As a kid, it was the fact that I loved sweets so much.
Ugh, Ice cream is my Nemesis.
As a teenager in high school, I was called “the fat girl” in my class, even though I was a pretty healthy 130-135 lbs at 5’7″.
I’ve never been svelte, like some of my Scandinavian extended family members; instead being closer to the stockier build of my Germanic/Austrian family.
Looking back, I don’t see a fat girl when I look at myself, but I was sure made to feel that way by others.
After having my third child, my weight ballooned. Part of it was getting older, having kids, & not fighting super hard after the third one to get back to my pre-baby weight.
Part of it was emotional abuse I suffered during my marriage.
And, the weight was a “convenient” way to subtly protect myself, and fight back.
The weight prevented anyone from getting “too close”.
It prevented anyone from seeking to get to know me, because there’s that invisible dividing line that stands around fat people…
Fat people are lazy
Fat people are not attractive
Fat people aren’t worth the time, because if they don’t care about themselves, why should anyone else?
And so on…
I lost a bunch of weight after my divorce, too. I went on a program of supplements, worked out really hard, & lost almost 70 lbs, at one point. I felt better physically, sometimes, & mentally, a little.
And then, shit started to go downhill.
I had a bunch of things happen that affected me both physically and mentally, that just…stopped… any progress I’d made.
And, I started to go backwards as far as my weight was concerned.
Physical limitations due to my Rheumatoid Arthritis didn’t help.
Well, the weight was yet another wall between me & the outside world.
People couldn’t, wouldn’t get close enough to hurt me if my weight was keeping them away, right?
I’m sarcastic. This is a given fact, and if you’ve ever met me in real life, it’s fairly obvious after about 5 minute’s worth of talking.
When I’m at work, in front of customers or certain coworkers, I mask.
Masking – a process in which an individual changes or “masks” their natural personality to conform to social pressures, abuse or harassment.
If I’m in an unknown social situation where I’m expected to “conform” to social norms, I mask.
But catch me in a known, comfortable, or laid-back social setting (ex., with friends, or my kids)? And you’ll get the Sarcastic Sister.
And… I use it to deflect criticism, as well.
In fact, I will use sarcastic self-deprecation to head off criticism from others.
I mean, if I’m cutting myself down… what good is it for someone else to attempt microaggressions & insults?
After all, I got there first, and with far better sarcastic insults about myself than anyone else can come up with. Who knows me better than me? Who knows right where to stick the knife so as to thwart further injury by outsiders?
I emotionally cut myself to prevent others from doing so.
That’s priceless logic, ain’t it?
So, to show what I mean, a friend of mine upon moving away, gave me a box of affirmations. In the “advent calendar” style, you can pop one open & read something nice, that’s supposed to boost your mood about yourself.
So, of course, I’ve started opening them, & immediately twisting them.
Cause of how I do.
One day, I decided the shit was deep enough around me, so I’d take it easy on myself…
One of my coworkers asked me yesterday
“How the hell.do you think these things up? Do they just pop into your brain as soon as you read the cards?”
It’s called Maladaptive Cognition.
There’s always that small “voice” in my brain that pipes up to knock me “back into my lane”.
Another coworker told me I should write “sarcastic self-affirmations”, cause they’d sell like crazy. Meh. I know they might, but why risk yet another form of rejection among so many others?
I usually just shrug it off in front of others, & lay it off to “Well, I’m just twisted.”
They agree, & we go on about our business. They’ve been entertained with my antics, & I’ve prevented someone else from hurting my feelings by beating them down a little myself.
I talked to my mom on the phone last night, and it finally struck home to me.
I will never have her support for the traumas I’ve been through in my life.
We were talking about a friend of mine who moved back to Florida, & when she asked where she lives, I told her.
Mom: “Oh, that’s the same city *he’s* (my male sibling) lived in.”
Me: Yeah, mom, I know.
“And btw, the girls (his daughters, my nieces) are coming up to visit this summer. I need to get in touch with Youngerdaughter to see if she wants to schedule her time home to coincide, so she can see them”.
Me: It would be nice, I don’t get to have any contact with them.
