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I thought it would hurt less this time around. I thought that with the anger gone, with this newfound zen-acceptance of my sister's living death, it wouldn't ache the same way.

And it isn't the same way. But it still hurts. I'm stupid to think it won't ever hurt. And it does hurt. I thought someday I'd learn how not to wear this grief like a bloody bracelet. I have not yet discovered how to do that.

She called, small, tearful, frantic. Ridiculous tweaker drama that I don't pay attention to wrapped tightly into her own 33 years of abuse. She never took the steps to get help, and every step she did take, she wound up scrambling back another ten steps. So on and on it has gone on for years, and I wonder just how much longer a soul can live on so tortured, even if the torture at this point is mostly self-inflicted.

She says she wants my life but she doesn't know how. She says she wants peace but keeps choosing to settle down in battlefields. She says she wants a good relationship but keeps choosing the same asshole in different clothes. She wants a life that's healthy and then shoves poison into herself.

She knows enough that she has to - HAS TO - start facing up to the abuse inflicted at home, as children. It's becoming the main issue within all of this lately. That it all has to do with the abuse she continually inflicts upon herself. She fucking knows that. And all she does is wave that torch around, never bothering to light it so she can find her way.

And part of me understands why. What happened to us was horrific. It was enough to nearly kill us both, several times over. It still scratches, it still scars, it still burns. It is no small thing. But whereas I ran INTO the fire to get through it, she just jumps in and then leaps out, never realizing that the pain fades, the tissue heals, so long as you continue running through it to the other side. That's the key. That's what she won't do.

I started therapy at 15. I literally hid my therapy appointments from my parents, skipped school to go to therapy, and did everything the therapists suggested to keep the hell at bay long enough to escape. I was 15 then. I still go to therapy, I still take their suggestions, but the hell is long past. I am now 35.

It took me twenty years to get here. It wasn't easy. It was a lot of bloody arms and razors, a lot of random bursts of rage and sobbing that lasted for years, a lot of screaming the same things over and over again. It was a lot of sounding like a broken record, it was a lot of trying things that went against every self-destructive instinct I had.

It was a lot of feeling out of control with the rage. It was a lot of feeling abandoned and betrayed. It was a lot of battling with worthlessness and self-hatred. It was a lot of dashing down the wrong path and then having to hack my way back to the right one. It was a lot of accepting that I would have to feel these feelings for however long it took to get through them, even if it meant the rest of my life.

I had to accept that. I had to accept that I might spend the rest of my life full of awful feelings that I could barely contain. And god, I thought it was going to be for the rest of my life. I couldn't IMAGINE it ever stopping, so forceful was the release of the dam.

But...it did stop.

It took twenty years, but it did stop. Twenty years and it no longer rules my life nor my death. Twenty years and what I say now has some nuance. Twenty years and I'm not saying the same thing over and over again. Twenty years and the awful feelings of being betrayed and feeling tossed aside are memories and memories only.

It just took a really, really long time. Time that I worry Cassie does not have, time that I worry Cassie will never give herself. Healing takes time. A lot more time than a few months of frantic sobriety broken by the fist of your boyfriend that you keep running back to. A lot more time than a couple of therapy appointments that you then cancel because it gives you nightmares about your parents abusing you.

At some point comes the revelation that either they win or you win. And when you're willing to put in the time to win, that's when YOU win. It's not a fast war. It's not a short battle.

But by god, the corpse of abuse and self-hatred you leave behind on the battlefield...what you drag across instead is so worth it. It eclipses the previous pain and makes every ounce of the hurt and sorrow worth it.

It hurts that she does not see that. It hurts that I do not know if she will ever see that.
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She thinks I'm so strong.

She has no idea just how weak it feels behind the strong.

On staying

Nov. 11th, 2016 06:01 pm
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I did cry, recounting the dream to Jesse. I wish, Disgruntled, god I wish I could shield her from it. But it is her who has the worst of the history and her who knows she has to voice it in order for the screaming to fade.

If I could....

Jesse is right. The what ifs are irrelevant, the what could be's, the in a different life. But the heart never stops seeking to right what was wronged....and the hand she was dealt...the hand we were dealt...was wrong.

He said perhaps the beautiful part of the dream was that she was strong enough to go back, to right the wrong of a life that wasn't really hers. I don't know. Maybe he's right. It is a cold comfort, though, and grief lingers like a widow at her husband's graveside.

I have no god, no real form of prayer. And I've all the experience in the world to know that prayer does nothing for a person who does not recognize the work that must be done on the other side of prayer.

But if I did have a god, if I did have prayer, then it would be this. It would be the supplication of words, pouring out the lives I know and the lives that could have been.

Still, if I could, if only I could, she would have been able to stay.
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I just had the saddest dream. I have to get this out or it'll haunt me like a shrouded fog throughout the day.

