thank you all for coming, I love you all. I hope you'll keep me in the family when I finally divorce your brother/son. Now, who needs more gravy?

(I do.  Please pass it.)

Thanksgiving used to be much easier when I was drinking heavily.

(Right?  Ain't that some bullshit?)

To My Dear Mother In Law: I'm happy you are gone and I no longer have to watch you humiliate your son because he did not become a "real" doctor like you wanted him to be. What the fuck. Thanksgiving gratitude because you are not in it.

(What kind of fake doctor did he become, anyway?)

You are not entitled to anything. Stop draining everyone around you financially and mentally. Grow up.

(Fifty-teen.  Holla.)

Well, hello, SIL.  Please come in and eat two plates of food and then take ALL the leftovers for your family of four. Guess what? We're secretly cooking up extra batches that won't be put out on Thanksgiving Day so we can have some damn leftovers of our own.

(A brilliant plan.  Expensive, but worth it.  That gravy.  Am I right?)

A lot of you are assholes.

(Succinct and universal.)

Dear Husband: Sharing the looks with the teenagers that you think I don't see. Be a parent for fuck’s sake. Don’t throw me under the bus so you can be the cool friend/parent.and I look fucking crazy. You’re the alcoholic in this family, not me.  Own your own shit as I own mine.

(Hmm.  That sounds like something I would say.  Like verbatim.)

PLEASE stop telling me to eat your food! I know where you get your groceries and I also know that you buy bulk perishables on sale because they're past the expiration date.

(Now it can be told.)

I wish my Mom would stop inviting all of you social misfits so we can actually enjoy our holiday as a family. Don't you have your own families you can torture?

(And by that I mean, how did they get rid of you and can I have lessons?)

I would like to tell my family that if they could stop judging everyone else for once in their wretched lives and use their energy for good maybe they'd wouldn’t be crotchety old wenches who are about to die alone.

(Good to know.  And it's not too late.)

Quit complaining and just SHUT THE FUCK UP! Eat the goddamn food I spent all day making, and BE FUCKING HAPPY.  IT'S THANKSGIVING, ASSHOLES.

(Yeah, Assholes.  God.)

You should not have another baby with your "baby daddy". Every other day you are on Facebook telling us how you hate him.

(You might want to adjust those privacy settings.)

Sister, I'm just as crazy as you so why don't you take some pointers from me on how to hide it better.  Mother in law - stop taking so much Oxy. You make no sense and by the way, Jesus doesn't hate black people.

(And pass the gravy.  And by "gravy" I mean "Oxy".)

If you complain again about your "double chin" in pictures when I outweigh you by 50 pounds, I’m going to punch you.

(And no jury in the world would convict her. )

Please tell my boyfriend some more about the bowel issues I had as a child.

(You mean your former boyfriend.  WTG, Mom.)

I am not even a little thankful to be here with all you sanctimonious, holier-than-thou douchecanoes that have made my year mostly miserable. But I am thankful for this food. Forgive me, now please pass me the pie.

(Pie makes it all worthwhile.  Real talk.)

And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.  For some of us, it's the defense mechanisms of  humor in the face of misery, snark to suppress pain, mocking to prevent murder.  The real and honest acknowledgement of  "all the feels" we go through on a daily basis.  All of us.  Even those who wish they didn't and work like hell to keep it that way.   I wish you a healthy and happy New Year, where the worst you get is probation and a suspended sentence.  We are all in this together.  Except my ex.  He's a dick.

Namaste, you Nutjobs, you.  Keep coming back.  LYLAS and all that good noise.  And I never ever do this, but - - - xoxoxoxo.

The Rolo Turtle.
Stop by the Facebook page where I posted the recipe.
In the words of Louis C.K., eat them until you hate yourself.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Anonymous Annual Blog of Winter Holiday Familial Hostility, Part Two

Is there still any turkey left?   That must have been some dry-assed white meat.  Kind of like yours truly.  Anyway, here is another round of gut-wrenchingly funny and excruciatingly bittersweet holiday greetings from the readers, edited with hilarity by yours truly.   You guys make me look good, and we all know it's better to look good than to feel good.  Namaste, you Nutjobs, you.  Without futher ado . . .
The Ultimate Leftover Thanksgiving Sandwich

I am eternally grateful for my fussy-faced husband for finally stopping the 30 pack of beer a day habit. Thank you also for the fine case of genital warts.

