My Blog

A blog about my friends, family, and all the weird and annoying people I know. Feel free to comment. I'll delete it if I don't like it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Reading

This summer I've been doing some reading. I took a couple classes so some of the reading sucked. But when I started reading for enjoyment I found some interesting stuff. One was a book about Scientology and all the wacko shit they do. Usually I stalk people on Goodreads and read what they liked and if I hate it I wonder what is wrong with them.

I found a book that just came out by Jenny Mollen whom I'd never heard of but she's married to someone famous and whatever. She writes about some past relationships or current relationships that border on obsessive or eccentric and it reminded me of my own past and all the dumb ass people I've encountered, dated, or otherwise became extremely intoxicated with and/or made decisions that affected the cycle of guilt and shame people in their 20s seem to perpetually be stuck in.

As a teacher I'm not really supposed to have any kind of lurid past or even an interesting present. But teachers are freaks, they just need a good cover and teaching is a great one. So anyway, this book made me think of a guy I dated who I think was super gay and addicted to elderly porn. He had blonde poofy hair and it stood off his head like a fuzzy q-tip. Once I bought him regular porn for Valentines Day as kind of a porn challenge to see if he would like heterosexual porn from an adult porn store (the more legit kind of porn) or would he go back to elderly porn on the internet and claim he "couldn't find anything else."

Well that porn tape collected dust. He was clearly gay. I wrote him a letter and printed it out and left it in the printer tray. This is what it said, "I think you're gay."

Then I drank a lot of beer.

The End.

Thanks Jenny Mollen for jogging that important story.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mindful Parenting

Last summer I read a book about my ego and how it is self-serving and really out to screw me over. In my quest to blame something or someone for all my bad decisions, the ego seemed liked a great scapegoat so I embraced that idea unequivocally. Stupid ego. Then I read the Power of Now, how to live in the moment, which I've determined is nearly impossible to do as a result of  all the fuckery swirling around in my life due to work, kids, mean, dumb people, and my own penchant for self-destruction.  
Having disregarded trying to live in the now, I moved on to a few books about meditation and mindfulness. I like the idea of being present and reflective. Basically, being mindful is being aware of your emotions while still having emotions but not letting those emotions turn into histrionics and then guilt for having overreacted. The basic concept touted is to respond, not react to the powerful emotions I have that sometimes makes me feel like grabbing someone’s throat in a vice grip. 
This week particularly has challenged my restraint, mostly having to do with my own children. Respond not react. Respond not react. That's what I repeat to myself as events unfold that make veins pop in my forehead.
1.) I take my girls out each night to the gym, library or park so they don't fight and wander around the house claiming I'm ruining their lives by keeping them home. Tuesday was gym day. They get to color and play or watch TV in the gym Kid’s Klub where they've been going since both of them were born. Tuesday night we got home around 7:30 p.m. because we stayed a few minutes afterwards to hang out with my friend and talk. I tell the girls, "When we get home, let's get ready for bed and then you can play for a few minutes before bed time." Neither spoke nor said okay which suggests they were either totally on board with this or thinking to themselves, "I'm not doing that and in fact, I'm planning on freaking out instead." Unbeknownst to me, the latter is what was going to occur. I get home and bring in the gym bag and the Rainbow Loom and the markers, backpacks, drinks and stuffed animals that accompany us wherever we go. I say, calmly and nicely, "Hey Child #1, go change into your night clothes (Child #1 refuses to wear pajamas sets, I don’t know why) and then you can play." This is what I think she heard based on the way she reacted, "Go change your clothes and then I'm going to dip your head in hot lava.”  When I finished my calm request she started moaning, crying and stomping like I'd just suggested something so preposterous that her psyche couldn't process it. Before I knew what was happening she was running down the hall screaming about how night clothes THEN playing just ruin her life and she can't play the way she wants with night clothes on (?). As she was flipping out my head was spinning with reactions. By then she had locked me out of her room after slamming the door.  This reactive situation presents a dilemma for me.
My options? Respond or React. 
This is how I responded: I knocked on the door instead of banging on it (progress). But then I said in my serial killer voice, "Open up the door before I kick it in, please." When she opened the door I said in the same creepy quiet controlled voice, "I would like to take a moment to remind you that every day, every single day, you must change your clothes to get ready for bed. This simple human every day task does not warrant this type of behavior and if you decide to freak the hell out every time you must change an article of clothing  you will not only ruin the quality of your life, you will make mom an angry freak as well. So, let's not have this happen again.” I tried not to yell or spit on myself as I usually do when this type of unacceptable behavior occurs.  
I find being mindful and responsive of absurdity and irrational behaviors is extraordinarily difficult. By Wednesday, Child #2 upped the absurdity ante exponentially. This is how Taco Bell ruined my daughter's life. 
2.) When I pick up my girls at 3:15 they have saved up enough pettiness for 7 hours to bicker all the way home. So when they climb in the car sometimes I make a disclaimer before I drive away from the chaos that is pick up time in front of an elementary school: Do not argue about math, lollipops, the cost of lunch, or the way words are pronounced or mispronounced. They look like they know what I'm talking, but clearly, they do not.  On Wednesday, Child #2 asks if I brought them food which is not part of the aforementioned disclaimer but should be. She asks this every day because twice I brought them a snack to be nice after leaving work a little early. This act of motherly kindness has turned my child into a person whose expectations are never met and as a result, I forever let her down. Upon hearing that I have no snack since I was at work all day instead of running around looking for food for her, she starts moaning like a seal. Note to self:  Add, 'Don't ask me about snacks' to my disclaimer statement. Second note to self: Have them sign said disclosure and keep a copy in the glove compartment. 
Somehow sensing that this child is hungry I offered up a Taco Bell taco solution to which she moaned a shallow, yes. As I pulled in the drive- thru, she suddenly changed the rules on me and wanted a chicken strip KFC meal instead which was not a part of the original taco offer and to which I said, no, and to which she continued to sing the song of the moaning seal. By then I couldn't get mad and drive away since I was trapped between cars in the drive-thru and everyone knows it's impossible to zoom away angry in that situation. So, after I order her tacos, she starts complaining that she likes Taco Bell better when it had two drive-thru windows instead of just the one window now. She continued with more moaning seal noises followed by questions I'll never have the answers to: "Why did Taco Bell get rid of the other window,mom? WHY? What did they cover it up with? Can it come back? Who did it? Why would they do that?" I have no response but to try to hate Taco Bell with her and commiserate that Taco Bell is probably trying to ruin people's lives with their diabolical drive-thru window switch up. 
Subsequently and rightly she falls asleep on the Taco Bell bag to which Child #1, who has no ill will towards Taco Bell, exclaims, "She is asleep on the Taco Bell bag." Child #1 has a special gift for pointing out the obvious which leaves me wondering how to respond without sarcasm to her constant mundane observations.  That car is red, she is asleep, the dog is white, dad isn't home, the dog is barking, the mail is on the counter etc. AH! 
When we finally get home, I lay out the tacos on the kitchen counter thing we eat at. As I unwrap it, Child #2 is now awake and notices the tacos are soft and not crunchy. This, apparently, is the last straw for her. She begins having an existential meltdown, flings herself on the couch and instead of seal moaning begins tears of pure sadness and sorrow. Her arms are next to her side, head back, and she is crying for something that cannot be replaced, tacos. My husband comes home and walks into the kitchen and I explain, "She's having an emotional breakdown because her tacos are soft and not crunchy." He nods. This is our norm. 
Our options: Respond or react. This is what we do: 
I give up and go sit on the couch with my IPad to play Words with Friends and tune out the child screaming for soft tacos on the couch. 
My husband offers her raspberries which perks her up so much it's as if the soft taco fiasco never happened and I quietly consider how I can always have raspberries on hand if it will keep her from going into a total life crisis meltdown. 
I’m still trying to figure out how to mindfully live and it seems as if my kids are actively working against me, plotting each day to find asinine topics to flip out about.
Here are other things my children have had to overcome this week: 
1.) Child #1 has holes in her pants for reasons we do not understand but there they are. She has no explanation for them and we will not allow her to wear clothes with holes in them to school. She finds this totally unreasonable and it causes her to cry uncontrollably and exclaim that this is in fact, the worst day ever, even worse than that one day last week that was originally the worst day ever. 
2.) Child #1 has been trying to pretend she is brushing her teeth. I caught her once standing in front of the sink with the water running spinning the toothbrush around her fingers like a baton. She jumped when I walked in then grunted and sulked when I made her actually brush her teeth. 
3.) The same child also started brushing her teeth without toothpaste in another attempt to trick me into thinking she was brushing her teeth. My efforts at explaining what rotten teeth look like have not deterred her into trying to fool me. She finally caught on that I will sprint like a Kenyan to the bathroom when I hear her running the water to make sure she is brushing her teeth. With toothpaste. She proclaimed one day, “You see everything” to which my response was, “Never forget that. I’m everywhere.”
4.) Child #2 taunts the cat. She holds the cat like a baby but this baby isn’t cooing, this cat is growling the way cats do when they don’t want to be held like a baby. Child #2 asks me the other day between growls, “I wonder what Sugar is worried about.” I know Sugar is worried about dying but I just shrug. I caught a glimpse of her carrying the cat by the collar the other day and when I asked why she said because, "she might bite me." The cat has bitten the child before and this is her precautionary measure. Then Child #2 became excessively mad that she’d been told not to try and kill the cat.