My sibling made a big deal of telling me years ago that he had the passwords & logins for his wife’s social media, as well as his daughters, so I believe he would not just watch if I tried to interact with them, but actively block contact or attack me through their pages.
You can think me paranoid if you want, but he’s attacked me verbally & emotionally so many times I have blocked every attempt he’s made to contact me. He is toxic in my life, & I won’t put up with his abuse.
Mom: “Oh, honey, he’s changed.”
Me: Not enough to say he’s sorry for what he’s done & said. Last time, Mom, he said “I’m sorry if you felt hurt, but sometimes you’re just too sensitive.” He didn’t say he was sorry for hurting me, he put the blame for my trauma back on me, then told me that I was “too sensitive”.
BEING SENSITIVE TO PAIN IS A TRAUMA RESPONSE.
Me: Mom, he has never apologized for what he said, or for what he’s done, he’s always just “I’ve grown up, & want to move past this”
Me: Translation – I’m tired of being called out for the real harm I caused, & want everyone to sweep it under the rug, because it doesn’t fit my “benevolent Christian man, husband & father” persona.
Mom: “Did I tell you my dog hurt her paw? She won’t let anyone anywhere near it.”
After about 10 more minutes of basic, surface conversation, I told her I love her, & hung up.
Avoidance, thy name is Mom.
Same thing happens whenever I bring up anything regarding the sexual assault I suffered from my best friend’s brother when I was 16. Her best friend is this (now man’s) mother. Every time she comes to visit, my mom wants me to see her, & they end up, somehow, working his name into the conversation, which sends me into a PTSD- induced panic attack.
Mom once: “Its been XX years. You should move past this. Let it go.”
I was never believed, not by anyone from either of our families. I was never allowed to talk about it, except when my parents tried to send me to a Christian counselor, & then told him that I thought I was molested. Not that it had actually happened, but that I thought it did.
I love both my parents. And I’m lucky to still have them in my life.
But, that hurts.
It hurts to know that my pain will never be valid in their eyes.
That they don’t believe that one instance even happened, but that I made it up or dreamt it.
And that they don’t remember reading the actual email my sibling sent me that ripped our family apart.
“My little sister died years ago. I don’t know you.”
Oh, fucker, you don’t know how right you are.
She died at 16, when a boy she trusted sexually assaulted her, and no one believed her.
She died at 17, when her parents sent her to a counselor & told him they thought she was delusional.
She died again at 19, when she was raped in college, and didn’t feel as though she could tell her parents, because why would they believe her now, when they didn’t before?
She died AGAIN, when at 20, they accused her of being on drugs, and forced her to get tested, when she’d never taken drugs in her life.
And she dies again, and again, and again, when they excuse her abusers for hurting her.
I still love my parents.
Don’t forget that.
But, loving them, does not make what they say & do, right.
My parents have always been the “turn the other cheek” people.
I can’t. I won’t. I will NOT give you another chance to hurt me, after being repeatedly struck on one side.
I still love my parents.
They’re good people.
But, the pain is real, when I know I’ll never have their unconditional love & support.
I can feel the edges crumbling, the particles of my balance slipping into the cracks at my feet.
Everything hurts, & I can’t afford anymore doctor bills.
My RA is flaring in places it hasn’t been before. Or maybe it’s not RA, but the beginnings of fibromyalgia, the same as my mother has, mingling it’s chaos with the rheumatoid I already know, and that has been diagnosed.
Who the fuck knows.
And, since I can’t afford more medical expenses, I can’t get anyone to believe me.
Fuck invisible illnesses.
The anxiety & depression are only worsening, as my chronic pain settles even further into my system, denying me rest, denying me decent sleep.
All of which, are causing migraines, as the stress of it all builds.
It’s spiraling, & I can’t ask for help.
I’ve tried explaining, tried telling family that things are sliding Sideways.
But, it’s just not a priority.
They don’t hear me.
They don’t understand, that the smaller pieces I’m telling them, are tests.
And no, fuck, it’s not fair to test my loved ones, but in the state my brain is right now, I can’t bring myself to let it all go.
