Sunday, June 21, 2015

What's wrong with your face?

Stella:

Sometime Yesterday...
"Mommy... your face... Mommy, what's wrong with your face?"  

What do you mean what's wrong with my face.

"You look... mommy, your face has no feelings."

I don't feel so great today. (Dr. Abney told me to be honest with them, that I'm not always going to be super mom, which I tried to pretend to be and lamented in the failing).

"You look sad, mommy.  Your face is too sad."

I am a little sad, and a little sick feeling... (Sick emotionally, yes).

Today...
"Mommy, your face: It's that way again.  Is your face sad? Oh mommy, I don't know what to do to make you feel better."

You don't need to do anything.  I'll try not to be sad, let's do something fun.

"Mommy, trust me, I give great advice, you can tell me what is making you sad."

I don't know about my face, but look at this crazy bruise on my leg!
I know what face she's talking about.  It's not sadness, because that's a feeling.  It's numbness...  It's having my eyes open, but not looking at anything.  It's going along and doing this, but not being present in that moment.  It's something I can only shake off, if I'm aware of it and the kids are around me.  I can close my eyes, rubbing my temples, and then open them up again and see their faces.  I can see their faces, and my face makes expressions.  

What makes me mad about my stupid face--at least one thing-- is that it just keeps doing that and when I'm not paying attention.  My face reflects my brain so obviously.  It always has.

And, how dare it be possible for any mother to suffer from depression.  It's not fair.  It's stupid.  I want to get that new electrode to the brain treatment for depression, but just have them zap the shit out of the "depressed brain cells" and tell them to fuck off.  Get out of my head.  (Yes, I know it's not about specific brain cells, but for goodness sake, if it could be that easy...  Target those suckers and just cut them out or fry their asses).  

Because any part of existence, that prevents a mommy--a good mommy, a mommy who wants to be the best mommy possible--from loving up her children to the fullest extent of motherly love, should just go away.   Mommies should be fixed first.  Fucked up mommies end up with the fucked up children who need emotional and mental treatment anyway, right?  Save mommies.  Help me.  Please.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

You don't know me.

A Grumpy, Depressed PMDD Rant
by Joanna

Let's begin:
I need to know what is wrong with me.
I want to know what makes me the way I am, all the bad ways that I am, and why people really, really like me, then don't like me at all.
They actually just want me to go away; shun me from them, and they stay away from me. And they go away forever, sometimes.

Family? They are disappointed in me. They are disgusted by something I've done... or they are just too busy, too tired, too consumed by all the things that are bigger than me. I'm small in the world. I know that. I don't expect anyone to love me or see me. I never did. I still felt like I could leave my house--to pick up the kids at school, or run to the store--and not be recognized, if I looked down and didn't make eye contact. But people always know who I am.

And... Being a teacher in the town in which I live made it very difficult to not be recognized. It's something my grandfather was honored to experience--meeting students from his long career in education out and about... yet it makes me feel... uncomfortable. They are so loving and sweet. They miss me. They miss my class. They are so happy to see me. And I remember I'm not a teacher and I don't know why I can't just get my fucking head together and teach again. And so I am happy to see my students doing well, and it's funny to hear they miss an English class, 4 years after graduating, yet I realize... I'm not the person they think I am. They saw the good parts of me?

There are bad parts: Those are the parts that make some people just completely despise me. I assume that's what they feel--
To be someone's best friend, then to refuse to talk to him or her for months... years... that is a loathing and a detestation that is more frightening than I ever imagined. Would I rather be a neutral person? An, Eh or Meh, person? I think so. I think I would. Because, when people believe you are so much more than that, that you are important or beautiful or talented or amazing, then you disappoint them. And then they lose faith in a piece of humanity. I have. A small part of me lost faith in a small part of it all...

It happens too many times, you know? "I give up," they say. "She's hopeless." And I think: I am. I really, really am. And then I want to just walk out into the water and swim, in the only way I know, (how my Nanny Tops taught me), until I'm too tired to swim back. And then worry about what happens next as it happens... But realize the sinking...