5.) They both found this situation totally unacceptable: Going to the movies at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday then having no other plans for the rest of the day. This was particularly difficult for Child #2 who walked around grunting about how she can't believe we are staying home. The horror. 
6.) When the fake baby in the toy carrier can't sit with us at dinner because it takes up half the booth and is not a real person. This leads Child #1 to the conclusion that Chinese food is stupid. 

That was just this week. There are many years of ridiculousness that have brought me to the conclusion that I need to read self-help books to reign in the absurdity and learn how to respond without anger or spitting all over myself yelling that I don't care if 3 x 5 is 15 or 16 or 18 or 2 and that I will not hear any more of this argument over math.
I’m still working on being mindful and not reacting and if I ever think I can do that, I might be a superhero.

Friday, May 9, 2014

When I was One and Twenty:

Me in high school before I really knew much of anything at all

My son is going to be 21 next month and I'm going to be sober for 5 years. Last night, at age 39, I was honored as one of fourteen teachers in my district as Teacher of the Year. On my 22nd birthday, I checked myself into a rehab program. At 23, I spent the night in jail the day before I moved to Florida. Three years later I graduated with a bachelor's degree. It's likely I wasn't sober for most of the 7 years I lived in Florida. By age 29, I had a master's degree and became a high school teacher.
I'm humbled by how far one can come in life. I made mistakes so profound they could have cost me my life. I stewed in my own self-pity so frequently that soaking in my own hatred felt like home. There is a certain comfort in addiction. It filled me up in such a way that I needed little else. When I quit, which wasn't just all of a sudden, it was an upheaval of a way of life I'd created for myself and I grieved the loss of a close companion. 
Instead of rehashing all the terrible, stupid things I did and said before I quit, I try to reflect on the metamorphosis that has taken place in that five years. However, the past is never far behind. It surfaces in the form of emotions I can't handle, shame I can't shake, and anger I've always had difficulty letting go. 
In numerous attempts to shed the past, I've sacrificed my future and almost died.  Yet, somehow I managed to survive and not only survive, but become somewhat successful doing something I never thought I'd do, teach.  I'm not even sure what I thought I was going to be, but I knew more clearly what I didn't want to be and who I didn't want in my life. When I recount some details of my death defying life to others they ask things like, "Why would you do that? What were you thinking? Why did you go there?" and things like that to which I reply, "I don't know. I didn't know what else to do" which is a sorry ass answer, so if I had indeed died, it would have been for no reason but out of sheer stupidity and for lack of anything better to do at the moment. 
I see my son now and he is a bit of a shit show these days. He will have periods of calm but then all of a sudden everything turns to crap. Surprisingly, it's even hard for me to understand and I'm the queen of downward spirals. It seems like he always has a problem and is eternally angry. His life is constantly in some state of turmoil either internal or external, self-inflicted or not. I want to be able to tell him my inspirational story of triumph and how I went from nothing to teacher of the year. But, the thing is....he knows. Because he was there. He was there in the small apartment. He was there in the one small bedroom we shared when I was highlighting The Iliad as he was trying to sleep. He was there at all my college graduations too. It was my hope for him that my ferocious desire to be more than a loser would seep into his pores and stick to him. Instead, he became just as much of a magnet for disaster and seemingly has inherited my lust for everything terrible and dangerous. 
I thought I'd paved the way for him to not be such a dumb ass. I showed him hard work and perseverance. I showed him success and triumph over obstacles. But nope. He is going to forge his own path of shame and redemption. It's agonizing for me to watch because I have the answers. I'm full of inspiration and advice. I lived my whole life feeling like I didn't belong anywhere, feeling left out on purpose by others who were smarter or richer or both. I felt defeated and less, hopeless and devastated. I didn't want that for my son. I wanted him to feel empowered. But he didn't. 
When I was twenty and one and twenty and two and twenty and so on, I didn't know who I was and I thought it was because of my past. I didn't know what to do and I thought it was because of my parents. I wanted to be better but I thought other people were keeping me down. Now though, more than ever, the past is letting me go. Oh, it's still there, keeping a nice simmering anger alive, but it no longer consumes me or sends me into a spiral of self-destruction as it once did. Bitterness and anger are both places I reside in comfortably, and I can feel myself easily seeking them out as a place to hide. The past loomed over me for years threatening  to drag me back under and remind me that I was, in fact, what I'd always feared, nothing. I am much more equipped now to recognize pain, anger, and sadness for what they are: fleeting. They will wash over me with voracity, but just as swiftly leave again. 
Watching a child struggle with life lessons is heartbreaking. Mostly because I know the answers. I know what to do. I can help him. But I can't help him. I can only nod in his presence when I'm wringing my hands in private and scanning the news for a glimpse of his name. An accident. A robbery. I'm worried he will die and I didn't get to help him the way I know I can. I want to swoop in and save him from himself the way I wished someone has tried to save me. I thought I needed someone to help me, but what I learned instead is that I had to help myself. He will have to help himself too. Bitterness and anger can be powerful if used towards building resilience and fortitude, but bitterness and anger are also comfortable places to lose yourself and die. 
When I Was One and Twenty
by A. E. Houseman
When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
       But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
       But keep your fancy free.”
But I was one-and-twenty,
       No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard him say again,
“The heart out of the bosom
       Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
       And sold for endless rue.”
And I am two-and-twenty,
       And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Concept of Family