(Guess he wasn't that fussy-faced after all)

Fuck you all very much for eating all my cheese-dip and jalapeƱos and blaming it on the two-year-old.

(I hope he's potty-trained because that diaper will be insanity.)

I am thankful that I have enough self-control not to get all stabby with my fork when my sister's boyfriend chews with his mouth open and food drops out of his mouth.

(That's pretty gross.  If you're not using that fork, may I?)

No mom, you cannot pray my gay away. I'm afraid my sexuality doesn't quite work like that. So! Who wants pie?

(I do!  A big gay piece of pie!  And kisses!)

Daughter-in-Law -- go right back out the front door you came in and keep on walking.  You’re a lazy slob who does absolutely nothing for your family.  My son owns his own business and works 16 hours a day all while taking care of your daughter. You need to go home to your Minecraft family and have them cook you Thanksgiving dinner.

(Could that happen?  That would be fucking awesome.)

Eat, and get the fuck out so I continuing drinking this memory out of my mind.

(Oh, Barkeep <rattles ice in empty glass> )

You are all immature, selfish assholes and I would rather eat ramen by myself. Your children are not cute. They are monsters you have created.

(Preach.  And don't forget the scrambled egg in the ramen.  Because protein.)

I'm glad you're all here to hear this together. I'm leaving my husband, and I never ever want him to come home or to be close to him and all I ever want to do is drink when all of you are around so fuck you. My lawyer and I are going to take half of your money.

(And then I'm going to pay my lawyer with the other half.)

Stop telling me how to raise my kids when I'm raising yours. Stop telling me I'm doing it wrong!

(Back off, bitch, I got this.)

Ten fucking years, you sorry son of a bitch. I have supported you, rewritten my dreams, raised children alone through four fucking deployments and now you say you don't want to be married to me anymore? You say YOU HAVE NO MOTIVATION TO SAVE OUR MARRIAGE?  Fuck you.

(Now we have no motivation to cancel that hitman.)


(So many doctors miss that Tourette's diagnosis the first time around.)

I love each of you but if you got off your ass and washed a dish I'd love you more.

(Just one from each of you would do it, I think.)

Well, another year without a loved one here. Prison does that to families. We can only trudge on and hope no one else gets locked up this year. But at least we can all be thankful another criminal is off the streets. We miss you, Cousin Craig. I hope you got the soap on the rope I sent.

(Soap on a rope is funny in and of itself, but the prison thing was inspired.)

No, mom didn't love you more than anyone. She hated us all the same.


Stop wearing men's basketball shorts and t-shirts everywhere, you're a 53 year old teacher. Lose the mullet.

(Every family has that one guy  . . . .)

Thanks for showing up empty handed. I couldn't find anything better to do with my holiday than to cook for you ungrateful, mooching, sorry ass fat fucks. Happy Thanksgiving.

(Something tells me they really DGAF about what you just said.  Wasted words -- so frustrating.)

Thank you to Diesel fuel and my Mercedes’ longevity for making this drama-free Thanksgiving possible, far, far away from the people who make me need Ativan.


To my mother in law: You are a narcissistic bitch who raised a couple of man-infants. Nice work.

("Narcissistic" is a word that gets a lot of airplay this time of year.)

As you all know, a year ago today I was inpatient for depression and suicidal ideation. As you also know, not one of you were there for me. Despite that, I have gotten much better. I am NOT going to pretend that I have my shit together. But I'm getting there. Pass the wine!

(Next year in Jerusalem!  Wait.  Wrong holiday.)

Thanks for leaving me with so much guilt I can't breathe when I sit next to you.

(I felt that in my soul, no sarcastic)

Kids, I just want to say how fucking disappointed I am in all three of you.  I know you listened to your father when he said "It's all in her head, she's a psycho.” Fuck off. Love, Mom.


I'd like to thank my mom who no longer speaks to me. I raised myself and YOU lost out. This is the last time I give you any power.


