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Random ramblings of a fellow chocolate lover, need I say more?

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Capulet

Today's been somewhat productive.  

I probably should be getting ready to wind down and attempt to sleep but instead, my fingertips are tingling; if nothing else, it's a signal that my brain will simply not allow me to sleep until I've said my piece.

I'll start with this backstory...

Lately, my fiancee's relationship with her boss has shifted more toward a developing friendship than strictly professionalism.  This woman is J's direct supervisor, but J is also her 'right hand,' she is in a position that is 'above' the other staff members but usually is their go-to person in the event that the supervisor is not available.  Resultedly, J has been working very hard lately - taking more naps after work and is seemingly more physically drained.  There is one other staff member that is in an equivalent position (the left hand?) but he has dropped the ball SEVERAL times - and J's had to pick up a lot of his slack. The supervisor will call J at random times of the day to vent about this, and about work and all the stupid things that the staff does, etc...and she'll also talk about happenings outside of work - specifically about issues she's having at home with her husband and her child...she already communicates with J several times a day about work-related issues - it's probably a natural reaction to call her whenever something personal comes up and she needs a friend.  J is just that type of person.  You can talk to her about anything.  In that sense, she and I are very similar people - perhaps it's one of the main reasons our relationship has been able to flourish and has become stronger than ever.  I absolutely love this about my fiancee.

Two weeks ago, J's supervisor came here for dinner and drinks and it was my first time meeting her.  I do like her very much, she's very down-to-earth and an overall fun person to be around.  We had dinner and we downed Strawberry Daiquiris like there was no tomorrow.  Additionally, she will be attending a barbecue I am having this weekend - she's J's friend, though - I do not feel, nor do I expect to feel as if I'm 'within this circle.' 

She recently told J that she's experiencing a large amount of stress at home in addition to at work.  And that she'd like to go for drinks after work one night.  Then, she asked J: "Would Cap mind if you took off with me for a few days and we just stuffed our faces and drank and just forgot about everything having to do with work or life for a little while?"

J MUST have seen the raised eyebrow when she repeated the question to me.

"It's not going to happen, don't worry about it."  She said nothing more of it for the rest of the evening. 

So I pretended it had never been said.  But it DID bother me.  Yes, I DO think Cap would mind.

Here's the thing....and this was the epiphany that decided to hit me like a fuck-ton of bricks while we were having our weekly cheat dinner at Olive Garden.   The scale was a little bit bi-polar this morning and I'm starting to think it's been malfunctioning for the last three weeks....but yeah, beside the point.  

Do y'all remember the asshole I was married to?

Yeah, him.

Well, while married to his royal highness, I was NOT allowed to have friends.  

Okay...that isn't coming out the way I need for it to.  He never actually made the statement, "I forbid you to have friends."  No.  His actions spoke louder than his words, even when his words hurt.  

He casually claimed that he wouldn't mind if I had friends, but he was a firm believer of keeping my friends at a 'healthy distance.'  He made it abundantly clear to me that HE was my friend.  HE was my spouse.  HE was my lover.  HE was the one I went to whenever I had a problem.  And I tried that for a while, I called him my best friend (barf) and I repeatedly tried to convince him that he was it for me, but I don't think it worked very well.  God forbid I wanted to go to a movie with a friend - I'd first have to build up the courage to ASK him to stay with the kids while I went to unwind for a little bit.  There was ALWAYS an argument, but he'd begrudgingly let me go.  And while I was gone, he'd sit, bounce his leg, stew, chain-smoke three packs of cigarettes, go through my emails, check my browsing history, look for ANY signs of my conversing about personal matters with anyone other than him...why?  I wish I knew!  I'd NEVER stepped out on him, I was loyal and faithful to him.  I took care of his children, his house, did his laundry, his ironing, his errands, cooked his meals...and all I wanted to do was go to a movie or to have lunch or dinner with a friend without being made to feel as if I were committing a mortal sin and that the world would come crashing down if I'd actually enjoyed myself.  Eventually it became a matter of 'not being worth it' and I withdrew from everyone.