Oh no, I'm writing very depressing stuff, huh? Haha. It doesn't matter, because no one reads it, and even I write it, then post it... then wait awhile to read it fully and correct the typos.

Damn it. The problem is the people who could tell me what the Hell makes me so detestable won't talk to me at all and tell me what I need to do to change, or at least try... or just understand... My siblings and mother have told me some of the things I really need to work on. They each find very different flaws in my being:
Too bossy.
Too mean.
Too nice.
Too passive.
Too depressed.
Not doing enough to change.
Not doing enough to make my life work as it is.
I'm Alive.
I Want to be dead.
I tried to not be alive.
I've tried to not be dead.
I want to talk about it...  all of it... any of it... tell me.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Saint Dymphna.

“Saint Dymphna, renowned for many miracles, please hear my plea.”


I'm Catholic.  I know I'm the "bad" kind, the "good ones will tell you.  We don't go to church regularly, although we did when the babies were babies.  My nanny and grampy used to meet us in Springfield for the 6:00 pm Sunday Mass, and they would be tickled by the babies innocent, quiet antics, and the fact that our little family was following a very strong family tradition and religious faith.  


We stopped going to church regularly for a few reasons that are not acceptable in the eyes of God or the good ones:  1.  It got more difficult for Grampy to drive...  See, Macular Degeneration meant he couldn't drive at night, and the days got shorter, and the seasons changed... and the next year he was a little more sick and crippled...  and then he was gone.

2.  Flossie Stankovich, who lived next door to my parents until the age of 100 or something, said, "When my children were young, my husband and I took turns going to Mass so our children wouldn't be disruptive."

3.  The 2008 election.  Our babies were almost two years old.  Even my grandparents were disheartened by the political subject chosen in almost every sermon...  The Church was speaking strongly against voting for any democratic candidates.  The priests in area churches focused on only the issues of the sins of "Same Sex Marriage," and "Abortion."  Pro-choice, and accepting all human beings for who they are and want to be, meant anti-God, (it seemed), and we didn't believe that, and didn't want our children thinking their parents believed that, or hearing any negative messages over and over when we should be celebrating life and love in Church.

4.  Life?  Does daily life, and the things we "think we need to do, and get done," get in the way of life?  We're too tired, kids are whining, we need to finish building the deck, we need to replace that window, we need to...  What?  

That doesn't mean I'm not spiritual or that I don't believe in God. I believe.  I believe strongly in a higher power, and a something bigger than us, and I believe in the Holy Spirit, and life after death.  


There is a beautiful, historic, and rich spiritual catholic faith in New Mexico.  The churches, the miracles, the icons.  Mikhaila brought me blessed dirt from El Santuario de Chimayo, and a punched tin icon of Saint Dymphna.  The description on the back offers a prayer and a description:  "Saint Dymphna offers much solace to those suffering from psychological problems as well as their families. She is invoked to bring peace to the unbalanced as well as create an aura of calm and consolation for those who live in the midst of instability."


I wear the medal now, and I pray to Dymphna sometimes... but mostly I pray to my Grampy John and Nanny Stell to watch over my children and protect them from all of the mental and emotional turmoil that so many of us have endured in this family.  I pray they will get a reprieve.  Here's your pass, kids, you'll be fine.  No, you'll be more than fine or okay, you'll be happy!  I pray that all that I have experienced, all that I know, and all I have learned will do some good for them.  I pray for that every night.  It's a silent prayer every time I see their little faces.  It's a constant prayer in my heart.  


Novena to Saint Dymphna

O God, we humbly beseech you through your servant Saint Dymphna, who sealed with her blood the love she bore you, to grant relief to those who suffer from mental afflictions and nervous disorders, especially my loved one.

Saint Dymphna, helper of the mentally afflicted, pray for us.
Saint Dymphna, comforter of the despondent, pray for us.
Saint Dymphna, renowned for many miracles, please hear my plea.
Amen.

Lord God, Who has graciously chosen Saint Dymphna to be the patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders, and has caused her to be an inspiration and a symbol of charity to the thousands who invoke her intercession, grant through the prayers of this pure, youthful martyr, relief and consolation to all who suffer from these disturbances, and especially to those for whom we now pray. 



