Saturday, July 14, 2012


I thought maybe my heart had already died. Or worse, I never had one.

My dad had a severe heart condition. I remember when I was a kid my dad underwent then-radical open heart surgery surviving the newest in medical advances triple bypass.

Later, I thought perhaps they actually took OUT his heart, replacing it with a robot heart. That would explain it. Why he acted as though one was useful or in the way.

Was I like that?

When my girls' dad became a burden to feed and a terror to have in the house, drunk, high, spending money on booze and pot that should have fed and clothed our kids, did I selfishly ditch him? Did I leave a human being to rot for my own needs? Even though that need was the need to care for my kids only without a worthless, dragging anchor, but also a piranha? Taking food from his kids' mouths so he could get stoned?

There are people in this world who believe, or at least believed then, that I was wrong for doing that. Sometimes, I am one of them.

Perhaps history, and $60,000 in arrears in child support over the last 10 years, has borne me out on that one. Perhaps not, to some. I imagine he sits somewhere in a bar, or someone's couch, commiserating how bad and evil I am, how I done HIM wrong and I am the evil overlady who spirited his beloved daughters away from him. Asshole.

Was I wrong for that?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


There are 28 risers on a staircase going into a courtyard at the hospital next door to my apartment. I run them everyday. One hundred times up, one hundred times down. Sometimes I go in the morning, sometimes at night and sometimes in the heat of the Kansas City Day.

I do it regardless of who is there watching me. I do it hard. I do it serious.

People ask me what I'm training for.

Training? I look like I'm training for something. Wow.

A year ago, I was sick. Sickly. I bruised easily and healed slow. I got sick a lot and my blood sugar dropped, causing me to faint. Often. I was dying.

I have since been diagnosed with clinical depression following the end of a nine year abusive marriage.

With some ill-fitting exercise clothes from a thrift store and a good pair of second hand Nikes, I set out to get well. I drew my energy from the hospital. From the nature of the people who work there and want to help people heal. The courtyard is the access to the chapel. I drew from that a little, too.

I worked the stairs. The first time, once was all I could do. I worked up to 5, then 10, then started stringing sets of 10 together. Day by day, I got stronger.

No one told me to do it. No one told me how to do it, or when. This is mine. I will let no one take it from me.

People ask me what I'm training for. At first I said, "Nothing."

Then I started answering, "Life."

Now, I have a different response.

"What are you training for?"

My answer. "I do this for me. This is for the win, the gold, the whole ball of wax. I do this everyday, 100%, and I do it unbeguiled. I answer to no one. I do this for me."

Just do it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cutoff jeans

My now EX-husband, step father to my two daughters for 9 years, used to say really stupid shit. His priorities were all wrong. My children were 4 and 8 when he made his grand entrance, full of magnanimous overtures.

One of the things he INSISTED on was new clothes. He hated that I kept, and wore, older clothes. In fact, dresses I've owned and worn each season, or every other, for up to 20 years.

It's how I grew up. My house had 4 kids. We made shit last and used it over again, repurposing things where needed. Old worn t-shirts become rags. Everyone knows that. It's being thrifty, economizing. Time and dollars. Everything had a dual purpose. People shared space. And bedrooms.

Oh, But EX insisted that we move from my two bedroom duplex, where my girls shared a bedroom for sleeping and another for their gazillion fucking toys that I really didn't mind them playing with but I couldn't pick up from my livingroom every night due to a back injury. It was a compromise I imposed on them as little children living in my household. You can have the freedom to share a play room and clean it jointly as I ask but I don't have to look at it or trip over it. In exchange for that daytime freedom, at night, while they SLEPT, they would have to share the other bedroom, separate beds.

That was my structure. It worked for me, newly a single mother of two. HE came in and said that was all wrong. They deserved to have their own rooms. They SHOULD have their own rooms and since I clearly couldn't give these children ALL that they deserved as children, through no fault of my own, HE was going to help me.

