An Important Truth

  • From:shana
  • To:
    • Hadj (First View: 09/28/2016 9:18 AM)
  • Sent:09/27/2016 10:32 PM
  • Subject:Sal at school

The soccer coach also mentioned you emailing.
Sal enjoyed soccer and was disappointed when they called practice off 15 minutes early due to rain.

P.S. Maddy and Sal sleep in their own beds at my house. They do not do that at your house. I do not have the room in my bed to accommodate two more people, I sleep on a full mattress, plus I don’t want to sleep with them. Maddy now refuses to sleep in her bed alone at night without lots of fussing and refusing to go to sleep until over an hour past her bed time. I told her that she could sleep with Sal if he agreed to sleep on the bottom bunk with her, but that I don’t want them both in a twin top bunk. Sal likes sleeping in his bed and doesn’t sleep on the bottom with Maddy usually. What will you do or suggest to help resolve this?

 

  • From:Hadj
  • To:
    • shana (First View: 10/05/2016 10:12 PM)
  • Sent:10/05/2016 8:56 PM
  • Subject:Attachment parenting.
Message:

We both agreed to attachment parenting. I am going to stick to that. I understand your feeding sack/pillow feelings, I don’t feel the same way… I have no recommendations for you. They will share the family bed until they request their own bed, which is available.

“Do you know why narcissists look in the mirror all the time? Because they see nothing there.

The happiest person in the world looks into the mirror and sees themself as they are.” -C. Clark

Let’s unpack the above conversation.  Let’s do this because I am over suffering this man in silence right now.  I am over letting his bullshit, contradictory, demented behavior take seed in my reality.
“We both agreed…”
As if any agreement he and I ever made was kept.
In my world, when you agree to love someone you agree to respect them and to respect yourself in offering to them. I may have been an unseasoned 25-year-old when we first met, but I still knew in my gut what love was, and what it was not.
“attachment parenting”
The only people who write about attachment parenting are privileged people.  They are people who presuppose the parents have faced their own traumas and suffering and want to consciously create safety for their children.  I think refusing to take responsibility for yourself, present or past, is mutually exclusive from the above practices and motivations.
“I understand your feeding sack/pillow feelings”
Here we have the classic Hadj practice of using my words of suffering as a weapon against me.
The above sentiment was something I expressed when Sal was a baby, in 2011. I was struggling to find success with breastfeeding in very non-optimal conditions.  Any mother who has breastfed knows exactly what it feels like to be a feed sack.  And we’re allowed to have that feeling.  And we should be loved past that feeling of pitifulness, raised up as strong and heroic for sacrificing our freedom of movement, time-management, and dozens of other things in order to feed the child.  Breastfeeding the first time takes practice for many.
I see you Hadj.  I see you, attempting to invalidate my feelings or use them against me.  And you can’t.  You don’t have that power or control.
“I don’t feel the same way”
Of course you don’t.  You never had to sacrifice your body to help an infant grow or live.
“They will share the family bed until they request their own bed which is available”
One broken man using charisma and brainwashing to get his children to do what he wants in order to make him feel a certain way, be it bigger, stronger, younger, more worthy of love, less afraid to die, is what you are.

Once in awhile my family chides me for posting “such personal” information on the internet.  They fear it could harm me in the long run.  This information is not just personal, it can be useful to others, it can be universal.  And because it is the truth, I have no fear.
There are more than enough people who have suffered.  More than enough people who have experienced all forms of trauma.  Many of them have no voice. Many of them suffer in the dark, keep the pain inside because they are afraid.  Many parents are stuck with an abusive baby mama/daddy.  If one of them happens to read this and feel their own light within grow stronger, then sharing such personal stories like these will be worth it.
In addition to that, writing stories so personally can be like a good cry.  I open up, unafraid of what it may look like, and wash myself clean with these stories.  I shine a light in the corner where there is a monster attempting to frighten or control me.  If you’re reading this, just know hadj, that you have no power to cause me suffering.  I am not afraid of you.  To me, you are nothing but a mountain in my way and I will rise up, over you 1,000 times or more.  I will keep some in awe, when they see how many tools and routes I have to healing, joy, and ultimately, peace.
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East of Eden

After 3 years, 6 months, and 30 minutes of effort, yesterday I lost ~180 lbs. I got divorced at last. I was sky-high in freedom yesterday.


