Monday, December 11, 2006

character development

As part of my healing, my counselor, Megan, wants me to start journaling out the conversations I have in my head -- the voices that direct my actions. As part of this, I've defined two distinct voices other than my own. The voices are: Vicki Should --the perfectionist, and E.D. (Eating Disorder) Love. (Thanks to the book: "Life Without Ed" by Jenni Schaefer for the inspiration and the name. This book is profound. It will change your life. )
Here are the profiles I created for them.

Her name is Vicki. Vicki Should. She is the picture of perfection. She is always collected, organized. She is good – not just good but successful at everything she does. She doesn’t lose her temper. Everyone likes her. She is thin, of course. Highly educated. Her house is always clean. She’s always ready for company. She manages her money and her household prudently and efficiently. She’s witty – never says anything stupid.
She never disappoints her children. She never disappoints anyone.
Vicki Should is perfect. Perfect in every way. And she lives inside me.
She’s the voice – the other. Vicki is the person that tells me that I shouldn’t do anything unless it can be done perfectly and if it can’t be done perfectly, I have failed.
Vicki is the person that says I can accomplish everything even though no human really could. If I were just better. Perfect.
I can be and have it all if were just more efficient.
If you saw her in the mirror, like I do, you’d say she’s breathtaking…striking. Until you looked into her eyes. They’re hollow. There is not light. No life.
Her goal, her mission is to destroy my self worth. My very essence. Then, her partner, her brother steps in.
ED Love.
He’s also thin. He’s suave. He represents the male love I constantly crave. Just when his sister has told me I’m worthless, Ed says,
“I can make you feel better. Just trust me. Let me comfort you. Let me hold you in my arms. Take care of you. Let’s go to the kitchen. I’ll fill you up with the warmth of a hot filling meal and sweetness in a big bag of chocolate. We'll eat until you can't eat anymore.”
If I’m at dinner Ed is the one who says,
“You’ll feel more confident in this situation if you keep stuffing yourself. You’ll show everyone how you’re in control of what you eat. That you’re not ashamed of what you eat or what you look like. Because you’ll keep eating until you’re stuffed just to show them all how much in control you are.”
The two of them weave this tapestry of dysfunction and deceit in my mind and in my heart. It’s what keeps me warm sometimes.
The image they leave behind is one of failure and worthlessness and it forces me to depend on them for my existence.”

When I journal like this, I go into a meditative state -- only partially aware of the words going on the page. I came "to" and was rather struck by what I wrote. It was really therapeutic to get these words, and the pictures I put out earlier out of my head. The next step was to make them public by putting them here. Once you send it out into the universe, you don't need it anymore. It's not a secret. "It" -- however you define "it" -- is just another step on the journey.

Art Therapy Number 3

I am on a roll now -- While I was in this "art zone" -- this is what came out of my head next. I think the heart inside the heart is where I keep the stuff I want to hang on to, but don't need anymore.

Art Therapy #2

Ok -- so in the next section of the book, this the conclusion to the story.

From the book: “And so, very slowly and carefully, you let go of the log and practice floating. When you start to sink, you grab back on. Then you let go of the log and practice treading water, and when you get tired, hold on once again. After awhile, you practice swimming around the log once, twice, ten times, twenty times, a hundred times, until you gain the strength and confidence you need to swim to shore. Only then do you completely let go of the log.”
I’m still treading water, I think. I know I haven’t swam to shore yet. The fear is like a giant anchor tied to my ankle. I’m not sure how to cut the tether.

Here’s what I’m shooting for though – planting my own flag on the shore –

Art Therapy #1

I'm trying something different. Something a little voice inside my head has been trying to get me to do for years. I'm playing with water colors -- pencils to be exact and I love it.

In the fabulous book "Eating by the Light of the Moon" by Anita Johnston, ( ) the author gives a metaphor that I can’t get out of my head – I’ll paraphrase it for you:

I’m on the banks of a swollen river when the bank gives way – I’m tossed by the waves and being pulled by a force I cannot control. I’m drowning. A huge log comes by and I grab on – I hold on to save myself
Finally, exhausted, I float into an area where the water is calm. I could easily swim to shore, but I would have to let go of the log. I can’t. I’m afraid.
(from the book)“How ironic. The very thing that saved your life is now getting in the way of your getting where you want to go. There are people on the shore who see yhou struggle and yell, “let go of the log!’ But you are unable to do so because you have no confidence in your ability to make it to shore …”

With that in mind, this is what I drew in my new water color book with my cool new toys!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Stop the insanity

