Why Being A Strong Women Ain’t Got Shit To Do With Being Rude When I was a young adult starting my life out in the adult world on my own, … Continue reading Debunking The Bitch Myth
It’s in there, burrowed down deep inside like a parasite.
It’s my mother voice, nasal and deep fried and tainted yellow by cigarette smoke snarking
“You see your Hell here on Earth.”
This past Saturday, without much fanfare and while shivering in the chilly November breeze, I welcomed my thirty-fourth year of life by watching my son take part in the local … Continue reading Chapter 34
My family medical history reads like a Cause of Death report
Any one of the illnesses I’m set to inherit
Would be the case close decision
For any dead body in any morgue
And if the high blood pressure, diabetes,
And likelihood of breast and/or ovarian cancer
Doesn’t clock me out early and in excruciating pain
Those genetic mental illnesses will
Double dipped chicken fried depression
Enough borderline to go over the line
[see what I did there?]
With more than a dash of attention deficit disorder
And some potential schizoaffective disorder for good measure
And I’m not even including those addictive personality traits
that course through my family tree
Like sap in the spring
Not that I was ever given any assistance
In learning how to deal with these second-hand things
No one taught me about eating right or exercise
Or even addressed calming techniques to quiet
My brain speeding around like an energy drink loving hamster on a wheel
But my mom did teach me
That chewing up Vicodin makes them work faster
And that drinking beer with a Twizzler is super funny
Both of those lessons came before I turned fifteen
I also learned that it’s okay to throw up after you eat
Its okay to do that in the Ryan’s Steakhouse bathroom during a rare family night out
And that its ok to take so many Oxys that you don’t hear your daughter calling
Or remember how to sign your name on her brand practice logs
I know I won’t be inheriting anything grand when my folks die
At most a couple of used cars,
Maybe an old goat or two
And a trailer overflowing with pill bottles and dust.
And that’s okay,
They’ve already given me enough
I don’t know how to start this. Perhaps my hesitation is from this not being easy or enjoyable to write. So here goes.
This is my goodbye.
This fragile relationship of ours is no longer good for me. You are no longer good for me. Your passive aggression taints every conversation we have, like second-hand smoke in a sweater. Somehow, no matter what our conversation is about, you warp and bend it until it reflects light onto that one time, more than a decade ago, when I fell short in your eyes. Our friendship does not make me feel good about myself. If anything, it makes me feel like a scapegoat. I’ve worked really hard to grow as a person and to cast off the shame, guilt, and self-hatred that I carried from my childhood. I can not allow you to undo what I’ve accomplished.
I’ve tried to be a good friend. I’ve tried to honor your feelings and allow you to hold them. But you used your feelings as a weapon. It’s obvious that you still hold on to the anger and pain that befell you in the past. It’s obvious that this hot coal burned its way inside your body and took residence in your heart. While I am not one to tell someone to let go and move on, I feel that for us to have worked, you needed to calm that burn. I supplied apologies as a salve, but they never seemed to soothe enough for you.
You throw shade (as the kids say these days) and make remarks that seem to have no other point than to paint me as a villain and you my victim. They seem to suggest that all your hardships are because of the perceived slight you think I performed. Just to put it to bed, my actions back then were never malicious. You know this. I acted on what my soul called me to do. It was what I personally wanted for once, instead of what was wanted for me. I explain this to you so you understand, I was just trying to live my life. No one should be kept from that OR be made feel bad because of that. Its exhausting explaining time and time again that my actions were not personal attacks. I just wanted sovereignty.
I understand your life has had ups and downs. So has mine. Everyone’s has. I will not say that anyone has had it easier or harder than anyone else. We’ve all made choices and we all deal with their consequences. That being said, you really seem set on winning some imaginary Misery Olympics. I do not support and will not take part in such games. We should be celebrating each other’s successes, not trying to impress others with who hurts the most. Pain is not something that is measurable like that. While I am sorry that your experiences haven’t all been positive ones, I don’t feel that they should be things you wave at me in an attempt to make me feel bad for or to discredit my own.
