Saturday, March 8, 2014

It's Nature's Way

How do you describe pain?  A sick feeling in the chest that flows out through the abdomen.  A aneurysm, no, an embolism.  A foreign object making its unwanted way through the circulatory system.  There's a reason we focus the description of our painful emotions on the heart.  The ache of unrequited love, the stabbing anger of betrayal, the claw of longing, the rage of jealousy.  That all happens right here.  She points to her breastbone, rubs her fist in a circle around it, massages it with the ball of her hand.  And dissolves for the thousandth time, the ten thousandth time, into the inexorable tears that feel so good in a twisted way.  The cheesy sayings, so trite, so true, wash away my trouble, wash away my pain, it's a wave that rushes up, out of nowhere, blindsided on the daily by it, after fifty years, still new every time.

She buries her face, not in her hands, but more profoundly than that, more like surrender really, into her bent forearms, cradling her head, wrapping herself up tight, the only comfort a solitary person can offer herself.   No one can do this with her.  She is all alone.   She takes brave, deep breaths, and shudders on the exhale, trying to muffle the sadness as it ripples through her.  Her friends sleep across the hall of thin walls.  They are worried about her.  She stays at work so late, then the gym, then the tutoring center to pick up her son.  She goes home finally after everyone's in bed, so she doesn't have to see their kindly questioning concerned faces.

She turns into the cul-de-sac and rolls up to the house.  Through the parted curtains she sees her ex-husband, talking with someone, her daughter probably, in that pedantic way he has, as though he were instructing, not lecturing exactly, but he has an irritating, condescending way of speaking. He knows more than you, so he has to be right.  Has all his answers ready to go, favorite book, favorite movie, or at least his top five, his top ten.  Let's see who can name more Oscar-winners.  Who won Best Actress in what year, for which role?   Now she sees him losing confidence, faltering, maybe even reeling, from the blow her departure has dealt him.  

She had dinner this evening with some friends and there was an endocrinologist there.  Even though she knew it was rude, she couldn't help herself and pumped the woman for information, for validation.  

Q.  Could someone with two bouts of acute pancreatitis in three years continue to drink?   
A.  No.  Telling the patient that it would be okay to drink would be malpractice.  
Q.  And could "the patient" just up and keel over at any moment?  
A.  Possibly.  But he needs to stop drinking immediately or he will definitely die soon.  

Maybe some day she will see him finally capitulate, abandon the stubborn denial, and ask for help.  Or maybe he'll drink himself to death.  It could go either way.  And either way, not her problem.  Not her fault.  Really and finally.

Through the parted curtains she sees her former life, wrenched from her by the people who were supposed to love her best in the world.  A life that she worked so hard at pretending she loved. Decades spent trying to fix what was wrong, to deflect blame, to dodge guilt, and failing at all of it.

The embolism of pain makes her slump over the steering wheel, the wind knocked out of her.  That life is gone, and with a mixture of relief and trepidation she considers the new one that remains to be forged.  She bids her son good night and watches him walk up to front porch and sidle in through a door barely open so as not to let the dogs out.    With a profound sigh, she releases the brake and steers the car out of the cul-de-sac, away from the stabbing anger of betrayal, the claw of longing, into the rest of her life, a vacuum waiting to be filled with the worthwhile things she brings from her past and the terrifying and wonderful things she will craft for herself from the wreckage of the last twenty years.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day - aka Amateur Night

I want to write a Valentine's Day blog.  I want to have something to say about Valentine's Day other than how much it sucks.  Once again, a holiday designed to make you feel like a loser if you don't have all the appropriate gear.  Starting with a lover.

Even when I was married, I didn't like Valentine's Day.  Too much pressure.  Is anyone going to live up to the plans we make for them in our heads?  Wouldn't it be great if x and then perfect if y.  If he could intuit my fantasy and make it happen without a word between us.  Destined to fail.  Unless you date yourself, it's not going to be exactly the way you want it.  And even then, you're kind of hit or miss.

I have the unique perspective of having had pretty much all the different Valentine's Day scenarios there are.  I was the kid in second grade, making valentines for all the kids in the class but forgetting one boy.  They passed out a list and I lost it.  Sorry, Bill.  It didn't have candy in it so big whoop.