*This post first appeared in BlogHer I think where I've been writing a bit more these days just because I don't know what kind of creepy people stalk me on this blog. It has over 600 reads so I thought I'd share it here too. 

My brother died last year around this time, May something or other. I wasn't even sure he was really dead. I got a muffled cell phone call from my mom around 5 am mumbling frantically that Tim may have died and then click. End of message. Previously I'd had a falling out with my mother where she requested I not contact her anymore. Then this. This message about death. It 
 It seemed likely he was dead considering the times he probably should have died.  Once he was so drunk he wrecked his motorcycle and his bottle of vodka rolled out of his back pack. No one saw it happen so he gathered up his back pack, his vodka and went on his way. I got up,  took a shower, came to work and met up with my friend in the parking lot. She said, "What's up?" And I said, "My brother may have died."
 I called my dad and said, "I heard Tim might have died."  He told me he's heard the same thing and was trying to confirm. Two years earlier a girl from Texas was visiting my brother and died in his bed.  We still don't really know why.
 By the next day we confirmed he was dead. I wasn't that sad.  I showered that morning leaning my head against the glass.  I had stopped talking to my brother about four years earlier because he was an addict, a terrible father, and a selfish, self destructive person. I cried though, but not because I missed him. I cried for the concept of a brother. I cried for the idea of family. I cried for the destruction of something I saw crumble around me when I was 11.  I cried for the child who had a big brother. I cried for the family dinners when I had to ask, "May I be excused?" before I left the dinner table and the family who prayed together before bed. I cried for ever wanting someone to call me his little sister and then protect me like I thought a brother might do.
  often get trapped in the concept of things rather than the reality of them. The reality is that he wasn't a good person and I was kind of expecting him to die at an early age.
I wanted to look up to him and I tried. People with brothers seemed to like them so much. I wanted to think he was great or powerful or successful.  I wanted him to be cool. But he wasn't any of those things. He was an addict. I can only ever remember him as an addict too. I have no memory of him being a brother. When I was 9 he asked me, while I was watching cartoons, what I would do if I were ever raped. He asked me if I knew what being raped meant.  I said I didn't know what I would do and yes, I knew what it meant. I sat so stiffly in my pleather bean bag chair my eyes burned as I stared intently at the T.V. I heard him and his friend giggling and whispering in the kitchen. I started to get really scared that he might let his friend rape me just to see what I would do.  When he  finally left the room I called a family friend, explained quietly what he had said to me and she came over and picked me up. I never felt safe with him again.
He was perpetually on drugs.When I was 10, I unknowingly and repeatedly slammed his head against the bathroom door because he had passed out on the toilet and fallen face first onto the floor, pants down. He spent a year in a boys home in Texas when he was 13. My dad knocked over his dinner chair with him in it when he came home at age 15 with an earring. When I was 13 and he, 17,  he cut up lines of cocaine and offered it to me in an attic space in Idaho that he had painted in satanic ritual markings. I didn't like him much, didn't respect him, and was gravely disappointed in everything he did. I declined his kind cocaine offer that night too.
He called me once around the time I graduated from college. I was drinking beer from a keg I kept on my back porch and watching reruns of Friends. When I answered, he said he was sitting in a truck and contemplating suicide.I was sick of all his shit and I was like, "What? Why? And why are you calling ME? I don't even live in the same state as you. Stop fucking with my head man!" He ignored me and asked me to play a certain song at his funeral by the band Live called Lightening Crashes. A woman's placenta falls to the ground in the first stanza. It's fuckin stupid and he's such an asshole for calling to tell me this. I should have called the police but I didn't. I went to bed because I know he's a selfish asshole and by threatening to kill yourself over the phone to someone in another state who has no idea where you live or what your address is, is a shitty, dick move. Fucker. About 5 years ago he ran away from a mental health facility and went missing. I was worried for about 10 minutes until I called my dad and he said, "Don't worry about it. He's an adult He'll figure it out." My parents are very supportive and concerned. He never killed himself that night but a few weeks later called and asked if him and his wife (wife? When did he get a wife?) could come to Florida and sleep on my floor otherwise they would be homeless. I said no. My family sucks.
 He was family though and from what I gather about society and families it's that no matter what happens, they will be there for you and you should in turn be there for them. They will always have your back. You can always go home. Family is forever. Even when families break down and divorce, mothers and fathers still love their kids. Parents don't leave you.  They won't move out of state and tell you one day before so you have no time to plan a goodbye to everyone you've ever known. They don't get married to people you've never met and not tell you until you see the wedding pictures that you're not in, at their condo. They won't take off to another town and leave you living in an apartment with your strung out brother. They won't forget your birthday or to call you on holidays. They won't treat you like you're worthless or insignificant.
But they do. Families forget you.
If I had friends like I have family, I would stop being their friend.
If my friend responded, "Graduate school is really difficult and expensive and you probably can't do it" when I told him/her I was thinking of getting a master's degree, then I wouldn't be friends with that person because that person is an asshole. So when you tell me, "I'm going to get a rainbow tattoo that spans both sides of my butt cheeks" I'm going to be all like, "Hooray for you."  I'm going to be happy for you because damn it, you deserve that rainbow ass tattoo.
I don't need your negative bullshit when I tell you good news. If you're going to talk to me, you better have something fucking positive to say even if you have to fake it. I might not get into that program, or win that award but I don't need your stupid ass attitude reminding me that I'm mediocre and regular and that nothing about me is particularly outstanding. Also, if I don't know you very well, Do Not call me and tell me you are going to kill yourself. I hate that.
The whole point here is that family didn't work out for me. I'm sad and bitter about this and I talk about it all the time. Check out the name of this blog. This month I had some very cool news about things that are happening in my life. I didn't call anyone in my family. It's been a few weeks and I've contemplated putting the news in an email, but they have a way of diminishing me so I haven't said anything.  Now that I'm older I know I'm responsible for maintaining relationships and things I do and say can intentionally and unintentionally affect people. So, I'm going to talk to the people who build me up instead of bring me down. I guess I do have family, technically, but I have better friends.

