Curve Balls….

It’s been a while….  

Life has tossed me a couple of curve balls…

And there have been a couple of bumps in the ‘single mom’ road…. 

But it’s all sorting itself out….  Thankfully.  

There is much to tell but, currently, it is 12:22 a.m. and I need to get some sleep….

So telling will have to wait until life slows down….  

Until the road is less bumpy….  

And until after I get some much needed sleep.  

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Do You Ever Wonder….

I’ve been doing a lot of wondering lately…  As I am prone to do…  Wondering about life…   People who are in it…  People who have passed through it…  Where it is going…  And where I fit…

Odd right?  

Odd to think about where you FIT in your own life….?  Yes?  

I think so.

Or maybe that’s just me.  

There are times…  Moments…  Sometimes no more than a mere breath…  When I look at my life and I think well, yeah, sure…  I’m here breathing and moving and paying the bills and existing….   But does this life really FIT me?  Is it really MINE?  

I guess it is…  If it must be labelled, I guess it really is.

There are times when I feel like I’m living my life and I am all but invisible to those around me…..  Like they don’t quite understand that I’m RIGHT HERE…  RIGHT HERE….  

I give a lot of myself to people…  I always do…  At the end of the day…  When all is said and done…  Most of the time I feel like…  Well, like I don’t matter at all in all of the giving that I do.

I listen to any and all problems…  If I’m asked, I give opinions…  Always honest opinions…  Sometimes harsh opinions…  But always honest.  

But the second I need to be heard, those same people that were dumping their problems on my plate can’t find a moment to even listen to my words… Or try to understand… Or even want to comprehend…  Because that might take precious moments out of their day… Or it may even need for them to admit they were wrong and were treating me unfairly.  And, well, we can’t have that can we?  

I do favours for people…  An endless list of favours…   Happily..  No questions….  

But during that, it’s rare for those people to remember my comfort, my needs…  or how to do right by me…  Instead I seem to be left with more work and heartaches and headaches after the favour has reached completion.  

And I end up a little bit more bitter and a little bit more jaded….

And feeling a little bit more invisible.  

I often wonder to myself…  Those people…  Those very people who I have been there for…  How many of them even think anymore about that one person who was always there….  Always an ear…  Always a shoulder…

That is, until they push so hard that I push back and say no, I’ve had enough… This gets fair to me now.  

Usually once that happens, instead of admitting that they were wrong and trying to keep at an absolute minimum a friend who will walk to the ends of the Earth for them.. ..  Doing the work to fix what they broke…  They actually turn tail and run…  Because somehow, putting the blame on me is easier than admitting they were wrong.  Somehow leaving me to carry the bags of their bad behaviour and inconsiderate actions is easier than doing what it takes to right the wrongs that they did to someone else…  

I wonder how often those people think of me…  

I know I think of the lessons they taught me occasionally…  Especially when someone else fucks me over and leaves me feeling invisible…..   

Much like the twenty-seventh letter in the alphabet.  

 

Beer Before Liquor….

Well, you know all of the old sayings…  We’ve all heard them all…   As well as a million ways to avoid the bad next day after a good night…  

We’ve heard them all…..  We’ve tried them all…   Some we swear by…  And others we don’t….

And sometimes we just don’t give a good god damn.

Saturday was one of those days for me….  

A trip out to visit the grave of one of the fallen…  I sat and talked with him for what seemed like ever…  That time was spent with a bottle of wine…  A bottle that we used to love to share if we had some down time and were heading out for a nice meal or even just sitting somewhere watching the sun set and then rise again…  

I cried a lot… 

I miss him so….  I miss all three of them…  

It sucks being the last man standing.  

But I felt a level of peace after the visit…  I’m hoping that the visit will be the first of many… And that perhaps visiting him has reset my compass and my little internal voice.

I hope I’ve found a calm place for my heart and soul to rest for a bit…  

And then a night out with friends…  To celebrate the birthday of a friend…   Good music…  Good times… Thanks for getting me out Angus and Kristine…  And thanks for coming out Pete…  And happy forty Dave…  

The night was worth the next day.