Then I was in high school, no boyfriend, scorning all the Valentine's Day shenanigans because superior.  More like smug, actually.  I was probably getting high in the smoking lounge (can you imagine having something like that today?) before heading off to Honors English.  I had range but no boyfriend.  No magic on Valentine's Day or other day.

When I finally did get a boyfriend, Valentine's Day was nothing special, although I vaguely recall an erotic drawing, maybe of me, maybe of the previous girlfriend over whom he was not yet.

I started dating my ex three days after Valentine's Day, so we had a whole year before Valentine's Day reared its ugly, awkward head.  Privately, I though it would be cool if he proposed, but he didn't, so that was yet another disappointment.  After we did get married, he would dutifully bring home flowers and we would go through the motions, but by then I was so disinterested in him that it felt like a chore to muster up the appropriate responses.   I had set impossible hurdles to jump over that we couldn't have afforded even if he had thought of them, weekend trips to the wine country, or his and hers massages and an hour wrapped in towels with cucumber slices over our eyes.

Please let me tell you that all of these perceived deficiencies were mine and mine alone, and before you begin a sermon about being glad for what you have, let me hasten to add that I was grateful to have a partner to perform these rituals with, with whom I had what passed for love.  I even felt it most of the time.

Then there was the Mother-of-the-Year Olympics, with each mother trying to outdo the rest with elaborate valentines for the class that they had clearly made themselves, because calligraphy was not one of the electives offered in kindergarten.

So now I have come full circle, having the first real Valentine's Day without a lover in 30 years.  Once again, being alone on a holiday doesn't bother me as much as the perception that other people have of how sad I must be and how pitiful it is.  So they assuage their consciences by including me in whatever they have going on.  Valentine's Day is the worst for this as you might imagine.  It's a day and more importantly, a night when people worry if you're okay, which you totally are until they ask you (thank you Schroedinger or is it Heisenberg?)  Which is why I'm going to spend Valentine's Day with 135,000 of my closest friends on Facebook, jamming to good music, pulling up our chairs and having a simply lovely time being Nutjobs together for Flirtation Friday, and far more important, pitchers and catchers report to start spring training.

I'm all about priorities.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Worst Thing About Depression

The worst thing about depression is knowing that it will never really go away. Even if it subsides periodically.  Even as much progress as you think you're making.  Even as much progress as you really ARE making. It's always been with you. It always will be with you.  It's like looking down the tube of your life and knowing that you are always going to feel this way. This too shall pass?  I’m sorry, that’s incorrect. This too shan't pass.  It never has and it never will.   Nice try, though.  Good guess. Thanks for playing.  We have some lovely parting gifts.

When it gets really bad, there’s the familiar response.  Wanting to curl up as small as possible. Under my bed.  Under my desk at work.  Tucked away in the furthest recess I can find. Backed up against a wall in the corner.  Please.  You don't see me.   I take up no space because I’M NOT HERE.  I don’t want to die, exactly.  I don’t want to kill myself.  I just want to NOT BE HERE. Marking time till the next thing I dread is over.   So I can just please stop. Stop thinking about everything I fucked up simply because I was there to fuck it up.  My kids, my marriage, my husband’s life.  Ruining everything for everyone.  

All my kids' memories will be bad ones.  They will go to therapy and talk about all the things I did that made them feel horrible about themselves.  All the things they learned from me that are fucked up, measuring other people with the same impossible yardstick I use on myself, hating other people because I hate myself, making fun of them because ultimately I am the most ridiculous thing of all.  

The Gamer:  Mom, why aren’t you coming with us to the party?
Troubled:  Mom won’t go to the party because she hates people.
Me:  Hey, I don’t hate people!  I just prefer them when they’re not around.
PreMed:   Good thing we got Caller ID because this way, at least we know who was calling when Mom didn’t answer it.
Me:  Let them leave a voicemail!  Who talks on the phone, anyway?  

Remind me to tell you about the time a pushy acquaintance that I never liked wanted to see the progress on the remodel we were doing on the house.  How I let the call go to the machine (this was back in the day).  How she left three messages in the space of an hour, are you home, can I come by?   Finally, and I don’t know how people have the balls to do stuff like this, she just showed up, turning her minivan into the cul-de-sac and pulling up to the house.The kids and I were in the great room. They were watching TV and I don’t know what I was doing.   But I saw right away that it wouldn’t be enough for me to go to my room and hide, my first instinct, always. She would see the kids in the window and ask them to get me and then what?