I don't know what's going on here, but he looks smug. I'm wondering where my real family is in this picture. just kidding. 

My parents took us out for McDonald's before Tim left for some other state to do more drugs.  You can tell by the mullet  and mesh shirt that he's headed for no good. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Drunk Adults at Birthday Parties

 I took one of my daughter's to a birthday party the other day in a part of town that reminded me of the 80s. The houses were probably built in the 70s, low ceilings, sunk in living room and linoleum.

I  lived in a home like that until about 1988 when stucco really became a big deal and track homes and HOAs were the cool kid in town.

So I drop my kid off after introducing myself to the parents. I'll be back in 2 hours. At a certain age it's okay to just drop your kid off. I don't like small talk.

When I came back, some of the adults were drunk. There were people at this child's birthday party who belonged in a pool hall. I got to wondering if there were two separate events going on, one of them a 7- year -old's birthday party and the other one a beer drinking cigarette party. It wasn't just the drunk dad wearing a tiara,  It was also the drunk uncle who introduced himself to everyone while sporting his coolie cup beer holder with the top half of his beer can peeking out. He wore the stench of alcohol like cologne. While the kids gathered around the birthday girl opening gifts, there were 3 adults on either side of the porch smoking cigarettes. They were smoking 4 feet away from where 15 little girls were gathered at a birthday party. It was so bizarre...for 2013.

I had a flash back to the late 70s and 80s where people smoked in restaurants, in cars with kids, and in airplanes. You don't like smoke? Too bad says 1982!

In the 80s I remember going to relatives homes and seeing drunk people, drinking people, loud people, and chain smoking people. It seemed that's what people did. They built low ceiling homes with basements, bought house boats, and hung out on porches grilling food, drinking, and smoking. It was all so normal and casual. No one really made a scene but a lot of people got drunk. It was really exciting when my grandpa got a smokeless ashtray and tried to convince my uncle it was now okay to smoke inside his house.

When I was 18, I smoked with my grandpa inside. We gathered around this contraption like a  bonfire. It brought people together. 

However, in the70s and  80s people also didn't use seat belts and people died. I remember sitting on the middle seat of my dad's red Oldsmobile right between the driver and passenger. I could literally prop my feet up on the 8 track player. I remember the curtain in airplane smoking sections before someone went and did a bunch of research about second hand smoke and ruined every body's good time. I used to shove gum wrappers in there.

There's My Seat, Right in the Middle. I'm lucky to be alive I suppose. All that smoke and dangerous seating going on for years.

I wrote this post several months ago thinking that maybe I was being judgmental since I don't drink anymore and am not a part of that world. Perhaps I've lost touch or I'm boring or something. But just this weekend I went to another child's party and a woman I met once before ran up to me and hugged me like we were long lost friends. That one time I met her must have been significant because we chatted like school girls for a good 10 minutes. At first I thought she was running open armed towards someone else and almost moved out of the way. She put my number in her phone and called it while I was standing there only to realize she probably inputted it wrong as there was no missed call when I checked my phone later in the car. Drunk people are fun. I'm missing a whole component of birthday parties by being sober and I feel a little left out of the good time. I decline drinks all the time. People might be starting to think I'm Mormon. It doesn't matter though because when I show up people hug me anyway. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

People Holding Cardboard Signs

Starting around November the number of people holding cardboard signs on the side of the road has increased in my area. I'm pretty good at ignoring people, but when I see them I'm quietly afraid they might try to jump in my car and demand I take them to a gas station.

People with cardboard signs have always been around, like scenery.  I lived in Florida when my son was little and we would see them, standing, frowning, looking shabby and sad. We got pretty used to them and once around age 7, as I was driving through an intersection, my son said, "oh, another stupid homo."

Shocked and appalled, I said, What?

"I'm so sick of seeing homos. They are so gross."


"Those homos, with the signs on the side of the road, they're everywhere."

Oh, you mean HOBOS. Not homos. phew. I thought for a second he was developing a hatred for homosexuals which I couldn't remember ever discussing with him. I don't think I've ever called someone a homo in my life. I'm not one to speak in abbreviations except maybe fridge. I say fridge.

After establishing them as Hobos and not Homos I explained that those sign yielders were also called homeless people and I explained they were just trying to get by and maybe eat something at a gas station. I also said I didn't think you're supposed to call people Hobos but if I had to choose between Hobo and Homo, I choose Hobo. A hobo can be a funny little traveling man with a knapsack and a tired look whereas the homo, well, that's not nice. But there might be a boa involved. Still, not nice.

a little traveling happy hobo
Hmmmm, hobo? 

I told him then that all people with cardboard signs on street corners are homeless. I'm not sure where I obtained that information but why else would you stand on the corner and beg for money? If you are on the side of a road without a cardboard sign and wearing heels, you are something else but I didn't get into that distinction with him then.