Because, if they don’t hear the little pieces… The times I continually say “It’s really hard trying to do this on my own”…
I emote a lot through music. It’s just one of the ways I can gauge my own emotional capacity & wellness.
Basically, what I’m currently listening to, is a pretty good weather-vane into my mindset & mental health.
(And yes, I’m always looking for new music, everywhere I look) A lot of what I find, I will either grab off my Amazon Prime Music, & put it in my playlist for work, for working out, for Roadies. Or if someone tells me about a song & I can’t find it on Amazon Music, I’ll go look for it on YouTube, to see if there’s a video. (There is almost always a video)
Here’s my latest favorite play list:
The Vengeful One – by Disturbed. I’d love to hear someone make a delicate, soft, feminine remake of this. It’d be creepy as hell, & make a great soundtrack for a vicious heroine/villainness.
Therefore I am – by Billie Eilish. This gal has such a grand presence with her soft, whiskey voice. It’s hard to sing along to, sometimes, because I want to sing at volume, but that’s all wrong for this one.
Lemons – by Brye. This gal’s song I first heard a snippet of on TikTok, & fell in love with the lyrics. I finally found a Demo version of it on Amazon Music, & had to buy it to keep. I know the whole song by heart, & funny enough, it’s my notification sound on my phone.
Jekyll & Hyde – by Five Finger Death Punch. I want to be Jekyll, but I’m always fuckin’ Hyde… as the song says. Both live in my head, along with all the other varied sides of my Gemini personality. Jekyll can be logical, but pretty cold, too. Hyde is much warmer, emotionally, but likes to burn things… like relationships, bridges, ya know… the “easy-to-fix” stuff… *rolls eyes at self*
Phantom – by Allen Mock. This is a “get-out-of-my-own-head & just feel the rhythm song. And when that beat drops… dayum.
Overwhelmed – by Royal & the Serpent. This – is my anxiety in a nutshell. It’s so damned fitting.
Villain – by K/DA. This fictitious group is represented on YouTube with CGI videos for League of Legends. They’re some of the female characters, supposedly. The gals who sing are a mix of Korean K-pop stars & English/American/British singers. They’re phenomenal, & this isn’t the only song I love, just the current song in rotation.
Boys Ain’t Shit – by Say Grace. My Beloved Nephew turned me on to this one by sending me the YouTube video. I love this song, & know this one pretty much by heart too.
The Devil’s Bleeding Crown – by Volbeat. More heavy metal. There’s a lot of that on this list. Heavy metal helps me when I’m angry, stressed, depressed… so, pretty much most of the time. I’m thinking it’s the drums, because those always just send me into a zone. And the screaming. Yeah, the screaming helps.
People I Don’t Like – by Upsahl. I just love how don’t-give-a-fuck this song is. Pretty much how I feel in crowds anymore. Like parties I’m obligated to attend. Yeah, not my favorite timesuck.
No Scrubs – version redone by Unlike Pluto. This is a retake on the original by TLC. It’s just got such a sway to it. I love it better than the original.
Protocol – by Leon Else. This song was referred to in a book I really like, so, since I’d never heard of it before, & liked the way they described the feeling of it, I had to look it up. Yeah, it’s that good.
This is the New Shit – by Marilyn Manson. Yeah, I know he’s getting a lot of hate these days. I still love the irreverence of this song.
Wrong Bitch – by Todrick Hall. I LOVE TODRICK HALL. But this is one of my favorite MOTIVATIONAL songs. Don’t at me, just don’t. Cuz I won’t hesitate. Watch the damn video. Do it.
Purple Hat – by Sofi Tukker. This song is just so “mellow LSD trip” (or what I would imagine one would be). It’s bizarre, which Sofi Tukker likes to do, the beat is definitely catchy. Now if I could just understand all the damn words!
Why Do You Love Me – Charlotte Lawrence. Again, very “Bad Bitch” vibe. Definitely sassy & probably psychotic, but I still love the vibe.
Did Ya – by BoA. She’s a South Korean singer, songwriter, producer & actress. I love the message of this song. “You should have appreciated me when you had me in your life. You didn’t. So I’m out. Suck it.”
