a month of thanks

there are many lessons that my time in rehab taught me
while most of them were how NOT to behave, some of them were spot on, just distorted in ways to make a point.

one of those lessons was about appreciation

I have been guilty of saying that I am thankful for my past, but today I am not

without my past I would not be who I am today … I get that … but without my past I am not different than the person I am today either
without my past would I have been a more patient mother?  would I not be so hell bent on them following the rules?
would I have been a less demanding wife?  would I be more appreciative of my husband and all that he does for his family?
would I let friendships go as easily?  would I be more accepting of minor indifference?
would I be less judgmental of those who drink heavily in front of their young children?  or of those who encourage drinking with their older children?

to say that I am thankful for the years spent in rehab would be like saying I am thankful for the scar on my hand
the scar that came from sticking my hand into sudsy water and finding the sharp edge of the knife that cut to the bone

I am not thankful for that
but I have a sense of appreciation for it
I’ve built an understanding from the experience
the same way I know that fire is hot, fire can burn, fire can destroy

I don’t have to be thankful for the fire or for the sharp knife
but I can respect the responsibilities that come with handling them

I am not thankful for all that I have lived and the experiences themselves are not responsible for the person I am today
the knowledge I have gained, and the understanding I have carried away from them, are what have shaped me

the ability to see what went wrong
the choices I have made in regard to my past
the capacity to move beyond the abuse and the hate
that is what I am thankful for

the pain

I’ve been gone for a few months … I’ve been trying to deal with some pain – emotional and physical – but mostly physical

the physical has become a focal point these last few months and the emotional has had to take a back seat.
I’ve had to direct my energy into simply getting thru the day.
less time to write, less time to play, less energy for everything involved

I know this isn’t what my blog was meant to be about, but here is where I feel free to share it.
family and friends are already pushing
… for me to do more
… for me to know more
… for me to force other people to give me information that they don’t have
apparently they think I haven’t already asked, that I haven’t tried, that I don’t care, or that I enjoy being in pain

and yet I still have to be a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter/cousin/sister
I still have kids to cart back and forth, a house to keep clean, dinners to be made, clothes to be washed, appointments to be kept

there are no ‘re-do’s” for first moments
there isn’t an extra hour before bed
there isn’t a clone that can step in with the kids, the husband, the family
there is no time to be the woman who is tired of being in pain

trust

dad calls

hey!  let’s go have lunch tomorrow

in my head

in the middle of the week?
what did I do?
why?

my answer

see you tomorrow

..

I went into my intake willingly.

I wanted to be in a better place
with myself
with my family
mostly with myself

but I went thinking that I had finally been heard

I went thinking someone would hear my side and force my parents to hear it
maybe not accept it
or even go along with it
but hear it

I went willingly because I was ready to compromise
I wasn’t going to give up everything, but I was ready to work things out
I was prepared to hear them out and I expected the same

ultimately, I went because I trusted them
and that was my greatest mistake

I still have trouble with that today
I didn’t realize it until just recently, but I have trouble trusting them

they play games
with me
with my kids
with each other
and I don’t trust them

..

someone affiliated with the survivor groups I’m a member of, posted something along the lines of

every time I go to a family gathering, I expect to walk into an intervention

I laughed
until I realized I can absolutely identify with that feeling

accusations and insinuations are thrown randomly at me in daily conversations
some I can tackle on my own
some I choose to ignore in front of my kids
some are ignition fluid that I choose to carefully avoid
but every one of them reminds me, that once upon a time

I went willingly

absence makes the heart grow … weary??