I’m reviewing the dog-eared pages of East of Eden after finally having read the Steinbeck novel I bought at least ten years ago. I marked this in chapter 21, part 3,

Some people think it’s an insult to the glory of their sickness to get well. But the time poultice is no respecter of glories. Everyone gets well if he waits around.

About three and a half years ago I wrote this, Life’s Best Poultice.


After court, paying homage to my lesser demons (alcohol, cheeseburger, custard, nicotine), and taking a gluttony-induced walk through a local labyrinth I landed a few yards behind a well-looking couple with their child.  They were good-humored, fit, and groomed and a while after following behind them I realized that I had not felt the pain of longing for that family style.

My monkey-mind was instead sizing up her fit body and adding lines to the endless dramatic book of body-image and self-shaming to which I’ve historically been accustomed.


…There is a time for every thing.  I will wait around and continue to be healed.

Quick Dream, Long Dream

As I sang songs to my kids last night my mind wandered. I’ve sung this succession of songs hundreds of times, so it was all too easy for me not to be mindful. I imagined a future for myself. I haven’t done that since just before I met their father – six years is a long time to go without dreams for oneself.

I was in a wood floor living room with light streaming in. I was home alone and I was playing guitar. My dreams have been here, all along. They are all feeling quite the bon vivants at the prospect of this long-hard road getting a little easier.

Lullaby routine: Skinamarink (Sharon, Lois & Bram)>Blackbird (The Beatles)>Hang Loose (Alabama Shakes) ❤

Solstice Prayer (Soul Stitch)

The thought came over and over like a waterfall over rocks; tumbling and tumbling, churning the pool below into foam, I gotta sit with this. I gotta sit with this. Like saying jump while standing at the edge of a cliff. Like saying let go before you go down with the ship. She knew the emotion was at its most raw and she knew she would have to feel it one way or another. No time like the present. The gift of now is presence. All manner of algorithms and encouragements found her and helped her to be seated before her last remaining set of cards–a barely viewed deck of Sacred Geometry. She dove in, shuffling, thinking clarity, guidance, grounding. Clarity, guidance grounding, in the same rhythm she had when first learning to run. Cadence. Rhythm. Comfort. She flipped the deck over and pulled the card on top. She cut the deck and pulled the card on top. One card was stuck with so she used that as well.

Communication
The energy of Communication makes you aware that you are able to communicate with your body, thus understanding its signals and solving its discomforts. This energy brings your body and your spirit in deeper contact with each other.
Confirmation
The energy of Confirmation tells us that our consciousness is developing rapidly. Everything we think is actually confirmed. If we think or live based on fear, this fear will indeed be confirmed. Develop your power of thought and create what you really want. Then, your wishes will be confirmed.
Enlightenment
The energy of Enlightenment helps you realize that you are a being of light. You are the personification of strength and divinity.

She chuckled at the mirror the cards always held.  She thought, I have a bad feeling about this, after reading the first card and was humbled and bowed before the second and third.

The cards, the divine, always asking patience of us.  Always urging us to use our bodies and minds for the love that made us.  Always reminding us that it could be worse.  I want to carry the knowledge and strength of the divine within me like life-long church/temple goers.  I want to remind myself that gawd and God alone knows the plan.  I want, like Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, in The Warmth of Other Suns, who escaped the Mississippi plantation cotton fields and survived the hard cold isolation of Chicago for Black People, to know that “I don’t know no better than God.”  I want to be so forgiving and so sure.  I want to love and stand strong in the face of whatever hardship may come.  I want to love and stand strong in the embrace of whatever grace may come.  And I don’t want to suffer fools while doing it.