At what point do we get mad? When do we as humans stand from the mountaintops and shout, "Who gives anybody the right to tell me what I should weigh, how I should dress, what I should eat? How dare you tell me I shouldn't be happy because I do not look like someone in an advertisement? How dare anyone draw me down into their own insecurities. You don't like the way you look and feel, fine. Take it up with your shrink. But don't bring the rest of us into your dysfunction. What if what I am is enough?"
My friend Mars has long had this figured out. She's always been comfortable with who she is -- and never seemed to believe anyone who would try to tell her differently. I have always admired her for this -- and wished I could be more like her, but thought it couldn't be for me.
I have this weird perfection thing. I'm assuming it's the result of something in my childhood. Maybe I thought I had to perfect to be loved. As an adult, I know intellectually that's not the case, but emotionally it's another matter.
I wonder if I think I deserve to be healthy and happy. I wonder if I get so much pleasure out of being a victim that I will never let down my guard and just be me. I know I have all these people in in my life that love me unconditionally -- the only one that doesn't, really, is me.
I am the one who always looks in the mirror and says, "I love you, but..." Now, if someone did that to my children I'd be furious, but somehow I allow myself to do it to me. What gives me the right to judge myself so critically? Who am I to know what's perfection and what is not?
When will I stop this insanity and just be comfortable in my skin -- celebrate me?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ok -- so I'm not doing so hot on the whole "write on the blog"every day thing. Some days I'm just too tired and sometimes I'm distracted. Oh well -- some consistency is better than none, I suppose.
In my efforts to learn balance and boundaries in my life, I tried scheduling my day. I sat down and wrote out everything I thought I should get done today. The first thing was get up at 5 (after going to bed at 11) and shower and clean out the car. I woke up at 6:30.
I still managed to get everything done, but no where near as gracefully as I'd hoped.
Next, I was going to work straight for two hours and in that time prepare 5-8 stories for publication, prepare for a meeting, check my e-mail -- oh and get a blood test done in the office wellness program. In reality, I checked my e-mail, laughed with my co workers, went the meeting only half prepared and tried to orient my temp on my job. Oh, and got the blood draw done and ate breakfast at the office.
Later I was going to run errands -- including getting groceries, installing my snow tires, and making a bank deposit.
I made the bank deposit.
Now, probably to any normal human in the world, I had a reasonable productive day. So why do I look at a day and try to figure out how to fill it with so many hours of over achievement no human could ever get it done -- and then wonder why I'm stressed out and miserable??
Why does it make sense to me? I schedule no time for joy and then feel guilty when I'm laughing with my co workers cause I should be focusing on work?
So tomorrow I'm just going to try to get one thing done -- an interview and preparation for a story due Friday. One thing. It could work.
I keep thinking that I could try to get some other things done. Well crap, I'll have to write my column since I forgot to write it tonight. But it won't take too long. And I'll need to set up another story. So maybe I'll get three things done.
This whole keep it simple thing is so complicated.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Seahawk Blue

Taking inspiration from Mars and Sallyacious I think I'll try a to write a blog entry every day for one month.
We just got back from Seattle. We went to a Seahawk game. It was wonderful! I'd show you pictures but I didn't take any and my friend hasn't sent me any yet. We arrived in the Emerald City Thursday night and by Sunday I felt myself coming close to actually relaxing. I'm hoping I didn't overdo anything though. You know how sick I get. I woke up this morning and my eyes were gooped shut. Not a good sign.
So my counselor has talked me into taking a leave of absence away from work. I've told the paper I'm going to take six to eight weeks off. Exhaustion. Gawd I feel like a loser. I get myself into this spirals every other year and you would think I would have learned by now not to do it. My counselor thinks the combination of grief, exhaustion and marital problems is taking a toll. Go figure.
Anyway, I'll have to check with my counselor every day and I have a limit to what I can do. She thinks I'll stay too busy even if I'm not working. (Can you imagine?) I hate it that she's got me so figured out. Am I that obvious?
Oh! So back to the Seattle -- I had a great time with friends and the stadium was wonderful etc. But here's the wierd thing: I landed in Boise and I was sad. I may be tired and starting to come down with something, but you know what I think it was? I think I was mad at Clem and didn't know it until later. My bag was heavy and when I was pulling it up the stairs at my friend OJ's house, she ordered her fiance' Bob to help me with it and kept saying "Where's Clem?" It just never occurs to me to expect help from him -- especially these days when I'm taking a new "expect nothing" approach (it's one of a thousand of baby steps toward healing our marriage -- it makes me crazy, but everyone says it will work. Whatever.)But then as I'm towing my luggage toward our car, I thought, "Perhaps a real man pulls his wifes suitcase and she pulls his lighter bag." I'm certainly not helpless -- and lets face it, I'm probably stronger in some areas than Clem -- should I expect chivalry? Does it make me less independent and capable? It's so confusing to be a fabulous babe, hot mama queen of it all, liberal educated feminist who wants so much to be treated like a princess and spoiled rotten. The reality is I'd just love some common courtesy. Besides it sort of freaks me out when men do nice things for me. I'm not sure what it means.
So during this time off -- I'm supposed to learn how to better balance my time -- and include more health and fitness stuff 'cause I really do want to be healthy and fit -- as it makes me happy and this whole process about my happiness afterall. So I'm guessing I'll get to work out more without guilt -- for not being at work or at home or something else. Mars wants to do Bloomsday. I think that's good. I'm going to do it with her.
Then I'll feel purple instead of blue.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Remembering Joy