We beg You to accept and grant the prayers of Saint Dymphna on our behalf. Grant to those we have particularly recommended patience in their sufferings and resignation to Your Divine Will. Fill them with hope and, if it is according to Your Divine Plan, bestow upon them the cure they so earnestly desire. Grant this through Christ Our Lord. Amen. 



http://www.stdymphnasnyc.com/




Sunday, June 7, 2015

Covering my ears: La La La...

I wanted to believe there was a silver lining to everything when I was younger. There was a lesson to be learned with each life experience. And for my entire adult life I have convinced myself that getting date-raped when I was 17, (and a virgin), somehow saved me from a life of being controlled, manipulated, and dominated by a man. It protected me from losing myself. I was a strong girl. I was a tough girl. I was a righteous girl. And I would never let that happen to me again. I've even written about this, thinking maybe I could have talked to other young girls and protected them from getting into the situation I was in, and having it... happen to them... Because even when I wrote the last post about it, I still thought I could somehow prevent something like that, and you know what? That's not true. I couldn't. I couldn't stop it. And my "mistake" or "flaw" was that I trust people. And we should be able to trust people. We can teach boys and men to treat women like human beings... but are we, girls, always at the mercy of a stronger force, if they want something from us that we don't want to give?
You see, all through high school, I could always stop any boy from going too far, because I wanted to wait until I was really ready, which meant I would be deeply in love, which meant I would be married. That’s how my brain worked. 
Guys didn't try to cross a line that was clearly written in ink, not chalk.  I mean, Although I was a sexual person, I thought that was sex was for after marriage.  I dated others, after AJ.  I even thought I felt love a few more times. My boyfriends were satisfied enough.  And they respected my boundaries and my choices.  
...Sometimes choices are taken from you, and sometimes ink washes away. I was still 17, the February before my 18th birthday, when my then boyfriend, Ryan Johnston (yes, I used his real name), was kissing me in the backseat of his car.  We had been sledding, and he had found us a bottle of Southern Comfort, which he said I should drink to keep me warm.  I was giggly, and buzzed, and the adrenaline from tubing down a steep hill, and crashing at the bottom, with him, next to me, kissing me in the snow…  I lost my head…  He said he wanted to see my whole body at the same time: naked.  He had touched me almost all over, his hands all over my body.  They were rough.  They were always rough.  I’d never allowed myself to be so vulnerable to anyone… I never did.
I remember nervously pulling my dress over my head, and him sliding my leggings off me.  I remember him unhooking my bra, and then him kissing me too hard, and pushing against me too hard.  I didn't want him to take off my panties, and I didn't let him.  He said he just wanted to see me naked, because I had a “model perfect, beautiful body” and I shouldn't be shy.  It was winter, and we were in a darkened back seat.  The moon was out, because I could see his face.  I could see my breasts and my flat stomach, and my thighs as he pulled them down…
The car was running, heat was on, and the song Glycerine was playing on the radio.  I could see my naked body, my knees bent, feet on the seat, even though my head and neck were uncomfortably pushed against the car door.  It was easy for him to wedge his muscular thigh between my legs, and push them open No. please no. And he could pull my body towards his, so my head was flat and all I could see was the ceiling of the car.  His hands held down my arms, when I started trying to find his penis and keep it away from me.  I grabbed it and said, “Let me sit up, I’ll lick you instead, stop." Please.  I don’t want to do this. Instead he wrapped his hand over my fingers so I couldn't let go of him and directed himself inside me, pushing hard.  “No, no,” I said over and over.  “Look, you just did it to me.  You put me inside you.  You want it.”  No, no.  