In this dream, somehow I'd managed to wish Cassie better. She had this whole other life. We were standing at a company party, celebrating her ten year anniversary of being a top lawyer. Audrey and Julien were there, grown, proud. She had a home, scar free, and most of all, she'd led a normal life. In this dream, she'd never known a hand that struck her in anger. She'd never done drugs. She'd always had a supportive family, the right people and the right love to make her happy and allow her to achieve her dreams.

I stood to the side, quietly weeping, knowing the difference between what THIS was and what WAS. Afterwards, she came to me, asking why I was crying. I couldn't tell her. I couldn't tell her that her life was so much better because I'd wished it was.

And yet somehow, she figured it out. She asked me, gently, what life was really like on the other side. I didn't want to tell her. I wanted her to know that what she had here was worth any other truth that might come out.

I finally choked out what her life is here, in this side of the waking life, that we were abused as children, that she was struggling addict, that I was always so scared she would die, and that her life was so hard on such a basic level. "Think of this as an alternate dimension," I told her. "Stay here. Stay here, please. Be happy. Take what you deserve. Stay here."

And she took my head in her hands, wiped my tears away, and said she couldn't live a lie. I tried to argue that this wasn't a lie, but she said the only way to be HER was to be HER, and if this wasn't really her, then she needed to be strong enough to go back and fix the other life.

I began to weep again, awed by her strength at being able to give all this up, and in anguish at knowing what she was going to face when she went back to real life.

The dream dissolved and I sat up, not sure which world I was waking up in. I saw Cassie sleeping on my couch, surrounded by her meds, and knew where I was.

I still feel like crying.
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"I'm sorry I stayed married to a child molester."

"Jimmie, what your father did does not reflect on you. It never will. You are not him. His sins are not yours."

"I don't want to kill Jim. I want him to get his karma alive. Then he can die and become a tree. Everyone's recyclable."

"They have 35 guns in their house."

"She was a child, mom. What's with the Teressa hate parade? What good did burning all her stuff do? She was just a kid.
"

And for the first time in years, I feel sorrow for my mother. Not pity. Not quiet disgust. Sorrow. This is where she put herself. This is where she will keep herself. Is there ever anyone too far gone? I don't know. Her case seems a good one to argue that some people do, indeed, slide too deep into the abyss to ever claw back out of.

Cassie is back, healthy, wise, clean. And full of things that I knew, in my heart, in my head, simply through history and practice, that still shocked me when I heard it.

The first quote my mother told Cassie in a brief moment of lucidity. She tried to get off her methadone, had 48 hours of clarity, before Jim forced her to take the drugs again. Cassie did not react well, furious that our mother knew the whole time, ripped apart by the level of cowardice that my mother is awash with. This is what finally caused her to cut them out.

The second quote is what I wish to tell my kid brother, who has cut out Cassie and I due to these accusations, no matter how many times his father tries to kill his mother. I can understand his rage. He cannot understand my compassion.

The rest? Things Cassie said. I knew these things, as we all know these things after all these years talking about them. Even if I didn't KNOW these things, I knew these things.

I am overwhelmed by what I didn't know I knew.

All that anger I felt towards Cassie? Gone. Melted away. I guess I shouldn't say "melted away." It's been over two years since we've talked. I've worked it out, though I still worry about pitfalls. But the rage and resentment?

Maybe being sick made me realize that feeling all that towards her, carrying it for her, just made me sicker. All I feel is gratitude that she is back and she is better.

She wanted to hear the emo music I've been listening to. I guess as a way to connect. I didn't want to share that. It's mostly two Icon For Hire songs. One's an anthem about the strength to not cut. Another asks herself who she will be when she gets well.

Did I choose cutting as a way to sabotage all of the positive letting go and becoming a better person that I'd spent weeks thinking about, because of becoming so sick? Was that even a little part of it? Or am I thinking too hard about it?

Did I sabotage myself at all, or was it a slip? Why is what it was important? I haven't felt the need to cut since. Why can't I just put it up as something I did out of desperation and let it go?

My mother always knew. I knew this. I just didn't know this.

Xanax makes me jumps subjects. Or else there's just so much to write.

There's always so much to write. I could write for 30 years straight, not a sip of water, not a bite of food, and still not get it all down. I find this maddening. How many missing stories are there in these pages? Places where I say there is so much to write, but I don't, and the stories and events get lost in the interim?

She's asked me not to share the details here, but what Cassie's been through in the last two years....there is no word in the English language to express what the pain has carved into her. It doesn't matter what she did to herself and what others did to her. The scars, the burns, what is inside is gouged and clawed.

I left her alone to all of that. I didn't know, this I truly didn't know, but I recognize the empty spaces where things were ripped out. Places that may never be filled again, through no fault of her own, but out of what happened itself.

As a child, you want to know everything. As a teenager, you think you know everything. As an adult, you know there are things that you never want to know.