I’m not proud of what happened next.  “Get down, get down, come over here, hide behind the couch with Mommy,  Jennifer’s here but I don’t want her to come in, let’s pretend we’re not here.”    I hid from my friend like Anne Fucking Frank and I made my kids hide with me until she got back in her car and drove away.   We laugh about it now.  But WTAF.  Grist for the therapy mill if ever I saw it. My mother, the narcissistic misanthrope.

Though self-taught from a young age, and even with a natural aptitude,  I can't seem to get this depression gig right.  Depressed people talk about not being able to get out of bed.   As much as I would prefer to crawl back under the covers in the tight little ball that I covet, I simply cannot.  I can't stay in bed because I'm petrified that my complete and utter failure will be revealed.    I can’t stay in bed because there would be yet another example of what’s wrong with me.  I can’t stay in bed because I have to get up and do more, try harder, be better.   I can’t stay in bed because my superego is a harsh mistress and the switch she wields is swift and sharp.  I can’t stay in bed because panic, masquerading as hope, pretending to be courage, compels me, propels me, and I hurtle out of bed, already exhausted before the day has begun.

Even though I understand that the universe finds me flawed at the cellular level, I like to think that I that I hide it really well.   How arrogant is that!  People tell me all the time how clever I am, how witty.  How I express what they are feeling in just the right way. How much I've helped them.  I always joke "that's a tragic and near-fatal case of the blind leading the blind."  I'm thrilled that anyone gets something out of this nonsense.  But I'm also dismayed.  I'm a sham.  How have you people not seen this yet? Your failure to recognize my failure diminishes us both.

It's so much a piece of me that I have never thought to question it. Only in the last few years has it dawned on me that other people don’t live this way.  Other people aren’t just waiting for time to pass until it’s over or wishing they weren’t here or fantasizing about putting a revolver in their mouths or driving off a cliff.   I have started at least a dozen times to tell someone, anyone, that I feel this way and realize just in time, “Hey, Self!  That’s suicide ideation which means 72 hours that you just can’t spare right now! And who knows how many more days, weeks maybe, after that?”   

So, no.  That’s crazy.  Who would do that?  Not this Nutjob right here, my friends.  Uh-uh.  Not me.  No way.  I’ll just keep plugging away, writing this blog, listening to music, cracking wise on my Facebook page, and looking down the tube of my life knowing that even when I’m feeling good, better than good, magnificent even, I’m always going to have this thing, this depression, this horrible self-loathing that has grown, in the cruelest of ironies, into the most profound friendship I could ever hope to have.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Backstory: A Blog Post in One Sentence