It Is and Is Not a Big Deal

wisdomforblogThe count down to the boy having his tonsils removed is down to one day.  It both is and is not a big deal.  It’s a big deal.  My baby having surgery is a big deal.  Any where from 4 days to 10 days of recovery is a big deal.  Liquid Vicodin for 4 year olds is a big deal.  All of that.  And it isn’t a big deal because it’s the hand shake of surgeries.  It’s a good deal because his health will improve with better sleep, more oxygen, possibly even improved appetite.  And all that is stressful.  I have brief fantasies that I will be a productive wench while he recuperates, but I should probably allow for the possibility that I’ll be really busy being a nurse those three days I get to be home with him afterward.

We haven’t heard from his father since we learned that he was in Colorado.  Ostensibly he was visiting his parents.  My mom is nervous he’s laying in wait to spring a surprise visit on us.  She makes sure the doors are locked at all times.  Her nerves are a bit contagious.  So that’s happening.

My car became ill with consumption.  Incapacitated.  Dead until I miracle hundreds of dollars into my life.  Can I make a compelling kickstarter for this?  Seems ridiculous and even shameful to think of such things.  So yeah, there’s that too.

The car and not having savings enough to do the things that would maintain my health and the health of my car and home was a real kick in the teeth, especially as: the holidays.  I’ve really grown to love the holidays in my adult life.  Especially with kids, I relish creating as much magic and merriment as I can.  But it’s a boat load of cranberries to pretend it isn’t adding to my stress.  I am doing my best to minimize that, but really what is most likely happening is I’m watching the finish line approach, knowing things are not done and thinking, Oh Well.  The heat will be on, I’ll stress myself to bits the night or two before trying to do something, anything for those friends and co-workers “I should” give “something” to.   Because, as Garrison Keillor put it on PHC today, “what if I don’t?”  They may just get cards reading “Friendship” and I will remind them that it’s a gift I give 24/7.  That’ll humble ’em! Bah. Humbug.

Anyway.

All that was actually the preface to what I was going to do tonight, because I wanted to do something (there’s that sentiment again!).  I have written and saved three posts this weekend.  They’re raw.  They’re uncut.  Here are passages from each that mean something universal, I think.  From me to you: LIFE and all its baubles….

How does she lead in to a long-winded kvetch with so many feelings choking the narrow passage out? Her complaints feel ordinary and Continue reading

So Long, Pippi

On Saturday night my car did a very inconvenient thing.  It died just after I left the house for a date with a seriously beneficial person.  Undeterred I grabbed my bag and walked the four or five blocks home.  I made sure my car was dead in a legal overnight spot and grabbed the keys to my mom’s van.  Onward.

define beneficial

resulting in good

 

While making the drive to the date I preached to myself.  I have been ignoring my intuition in the area of finances.  My intuition has been correct, but I have not liked what it has been saying.  Instead I’ve been begging the universe for more time or for mercy.  Looks like time ran out!  Some deep cuts, as the politicians say, will have to be made; some tough choices.  The sermon I gave myself was about all that and more deeply about disallowing myself to feed Pippi Snotstockings.

Pippi Snotstockings is the name that was given to the part of me that is all about instant gratification, selfishness and petulance.  She is the one who ignores car repair expenses while allowing holistic healthcare expenses.  She is the one who blurts out whatever is on her mind while pretending that words don’t linger.  She can be fun, but is more often damaging, especially in the long run.

So I recognized the issue, owned it and came up with a solution.  Every time I hear the voice in my head that says “I don’t wanna….” I’m going to say to it (her) “I don’t care.”

“I don’t care that you don’t want to go to the gym.  I don’t care that you don’t want to wait.  I don’t care that you want something right now that you can’t afford. In the long run what you get now will not add to the long term health or freedom of this family I’m raising.”

