I want to love myself

I waste so much damn time when I could be writing. Do you do that? I sit here and piddle around with checking other websites that seem so important. I am avoiding the pain of writing. And then when I am constrained by other activities, I sit there and pine away for the writing. Why am I playing this game with myself? Why do I do these things to myself?

I’ve lost twenty pounds since the beginning of the year. It’s been a slow process but a good one. I have much more than that to lose. But now that I am at the threshold of actually making a difference in my appearance, I have begun to sabotage myself. Why? I have been stuck for over a month now at the same weight or even a couple of pounds up. Why am I doing this to myself? Why can I not get it together? Why do I hate myself? Please, please don’t hate yourself. Please give me what I need, please stop being so cruel.

I need to write. I need to be a healthy weight. I want these things. But the me deep inside of me hates me and I don’t know why. God in heaven, please send help. I don’t know how to overcome this challenge. I have overcome so much in my life. But this…

I think part of it is that I hold myself responsible for some things I did as a young mother that I feel like affected my children, in particular my older three children. The younger two, I think I got it together more. But with the older three, I still had anger issues. And I cannot hold myself blameless on that. I feel like I damaged them. And two of them have had drug issues and one of those is probably an alcoholic and not seeking treatment. The other one is married to a man who is older than her actual father.

I blame myself for these failings.  And I cannot seem to let myself off the hook, which of course means that I am playing God in my own life because I believe that God forgives – but how do I go on knowing that my kids are suffering the consequences of my sins? And this is exactly what happened to my mother. She killed herself with alcohol and partly because of what she did to me. Maybe? I don’t know what she was thinking. Maybe she wasn’t even sorry for abandoning me. Maybe she truly believed that was what I deserved. Maybe all she was focused on was the fact that dad had left her for another woman and my mother’s parents were so heartbroken over how their only daughter had turned out.

I don’t know how to make peace with my failings. It keeps coming back to haunt me. I’ll think that I have put it to rest and forgiven myself and let myself off the hook and then it will come back when I don’t expect it. Like with this next phase of my weight loss. I have to fight. I have to fight to set an example for my children. How is it going to help them if I kill myself, no matter how slowly I do it? How is it going to help them if I hate myself? They don’t want me to hate myself, I can tell you that with some confidence. I didn’t want my mother to hate herself after what she did to me. Maybe for a little while I did, but I was able to forgive her and all I wanted was for her to forgive herself and stop drinking.

The way for me to help my children is to love myself. It seems so simple but it is not easy. This is not a new discovery for me, but it is one that I seem to have to re-discover over and over again. God please, please help me to love myself for real, for permanent, for change. Please show me how to do it.

Friendship: difficult and complicated

It’s quiet in the house this early Saturday morning. I’m reflecting on relationships. Messy, uncomfortable, repulsive sometimes –  especially for someone like me. Friendship drains me and right now I don’t feel like I want it at all. I want to walk away from 18 years of friendship because someone is difficult. There’s a tiny voice talking to me though, through all the mental noise of emotions, and the voice is asking me if I really want to throw away 18 years. It’s not that friends themselves are scarce. I could find a new friend (if I wanted to, which I don’t really) – but I can never replace those years. I can’t just go out and get myself an 18 year friendship. And what is life all about if not human connection?

My husband says I make things too complicated. I can’t help it. I don’t understand simple.

Confrontation is necessary bullshit

I’ve gotten myself into a very uncomfortable situation with a friend. She’s been in a bad place for a long time, like years, but she thinks it is because of outside events. The fact is, she is like a modern day Job (like in the Bible) with all the shit that is happening to her. Every time I’m with her, I’m cringing, waiting to hear about the latest catastrophe in her life.

Friend had a vision of how life was supposed to be and fully expected it to pan out that way. When it didn’t, she decided to become a professional and permanent victim instead of getting up, brushing off her ass, and continuing to choose joy. I happen to think that when you choose negativity and victimhood, especially victimhood, that life gives you lots of opportunities to keep being a victim. And that is what has happened with friend.

