Thursday, July 30, 2015

Heart Rocks.

Stella, 2009
When I was a kid, and my family would go to the Maine or Massachusetts shoreline, my mom would always find heart-shaped rocks and show them to me.  She would keep one, and I would find one of my own and keep it too.  Since then, even now, I have never been to a beach where I haven't looked for one heart-shaped rock that I slip into my beach bag and bring home.

The twins find them now, too.  Stella likes to find as many as she can!  We have many beach rocks throughout the house, or even still hiding in beach bags full of plastic beach toys covered in sand, that we forget to empty out, until next year's trip to Maine.

We already have a "rock garden" full of beach rocks.

Michael, stopped looking for hearts, early one, and still likes to find ones that have interesting geological features, not focusing one shape.

On Easter, we looked for egg-shaped rocks on the beach.

Stella has always partial to the perfectly rounded ones.

But I still find my heart on the beach each year.  It doesn't have to be perfectly shaped.  I just know when I've found the right one.

I don't give them away, usually.  I show them to the kids, then put it in my pocket or my bag.  I don't give my heart rocks away.  Maybe I keep them because of the childhood memories; I don't know.  When I find the right one--the one that is smooth under my fingertips, and has a divot or wedge on one end, and a rounded, soft, point on the other--I can't put it back on the beach.  It feels like I'm going to miss it, if I throw back my heart, into the water, or to let it fall and scatter among the piles of rocks at the high tide line of the sand.  I'll miss my heart rock.  Nature made them, not me.  They formed all on their own.  They don't belong to me, I guess, but they feel so much like they do.


I think when our heart is touched by someone deeply, or times in our lives pass far too quickly, we miss our hearts as much as we miss those people and those moments... when they are gone...  I mean.

 It feels like it slipped from my fingers, into the vast waters of the Atlantic.  The foamy surf quickly comes along and you can't see it anymore... and it's pushed along with the waves.  And your chest aches, yeah? Even if there are hundreds of heart rocks in my house-- in jars, on shelves, and in rock gardens, all around me-- I'll miss the ones that fell out of my hand.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Candles in the rain.

Lay down, lay down, lay it all down
Let your white birds smile At the ones who stand and frown
Some came to sing, some came to pray
Some came to keep the dark away

This is not a blog post about a controversial war in a foreign country, so why am I using Melanie's song to ground my thoughts here?  I don't know. I don't know.  I've listened to her voice a lot lately.  Maybe I'm writing about internal wars, within ourselves. When I hear the song, I think:  Don't be like me! Don't make your story my story.  Rewrite a beautiful story, and know something else is out there, and this can't be it.  This can't be it. There is a cure for all that is hurting and damaging you now.  Darkness is lit with light.  Of course.  

Yet, I want to be dead... no, I just don't want to be alive.  I want to disappear, stop existing...  I want to blow out the candle, and somehow, I wish I that could happen in a way that no one would miss me or care.  

What is sadness?  Is it different for all people?  Is it darkness?  Yeah... I know sadness.  I don't need someone to tell me what it's all about.  I know it.
I know it.
I know it.


For some people it's a deep and biting emotion, ripping them apart; for others, it's a cause for tears, yet a hope for something better.  It can mean empathy. It can mean sympathy.  

For me, it's emptiness.  It's nothing.  It's nothingness. It's apathy.  It's not even a feeling; it's an absence of feeling.  

I'd rather cry.  I want to cry when there is reason to mourn.  I'd rather cry and feel pain, when there is cause for sadness... Because fading into numbness is like being inhuman.  It makes me feel less human.  Emotions are human.  I want to feel everything, even if it's pain.

And what excuse do I have for my numbness and fucked up head, anyway? And I want to know the why and how, and not just accept things as they are and "how they will always be." Why can't I just meditate PMDD out of my body and brain?  Why can't I stop thinking about it, and then have it just go away?  I don't know... It always helped to know when it would start, and when it would end.  It was a way to prepare myself and then know relief was on the way.  I've actually tried ignoring the calendar and just wishing it away, or wishing it would not be this day or that day, but it didn't work.  It's not a placebo effect.  I wish it were.  