Out of Hell – by Skillet. Pulled this one back into my current lineup from my archives. I went on a “Skillet spree” a while back & bought whole albums. Some days, it’s just how I feel.
And… last, but most certainly NOT least. I found this band through TikTok videos, & have fallen in love with quite a few of their songs. These 3 are currently on my “most listened to” rotation:
Falling in Reverse – Yeah, the lead singer spent some time in prison. He paid his dues & doesn’t deny what happened, or his part in it. But make sure you hear both sides of the story.
The songs I love of theirs right now are:
Just Like You – I’m an asshole. You’re an asshole. Everyone’s an asshole – sometimes. It’s just true.
Losing My Life.This one is a little off kilter – with the “time travel” referencing. But the beginning of this song… it inspires me.
And… my MOST FAVORITEST RIGHT NOW –
Popular Monster.This fucking song. Right here. Go listen/watch it NOW. I could probably listen to this 20 times a day right now & not get tired of it. Just go do it. Damn.
There are other “filler” songs on my work list, but these are the ones I’m bopping my head, tapping my toe, dancing in the office (yeah you read me) to.
And I really don’t care if people think I’m weird.
Cause they’re right, & I’m proud of it. I worked damned hard, for a lot of years, for that moniker. I wear my freak flag with fucking PRIDE.
So, those are the songs. If there’s something here you’ve never heard of, go check it out. Go. GIT! Expand your horizons. And if you have a favorite song not listed here that you’d like me to check out (Yeah, I take suggestions – I love finding new-to-me music), comment! If you think it’d be a good therapeutic fit for me, tell me about it & I’ll check it. (As long as it’s not country… just no.)
Winter is, for me, usually a time of inner reflection. It’s when I do what is called in Paganism, Shadow Work.
And, my Goddess, it’s been a heavy season of revelations.
I’m not listing these in any specific order, just as they come to me.
1. I have been planning on moving for a while now, but the process to get to the actual moving has been slow, and daunting. It’s a lot of work for 1 person to do on her own.
In this, I realized just how much stuff I have.
Gads, the shelves, piles, boxes, rooms… Of stuff.
I’ll never be able to take all of it with me, especially since I’m going to be downsizing my life, considerably.
And yet, I have so many things that were originally given to me as sentimental gifts…
How do you decide?
I was contemplating a clock. Literally.
My grandmother, who passed on some years ago, now, gifted me with a Grandmother clock when I got married the first time. (She gifted clocks to every one of the grandkids when they got married) It’s a gorgeous thing, made of a reddish-stained wood, with beautiful glass in door on the front, split into top and bottom. The top, of course, shows the face of the clock. The bottom is a square in the middle of clear glass, and 4 framing pieces of a lovely wavy, bumpy glass. The bottom shows the pendulum as it swings. The door swings on a hinge so you can open it up and wind the clock with a “key”, instead of like most pendulum grandfather clocks that have chained weights.
This clock used to play a tune on the hour & a piece of that tune on every quarter & half. My first ex-husband broke the music part of it shortly after we received it, by trying to set the time incorrectly. It’s never played music since, but the clock part still works.
During my second marriage, my now 2nd ex-husband, decided he didn’t like the “ticking”… said it was too loud. (Yeah, seriously)
So the clock was stopped, and never rewound. It’s hung on my living room wall ever since, silent.
It has hung there for 20 years, almost 21, now, silent.
And, as I stood there, looking at it, I wondered to myself…
Why do I have a clock hanging up that never works? I should take it down, put it back in its box, and pack it away for moving.
When I move, I won’t have a place for this clock. My grandmother, rest her, is gone. My marriages… both are gone. The whole reason for the clock being gifted… is gone.
Hmmm… maybe one of my girls will want this? My son definitely won’t want it. Has no attachment to it.
And yet, neither of my girls have ever evinced an emotional attachment whatsoever to this clock. This silent clock that they’ve never heard sing. Have barely ever heard ticking.
No one wants this clock.
Even I don’t really want this clock anymore, other than as a tangible reminder of my grandmother… and yet.
I have many other things that remind me of her.