You know how you're staying in your house with The Gamer for the week while your ex travels on business and the house is so filthy and destroyed that you can't even breathe from the panic and you can't figure out whether you should clean up or leave it be since it's not your mess but you're literally nauseated as you to look around and you don't even want to put your food in the refrigerator and the dumbass has the sprinklers set even though he let the dogs tear up the back yard so all there is is mud and of course the dogs track it in and out and that explains why the floors are so horrible but as you wash them you can see that they're going to have to be redone because who the hell puts hardwood in the kitchen but you did because you knew you would wash them and buff them with Murphys only you haven't lived there for a year and so of course they are being destroyed and there is chaos everywhere so you run around taking pictures of everything document document document and you text your friend (in another state) and ask for help and he tells you to pack your ex's stuff and kick him out and you know you should but you're a sad, scared helpless Nutjob who isn't as strong as everyone tells you you are and you just sit down and cry and yell and curse at the dog who is not really the problem but one of many symbols of the problem because your daughter snuck (sneaked?) her into the house and wouldn't train her or get her shots or anything you need to do to care for a dog what the fuck is the matter with her but it's your fault somehow that she never got what you need to do to be a human on this earth and that's just another in a laundry list of things you hate your ex for because couples are supposed to be parents together and not let one (you) be the bad guy without supporting but in fact undermining what you are trying to do which is teach discipline which doesn't have to be harsh if it's done with love but since you never get your way it ends up feeling harsh and you feel like all you do is yell and he encourages them to understand that it's because there's something wrong with you that you're always yelling even though you go around to your friends' houses and they all seem peaceful and clean as though there is some order in place that everyone lives by but when you go home and ask for things to be like that all you get are eyerolls and mocking and passive-aggressive bullshit from your ex who is "fiftyteen" as another one of your friends (of course in another state) said which is absolutely brilliant and your friends are all very supportive but unfortunately most of them are far away and it's very difficult and scary to be alone trying to handle this even though everyone tells you "you're stronger than you know" and "you got this" that just adds to the feeling you've always had which is what other people want is more important than what you want so you let it all be okay until it just isn't okay any more so you finally move out and then everyone blames you for either not dealing with the problems sooner or not dealing with them at all but running away from them instead and there's no way to explain to them that you are trying to let your ex reach bottom because he's what they call a "functioning alcoholic" which is the worst kind because "what's the problem I go to work every day and make a lot of money doing important things so why shouldn't I have a drink or two" (or four or five and let's not forget how many nights he throws back an Ambien or two with them) so part of the plan is to let the house get completely destroyed so that at some point you can go to him and say "you have to go because you aren't handling it" but then you have to go in and fix and clean it because you want to show your son what normal looks like and it's not this believe me so you've completely fucked up the plan because he'll come home from the trip and say "thanks babe" (because he still calls you "babe" which is just fucking nauseating if you'll excuse the language) "place looks great" and now you have to start over and your friend says "throw him out" but how the fuck do you do that when you're a scared Nutjob who has never trusted yourself because everyone always told you you overreact to things and oh by the way you have a neurochemical imbalance which clouds your judgment and even though you take your meds you're still always suspect so you've found this great outlet which is to write these elaborate run-on sentences which is a literary device that you constantly have to tell people because maybe they don't get that you really do know how to write but anyway there's a sentence that's a blog post and you hope that some of it resonated with someone?

Yeah, me neither.  That's crazy.  Who would do that?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My First Separated Christmas

I don't have anything funny to say about this pain in my chest.  I will say that clenching my abs when I feel this pain begin sometimes helps.  I will say that Assistant has taught me to lean forward when the tears well, that the damage to my makeup and overall facial composition will be less severe if they run down my cheeks than back across my temples to my ears as they do when I lean back.

Fuck Christmas in the neck with a cookie cutter.  I'm homesick.  I'm exhausted.  I'm longing for the normal that never was.  I'm forgetting why I left.  I'm angry.  I'm resentful.  It's Troubled's fault I can't go home.  It's Juvie's fault I can't go home.  It's Mr. K.'s fault I can't go home.  I'm waiting for him to fuck up and stay a drunk and go to the hospital for the third time and maybe finally admit that he needs help but it will be too late because he's already lost me.  Anyway, he's taking too damn long to implode, and, in the meantime, I'm missing Christmas.

I want to make cookies.  I want to see unpack my Christmas things.  I want to argue about whether it's the year for the small tree in the bay window that I like or the large tree taking up the whole damn room, even up against the wall, that Mr. K. likes.  We alternate years because I'm accommodating like that.  I know lots of couples where the wife gets her way about everything, mostly because she cares about getting everything just so, and the husband cares more about keeping peace and being left alone. But in my family, I want things a certain way, but I don't feel strong enough to fight for them.  Mr. K. wants the opposite almost on purpose.  You can tell it wasn't something he felt strongly about until he saw that it would be a fight.  That he would always win.

I want to make Christmas.  Except I don't really.  In fact, a small part of me is rather relieved that I don't have to make Christmas this year.  Because either Christmas makes me hypomanic or my hypomania makes Christmas, but either way, it's a huge effort.  One that I used to make, and gladly.  But this year, because I don't get to, I don't want to, and I'm glad I don't, because I don't have that manic energy this year.  I only have sadness, regret, longing, nostalgia, anger, and malaise in equal measure, in quick succession or all at once, I can't really tell.

I will stop by the house to bring the kids their presents, having agonized whether Troubled will be there, whether I should give her a present, whether she will give me one (last year she gave me two left suede pumps from Walmart, I am not even kidding right now), whether she will once again make herself the center of attention in that we will all nervously anticipate whether she will come and how she might act, whether she will be high, whether she will bring Juvie, whether he will enter the house, whether I will freak out about it when he does because you just know he will.  The friends I see once a year will be there, and they will pull me aside and we will go into the bedroom where I will recount an abbreviated and watered-down version of the Nightmare Year, with the fact that we haven't discussed it until now hanging between us in a cloud of clumsy embarrassment.  And the thing that will save me, the thing I will remember, the thing everyone will remember, is that I will have swept my adolescent son away to the movies, to the horror or amusement or envy of the gathering, for a joyous, irreverent viewing of Anchorman 2.  

