April 16, 2017

My fifth grader wants to skip a grade. She also wants to go to a private boarding school for high school. I don’t think the two are congruent. 

We had a disagreement tonight. She was talking about skipping a grade for social reasons, and I was talking educational. When I said to forget her friends and think about being in the best college and being the most successful her, she burst into tears and said I was being mean and she’d never forget her friends. This wasn’t what in meant at all. We backtracked and I had us both restate and mirror the others words. Things cleared up quickly, but she’s a sensitive girl and the tears were still flowing. It was tense and hard. I asked her to imagine herself in the first few weeks of seventh grade in the fall, with all her classmates around her having attended sixth grade except for her. She got it. Then we discussed the need to be alone following this discussion, and she finished her dinner as I finished laundry downstairs. 

I felt angry and wanted to know what that was all about. I was triggered, but clear headed enough to know that it wasn’t really anger that I felt. What was behind it? I was hurt. She’d called me mean. I never meant to be mean. I never intend to be mean. But I’ve been called mean by my parents all my life. They raised me to believe that I am mean, when that’s not who I am. It’s who they need me to be. The role I play in their lives, through their filters. I believed it and played along for a long time. Until I woke up and realized that I’m only mean with them. They expect me to be mean and I walk right into it. It’s a survival skill that I’ve shed. I have many close, loving, kind friends and none of them see me as mean. I don’t see me as mean because I’m not. 

So when my daughter called me mean, it triggered me,  and I felt anger to mask the hurt. 

I’m glad I have the tool to walk away calmly and examine my triggers. I know I am looking out for my daughter’s best interest. A skipped grade would be a horrendous mistake for her education. We had a misunderstanding and worked it out. And by the end, we agreed that yes, socially it’s hard to be in her grade, but educationally it’s the right thing for her. 

And I got to work on my trigger and grow within myself. 

December 24, 2016

Tonight, my parents told me they hated me as a person. I knew this. They told me they think I’m a loser, a slut, and a drug addict. They said my tattoos are disgusting. They told me that my wonderful children are that way because of who they are as people, the luck of the draw, and that I did nothing to contribute that. They disrespect me as a parent and as a person. 

I told them I don’t need their approval, that I think they are mean, judgmental, and terrible parents. They take no responsibility for their nasty and immature behavior. Somehow, they think they were ideal parents when I was a child, and that they are above reproach now. 

Their very behavior this evening proves that wrong. 

While what they said of course hurts, it actually feels good to have it out in the open. I know who I am, and I’m sorry they can’t see that. No one in my life treats me the way they do. I have a wonderful relationship with my children. I have an amazing community of close friends. My love life is complicated right now because my partner died recently, but I am not a slut. Even if I were, my sexuality is not a bad thing if it isn’t hurting anyone else. They just want to shame me. I’ve never done anything to hurt them, but I suppose different and having different values from them is enough. I value my uniqueness. I thrive when I march to the beat of my own drums. 

This happens often with them. They have done this before. I’m so fed up with it and I don’t want to do it anymore. I won’t do it anymore. I told them tonight I’m not coming back to their vacation home. They were surprised. Why would they be surprised? Would they really expect me to walk into their web again? At the end of the conversation, I told them I just needed two things from them. The first is to let me be my children’s parent and to not compete or act like they are. The other is to not talk about me behind my back, especially in front of my children. My kids have agreed to hold them to this. 

While my parents have walked around angry for two days, I’ve gone about my life like nothing has happened. I’ve smiled and enjoyed myself. Why should I let the poison they swallowed kill me? 

I spent the rest of the evening laughing and hugging my girls. We had a great night together. They told me they disagree with everything my parents say about me. I told them I’d love them unconditionally no matter what life choices they make. 

That’s what matters. 

October 2, 2016

Three months gone.

My lover died three months ago today, and it feels like an eternity, and it feels like yesterday. 

My focus now is to let go of my guilt from having more sunny days than rainy ones. I can hear your voices now, telling me, “Oh no, Absinthia, you mustn’t feel guilty for moving on!” I disagree in two ways. 

First, I’m not sure what moving on really means, but I’m pretty sure you don’t do it when someone you love dies. Be it your lover, child, parent, friend, sibling…you never move on. Whether you intentionally process your grief or you stuff it, you carry that person with you in your heart and your memories. You still love, and you still live, and you don’t let go, but rather you hold on to your lossed love and take the lessons learned with and from them into the rest of your days. I feel like moving on is too Sunshine of the Eternal Mind. This can’t be erased. 

I’ve always taken issue with any sentence that begins, “you mustn’t feel.” Oh hell yes, I’m feeling! I’m feeling all the things, sometimes all at once and sometimes one at a time. It’s uncomfortable and hard and enlightening and amazing. One of those feelings is guilt. 