On the heels of this very grown up and certain-to-be-challenging sermon came an idea.  The idea is based on the fact that I am a writer not writing.  I’m not writing for myriad perfectly good excuses.  Despite the tidy effectiveness of the excuses they are not helpful or healthy to my growth.  I want to add “I don’t wanna write” to my list of things Pippi is no longer in charge of.  I don’t have time, it’s true.  My life is extremely demanding on me, it’s true.  My resources are limited, it’s true, but so what? It’s never going to be a good time to become a better writer and every day I let pass without writing takes what practice I have given it away from me.  My ability to construct sentences and stories diminishes.  My knowledge of grammar diminishes.  All of it.  Couldn’t I write just a little every day?  Even if I write a post about doing things I didn’t want to do, even if no one but me reads it, at least I’m here getting better.  At least I’m here using the gift I ask for the most in my life.

They tried to bury us.  They didn’t know we were seeds.  – Mexican Proverb

Walking the Waldorf Path. Step Two.

Tomorrow I’m going to the local LifeWays Early Childhood Center and offering myself up as an indentured servant.

I have to get the kids’ day care secured and I think I’d rather have a root canal. This, coming from a person with serious dentist-phobia. The complexities of certifications, ratings, subsidies and availability, not to mention costs, are abhorrent. Also, I don’t wanna. I don’t like typical day care set ups. I don’t trust it. It smells fishy. I don’t want my kid to get one hour of recess or exercise a day. I want the opposite! I want a Velveteen Rabbit life for these kids! Run! Play at brigands! (Whatever the hell that means.) Cross imaginary swords! Comfort pretend babies. Cook fake eggs. Scale imaginary castle walls! Dig holes in the sand! Be fae and gnome! Whatever! Just don’t trace letters and memorize numbers. You are too awesome for that.

I admit. I’m a Waldorf Freak. And “all the freaky people make the beauty of the world,” dammit. Even if they have the savings account of a sixteen year old with a new paper route. I have a negative net worth and these wholesome schools, with their low turnover rates and sound research, cost twice as much as the ones with bottles of hand sanitizer and fluorescent lighting.

I am being realistic at the core of this. I am. And I have formulated a modestly wacky plan. I will offer myself to the mercy of these school administrators over at the LifeWays school. I will give them my (sob) story and my mighty ambitious plans. I will tell them of my financial constraints and of my willingness to scoop guinea pig poo, if that is what it takes, to get my kids into that school for care. I will work for free for as much as they want, turn over my paychecks immediately, if they will just let my kids come be there and play in their gardens and sing in their song circles.

When the Waldorf Way calls you, as magnetizing as it does me, you must put on your apron, sing along and be fucking rosy cheeked for the rest of your life. I’m happy about it. And I’m not telling my mom of this plan until after it’s been carried out. Nay-sayers unwelcome!

 

More than the Average Bear Will Silently Bear

I arrived at the doctor’s office fifteen minutes early as some kind of masochistic penance for missing my previous appointment.  After cruising Instagram, posting photos, cruising Facebook, “liking” stuff, after changing the waiting room television channel from Court TV smut to HGTV, after doing side stretches and neck stretches and chair poses and squats and swinging the 40+ pound baby car seat with whimpering baby I finally met the doctor.  He was beefy looking and I didn’t get a chance to use one of my snarky opening lines on him when he came in.  Damn doctors, always taking control of the situation.

I had settled on some kind of getting-to-know me speech in which I told him that I am more informed and interested in my personal well being than the average bear and that I realized that there are extenuating circumstances causing me more stress than my system will silently bear.  In no short order I was saying something like, “In November 2009 I moved to Washington with him.  In December 2010 I gave birth to our son. In November 2011 we got married.  In November 2012 I left him because he had been abusing me and in December 2012 I gave birth to our daughter.”