 

Image

Yup… That was me the next day…  *Laugh*

Sorry I didn’t invite you out Rob…  You’re right… It’s always a blast when you, me, and Pete hit the town…  LOL..  We’ll have to find some karaoke in some small dive with a sticky floor where the beer is cold and head out…  

And then Sunday was spent with Rob and his family…  Helping to tear out a shed..  Then dinner…  Then a movie…  Thanks for having me…  It was fun…

The not fun part is the fact that I’m still pulling cactus thorns!!!  

All in all, it’s been a good weekend…  A great weekend…  

But it has been a gentle reminder that well, alone is lonely….  

And that I really, really, really miss my Wee when she’s not with me….  

Soon she’ll be home and life will be great again…. 

And maybe one day I’ll find someone who can put up with me…..   

We can all hope, right?  

All’s Fair In Love And War….

How true it is….

All really is fair in love and war…  

The only problem is…  In love…  It stings… And that sting can last for a good long time.

My daughter…  Shit…  Do I love her…  Love her with all of my heart…  

But she can drive me batshit crazy sometimes.

And sometimes I know damn well that she knows damn well that she’s doing it.  You can tell when she knows damn well that she’s pushing every button I own.

And usually when she’s pushing that hard, she can say some things that sting…  Like really sting…  Things that leave a mark for days….  

Hell, she’s even brought my to my knees with her words sometimes…  Never in her sight mind you but there have been times after I’ve tucked her in for the night that every word she has said rings back through my head and I literally hit the floor.

Tonight’s fight was a doozie….  She was hitting below the belt and she knew it.

“I like my daddy’s house better.  He buys me things! He doesn’t send me to my room when I’m bad!”
“Baby, you need to understand, it’s mommy’s job to teach you right from wrong… And sometimes that means you have to go to your room or I have to take your favourite things away from you…  That doesn’t mean I love you less…  It means I’m TEACHING you.  And I’m sorry I can’t buy you everything that you want… I’m sorry I can’t…  But you need to see everything else that mommy does for you…  Mommy takes time off work when you need me to.  Mommy stays up all night with you when you’re sick.  Mommy plays with you and does art with you.  Mommy knows all of your favourite things.  Mommy always makes sure that she doesn’t have to work when our weekends together come around.  Mommy does lots of stuff for you…  And that stuff is more important than what I can or cannot buy for you.”
“I HATE YOU.  I like my daddy better.”

Nice…  Okay…  Don’t cry…  Don’t cry…  She doesn’t understand what she’s saying…  

“That’s not a very nice thing to say.  You hurt my feelings.  How would you like it if I said I hated you?  How would you feel?”
“I’d be mad and sad.”
“How do you think mommy feels right now after you behaving the way you have towards me for the last half an hour?”
“Mad and sad and mad and sad and mad and sad.”
“Yeah, I am.  I want to cry actually.  I do.  You’ve really hurt my feelings.  And you can’t do that to mommy.  We’re family…  We’re supposed to be a team.  How can we be a team if you keep hurting my feelings?”
“I don’t know.”
“That’s cause we can’t be Bear…  We can’t be a team if you hurt my feelings like that…  So you need to think.. You need to think long and hard about what it is that you want to do here…  Do you want to be part of a team with mommy and do good stuff and have a good little family in a good house?”
“Yes.  I want to be part of a good team…  Cause I love you more than anything.  It’s just you make me mad when you make me go to my room.”
“I understand that dude but when you’re acting badly you need to go to your room.  It’s like when your teacher sends one of you to the thinking chair…  It doesn’t mean they like you any less… It means they need you to think and they need you to see that there is a lesson to be learned in what you have done…  They’re just trying to do what mommy is trying to do; teach you right from wrong.”

Of course the conversation carried on from there…  For almost an hour…  By the time it was done, we were both exhausted…  

I know she’s four…  I know that.  I know fun is what life is all about when you’re four…  I know that.  I know she doesn’t really understand everything that she says and all of the words she uses…  I know that….

I just wish she could outgrow the ‘daddy is better’ stage a little bit faster.

Thirty-Seven Years…..

My Wee in school has learned about the journey that the planets take around the Sun.  She learned that she personally has been on the Earth for four of its trips around the Sun.  

