Monthly Archives: May 2015

Knock Knock (Trigger Warning)

Suicide is coming too close lately. I hear it’s death rattle knocking at my door.  No, I’m not suicidal; but it wasn’t that long ago that I was.  So when the news of suicide comes into the little bubble I occupy in our vast universe, it has an effect on me like never before.

A couple of months ago, a person sadly took their life by jumping into morning traffic from one of the higher freeway overpasses in town. That overpass is such a familiar part of home and it instantaneously became the site of an incredibly tragic moment. I pass by that overpass on my daily commute. I have passed by that same overpass so many times in my 32 years of life, that I can’t even count them for you. I was a barely permitted teen that white knuckled through rush hour traffic in that portion of the freeway, terrified of the towering levels of vehicle filled concrete and the median whizzing by immediately to my left, with my dad sitting to my right (probably even more scared). It happened so close to home.

I learned about the suicude before it hit the news because one of my best friend’s husband’s watched it happen on his way to work.  Of course, it wasn’t long before reports spread like wildfire.  The comments on social media varied wildly between understanding and compassion, insensitivity, and obnoxiously offensive and callous (from good riddance, to attention grabber, to should have thrown themselves off the Dam, with a side of eff you for ruining my commute folks – yeah).  The suicide was shocking enough, but the responses from people in my home town were worse (way to further stigmatize mental illness, Vegas). While I was shocked and saddened by it all, the day moved forward. 

The next morning, shock turned visceral and physical as I made my way to the office.  I took the same route as always, on auto pilot as I mentally prepared for the day.  I was not prepared for the way that my breath caught in my throat as I rounded that short stretch of road and imagined a body falling from the sky.  I was not prepared for the overwhelming anger as the vilest of the vile comments came flooding back to my mind. I was not prepared for the incredible anxiety and sadness that I felt being so close to where that poor soul left this Earth. I couldn’t help but weep for them, their family, and myself.

More recently, a very dear friend of mine reached out to me as she dealt with a mixture of shock, grief and guilt after a high school friend’s husband committed suicide. I didn’t know the gal that well, but my friend and I are soul sisters; we have known each other for 20 years; I came back to my relationship with God in the small church she planted in Delaware; we have shared our darkest demons with each other; and I just plain love her.  So, her hurts are my hurts and she’s been going through a lot as it is.  While I have not had the same reaction I had to the last suicide, it’s still too close to home because of how it affected someone I care so much about.

I never thought I would be able to relate in an almost intimate way with a person that ended their own life.  But as my life fell out from under me a few years ago, I became quite familiar with the level of sheer desperation and despair it takes to legitimately contemplate suicide.

When I had a psychotic break after the fraying rope that held my sadness and terror at bay for 29 years finally gave way, when I relived all of the abuse in vivid detail for the first time in my life, when I finally realized that my own mother molested me, I wanted to die.  When I also lost the two most important and supportive people in my life at the time – my boyfriend who I thought I was going to marry and my best friend – because of how I acted as my mind failed me in the worst way, I simply couldn’t stand the thought of being a part of this world anymore.

As I sat for what felt like hours with a steak knife to my wrist, all I wanted was for the memories and emotions to stop. I needed relief, peace, an escape from all of the pain. I had tried everything, I thought and I just couldn’t see any other way out. 

Thankfully, I had hastily saved this adorable little fur face from the pound in a brief moment of (slight) sanity that month.

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Okay, so getting her was also kind of an eff you to the ex boyfriend, because we had talked seriously about getting a dog when he moved in, but I digress. 

Little did I know, my crazy freckled dog would save my life that night.  I’m convinced that, even as young as she was, she picked up on what I was feeling because right as I intended to dig the blade into my skin, she forced her little muzzle between my hands and sat at my feet, insisting that I love on her with an immediacy she had never shown before. The debilitatingly dark trance I had put myself in was broken just long enough for it to dawn on me that it really wasn’t just about me; I had a responsibility, if to no one else, but that little face, not to kill myself. 