I've learned at some point in my adult life that a high percentage of homeless people are actually mentally ill and can't afford to seek out mental health treatment for themselves. This makes me sad. I also heard on an investigative news report that people who stand on the side of road with cardboard signs make more money than people who work full time.This makes me mad. Now my allegiance is torn. I don't know if I feel bad for cardboard signers or if I'm irritated that they might make more money than me.

I have two little girls now, 5 and 7, and they are recognizing the people holding cardboard signs too. I told them once that those are homeless people but then I changed my story and told them those are just people who don't have any money, or pride, and are asking others to give them money for food and other consumable goods. I didn't say the thing about pride. Relax.

That answer is simply not good enough for them. They want to know where those people, who are mostly men, came from, what happened to their houses, and if they are homeless, where did they sleep last night, where did they get those clothes they're wearing if they don't have any money. Why does that man have a dog, how did he get the marker for the sign, is that part of a box? Where did he get that box? . My answer is lengthy and philosophical. I say, "I don't know."

I took this picture yesterday. This young man has a cardboard sign in his right hand that says he is homeless AND a father of two. 5-year-old says, "Where did he get that hat if he's homeless?" 7-year-old says, "He asks for money and people give it to him, ugh, mom can you explain homeless people to her again?" Me: "I have no idea where that man got his hat, how he decided to coordinate it with his shirt, who bought him those jeans or if he really has 2 kids." 

At first I found myself conjecturing about the sign holders by making up stories for my girls about people I don't know. I just made shit up. I said, "Some people lose their homes when they don't have a job and when they don't have a job, they can't afford to stay in their house so they have to move and now they're here." It's all a slippery slope argument but they don't know how to decipher logical fallacies yet. Thank god.

They are voracious questioners though. Their rebuttal: "Where's his family?" "Is he married?" "Does he have kids?" "Does he sleep there?" "How did he buy that backpack?" "Does he shower?"

Me, continuing to make shit up: "Some of them have families but maybe that family can't take in another person because their landlord doesn't allow additional people on the lease. Sometimes people get sick of their kids and won't let them come home because sometimes people aren't nice to each other. Maybe they were married and got divorced and that guys wife got the house and all the money because he wasn't on the loan.  Maybe their parents died of old age or a disease and now they are alone in the world, fuck I don't know." I didn't say fuck.

 Man with cardboard sign sitting on a backpack on a corner by the gym. 

The man pictured above is holding a sign. I took this picture like a picture sniper. I didn't want to seem voyeuristic. This is the light I sit at every day on my way to the gym. Since my daughter can read and she is beginning to critically think and question society, she asked, "Is that man homeless?" To which I replied, "I do not know the living situation of that man or any man or woman who chooses to hold cardboard signs on the side of the road." That's my official party line for people holding cardboard signs. She read his sign which says, "Every cent counts." She said, "His sign doesn't even make sense, every cent counts? Like one two three four five cents, of course they count. She was disappointed and seemingly disgusted with the man and the word choice of his sign. What she doesn't understand yet is the double meaning words can have, so this was my opportunity to give her a mini lesson in semantics and linguistics which all 7 -year- olds love. I would explain to her that the word 'counts' doesn't mean counting like one two three but , it takes on the meaning of the word matters like every cent matters. She has seen me throw away pennies before so even this explanation wouldn't make sense to her either since every cent, doesn't matter. Sometimes I throw pennies away because they are laying around and I'm more worried about them getting sucked up into the vacuum than I am about making them count. So, I didn't say anything, I just repeated this line, "I do not know the living situation of that man or any man or woman who chooses to hold signs on the side of the road. Look, we're at the gym."

The people holding cardboard signs is so common now that I think they are working in teams. My husband saw two men with signs working the corners and as a cop approached they scattered and ran away. This leads me to believe that people holding cardboard signs are not on the up and up and by giving them money out the car window only promotes and condones their behavior.

These people seem very nice and very sad and very humble so there is an element of pity I feel when they are standing next to my car window at an iffy personal space distance. I try to keep singing along to Kelly Clarkson, but part of me is very aware that a sad man with a cardboard sign is standing a hands length away from my window.

Just when I was feeling bad about never giving them money, my husband told me he almost threw down with one of them in a gas station parking lot.

A haggard man approached his window, which is pretty gutzy, since they usually stand around with the sign and don't try to talk to you. My husband said something like, no, I don't have any money or whatever and the man got upset and yelled at him, "You don't have any money and you drive this fancy car???" All accusatory as if working hard is a flaw. That's when my husband said, "You better get the fuck away from me right now."

And I said, "Yay, someone finally thinks you have a fancy car!" He laughed and said, "Shut Up." But, we worked really hard to buy that car and we also have five jobs between the two of us to afford our lives, and we'd hate to have to hit a man with our fancy car for getting out of hand with his begging. Just kidding. We'd never try to hit anyone with it.

I once gave a man on the corner with a cardboard sign a Wendy's chili, I think his sign suggested he wanted food. That was the last time I did that. There are so many men on corners with signs now I can't afford to give them money and pay for our fancy car at the same time. I'm working on ignoring them and slyly locking my doors as I approach the stop light. I still see people giving them money so the cardboard carriers will continue to stand there. People give me money when I go to work so I keep going to work. Same concept.

Homelessness is a social and a community problem. I'm not sure if handing people money out of your car window helps or hinders anything, but watch out if you have a fancy car, you might piss someone off if you don't give them money. You can do what you want because, "I do not know the living situation of that man or any man or woman who chooses to hold cardboard signs on the side of the road."
Same corner as below. Different man. This guy has a dog. And sunglasses. You can see the dog lying next to his backpack. I'm not sure if men with dogs are more endearing than men without dogs or perhaps there is a science to having a cardboard sign. There is a woman just a few blocks from this guy who has a cardboard sign she holds while her 2 children sit next to a light pole. It's very sad. Anyway, my girls want to know where this guy got that dog from. I continue to shake my head. I don't know! Then the other day my 5- year- old asked me a question and I said, "I don't know." The 7-year-old said back to the 5-year-old, "Mom doesn't know anything, right mom?" Great. Update: This man now has a corner side girlfriend. I don't know where she came from, but there she sits. I've since banned all questions having to do with cardboard sign people. I just say, "google it" and turn the radio up louder. 