He took over. He bought them new clothes, often, but the clothes HE wanted them to wear. To draw his picture. He bought them nintendos and gameboys and computers and televisions in every room. He moved in. He ingratiated himself deep. Then we bought a house. Then he took me to his church and OPENLY talked about us living together to a Pentecostal minister, being very frank about sex.

Now who wouldn't know that said preacher wouldn't immediately start pestering him to marry me. He did. It was by design. He had ingratiated himself for years to that preacher and now he was calling in the favor. He did that stuff. He made sure everyone owed him. He gave and gave and gave and when he was ready to set things in motion, he took what he wanted from those people by design. He had them performing like trained monkeys, playing into his design.

He worked in entertainment all his life. He is a performer. And he was performing then. He wanted his little ready made family, perfect wife, beautiful kids, white fucking picket fence and the family picture. It was what he was told he deserved all his life. I was caught up in the dream life for my kids. I was not excited when we moved to a one horse, hick town in MO, 27 miles south of Kansas City. A long commute. I thought I left those days behind in San Francisco when I moved home.

But my kids were getting SO much. And SO much more than they were ever going to get from me without the help of their deadbeat dad, who has disappeared off the face of the earth since. So I swallowed my pride and I married for something not love. He insisted it was best for me.

And the replacements. No matter what, if it broke, it wasn't fixed, it was replaced. Usually with lots of screaming and dramatics about how hard he works to get us things and now he has to REPLACE it. Mother fucker, it's scratched. It works just fine, it has a scratch on it. But no. He would throw it away and buy a new one and mean spiritedly point out he didn't NEED to do it. He did it because he LOVES us he said. Wow. What an asshole.

We were scared to breathe most of the time, afraid we would RUIN something and feel the wrath. All of us. One kid would do something that was certain to bring wrath on all of us and the other would act out. By being mean and tattling on one another or fisting it out with each other.

And he hated me buying vintage. I never got that lesson and kept doing it anyway. He would ruin some of the things I bought that way sometimes. No matter how good I could make a 99 cent item look, he hated it. It had no value if you didn't overpay for it.

So my 13-year-old Babygirl has 3 pair of jeans my mom bought her. She didn't want to give up the old ones, three inches too short.

She's at a very awkward age.

Grandma said it was okay to cut them off for shorts for summer. I said I didn't like her cutting up an unused pair of pants and grandma says get SOME use from them before she outgrows them. Okay. I can live with that.

She hates the purple pants. They fit beautifully and appropriately show she is starting to get some voluptuous curves, but cover all well. She's starting to look like a tween. A Babygirl with curves and a little babyfat still. She's awkward. Like a little duck. So cute but everything is out of proportion at the moment and she's stuck between little girl and woman.

She wanted to cut off the blue ones, that look good, FIT and are LONG enough. I begged her to cut the purple ones. It was hard to get her to understand.

"You have two pair of jeans that fit, three if you count the purple." I explained.

"I hate the purple jeans," she replied with a little vinegar in her voice.

"I know, baby. But come school time, you will only have ONE pair of suitable jeans, for 5 days a week of school, because you won't wear the purple jeans. Baby, PLEASE, please, please, cut the purple jeans and make them purple shorts. I cannot guarantee you will get any new jeans and you can't go into the 8th grade with magenta hair and one pair of jeans."

She reluctantly conceded. She's been a little pissy all day, but she conceded. And they look good and we can work with them and get more vintage stuff to jazz it up.

Learning the lesson of things are not as they used to be is the hardest one for her to understand. But she is coming around.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A 13-year-old's Meltdown

My hair is green to top all off.  So I'm trying to turn my day around a little, my 13-year-old daughter is calmer and a little better today, and I'm starting that turnaround with ketchup in my hair.

It removes the green, but the smell is overpowering when it is used in such large amounts, rubbed around in the hands like conditioner or shaving cream for smoothing onto the hair.  But the process of rubbing it in the hands releases more oils and odor and causes the condiment to soak into the hands, like moisturizer.  I cannot escape the overwhelming, slightly acidic, odour-de-catsup all around me. 

I may barf.  

Since it doesn't happen in EVERY chlorinated pool, the theory is, copper pipes in chlorinated water turns blond hair green.  Not just processed blond, either.  I've degreened both my girls' hair.