I put the knife on the table.

The feelings I had been having that night didn’t go away automatically. I still struggle with all of it, and will continue to struggle. But had it not been for The Spotted Freckledog, I would have given in to my demons.  I would have, in an instant, become an (unreported) abuse statistic.  Though life really is worth living, I was immesurably close to being the jumper.  I was this close to making my own friends and family experience the unfathomable shock, grief and guilt over my death.

I’m eternally grateful that my dog saved my soul. 

Nowadays, when my darkness resurfaces and interferes with my life, even a little, I’m terrified of returning to that hell.  It’s why I stick with therapy, why I write, why I create.  It’s why I have finally decided to have weight loss surgery to free myself of the chains of morbid obesity brought on by the abuse. It’s why I’m here sharing this with you right now. I’m afraid that if I don’t let it out, it will consume me again. 

I know this post might make you uncomfortable, and I’m sorry for that, but I was truly lost and felt like I had no one to turn to (I wish I had been a part of this wonderful blogging community at the time). My hope is that if someone chances across my blog in their own desperation and sees that, although it’s not always easy, life can go on, that there can be joy despite suffering, and that they are not alone in this world, it will break their dark trance just long enough that they, too, put down the knife. Maybe my suffering won’t have been for nothing.

Maybe no one will ever needs my words in that way (I certainly hope that is the case).  But if you happen to be that person, please know that you are not alone.  I am here thinking of you and I am here to talk to.  I can’t make it all better, but I can listen without judging. Please don’t give in. Please keep fighting. Please reach out, spill your guts, and live this oddly magical life with me.  It’s worth it.  You are worth it. 💛

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.

Motherhood, A Series

The celtic knot with two hearts intertwined symbolizes the unbreakable and everlasting bond between mother and child. Each piece is printed/hand painted on vintage sheet music and reflects a different mother figure in my life.

M-O-T-H-E-R, A Word That Means The World To Me, c. 1915.  I see every supportive woman in my life in this piece. It pays homage to every woman (myself included) that has helped carry me through life when my own mother couldn’t.

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My Mother’s Rosary, c. 1915.  This knot was painted with my best friend,  and new mom, in mind.  “Ten baby fingers and ten baby toes…”

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The Songs My Mother Used To Sing, c. 1914.  This is my own mother. Like our relationship, it’s upside down and filled with darkness, but an unbreakable bond nevertheless.
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Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.

Shut Down

I feel empty.  Like I’m nothing but air and cotton inside.  I think this is one of my my versions of dissociation. Or is it derealization? I can never remember the difference.  I feel lost; I don’t know how to get back to myself.

I’ve been out of it for a couple of weeks on and off.  Beating myself up about my eating issues.  Replaying parts of the abuse in my head again and again.  Tripping out about her invasion of my privacy.  Triggers everywhere. Angry for no reason. Not engaging. Not reaching out like I should. Not being creative like I love.  Shutting down.

I try not to let others see it, because I don’t get it myself. So I put on the smile, wear the many hats I’ve got to wear in life, and do what I have to do.  All just to get through the day, the hour, the minute. It’s exhausting.

A high school friend’s husband committed suicide last week.  A friend at work just found out her husband has a brain tumor.  This kind of news all affects me in weird ways.  I take the news hard. It shocks my system.  I lack the ability to process it, so I just take it in, absorb it, and let it stay in my body.  No wonder I ended up over 400 lbs.

I know this feeling is temporary, or at least it ebbs away like the tide eventually. Soon, I hope. Until then, someone call me the wahmbulance; and thank God for therapy tomorrow.

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.

Lost: One Bandwagon, If Found Please Return

Despite hoping to hop right back on the wagon, over the last few days I’ve totally lost sight of the bandwagon and reverted back to my old bingeing habits.