He was my person, but I think it's because he FORCED the situation and himself to be my person.  I had NO choice in the matter.  He didn't have any friends, either (I don't think I wonder why, anymore) and so when you have two friendless people under the same roof, one who doesn't particularly have anything to say unless it's mean, derogatory, vulgar or a request for sex, it's a surefire recipe for disaster.  

When he became seemingly uninterested in hearing what I had to say anymore, I began to withdraw...I know I've said this before.  This seemed to make him unusually pleased - because if I wasn't talking to HIM about the matters that still bothered me, I wasn't talking to ANYONE.  And if it wasn't being talked about, it no longer existed.  At least, in his warped brain, that was the case.

The only time this changed was when he was done with me and had already moved onto someone else.

"You should go hang out with your friends," he would say.  "Or if you want to go out with a guy, that's good, too...I'll stay with the kids and spend time with them, you just go have a good time."

Yeah....'HUH?'

There was no more 'attention' to what I did online, nor was he behind my shoulder anymore when I had IM conversations.  He just didn't give a shit anymore, because now, he had someone else.  In fact, that was probably WHY he wanted me to do the same.  To justify his own actions, like the coward he truly was.

So...tonight...J brought up her supervisor again.  It was actually because I sat in the car for 45 minutes before we even got into the restaurant.  The supervisor called J as soon as we pulled into the parking lot.  So I played a few (several) rounds of Candy Crush while they had a lengthy conversation about the problematic staff member they both hated.

J did apologize for the delay and we went into the restaurant to eat.  She rambled a little bit more about work.  

Somehow the topic of going out after work came up again.  J expressed that while she didn't feel she needed my permission or green-light to go and be with her friends (right now it's just her boss/friend) and have a good time with them, she felt badly leaving me at home (especially since I'd likely already BEEN home for the day already) and that by going out, she was disappointing me.  She also recently attended another co-worker's housewarming party (with the boss) and had a GREAT time.  She commented on how my face sort of 'dropped' when she mentioned that she'd had plans with her friends.  She asked me if I ever felt angry with her for doing so.  

I put my fork down.  I honestly didn't know how to answer that.  Because I HAD periodically felt SOMETHING.  It wasn't anger.  But it was significant and VERY hard to explain.

Have I become my ex-husband???? I am NOT the paranoid, untrusting son-of-a-bit*h that is my ex - I trust J COMPLETELY.  But has his twisted way of thinking somehow become an unreasonable truth, even in a small way?  Was I convinced that I needed to be the only person in her life?  I knew I wasn't - she has her sister, she now has her boss, who has become her friend.  She has me.  Her circle is small, yet it seems huge in comparison to mine.

To tell her that it didn't bother me at all would be a lie.  And I'm a HORRIBLE liar.  And so I spoke slowly...chose my words as I went along.  

I told her that I wasn't mad.  Because THAT was the truth.  If there was any anger, it was toward my ex.  Because he's the one who has caused me to feel this way.  It's COMPLETELY his doing.  And now his bullshit was seeping through into my current relationship - a place where such bullshit has NO business being!  I wanted her to enjoy life.  I wanted her to have friends.  I already knew that I wasn't her ONLY person - I don't feel that's the way it should be either - but it was ingrained onto me by my ex - when you're with someone, that's who you spend all your time with.  When you're married, you live ONE life, there's no room to forge additional relationships that may or may not derive from the marriage.  I know this is a hundred percent wrong.  It didn't feel right being on the receiving end of that line of bullshit - and I NEVER wanted J to feel that way - even though purely unintentionally.

I finally (slowly) told her that if anything, I was slightly envious - because she HAD nearby friends who would call and ask her to go get a drink or to hang out.  I've just gotten SO fucking used to withdrawing from social opportunities, and now people didn't know how to approach me.  Either that, or they knew not to bother trying.  

While I know I'm not her only, she's my only.  She's the ONLY one I feel comfortable drinking with, talking about the 'deep stuff' with.  And now she's got other people to enjoy those things with.  People who don't necessarily want to include me in their plans.  And almost automatically, that feels like a rejection.  Not particularly by them because really, they've got no reason to invite along someone they don't know.  