I swam a lot yesterday.  It was 104 here and I ran at high noon, in the shade, and got it done.  Then I was whooped.  I swam a few hours and then went out, this town is CRAZY with All Star 2012 Fever, I may have mentioned, but got the emergency call from my meltdown kid.  I could tell in her voice what was happening.  It was the same thing that happened to me two weeks ago.  I could HEAR it in her voice. 

My friend could see on my face.  I had to go and right then.  It was a frightening thing to watch my baby have a real nervous breakdown in front of me.  I hope she didn't see much of ME like that two weeks ago.  It was really fucking scary.

She's a regular kid today.  On the outside, looking like nothing much happened last night.  On the inside, churning still with the knowledge that she reached out for help last night during a really vulnerable time.  She is wondering inside now if things will be different between me and her, if they ARE different right now, and what I will make her do that hurts her more, because she asked for it.

She's regretting it right now, but also knows I will make it okay.  Somehow.  She'll know in her heart before bed that mom doesn't stab her with her vulnerabilities and somehow this will all be okay.  Mom will make her go outside and play more, she knows already, but also might talk to her more, find out about that inner churning and help her sort through some of that muck.

She doesn't know that, even if I didn't hit the mark on my assessment right here, that I can't make it right for her.  This is the hand she is dealt and all I can do is help her play her hand, and find it in herself to make the best choices with that hand, to economize every move, avail oneself of all resources until the most you can get from that hand has been squeezed, without tearing or ripping through others. And then you pass it on.  All of the best of it you can, you give it to the next.

This is what I have, Babygirl.  I wished for better for you, I swear.  But I'll make the most of what I have to give you.  That's not the same as doing the best with what I have.  It's knowing what you have to give and giving it freely, without regard to self.  It's all I know, Baby.  I'll give you all of it.  Don't give up on us yet.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012


When you're drowning, can't breathe, can't see, can't hear over the water sloshing around your head, you'll grasp at any rope, listen for any voice, even when they belong to the enemy.  You'll crawl to the top, grateful to him for saving your life.

And you would be right to do so.  To see the humanity of your savior when all around you see evil and long suffering. 

It's okay to be gracious.  It's okay to be grateful.  It's just not okay when the savior uses that to make you something you're not.  You're grateful, after all.

But what if the savior planned it all along.  What if he pushed you into the churning water to begin with.  When you were vulnerable with your back turned, daydreaming to the sounds of peace around you.  And he comes along and silently pushes you off.  Later, he convinces you that your daydreaming caused you to be careless and you slipped. 

But he was here to help.  He could make you better. 

How does one come to BE an abused wife?  Do we choose this life?

On purpose?

How does one come to be sleeping with the enemy?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Chris Project

Over a year ago, I stopped following my doctors orders.  I had become someone's wife, someone's employee, and someone's mom.  I lost myself.  My doctor tried to help me by giving me a pill. And another.  And another.  My medicine cabinet overflowed with medicine instead of mascara and nail polish as it should.

My husband tried to help me by giving me more responsibility in the marriage according to the dictates of his own conscience as THE MAN in what he called a Christian Marriage.  I was to be the woman described in Proverbs 31.  She did it all and was happy to do it for her man because God said so.

Fuck off.  God didn't make me to be your slave, picking up your shit streaked underwear and half empty soda cans topped with cigarette butts.

The medicine was making me crazy.  I was overly compliant with his controlling ways to make him happy.  So there would be peace in the house.  So I could have peace in my heart and in my life.

I wasn't getting it.  I needed peace.  I had to start with me.  My body had given in to medicines for years and was weak.  I bruised easily and healed slowly.  Sometimes it seemed not at all.  My muscles were atrophied from lack of working out.  I quit eating the food my jackass husband INSISTED I eat, I quit taking the medicines and I quit doing what he wanted me to do and started doing the things I KNEW were the right things.

I stopped all my medicine.  I have arthritis so it started with pain medicine and went to symptom chasing after that.  One by one, I let the prescriptions expire and let the medicine run from my body.  This was not the best idea.  I got sicker before I got better. 