I spent the weekend in Moscow. I had forgotten how much I love it there. My friend Cyndi and I drove up to see our friend Sally in a play. She was, of course, fabulous.
The rolling wheat fields crested by evergreens welcomed me back. It has been seven years since I visited my college town.
As we drove around, I could physically feel the stress leaving my shoulders. I'm not sure what it is about the place -- but I've always felt at home there. Not sure why I actually left now.
It's an eight hour trip for me so had lots of time to think -- and talk with Cyndi. We're both dealing with grief -- trying to figure out how to cope with loss and heart break in our own way.
I've been trying to find time to do the things that bring me joy with limited success so far -- walking around Moscow -- even for a moment was a good start.
Sally does these cool artist trading card things -- So I think I'll do that. I need some breathing space -- as always, but more now than ever. I suck at balance -- I'm two months from 40 and you'd think I'd have figured it out -- but no -- still struggling up that path.
I've also been reminded lately of how much I enjoy being outside -- walking, breathing -- seeing.
I've set a goal of making a hike up Elbow Creek. It's a place I know little about -- it's outside Stanley and once you make it to the top, there's a pool and a view of the Sawtooths. My friend Cassidy told me about it -- and I've become obsessed.
I'll have to train for it -- so Cyndi is helping me devise a plan. I'm going to do it June 21. The Solstice. It seems right -- appropriate. Transition.
I'm going chronicle the training here I guess. Maybe it will make a great book.
I'm scared and the dark voices in my head keep telling me I can't do it. That I haven't given myself enough time to train -- that I'll never make the climb.
Fuck 'em. I'm going to do it. Who is joining me?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

An Update

So I had the "big talk" with Clem on the 20th. Told him I wanted a separation. He handled it much better than I expected. He agreed to go to counseling, which we started last week. He said he had no idea I was that unhappy. Geeze Clem I haven't worn my wedding ring since February.
He asked if I had a boyfriend. Oh yeah, in my spare time. He's still convinced that none of it is my fault. That is all about my depression -- I was depressed before and now I'm just more depressed. My mother just died you big dumb shit -- duh? If you'd even been a little in tune you'd get that. He told me last night I should have told him I needed more. What part of "My mother just died and you're supposed to take care of me as I was in no position to take care of myself did you just not understand?" God are you really that clueless?
I think it's going to take me a while to get over this --
Anywhoooo -- I noticed the most bizarre shift over the weekend. I had been on pins and needles trying to decide if I was leaving or not -- I had made arrangements to rent a house and everything -- but I was out in the yard and I just realized I wanted to stay in my house -- Not that I'm not ready to go at any time -- but I do love my house and my life so as long as things are progressing forward through counseling etc -- I'll hang in there. The reality trying to separate just before school is starting for the kids and just after my mother died was more than I could handle. I don't know if it's the Zoloft kicking in or what -- but my instincts are telling me to stay -- if only for a little while longer. I hope it's not a decision I will regret.
I keep thinking I'm due for a break down -- that it would be justified -- but the wierd thing is I haven't felt this strong in a long time -- How about that? Right in the middle of the biggest stressors in my life and I'm ok -- who would've thunk it??
I'm really, really, looking forward to going to New Jersey to see Dan the first weekend in Oct. I think Cyndi might go with me. It's ok if she doesn't -- but I'd feel a little better if she did cause it feels a little wierd to go vist a single guy when I'm married to his cousin -- especially when I think he's so darned special. But I've never been east and Dan and I have a cool connection and I'll get to see some of Clem's relatives that I really like -- AND SEE THE THE BLUE MAN GROUP IN NYC!!!!!
Yeah for me!
But I'm a little afraid to fly -cuz last time I flew I couldn't get the seatbelt on -- and that was the most humiliating thing in the whole entire world -- I just broke down and sobbed for a minute...I wanted to fall out over the Pacific Ocean -- I'm hoping United has bigger seat belts than Delta --
And I feel like such a bad mommy cause I scheduled a trip over Patti's birthday -- I was thinking I would be able to find a babysitter to help Clem that weekend because school is out Thursday and Friday -- but yesterday I realized it's her 6th birthday and since my kids only get BIG birthday parties every 3 years, this is sort of a big one. She says she's ok with celebrating a week early -- a trip to Chuck E Cheese makes thing seem a lot less yucky I guess.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