What do I do with it? Do I get rid of it?
I’m sure my mother would tell me to hang onto it. That one of the girls, or one of my grandkids will someday want it.
And yet. That’s so many years in the future. I’m downsizing. I don’t have, and won’t have, room for storage of “future maybes”.
If I get rid of it, my mom will surely have her feelings hurt… but again… it’s my clock. At least right now.
So, it sits on my floor now, I took it down from the wall, and am reminded every day about it.
When I took the clock down, the pendulum started swinging again, and now it sits… on my floor… ticking with the wrong time.
2. I was emotionally and mentally abused in my last marriage.
It didn’t start out that way, of course…(when does it?)
He told my best friend (who introduced us), that when he met me, he loved the fact that I was a “take no shit” kind of woman. I didn’t take crap from anyone, adult, child, or animal. I stood up for myself and made no apologies for that.
This ability was slowly squashed out of me over the 12 years we were married.
I don’t want to go into all the details, but he was a narcissist who had very little, if any, empathy for anyone other than our son, his golden angel.
It took me almost those same amount of years after we divorced to finally come to this realization.
I finally stood up for myself, and we’ve now been divorced for… well, it’ll be 10 years at the end of May this year.
Almost 10 years to finalize the conclusion that I had back then. And it took a friend, former boyfriend, really, to make me realize that. This man, my friend, asked me one night while we were messaging back & forth on facebook…
Are you happy?
And it took me too long to answer him.
I was going to answer “Of course I am!” But, I took a breath, and answered him honestly, instead.
And that was the beginning of the end of my marriage.
The passive-aggressive insults, the subtle slap-downs, the quiet commentary on my lack, on my family’s lacks, on my friend’s shortcomings… they’d all built up into a deep, searing resentment that I couldn’t live with anymore. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I now realize that he’d been doing the same things to my daughters, who were his step-children, and that this constituted emotional abuse of them as well. I waved it off at the time, not wanting to admit to myself that he was really hurting them. I wanted us to be a nuclear family like I’d grown up in. But I was wrong.
The girls have grown up since, both lovely adult women with lives of their own. My EldestDaughter is now a mother herself, to 3 beautiful children. Her eldest, my Schnicklefritz, is my buddy. The younger 2 don’t know me well enough yet to define our relationship, since they’re in Washington state, while I’m here. But once I get moved, and I’m planning on moving closer to them, that’ll shift too.
My YoungerDaughter is a no-nonsense upright young woman who is the first in our family for 4 generations to finish college, and is now a 2nd-grade teacher in Wisconsin. She lives with her long-time boyfriend, and I can see them getting married within the next few years.
My OnlySon, lives with his father. There’s a whole story there, but it’s not always an easy one, and I’m not going into it right now.
Suffice to say, the girls’ upbringing didn’t cause them irreparable harm. They have both been able to overcome it, and have built lives that suit them both.
Me, I’m getting there. It’s been a long, rocky road.
I’m still prone to times of severe depression, with longer periods now of only mild depression, thanks to changing a few things in my life, and the treatment I follow for it. I still have anxiety, pretty much always, but that’s manageable most of the time too, through my medication & things I do for it personally. I am working on it.
And as far as relationships go? Well, I’ve pretty much given up on that, since they’ve all failed, for one reason or another. I’m 50 years old, living alone with my cat. (My son’s cat went to a new home this year)
For right now, I’m contemplating finishing out my years living close to my grandkids, my daughter, and her husband, Moose. (yes, it’s a nickname, but appropriate… he’s 6’4″ for goddess’s sake!)
I’m contemplating being content doing that alone, because I can’t see anyone wanting to take on any of the myriad of years’ baggage I bring with me into any relationship.
Yeah, my self-esteem is still crap. Being ghosted, and/or told you’re not good enough to be in a permanent relationship, lied to, had promises broken because “it’s just not that big of a deal”, having one tell you that the depression is the deal-breaker, and any other number of “yeah, I’m just not going to deal with this woman” actions, is kind of a self-esteem killer.
But… it’s what it is, really. This is my life now. And I’m comfortable with living alone now.