He was a wrestler, and in no way compatible with me.  He pursued me, and I wonder if for some reason I needed the crude attention he offered… I’ll never know, really, why I fell into all of it.  I remember his father used to yell like crazy, in anger, at his youngest sister, in 2nd grade at the time, and she and I became very close.  I wanted to protect her.  His father was also the chief of police in our town.  He was an asshole.  They both were assholes. I didn't like him as a person. I didn't want to be in that backseat...
...And I said, “Stop, please, stop.  It hurts.”  I said it nine times, he told me after he was done.  I was crying and he told me to put on my clothes and get in the front seat.  “If you had said it 10 times, I was going to stop.”
He told me he knew once I “got it over with,” I would like it.  “I was trying to help you.  I knew you wanted it."  I looked out the window as he drove me home and I tried not to fall apart.  I told him it was okay.  I said, “It’s okay.  I’m okay.”  Was that the first time I uttered that lie? 
I didn't tell anyone, not for awhile.  I just changed, I wasn't myself, and no one knew why.  I wasn't so self-assured and outspoken.  I flinched when people hugged me.  I flinch now... That started again... The flinching... The pulling away... The sinking into myself. What kind of man loves like that?
So I didn't wait until I was married.  Sex didn't mean much to me, though.  And I only did it with one other boyfriend after Ryan, because my mom said it might help me feel less bad, or realize sex wasn't something that was just... bad.  I did understand it could feel good…  almost… there was potential there, that I wished I could know.  I never thought I would, and I stopped thinking about it.  
AJ and I kept coming back together at times, in the same innocent way we always did. Kisses and formals at his college. But we realized we had both grown up, and we had changed, and life had changed us, and we would never be the same.  That’s not always a bad feeling, to know and to stop.  We would always be friends.  We would always be friends.
In the scope of my life, now, it was not long after dating a best friend, that I married a best friend.  It was the February before I turned 23, when he asked me out. There were a lot of things that should have occurred to me that didn't-feel-so-good-about it all, but then again it felt just-right in every other way.  We decided we would marry each other, a decision made with great certainty and silliness, within a few months of dating.  And everything was handed to us to make it easy to keep moving forward.  My grandparents' friend, an older gentleman with no children, gave Sam the engagement ring which had been his mothers', which meant so much to me because I'm a sentimental girl. Gosh, I loved my grandparents more than the world.  They were the golden center of my universe.  They were my safety, and their house my safe place.  All was clean and good and right when you were with my nanny and grampy.  They really liked--and quickly came to love--Sam.  I loved them so much.  
         And aren't I safe from physical violence and evil?  Did I learn that lesson?  Have I been protected from being manipulated, and losing myself, because of the silver-lining of losing my virginity against my will?  No. No!  I let others dictate my happiness.  I trust.  I don't think I learned a damn thing from my experience in high school.
       I've found myself, even as a married women, in too many situations that brought back all the memories of being 17: having my body ripped, and my mind torn apart.  I am reminded that I'm weak, and susceptible, still...  And I'll never know if it's because I was raped when I was a kid, or if it's because I was the kind of girl who would get raped at 17.  I am the kind of woman who will possibly be emotionally raped over, and over, and over, again, until I completely break apart, not to be put back together again.
       'Cause I just cover my ears and "Lalalalalala" and pretend.  I'm so good at that.  You love me, you love me, you love me, you love me, la, la la...  And what does sex mean anyway?  Nothin'.