For the record

Just so you know, I did not give the eulogy exactly as written below -- I made it upbeat and positive -- left the ramblings here.
It feels rather strange to be at peace with her death -- I keep thinking I should have more issues -- but I don't. At least not now. Maybe they'll sneak up on my later. She's in a happy place. I miss her. Can't think of much else.
So I went on a picnic with my dad and step-mom today. My sisters think I'm a traitor. Dad and Maxine didn't come to Mom's funeral -- and Maxine was, apparently down right rude about it. I was mad. I yelled at my dad when I found out he wasn't coming. In fact, I yelled so much I actually felt compelled to call back and apologize later.
I don't know exactly what the issue is -- Maxine got all freaky at my wedding too. It's probably old garbage that has nothing to do with anything in reality. Just stupid crap. I was, and am, really disappointed. I would have thought they'd be there -- if nothing else, to support me as I gave my mom's eulogy. My sisters ex- husband showed up to support his kids -- and everyone hates him. My uncle showed up -- and my mom and he couldn't even be in the same room, but he came to support us -- even some of my strange cousins showed up and they never made any secret about not liking my mother -- but not my dad. He lead me to believe it was, in part, his choice. That it wouldn't be appropriate for him to come. Ok -- but how dumb is that? They've been divorced for 40 years ! -- Get over it. My step-mother said she couldn't understand why were making such a fuss over someone who just cost us money and caused trouble. She was worried my dad would end up paying for the funeral or something.
The thing is, my step-mom -- is well -- not that bright and not exactly the nuturing sort -- although she , on accassion, tries. I suspect she knows she screwed up and at some point will try to make ammends. In fact -- she tried to say something to me today.
But I'm most disappointed in my dad. I'd really like it if one man in my life would stand up for something he believes in -- and better yet, I'd like it if at least one of the two most significant adult men in my life would at least try to take care of me in my time of need. My husband and my father both baled out on me -- during one of the most significant stressors in my life.
What, do I have a target on my ass?
But, here's the thing. I'm mad, but being mad won't serve any purpose. It won't change anything. If I, like my sisters, stop talking to Dad and Maxine, exactly who gets punished? Dad? Does it matter? He'll likely not last too much longer -- so I'm thinking I should cherish the time I have left.
Yes, he made a choice that didn't suit my needs, but he has to live his life. Is this really worth ending a relationship? I think not.
Clem comes home tomorrow. I am planning on having the big "talk" with him. It will be tough, but I need to be in control right now. He has to learn not to be quite so selfish. I don't deserve the kind of treatment I've been getting and I can't get healthy if it continues.
I wish we could balance each other out better. He's too selfish and everyone keeps telling me I'm not selfish enough.
I'm feeling a little sorry for him though. His brothers moved into the "new" office (My old house) and all Clem had asked for is that they leave his workbench alone. But they didn't -- they moved it all out and left it outside for a week -- there's no sign of anything of Clems in the office -- except for his fish left on the wall. You know -- he didn't want an office, a phone or anything he just wanted his work bench -- And they didn't even move it because they need work space. They moved it to make room for his brother's antique collection. I went to get his stuff and store it over here, but his brother had wised up earlier and moved it into another building. Clem's in for a rough week -- but maybe he'll finally see who is there for him -- and who is not.


I saw her for just a moment today -- that old familiar face. It was lovely to see her again, looking back at me.
Me. My other self. She looked healthy and happy -- relaxed. I'd forgotten how nice it is to have her around.
But she didn't stay long -- I don't know why -- It wasn't intentional. First, I thought I'd just change clothes -- be a little cleaner in case I went to the store after the hike. But everytime I changed and -- let's face it -- judged myself a little harsher -- she faded -- until she was gone.
I just looked again and there's no sign of her.
It was funny -- I'd almost forgotten what she looked like. Younger -- alive -- a lot like my mother -- like in that great picture I have of Mom wearing a cowboy hat western shirt -- mugging for the camera with one of her friends. Face was a lot thinner -- gentle, kind -- with a wild spark in her eye -- nothing dangerous -- just a hint she'd be ready for anything.
But after a few minutes around the farm -- and a few minutes lost in thought about the future and then that other part of me was back.
Square face, dark circles -- haggered and beaten -- overwhelmed.
Maybe I'll go change clothes.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

All in the family

My brother wrote this tonight -- wow

The light glowed softly from across the darkened room, much like a candle in a sanctuary -- both welcoming and warming.
"Come, you are home," it seemed to say. And, in a trance like way, I did. The approachment, itself, warranted the slow and respectful march that accompanied these sort of occassions, but the joyfulness and the happiness of the one being approached called for something of a much more joyful nature.
"What do I do?" I wondered, "How do I show my respects for her in ways that I know she'd understand and respect herself, without insluting those that wouldn't?"
Why does it matter? Why does it even concern me? This occassion is for her, it has nothing to do with me or even my own existence. Granted, I will mourn for her, but I will not mourn forever. Instead, I will celebrate her life, both the good and the bad and that I will celebrate forever.
And so, I approached with a large and soul-felt tear in my eye that also seemed to accompany the moment.
I stepped into that aisle that said nothing else to me but, "I am the end. There is nothing beyond me but a box and some dirt."
And, then her voice said softly to me, "No, I am always here, and I always will be so long as you remember me."
And looking back in retrospect, I should have said, "Mom how could I ever forget?"