And now I’ve gone and opened my big fat mouth about it and I’ve really stepped in it. I am a big stinking mess of contradictions and one of them is that I hate confrontation but I can’t sit in the middle of inconsistency either. So if I was going to continue in my relationship with friend, something was going to have to be said. Well, I broached the subject gingerly and sure enough, I got bit. I mean, I didn’t even give the full details of what I have been seeing. I just mentioned, hey, you might want to think about that maybe you are not seeing the full picture.

And I got rebuffed with a defensive response. I just don’t take to that very well. When I offer advice to a close friend, I want to be listened to and taken seriously. I understand if ultimately you decide that the advice doesn’t work for you. I just want you to give me enough credit to take it seriously. And if you don’t, then I’m going to probably move myself emotionally out of the situation. And that’s what has happened.

But now friend is asking me to come back into the situation and explain myself in more detail, which is probably what I wanted in the first place but now I’ve been put off and I just don’t want to. Which is the fucking most suck feeling in the world and yes I am a whiny baby: I don’t want to feel this pain and head into it and go into the hard places and have this conversation where I might fall flat on my face or we might argue (I hate arguing) or she might get angry or make me angry. I just don’t want to do it and that’s an understatement.

I am not brave when it comes to stuff like this. But I always fucking get myself into situations like this because of my idealism. When am I going to learn to keep my mouth shut? But I can’t. When I see yet another marriage falling apart and the kids becoming collateral damage, and it’s like my intuition and my gut can see the whole picture and see into someone’s blind spots, and they keep hammering me over and over again with their misery, ultimately something is going to blow. Because I care. Because I can see a better way.

I always expect the other person to listen and think about what I am saying. I’m not somebody who goes around vomiting my opinions all over the place usually. Only when it’s urgent and I see something horribly out of line. So I wish people I care about would listen to me, at least give me that.

Now friend is ready to listen, at least she says she is. My self-protective nature is saying it’s a trap. Not an intentional trap, just a trap because she’s not going to like what I have to say and she’s going to try to debate me on the subject. Because that’s what she does. And I don’t have the energy for that. Physically or emotionally. But I can’t just ignore her plea because I have ideals. Because I know that Jesus would do it. He would want me to do it. To go back and face her. To tell her the hard stuff, to risk being wrong, to risk being seen as wrong, to risk someone’s wrath, to dig into the hard places in a relationship. What else is life about?

I just want to fucking hide.

If you knew me in person.

You would think, oh, she’s nice, or boring, or polite, maybe even amusing or funny. Clever. Sweet. Oh, isn’t she sweet? I just love her. Yet, if you only knew me via my writing, you’d think I was a negative bitch. Yet another reason I have to keep this anonymous. The secret uncensored me is a bitch who thinks you’re all stupid and life sucks. Is it any wonder I wallow in shame? Fuck. This is why I need Jesus.

Avoidant.

After I went almost all the way through design school and then quit the last quarter, I was increasingly unhappy in my marriage. Not that I had ever been blissful. I’d married him because I was pregnant. That’s what you did back then. It still wasn’t socially acceptable to just live with your baby daddy. I suppose that was a good thing in some ways for the girls, even though it ended anyway when they were six and eight years old.

But hell, I don’t want to sit here and write out a line by line account of my past. That shit hurts. I don’t like to spend too much time thinking about it. The truth is, I go back and forth on whether or not I like the person I was in the 80s. Usually I land on the side of not liking her. Which begs the question: how do I feel about myself now?

You know, there are some things I just can’t seem to get it together on. I’m not much of a people person and I guard my heart. I keep people at arms length. I am putting a long term friendship on hold because she wouldn’t take my counsel under advisement. She wouldn’t even consider it. Case closed. So I have no desire to be with her anymore. Is that wrong of me?

Here’s the thing: I have a faith. I believe in God. I even claim to follow Jesus. I don’t call myself a Christian because I think that term raises a lot of negative feelings and I don’t want to associate myself with it. I’m not like other people. Yeah, fuck, I’m special and all that, remember? Anyway, I have a faith. So shouldn’t I be willing to be a martyr and sit and listen to my friend’s problems and try to figure out a way to be able to help her even when she has rebuffed my advice?