Well, that escalated quikly

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Anonymous Winter Holiday Blog of Familial Hostility, Part Two

Photo courtesy of The Crumb Diaries
A week has passed since the November Classic and by now even the turkey tetrazzini (which let's face it, was just a way for mom to sneak some broccoli onto your plate) is gone, but we still have feelings we need to share with our so-called loved ones. I have recovered from the snark-fest that was TATBOFH, Part One, and now present the second wave of messages. This time around I have indulged in more of my own commentary and I hope you all enjoy it. I have many more messages to wade through. I think it's safe to say we will have at least one more installment. I have changed the title to "The Anonymous *Winter Holiday* Blog of Familial Hostility" to spread the misery around and make it last all the way through to New Year's and beyond. If you guys can keep me supplied, we could probably have one of these a month for the foreseeable future.

Without further ado. Ahem. Oh, shit. I forgot to tell you there are swears. Lots of them. All y'all throw them around a fair bit, I can't lie.

I'd like to say to my beautiful mother that I need her far more than anyone down there at that bar.
(Heartbreaking from the git-go.  I don’t fuck around.  Time’s a-wastin’.)

To my family:  You all are the reason for my therapy and medication.  Please see the following bills and talk among yourselves as to who is reimbursing what. Cash preferred. Check okay. No credit cards. Payment in full must be made in some way by 3:00 p.m. as I don't know how many more of these "happy events" my liver can handle.
(I wish I had thought of this before all the parents died.  Except I’m much better now because they did.  Call it a push.)

To my aunt: You don't have to make Grandma's stuffing for me. I never liked it. 
(Just playin’ a player, Grandma.)

I would tell my monster-in-law, that she's a fucking lazy manipulative cunt and I hope she chokes on her extra-dry disgusting turkey. Oh, and please pass the yams.  
(Speaking of “extra-dry,” I believe I was offered a martini at some point in the proceedings.)

I am thankful I didn't kill anyone this year.  There were times I wanted to watch the life drain from the eyes of a couple of people as I choked the living shit out of them.
(Don’t sugarcoat it.  Tell us how you really feel.)

Everyone please understand I have more family to visit since I'm married.  Both damn sides of the family have Thanksgiving, you know.
(And both damn sides want to ruin it for you.)

Twenty years of busting my ass cooking and no one ever showed up to help until the rolls were coming out of the oven. Once I suggested a potluck and was ignored.  Then how about chipping in twenty dollars?   I spend twenty hours every year making this goddamned dinner.
(Numerologists will appreciate the symbolism of The Twenty.)

To my misogynistic, uber-religious/hypocrite of a FIL who never shuts up:  You are no better than anyone else here, You are not a leader.  Leaders don’t beg for handouts to buy dope & video games, so STFU.
(Although “Follow the Leader” is a game that could be played by dopes).

To my self-absorbed MIL and creepy FIL:    Way to go on missing your son/my husband’s birthday.  He's only been your son for 42 years, so I can understand that.
(Your forbearance is inspiring.  I would have egged their house.  Their own son’s birthday?  Sixteen Candles, anyone? Come on.)

My message: Thanks a lot to the sneaky, back-stabbing assholes at work!
(The original term used was “a-holes” but as I say, I don’t fuck around.)

Guys, I'm bi-sexual.  No, I'm not confused. Girls are hot and so are dudes.  I'll be in my car eating some pie.
(There was more ranting between the third and fourth sentences, but I made an executive decision.)

I am grateful that I don't have to see my family full of lying, hypocritical, abusive bloodsuckers that only care about making everyone miserable.  It's just me, my son and hubby, thank God.  I feel better now, thanks.
(Good.  Really.  That’s what this is for.   No sarcastic.)

My family raised me to believe in equality regardless of race, creed, or color, and taught me to think for myself.  Then they sent me to a Creationist school.  WTF, you guys
(Madness, I tell you.  No sarcastic again.)