For my own mental health, I can not allow you lay your sins on me and send me out into the wild any longer. I do not hate you. I do not dislike you. I would very, very much like for us to be close again. I would like for us to have the relationship we assumed we would. But I simply can not with things in their current state. I’m sorry we can’t be the friends we imagined we would always be.
Please have a good life. I wish nothing but the best for you. But I can accept nothing but the best for me.
She was crying.
She was yelling.
She was stomping her feet.
Her hands were fists, shaking with rage.
She was a middle-aged woman. And her day was ruined.
But the thing is, it wasn’t just her day. It was a family day. And not just any random Sunday dinner type family day, but a day that was primarily planned for the children. Those children stood, silently defeated, behind the legs of their mother. Even an outsider could see that this event would be charred into not only their memory, but their future behavioral patterns. It was a lesson on how its perfectly okay to throw a fit when you are not happy. They will carry this event , and all the others like it from her, into every relationship they form as they age.
When having multiple events like the one above in your personal experience tank, it’s hard to distinguish between the ideas of selfishness and self-care. The word selfish ,according to Merriam Webster, is when one is “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself, seeking or concentration on one’s own advantage,pleasure,or well being without regard for others.”
For people who grow up around abusive individuals , self-care often has the same definition. There becomes this idea that time spent taking care of one’s own self is time that could be better allocated to the care of someone else. This idea is planted in the person’s mind until sacrificial acts blossom into their modus operandi. Enjoyment is permanently set aside in hope of pleasing others. And this spreads to every single relationship. Significant others, children, friends, strangers, EVERYONE gets a slice first, until there’s nothing left but crumbs.
We’ll never get full on crumbs. And we’ll run on those crumbs until there’s nothing left to sustain us. Then the whole ship goes down. This is why self care is important. If we are the foundation upon which we build others, we have to take care of that foundation. If we crumble, they all do. In order to take care of others, we must take care of ourselves. To do this, we must change our understanding of what being selfish is.
Taking care of yourself is not selfish.
Working to feel better, physically and mentally, is not selfish.
Enjoying your favorite foods/movies/music is not selfish.
Napping is not selfish.
Doing your make-up,nails, hair, etc is not selfish.
Wanting alone time is not selfish.
Relaxing is not selfish.
Pampering yourself the same way you pamper others is not selfish.
A castle is only as good as its foundation. Remember to treat yourself with care.
Love others but also, love yourself.
I live in the Southeastern United States. Winter, to us, is only a slight reprieve from oppressive damp heat and endless pollen. That being said, I have no idea how to drive on an icy road. If it’s icy, I retreat further into my home and refuse to venture out. I’m a horrible driver on a good day. So when the roads are compromised I’m extra dangerous. It’s not intentional, I’m just a bad driver. Winter weather just adds to my inability.
Sometimes though, you can’t avoid the icy roads. Sometimes you need to go out for milk, or toilet paper, or medicine. And sometimes the icy roads are not actually roads connecting geographic locations. Sometimes those icy roads are genetic paths that connect people.
I’m on one of those roads right now. I’m revisiting a relationship I had put a Dead End sign on long ago. I’m realizing that so much of the narrative that played in my mind for all these years was not only seasoned by other people’s agendas, but was mostly hypothetical. I had created wars in my head where there were just misunderstandings. The mountains I made and were struggling to carry, actually might have been mole hills.
With that, I’m facing the hard realization that the people I backed never really were backing me. Imagine standing the the corner for someone’s fight only for them to use your battles to hype their own. Someone I thought was a wise and caring person is actually nothing more than a gaslighting soul leech. Narcissistic abuse comes in all shapes and sizes. I realize now that my naivete and gullibility lead me like breadcrumbs through the forest right to the door of a storybook villain.
There’s so much I need to reassess. So many things I need to judge clearly on my own. So much to unpack. While I do that, the cold stays and ice continue to form. This road isn’t getting any less clear.
For right now, I’m just trying to stay in my own lane.
Postface: This is not about my significant other. Mr. Conjure and Coffee and I are wonderful.