I always want blame PMDD.  It is easy to use as a label: I have PMDD, so I'm fucking sad, or numb, or a bitch sometimes. But, deep down, I don't like excuses.  I don't like labels.  Depression isn't a death sentence. I've always known this.  Why is PMDD different?  There are some things that help people, even if they are drastic.  I could get my insides taken out... all the reproductive organs.  That's the last line of treatment.  Nothing else has worked yet.  I'm scared to go through menopause when I feel like I'm still a kid.  I'm not so old.  I know I am, but I don't feel it.

We were so close, there was no room
We bled inside each other's wounds
We all had caught the same disease
And we all sang the songs of peace

And I'm in darkness, now.  I let stress trigger worse symptoms and bring me lower and darker.  Am I weak for letting a person bring me to this place, and take so much away from me?  I am black against the night. The rain is soaking my hair and permeating my skin.  My candle...

I spent a life of caring about people and humanity and the world, and then I stopped caring about anything. All I wanted to do was help people.  That was why I wanted to be a teacher.  I would never work in a field that wasn't helping people in a significant way.  Now I do nothing.  It all came crashing down around me and I stopped feeling angry, or sad.  I just stopped feeling.

So raise candles high
'Cause if you don't we could stay black against the night
Oh, raise them higher again
And if you do we could stay dry against the rain

Melanie's voice has this tremble, and roughness as the song progresses... and there is sadness that penetrates my thoughts. She sounds sad, but hopeful.  She asks us to raise our lights high...  to do what you can to not fade into darkness.  She wrote the song after performing at Woodstock, seeing the sea of candles in the crowds, and because in 1969 she and her peers were amongst the horror and quagmire that was the Vietnam War.  


We were so close, there was no room
We bled inside each other's wounds
We all had caught the same disease
And we all sang the songs of peace

So raise candles high
'Cause if you don't we could stay black against the sky
Oh, oh, raise them higher again
And if you do we could stay dry against the rain

I don't want to stay black against the sky.  I don't want to be drenched in novocaine and denial.  I don't want to hide behind a numbness that is comfortable and easy for me to fall into.  It's my deep, dark, wet well.  I sit at the bottom and cover my face.  I don't even have a candle down there.  The lack of oxygen would not allow it to light.  I would need someone to drop one down to me.  And I would need to strike a match with my heart, and to raise it up, as far as I could reach and hope the flame stayed burning and someone would see it in the darkness of the pit that is depression.  

Lay down, lay down, lay it all down
Let your white birds smile
At the ones who stand and frown
Lay down, lay down, lay it all down
Let your white birds smile
At the ones who stand and frown



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kiddies + Kitties = Ketamine (or Klonopin... or wine).

The moments when our children are harassing our new kittens to the point where we hear squealing from human voices, and crying from feline voices, is the time when I mix myself a drink.  If I had Ketamine, I would take that fucking shit like it was part of my daily regimen.  Kids won't leave cats alone?  Ketamine time.  I don't have Ketamine, and I don't resort to drunkenness to deal with my children having selective hearing when it comes to the treatment of their new and only pets.  I wish I were drunk, I'll admit, and I wish I had Ketamine, although I have never used the stuff and I don't even know what it is really.   It just happened to be on our latest veterinarian bill for the kittens shots and their neutering and spaying.  Ketamine.  If it got our little kitty Luke through getting his balls cut off, and Leia through an invasive surgery removing her reproductive organs, than it sounds like it might be a fun time.

Hey.  I'm kidding.  Not really.  Hmmmm...  Can you figure out when I'm telling the truth?  I do find myself subconsciously looking for my bottle of Klonopin, or wondering if there is any alcohol in the fridge or cupboards, when I have said for the 10th time, "If the cat doesn't want to be picked up, put it back down and leave it alone.  It's a living being, not a toy."  Ha!  My genius daughter turned this around on me one time and said, "Mommy, how are we supposed to know how to take care of pets, you never let us have any until now."  Right.

You see, I'm allergic to cats and dogs and too much dust, and seasonal shit in the air.  I have had terrible allergies in the past, as I have written, and only surgery to open up my sinuses and suck the crap out of them that had been sitting there for years, I imagine, has allowed me to breathe right now, as long as I take my allergy medicine.  One pill, two sniffs up each nostril, and I'm all good for kittens and pollen.