She is very proud to share that knowledge with anyone who will listen:  
“I’ve travelled on the Earth around the Sun four times.  Soon it will be five.”

She’s a very smart little one…  She sees everything; she misses nothing…  And she learns the lessons that life insists she learns.  

I, on the other hand, can’t seem to learn a stitch.  

As observant as I am…  As knowledgeable as I am…  As well-travelled as I am…  As experienced in life as I am…  I still can’t seem to pick out the people in this world who mean to only cause pain.  

It’s unfortunate.  You think I’d learn.  You think I’d be able to smell a wolf in sheep’s clothing a mile away.

I had a friend…  Have?  Had?  Let’s stick with have…  There’s still too much pain associated with the past-tense with him…  And really, it’s rare that a day passes that I don’t sense him….  Find him somewhere in my life… In my day.  

I have a friend…  Him and his mother…  THEY were the masters of knowing when someone would cause more harm than good…  

I wish I had their gift…  Or still had them around to turn to any time I thought I had met someone new…  

But I don’t….

So I’m stuck blundering along…  Hoping that the next person will be who they portray…  Will give a good god damn…  And will just be kind and patient and caring and considerate…  And will possess an ounce of common sense.  

There’s hope…  Right?  

I guess I just really have to learn to keep my walls in place…  Firmly in place…  Until such a time as I am SURE that the person I am dealing with actually is who they are saying they are.  

Right now I’m mad….  I’m mad about all of this…  And I’m sad…  There is sorrow and a sense of loss..  

That will all pass quite quickly….  After all, we had only really known each other for a short time…  A drop in the bucket of time…  So the anger and sorrow will pass….   And once again that comfort that comes with routine and the ability to be alone will move in.  

Until it does…  I’m starting to think…  I owe an old friend a drink…  Maybe it’s time I dropped by to see him….  Tend to his grave… Have a beer…  Have a talk…  Watch the sun set….  Gaze at the stars….  And leave a quarter behind…  

Maybe visiting him will bring some clarity to my life…  My days…  My struggles….  

He could bring peace and clarity to any situation….  With a simple word, a smile, a wink, a nod, he could bring peace to my soul.

Perhaps a visit to him will help to clarify my journey, illuminate the path I’m supposed to be on…  Settle my soul…  Bring me peace… And get my compass pointing again.  

And As Promised…..

Mental Health Awareness Month….

I promised a post for Mental Health Awareness Month….

And here it comes…  in all its honesty.

This will actually be two posts in one.

Because of recent events; because many wounds have recently been opened; because my demons are strolling; I have chosen now to write about what I battle daily.

Some may say that this is not the best time to do such heavy work; but I disagree…  What better time is there than when you’re feeling everything, when everything is raw, when your self-doubt is weighing heavy, and your demons are strolling?

You can’t help but be completely, brutally honest under those circumstances.

Now please, as you read my words, understand, there is not a lot truly known about PTSD.  There are ‘best guesses’…. There are some physicians and psychiatrists and counsellors who are more knowledgeable than others…  But really, it all boils down to one simple fact…  It deals with the brain and the brain is still one of the biggest medical mysteries in the human body.

Why did I end up with it but other people who saw the same places I saw come home relatively unscathed or make a complete return to normal life?  When did it actually start for me?  Was there a point of no return; a point where my brain could have maybe recovered but once I hit that point, there was no going back?  Was there one event that caused it or was it a lineup of events that occurred one right after the other right after the other that pushed me over the edge?

No one knows the answer to any of these questions.

All we know is that I battle daily.

Sometimes I’m brought under harsh scrutiny because of it:
“I’m sorry ma’am.  You’re more than qualified for the job but perhaps this isn’t the safest environment for you to work in…. ”
“I’m sorry ma’am.  You’d be a great fit for the job but we feel that you may become a liability….  ”
“You suffer from PTSD.  We all know that you’re unstable.”
“Can you explain to me why it is that you need this medication at this dosage?  This seems overly excessive.”
“I can’t even consider getting to know you because well, to be honest, you scare me.”

I have heard all of the above.  It has touched every aspect of my life from professional to medical to friendships to even relationships.

I watch my ‘friends’ scatter when a bad day comes along and a call goes out that I’m having a bad day and I need help because I can’t leave my house.