* Side note - I've been working on this, though, on opening myself up to more social situations.  I've told J of the little plans I've got to expand my circle, to somehow break down some of these massive walls that I've build around myself.  I have no secrets from her and she was seemingly excited to hear that I would soon be going back to school, I'd soon be searching for other ways to spend my (too much) free time, and to get involved in SOMETHING that would distract from the loneliness that I've by now accepted as a way of life.  Loneliness that I've learned to like, in a way that is even more difficult to explain, so I'll not try right now.

"You should," she said when I told her more about things I wanted to do in the near future, "It'll be good for you to get to know people, make some friends.  Go out, have lunch, a drink, enjoy yourself.  And it's okay to do that with someone other than me."

THAT's when it hit me.  The epiphany, along with the side of parmesan-encrusted zucchini I'd just taken a bite out of and swallowed prematurely.

And I just blurted out what I said next.  I don't think it was even thought out completely.  It just seemed to be there, waiting to be purged.  

And out it came:

"You know, that's the same thing my ex said when he was finished with me and he didn't care about me anymore.  He encouraged me to go out, make friends, have a good time with someone other than him...and now here you are, telling me to do the same thing.  It's what happened just before I lost him completely.  Right before I ended up with no one at all.  And I can't help but be afraid of that happening again."

Although a moment of blunt honesty, it also felt like a moment of weakness. After saying that, I felt tears well up in my eyes.  I was NOT going to be childish, I was NOT going to cry!  Not in the middle of a fucking restaurant!!!! NO!

I think it hit her at the same time, too.

".........ohhhh."  She nodded.  Her face was silently saying, "Got it."  Then she said she understood....and that it now made sense.  My faces, my reactions to whenever a friend calls her and invites her out, my unintentional interpretation of why SHE was now telling me that it was okay to go out with friends and let loose once in a while - everything.

I managed to swallow the lump in my throat and told her that it wasn't her fault that I was this way.  It was HIS.  And this was something I now had to add to my list of things I needed to fix....that list of all the shit that's wrong in my life, whether it was taught to me or it was something other circumstances have forced me to learn.  

She let me compose myself and while she did first assure me that she understood and that this wasn't what she was doing.  She firmly believed that we humans NEEDED more than one person in life.  We NEEDED a more expanded circle.  THAT was the healthy way.  

And I think I was surprised too...mainly it's the realization of this - I've been divorced for nine years, already.  I've had nine years to 'unlearn' his bullshit teachings.  Yet, my brain is still fucking wrecked by him.  I STILL feel like it's not okay to become emotionally close to other people, even though it really IS.  I still feel like I'm doing something wrong whenever I have a conversation that resembles anything close to enjoyable.  I still see his fat, fucking face in the back of my head, I still hear him telling me that to emotionally invest in other relationships was the equivalent of cheating.  Even something as innocent as a heart-to-heart and a movie was something that would send us to divorce court.  And now it's becoming an evident problem within my current relationship to the point where she feels like she's upsetting ME by wanting 'more.'  

And I do NOT like this about myself, AT all.  Yet, I can't easily snap out of this funk I seem to automatically enter whenever my significant other wants to go out with friends.

For a long time, I was fine with J's and my 'arrangement.'  In our old hometown, she knew the same people I knew.  And so whenever I was invited somewhere, so was she.  We were truly a unit.  She'd go to work and when she got home, we'd go to dinner, we'd go bowling, whatever.  We were and still very much are joined at the hip and VERY rarely separated.  It's also worth a mention - she was working in a different job then, and her co-workers were not as much 'friend material' as her current ones.  

But now, things are changing.  We've moved to an entirely different place.  We BOTH don't really know anyone other than the local bowling crew - the only exception being J's co-workers...she knows and is friends with some of them now.  I do have some acquaintances, maybe even one or two who have the potential of being true friends to us both, given the opportunity.  But when we moved, I've left behind everything and everyone I ever considered to be a friend...I'm feeling as if I'm back at square one and that feeling of being withdrawn is sometimes amplified.

J is evolving.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, either - she is not the same person she was when we met.  We met here, in fact, if you're just tuning into my blogs and didn't know that - well - now you do.  I'm trying not to panic, as the appearance of a friend in my fiancee's life does not necessarily signal the end of our relationship.  I suppose it just means she's reached the point where she is comfortable being in social settings, while I'm still trying to find my footing.  I just hope that I am able to find it soon - before the misteachings of my ex turn me into the person I don't want to be.   