Now I thought the biggest issue we would have with giving our children their God given right of having a childhood pet, would be my allergies.  But it's not.  It's the grating sound of cats meowing in peril, and our children yelling, "It's not me, I didn't touch the cats!"  Yet they did, and they are.  Liars.  My children don't lie, except when it comes to kitty treatment...  Until recently.

Two days ago both Luke and Leia Skywalker Coleman went in for their necessary kitten shots, de-worming, and fixing...  or de-reproduction abilifying.  The twins went to the appointment and saw the kittens being checked over by a veterinarian, just as they have been checked over many times by their pediatrician.  And they had to say goodbye to the kitties for a few nights, so surgeries and some recovery could be performed in the safety of the animal hospital.

The cats are home today.  The children are terrified of the cats.  They are fragile beings now.  Stitches that could be pulled or licked too much?  Her insides were extracted?  His balls were cut off?  Stella was wailing, "You are a bad, bad parent," at me because I told her that we didn't have to follow the kittens around for the ten "recovery days" and watch them every second.  I went outside to escape her crying that Leia's "Elizabethan cone" had come off when she was playing with her kitty brother:  "It came off, she'll lick her stomach and die!" Stella cried.

"NO, Stella she will not die.  I was cut open and you and Michael were both pulled out of my abdomen, and I was walking the next day and I didn't die.  If someone wanted to lick my stitches, I would not have given a..."
"Mommmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyy, she'll die!"

"Nope.  She won't.  She won't die."

"I have to go play Terraria and get my mind off this," she signed dramatically.  Please watch Leia!"  And with that, she swept out of the room.

I drank a little Rum and Coke and decided to write. I am writing this, and I write other things, and that's what calms me down.  I calm down when I imagine someone is listening.  I write...  I was writing and I heard Stella skittering down the stairs.  She said, "Terraria really calmed me down.  Terraria always calms me down.  It's like the real world, but magic."  She talks very fast, sometimes, and then added,  "Hey a hummingbird!  It's drinking the nectar of the lilies.  Did you know baby hummingbirds are the size of the penny?  It's nest is the size of a quarter.  I think that's true fact."  I told her that was very interesting and wondered how she knew it and she brushed it aside with, "I read about it, mommy."
And finally, "I've gotta get back to the game.  Don't worry, if you want to play, you can play Terraria with us too.  You will totally relax if you play with us."

I sipped my coke, put down this darn computer, and went to play Terraria.  And I came back to add, that it is not only not relaxing, it's very stressful with falling down holes, and needing magic devices to live, which you must earn, and zombies and all that.   (And it is sure taken very seriously by two children I happen to live with.  "Mommy, you're going to die!").

Friday, July 17, 2015

Blonde.

1981
I wasn't born blonde.  I was born with thick, almost black hair, and at 9lbs, 12oz.,  my mother said I looked like a sumo wrestler.  I was chunky and I was hers.  She said that:  "You were all mine."

My hair fell out in patches when I was a toddler, revealing a light brown color that would, lighten in the sun.  That was the color of my hair.  You can see it in the pictures.  I was born with dark hair.  The light, sun-streaked color changed to a decided brown.  Just plain brown.  
2012
Yet, born one or not, I don't know how to be a brunette.   don't know how to have brown hair.  I have been a blonde for so long.  I have been blonde since I was 14.  I was a bottle "born blonde" when my mom realized I was not only self-conscious about my looks, I had good reason to be.  Yeah, mom?  I was gawky and ugly.  I was a cute kid, then I grew tall and skinny, with big feet and a big nose and a long, thin face.  My brown hair, featuring bangs framing my face, which hung straight as a stick, was no longer going to be acceptable.  My natural hair wasn't flattering to my natural face.  My natural hair wasn't flattering to my natural being.  I was a blonde.  I had to rise to something greater than a mousy brunette, or I was going to disappear.