Please tell me again that I'm such a bad parent for keeping my child and raising him and giving him everything he needs, not wants, NEEDS to succeed in life, when you’re only 24 and have had so many abortions your cooter is gonna fall out?

(Crap.  Could that really happen?)

MIL: You are a self-centered narcissistic bitch. We are never speaking to you again.

(She probably didn't hear you so it's just as well.)

It would be really nice to actually be invited to dinner instead of having to call around asking which family member is hosting this year and then inviting myself.

(Oh honey, I wish I knew you IRL because I would totally invite you -- before Halloween, even.)

You are a rotten, abusive, piece of shit husband. And I am planning on divorcing your ass as soon as I can find the nastiest shark lawyer on the planet.

(Hit me up, I know someone.)

I feel guilty for feeling depressed when I have so much.

(I am hugging you so very tight right now with my mind.)

Don't be so goddamn judgmental. Happy Thanksgiving!

(And God bless us, every one.  Cheers!)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Annual Anonymous Winter Holiday Blog of Familial Hostility, Part One

Last year, I invited the readers to post what they wished they could say at the holiday table when it came time to say what they were thankful for.  Then it became clear that people were reluctant to do that in public with their names attached (and rightly so, as you will soon see).  So, I thought, hey, how about an anonymous forum where people could PM me and I would post their thoughts on the page? The response was overwhelming and I decided to take all the PMs and turn them into The Anonymous Thanksgiving Blog of Family Hostility.  An online Airing of the Grievances, if you will.  Two hundred and thirty-seven messages later (and about twelve hours of editing, laughing, crying, agonizing, and rejoicing), I came up with the first of probably three segments.  I think we have enough to take us through to New Year's.  And I'm toying with the idea of a monthly sweep.  Almost all of the PMs ended with:  "I feel so much better."  And some even said, "You don't have to post it, just to write it was enough."

So I'm dusted off last year's offering and added a few more.  Before I get to the messages themselves, I have a few observations about what people wrote to me.  There were a few common themes, and to conserve space and time, I'll summarize them rather than post every message.   People were thankful for their meds.  And booze.  (But please, not in combination because death.)  People were glad they only had to do this once a year.   Other people were glad they didn't have to do Thanksgiving with <person> any more, due to death, divorce, etc.  People wished for drama-free holidays, and were thankful that either distance or meds or booze or time passing or what have you were making that possible.   Something that resonated with me:  People were thankful to family members who taught them what NOT to do with their lives, in their personal relationships, as parents, as sons and daughters.  

Many people were witty, some on purpose.  Some of the funny ones were unintentional, that corkscrew to the gut.  You smile until you realize THAT REALLY HAPPENED.  Celebratory post-rant passing of food was a theme.  There was lots of profanity because awesome.  Some people edited their profanity, and I corrected the euphemisms.  Some messages really needed some good swears, so I added them.  (THAT was fun.  Who knew Gramma had such a mouth?)    

(As usual, I hope you'll enjoy my parenthetical assholery.  In BOLD, you guys.  All the best assholery is in BOLD.)

I'm thankful I'm only forced to spend two days a year with my sister-in-law.

(Surely we can whittle that down to one.)

I'm thankful for the booze, pie and xanax that will make the day tolerable. And that there aren't more people in the family that I have to pretend to like.

(Seriously.   Walking advertisements for birth control, the lot of them.)

I really want to say I am thankful I have decided to leave your mentally abusive ass after 20 years. I’m not sure how, but I am done. Thankful that I will have a life of my own next Thanksgiving.

(Your keyboard to God's ears.)

As soon as grandma dies, I'm not coming to this stupid dinner any more.

(She's the only one I really like.)

I’m just here for the food.

(And even that's not all that great.)

Spending the holidays with "family" always brings out my deepest wish -- that I was adopted.

(Good one.)

I hate Thanksgiving food. Mom, your house is fucking hot! And my brother is an asshat.

(Seriously, Mom.  It's called a thermostat.  Thermasshat.  Okay, I'm going.)

To my lovely family: I have worked hard to shop for, plan and prepare this feast for us. You applauded my efforts with a rousing chorus of "Is it ready yet?” After we all eat ourselves into a stupor, do not (once again) decide it’s time to grab your shit and leave me with all the clean-up.  Because, seriously, for Christmas I might just make a big fat saliva pie for you all.