I had to strip away all the bad.  I wasn't fast enough and maybe karma thought so, too.  Over the year or more that has passed since I stopped the medicine and started thinking for myself, I've fallen hard and fast.  I got divorced, got arrested, lost my job.  I lost my boyfriend twice so far and really hope that doesn't happen again.  At least not for the reasons before, and he was right.

But I hope to fix that.  I think he hopes, too.  So does mom and my two girls and my sisters.  I was dying a year ago.  Though I look like I've fallen and I can't get up, I've only just started so don't give up on me now.

I've hit bottom.  I'm climbing out.  The final link has been placed and I'm gripping the chain.

I lost my boyfriend for a valid reason and I wouldn't blame him for walking away now.  When I lost him, I thought it was the last thing I needed to tear away the old and bring back the girl I was before all this happened.  To the honest and real me that still desires peace and happiness and knew it wasn't happening, for me OR my kids, in that hell.  I had to get back to me.

I was lost and didn't know how.  I reached out in the middle of the night to a hotline, not for suicide prevention so much as death prevention.  The pain was enormous and I knew it would eventually overwhelm me.  It got me to therapy.  The very next business day.  And every day that week but one.  And the following Monday.  And I go again on Monday next.

Therapy doesn't scare me but being a "mental patient" does.  It means I have to admit some things.  Some things I'm not ready to admit.  But I like my therapist and I trust her.  I think she can help me through this and I can come back.  Back to Chris.

I told the boyfriend I went to therapy.  He came back.  He was hurt but he came back.  He was stunned I asked for help.  He was NOT stunned that I needed it.  He UNDERSTOOD.

He understood.

Maybe not all guys are assholes.

Another Dumbass Man

After posting about my dumbass brother-in-law, I got to thinking WHY I thought what he did was asinine.  And it WAS asinine. 

My now BELOVED EX-husband, has issues.  Many, many issues.

He's a controlling dolt.  I have two kids, he had two dogs.  We both worked and I had to commute quite a distance.  Dinner is not something to be discussed at dinnertime amongst the adults and agreed upon before ANYTHING gets started.  Its what you eat when you get home and I cooked so it would be ready and kids could get to homework and baths as soon as possible.  Shut up and eat.

But this troll wouldn't eat what I cooked.  "I hate vegetables,"  he said.  Yeah...  But we are adults here and you're getting fat and pasty and look generally like shit.  He didn't want it if it wasn't bread, breaded, deep fried or brown in color.  He unashamedly ordered food in a restaurant and said "no vegetables on my plate.  I hate vegetables."  I would be SO embarrassed when he did that.

I took meat out of the freezer in the morning in order to cook at night when I got home.  We actually got into a huge fight one night when I had dinner ready when he got home and HE didn't feel like eating that on that particular night.  FUCK OFF, ASSHOLE!  What?  Are you 12?  Oh, that's right.  You actually ARE juvenile and petty.  You don't want any vegetables and your mother cuts your meat when you visit, you fop. 

He actually told me that I was supposed to consult with him, AT dinnertime, before starting ANYTHING.  O  M  G

The really sad part is he believes he is right.  When I had HIM cook, it was mac and cheese, french fries and frozen chicken nuggets.  No vegetables.  Gross.  Sometimes he wanted frozen fish sticks.  Sometimes breaded chicken patties.  Sometimes pizza with no vegetables.  When we ate what he wanted, because I couldn't make him something different, which I always offered, we ALL got fat like him.  And if we didn't eat what he ate, he WHINED and made everyone's life a general hell until we did.

Until, among other things, his whiny ass couldn't take it anymore and did what most 12 year olds do.  He ran away.  And he's SO right.  He believes.

There will be more about this winner.  I may even say his name out loud.  He thinks he is such a dialed in guy but he's just a BUS DRIVER.  Big fucking deal.  Like every other bus driver out there, you are bald and getting more and more rotund.  Is that required for ballast on the corners in your big Prevost?  Do you know how stupid you look?