Being human means seeking healing, wanting what will feel good, finding ease. He’d want me to heal and be happy. I want that, too. I’m interested in work again, I’m positively parenting my girls again, I’m nervous and excited about starting school. While the first two months of desperate grief, of not being able to get dressed, of anxiety meds and sleeping pills, made me feel horrible, this last month – since Burning Man and the start of my first ever SSRI – the feeling has moved from horrible to grounded. I’m hopeful for my future. I’m smiling and joining the world outside of my home. And feeling guilty about it. 

My guilt is an important piece of my healing process. Just like anger can have an important positive place, so too can guilt. Anger makes change. Anger gets shit done. Guilt shows me my progress. Guilt reminds me of how I felt before, and how I am feeling now. Guilt shows me the rewards of everything I’m doing to heal and to live my life and to accomplish my goals. 

I acknowledge my guilt as I grieve. I thank my guilt. I welcome it when it is needed, and I release it when I am able. 

July 25, 2016

Oh, hello anger.

WebSomeone I barely know is posting about how amazing life is and when bad things happen, you need to pick yourself up because it is all about how to react to it.

I unfriended her.

Rupert is still listed as going to an upcoming event we’d discussed. I think it may be time to alert FB and make his wall a memorial page so this stops. It’s too hard to see.

I guess I must be accepting all this one some level, because the anger I never expected to feel shows up from time to time. Oh, hello anger. They said we would meet. I wasn’t really expecting you, I don’t need you, you aren’t welcome here.

But you seem to show up for people dealing with what I am dealing with, feeling what I am feeling. So perhaps you are necessary. Guess I need to acknowledge you and say hi. How’s it going?

I’m angry that he hurt me. We promised we wouldn’t hurt each other! We talked about the bond of the grief of Alexius and how we couldn’t hurt each other! And you died! You hurt me you hurt me you hurt me! I AM ANGRY!

I am angry at sleeping alone. At being single. I am angry that my boyfriend is dead, and all I have is his mother’s ring. I am angry that I am sad all the time, and that I don’t give a shit about much of anything. I am angry that we were so happy and now you are dead and I am sad.

So much for not having a meltdown tonight. I think it is time for a sleeping pill. It has been nearly a week, so that is progress.

July 24, 2016

Anger and Fear

We’ve been watching Weeds on Netflix.

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Tonight, Nancy said, “He had a heart attack. Now I have no one to talk to.” I woke up this morning feeling angry. I have been told this emotion is coming but have been surrounded by so much love and kindness and sadness that I haven’t felt it yet. I was angry at being alone in my bed. I was angry that I was single again. I was angry because we had such an amazing sex life, and I am alone. I was angry because he was my partner, the one I told my daily bumps to, the one who told me his. The one who sometimes showed me how I wanted to behave, who taught me by just being him. The one who kissed me and loved me and wanted to make me smile. Who once said to me, “Stop being so cute!” I replied, “Are you sure you want that?” “No! No, you’re right!”

And yet here I am, alone. But he didn’t leave me. He didn’t take away his love. He wants to be right next to me, making me come, making me smile, making me coffee when I wake up two hours after him.

I’m not angry at him. I am angry at the situation. No one chose this. No one did this. No one can tell me to take responsibility for what happens in my life, not around this. Even the grieving and moving “through” and healing and hurting and having good days and bad, and feeling lost, and feeling grateful for the time we had and the lessons I learned. No one can tell me to do it differently, and I can’t choose how I feel each day.

I can only choose what I do with those feelings. Sometimes, I will be in the middle of the conversation and suddenly I imagine myself wailing on the floor right here, right now, like I did in that hotel room. I snap myself out and find the thread of the conversation and jump back in. My new catch phrase is, “I’m sorry, I missed that, can you please repeat what you just said?” because my brain keeps drifting into uncomfortable places. Which is all part of the grieving process. I am processing in real time. I can’t stuff it and ignore it; it won’t let me.

I slowed myself down, and I feel better. Today was going to be overwhelming and when I felt my limit coming on, I took care of myself. Fortunately, the plans I knew I needed to skip were canceled anyway, so I was able to go home, relax with a friend, and then put on my jammies and work on my new schooling. It was hard to focus, but it will take practice and come in time. Same thing with learning my limits. It is hard to say no, but I need time and lots of space to turn inward.

I guess I am learning that there is a “through” this. I am somehow doing it, my brain is doing it for me, and I am just allowing myself to follow. I think I want to be back on that hotel room floor feeling the grief fresh and raw and terrible. Maybe I shouldn’t fight it when it comes, but get myself out before I panic. I have to work through that moment, or it will be ice in my heart for the rest of my life. It hurts my stomach when it comes. It hurts my whole being. It is raw fear.

Tonight, I chatted online with a woman I barely know. Seven years ago, she lost her life partner shortly after they moved in together. He died suddenly one night while recovering from surgery. He was in his 30s. She is way more spiritual than me but still really good to talk to.

I have become part of a club I didn’t realize existed and never knew how much I never wanted to join.