I watch potential partners start rolling around in their heads the possible consequences of being near me…  Basing those consequences on what they think they know about my condition and about me.

I feel the bite of the cold and callous comments that come from people that I’m trying to get to know, trying to test the waters of dating, with when my brain can’t process the information given to me and I need to ask more questions, or re-ask the same questions… Or heaven forbid… Just talk about it because I can’t make sense of it because my brain is broken and won’t let me…..

I feel the weight of judgement behind every cold, callous, hurtful word or phrase that is tossed out while people; whether it be ‘friends’, professionals, romantic partners, or complete strangers; try to ‘deal’ with me while I’m having a bad day and losing ground in my battle against PTSD.

If you think calling me crazy doesn’t affect me; you’re wrong.

If you think judging me and telling me to get over it helps me; you’re wrong.

If you think anger and callousness and harsh words will get your message across when my brain is stuck; you’re wrong.

What you have actually just done with all of those actions is caused me damage.

Unfortunately over the last 24 hours, I have heard each and every one of those things from someone who claimed to care…  Who I thought I could trust.

I thought wrong.

How hard do you think I am on myself on a daily basis…  Hell, on an hourly basis??  How hard?

Let me tell you how hard I am…  And how little I need reminders of how crazy I feel I am at times…

There are times I’m so hard on myself for forgetting… Or for not being able to string a sentence together… Or for not being able to go to a store… Or walk down my street…  Or hell, even leave my damn house…   So very hard on myself that it’s crippling…  And all I can think is how many more days can one person be expected to go on trying as hard as I do sometimes just to make it from moment to moment?

From the outside, most people would think my life was normal…  They would see little glitches, little quirks…  But they could shrug it off as just ‘my way’….

But if you were to look closer you’d see the actual struggle that it is sometimes just to make it from moment to moment.

See, in me, my flavour of PTSD, it causes a lot of memory issues…  So if it wasn’t for the alarm in my phone, my numerous calendars, my stacks of Post-it Notes, my popup reminders in my computer, my email reminders to myself, my notepad in my phone, phone calls from friends, texts to myself….  Well, there are some days, literally, that I can’t remember that at this same time every morning, my Wee has to catch the bus for school.

Yes, it can get that bad.

There are days I forget nothing…  Days I forget some stuff…  And then there are days where forgetting is all I do and I’m left crippled by it.

And hating myself for it.

And then there are times of stress and what that can trigger.  There’s nothing like trying like hell to have a conversation with someone about something, anything…  And then something is said or there’s a look or a smell or who fucking knows sometimes… And before you know it, I can’t string two words together without stuttering like an idiot….  Or losing all of my words all together…  And then all I can do is cry.  I shake, I sweat, my teeth chatter…  I want to scream but I can’t even find words for that….  It’s like all verbal abilities have been sucked right out of my body.  Sometimes this can last for seconds…  Sometimes for hours.  When Wee was in the hospital for surgery, I was a stuttering mess….

And I hate myself for it.

And then there are the times I try…  I try to go out…  Have a nice evening out with friends… Go to a restaurant… Go out.. Have fun…  And then the looks start because I need a table in a specific spot so I have to ask to be moved or I need THAT chair, no not that one THAT ONE….  Or something else happens and if it’s not handled properly before you know it I’m under the table and the whole evening has gone to hell because if you’re lucky you’ll be able to get me out of there quickly and quietly…  If you’re not lucky… Well, yes, I have had to have paramedics called to remove me from restaurants, movie theatres, bars….  Even the grocery store…

No where is ‘safe’ in my mind some days…

And I hate myself for it.

And then there are sound and smells and the fallout from even the simplest noise or the most common smell….  You drop a glass… That’s what you hear…  You drop a glass…  I occasionally hear that…  But often that will cause a full out tailspin that, if not handled properly, will have me hiding in a closet or under a table until my brain can wrap itself around the fact that there is no problem here…

And there’s nothing like being in public when there is a noise…  A sound that sets me off and starts my brain down the wrong path…

And I hate myself for it.

And let’s not even talk about what can happen when the sun sets…   My mind can become a three ring circus of nightmarish proportions….  Every clown is Pennywise…  And every demon screams.

