Monday, March 21, 2011

Dear Papa:

I know you've been gone awhile. And, before that, we weren't as close as we should have been. I won't make any excuses for myself, but I will just say that, sometimes, life sneaks up on you. I still remember when I was 10 and you and Grammy made me promise that, when I grew to be a teenager, I wouldn't stop being "your girl," and by that you meant spending time with you both. I apologize, because I did just that.

The thing is, Papa, I could really use your help. You're not like Grammy or anyone else in the family. I could have told you everything about what is going on in my life, and, even though you have strict Baptist standards, you'd have given me an objective answer. You'd have loved me enough to try to help me, despite your disagreement with my choices. You'd see the logic to all of this and find a way to show it to me straight so I couldn't misinterpret it.

What I really know is, I could use a hug. Not just any old hug, but one of yours. Before you got older and sick. Like when you used to rock me in the rocking chair. That green sweater you had was so soft, I couldn't help but feel a warm comfort.

You would tell me that I deserve better, in that almost stern voice of yours. You would make me believe it, and not just in an intangible way. You would show me all the ways I'm a good person and help me to make the choices I need to make to set things straight. You would reveal to me what I feel should be a glaringly obvious lesson to all of this. For some reason I can't see it myself.

I know that you did what you could. You taught me to be thoughtful of others. Compassion for those weaker and worse off than myself. You taught me selflessness, and how to be giving even with others take from and hurt me. But I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. And, sometimes, when others make mistakes or injure me, I can't stop from feeling justifiably angry. I need you to tell me how to put this away, Papa.

I'll write again, sometime soon. I love you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Addictions and Hatred

I have to have a new mantra.

I don't know why I so viciously cling to the old ways. It should be obvious to me that I am not right about the way I think about myself and everything, that the ways I've been going about life in general haven't been working.

I don't feel that my change in moods is any more or less varied than that of the average person. But I know now why I come off as "negative" so much.

I hate myself.

Its been my mantra: I hate myself, everything I do is wrong, everything I touch will go to shit, I will never succeed so why try. A trendy thought and a convenient defense mechanism when you're 15 and your family life is shit and you can't stop cutting and burning yourself to feel relief from all the sadness and upset.
When, at 8, then 10, then 12, 14, 15.... your dad finds every excuse in the book to not spend time with you, you tell yourself its because you weren't good enough to deserve his love and attention. Boom. Hate yourself.
When, at 13, you have the cassette tape with the secret recording on it of your stepfather mercilessly beating your crying mother ripped from your hands and destroyed in front of you BY your crying mother, count all the ways in your head that you've failed your family, and your mom in particular, and you'll never be able to make a difference in anything that matters. Boom. Hate yourself.
When, at 14, you confess to your paternal grandparents that there's abuse going on in your household, despite feeling like a snivvling snitch, and they go about their lives like you never said a word, you tell yourself they just thought you were making it all up and the tears were fake, and that they were fine with the idea of you being in danger at home at any given time because you're worthless. Boom. Hate yourself.

Why not? Everyone else does?

Like self-mutilation, self-hatred seems like an appealing option at a young age. And like self-mutilation, the occasional can turn into a crutch can turn into an addiction. If you're worthless and worthy of hatred, it kind of doesn't matter if someone else shits on you. You already know you're shit. Its no big surprise. La di frickin da.

My name is Sarah. And I'm addicted to hating myself.

I do it in every action I make. It is the base coat paint on all the walls of my brain, its a film covering every thought I have, greasy and tacky. But I don't want to do it anymore.

I'm an adult now. I can see the difference between a good thing and a bad thing, more so now than ever in my life. It is obvious that unobjectively hating oneself is an exercise in futility. Its setting yourself up to fail. And, duh, of course I don't want to fail. I want friends who are excited to spend time with me. I want motivation to do the activities that I enjoy. I want to feel like I am a good person who can accomplish things of which I am proud.