Saturday, August 05, 2006

goodbye continued

She died yesterday about 5:30. I had been warned it would come within a few hours. The call came 20 minutes later. My sister said it was peaceful and quiet and -- as much as we could ask.
This morning I find myself strangely calm -- though tired and a bit overwhelmed -- Strong enough to handle what comes at me this week --
My heart continues to break in my marriage. My husband has yet to offer me a hug -- show me any compassion. Maybe he just doesn't know what to do. Thank God for his cousin Dan -- here visiting from the east. He has offered a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on when I needed it -- cooked dinner and been very kind. I felt so bad last week, when I realized he would be here when she died. I haven't been able to be the tour guide I'd planned. I had so many things I wanted to do while he was here -- but very little of it will happen. I'm not sure what I would have done were Dan not here when the calls came in. It would have been very lonely indeed. Perhaps God had a plan afterall.

I find myself pretty impatient with people and things -- I have so much work to do around here - but I'm thinking I might be ahead to take the kids somewhere fun. I'm not sure where that would be at the moment -- Clem, his brothers and Dan are going to go play golf -- Maybe the kids and I will go to the fair in Jerome -- maybe we'll go to Glenns Ferry and do the craft project at the state park -- Who knows -- maybe anywhere is better than here.
So here's part two of the eulogy. You'll have to tell me what you think.
Eulogy cont --
My mother, as I hear tell, knew horses. I had always heard that she was the kind of woman who could tame a wild stallion. She always told us about growing up on the back of a horse -- riding around the family farm in Steam Boat Springs, Colorado –But according to my uncle Floyd, she didn’t start off on a horse – it was Buster the Billy Goat.
“She would ride that thing all over,” Floyd told me. “Buster would get lazy and wouldn’t want to go. Well, we only had one spur … we put it on her – Buster went sideways and she went the other direction.”
Her love of horses though – started early – Floyd says there are pictures of her in which she was so small – her feet just stick straight out.
Next to horses, my mom talked most often about music. Originally it was singing with Aunt Vera – later it was using her soprano to belt out more classic tunes. Most of us though remember the old hymns …
My dad said she bought a piano for $75 dollars at the music store in town – A man moved it out and unloaded it by himself using a board with two wheels in the middle. He sat it in the corner of the house and it wasn’t a week and she was just sitting there playing – “The notes and sounds were a natural talent,” Dad said. “She didn’t have to have lessons.
At night after they’d all gone to bed, she’d sit at the piano and sing – Old traditional hymns. Dad’s favorite was How great thou art. George Beverly Shay would sing it on the Billy Graham show – and mom would sit at the piano and play and sing it as well.
“It was beautiful,” Dad said. She made ol George Beverly Shaw sound like a chicken.”
For Don and I, she’s play and chord quietly every Sunday morning – it was our wake up call – we hated it originally – but both of us would give anything to hear those chords again now.
My mother was playful and silly – she could tease – when we were little it seemed she’d try anything – riding my bike – place baseball in the street with our friends – and my personal favorite – riding Gary’s skateboard.
But she was at her best when she was taking care of us – especially when we got old enough to really be taking care of ourselves.
When Marian was living in Denver – she got sick – really sick. Mom flew out bought her socks and fed her hot dogs.
Marian went to work the next day.
She was feisty – a force to be reckoned with when she needed to be – While she may have had an opinion or two about our choices – let anyone else question us and there would be hell to pay – she always believed in us – even when we were being self destructive – Maybe she was in a constant state of denial, but in her eyes we could do no wrong – even when doing wrong was exactly what we were doing.
My mother never made millions – even if she did she would have spent it all on obnoxious toys found at yard sales and given to the grand kids – she didn’t have some stellar career or hold a world record – But she accomplished what some people only yearn for – she gave us unconditional love.
I think Gary said it best – he told me she was what a grandmother should be.
He wrote: I loved her and I always felt as though she loved me. Throughout my life she has often been the first to praise me for my few accomplishments, and nearly always the last to scold during my numerous mistakes.
I am going to miss the "birthday" call. Gary said Since I joined the Coast Guard she has never missed calling me once. What more can you ask for as a grandchild, someone who loves you no matter what, with none of the parental responsibility-baggage, just positive support and undying belief in you; and by god someone who thinks your special enough to call you on your birthday even when your closer to be being a grandfather than a grandchild. She is my grandma, what else can I say."
And she’ll be missed.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Testing 1, 2, 3