(My favorite kind.)

To my baby're a spoiled rotten 29-year-old woman, engaged to the wrong man and we all know it. You need to get your priorities straight and remember your sisters will always be here for you when your future husband is long gone.

(Because family can't get a pre-nup.)

Here's to the tryptophan kicking in before somebody mentions politics and religion.

(And by "tryptophan" you mean "Sominex")

Next year y’all need to come up with some cash cause I'm tired of spending $300 on Thanksgiving. Does it occur to you bitches that now I'm broke so we need leftovers?

(Yeah, pony up.  Losers.)

Why are you all such a bunch of unhappy, miserable bitches?

(It's a fair question.)

YOU are not the star of this show. The rest of us are here to enjoy a nice meal and conversation. Stop throwing around the threat that you are going to cut us out of your will if you’re not made the center of attention. We already know you have! Touche!

(En garde, motherfucker.)

I love you kids, but if given the opportunity to go back in time, I would NEVER have married your father or had any of you.   I would just have had goldfish -- when you get tired of them it's not illegal to flush them.

(NOW you tell me.)

Thank you, God, for my mother-in-law FINALLY showing her true colors at her job so now they know what she's really like. A bitch.

(Just between us, I knew it all along.)

To my parents: I've had enough of your irresponsibility and immaturity. You've ruined enough of my holidays; thanks to you guys, I haven't had a happy memory of a holiday since I don't know when. Go screw yourself. Take your guilt trips, your drama, your alcohol, and your negativity and go away.

(I went with the Oxford comma on this one.  Judges?)

I don't want to hear you bitch and moan about my mother anymore, because you are the dumbass that married her lying and cheating ass not once but twice.

(Twice.  Fucking *twice.*  Come on!)

As cold as it sounds, I'd like to tell my daughter’s mother-in-law to shut the fuck up and die already. She has cancer and every minute of the past seven years they have catered to her needs because she's dying. Buy the fucking farm or move on.

(It does sound cold.  But you did warn us.)

Why did you marry that bastard?

(Well?  We're waiting.)

To my brother: I'm sick of Thanksgiving Day drama during which the police have shown up to arrest you, you've made our mother cry, and you've gotten high and upset your son and mine. And this year you are bringing a girlfriend?   Give me a break.   FFS

(Whoa, dude, way to front-load that holiday weekend.)

I'm thankful my wife is no longer in my life.   I'm thankful I will be spending my Thanksgiving alone, instead of being with all the drama stars from her family.  I'm VERY thankful for my Klonopin.

(This one's going out to Roche Pharmeceuticals -- y'all rock.)

To my ex-husband -- thanks for being the ultimate asshole. The upside, I've lost 65 pounds and I look fucking great. SO SUCK IT, ALL OF YOU. Sincerely, Your Smokin' Hot Ex Wife Who Was Always Too Good For You

(I did not write this.  But I could have.  Except I only lost 20 pounds.  Beautiful.)

Your kids are ugly, your turkey is dry, the Christmas grab is stupid, if you actually looked for a job you'd find one, nobody here likes you!

(And let's be honest.  Can you blame them?)

I'm thankful I left the selfish, shallow asshole I spent far too much of my life with. I'm thankful I'm not married to the racist, misogynistic asshole whose house I'll be eating dinner at and I'm ever so thankful this dysfunctional day happens only once a year.

(I will definitely drink to any toast with "misogynistic" in it.)

You are all grown, though you act like a bunch of kids. Be grateful for what you have.  Some folks are cold and hungry, yet they don't complain. Your sister is the one you say has mental illness, but she is the only one that has her shit together.

(Lunatics are the true poets, and you know it.  Bam.)

I can't stand any of you. Really. I would be happier eating a turkey sandwich alone with a glass of wine watching mindless TV, than have to spend one minute with any of you.  And discipline your kids.  FFS.

(Agreed on all counts.  FFS indeed.)

Do you think for once someone could ask what's going on in MY life? Just because your job rules your life and it's all about you, doesn't mean my kids and I don't exist.

(You know, a lot of Narcissistic Personality Disorder gets diagnosed during the holidays.)