I wish I could go back. Talk to 15 year old me. Let it go, I would say. This too shall pass. Just because people in your life have done bad things to you, just because others are flawed and make mistakes that hurt you, none of it means you are worthless. People will do that to you throughout your whole life. Your father is a waste of time. He will never truly see you for who you are, it is a failing on his part, not yours. Your mom and stepfather are stupid. Stupid people put up with abuse, stupid people allow their children to be casualties of such abuse. It doesn't mean anything about you at all. And your grandparents? They have good intentions, they are good people but imperfect like anyone else. They're capable of bad judgment, just like anyone, just like you. Don't let the mistakes of others make you accept abusive relationships, situations in which you find yourself uncomfortable and ill-at-ease. Don't take your eyes off the long-term prize, of independence and lasting happiness. Its as much waiting for you in your future as it is for anyone else. Hating your self is not helping you defend against others, its hurting you and keeping others out. And time will make it worse. Give it up while you still can.

Alas. All I can do is live life moment by moment, trying not to feel constantly discouraged and hopeless and worthless. How do I do this? I really want to know.

Anyone with answers are welcome to the inner sanctum.

a return to sanity (hopefully)

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine described a rape to me. She told me she was creeped out by the guy, and yesterday she was posting hearts on his Facebook wall, and ignoring me with excuses of being too busy. I could only visualize her in my mind, as the child I once knew her as, putting on that scowling face and having a petulant tantrum. If you think I WANT to see anyone like that, you're very mistaken.

Sometimes what you don't know can mean everything.

My friend, the one who told me of the rape, lies. Admittedly! She has said, of course there are lies in life. You ignore them and focus on the love. Love gets you through the lies. Its simple justification.

I am not sorry to disagree. This is not how I accept my life to be. I don't need friends who lie to me.

Cuz now, maybe the rape never happened. Maybe my friend told me something that set me up to look like a jackass to my other friends.

And almost all the drama from this, just happened to me. Did I have any other choices? Maybe. Most of it is being magnified and expanded upon by the popular social media, Facebook.

Today, I deactivated my account.

I just want to see who will be paying attention, who will care.

The only way to reach me now, is to call my house phone on the off chance that I'll pick it up. Or, alternately, come find me. Those who care, know where I live and work. So. We shall see.

They say, kill 'em with kindness. Well, all I can say about that is, I've worked that line for a year and a half now. Over and over again, despite being lied to, insulted, picked on, put down, manipulated and bullied, I have come through in the lurch for my friends who needed me.

If I didn't come through, it was only because sometimes in life, those you know may expect you to have ESP. The way life works is, when you need something, you ask. Only then do you get what you want or need. I can not be held accountable for those friends I may have had who now believe I did them wrong, because they didn't ask me for what they needed of me. This is their own responsibility, none of mine.

I am done. I am a bank account. If you don't deposit more than you draw out, this account will be closed. I've done second and third chances. I've done 50th chances. Where else does one draw the line?

I say none of this in anger, only amazement. I never thought of life this way. Of course, I am not naive enough to think horrible situations will never reach into my life. But, I always picture my life as a straightforward, simple one. It has become anything but.

I need to find my life without Facebook. What did I do two years or so ago, before I started getting too drawn into the internet by that silly website? I suppose I shall be writing more, reading more, getting outside for exercise, seeing the sun, taking trips hiking and camping and swimming that I have been missing. I'll take up the tasks I leave neglected.

Looking out into my yard, I remember 3 years back. I had been living with the boyfriend again for almost a year. I had just been fired from the the local hippie watering hole (aka whole foods co-op) on some very bull-shitty grounds. I had literally no friends because of it. But, somehow, I was much happier. I went snowboarding, like, a LOT. I went out to the bar with people I knew, even if they were just acquaintances, and had very little anxiety. Why should I have been happier, then? Its all the drama, now. Its been ceaseless for the past year and a half. At least in the now I have a job where people like me. I have at least one true friend who judges me not and loves me despite all. Who will make time for me whenever I need her, whether its the middle of the day or the night. Why now do I accept so little as to cling to the blue moon idea of the friend who described her rape to me. Why?

I have grown accustomed to accepting less than I deserve, I suppose. That's nowhere near all of it. I truly do not know the answer to this question. My hopeful heart is proven cataclysmically wrong, over and over. Over and over again I am left in the lurch, being given the silent treatment, being insulted, being taken for granted and belittled. The tragic part is, none of this is inevitable. None of this was caused by some cosmic force of fate. It was choices she made. But she either can't or stubbornly will not face her choices and consequences, and change them accordingly the next time.