I'm sitting here, faced with the daunting reality of writing my mother's eulogy. She's not quite dead yet, but I figure once the big event happens I'll be out of time.
I was secretly hoping my sister Robin would do this -- she's always more eloquent than I am. But, I think it's good it's me. I can handle this -- and it makes sense for my role in the family I suppose. I am the head drama queen.
So I'll test drive it here.
I had gotten to the unfortunate point of resenting my mother most of the time. She presented me with one more thing to do in my overscheduled life. She was demanding -- wanting attention on her schedule not mine. She refused to take care of herself -- take responsiblity for anything, including my existence on this earth and I was tired of it. I determined a year or so ago that this relationship would continue on my terms not hers -- as much as possible anyway.
I was most often convinced that she would make her self ill just to get attention -- to make sure we'd all come running -- and for the most part, her ploy worked.
My brother, Don, and I must have seemed rather callus when we checked her into the hospital the last time. We made sure she was safe and cared for, but left quickly.
"Ok, Mom, we'll see you later," I said.
"Did you guys have any questions?" the nurse asked as we left.
No -- we replied and we both rolled our eyes.
"You guys have gone through this before I take it," the nurse said.
Oh yeah -- once too often I guess. It was the last time I spoke to her -- that last time I saw her smile -- upright -- alive, really.
It occured to me when I got news of the stroke that I'd spent two hours alone in the car with my mother and we'd barely spoken ten words. I was tired, preocuppied -- and really, I had nothing to say. I had already told her pretty much everything I wanted to -- and anything else had fallen on her selectively deaf ears. Two hours in a car wasn't going to change or repair anything.
She was who she was. She did the best should could with what she had. She loved me -- loved all of us to the extent of her ability. That will always have to be enough.
My mother was not the kind of person -- in my lifetime anyway -- who lived in the "now" -- the grass was always greener some where else. Her vocabulary was peppered with ifs and shoulds haves. Just when you'd hand her everything she always said she wanted on a silver platter, she'd want something else -- Don and I spent thousands of weekends looking at new houses or cars -- things that would be ours "when" and" if".
Every so often though, she'd show up in reality -- and it is those times she seemed truly happy --She'd always told us she wanted to take a long vacation -- but my step father -- well he was just not that kind of guy. She kept saying when and if and then finally said -- we're going -- now.
Hiro stayed home, but she packed Don-Don and I up in that little silver Izuzu and we headed out.
We went to Vern and JoAnn Johnsons ranch in Mackay. It was -- and continues to be -- one of my most favorite places on the planet. Don and I had heard about the Johnsons -- but we'd never met them -- they were the stuff of Metzler family legend -- but I didn't know why until I was there.
Vern Johnson was probably the first cowboy I remember laying eyes on -- he was authentic -- I barley remember him -- his wind weathered skin dark under his cowboy hat -- Joan was beautiful and practical -- she always seemed to have bright lipstick on -- their dining room was covered with pictures of the whole family on horseback and stacked floor to ceiling with rodeo trophies and ribbons -- We stayed in the basement in a room that smelled of dust and old leather and it was wonderful.
My mother was relaxed -- for one of the first times I could remember -- we dined on milk fresh from the cow and mushrooms Joan had picked and that day and fried in butter. To this day, that meal goes down as one of best meals I have ever had. The Johnsons, much to my continued surprise put Don and I on horseback and sent us out into the sagebrush -- They gave Don the nice horse -- but -- they just sent us out -- us two city kids who were rather lucky to know which end to feed -- and Mom just smiled and waved as we wandered away -- she knew we'd be ok - if nothing else, she figured, the horses would take care of us.
My mother, as I hear tell, knew horses. I had always heard that she was the kind of woman who could tame a wild stallion. She always told us about growing up on the back of a horse -- riding around the family farm in Steam Boat Springs, Colorado --