This is just an overly annoying, yet significant ingrained fear that I have to learn how to effectively quell. 

Okay - I think that's about all I've got on the brain tonight.  

More next time.  Until then, I'm hoping you're all doing well.  

Peace, love, & light,
- Capulet

 

Capulet

*** This was also posted in the Aftermath section.  It was a little bit longer than the standard length of most posts there but the message I hope to convey is a powerful one and I feel that it is more than just a post.  I've copied/pasted it here because while it was meant to be a post, it's also another one of my famous 'cleanses' and certainly belongs here, too.  ***

 

This is likely going to turn out to be a long post. I apologize in advance.  There's just an enormous amount of brain-clutter these days and the OCD person I am is trying to sort through some of it, organize it.  Writing is simply my way of doing so.  I also am still trying to debate whether this should be a blog entry as opposed to board pollution, but it may very well end up being both...the message is powerful regardless of where it's placed.

I made the stupidest decision when I was 20 years old. A decision even more stupid, it sometimes seems, than those I made during my own personal mission to self-destruct.

I will set a small timeline in order to better convey where I'm going with this.  And in doing so, I dare not touch my suspicions of there being CSA in my childhood.  I have tried to remember the details of that, but to no avail.  I'm SURE it played a part, even a minuscule one, in my 'blueprint,' but without facts, I can't say for sure what stems from this and what doesn't.  And so, I'm leaving that alone.  Until the memories that have been repressed decide to resurface, this is not something that it's currently within my power to sift through, and so it's probably best to pull it out of the equation.

So I will declare the rape I experienced at 17 years old to be the catalyst for the behavior that would soon follow.

Shortly after the assault, I broke up with the first boyfriend I'd ever had.  A GOOD guy.  Very sweet, very kind.  He hailed from a strictly devout Catholic family.  We'd done nothing more than kissing and some over-the-clothes stuff.  We were both virgins and we'd talked about marriage being the best time to 'give' this to each other.  We HAD talked about marriage.  We were kind of serious/kind of joking, in that teenage dream sort of way.  It gave us something to talk about when being physical wasn't an option.  But anyway - after that virginity was taken from me, I felt I had nothing left to offer him.  

Now, I know that's not the realistic way to look at it - I WAS still a virgin - I hadn't willingly given my virginity to another person.  I hadn't given my consent.  At the time, though, my brain was not allowing for me to think clearly.  All I could think of was how HE felt about it being so sacred.  I thought about how it'd be on our wedding night, should that ever become a reality...he'd probably know that he wasn't my first.  As if and he'd be disappointed, angry, maybe?  It wasn't something I wanted him to feel, nor was it something I wanted to explain as having happened to me, either.  And, oh, God, what if he didn't BELIEVE me? 

And so, I sent him a lengthy e-mail and told him that I didn't love him, I didn't want to be together anymore.  He pleaded, he cried, he begged, he told me he loved me and wasn't giving up that easily.  But I was unrelenting.  Mean at times.  I cut him out.  Completely.  Eventually, he stopped emailing, writing letters, sending little presents.  He was truly gone...along with the rest of whatever was good in my life - discarded.  And for a long time, I blamed only myself while I grieved what could have been.  I did love him.  I did love the thought of him being the first person I had sex with.  But that was gone now.

Time went on...I'd say a few months crawled by.  I signed up with AOL and began to frequent chat rooms, not looking for anything other than just to connect with someone.  I couldn't do it in person; I was too awkward around other people.  I wanted to be around SOMEONE, someone neutral, someone who didn't know me, someone who didn't know the girl I was before this monster....ruined me.  So, while those who DID know me questioned these personality changes, (that I, almost too flawlessly dismissed as being 'busy' and dealing with 'college stress') I was looking for companionship with people who weren't so perceptive to these new differences.