Sometimes the line between what we do or don't know know blur so fantastically that I can no longer tell the difference.

Dead wrong

Aug. 3rd, 2016 10:23 pm
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Time does not heal all wounds. Loss does not diminish with time. The only difference between retching and gagging on trauma and being able to swallow it down is the illusion of immortality. The one that says that someday we'll be able to fix it, that we'll get another chance, that we can make it up later.

This is such a dangerous, dumb idea. A lie. A lie we, as adults, can easily believe in, because all the things of adulthood make the perfect smokescreen. Can't cry, have to go to work. Can't rage, got to call the electric company. Can't collapse, the floor needs vacuumed.

A necessary lie, as we'd all lose our minds otherwise. I know this.

I miss her. This is not new news. What's news is that I just now realized my phone number has changed, so if she's tried to call or text, I would not have known. I spoke to my father briefly. He says she has a job. That's good. I keep asking myself what harm could one phone call do? Just one call, assuming she has a phone, at least.

I lost my first friend to suicide in 2001. We'd met in NA. She was 30 years old and fighting to get her two children back from foster care. I went with her to the counselor's office where she disclosed, for the first time in her life, the abuse her father put her through. It was a thrilling, beautiful, and exhausting time.

She called one night. I was very tired and told her I'd call her back tomorrow. Things and life went as it goes, and I did not return her call. Not the next day, not the next few days, not the next week.

Two weeks after I told her I'd call her, I got a call. Mikki Sagan Ramsdell had overdosed in her kitchen. They put the time of death the day I was supposed to call her back. I didn't call her and she killed herself.

I lost the second friend to suicide in damn near the exact same way, later in 2007. Rebecca Rossiter, who had called me high and insane, said she wanted to talk to me. I was tired. I was sober. I didn't want to handle someone's crazy high ass. I told her I would call. I did not call her back.

A month later, I get a call. She hung herself. Her two kids found her body. I didn't call her and she killed herself.

I know I did not kill these women. I know that whatever they were facing in that moment was far more formidable than I would have been able to stop. It was out of my hands, from the very beginning. I know this.

But I also know the guilt that will stay, hidden inside of me, until the day ***I*** die. I also know that to question this, to wonder if you were what could have saved them, if you were part of the final blow that made them destroy themselves....is normal. Is natural.

Is human. And we - Mikki, Rebecca, and I - were and are so very human.

If I don't call Cassie soon, will she kill herself? Will she be yet another call that I will forever curse not returning? Will that be another secret shame that I will bear? Will I have to make more room in that dark little hole where I keep my terrors and empty reassurances that I did nothing wrong by not calling them back?

We don't live forever. I won't always have a second chance - and even if I do - she might not. I'm busy enough these days to tell myself I will.

But I've thought that before...and I was wrong.
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Happy birthday, Cassie.

If the trend of elderly diminishment follows any path along my mother's, I know I will wind up remembering her birthday decades after I've forgotten my own.
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You would not be obligated to stay in there with them and die in the fire as well. Firefighters (aka therapists) are specially trained to save people from fires. And if for whatever reason the firefighters can’t save them, it isn’t your fault. You tried. You just can’t save them all on your own without them trying. And you don’t have to get stuck in the fire with them.

Emotional hurt isn’t as obvious or clear, and depression is awful and unfair, but you do not have to let your own lives go up in flames. If you give your partners concrete things to try (like starting to crawl towards the door of the burning house) and they still do nothing, you need to think about leaving. And that will suck, because you will not have saved them and they will still be in that burning house, but you will be saving YOU. And that doesn’t make you a terrible person.


That's from a capt awkward thread, though which one I'm not sure. I read that and immediately thought of David. And then I thought of Cassie. And then I thought of my mother. Even of my stepfather.

I thought of a few friends in recovery, the ones I had to let go of because they were standing in the windows, smoke and flames snaking around their wrists, refusing to take the leap out of the burning wreckage that threatened to collapse all around them.

I've stood in front of a lot of burning buildings.

And I've watched a lot of them go up in smoke, the bodies and souls of my loved ones reduced to ash. Those who haven't died yet are still screaming. I can hear them when I sleep, when I close my eyes, in the quiet moments where I tilt my head, wondering if what I'm smelling is something behind me burning.

Wondering if what I'm smelling is someone behind me burning.

I know I'm supposed to be grateful that I'm the one who got out. The one who found my goddamn oxygen mask, even if I had to crawl on the charred ground, muscles and tendons sizzling, to breath. To not suffocate to death. To find that I am strong enough to leap out of a burning 27 story building, because bones that break can be healed, while burning to death is a bit harder to bounce back from.

The flames aren't pretty anymore. I don't need the ceiling to collapse onto me to feel warm. I have found other ways to see what's in front of me that doesn't involve torching an entire goddamn city block.

I've stood in front of a lot of burning buildings.