to be continued

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mass of energy

I'm sitting here in my mothers hospital room listening to her snore -- the only audible reminder she's alive, breathing. I wish it would stop. It seems nuts to continue like this--I guess I don't understand how one part of the brain could be mush and the other still sending the signal to breath - to exist.
My brother and sisters hover over her. They stare longingly into her eyes and hold her hand. They brush her hair and fuss. I am not compelled to do so. This, to me is just a shell -- I just want it to be gone like her spirit. If I get close I must admit to caressing her cheek or running my fingers through her hair. I don't have anything left to say to her -- anything I would say she wouldn't get any more than she did when she was alive. She was a kind woman, compassionate even, but she often saw and heard only what she chose to accept -- the rest, was trivia.
On Tuesday, I went to Mass at St. Al's. It was the oddest thing. I was sitting there in the dark chapel. There was only one other person there. The stereotypical older Catholic woman. Long skirt, conservative blouse, caridgan sweater thrown over her shoulders, a large cruxifix around her next. Neat, clean and righteous.
Abruptly the priest threw open the door and flipped on the light.
"That was abrupt," I said aloud. She looked at me as though I were a space alien.
"He's running late," she said, rather snotty, I thought. "I better go over the readings."
Then in piled another stereotype. I mother in her 40s -- denim jumper, birkenstocks, medal around her neck, wild hair with more than a few grey strands shoved haphazardly in a bun on her head. She was trailed by seven kids, the youngest of which quickly prepared the altar.
I watched them with a bit of awe, spiced with amusement.
"Say hi to Jesus honey," the mother said to the youngest boy teaching him to genuflect.
After that, a 20 something man -- wearing a "choose life" t-shirt -- a clean cut boy with a wedding ring. He sang the loudest -- knew each ritual. Again amusement for me. Next someone in scrubs -- her pockets filled with prayer books -- though none so tattered as Catholic MOM, but on their way, I'm sure.
I said there trying to focus on the lackluster homily by a priest I instantly disliked.
Several minutes into the proceedings, the Governor.
Well I'll be darned -- the Governor. Didn't even know he was Catholic.
At the sign of peace each of those Catholic Kids walked over and greeted me -- ok now I was warming to the scene. Wouldn't mind raising a few of those.
Then the priest corrected the actions of a few -- kneeling when they should have stood -- genuflecting at the wrong moment.
My amusement was complete at this point -- I dislike the notion there is a right and wrong during the mass -- People need to act on how they feel -- not according to some ancient rule written by a guy in a dress -- who likely never tried to teach seven kids to sit still and follow a ritual or two.
I walked away and shook my head.
While I needed the eucharist that day and got what I needed -- the man had confirmed in one fell swoop everything my mother hated about Catholicism.
I suspect she was watching from her perch someone -- giving me that dreaded "I told you so" shake of her head and tapping the right foot. And wishing, perhaps, her body would catch up to her brain and fade away.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My mother is dying. She had a stroke on Friday and is lying in a hospital bed in Boise in a coma and she is, for all intents and purposes, gone. We're just waiting for her body to catch on to the reality.
I'm numb. I sit here and look at all the chores that need done, but can't seem to focus on anything for too long. I want held, but that's not an option for me. I sometimes feel pretty productive, but then want to curl up into the fetal position and rock back and forth. Everyone tells me that's normal.
Great. For the first time in my life, I'm normal.
I'm fortunate in that I have made peace with my mom -- for the most part any way. She is (was) who she is. I understand her more now that I ever did before.
I'm tired, but can't or don't want to sleep.
I don't know what to do. Nothing feels right -- I was in the garden earlier. My brother was helping me get caught up on two months worth of weeding. The funny thing is, I came across a small herb patch I had given up on and not marked. I had assumed the seeds never grew.
But I was busily pulling weeds when I realized there was something more than that godforsaken wild geranium -- cilantro. A few minutes later, I found sage.
I guess that's what life is like though. Buried under all the weeds is sweetness -- something savory and exciting -- the little things you don't notice when you're so busy -- but you have to pull the weeds -- get rid of the crap first.
I guess its a good metaphor for my life right now -- must get rid of the crap.
Maybe I'll try to sleep --

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

not again, not again, not again.

Well crap, shit, fuck, damn and everything.
I just binged -- ahhhh damn, damn, damn
I'm feeling tired and sorry for myself and I stuffed myself silly -- Gawd I wish I could think of a better way to cope with crap -- what do other people do? -- everything I can think of just feels destructive.
This sucks so very much.
What I do know is that I want to be held. Held by a big strong man who will just hold me without groping me. He will hold me and tell me I'm beautiful and that everything's going to be ok. He'll adore me and enjoy spending time with me. I'll be his best friend and he'll be mine.
Instead, I have my husband who will attempt to hold me, but will eventually grope me and then it becomes something sexual instead of something nuturing, kind.
I realize what you're thinking -- it's that psycho babble mumbo jumble -- "but Karma you have to love yourself first -- you have to be willing to hold yourself -- comfort yourself -- God can fill the void."
You know, I do realize, of course, I'm fabulous -- but you know a girl's got needs --- and I've had it waiting around for God or anybody else to take care of me because it's not gotten me very fucking far now has it?
Taking care of myself is a lonely and frustrating option -- it might work if I had a single solitary coping skill but I don't and I simply have no idea what to do when I feel like crap.
If I sleep, I feel like I'm lazy
If I read, I feel like I should be working
If I work outside, I feel like I should be inside and vice versa.
If I eat, well you have to eat to live so that's productive right.
Well not if you stuff yourself.
Holy crap -- why does that make sense to me when I'm in the middle of it and then I feel so crappy immediately after?
I would simply LOVE to go a day and not obsess about food.
Not have to worry if it were good or bad -- how many fat calories it contained if I am eating at the right time of day.
How would it be to just eat cause I'm hungry and stop when I'm full.
Simple and completely impossible at the same time.
There has got to be a better way to deal with reality.
If I write, I suppose that's good. But I'm sitting here thinking about how tired I am -- how stuffed I am and how much work needs to be done around the house and yard and how much I just want to curl up in bed.
Perhaps I should take some sort of medication.
Is that a cop out?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Quantum physics

So if all time is happening -- can you influence your future? If you visualize your future in a certain way, can you make it happen?
It's all about choices right?
I visualize a future in which I don't obsess about every morsel I put in my mouth. I see a place where the men in my life stand up for what's right. Where I can have conversations with people that go beyond the surface -- that feed my intellect.
I visualize a space in which I have unconditional love -- from one man in my life other than my son -- I visualize a place where I would be willing to accept it.
My gawd do I send out signals to men that say," Let's just stay on the surface -- forget about a deep and spiritual connection -- where you can say what you think with out it being a threat -- where intimacy is not about sex, but about an unspoken connection.
Where the people that are supposed to be adults are adults -- where I am not responsible for taking care of everyone and the dog.
Where I fit in -- and not intimidate the hell out of everyone -- where I'm understood.