I do what I want, when I want. I am obligated to no one for my time. I don’t have to apologize if I want to stay up late reading, or gaming. I come home, drop my stuff where I do, and it’s still there when I go back for it.
(unless the asshole cat has done something to it)
I can play my music at the top volume, singing along loudly, and dancing through the house, if I want.
I can, and have, paint whatever I want on the walls.
I can rearrange my life, my house, and my mind, in whatever way I want, and I don’t have to apologize, or explain, or defend my choices to anyone.
It’s not horrible.
Yeah, I’d like to have someone to share it with. Sure, who wouldn’t?
But, Relationship has 12 letters.
So does Fuck this shit.
Maybe, someday, I’ll be able to say I’m over it. It’s better, now that I can recognize what it is, truly.
Now, I can focus on what I need to do to heal.
These 2 things are not the end of my realizations this winter. But I’m emotionally exhausted from this session of reliving them for the page, so I’ll end this here.
I’m still going. I’m slower now, more cautious, in my decisions & actions. But I’m still moving, working toward my goal.
Balance. My life for the past… Oh, at least 23 years, has been about trying to find,and maintain, some kind of equanimity. And while there have been a lot of highs and lows, I’ve done alright, for the most part, at my search.
I had a really bad 2 year stretch, depression my constant companion, with anxiety keeping me strung tight & riding the line between dread & the feeling of utter numbness.
I’d fake my way through the days, keeping everything light & surface at work… then I’d come home, and static would settle between my ears. I’d sit in my chair, & stare at a wall for hours on end, until finally realizing the sun had set & it was time to sleep. I’d then lie awake for hours, not able to get my brain to shut off that static noise, problems whirling around inside like a tornado, eluding my grasp & stymying any problem-solving abilities I thought I had.
I came very close during those 2 years to just cashing in what few chips I had. 3 times, I almost took that last, long step.
But something always pulled me away from the edge.
My children. My grandchildren. My Beloved Nephew. They held me to this life long enough to claw my way out of the hole I’d sunk into.
And don’t bother asking what held my head under water, because I don’t know.
Depression doesn’t work like that, at least for me.
It seeps in under the door, around the cracks in the windows, like dark fog, slowly obscuring the light.
You don’t notice it at first.
It’s just a light haze, and you can easily brush it aside.
Until it fills the rooms inside your head with maladaptive thoughts, urging you to give up, give in.
You’re not really going to make anything out of yourself, after all, where are you now? What do you have? Who’s on your side, anyway? Everyone talks about you behind your back. You’re so weird, they can’t handle it. You’re too much. You’re not enough. You’re just….. wrong.
And, it’s always easier to believe the bad stuff. An overheard remark… a backhanded compliment/insult. Passive aggressive comments. A glance in the mirror after your anxiety/depression kicks in, and you’re done.
Yep. You’re just not worth it. No one wants you around. Not to keep. Get over yourself, & just do it.
And the strains of Hotel California start playing in your lizard brain, urging you on.
“You can check out any time you like… but you can never leave.”
You walk a tightrope, every day, between barely making those 24 hours, with your heart in your throat, and your chest on fire, your whole body clenched in knots, or slipping from the heights, plummeting to your final stop.
It’s hard to see the light right now. I can feel the fog rolling in again, after having a respite from the blank spaces for a while. I try to drag myself away from that edge, but the land tilts under me, and I slide…..
Being sad – is not the same as Depression. Being sad is for a reason, for a space of time, even if that space of time is a long one. There is a reason for it, and there are ways to work your way out of it. It’s explainable, logical, even expected, at times.
Being Depressed… *sigh* for me, most of the time, there’s absolutely no reason I can point to where the slide starts. No “thing” I can point to that is the catalyst. It just, exists.
I do the talking thing, not with a therapist, which I can’t afford, but with trusted folks in my life.
I do the medication thing, which helps to keep the BigBad from clawing my chest open, but doesn’t “fix” the problem.
Believe me, if there was a fix, I’d take it.
But, you can only keep the fog at bay, sometimes.
Walk the tightrope.
And hope… that the light starts burning off the fog when morning comes.