And I will learn to stay out of burning buildings. It hurts. I remember how it felt to be burned. But the only way you stop getting burned is by getting the hell out of the burning house. I've gotten out.

I just stand outside of them now.

Ribcage

Apr. 27th, 2016 09:44 pm
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These moments used to bring blood. When I'd finally grown past using red scrawls to paint the pain somewhere outside of me, I would heave things across the room. Use things around me to punch holes into the four walls that contained me. I no longer throw things.

I write. I've always written but now the words are the full force of what rages within. Words are the filter, the voice, the cage, the key.

Too much poetry. Too many years. Yesterday I remembered I am nearly 35 and it all felt so far behind me. Today, having cleared out the last of Cassie's items out of storage, donating all but her children's things and the few folders spilling over with pictures....

I feel so close to the broken thing that they tried to make me.

They. Always "they." I'm so sick of "they". Katherine Elizabeth Malott. James Malott. Name them. Fuck the public sphere. They tried to break me. They tried to break Cassie. Maybe they did break Cassie, if what I pulled out of her storage unit is any indication. They did not break me.

But god, it hurts. It shouldn't hurt. It shouldn't hurt anymore.

It hurts a lot )

That's me. That's a baby picture of me - or it would be, had my face not been burned out of the picture. Better than burning the effigy of my journals , why not just burn the face of the very small being that brought your ruin? That tiny, pudgy little thing that brought down the castle walls with claymores and trumpets?

Cassie didn't burn the picture. At least I don't think she did. She's a memory junkie like me. And if she did? Some part of me can forgive her in a way I could never forgive them. But it wasn't her.

There are other pictures. My mother, young, early 20's, long before the woman who blamed me and my pre-teen sister for seducing our stepfather, for tempting him into raping us, took up residence in her faulty bones.

Or maybe that woman was there all along.

It used to matter. It doesn't matter anymore. I no longer care what made the difference, what changed, where it changed, or why it changed. One of the benefits of years of therapy is that the why's begin mattering far, far less than the turns of the events themselves.

There are pictures of Cassie, 8, 9, 10 years old. I know now that Jim had began abusing her at 9. It's like looking at the past but with a legend this time, with a map that marks where it all started to go wrong. Continent sized, red and blaring warning signals, blinking and screaming through the decades....sounds that we only now can hear. As if Time and History were things pried apart by galaxies and the knowledge of the past has only now reached us, light years later.

I thought to myself that for someone who says she does not need a family, I sure wound up with a ton of their shit. I then thought "Why the hell would ANYONE need a family?"

I still do not know the answer to that. I don't think I want to know. The answer could not possibly be worth the pain. No answer on Earth could be worth what I'd have to drag myself through to understand it.

As it always goes, the pain shudders with anger and wild, swinging impotence. There is never anything to aim this at, save a world I fill with words. There is no closure. There is no end to this. There never will be. All I will ever have is what I have now, stuffing paragraphs like bandages into desperately wanting wounds. A forever unfufilled need to believe that the pain doesn't matter and a sorrow that I will cradle to my dying breath.

That and a martyr complex that mocks me just as loudly as the knocking mess that beats beneath this ribcage.

Run

Apr. 25th, 2016 12:04 am
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Cassie is in Texas, as my father tells me her FB says. There is only one who lives in Texas that she would have gone to. The one who made Cassie fall in love with him by taking a baseball bat to her collarbone. It's as if the X-rays the hospitals took to check for internal bleeding somehow made the most perverse Valentine's Day card.

If she's not clean, either the drugs or he will kill her. If she is clean, he'll kill her.

I used to think she was suicidal. She isn't. If she wanted to die that badly, she would have already done so. She's not suicidal.

She's an endless middle finger extended to the universe. She's an animal whose chewed off 3 out of 4 legs to escape the bear traps she insists on lining her path with.

And you can't run very far or very fast when you're down to one leg. Someday I hope she doesn't have to run at all.

Except if she's with him. If she's with him, then my god, she'll need to run. Run away from him. Run fast, run far, run quickly. I don't know if she ever will.

But if there's a God, she'll remember how to run eventually.

Echoes

Apr. 1st, 2016 01:14 am
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It was a long day at work. I come home and read and see and feel, and there's this feeling of something being on the verge of toppling over. How is it I can find a nearly endless supply of ridiculous things to moon about? Your comments made me feel VINDICATED. Sad as well, solace, because that is how it has gone for both of those men before. I come home, intending to reply, and then I strike a video, or another video, or some goddamn video that makes me FEEL and then....this.

I realized today that even if Cassie and I were to never speak another word to each other for as long as we live, I will still hear her voice every day. Every goddamn day. There will never be even a single twenty four hour passing where I do not think of something I want to share with her, or ask her how she is doing, or hear her laugh, or hear her tell her amazing jokes, or God forbid, find a way to love her in a safe manner.