I would like to thank my mother-in-law for raising a selfish, alcoholic man child that has no concept of money, and my husband for wasting eleven years of my life. Cheers!

(In other words, MIL, you should have swallowed.)

So there you have it, boys and girls.  There's plenty of Familial Hostility for seconds, but finish your plate and let's open some presents.   Wait, that's next month.    Ugh.  See you on the therapy couch.  As if.

Look for Part Two next week.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Discovering the Savings Bonds

Once upon a time there was a woman who found a fat stack of her
husband's savings bonds in a paper bag on the shelf of the walk-in closet.  She scooped them up and hid them away because she was in the middle of divorce proceedings.  Because she lives in a community property state, each party owns half of all the assets (and liabilities) they acquired during the marriage.  Her please-would-he-sign-the-goddamn-papers-already-so-he-would-be-her-ex had a tendency to move money around even though he is enjoined from doing so under something called a "temporary QDRO," which he claimed not to understand.

So, to protect her half of the small fortune, she hid the savings bonds, so well that even she couldn't find them, and now, instead of having half a small fortune, she has lost the entire thing, because now she will have to reimburse him for the loss of his half.  The money will have to come from her half of the proceeds from the sale of the house, because she has no ready cash.   She had been trying to keep the house, even though that would be extreme folly because the cost of living in their area is exorbitant.  But events such as the disappearance of the savings bonds have coalesced, almost conspiratorially, to force her to face the inevitable.  She insists that they wait until June.  She is resolute that they not disrupt her son's sophomore year of high school.  But come summer, the house will be sold.

Until then, she is limping emotionally, marking time, sharing a roof with her ex, to the consternation of her therapist, her attorney, her boss, and her internet community, over 100,000 strong.  It's a Herculean task to maintain the distance she needs to heal and grow.  To take the straw of the painful lessons she has learned and, squaring shoulders full of false bravado, spin it into the gold that surely must be her due when this nightmare finally recedes.

Yesterday her ex found the savings bonds, a miracle that inspired the woman to write a blog piece to tell everyone on the internet about her relief.  She has never had friends in real life that she truly felt comfortable talk to.  Not coincidentally, her isolation has worsened almost in lockstep with the mudslide of her intolerable personal life.   And so she spends hours daily writing for strangers, entertaining and inspiring them (their words) as she surfs the waves of her treacherous, disordered moods.

The steadfast weight she currently carries varies in density with her mercurial state of mind, but the discovery of the savings bonds has lightened it, at least a little, at least for now.  And now, buoyed by this relief, galvanized by it, she lifts her head, and shuts her Chromebook for a few hours, and resumes chipping away, task by task, at the monolith that stands between her and the fulfillment that she knows is hers to claim, with trepidation, with hope, and ultimately, with joy.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Five Minutes Timed Writing Ready Go

Here's one of those stream of consciousness dealies.  I'm just going to write for five minutes straight and see what comes of it.  I promised you Nutjobs a funny blog about court and I do want to put that together.  I made some notes on my phone during The Proceedings (tm) or should it be My Day in Court (tm) but quite honestly (and sheepishly) I never saw the inside of the courtroom.  The attys went in, one BAMF, one jackwagon, proving that birds of a feather truly are BAMFs and jackwagons, respectively.

Anyway, the attorneys went in and dicked around for a while.  We had sent our draft agreement over to their side on Friday, but Dick Brain, Esquire, wouldn't read it over the weekend and so was pretty much useless during The Proceedings (tm).  All that really happened was we agreed to sit together again in two weeks, by which time Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Douche would presumably have a response to our proposal.

There was a lot more but I'm having trouble clearing more than five minutes at a time to concentrate on some real writing.  Meantime I wanted to kind of catch you up because I know some of you are actually interested in these shenanigans that you think are really happening to a real-life person that I apparently have convinced you that I am.  ; )

And that's five.  Well, actually it was eight, but Mahalo crawled under the covers and was being super cute, so of course I had to stop and take a photo.