I didn't disappear.  I grew into my body and face.  My hair was blonde.  My skin was tan.  I wore padded bras, and short skirts.  My mom taught me how to be 'beautiful.'  Boobs, hair, and brains.  I still had brains, even if I didn't act like I did sometimes.  Body and mind.
There's a persona that is filled in with blonde hair and boobs.  I can cook too.  I'll bake you a pie.
2013.  Look at that cleavage and hair.

My hair is brown, now. I'm lost... I've been lost for years, now, but I don't know how to be exteriorly so altered, it seems, even though my mind is so often lost.  I don't think men will ever understand that.  They don't change as much as women can and do in so little time.  If a man shaves off his hair, it's not a big deal.  He looks the same with shaved hair.  If a woman is suddenly bald, she isn't the same.  She isn't so sexy.  Don't lie.  Don't pretend she is.  If her breasts shrivel up, and shrink to nothing, we aren't so hot, are we?  Luckily plastic surgery can right the wrongs that time and motherhood wage against us.  If we stop worked out our asses, we're just flabby, yeah?  We should cover that up.  If we gain a little weight, we've got muffin top, yeah?  
1984.  Long brown hair.


I've heard so many women lament last years' beach body, and explain why they must wear a one-piece this year,  not a bikini last year.  "I just wasn't ready for summer."  "I was sick, I had a long injury and couldn't keep in shape like I wanted to." A mom told me that on the beach, this past week.  As if she needed to explain a tankini.  She said, "I figure I can move it so I can get tan.  Fat looks better tan."  What?  The next day my friend, who said she wasn't ready for summer, and who said her stomach was fat, wore a bikini all day.  She looked beautiful.  I knew my thighs were fatter this year.

Maybe I knew.  I was trying 'it' on before Kindergarten.  
I don't have any pictures of me on the beach from this year...  No, I think there are some, but I won't show anyone, though.  My thighs are fatter.  My hair is brown. I knew I couldn't act the same, or carry myself with the same confidence.  Shame on me for not doing enough pilates, and for being a crazy lady who decides to try to save money and do my own hair color.  (Don't do it, if you want to look pretty).  You can't be blonde from a box, at home.  It just doesn't work out.  Shell it out.

 I have brown hair, and I know I can't handle it.  Long blonde hair isn't the same as dull, mid-length brown hair.  I have tried to pretend to be a brunette for months, now, because people said, "I like it," but I don't like it.  I know what the public wants, baby.  I know.  Breasts, and blonde hair, and fucking confidence.  Stand up straight.  Suck it in and pretend you think you're hot stuff.  You better feel beautiful, or you aren't at all.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Soundtrack.

I have one.  Music pushes me to feel, (sometimes), when I feel nothing.  I feel something when I listen to music, even when it seems like it's all over now baby blue.  Music often makes me feel sad, because I'm often sad.

I'm sure I'm choosing musicians, (and songs), that agree with my state of mind, and that there are many songs and artists that aren't dwelling on wrecking themselves like Ice Cube and I.  I listen to songs over and over again.  I want them to stop the lost feeling.  I want them to tell me "what now?"  And I wonder if those artists felt so badly, if those feelings were worth putting onto paper and to notes and beats and rhythm, than did singing about it help them?  Or did they write something generic, and something that fit a stereotype of sadness and despair and loss that they thought would resonate with the general population?  Are they crazy baby?

I don't know.  I don't really care.  Even as the songs change, the theme stays the same.  I'm beggin  for thread.  I have realized when or if I...  Wow, I don't care what I'm writing about.  I'm tired of eating my misspoken words.  I did for a minute, then it went away.  PMDD...  That's how it works.  Summertime Sadness.  I was going to say if I ever write my novel, it will follow that same theme, and then I have told my sad story, and I can go away.  All the songs are taken.  Big girls cry. My ship was to wreck.  I'm a sad girl.

I have a story to tell.  It's not a happy story, I think.   My soundtrack tells a sad story, at least.  It goes on and on, in a circle; and none of it is real; and the happiness is temporary and taken; and the sadness and loss is constant and violent.  People lose their parents in tragic accidents, or have terrible things happen to them, and I don't feel like I am suffering more than they...  I know I'm not.  I do know that I am not healthy enough to watch my sister disappear and come back and disappear again.  I know I am not healthy enough to accept that my nanny and grampy won't ever live in their house together and it can't be my refuge.  I know I am not healthy enough to stop ripping myself to pieces. I know I'm not healthy enough to accept that my mommy is gone.  I know I'm not healthy enough to accept that I'm not happy...  not enough to change it.  I know that other people experience terrible tragedies.  I just know that I'm really messed up emotionally, and I am not as strong as others might be.  I'm weak and stupid.  I'm a quitter, and a crier.  I'm a cutter and a dyer.