I imagine this feeling is similar to how people with chronic pain and opiod addictions feel (though I imagine that’s much harder). It certainly reminds me of something I read somewhere by a former addict turned addiction counselor.  Was it a blog? A tweet? I don’t even know now.  Either way, despite having gone through the ringer of addiction, they actually felt worse for food addicts.  They made a really good point about why, though.  Alcoholics and other addicts can put their “tiger” in a cage and leave it there, but food addicts have to take their “tiger” out of the cage at least three times a day, pet it, and put it back in the cage without getting hurt. 

The struggle is real, people.  Food addiction is a bitch.

Friday I was in a deposition all day and we all skipped lunch to try to get through it quicker.  Huge mistake. By the time I met my friend for dinner and drinks, I was starving and ate waaay too much.  I was proud that I at least skipped the post-drinking Del Taco binge, though. I did eat when I got home, but it was semi-healthy leftovers.  Small victories?

Yesterday, I was tired, cranky, slightly hungover, and had too much time to think about all the things that I prefer not to think about. I’m still processing my mother’s recent string of inappropriateness.  Talking to my aunt about her when we had a private moment at the buffet is weighing on my mind as well (more on that later). I’m feeling down on myself after that jerk told me that surgery is the lazy way out. The news about the Duggars (that @TruthIsHers wrote such an important piece on here) has also triggered more thoughts of my own abuse.  It’s maybe just a little much at the moment?

I did fairly well during the day, but I hardcore gave in to all my negative thoughts and ordered dinner from one of my favorite delivery spots to cope. Night time is always a struggle for me and my old habits are just so hard to quit. Honestly, I was really just in the mood for the desserts (yes plural), but delivery minimums and all. Rather than enjoy a little of the treat and leave the food for, say, the next day, I ate it all. *sigh* 

What can I say? I’m a fatass that learned early on if you didn’t clean your plate there’d be hell to pay.

I’ve probably shared the story already, but one of my shittiest and most distinct memories is from dinner time.  I was full (or maybe just didn’t want the rest of whatever we were eating or maybe just wanted to be a kid and go play) that night and wasn’t finishing my dinner, picking at my food.  After everyone else was done, I was left in the dark dining room by myself, forced to face away from my dad and brother watching TV in the living room so I could clear my plate without distraction. My mom was hovering in the kitchen, putting food away I think.  When I started to get emotional and said I was going to throw up (I had a sensitive stomach and anxiety over throwing up as it was), she screamed at me and slammed a big Tupperware bowl on the table in front of me.  If I threw up, she said, I had to do it in that bowl and I’d have to eat it. 

Lesson learned, mom. Lesson well fucking learned. 

I’m terrified that I’ll never conquer this beast on my back. It’s true, I have to eat.  I have to pet my tiger and put him back into his cage without getting mauled every single fucking day.  The past few days, my tiger has been really angry and upset and hurting and it took all that out on me.  My tiger is always going to be there, but with a much smaller cage after surgery.  If I can’t tame him before then, this shit is going to be even harder.  How the hell do I deal?

Can’t wait for therapy Wednesday.

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.

Dear Buffet, Eff You And Your Desserts

So, I have the pleasure misfortune of calling a town where buffets reign supreme my home.  Honestly, we probably have more buffets per capita than anywhere else in the world (okay, yeah, I’m pulling that out of my ass, but it sure seems like it). We frequented them far too often when my parents started making good money and refused to cook anymore and I all but despise buffets because of it.

Well, my aunt and cousin are in town with a few people for a couple days and wanted to grab dinner. Of course I said yes to seeing them, but unfortunately, the picky eaters in the group didn’t like my suggestion of a top rated seafood restaurant (where I happen to know the chef who totally would have hooked us up). It’s their vacation, so I let them decide where they wanted to go – the buffet.

I knew this would be a challenge, but I’ve been doing really well and thought I was strong enough to make good choices.  Bring on the buffet, I thought.  I’ll see you there.  I’ll totally make it work for me (yeah, I am apparently that dumb).