I keep getting slapped in the face by life, mainly with the fact that, "HELLO! You CAN'T make someone do what they and you both know needs to be done! You can NOT control what others will do, only how you react!" This applies, of course, to how people treat you. Just because you treat someone with respect and support, does NOT mean you will be treated fairly in return. Truly accepting this may be tantamount to the Real True Wisdom but that doesn't make it any easier. Nor does it make a reward in and of itself, to the seeker of deep inner happiness. Acceptance is only the first step. Recognition and the ability to rectify are two totally separate courses on the plate.

So, without my cellular phone, and without Facebook, I go about my life as I did 3 years ago. I'll trade those things in for the assets I DO have. For the freedom of a light heart and deep sleep. I'll gain a lot more energy and life force. And its a natural-selection kind of weeding out of my false friends, which needs to happen every so often anyway. Anyone who cares will filter back to me on their own. Otherwise, I have all the answer I need to the non-question of my lack of existence. I am hoping these things keep me from ending up in bright orange pajamas and handcuffs, being escorted into a courtroom on assault or destruction of property charges. I am only trying to save myself. No one else can do this for me, I have take the reigns.

Will write more later, or tomorrow. I am glad to have taken the path I have chosen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

a pouring out, of sorts

I thought about writing this on the computer, and couldn’t brig myself to turn the thing on. It seemed so cold and impersonal, sitting hunched in its dark corner in my grandparent’s dining room like some sort of futuristic troll; meanwhile, this notebook and a pile of ballpoints lay strewn across their kitchen table invitingly, almost comfortingly, in the rays of a slanted sunbeam from a window facing their backyard. While I’m here, so many thoughts and memories flood my mind. I get restless, knowing that my slow hand cannot possibly record them all; computer or notebook, it matters not.
For instance, the bit in the previous paragraph about the rays of sun coming from the window led me to think about the backyard, which in turn made me think of all the memories: some rudimentary, some essential to my adolescence, some of shame. It makes me think of how things always change, despite how some things always stay the same. The old swing set my 16-20 year old uncles made for me when I was born….. it was made of a plank and untreated rope, and it moved back and forth as I swung, like a rocking chair… the swing whose ropes became more and more frayed and moldy as the years passed… it’s gone, long removed in favor of lounge space and a spot for a barbeque pit.

In the house, the piano is gone; how many hours of my life were spent joyously plink-plunking on that piano? From my first breakthrough as a child into 2-handed playing, to witnessing a younger cousin knock out one of his front teeth one summer day from simply slipping off the front of the piano stool, to me tentatively feeling out the piano parts of my favorite Nine Inch Nails song when I was 17…. It’s also gone. Casualties of the years, I suppose.

Some things are the same, some of the furniture: the couch set on is still on the porch, the same one I got caught giving my first serious boyfriend head on at age 16 (little known fact, but there it is). The couch where I used to sleep every Saturday night, with a pile of movies, usually a half gallon of chocolate ice cream and what my grandmother used to refer to as a “puff” but what I now know in my adult state to be a “comforter,” it’s still here. My grandmother’s comfy green swivel chair? Still here. That creak in the hardwood floor between the living room and the hall? You betcha, it’s still there. These things make me smile… they are sublime moments amid a sea of troubles. You know, like this one, right NOW, taking place at their kitchen table in a warm ray of sun.

If I need a moment in time to transport myself back to “the good old days” before Grampa was dying of cancer, and before Grammie’s heart attacks, before I grew up and the world “moved on,” all I have to do is descend the stairs to the basement. The musty smell, I welcome it like a warm blanket. All around are items and boxes of stuff from years past, well stored and clean. From old toys, dolls, craft projects, decorations, to special occasion dresses, suits and coats not worn in twenty years or better, it’s all still there and ready for an impromptu trip down memory lane. All this can be achieved without even touching a thing, I have discovered.

But at this time, like dark storm clouds threatening in the distance, my mind wanders to the inevitable darker side to question: What will happen to this place of comfort, to all these things that have the power to make me recall so strongly the moments of our collective lives? Who will remember or care, when not just Grammie and Grampa, but my aunts, uncles, dad, mom and eventually me, my brothers and sister are sick, dying or dead? There was great love here, some angry times, some of strife and doubt, many of greatness and of strength. Will that all really just be lost, so much particulate in the air flow (I refuse to be cliché here)?