Sometimes I have an elastic heart.  Sometimes my threads stretch, but don't break.

I will write it all out, from the beginning, so no one thinks it's just their fault.  Truly, it's my fault for being so weak and empty and fucked up.  But some people need to take responsibility for cutting the thin threads holding me here... the threads that kept me safe.  The ones who went straight for the knife.

You know.  I've been told that I'm the normal one in my family.  I'm the healthy one.  (My family would not agree.  If you're reading this, my loving family, you are absolutely the most sane, and you know I'm losing my religion).  But those people need to squint their eyes and look closer.  I'm the most likely to check out of life.  I'm the one who tried to hold everything together for so long, and I think I did it.  My grampy told me I did.  I'm the one who was holding everyone else here.  And yet, I was being separated from here all along... I'm the weakest one of all.  I'm fucked up, mom.  Daddy, I'm really a mess.  Run, Daddy Run.  I'm fucked up, Mikhaila.  I'm not 32 flavors.  Sam, I'm so fucked up you don't understand.  I'm lost.  You are right.  I know nothing of fidelity, or being one of the lucky ones.  I'm not a lucky one this time.  And I cover my ears and sing, Lalala, crying in the shower.

My babies...  I don't want to fuck them up. I so often willing to disappear, and I don't care.  I don't care about anything but stopping the thoughts in my head and the pain that electrifies me in every way.  I keep thinking, It can be this day.  This night is okay for going away.  This night is ultraviolent.  I think in that negative manner so many days.  I can't Strike another match, go start anew.  I'm thinking that now, and wondering why I'm such a bitch, that I can't just do it and save everyone the trouble of dealing with me.  I am thinking that way right now.  When I wake up, I will be okay.  That irrational thinking won't be so tangible and overwhelming a feeling.  And I'll understand that the threads that connect me to my children, and therefore to life, are made of titanium.

Titanium.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"What a fish it was. There has never been such a fish...."

I am in Maine.  I am near the ocean.  I love the ocean.  I love Maine.  I feel empty and strange.  I feel an expanse of flat nothingness to the horizon, like the ocean at high tide.  "It goes on forever," Stella said.  The water goes all the way to the sky.  It seems that way, doesn't it?

I feel alone when I am not alone.  Sometimes, I feel lonely for myself.  Where did I go?  Why am I all alone, here?  Why isn't anyone looking for me?   Am I far out there in a little boat like Santiago, struggling with my own giant Marlin... alone?  I'm not alone, though.  Am I?  I shouldn't say that.  It's insulting to people around me to say that "I am alone," or, "I feel lonely."  I think it's insulting to them.

But can someone be home, yet feel homesick?  Can their house not feel like home?  Can another person be their home, their respite?  Can a smell be home?  An embrace?  A taste?  Love?  Can love be home?  What is love?  What is home?  How can you be lonely if you don't know where to miss?  How can you be lonely if you don't know who to miss?

What if... you know...  What if the person you miss, doesn't miss you?  What if you aren't his or her home, even if he or she feels so deeply comforting, and warm, and right?  

I guess it means you don't have a home.
Persona Non Grata.

I guess that makes you feel lonely.

I wonder if someday, the head and tail of my marlin, (even if it's middle was ravaged by sharks), washes ashore, and I will see the beauty in the struggle, and the victory in the catch.  I wonder if I'll always feel defeated and walk away, and people will say, "So where's her big fish?"  


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Big deal, so what, who cares...

I was 22 and working in a little, rural school as the "Computer Teacher."  I had just graduated from UVM in May, and started teaching that August.  I originally applied for a reading teaching position at the elementary school, but it had been filled in house that very day.  As the principal walked me out, he asked me if I knew anything about computers.  He said he would love to hire me for another position they had just created for the school teaching computers and running the little schools' network.  I accepted on the spot and was interviewed later, as a formality.  