I have left many parts of myself behind in the last few decades. Gnaw off a gangrenous limb to escape with my life. I used to torture myself in this same way about my mother.

Now, at nearly 35, I can go weeks, months, without the woman crossing even my peripheral thoughts. Her voice used to haunt me. Now it is all but silent.

I don't think I ever want to stop hearing Cassie's voice, even if it's nothing but an echoing scream that only I can hear.
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I want to write something but I've not the slightest clue what that topic might be. I need to say something but I can't fathom what that might possibly be. I know the only way to find out what needs to be said is to start talking.

I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about but haven't posted it for fear of sounding whiny. Then I realized that this is my journal and really, is there any other place that isn't AS PERFECT for the whiny as a journal?

Jessica Jones: "You're right. I can't save you. The whole time he had me, there was some part of me that fought. And I'm still fighting. I won't stop fighting. But if you give up...I lose."

I am 34 years old and I am still fighting. We all are, those of us who know the sound of our own screaming that wake us out of a deep, chilled sleep. I am 34 years old and I feel like I've lost so many things. We all are, those of us who have had to cut limbs, ties to the heart of family, lest you be drug down into a silent death as your abusers.

I've become well acquainted with the colosseum that is my mind. I'm familiar with the metal of sword and bullet it lunges at me with. I know how I hurt myself. I know how others hurt me. I know how I hurt others. I have squared off with these fights time and time again. I know how to win these fights. And yet the fight is still there. I am no longer fighting for my survival, no longer fighting for my sanity or soul. The fight is now against the fight itself.

This is nothing to new to survivors. We know this. It's just tonight I know this is a fight I will never win.

I don't mean that hopelessness fills me. The mast will stay up, even as they bow and crack. The sails will shred in the winds and yet stay unfurled. I can put myself in front of the madly spinning wheel of the ship and keep her upright enough to not sink. The waters themselves, however, will never be tamed. This endless storm at sea will one day claim me.

I will, on the day of my last breath, go down with the ship.

This is the part of the fight I know, bone deep and with some joy, even. I've accepted my death as will one day be an enormous crash beneath the waves. That whatever calm waters are to be found are ever clearer, ever more glass-like, for the storms that rage ahead and behind. That is not the hard part of the fight.

The hard part of the fight is knowing that others are fighting this battle. Others that you love. The hard part of the fight is knowing this is something that can never be won, as the battles will rage for generations. But the hardest part? The hardest part of the fight?

The hardest part of the fight is convincing yourself that even if one of us falls, the war has not been surrendered. The hardest part of the fight is to keep believing fleets of new sailors will take to the seas. If I give up....If she gives up....it doesn't mean I've lost. The fight will go on, whether it is her or I or her children who fight it. I know this. And still?

And still....the hardest part of the fight is convincing yourself that if someone else stops fighting, it doesn't mean you've lost.
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I'd fled to Kansas City in order to put as many miles between myself and my family as was feasibly possible. Three years after my arrival, I brought my sister and her two children to me. They were here until 2015. I realized the other day that I have had more time with my family here in Kansas City than not.

I have to be careful when checking the mail. Not for fear or sorrow of a letter, but for the fact that if I look out of my apartment's office, I can see one of Cassie's old houses. There was a brief span of time, maybe a year, where she literally lived across the street. It was the closest we'd been since we were children. Even closer, in some way, as by the time she lived across the way, she had her own children in that house.

I try not to turn my head towards the cars that drift across the highway. But because this is me, and because I can't turn away from memories as easily as I can turn away from a street view, I notice the house anyways. I always notice the house. In the dead of winter, when the trees are but skeletons, I can see her front door. What used to be her front door, at least. And even if I am not looking at the door, I still notice it, still feel it boring into my back as if it were some glare from a stranger.

There is a quiet in my life now that they are all gone. It is a quiet that often feels a loneliness. For a while, for some count of consecutive years, I had the chance to have a family. To grasp bonds that had been snapped and scattered through decades of abuse and abandonment. I know I tried as hard as I could.

I also know that the very quiet I came to Kansas City for does not comfort me now. I had something, real or a ghost, and now I do not have it. It so often feels as if adulthood is nothing but a process of learning how to make do with less. As if the price for wisdom is just an endless game of subtraction.

Pieces crack and fall away. The glue we use to mend those wounds hold us tighter together, but the original pieces that were there are gone. Tumbled down or shattered into dust, they are gone. I know no one makes it out alive. I know no one makes it through life whole and in one piece.

That house is one of the pieces that cracked and fell through. I've enough glue to be able to be aware of its presence without falling apart myself. But that house across the street? The face of my sister and the sound of her children's voices? It sometimes seems as if all that is left is the memory of that piece once being there.

And maybe, considering how the story ended, that is more truth than metaphor. She is not here. Her children are not here.

That house is always here, forcing me to contend with what used to be in that house.
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* Cat is in heat. Errrrrgh.