And, even if I manage to make it three or four hours without dreaming, my bed is still soaked in sweat…  I sweat…  I get hot and I sweat at night…  Doctor’s think it’s freakish how incredibly hot my body gets at night…  With medication, without medication… It doesn’t matter…  My temperature soars and I sweat.

But more often than not, I do dream…  So I wake up a sweat-soaked mess choking back a scream…  Or crying…  Or even just not aware of WHERE I am….

Some nights I sleep with the lights on…..

Some nights I feel it’s safer for me to not sleep at all…..

And I hate myself.

I look at situations every day…  Every moment of every day… And I analyze them in a moment…  A split second…  Is there something off with this and what do I need to do to protect myself?    It was a skill taught to me…  Hammered into me…  One that helped me survive…  One that obviously I mastered…  Because I’m here now…  Still…  I’ve survived.  But that can mean that if even one thing seems off, I pull out my microscope and I start to analyze everything… Look for exactly where the problem is…  And usually my brain gets ‘stuck’…  So it can’t let it go…  Not until I have the answers that I need to satisfy my brain that there is no danger here.

It’s like someone pulling a fire alarm in a fifty story building…  And one lone firefighter is sent in to find the fire…  But is there a fire??? Or is it a false alarm?   You don’t know for sure so you have to check EVERY room, every corner, every dark place… You have to poke and examine until you know for a fact that there is no danger.

It’s an exhausting process.  One that most people don’t understand and can’t comprehend.

Do you think I enjoy quizzing you about things until we’re both slamming our heads off the table???  NO.  Do you think I’d like to be able to just let shit go?  Yes.  Do you think I like the fact that the weirdest things can feel like the world’s biggest threat to me personally?   NO.  NO!!  I don’t enjoy any of it.  NO!

In fact…  I hate it… And I hate myself for it…  Because it has been the destroyer of more relationships than I can shake a stick at.

But I can’t help it.

So I hate it.

And I hate myself for it.

But, a good friend of mine Melissa said to me today….
“You shouldn’t be made to put anyone under a microscope.”

And it’s true…  If I’ve pulled out my microscope, obviously something has happened that has triggered my survival instincts and my training…  And now work needs to be done by everyone involved to put that to bed properly…

And calling me crazy and telling me that we’ve gone over this and you’ve given me answers is not putting anything to bed properly; that just feeds the hate.

So, through all of this I’ve learned to calculate… To assess… To re-assess…

I’ve learned not to push my luck…

I’ve learned to walk a fine line….

And I’m trying to learn to embrace who I am now…  How my body and brain act and react now…

And hoping like hell that maybe one day, when I’m being walked out of a store by paramedics, or I’m acting abnormally, or I’m moving tables in a restaurant…..  Or I’m just having a bad day and can’t go outside…  I’m hoping beyond hope that one day I’m not met with a course of ‘you’re crazy’ or ‘she has PTSD; she’s unstable’…  I’m hoping instead to be met with compassion….

Because perhaps if there are enough compassionate people in the world, helping those of us who battle with this disorder instead of judging us, labelling us, and calling us crazy…  Perhaps we’ll find a way to be compassionate to ourselves and more accepting of the things that we need to do to make it from one minute to the next…

Perhaps then I wouldn’t look at my pile of Post-its with scorn.

Perhaps I could accept what my brain and my body has become and feel less hate towards myself.

Because there is only so much self-hatred you can handle in one day.

There Is Much To Say….

Many words are rolling around in my head right now…  

Honestly, it feels like I’m drowning under the weight of all of the thoughts and feelings…  

The emotions…  They each weigh a million pounds…  

And each one of them is wrapped in uncertainty and fear and self-loathing and….  

But I can’t put them together…   I can’t string them all into something that even resembles something that would make sense.

Maybe in a day…  Maybe two…  Maybe then it’ll make sense…  Maybe then I’ll be able to make sense of it all..  

Until then, I guess I’ll write notes…  Doodle ideas…  Try to grab the thoughts and feelings as they come…  

Perhaps after this week my brain will slow enough for me to be able to think beyond the routine that I have set out for myself.

Perhaps.