Or should I decide what my own boundaries are and live by that without shame? Which choice is going to make me a better person?

I just don’t know.

When my adult daughter wants to come over and talk to me I cringe. It’s not that I don’t want to help her, I do. It’s not that I don’t love her. I do. It’s just that the potential emotional fallout of such encounters makes me feel vulnerable. Of course, I have a history with this particular daughter that makes me feel like a painful episode could happen again. And I try to avoid that kind of shit.

I find that as I get older I am more and more hesitant to extend myself. I am hurt and hiding in my hidey hole. I am disconnecting from more and more outside things and content to be at home, alone, no longer in the world making a difference. Realizing this disturbs me. It’s like everything I touch eventually falls to shit and I withdraw further.

It wasn’t that long ago that I decided to become part of Toastmasters. I’m a good speaker. I’m a good writer. So how much fun would that be? It would be great fun. And it was great fun. I got to write speeches and give them and critique others’ speeches. I was even elected president. And then it all fell apart one day when I was too harsh in my critique of someone’s speech and another member publicly rebuked me. I left and never went back. I will never go back. There is now shame attached to that event and that place and those people and I will never go back.

So now I am making myself cry. That’s not a good way to start the day.

 

The groundhog day life of the parent of an addict

Before I go on, I just have to say this. Being the parent of an addict is highly unpleasant. The best way to describe is this: it’s like the moment your small child pulls away from your grip and runs into the road, directly into the path of a speeding vehicle. This moment happens every day, over and over again, and every day you go through the agony of watching your child get run over. In devastating slow motion, the child pulls out of your grip and before you can stop him, he’s running again, straight for the road. Then at some point, hopefully, miraculously, your child decides to get clean, or maybe somebody else decides that for him, and then the process of detox and rehab happens. All of a sudden you realize your groundhog day has stopped. For that blissful and serene 30 days or whatever the insurance will pay for, your life goes back to normal. And you, the fool that you are, think that things will always be good from that point on. Hopeful, ignorant idiot.

After rehab, for a little while things are peaceful. And then, one day before you know it, you wake up and you’re holding your kids hand again and inexplicably, after all the lessons learned and heartache suffered, he pulls away from your grip again and runs right out in front of the car and you watch, helpless, as his body gets thrown into the air, crushed and tossed and battered. And just like before, the very next day it happens again. The only difference now, in recovery, is that on some days, he doesn’t pull away. But you never know which day it is going to happen again. So you fear it. And you’re helpless. Fucking helpless.

Whiny baby

You know, it sucks to write a few paragraphs, look it over, and decide you sound like a whiny baby. Anyone reading that and of course, not knowing who I am, would think that something terrible had happened to me to prevent me from living a full life. And that’s just not the case. If my family were to read what I published yesterday, they would be hurt or disappointed. And that is precisely why I am writing anonymously now.

Maybe realizing the depth of my ingratitude is part of the reason I felt drawn to do this blog. Writing freely and letting out all the words that have backed up inside of me for months might be the thing I need to kick my ass into gear and adjust my attitude into something workable.

You see, here’s the thing I was bitching about yesterday: I’m not going to be famous, guys. I’m not going to write that big bestseller that gets my name known around the planet. I’m not going to be a highly desired public speaker making $100k per appearance. I’m not going to be a household name fashion designer. And that’s it. That’s what’s got my knickers dusted. That’s the extent of it.

Whiny baby.

Honestly, I feel like kicking my own ass.

Can I tell you something about me? There’s something wrong with me. When I was in my mid-20’s, I signed up at the International Academy of Merchandising and Design. I put my two little girls in daycare. My mother-in-law was paying for that, basically, because I was supposed to clean her house each week but she’d leave me the cash in a dresser drawer where I could get it myself, and it seems each week the quality of my cleaning efforts went down a smidge. So yeah, basically I was not earning the money, she was just giving it to me. I don’t know why she kept on doing that. Maybe she just couldn’t confront me to change things.