No shit, right?  Dr. Beefy’s eyes were wide for a second.  Whatever he said next might as well have been, “no shit?”  In these moments I am humbled.  If it weren’t for the unstoppable magic of my two kids I would say that I really, seriously, fucked up when I dove into it with my ES. In these moments when I’ve just summarized the story of why I’m here right now I find myself listening to it and thinking: Jeezus I am an idiot.  I mean, really, I returned to the guy who had me submit to a lie detector test two weeks after we signed documents marrying us?  I mean, really, I went back to him and stayed there for another year?  Who was that girl?

I understand more now than I did.  I am proud that I am a survivor.  I am breathlessly thankful that I am a survivor.  I am not kidding when I say that, really what I am is a thriver.  I want you to join with me as I learn my lessons, speak my truths and unstoppably rise up.  I want your lessons to guide me and I want your experiences to strengthen me when I need them (I’m looking at you single parenting). I want us all to do that thing that Oprah seems to have trademarked, I want us to Aha! together.

 

After I get the “no shit?” stare I tend to review, if there’s time, what happened to get me there.  Here’s the first paragraph of that.

When I met my ES (estranged husband) I was 28 and was “at the tail end of a time in my life when sex felt more like theater, when I thought living meant merely saying yes to everything. I didn’t know anything about power or intimacy or trust, even though I played with these concepts continuously, recklessly, in private homes and sex clubs, with strangers I met online, and old friendships I needlessly complicated. Fear was something I thought I could talk myself out of, if only I had the right words. I knew so many words at that time, but I didn’t know what any of them really meant.” (Anna Pulley, Dominatrix for a Day)  I wanted power, intimacy and trust, all those things I knew nothing about.  I wanted to be part of something after going it alone in the world for a decade.  I thought I would grow into those states over time. With him. After I said yes.  I thought that was how long term relationships worked.  I intended on this being the longest term relationship I would ever have.  I always said I would never get divorced, it would be too heartbreaking.

 

I feel like I finally have a topic.  My life, the lessons and magic I cull from it, has always been my topic, but I wasn’t able to ever able to specifically point out who I thought my audience was… until now.  If I wanted to slap some labels on me they would read: divorcee, thirty-something, Gen Y, single mom, lives with parents, stay at home mom, unemployed, penniless, abuse victim, survivor, attachment parent, indigo child, writer, design junkie, fresh foodie, tumble dry on low.

I am not the only one who has been mentally abused by a partner. To be attacked and then told it was the other way around.  To have the aggressor play the victim.  And to live with that constantly shaping your behavior and motivations.  That takes some undoing.  I am not lucky.  I am brave.  I am brave and because of it I have three years of mental fuckery to unpack, not 13 or 30.  I feel lucky though.  I am not the only one faced with the task of raising two kids sans partner.  I am not the only one who has had to move back in to her parents’ home and make a life there as an adult (and parent).

I am not the only so on and so forth.  I plan to sew up the world, with all its geographical miles, to make it smaller and more supportive in astonishing ethereal ways.

In a World Where a 31 Year Old Woman Talks in the Movie Preview Guy’s Voice

Can I do this? Ok.  Day one.  Tap tap tap microphone.  Cough Cough audience.  Is this thing on? Take my wife, please.  Alright, alright enough lame “I’m nervous about writing again” riffing.  Let’s get down to business.

I have no idea where I thought I was going to begin hours and hours ago when I imagined this return to writing.  At nine a.m. today I sort of promised my therapist, but more myself, that I would stay up one extra hour every night and I would use that hour for writing only.  Writing is different from design, I said.  I was  laying out the rules so the referees know what to do when the inevitable battle between demon and higher spirit arises.  Likewise, I don’t want to be loosely journal-ing in blog format and call that writing… At least not for too long.  A little leeway is OK.