While this isn’t exactly a revelation to me, it is painfully obvious after tonight that buffets absolutely cannot be a part of my life anymore. At all. Ever. The reason? Taking a fat ass pre-op recovering food addict to a buffet is like sitting a barely sober alcoholic down at the bar and putting three of his favorite drinks in front of him.

You just don’t do that shit. 

Deep down I knew this was trouble.  Still, with weight loss surgery on my mind, I really did start off with the best of intentions, making sure to get a nice salad in right off the bat. So far so good. But things escalated quickly from there. Pasta. Sirloin. Mexican. Chinese. Desserts.  Get in my fucking belly right now, all of you!  I mean, it’s expected that your plate will be overflowing at the buffet.  Why else would you go? 

I wish I could say I stopped there, friends.  I wish I could say that was it.  But I can’t.

Because I am the fucking food junkie that I am, I just found myself back in the fridge.  Yep.  I’m eating again.  Once you’re off the wagon, you might as well fall off the fucking wagon, am I right?  I’m absolutely disgusted with myself, yet I will finish what I started, I have no doubt. I’m incredibly embarrassed to be admitting this to you all, but accountability or something. I feel like such a fucking failure right now.

Oh wow, hello my dearest shame spiral. I hope you know that I absofuckinglutely hate you, but your darkness, your berating tone, your words like razor blades are so familiar, so comfortable. As sick as twisted as it is, I miss your company sometimes.

Anyways. 

For tonight (and forever), I throw up two middle fingers and say good riddance to you, you evil buffets. You wouldn’t really have been missed as it is, but you did teach me an important lesson tonight. Next time stand up for yourself and demand a different place.  After all, for every buffet, there are half a dozen killer restaurants to choose from in this town too.  My visitors will just have to understand.

Back on the wagon in the morning, I hope. 

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram, and in my Etsy shop.

Reminder To Self

Today I was reminded why I originally refrained from telling people about my decision to have weight loss surgery.  Today I was reminded that I need to be more careful in the future.

I do not particularly care for this person, because, well, I can’t put my finger on exactly why.  Something inside me always bristles when dealing with him.  Nevertheless, in an effort to relate to him and provide some comfort after he tells me he’s having a hard time with recent medical diagnoses (and looks like he’s going to cry while doing so), I offered that I too had the recent pre-diabetes diagnosis and was going to have surgery in a  few months. He asked the natural follow up question about what kind of surgery, and I’m not one to lie, so I told him.

It’s not that he reacted poorly or was derogatory or demeaning, really (at least at first).  He’s a bit of a meathead that works out a lot and so his automatic response was, “Don’t do that, just work out.” He went on to recommend a personal trainer he knows that has “changed people’s lives.” I could sort of appreciate that, because I know it’s well intentioned, even if a little obtuse (it’s not like I havent tried on my own, after all, and if I thought anything but surgery was the best option, I’d do it).

But then he went and called it the “lazy way out.”  That I could not be okay with. Lazy? No.

This is not the lazy way out. Quite the opposite, this is one of the hardest things I have ever decided to do in my life.  There’s so much more to it than food changes and exercise involved. For me, having surgery is the only way I can release myself from these physical chains from my dysfunctional upbringing.  It’s the only way to blow open the doors of the fat prison that I have locked myself in to keep the monsters and bad things away.  I know he doesn’t know my history, but this is, in no way, an easy journey.

I’ve been getting so much positive feedback that I naively let myself forget that there are those out there  (besides my parents) who do not need to know. He was one of them, and I knew it.  I feel like an idiot for ignoring my instincts and saying anything to him, but I can’t let it get to me.  I know in my heart that this is what I need to do. Haters be damned!

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.

Unannouncement

After I was feeling so great that we had what I thought was a real moment, a genuine break through, she showed up at my house unannounced on Sunday. Yep, she blew through all boundaries to show up on her estranged daughter’s doorstep expecting a warm and happy welcome.