I’ve stepped away from my blogs for a while

I find I write for two reasons … to deal with all the shit that is in my head and to avoid dealing with all the shit I have going on in real life

I finally had to stop and face real life for a bit

I am still dealing with my last post – my dad, his anger, my fears of becoming him
… but I also needed to see my kids through the end of the school year
one daughter was slipping in reading and spelling
another was slipping in turning in homework and being responsible
and both were partly my fault because I had thought they were on cruise control and could handle it on their own

I have to take care of me, but not at the expense of my kids
so I disappeared to make sure they know nothing is more important than they are

now school is over and procrastination is even easier, but the shit in my head is still there
kind of like those mucinex commercials …
the thoughts, the feelings, the memories – they’re settling in and aren’t in any hurry to get the hell out
it’s time to shake things up again!

I don’t want to be an angry person

I have grown up with a family member that has always been angry
not that this is the only way I see him, I can bring a smile to his face
but he always has something to bitch about
… politics, the people at work, traffic, the people driving in traffic, money, kids laughing too loud, kids crying too loud, passengers on the train, passengers on an air plane, the fact that people seem to have more than he does, the bums on the street, the way people dress, the way people talk, the language they speak
I’m not kidding when I say we could be talking about rainbows and butterflies and the man could find something negative about it

it just seems like an exhausting way to live

and over the last few years, my dad has become the same way
he has always had a temper, but usually it only flared when the average person would start to become annoyed at a situation
lately, it’s all the time

my dad gets pissed off at my kids’ soccer games
we all have issues with sporting officials making bad calls, missing fouls and what not
but before the game can even get started, he is already complaining about how they don’t know what they are doing and is it even worth it to be here?
then once the game starts, no one is safe from his comments … the kids, the coaches, the spectators …

I love my dad, but there are times I wish I could tell him not to come
bring a happy face or stay the hell home

I have fallen into that kind of negativity
where I find fault with everything
and I don’t want to be that person

I don’t blame rehab for this – for obvious reasons
neither family member was put through what I was
but I think I am aware of it more because of rehab

emotion in me is always raw
my own awareness of how I’m feeling is usually right in my face
once in a while my mania hides the emotions behind a curtain so I can’t identify what has me rattled
at least until I have tripped over my attitude and torn the curtain off the rod
and then not only have I exposed what has been hiding, but the guilt and shame shine a spotlight on me as I try to hide beneath the wreckage

a bitter round of play for me

but aside from that
I have wondered if bringing all this out … stirring it up, dissecting it and sharing it with others … is going to help me be less angry?
or if it is only rousing the deeper rooted emotion that will spill out as anger?

I know I need to do this
I need to search it out, reveal it and then leave it behind
and I am just hoping now that it won’t overcome me in the process

afterall … it has been well over 20 years … it didn’t kill me then, I should be able to put it to rest now, right?

learning more about me

so … all that time in rehab, and what did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I really could hate myself even more
that my hate did not end with my poor body image
or finding my worth in the eyes of a boy

I learned that shame weighs more than happiness
the memory of shame etches itself deeper into my mind
and that it will haunt me whenever I let my guard down

I learned that I am not as strong as I gave myself credit for
I was swayed … brainwashed … hell bent on spreading the lies I was spoon fed, day in and day out, by the people who meant to “help” me
and the scary realization is, it happened once, who can say it won’t happen again?

I learned that when it comes to my survival… mentally, at least … the only person I can count on is me
and I have to be willing to help myself
no one will have the last word when the voice in my head demands center stage
I will never be able to silence it completely
but I can gag it, tie it up and shove it in a closet

certainly there must be something positive in all that?

I found light in the darkness
I made friends with a handful of others
and the experience there formed a bond with even more survivors
people I’ve never physically met, but who understand my irrational fears, the nightmares, the little things that set me off

and I found a voice
a reason to stick up for myself
and while at one time I used it to misguide others into thinking this rehab was the last hope for a struggling teen
it is now used to stand up for children
to let people know what happened behind the locked doors of that warehouse
to stand up for myself
to get what I need in life
to praise my children

I can’t tell you if that shy thirteen year old child would have picked that up somewhere along the way
if there would have been someone who taught her she was worth the fight
but she found it!  she’s worth it!  and you better get the hell out of her way when she demands to fight for it