I am beginning the legal battle of my lifetime and because of that I wound up searching “Narcissus” on Wikipedia.  (That’s a roundabout telling of the mental steps, but sometimes vagaries are so poetic and details so unimportant.)  The way the wiki writer put it was this, “He was exceptionally proud, in that he disdained those who loved him.”

Can I just interrupt myself for moment?  It feels silly, strange, too much, to me to write and have so many uses of the word “I.”  It makes me uncomfortable.  I noticed this awhile back and so I began journal-ing in the third person.  It was liberating! I’m going to do that now because I need some liberating.

She needed to feel liberated, so she just went on ahead and did what she wanted.

“He was exceptionally proud, in that he disdained those who loved him.”   She read those words and was struck.  Coming out of denial, if one is tough enough to do so, brings a lot of striking realizations.  She felt silly at times saying so often: “it struck me.”  She felt she must be black and blue in the world of metaphor from all these blows of opening up her eyes and heart to the voice of her gut once more.  Her gut seemed to have been telling her all along and now, as she began to rehash these stories for “impartial” and highly paid third parties, she felt stupid, sometimes, for not seeing the big picture sooner.  The more she had tried to love him, the more he had fought with her.  The more she opened up her activities, her date book, the minutiae of her thoughts and motives to him, to prove her love to him, the more he pushed her back.  She thought of it now and felt laughter.  As in “Aha! I was getting in the way of his reflection.”

But living with someone who is mentally ill and abusive because of it isn’t funny.

To escape the physical realm of it she had taken an epic car journey at 37 weeks of pregnancy.  She had been the sole navigator and operator of the vehicle.  Her mother rode shotgun.  Her mom was great moral support and she provided snacks for the front seat as well as for the 23 month old in the back.  When the cat occasionally had piped up with her thoughts on being locked in a travel carrier every day for eight hours a day her mother had provided comic relief by wryly saying, “another party heard from.”  The memories of the car trip were a source of sardonic amusement for the girl and her mother now.

Occasionally the girl would say, “Hey, remember that time we drove cross country and I was nine months pregnant and we had a u-haul and a toddler and a cat?”  and her mother would smile and they would chuckle.  As if they could ever forget.  It was one of those turning points in life when you know as it’s happening: Every thing is going to be different now.

As they had approached the Washington Oregon border on that first day on the road the girl had had a panic attack.  Earlier in the morning she’d had a normal pregnancy-phlegm induced coughing stint, but had also sneezed at the same time and, well, she then thought she’d gone into labor.  For a second she panicked.  She then got very serious and told her mother not to ask her any questions, just to be on high alert.   Eventually the girl decided they had to stop at the ER to check for signs of active labor.  That day was terribly un-funny for them all.  But now the girl’s daughter was two months old and they had been safe in the new version of the  family home for nearly three months.  It was still not a funny thing to remember, but she could smile.

The girl was occasionally told she was seen as brave.  Earlier that day her therapist told her she was inspirational.  She felt proud of that.  She knew it was something she wanted to be in the world.  And that pride made her want to shy away.  It seems like narcissism all over again.  To hate the ones who love you.  She vowed daily not to do these things.  She reminded herself regularly that she was not giving her best away to “no damn demons.”  Her gut, where her strength lay, seemed to always have had the accent or voice of a Southern Black woman.  She didn’t mind admitting this anymore, to herself or anyone else.  She was ready to embody all that she was.  She was ready to quote Wayne’s World or any other kooky freely associated point she might want to make.  She was ready to stay mad when she damn well aught to.  And she was ready to keep her eyes on the person telling her she was an inspiration.  Do not look away, she urged herself.  You earned this stuff and you are blessed by these words and this will of strength.  She said thank you to her therapist for saying she was inspirational.  She admitted that she wanted her writing to be too.  She gracefully said then, and this was the thing she was most proud of later, she said simply, “I feel silly.”  All that conflict within over accepting praise or looking someone in the eye or holding up her chin… And why?

It was simpler to admit, “I feel silly” smiling at you as you tell me I am something I want to be.