Keep in mind that she’s been to my house less than ten times in the six years since I bought this place. We spent nearly half of that time not speaking. I’ve seen her in person all of maybe half a dozen times since we started talking again.  Oh yeah, and let’s not forget that she abused me in ways I can’t fathom abusing anyone, ever.

I don’t have the capability, or the guts, or whatever it is that I need to ignore the doorbell or the knocks (driving my dog crazy). I don’t have the power to just tell her I don’t want to see her and that she needs to leave. I’m not assertive enough to answer her truthfully when she asks me if I don’t want to see her. I don’t have it in me to turn her away, despite the fact that all my alarm bells are ringing, my entire body is immediately buzzing, and inside I’m screaming at myself and at her that this is bullshit.

I let her in after I take a minute to hide a few personal things (like my open book on healing daughters of narcissistic mothers – oh the irony).  She is now in my safe space. Why did I let her into my safe space? She is tainting my safe space. I have no more safe space.

She tries small talk, but it’s forced and I’m not prepared. It ends up being the most awkward 30ish minutes you could imagine.

Finally, I get my wits about me and tell her that she can’t do this again. That she’s ruining our shot at a relationship by taking these liberties. I calmly explain to her that it’s awkward and uncomfortable because of our past. I let her know how I respect her space and need her to respect mine, reiterating that this can’t happen anymore. I remind her of the time I changed the locks after she threatened to come sit on my couch to force me into speaking to her again (she did actually come over and I got the bitch out of the century for being a bratty, ungrateful, spoiled child that would do such a thing), to give her a concrete example that if it wasn’t appropriate then, it’s not appropriate now (she claims not to remember, but I call bullshit).  I try to be nicely stern. Meanwhile, she’s visibly upset, on the verge of tears. I feel bad and tell her I don’t mean to upset her, but I continue saying my piece. I couldn’t stop at that point.

Her responses are so out of touch with reality.

“Well I called.” I didn’t hear the phone, but regardless, in what fucking world does that give you rights to come over unannounced?! 

“It’s rude not to answer.” I didn’t hear the phone, but regardless, in what fucking world does that give you rights to come over unannounced?!

“You said you wanted us to come over more.” Regardless, in what fucking world does that give you rights to come over unannounced?!

It ends with her declaring that she’ll never come over again. I throw my hands up in exasperation and tell her that’s not the point.  She’s even closer to tears as she walks put the door and down the front walkway towards her car. As I close the door behind her, I stand there, reeling. I’m confused, ashamed, fearful, sad, and so many other emotions that I can’t even put a name to. Days later, I still don’t know what to make of it all.

I’m afraid that the apology I remember from just days before was not what I thought after all. Maybe I was just so wrapped up in the mixture of wonderful feelings about trial and exhaustion that I heard something she never meant. Maybe she’s actually sick enough that she really just doesn’t get it. 

Either way, I’m left to pick up the pieces of my heart again. 💔

I had been getting my hopes up that there was some functionality to our relationship. I always get my stupid hopes up. She always finds a way to dash them. It’s an awful cycle that I’m tired of repeating.  I don’t know what to do anymore.

This book I’m reading says, “Before you can grieve, you have to accept the reality of what you have gone through. … Most narcissists lack the capacity to give significant, authentic love and empathy, and you have no other choice but to deal with this reality. Accepting that your own mother has this limited capacity is the first step. Let go of the expectation that it will ever be different.” I hope that the book also tells me how to give up hope without just giving up, because that feels like my only option at the moment.

I don’t feel at all equipped to navigate through this. I don’t know how to be the adult child of abusive parents. I don’t know how to keep myself protected while maintaining some semblance of a relationship with them. I don’t know how to get rid of the crippling guilt over losing my Gram’s final years (among other things) that makes me continue to cling desperately to this dysfunctional woman.  I don’t know how to release the hope that she can, on some level, just be a good, regular, mom. I don’t know how to rid myself of the desire that runs to the core of my being that she will someday love, respect, and support me in all the ways I wish she could. It’s killing me inside. It’s killing me.

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.