I know you've all decided you're just not going to support me emotionally until I decide to do what you want me to do. Well, I'm not going to do that. I'll live my own damn life without your help, and I'll be a hell of a lot happier.
(My name is Klonnie Chronicles and I approved this message.)

I'm thankful that all of you people have someone like me around to remind you to do your homework, chores, and meaningful things that don’t involve electronics. And I'm thankful for the patience I have that keeps me from hopping on the next plane to Fiji.
(Fiji is nice this time of year.  Just saying.)

To my SIL:   You get up and wash dishes the moment someone stops shoveling food in their face.  We can't just sit around and visit.   We let the guys sit and nap and relax while all the women play domestic slave.  This is why I pour everyone coffee with cream and I get Bailey’s with Kahlua in my cup.
(<rattles ice in empty glass>)

I'm still not married and I'm still not interested in having kids.  Also, if I finally win the lottery (fingers crossed hard), I'll be leaving all of you behind and starting over somewhere else in order to gather people around me who care about each other.
(If you win the lottery, please PM the page.  I will help you gather said people.)

I'm thankful MIL had a stroke and forgot my name, instead of just pretending I don't exist after 18 years being married to her only son. Too harsh?

(That’s money.)

Dear MIL,  Remember when you told me that it's horrible that I’m adopted?   What I didn't say to you in response is that you and your sister are both illegitimate so you are both bastards as well.   Have fun at church.
(Yup.  They’re saving your seats in the bastard section.)

To my clinging, needy, and manipulative sister. Since you are the vortex of dissatisfaction and woe, I am unable to attend. I'm spending Thanksgiving with my neighbors and their kids.
(“The vortex of dissatisfaction and woe” -- I am stealing this brilliant verbiage and I thank you for it.)

I would like to tell my estranged husband's family just what a douchenozzle he is for cheating on me with a married woman for three fucking years. I will be with our boys and he won't so I guess there is some justice in this whole hot mess.
(And you got to use “douchenozzle” in a sentence -- almost worth it.)

Mom, how can you be such a hateful bitch?  How can you ask if your sister has a heart after my boys told you that she had a heart attack?
(I couldn’t think of anything funny to say here.  Reprehensible is a word.)

Grandma, stop judging and criticizing everyone. Until you can lead the way in perfection, keep that shit to yourself. No one needs you peppering our failures over the meal.
(I see what you did there.)

Aunt _______ and Uncle _________,  Everyone hates it when you two drink. Not because we have anything against booze, we just hate you two lightweight, crybaby fucks when you drink.
(And no one likes a drunken crybaby fuck. Don't ask me how I know this.)

Here's a little tip -- if you're not asked to come, you're probably not wanted so save everyone the uncomfortableness and go play hopscotch on the 101. Ugh!  Damn mooches.
(Ouch.  Hit me up if you haven’t scored a gig by Halloween.)

I want to say to  <person>:   I think it's fucked up that you remain in a marriage with the man who stuck his dick in your daughter's mouth. Then I want to pick up the turkey leg and offer it to her.
(Jesus.  Nothing funny to say here.)

To my cousin who won't shut up:  Bitch, just stuff your face! Quit trying to fucking talk and eat. I don't want to see the goddamn food in your mouth as you chew. And don't get me started on your Momma.
(Seriously.  She didn't teach you to chew with your mouth closed.)

What I would love to say is that I am thankful for finding the love of my life.  What I’m not so thankful for is the army of skanks who are bothering us because he doesn't want to be with his baby mama any more. 
(I am going to have some fun with Skank Army.  Thank you for that.  You guys are a humor writer’s dream.)

There are six people at dinner. One of them is only 5 years old. Yet you felt the need to buy a pie for each person?
(But that is an outstanding PPR - Pie to Person Ratio.  Anything close to 1.0 is phenomenal, really.)

As I sit around the Thanksgiving table, comfortable in my acceptance of my bipolar diagnosis, I watch all of you and wonder how many of you are undiagnosed.  I recognize that something was going on inside of my head.  All of you are in such deep denial that I know I am the mentally healthiest person at the table.  And I am fucking nuts.
(We are the chosen people unless we’re not.)