This corner is the intersection I have to turn left at in order to get to my house. There is a different man working this corner about every other day. This guy has a cardboard sign and there seems to be a short story written on it. I didn't read it because I'm afraid that looking towards him in any capacity will cause him to think I'm about to give him money, which I'm not, not because I'm a heartless asshole but because I don't have any money. I have too many fancy cars and I'm tired and broke from working 3 jobs. Anyway, this was yesterday. My girls asked, "Why doesn't he have a dog?" Again, I don't know.
BTW: They don't see me taking pictures of  people with signs, I do that on the sly. I'm a picture sniper.
Update: The above statement is a lie. The next time I pulled up to this man my daughter said, "Aren't you going to take his picture?"

Friday, January 24, 2014

Being 20

Tyler waiting for me in the ER the year I got a flu shot and still got the flu. I have a little bit of panic disorder and thought I was dying, so he drove me to the ER where it was confirmed that I was not dying. 
I haven't been 20 in quite a while and the further I get from being 20, the more I'm glad I am that I'm not 20.

This weekend I got a call at 1:36 am from my 20 -year- old, much blogged about, son. He was in the emergency room with excruciating abdominal pain. He was working the over night shift at Circle K and was basically freaking out. I'm the only one who answered the phone at that time, including the list of Emergency Numbers the managers of Circle K gave him in case of an actual emergency so I guess that's good to know. Yikes. I got up. Changed. Put on a hat and stayed at the hospital with him, my husband, and my 2 girls until 4:45 am when he was discharged and all the tests came back normal. So basically, we have no answers. I knew just as much going in and I knew going out. I have a feeling there's something he knows that I don't know but whatever.

I wasn't mad or annoyed as someone asked me later if I was. I don't know why I would even be mad unless I've been so mad at him before that I just don't get mad anymore. Doing that kind of shit for him is just normal to me now. I was worried at first when I heard his frantic voice on the phone. I thought he had been in an accident, but after I found out he was generally just scared,  I was more tired, maybe bewildered, and tired and bewildered for the entire next day too but not mad. I did think about how much money it was going to cost me being as how I'd graciously offered to pay for his medical expenses while he was floundering around trying to figure out his life. Being Tyler's mom has calmed me down to the point where I rarely react with frustration as I might have used to.

This time in his life now, this decade of the 20s, is a shit show. High school was the shit preview, your 20s is the shit show. Full screen, HD, Surround Sound. It's a period of self-doubt, anxiety, desperation, excess and, sometimes just good ole sheer panic and possibly a couple run ins with death.  I'm going to lessen his decade of panic by paying for a few things so he doesn't have to panic AND pay.

I had to pay for every damn thing myself which is why I'm so bitter and mean now. It would have been nice if someone would have stepped in to take care of a thing or two for me but nope. None of that. Fuckers.

Anyway, It's important to have a safety net in your life, a plan B. There should always be a person, whether family or friend, who will let you sleep on their couch and answer the phone when you call late at night having a panic attack about life. Somewhere between me being a hot mess for 10 years in my 20s and now, I've become someones back up plan and I should be as a parent. Even if I've previously wanted to push you down the stairs, thought about moving away in the middle of the night and not telling you where I went, I will still answer the phone at 1:36 am and sit with you in the hospital. Because I needed a plan B when I was 20 and I didn't have one. So, even if I'm inconvenienced and tired, it makes me feel good that my child has one less thing to worry about.

Somewhere in the chaos of my life, my role changed. I used to be this frazzled single parent on a Lexapro and beer diet. Through love and loss and a few cups thrown at a few peoples heads, I've become trustworthy and stable. You can count on me.

Tyler, like me, has anxiety, and if there was such a thing as double anxiety or anxiety to the nth degree, we have it. When Tyler was in the hospital bed he was all a flurry with thoughts of getting fired. He had to leave the store unattended and be rushed to the ER. I calmly told him that most people are good, most people are compassionate, and that I'm sure whomever the manager is will understand what an emergency is. Then I told him a story because now I have stories to tell that tie to life lessons, ugh. But I told him the story of being 25 and in the hospital bed after being in ICU with a heart problem for 5 days. I was panic stricken I'd be dropped from my full time load of summer classes the semester I was to graduate with an Associates Degree. I called all my professors from that hospital bed and one by one they all told me to get well, get the notes when you come back, don't worry, take care of yourself. Because most people are good.

Most people will care. I tell my girls now when they fight that we are here to lift each other up, empower each other to be better, to be calmer, to be peaceful. Yeah, someones going to be an asshole. Someones going to screw you over, take your money, and steal your shit. Someones also going to make life more difficult for you. But those aren't the people we focus on. We focus on being and becoming people who answer the phone in the early morning, who say, don't worry, be well, who want just one person to worry less, panic less, cry less. We seek these people but before we find them, we need to be them.

The decade of 20 is a long one. It's wrought with assholes and bad relationships, but one day, around 29 1/2, when hard work and panic attacks turn into wisdom and maturity, we become what we needed other people to be all along. We find ourselves. We stop dwelling on the victim we perceive we are and extend ourselves to others in ways that would have made us too vulnerable before. We stop wanting others to be a certain way, we stop wishing people would change. Instead, we change. We make the change in ourselves one year at a time waiting for someone to see us, but what we are looking for isn't someone else, it's us. The recognition of self doesn't come without struggle and vulnerability. Many people can't or aren't willing to get there and many become trapped in substance abuse to hide from themselves. If you want to be better, you will be.

Somewhere around sobriety and honesty, I became a dependable person. As I drove away from the hospital knowing the bill would come to me, I smiled through tired recognition that I'd become the person I wanted to be. I don't want him to be different or the situation to change. I wasn't frustrated or angry. I just was. I was there. Sometimes that's all we need someone to be, is there.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Dollhouse Construction and Texting Fuckery

Christmas Texting

I'm in the process of putting together this ridiculous doll house. I've dropped more f bombs by 10am than one person really should!!!!

Son of a bitch!!! Step 3 of 15! Flipping my shit over here. Van also just spilled my coffee everywhere and is throwing his damn Legos cuz he says he needs me to help him put those fuckers together!! Save me! Aughhhh!!!


I'm going to lose my shit. I poured the entire thing out, I can't even stand to look at this. 

Scott has a lot of dried blueberries to eat. Why does this enrage me.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

When People Don't Like Me

I haven't written in my blog for a few months, so as I sit down to write there are many topics to choose from. I actually began two other posts but decided they were stupid and stopped writing. I'll just recap those things here instead:

1.) My cat started biting out her fur in giant clumps. She pulls so much of her fur out that sometimes when I look outside in the chair she sits in, I think there is another cat with her.

2.) Every single person who lives in my house is allergic to cat hair.