Hush, don't speak 
When you spit your venom, keep it shut I hate it.
When you hiss and preach,
about your new Messiah 'cause your theories catch fire.

I can't find your silver lining
I don't mean to judge
but when you read you speech, it's tiring.
I'm covering my ears like a kid


When your words mean nothing, I go la la la
I'm turning off the volume when you speak
'Cause if my heart can't stop it, I found a way to block it, 
I go La la la la la la la la la la la la la la
I found a way to block it, 
I go La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la



Yes our love is running out of time, I won't count the hours, rather be a coward
When our words collide
I'm gonna drown you out before I lose my mind

I can't find your silver lining
I don't mean to judge
But when you read your speech, it's tiring
Enough is enough



I'm covering my ears like a kid
When your words mean nothing, I go la la la
I'm turning off the volume when you speak
Cause if my heart can't stop it, I found a way to block it

I'm covering my ears like a kid
When your words mean nothing, I go la la la
I'm turning off the volume when you speak
Cause if my heart can't stop it, I found a way to block it


I go La la la la la la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la. I found a way to block it, 
I go, la la la la la la la la la la la la la la La la la la la la la la la la la la la la laaaaa...
La la la la I found a way to block it, I go, la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
I found a way to block it, I go...



Friday, June 5, 2015

I beg your pardon.

Loretta Lynn was my favorite singer when I was three years old.  I had her record and I had my own little blue Fisher Price record player, that really worked.  I knew how to put the record on the player all by myself and I used to play itr over and over.  I knew all the words to, "Don't Come Home a'Drinkin' with Loving on Mind," and "You Ain't Woman Enough to Take my Man."  If you asked me where I grew up I'd say, "Butcha' holla'," and if you asked me what my daddy did for a living I'd say, "He works in the coal mines."  That's weird, huh?  

When I found the "Stand By Your Man: First Ladies of Country" CD for under $3.00, I bought it.  Of course. Mikhaila was a kid.  We listened to it.  When you have a little-kid sister, and you're a teenager, it's important to play wholesome music with positive messages whenever you are in each other's company.  

You'll have bad times, and he'll have good times, doin' things that you don't understand.  But if you love him, you'll forgive him, even though he's hard to understand.  And if you love him, oh be proud of him: 'Cause after all he's just a man," is a life lesson she needed to learn at an early age. It is pretty self explanatory, but the wholesome message is:  Men might run around on you, but as a woman you better as Hell not.  And you don't have to understand his hurtful behavior, just forgive him, because he's just a stupid asshole guy.  Oh, and stay with him, no matter what.  


Obviously: "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman, giving all your love to just one man.
There are many great songs by Loretta Lynn.  "You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man, and Fist City," also hold important messages for a 6-8 year old.  I think Mikhaila appreciated them.  You see, Loretta Lynn is just taking it a step further than Tammy Wynette, and says she'll beat the crap out of any woman she catches with her husband... but she'll still stand by her man.  She stood by her man, and she said most of her songs were inspired by real events, too.  It's super inspiring that Loretta Lynn and Doo Lynn stayed together until he passed away (from natural causes).  They were married for 47 years.


So this great CD had Coal Miner's Daughter, and 9 to 5, and Harper Valley PTA on it.  It also had the song by Lynn Anderson, Rose Garden.  The other day Mikhaila was quoting that song to me for a very important purpose that I can't remember.  But instead of a direct quote she instead said, "You don't always get a rose garden when you expect one."  Then, of course she corrected herself, because she remembers the lyrics to ever song she's ever heard.  She told me that.

So, in this particular Lynn Anderson song, also know as, "I Beg Your Pardon," she's super polite about telling the guy to stop expecting too much from her.   Too much.  And Anderson says she isn't supposed to hand him everything on a silver platter, even if she wanted to...  And most importantly, "Let's be jolly." (Just kidding, although that is great advice for living), but most importantly she says: 
"You'd better look before you leap 
still waters run deep
And there won't always be someone there to pull you out
And you know what I'm talking about." 
  
Do you know what she's talking about?  (If you don't then your still waters don't run deep).  She's saying she's not some stupid girl who will be treated subhuman by a man.  She is smart and thoughtful, and if he isn't into that kind of thing, go marry Tammy Wynette.   
Now I have to remember why in the heck Mikhaila brought the song up in the first place...  Hmmmm...

(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden


Big hair also helped a lady keep her man.
     
I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometime

When you take you gotta give so live and let live and let go oh oh oh oh

I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

I could promise you things like big diamond rings

But you don't find roses growin' on stalks of clover

So you better think it over

Well, if sweet talking you could make it come true

I would give you the world right now on a silver platter

But what would it matter


So smile for a while and let's be jolly love shouldn't be so melancholy

Come along and share the good times while we can

I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometime

I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

I could sing you a tune and promise you the moon

But if that's what it takes to hold you I'd just as soon let you go

But there's one thing I want you to know

You'd better look before you leap still waters run deep

And there won't always be someone there to pull you out


And you know what I'm talking about

So smile for a while and let's be jolly love shouldn't be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can


I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometime...

                                           
 -Lynn Anderson