My new DIL is using her new pregnancy to be a bitch. Excuse me, but the guy you married, my son, was 10 months (ed note:  i.e., one month overdue to be born) and I didn't bitch once. Fuck off until you give birth.
(And even then we don’t really want to hear from you.  Just post a few pix on FB.)

To my SIL:  Fuck off. I have the emails you sent so I wasn't the one lying. Get over yourself.  You aren't that important. Really.
(Building my case one email at a time.  And now we wait.)

Thanksgiving dinner at IHOP is sounding better by the minute and my guess is I'll be in good company full of "fuck off, family member" stories.
(Do they still have Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity? My guess is it beats extra-dry turkey all to hell.)

I am thankful for the increased dosage of my Klonopin that I specifically requested just to get through the holidays. And fuck you very much on all your unsolicited, ignorant advice on how to raise my autistic four-year-old.  Please shove all those gluten-containing foods that you keep trying to sneak to my son when he has diagnosed celiac disease.
(Again, I got nothing.  No way I can joke about autism or celiac disease.)

Fuck turkey. Fuck the idea that we're a loving family. Fuck the chit chat. Break out the booze and let’s bond. Let's play the "I'm Thankful" drinking game and take shots anytime "thankful" is mentioned.  We're not a damn storybook family. We're a goddamned trainwreck.
(To the moon and back is how much I love this.  Also, please send more detailed instructions for that Thanksgiving drinking game.)

What I really want to say at Thanksgiving: put the fucking phone away for the 25 minutes it will take to eat dinner. You're not a fucking brain surgeon. It. Can. Wait.
(You know, even brain surgery can wait if there is a turkey dinner in front of the surgical staff.  Also, 25 minutes is unrealistically long.)

This year I'm thankful that I'm learning to look ahead and not back, letting go of 22 years of memories with a man who turned out to be shallow and selfish and nasty. And that I found out what The Cunt who pretended to be my friend was up to, so now I can try to keep her grasping claws off my children.
(See, other people have nicknames for the people in their family narratives.  It’s not just me.)

Hoping that my mother and/or sister won't once again call me and tell me they have "the runs" and can't show up.
(Better than having “the runs” and showing up anyway, don’t you think?)

No, Mother, you may not call my child a son of a bitch.
(Because what does that make you, Gramma?)

We are all here because of a fucking tragedy occurred last week, we're not here to celebrate. Can we just fucking get along for today while remembering who brought us here in the first place?
(Nothing funny about this one either.)

Hey you, you know who I'm talking to.  "Fuck off you abusive bitch!"  (that’s to my sister)
(As long as you’re sure she knows it’s her, I’m good.)

I'm grateful that I have now met the love of my life.  (The reason I cannot say it is that my first husband died. I loved him on some level, but I didn't love him like I love my man now. It's a sad truth I will never reveal publicly, out of respect for him and his family).   Whew! Got that off my chest!
(I deleted each message as I moved it over to the blog.  No worries.  I gotchu.)

Mom, just go smoke a blunt that I know you keep in your bathroom, and chill the fuck out.
(Yes, please, spark one with us because munchies.)

I'm thankful for the really good piece if ass I have in my life right now.
(Watch out for that Skank Army mentioned above.)

I would prefer to stay home, watch football, and eat chocolates than to watch my parents bicker back and forth. No matter where they go, the pattern is repeated. It's enough to drive a teetotaler to hard liquor.
(I’d like a large glass of alcohol, please.)

I am so sick of your bland cooking and dried out turkey. Why can't we have some flavor and real food. P.S.  Dad please shut up. I love you but I heard all your lame jokes already.
(If at first you don’t succeed . . . .)

Thankful that Thanksgiving will be drama-free because only one parent will be there. No hating each other.
(I’m down for no hating each other. A girl can dream.)

I'd like to randomly scream out, "You people seriously need to eat again today? Every fucking day?"
(But we have so many feelings we have to feed.)

Thanks for inviting me to Thanksgiving dinner this year and expecting me to cook.
(It’s the only reason you’re invited.)

I am glad that i don’t have to share in the dysfunctional dinner with my family,  I get to go watch someone else’s family meltdown.
(Shall we serve the popcorn before or after the main course?)

No, I think it's fucking fantastic that you invite my ex-boyfriend to our holiday dinners. Thrilled that every beverage available is nonalcoholic because so many of you are recovering from alcohol dependency. Why am I covered in hives? These are happy hives.