3.) I spoke at a women's conference last week. I was terrified and exhilarated, but the point is I did it. I conquered my anxiety. I am still awesome.

4.) I sat through the strangest parent- teacher conference ever. I wish I could detail the level of hilarity it took on, but if I tell you, I'd have to kill you.

5.) For the second year in a row I rode in the Tour de Scottsdale 30 mile bike race with one of my best friends, then the next day I went biking again, hiked, and finished with a weight class at the gym.

6.) My back hurts.

7.) And finally, someone overheard a person say she didn't personally like me.

Hold on. What? WHY?

That's what I asked when this person told me that she was sitting in a meeting with other colleagues of mine and someone told the entire group she didn't personally like me. In the words of Stephanie Tanner from Full House which I've been watching way too much rude.

I was all wide-eyed for a second and then I realized this: Who F&kin Cares.

That's right! Who F$#kin Cares. I can actually name like 10 reasons that person might hate me right off the top of my head. There are some legit reasons someone might not like me. So, whatever.

The person then asked me, "Does this hurt your feelings? I was worried it would make you feel bad."

I thought about it for a second and after the initial jolt, I can finally say: I don't give a shit. After all those years of lying about it, I can honestly say, at age 39 that I really don't care if you don't like me. I wanted to skip around and high five people because it felt like such a moment of clarity in my life. I don't care what you think. For real. I'm not even going to plot revenge against you like I usually would. I feel grown up. Evolved.  It's so liberating and wonderful. Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Even two years ago if I heard someone didn't like me I would have been very hurt and possibly felt rejected. I might have avoided that person or tried to act differently to get them to like me. Not anymore, baby. Some people are just not going to like you. So what.

For some reason women think they have to be likable to everyone. But I can tell you now, I'm not for everyone. I'm a little loud, a lot opinionated, and sometimes outrageous. I kind of like those things about myself, but I can see how someone else would hate it. And I don't care. I'm not even going to tell you to Fck off because that would imply emotion and I super duper don't mind if you personally dislike me. I'm okay with it. I'll even shake your hand.

My entire presentation at that women's conference was about moving past assumptions that hold us back, mostly, what we perceive others think of us. We take those qualities we think people might hate about us and we suppress or change them to make other people like us more. Well, to hell with those people because the only way you will be able to create your most authentic version of yourself, is by being yourself. When you unabashedly take the risk to unravel yourself in front of others, there is a letting go that happens. You'll attract people you want in your life and the people you don't want won't like you anyway!

Now, I'm going to brush my second cat off my patio chair.


Monday, June 24, 2013

The Ego of Parenting: Sometimes Yelling Works

This blog post was chosen as a Featured Member Post on Woooo

The Ego of Parenting

Friday, June 14, 2013

Kiosk People

I don't know when the middle part of the mall became a foreign market place. When I walk through the mall I"m forced to pretend that kiosk people don't exist. I dodge in and out of huts like I'm navigating a maze. I look down, to the side, up, but never directly at them. Eye contact with kiosk people means a 20 minutes demonstration about their silly eye brow thread or  lotion  made of sea lion blubber or smokeless tobacco. There is an area in the local mall here that is like the skid row of kiosks. Between Sears and JCPenneys is the worst stretch of mall I've seen. Kiosks spaced 2 or 3 feet apart. It's a constant barrage of people waving you over or trying to put lotion on your hand.

These people are making money, doing their jobs, but they are so annoying that I have to mentally prepare myself to weave in and out of their Tijuanaesque set ups to get to Victoria's Secret for my free underwear. I do not want my shoes shined, I don't want a plastic hello kitty case for my phone, I don't want feather clips for my hair and I really really don't want to talk to you. These people and their products are the plague of the mall. They are predators waiting for that one person to make eye contact and then they pounce.

Today I was just meeting my husband at the mall to pick up our kids. I saw Mr. Kiosk Man standing with his tiny sample of sea salt magic hand cream and I purposefully changed my path to avoid him. He must have seen my maneuver and popped up right in front of me and said in his thick exotic accent, "Come one, I'm harmless." I just looked down and said, no thanks, no thanks but my heart was racing and before I knew it the eye brow threading lady was asking me to sit in her chair, again, I rejected her, no thanks no thanks, then it was smokeless tobacco man, no thanks no thanks. Once I pass them I feel a sense of relief and accomplishment but also a sweeping layer of guilt.

What the shit is up with these people? Do they go through training on how to hassle people with their wares? The rejection they must face on a daily basis would wear me down. I'd go home and cry every night if I was rejected so many times by total strangers. When people run by you with their heads down and risk running into posts, you know your job sucks. You are the least liked people in the mall.

Many years ago though I was being polite, which I decided never to be again, and was sucked into a kiosk area where a beautiful, Brazilian islander vixen with a rolling accent asked me if I wanted some lotion. Like a moth to a flame I scooted up to her booth. She put a dollop of creamy white lotion on my hand and started to talk and moisturize my hand at the same time. I would have given all the money I had for her. She was mesmerizing and my hand felt the best a hand can ever feel. I never wanted her to stop talking to me and I didn't even care it was about lotion, I was hooked by her wiles. I bought 2 of whatever living dead salt of the life of the ocean lotion she was selling with all the money I had in my pocket, which was 20 bucks.

This is it. That is the lady who sold me lotion. 

But from then on the kiosk people have multiplied. I can only conjecture they have small wooden huts in the middle of the mall so they don't have to pay rent in an actual store. Who are their kiosk pimps? There has to be a ring leader kiosk mall master mind who thought of putting pseudo stores in the middle of the mall to guilt people into stopping. Our parents and teachers and ministers have taught us all to be nice so my initial thought of telling them to fuck off goes against my upbringing. I can't be that mean to strangers unless they cut me off in traffic first.

Kiosk people are preying upon people's societal politeness. They are taking advantage of people by guilting them into looking at useless products in the middle of the mall when all we are trying to do is avoid eye contact with other humans and dodge people in our way. The kiosk people are getting more aggressive. If you Google Kiosk People you will others who are equally as baffled. This is a real social issue.  It's our basic human right to walk through the mall unaccosted.  Soon there will be a movement against them, an uprising, a revolution against the kioskers. Leave us alone, we'll shout! Americans can only be nice for so long and in Arizona in the summer the mall is supposed to be a refuge. If we all wanted to feel guilty we would go to church. We want you, kioskers, to stay on your stool. When I see you get up, I walk faster, my heart beats quicker and my eye contact shoots from side to side but not in your direction. So stop it. Fuck. Just Stop.