Do not mistake me, I do not have designs on any material items, I do not care about “things” per se. It’s the memories attached to these things that mean anything at all to me. Also do not mistake, I do not plaec ANY importance on myself in particular, I’m hardly anything at all, yet another speck on the anthill that is the Earth. But I feel as though someone should try to memorialize something of these moments. It feels to me as though I’m running out of time, as if I have a limited time to record them before the golden sweetness of these memories and the meaning and feeling of these moments in hardship are lost to my tenuous memory.

I know that, try as I might, I can’t do it justice. And I feel arrogant as well as urgent; who am I to write about being a caregiver? I’m not weathered, I have little experience. I’m only “babysitting” my Grampa now for the second time. The first time was last week, then I got sick with a terrible head cold and couldn’t come again since. I don’t have it so hard, I know it and I don’t forget it or the others who’ve had to sacrifice more and give more of themselves and their lives from this situation. These are logical statements and declarations, however… and as such they have no diminishing effect on the intangible emotional reactions that are an entirely human and inevitable reflex.

This is supposed to be the part where I indulge myself by delving into my emotional responses to all this. I’m not going to do that here, I just don’t think it respectful or appropriate. It doesn’t honor the pure spirit of those emotions, nor does it do anything to dignifiy the sufferings of others who may be reading this and feeling the same things, but hurting too much to have those feelings articulated in public to strangers. Those who share my expereinces in any way in losing a loved one to illness, whether suddenly or slowly, will know without needing a lurid description the flow of anguish, hope, angst and the pulling together of family that such a situation brings about. To those who do know how I feel, I must give my most sincere apologies that youv’e had to go through such a thing; to those who do not know, I say: thank whatever God you believe in that you’ve been spared the hardship.

I recently was told by a friend of a friend that I should write memoirs. I laughed it off, as an impossibility. No one will want to read said memoirs, and I have nothing to say regardless. I’m only 27, what could I possibly have accumulated in my relatively young life to fill a worthwhile book of memoirs? At this moment, I still feel that no one will care to read any of it, or any of this that I’m writing now, but maybe there’s something to be said despite my misgivings. I don’t need anyone to read it anyway, that wouldn’t be the point. This writing is not for fortune or fame of any sort. I don’t have any illusion that if I write about real, dramatic stuff on my blog I’ll get noticed like Julie Powell did for her self discovery during the Julie/Julia Project. I would frankly find that in bad taste. Of course, like any living person, I welcome success. Duh. But not like that, in that way… it would be like it had blood on it, to me.

I know I started this particular chapter of whatever “this” turns out to be talking about how I wrote this instead of typing it. As a consequence, no one can see my handwriting because this has been typed up, in the end, for posting on my blog. But if you could see it, and if you could be in my head, you’d be able to see it when I compare the two… how similar my handwriting is to that of my grandfather’s formerly firm hand. And therein lies the anguish. There is no other way to put it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

to blog, or not to blog? that is the question...

I’ve been thinking about what my “blog” should entail. I should let everyone reading this (I know there are at least two people who do! Yay!) know that I shudder to every time I use the word “blog”… I don’t know why, it’s simply the name of it, but it seems so internetspeak, I want to resist it. The same way I am resisting ever texting. Or Tweeting. I have to draw the line of self-indulgent self-obsession somewhere. I’ll use the word blog, but I will not enjoy it. Let’s just get that straight between us.

I am not a big blog reader, I admit. I have a lot of things that take up my free time (lol, “free” time! Yea, right!) that are priorities above reading some random person’s blog, even if I have, say, read a book they wrote or am a fan of some political statement they made. So I have no idea what usually goes into a blog. I notice some of them, a lot of them, are based around one subject, like literature, cooking, sports, etc etc. I don’t want this to be just a free form journal, I get on my own nerves w/my whining and high horse moral platitudes eventually. My sharing of much too personal information becomes out of hand. On the other hand, I think I’d get so bored if I tried to contain my blog to just one topic, even something I love like writing or cooking or cat or dogs, I may just give up on it entirely. I’d love to have a project w/some meaning, something I can attach to this blog in my own mind. I have a thing about starting projects and never finishing them if they lose their meaning and excitement. I have a few things in mind, but again, how not to be bored to tears is the quandary.

More later. I have so much on my mind lately, and so little to say about it, it’s fairly astounding to me. I’m usually such a loudmouth, at least on the internet.