Anyway, I put my toddler and my preschooler into daycare fulltime and signed my ass up at the Academy. I wish I could see that place just one more time. It was a beautiful thing. There were spacious workrooms full of natural light. Cutting tables at just the right height so you didn’t have to lean over too much and put a crick in your back, like the dining room table. Actually, I did a lot of my cutting on the living room floor back then. I was agile enough to make it easy. These days, hauling my ass up from ground level is not quite as pleasant an activity.

The cutting tables were lined up perfectly in the center of the room, and all around the perimeter were various types and sizes of Wolff dress forms. By sizes, I mean size 8 womens, a child’s size, and forms that you could use to drape men’s fashion. I didn’t mean different sizes of women. Because in the fashion industry back then, there was only one size: size 8. Yes, you could go into a ready to wear store and buy anything up to a 14, but everything was designed and draped and drafted to a size 8. Which is funny, because the idea of a model these days being a size 8 is ridiculous. I don’t know what size they design to now. It’s been 35 years. But when I look at those skinny bitches, I’m thinking size zero. There wasn’t even such a thing as size zero back in those days.

I was a size 8 in those days. Cigarettes kept me svelte. I know that now, since I quit smoking 24 years ago and I have not been able to keep my weight down all those years. I used to be smug about my ability to stay thin. I was proud of my body and I used it to generate certain reactions from men. I remember once about a year before I divorced my first husband, who was an abusive alcoholic, whose mother paid me each week to “clean” her house, I put on a lime green mini skirt and strode into Mr. Wright’s office at Tampa College. I was too old to be in college. I was 26. But I had to do something to learn how to support myself because I was going to be leaving that mother fucker of a husband soon. I was done. Anyway, I walked right into that office with my tanned, muscled legs and my small waist and my blonde hair and I stood right in front of him as he sat at his desk and I looked right at him and he looked at me and I could see that he was trying not to look me up and down and yeah, he was getting a little hot under the collar of that button down shirt. I asked him some vapid question about some accounting class I was taking that he taught, but the question didn’t matter. I was there for the reaction. I fed off that reaction from many different men over the years. I don’t remember exactly when men stopped looking at me. But I remember feeling confused and sad. It just made me eat even more.

But I digress. I was telling you about why I am a whiny baby.

Yes, so design school was a blast. Every aspect of the clothing design was addressed there. I got to paint models with watercolor, draw with charcoal and ink, test fabrics by burning them, draft and drape patterns, sew garments on commercial machines, and just fucking everything. It was like a dream. I didn’t care that I was racking up thousands of dollars in student loans. I was eating that shit up. The final exam each year was to design a line of clothing, get the drawings approved, and then draft and construct them for a big fashion show with real models and press coverage. That first year my designs were so good. One of my pieces was a full length black wool cape covered in sequins. Each sequin had been meticulously hand-sewn one at a time. I strung up a line in my living room and hung the cape over it, and stood there sewing the sequins on while One Life To Live played on the television and my little girls were at daycare.

The cape was the finale of the entire fashion show. I was happy about that but I also kind of expected it. I had this idea that I was really great and I just deserved the accolades and the honor. I was right where I was supposed to be. I started dreaming about firing up the design industry in the Southeastern US. Which was a pipe dream because 30 years ago there was no way anybody in the southeast was going to pay for a “homemade” dress when they could get a real one from Maas Brothers. There was no awareness of the value of a designer sitting in their studio hand sewing your garment. That was worth less to the average citizen than an ill-fitting ready to wear. Backwards.

It was a two year program and I made it all the way to the last quarter before I dropped out with a 3.8 GPA. Dropped out. I didn’t even really do that, I just left, and that last quarter I earned F’s straight down the list. And do you want to know why? Because they rejected all my designs and told me to go back and make new ones. Not one of my designs was approved by the committee. And that was just beyond the pale. How dare they treat an up and coming star like that? Didn’t they remember that just last year as a new student I’d wowed everyone with my line? Stupid fucks. I was out of there.

Make of that what you will.