* Good news on the Cassie front. Heard it through the grapevine that she's out of rehab after spending over a month in there. That's the longest she's been in active treatment in years. Very, very uplifting to hear that.

* I've made a "no snacking" rule for myself at work. I can see how it would be super easy to pile on the pounds without even noticing at a sit-down job. So it's eating lunch and that's it.

* This is in no small part prompted by the extremely high number of (and as I've been in manual labor most of my life, extremely shocking to see) obese and morbidly obese people that work there. I am certain not all of them started out that heavy.

* I climb 30 stairs four times a day (between clock in and breaks) just to get to the area of the building I work in. The smoker's area is also on top of a big, say 40 foot hill that's got like a 10 grade. (At least if it were on a treadmill.) I'm gettin' steps in.

* Two weeks in and I have to wear a belt on my size 11 jeans. It's not "fall off my ass" big yet, but it is "hiking up my pants every 50 feet or so" loose.

* I wish I had something more exciting to talk about than judgement on other people's weight and my own weight loss efforts.

* My work has blocked Gmail and yet we can access FB. Of course, as our computers and monitors are being recorded literally every moment, I've restricted my at-work net activity to Cute Overload and other cute animal sites. Pictures of cute animals has an immediate and noticeable calming effect on my blood pressure and stress.

* Also, my FB and LJ are often extremely NSFW, not to mention extremely personal. So yeah, no way am I checking on those while at work.

* I'm happy that I'll be able to catch up on my electric bill inside the next two weeks. Thanks to Michael's help, I was able to pay the past due on my bill a couple of months ago. Out of four months of being on a typical electric billing cycle, I have only paid them once. I am amazed and nervous about the fact that the lights are still on.

* Seriously, this is so boring to talk about.

* VERY happy to know I am not the only one who has to deal with Make-Up-Story people, as well as that it is not limited to just nerds. Also that some of the other stories other people hear are just as outrageous and unbelievable as what I hear from these insecure, nerdy kids. It was cathartic to read ya'lls experience with those types of people.

* And I will be calling people out on it from here on out - at least if I'm forced to spend any real amount of time with them. You guys are right, chuckling in a "sure, whatever" manner not only does them a disfavor, but also encourages them to keep annoying me with their bullshit.

* Lol at David's insistence (to briefly backtrack) that he has had no food to eat lately. He lives with his parents. Bitch, your parent's house is fucking full of food. They have so much food that they often put their groceries on the floor, as they have no space otherwise to put it.

* He's just such a picky eater that he will literally restrict his diet to 800 calories a day rather than eat what's in front of him, to the point where he cries when someone pities him enough to buy him a freakin' burger.

* I remember him pulling that bullshit with me. Eventually, I abandoned the idea of trying to get him the food he wanted and just started putting on my headphones when he'd start whimpering because he was just "so hungry."

* We have actually had food here in our house lately. More than a loaf of bread, more than rice, and more than beans, which has made up our diet for months and months now. Like, literally. Often our cupboards are completely bare outside of rice and a few cans of beans. (And the seriously expired canned goods that I just cannot bring myself to throw away, because even if I can't eat them, just them being there, filling up space, makes me feel better.)

* Seriously, I have, like, nothing to really talk about.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
So I've been watching a show called "iZombie." It's a neat trope turned on its head, with the main character being a zombie that now has to learn how to re-live as a member of the undead in the living world. I've only seen this once before, in a book called "My Life As A White Trash Zombie."

The show is cute. It's got a plucky young woman as the main character and a lot of heart. (And a lot of brains.) Most episodes end with the character coming to some sort of realization. I like that. It makes me feel....like maybe, if there WAS a zombie out there who WASN'T mindlessly consuming human flesh, who HAD to literally refigure out her life through her death....

Maybe I can, too.

I still don't know what grace is. But I think you guys are onto something. Grace isn't about being earned. I kind of want it to be earned. I want this amazing thing that I have to be a product of my own work. It's not.

I'm still figuring out what it means then, if it's not earned. But I have a lot of help here and a lot of help in the friends I have off screen.

I miss Cassie. I miss her so much that sometimes a single song on the radio can demolish me to sobbing hiccups. And maybe she misses me the same way or maybe, if she ever read this, she'd just roll her eyes and snort derisively.

But that's not the point. My sorrow about Cassie...there's grace mixed in there somewhere about it. And if she's still out there, alive enough to even roll her eyes....there's grace there, too.

The main character in iZombie is a living (dead?) embodiment of grace. Sound funny, I know, that I would look at a tv show, one whose conflict relies strongly on finding already dead people to eat, and be reminded of grace. That survival and love and perseverance - we are given those abilities. It is our choice to run with them, to strengthen them, but even at our weakest...they are there, if for no other reason than we are able to call them to us.

Grace is what allows me to call hope to my side.