Links to the beginnings of a revolution: All over the country, people are getting ready to overthrow you. I tried to google, "people running into a pole to avoid kiosk people" but nothing came up. I'm going to have to create this image myself.

How are any of these images remotely related to pole running into? Geez Google. 

Out of Control!


Happy 20th Birthday

Today is my son's 20th birthday. I can't tell him on Facebook though because he has once again deleted me. Even though he deleted me, I want him to know, that I am right. 
If you want to be right, you can move out and be right in your own apartment. So for the time being, I get to be right and for all the following reasons: 
1.) I said so
2.) I had you when I was 18 which makes me wise as I am the epitome of the phrase, initiation by fire. 
3.) When you were born there was no Internet, therefore, you are lucky to be alive. 
4.) I watch everything you do in wonderment and awe. It used to be because it was cute, now it's because I can't fuckin believe it. 
5.) When you were born I made 6$ an hour sorting office paper for a finance company that loaned money to people who sucked so bad at driving they had to finance their auto insurance. 
6.) I never gave up on myself and you shouldn't give up on yourself either. I showed you that.  
7.) I took you to college with me to show you how to persevere. 
8.) I took you to my college graduations to show you success, drive, motivation, and progress.
9.) I fought with you and for you all the through high school until graduation. 
10.) I showed you how to fight for yourself. 
11.) I keep on fixing the stupid shit you do. 
12.) without complaining. 
13.) Through my own mistakes, I paved the way for your success. 
14.) You now have the examples, the fire, the fight, and the finesse to navigate your own life. 
15.) I will always be plan B. 
Happy Birthday.

One day you might be right, but probably not soon

June 14th

My son will be 20 on Friday. When I was his age, I had a 2 -year -old child, no internet, no outlet plug covers, and I've been letting him sit in the front seat, well, since he was 2. He's lucky to be alive. I've written a lot about my struggles with him, sometimes much to his dismay. Our relationship has been rocky and tumultuous at times. 
When he was born, I adored him as any mother would adore a newborn child. When I heard him cry in the night I rushed to pick him up and rock him for hours. He was a sweet baby. I took a million pictures of him and had stacks of scrapbooks and baby books documenting his every move. My husband at the time said I loved him too much and that probably God would take him away from me. Yeah, he was an asshole. But I loved that little boy and I still do. 
However, somewhere along the way his little personality grew. He grew intense and sometimes hostile. We moved to Florida when he was four, leaving behind his drug addicted father. I sold everything I owned, bought a booster seat and drove across the country to start my life over and save myself and my son. 
Sometimes though the best intentions often have negative consequences and immediately upon moving he started having trouble in day care. He was afraid to have me leave my side and was constantly defying anyone in authority, even at age 4. Kindergarten was our worst year. The first day of school I went to pick him up, all the kids were sitting in a circle listening to the teacher read a book. My son was crawling on his hands and knees in the middle of the circle. By the third grade I had picked him up for fighting, for kicking, for failing, for refusing to sit, stand, or do anything any adult wanted him to do. In the 5th grade he got in trouble for breaking another student's calculator and when questioned why, why he did that, he told the teacher, the school psychologist and the principal that I was beating him up at home; making him mow the lawn with his hands, and making him run behind the car as punishment. I was in my first year teaching. I got called out of my classroom into a meeting with 6 people including the state psychologist to answer to the allegations that I was beating and abusing my son. I was mortified and instantly broke into uncontrollable sobs that either made me look guilty or extremely unstable. Child protective services were called. My friends and boyfriend were interviewed and an investigation was launched. I thought my career was over before it has really begun. 
By then his father was sober. Within a week my son was on a plane moving to Arizona. I was free. 
However, when he got to Arizona he realized that I, perhaps, was not so bad after all and that he had over glamorized the idea of a father. Whatever his motive was for 'turning me in' for abuse had backfired on him. He had been duped by his own treachery. At some point he was put on anti-osmotic medication as he'd killed his step-brother's tiny rat pet as retaliation for not being allowed to play outside. He was held back a grade and had to repeat the 5th grade. 
I moved back from Florida to Arizona, alone, to do whatever I could to help him. Seven months later his father was back on meth and my son was living with me again full time. In the 6th grade he was expelled for telling a group of teasing girls that he was going home that night, getting his dad's gun, and coming back to kill them. He was placed in special education services for ED or emotionally disabled students. 
Of course I blamed absolutely everything that was wrong with him on me. I thought I didn't rock him enough, hug him enough, I just thought I wasn't enough. It was breaking me down and by the time he was 16 and I was 35, I was a full blown alcoholic. His junior year at the high school I teach at, he attempted suicide. By 19 he has attempted 4 more times. What we know now is that somewhere along the way he developed or was born with a personality or mood disorder. Much of the way I deal with him and deal with my own guilt or responsibility is by writing about it, talking about it, and understanding certain truths about me and him. 
1.) I didn't create his mood disorder. However it is that he internalizes problems or copes with life is something he developed on his own. I never beat him or punched him or neglected him. He was everything to me and he wanted to remain everything to me. Part of my ex-husband's stupid ass statement was right. I loved him into co-dependence and some of his negative behavior was to keep me near to him, even in a negative capacity. This is what he told me after I kicked him out of the house at age 18. 
2.) I have to save myself and my current family. I have remarried and had 2 more children. I have a responsibility to protect them and that means setting boundaries that often make my son angry or hostile and accusatory towards me. 
3.) I must not take his personal verbal attacks personally. This one was really difficult because when someone comes at you with a vitriol of insults a natural defense is to well, defend yourself. At one point, in the most recent verbal explosion, I told him straight forward, "I will never, ever agree with you and I do not care what you say about me or to me." It took me 20 years to really stand my ground. 
4.) I love him. He loves me. 
He is my boy. He is my child. And although he makes terrible decisions, seems ungrateful, and makes me question my sanity, I will be, and sometimes I'm the only one, standing by his side. Even when his anger, disappointment, and sadness all lash out in my direction, I know it isn't about me. It's about him. I have to watch my boy child grow into a man. This task is often difficult for someone who does not have a personality disorder. And sometimes watching him fall, letting him fall, breaks my heart. He needs to learn to live without my constant assistance. I've had to learn to let go of him with the full knowledge that he may not be able to make it on his own and that part of him may self-sabotage himself in order to keep me in immediate stand by. 

Life Will...

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could." Louise Erdrich, from "The Painted Drum