Lucy and Alyssa.
Mount Holly School housed kindergarten through 6th grade, and I worked with all the classes, and every student in the building, however Lucy and Alyssa became my little buddies within the first weeks of teaching. There were just about the cutest little first graders you can imagine.  They were also far above their classmates in reading and writing, and came to work with me every morning for "enrichment."

Lucy and Alyssa did advanced reading with me, primarily, but we also designed and created webpages and movies on a variety of topics; we learned about other cultures and I taught them basic French and Spanish; we hiked the nature trail...  I was given complete freedom with them, and their imagination was our playground.  Later, I was given rotating groups of first, then the next year, second graders (Same class of kids), because the teachers realized my intensive time and work with them was increasing their reading skills, and advancing the students forward much faster than if they only had full class instruction.  The second year I was there, the principal, John Notte, joked that their standardized state reading scores spiked so high, that it would make them look bad if they had normal scores ever again.  Anyway, Lucy and Alyssa's moms complained when they didn't get to spend as much time with me, and we started an afterschool "club," for just the three of us to make up for missed time.  They came to my wedding with their families.  I miss them.  The other day I heard a song Lucy and Alyssa used to love to sing along to with me, called Big Deal, by LeAnn Rimes.  I was behind that glass again, in my Mount Holly time capsule.

I left Mount Holly School in 2002, when I was offered a job as technology coordinator in Springfield.  The commute to Mount Holly was long and treacherous in the winter.  I wish I had never left Mount Holly. It was my first teaching job, and I had no idea how great I had it... until I left.  I applied for other jobs closer to Springfield, where we were living at the the time and where Sam was working, and was offered every job I applied for.  I regret my decision, still.  I think my life became more complicated in other ways than just a long drive, when I took the new job.
Computer Teacher love from a middle school student in Springfield.  
The next job decision I made, which was a poor one, was leaving the technology coordinator position to teach English at the high school.  I was pregnant, I was convinced by very supportive administrators, and my parents, to take a job that was stationary and less "stress."  I took the job for my father.  I made a lot of choices based on making my parents happy once I was working in Springfield School District which changed my life, and put me here, laying in my bed for long stretches of my days.

I digress.  When I was teaching Sophomore English, not so very long ago, I usually began the year with The Catcher in the Rye and not far into the book came an essay question about something we have tried to put behind the glass of a display case in The Museum of Natural History, as Holden visits the museum and says how he likes that nothing changes... nothing  should change.

Do you have people who live in time capsules in your memory, or moments in your life you have placed behind glass?  They don't change, even though the world changes around us.  We change, yet there is no change in that capsule.  That's how teaching, at Mount Holly, and in Springfield are to me, now.

At Mount Holly Elementary School.  It was a tiny school, in a tiny town.  Of course, I loved all the students, however I could not help but see Alyssa and Lucy as very special.  They both exist in a second grade time capsule, still.  They exist as I last saw them when I left that little school, despite watching them grow up on Facebook.   They exist as those little, silly, wide eyed kids, even though my own babies are now the exact age of my frozen-in-time Lucy and Alyssa.  Is that unhealthy? When I left and lost contact with all the wonderful people at Mount Holly School, my mind never advanced any of them beyond when and where I last knew them.  Maybe that's normal.  Sometimes I imagine my children meeting second grade Lucy and Alyssa and playing together.  That's not normal.

I think when abrupt changes happen in one's life, he or she can get lost in the past.  I am sometimes lost in my mind, imagining my last Sophomore English class, before I stopped teaching, didn't just graduate from high school, and are all still 15 and 16.  I imagine my classroom is still, well, mine--the one adjoining my father's room.  I imagine I'm still a teacher.  I forget sometimes how much time has passed and is passing. Next school year, I could visit the high school, and I wouldn't know any of the students.  Things have changed there, and people have changed.

And things do change, and people change.  Kids grow up.  My babies are growing up!
People move on.  Life keeps going on and on and on.  I don't like being left behind, but I don't always know how to move along, and forward.  I step sideways and let others pass...  Or they push past me...  And I can't stop them.