And it is what allows me to invent hope when I feel there is none. This is what grace is to the living, even if I have to watch a show about the undead to know it.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
I pulled out my winter clothes, to be surprised at being small enough now to wear my small(er) clothes. A size 11 pants mostly fits, which means I finally am back into a 13.

I prefer to wear junior sizes, as I am so short that I wind up dragging several inches of pant legs on the ground. Wearing pants designed for teenagers does NOT mitigate this problem, but it does help a little. It reduces the pant drag from a handful of inches to just a few inches. Petite adult sizes do not work, as petite women apparently don't have these things called "hips" or "breasts."

Most of my older shirts also fit, in the category I call ""scandalously tight", instead of "comically tight", as they were last year.

This year has sucked beyond measure, but fuck if I'm not going to take advantage of the single benefit it's had. I mentioned to Pat that it's strange, as I usually OVEReat in times of stress. He reminded me that I haven't had the food to REGULAR eat, let alone overeat.

He makes a good point.

I spoke to my father and asked about Cassie. He said she's in treatment and is even pushing for a two week extended stay. Cassie will often lie about whether or not she is clean. She does NOT lie about when she is in a psychiatric setting. This is wildly hopeful. I know well enough to not stampede into the rush of calling her. She is a mercurial woman and may have, on some destructive whim, checked out by now.

But as it stands, hearing that she wanted to stay in treatment longer, at that moment, was uplifting.

Something strange has happened concerning David. I have had no interest in indulging the Trainwreck of Thought that is David. None. Like, at all. I don't know what happened where, but it's as if a switch has been flipped.

It's like, if I think about him, I wind up thinking "Whatever." And that's pretty much it. It takes but mere seconds to move onto whatever else I'm thinking of.

I don't know if that's moving on or if it's just mental and emotional exhaustion concerning the subject. Whatever it is, I've realized I've got WAAAAY more important shit to think about. To feel about.

To BE about. And it just doesn't include him anymore. Not IRL, not on the internet, and anymore, not in my thoughts, either. When his name comes up, it literally only stays for a few seconds. (Or minutes, in this case, to write this out.)

Maybe this year hasn't been such a waste after all.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
I put out some feelers in SV. Cassie's not the only person who has friends down there. I'm being paranoid. I worry. I'm fucking ridiculous. I've got a couple more holdouts down there to message, if something beyond my scope of friends comes down the line.

Get ahold of her myself? No way. Never works out well.

"I turn to you, you’re all I see
Our love’s a monster with two heads and one heartbeat
"

Who cares about being discreet? I don't care who's reading this. This is mine.

I'm just being paranoid. Nothing's wrong. She's fine. If there's anyone on this goddamn planet whose managed to dodge Death, it's her. One of the strongest life-wills I've ever seen.

I worry about the law of averages catching up to her. I worry that I wouldn't hear the bad news until it was way too late. I worry that it would be my fault that no one had gotten ahold of me to tell me.

Maybe it would be. Maybe it wouldn't be.

I hate this kind of love.

I don't know what I'd do without this kind of love.

I'm fucking ridiculous.

This story

Nov. 15th, 2015 06:20 am
quirkytizzy: (Default)
It's been a long eight years.

It was in 2007 that I brought Cassie home to me in Kansas City. It was in 2007 that I brought Cassie's children home to me in Kansas City. It was in 2007 that I felt, that I believed all Cassie needed to get better was a fresh new start.

It is in 2015 that I know this did not happen. I thought by bringing her over here, she would break away from the years of self-abuse she'd thrown on herself.

All that happened was instead of slowly killing herself in Hawaii, she slowly killed herself here. And in turns that I could not have fathomed in 2007, her two children, mere toddlers at the time, would come to represent the sole light in generations cast of darkness.

That sounds hopeful. Far more hopeful than I feel at the moment. But I know it is also true.

This is not the first time Cassie and I are separated. Nor is it the first time Cassie, the kids, and I are separated. She'd fled with her children to Arizona in 2013, but that distance only stayed for a few months.

Now Cassie is in one place, I in another, and the children will be in another place altogether. Chess pieces scattered across the nation, an endless board of black and white, good and bad, joy and sorrow. The three of us are and will be separated by thousands of miles between us. The three of us, who either in good conscience or else legally bound, can no longer cross paths with each other.

I know the story is not over. I may not be able to see the children for years at a time, but I will still talk to them. I may not be able to allow Cassie back into my life, but there's always the chance she could get better, even if it takes another eight years.

The story is not over. But this chapter is. When I wake up on Thursday, knowing the children are on a plane somewhere above the Pacific Ocean, I will feel a finality that has not yet been present in the pages. One would hope I could feel that finality as closure.

Right now, however, that finality feels a loss. This is natural. It does not ease the ache of the last near decade. I brought her home to get better. She did not get better. She only got worse. And she took her children with her, carving holes so deep into them that they will spend decades trying to fill it back up.