Friday, July 21, 2006

If not then, maybe now

When I started this over a year ago -- I truly thought I'd have reached my weight loss goal by now --
If anything, I've lost ground rather than made progess -- at least if I pay attention to what the scale says.
I gave up the scale for Lent -- and only during my weak moments get back on -- they end being mere moments, but they take weeks to get over.
Why is it that women in our society are taught to judge themselves by numbers -- the 3 numbers on a scale or the size of a pair of pants? We are all so much more -- well most of us --
the women that really are only what the numbers are worth have depleated themselves into being nothing but digits really.
Feeling pain, rather than numbing it with food is rather overwhelming -- I've spent so many years of my life just trying to survive and now, when faced with the task of actually living instead of merely surviving -- well, wow -- it's so very hard.
That's the other thing -- our parents, intentional or not, teach us that our feelings are bad -- that we can't just feel things -- the pain, joy and truth of our existence.
How many of us were jumping for joy and told to "settle down" -- or sobbing over a loss and told to "get over it" -- my gawd -- how many times have I done this to my own children?
In the process of sorting out my life I seem to be having more sad days than good sometimes -- but now that I'm am allowing myself to feel the pain (or whatever) I'm aware of how much good there really is -- how many angels God has sent my way -- just when I think I can't be any more stupid or my situation can't get worse - there is an angel or a messenger or something -- someone to remind me that adversity is often an opportunity --some things happen for a reason --- you can't change other people --
So I had a revelation the other day -- I forced myself to go to the gym to meet with my trainer -- a bear of a man who has a take no prisoners approach -- I certainly have a love hate relationship with him.
He made me do these chest press things - at 50 pounds, which is a lot for me -- I made it through one set of 18 and hoped he'd let me stop. I told him I as having a bad day, afterall -- (aka "please, pity poor me) but he pushed for another set.
One-third of the way through my arms were on fire -- another third and I wanted to cry and give up -- but then a voice inside me said "Don't let them beat you, not at this, not at anything" -- I finshed that stupid set -- and I hurt, but I did it -- My trainer, Jeff, just looked at me and said "wow".
That thought has kept me going quite a bit the last day or two. I still can't seem to get control of what I'm putting in my mouth -- mostly because I get tired and frustrated.
But it occurs to me as I write this -- that not controlling what I eat, puts someone else in control of my life. Being fat just allows him to feel controlling an superior to me.
Ha -- he doesn't deserve that.
My arms -- and my heart -- for that matter -- hurt like hell -- but it's nothing I can't handle now.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

my return

When I started this nearly a year ago, I truly believed I would find myself 100 pounds thinner on this date. I remember feeling so empowered, so motivated, so ... on fire.
But, as the saying goes, that was then, this is now.
I've not lost an ounce -- and in fact, have gain about 10 pounds. You know what? -- I'm ok.
I have finally started getting a grip of the fact that my worth shouldn't be judged by 3 numbers on a scale. I'm more than that. Yes, I need to get healthy. But no, I'm not a complete failure because I don't fit into society's norm.
Eating is only a way to avoid what's really bothering me. It is a way to fill a void. But I'm slowly, but surely, finding other ways to fill the darkness. I struggle every second of every day, but I move forward most of the time.
I have been reading an incredible book, "Eating by the Light of the Moon" -- and so far its communicating all of the thoughts that have been running through my head the last few months.
That the fat has served it's purpose, but I'm done with it now. I have to lose the weight equal to another person. At first I was overwhelmed at the prospect, but you know, I'm ready to let her go. She's been wonderful for me. I have hid behind her and tried to find a way to combat the rollercoaster of emotion I've been on for the last 10 years. She's allowed me to survive. Slowly, ounce by ounce I'm ready to let her go. Thank you so much dear friend -- serve another woman in need.
I've also been thinking a lot of about water -- the symbolism of a river. For years I have been just floating with a current -- just trying to survive. It's time now to stake my claim to land that is mine. I can choose where I want to go and when -- and those choices are good and intelligent and only mine. In the book, the author describes a metaphor in which the addiction is like a log you hang on to keep from drowning. In reality all you have to do is swim to shore, but you've become so reliant on the log it's hard to let go. When you get scared you grab onto the log again. Each time, you get closer to the shore -- appreciating the log for its purpose, struggling to focus on the journey. But it's all there in front of you.
I'm going to be ok - better perhaps, than I've ever been.