To my mom:  I am in a same sex relationship with a girl in the Air Force.  You expect me to make it all the way to her folks’ for dinner (three hours’ drive) and then another three hours all the way to Grandma’s and then ask me to drive to Dad’s so I have to leave early from her family to be late to your Mom and then late to Dad’s.   
(Over the river and through the woods.   Dysfunction abounds.)

If you only knew what I did to that piece of turkey.
(Very thankful I had salmon this year in case this message was from someone I had Thanksgiving dinner with.)

<End Part Deux>

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Anonymous Thanksgiving Blog of Familial Hostility, Part One

This past Grati-Tuesday, 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.  (I know I sure 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."

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 you read, you'll see some parenthetical commentary.  That was me.  I couldn't resist.

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

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.

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.

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.)

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

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

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

Screw this dysfunctional family.

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.

Thanks for making me put up with you for five days.  We can't get along over the phone, but hey, sure you can crash at my house for your vacation. I’m thankful for apple pie drink mix.

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 put a time limit on me and your grandchildren visiting when both of you other kids live with you, because you want to make my sister more comfortable? That's fucked.  I'm your kid, too.

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

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

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.

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

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?

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

(It's a fair question)

1) Your son is beyond old enough to fix his own damn plate.
2) Our dad is happy. Let him be happy.
3) We didn't host this year because we can't afford even our regular groceries. I sure hope you offer some of the leftovers.

You guys are fucking incestuous bigoted cocksuckers that need to stop fucking with me. Also stop pretending to be a sex abuse victim. It's offensive to those of us who suffered for 20 years.

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!

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.

(Note to self)

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.

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

(FFS indeed)

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.

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

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.

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)

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.

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.

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)

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!

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.

I fucking hate all of you. Sis, I resent you because you got all the love from mom and I got nothing. Boyfriend -- stop worrying about material things --worry about keeping his family happy instead. You’re about to lose the best thing you ever had.

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.

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)

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?

[Male Family Member] is an abusive prick doing serious emotional damage to his daughter. She is going to rebel and it won't be pretty; I suspect this previously close family will fall apart, which makes me sad.

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.

Why did you marry that bastard?

(Well?  We're waiting)

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.

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.

You cannot take your son having to work as an insult. I have been cooking turkeys since I was 14, will you just let me start it? And finally, my sister and I are not your daughters, and we are 18 and 25 we really don't need your holiday lectures!

Don't be to goddamn judgmental. Happy Thanksgiving!

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

(^^^ To the moon and back again.  That's how much I love that ^^^)

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

If you all would just say to each other’s face what you do behind each other's back, this would make for a way more interesting dinner.

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

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 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!)

We came here to take care of your husband who is dying of cancer because you're understandably overwhelmed and you asked. We put our lives on hold to be his 24/7 caretakers so the least you can do is stop the constant passive aggressive bullshit and little snide comments. If you have something to say, fucking say it.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

I'm completely batshit, but I'm not blind, deaf or stupid. Thank you for teaching me how not to be a mother.

To my mom – thankful for last year when, in response to my saying that I had a bit of trauma in my childhood, you said:, "You were never raped."  Yay, Mom. High five.

To my brother: You’re a cruel cold-hearted motherfucker for stealing our inheritance from us. To my mother: you fucking bitch. I can’t believe you helped him do it.


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!

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.)

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

(She has a point.)

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.

(That was just a vicious, hateful rumor)

To my husband: I fucking hate your mom.

Stop talking about how big my tits are. You're my Uncle and I know what you did to my Mom, you fucking pervert.

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

I hate the fact that I had to take care of my mother for two years when I had two small kids. You did nothing until the two days before she died. I wish she could have died in peace.

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.  In the prison context, Coke Zero everywhere.)

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.

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.

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.

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!

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


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.

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

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.

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.

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

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 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.

(That sounds familiar)

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.

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.

Dear Mom, It wasn’t “being strict.” It was physical, mental and sexual abuse. And Dad, thanks for having my back.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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?)

To my older brother: Why did you molest me?

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

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.

My family treated my son like he was garbage. He isn't here to talk about anymore but I bet they don't even lose any sleep over it. I miss him so bad that I can't breathe.  I didn't know who his father was but that didn't matter to me. He was mine.

<To be continued.  I need a break>