Eight years ago I had wild hopes, unrealistic ideas and ambitions, and an unshakeable knowledge that THIS would be what made the difference in her life. I was wrong, so wrong, and had no way to see just how wrong I would be. My early entries about her beginnings in Kansas City are heartbreaking to read.

There was so much hope. There was so much possibility.

Eight years, in the span of an 80 year life, is not terribly long. It is a deep sigh, a slow blink. But from where I sit, as of this moment, it feels as if decades have passed.

The story is not over. This chapter is. And as I turn the page onto another chapter, one that I have yet to pen across the blank pages of the future, I have to ask...what comes next? Why did it turn out the way it did and after all this, after eight years of trying to love a woman into not hating herself, what comes next?

The skies I look towards when I ask this question have no answer. The past echoes but does not sound the direction of what will strongest inform the future. There is nothing but living that will tell what comes next.

I still have to ask.

What comes next?
quirkytizzy: (Default)
The kids are leaving next Thursday morning. For whatever reason, the foster parents aren't letting me take them to spend the night. We will all meet tomorrow for lunch and goodbyes.

I'm on the verge of losing my absolutely sorrowful shit. I think I will be all day. I mean, losing my shit into deep, ripping sobs. Not so much the lunch thing, though I'll see if I can swing maybe a day, if they are out of school.

It's just that it's too soon. When we all made these plans that my father should take them, it was over a year away. That year came and went SO QUICKLY. I won't see them again for years, years that as of this moment, seem eternal and without end.

It's too soon. It's too soon. It's too soon.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
So Jesse's son was picked up by his mother at about 1 yesterday afternoon. I laid down for a nap. I woke up.....

Eleven hours later. And then only long enough to express disbelief that I'd slept that long, take my meds, and then go back to sleep. This was different than a depression sleep. I didn't even wake up to go pee. That's, like, exhaustion exhaustion. Having Jesse's son for the weekend wasn't THAT tiring so I have no idea what happened there.

Chalk it up to the body being weird, I guess.

I DID, however, have the kids over with Jesse's son for several hours to go trick or treating. I followed ya'lls advice and informed them that they needed to keep the cursing to a minimum and that certain subjects (that I outlined clearly) were off topic and off the table. I also reassured them that they did not have to gloss over certain sadnesses, should they come up (as they do on holidays with them.)

And...IT WORKED. I only had to chide Audrey once about acceptable conversations (we'd somehow wandered very close to the Sex Talks). I had to get on Julien a handful of times for rough-housing too rough or else "teasing" that was getting mean, but he also took the added direction without fuss or complaint. I totally expected tantrums or else hurt looks to be thrown my way when I nudged them back into "acceptable" territory.

There was nary a sharp word nor look given at all, let alone towards my direction. You guys, as well as Pamela (whom I had emailed the entry to), were right on target.

I've told Jesse that there have been times in my life, in the last decade and a year, that I have had NO IDEA AT ALL what to do and so I've relied on you guys to tell me what to do. Like after the breakup, which due to its circumstances, was completely new territory for me. I followed every damn word every one of you said. If you guys had said to jump three times and then turn circles in widdershins, I would have done so, eagerly and to the letter. You guys, as a collective and then individually, always bring pieces of The Next Right Move with you.

There was one sorrowful moment. I'd pointed out to Jesse the difference between his son and Julien. "They're only three years apart in age," I said. "But do you notice - do you SEE - what I mean when I say they are YEARS further apart in approaches to the world?" Julien's mannerisms, topics, and humor is that of a 6 year old's. Jesse's son had difficulty relating to Julien, as Julien is, developmentally, easily half his age. He was very kind, though, and I told Jesse's son how much I appreciated that.

I'm going to nickname Jesse's Son as JS in this journal. Writing out "Jesse's son" is beginning to be a clunky handful of words.

Jesse said that Julien wasn't so much special needs as is just "off" from lack of stability. I don't think so, but who knows? I do know the brief periods of stability in Julien's life did make worlds of difference, as his backslides during the rest of his short, wildly UNstable life are extremely noticeable. Maybe Jesse is right. No matter the case, though, Julien took the changes in conversation well and I told HIM I was proud of him for that, too.

There was a moment where Audrey had found a jewelry box of her mother's. It is the only thing I have left in this house that is Cassie's. I told her that if she wanted to keep anything in that box, she could. Audrey pawed through it for about two minutes before handing it back to me, saying she "couldn't handle it right now."

I understood and put the box away, telling her where I'd put it up in case she wanted to look at it again. The novelty of having a boy around, though, and dressing up in her skeleton dress for trick or treating buoyed her mood considerably.

This Halloween was a success. It was also much more enjoyable than the last, in which I spent most of the day and night in the ER with Cassie. This year was spent with who I SHOULD have spent last year with. The ones MORE IMPORTANT to spend time with.

That's Audrey and Julien. I'm so glad I got to be with them this year.

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