Namaste, good people.  Thanks for hanging around and whatnot considering, as it's been pointed out several times lately, I'm kind of an asshole a lot of the time.  Funny tho, I think.  That Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Douche was inspired.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

There Is Nothing Like Nothing

Sitting on my bed with my electronics to comfort me, I strain to hear the voices.  The Gamer is helping Mr. K set up a movie he wants to download from Amazon Prime.  I’m getting ready to get my feelings hurt, because I already begged my him for a mom-son date, and he turned me down.  He was nice about it, but it was very clear.  He’s a teenager, and teenagers get to tell their parents they’d rather not hang out with them, even (and maybe especially) if their home life is painful, awkward madness.  I get it.  I encourage it, in fact.  I applaud him implicitly.  

If he ends up sitting down to watch the movie, there are two ways I can take it.  One is that he genuinely wants to spend time with Mr. K.  And that’s  . . . okay.  The other is that he doesn’t want to, but he doesn’t want to hurt his dad’s feelings. And that’s . . .  not okay.  He should not have to adjust his behavior to accommodate a whiny self-pitying passive-aggressive drunk.   He’s a perceptive kid.  We used to call him “sensitive,” but that has a pejorative connotation.  I prefer “perceptive.”  “Intuitive” is another good word.   Judging by the long silences that punctuate his end of the conversation, I conclude that he is at least two clicks shy of thrilled at the moment, and I feel my face clench into the scowl I wear whenever I get wind of his dad’s attempts at provoking him with guilt.

From another room, I can’t tell for sure whether Mr. K. has been drinking, though he probably has.  He’s been drinking steadily (or unsteadily, see what I did there?) every night since he slipped a week ago Sunday, heralding two weeks’ home from rehab.  Two weeks of neither calling his sponsor nor going to meetings.  But it’s not my job to know about any of this.  In fact, it’s my job to make a concerted effort NOT to know, not to care, not to measure, not to assess, not to hypothesize, not to conclude,   

He comes to my doorway, and I see that it’s incontrovertible.  If not drunk, then certainly he’s been drinking, he holds himself very carefully, very straight and still.  He makes an effort to speak distinctly, but the words come out thick and dull, as though the effort it took not to slur them took their meaning away.  “Where are the savings bonds?” he asks, following up on an idea he had about how to pay down his personal debt with community funds.   An idea that I will report with dispatch to my new attorney.    Upon filing for divorce, something called a “quadro,” or Qualified Domestic Relations Order, goes into effect.  The one-line story on that is “Don’t fucking move money around until the judge says you can, motherfucker.”  So, no, I found the precious savings bonds and squirreled them away.  Not turning them over until I have to, or until I remember where I hid them.  Oopsie.  

The scene is fraught with awkwardness, him standing in the doorway, casting about the room, slowly, not sure what he’s looking for, or even what he’s seeing.

Mr. K.:  I'd just like to know one thing.
Me:  What's that?
Mr. K:  Why do you hate me so much?
Me:  I don't hate you.  I nothing you.
Mr. K:  I'd rather you hated me.
Me:  I feel sorry for you, how's that.  Best I can do under the circumstances.  

Long, slow, painful silence.  He looks at me imploringly.  I look back at him, impassive, measured.  


Don’t drink and go to meetings.  Keep it simple, stupid.  Keep coming back.  It works if you work it.  One day at a time, first things first, easy does it.  I know it all, from years of Ala-Teen, then Al-Anon, always the loved one, the daughter, the sister, wringing my hands from the sidelines, watching the drunk try to get sober much as the mother watches the child learn to ride the bike without training wheels.

But I’ve never done this with a spouse.  A former spouse.  I guess they say “a loved one,” but he’s not loved, at least by me.  I have anger and resentment and horror and fear.  I even have pity sometimes, which I know he senses.  And loathes.  He’s the only one who’s allowed to do that.

No.  If I’m not going to love him, then he’ll settle for hate.  Hate he can understand; pity makes his skin crawl.   But what I really have for him is nothing.  And as far as he’s concerned, nothing is the worst.  Nothing is the vacuum that remains after all that other nonsense finally subsides.   Nothing is the final blow, the realization that he is all alone with his disease, his addiction, his ultimate lover.   And maybe nothing will be what propels him either up or down the ladder of his recovery.  But it’s not my job, it’s not my call, it’s nothing to do with me.