Really, though..there was an incredible void within, and I didn't know how to fill it.  I was indeed isolating myself from people who cared about me - I withdrew socially, I stopped talking to life-long friends and eventually, they, too, followed suit.  I'm not sure if that's a failure on my part or theirs - aren't friends supposed to pick up on these things???? - either way, it was just how the cookie crumbled.  I fell apart, academically and JUST managed to pass my classes. Not sure if it was a pity-pass by the professors who probably noticed there was something wrong.   :shrug:

Eventually, I did what I thought was the safest, most anonymous way of connecting-but-not-connecting and socialized online more than I did in reality.  These people didn't know me.  Although I WILL say that I wasn't dishonest about who I was.  I was truthful about the important details - age, where I was from, etc.  I just wasn't me anymore.  These were strangers and I found it was easier to talk to people when there were no emotions attached. I was no longer the cautious, innocent, happy young lady I vaguely remember being.  I was now '18/f in _____' and no one really wanted or cared about all the background information.  It's just the hookup they wanted, sadly, and after a while, I began to (stupidly)  arrange for some of these meetings.

My "first" was a guy who lived a couple towns over.  He was a year older than me.  Didn't go to my college, which was a good thing, in hindsight.  But we'd talked online first for a little while and then met in person.  He, too, was hearing impaired, so there was a little MORE of a connection than I'd learn I was comfortable with at the time.  I WAS attracted to him; he was very handsome.  And he quickly became the first person I consented to.  There was a brief, sloppy, clumsy encounter on the floor in his room, all of our clothing hadn't even been removed.  As quickly as it started, it was over.  And while this meant that I TRULY wasn't a virgin anymore, I can't help but feel like that didn't count, either - during this encounter, I felt absolutely nothing.  No pain, no pleasure.  Just...nothing.  

He WAS a looker, but I didn't love him, I felt dirty and ashamed afterwards, I'm sure a side-effect of being touched for the first time since...that guy.  I ignored that feeling, though.  If anything, I felt it was a replacement of sorts.  A subpar experience to refer back to instead of the bad one that still plagued my dreams at night.  He DID contact me a few days after I'd slept with him and said that he felt needed to be honest - he still had feelings for an old girlfriend and he was going to attempt to re-connect with her.  He just would rather we remained friends.

I graciously accepted that.  

I think, for me, I was only looking to feel something...I wasn't sure what.  I was still having my bad days.  Nightmares, flashbacks, things were triggering me left and right, I'd begun to self-injure.  I continued to isolate from people I already knew.  I stopped caring about the importance of the things that truly mattered.  I was now fully emerged into a downward spiral.  

So when approached (electronically) by men (and women) wanting to meet for drinks or for dinner (which I knew meant sex and more sex) I usually obliged.  I'd go, not expecting sex...maybe perhaps I'd be pleasantly surprised and someone actually wanted something of substance.  It almost ALWAYS headed in the 'meaningless sex' direction, though.  There was one-night-stand after one-night-stand.  I began to sleep around, not because it was something I enjoyed, but because, little by little, it began to chip away at my self-worth and in order to feel something - ANYTHING, that's what I needed.  

Physically, these experiences were unsatisfying, sometimes painful.  Sometimes they'd be courteous to ask if I was okay with having sex.  Having once said no and not been listened to, I wasn't taking that chance again.  And so I would say nothing in place of the 'no' that I SHOULD have been able to say and instead became a silent participant, even if it was just by way of pleasing THEM in ways they wanted to be pleased.  That 'I'll do whatever you want, just don't hurt me' mentality was a constant - and rather than allow myself to be harmed, the submissive side of me would emerge and I'd find myself doing whatever necessary just to get through it.

Eventually, there were more risky hookups...hookups that I am TRULY fortunate did not end badly for me.  I allowed for a lot of things to be done TO me - without caring, without feeling, without fear.  Numbness completely took over.  I allowed for some pretty messed up things, things that PROBABLY could be described as borderline assault, but simply because I allowed these things, they were not.  I want to say this is when I was at my lowest point.  Secretly, I wondered if this would be the end - would one of them kill me when they were finished?  Was I just not cut out for this cruel, unfair world and death was about to become a consequence?  Would one of these guys do me a favor and just end it all for me?  Was this what I was actually doing?  Trying to kill myself?

Obviously, that was not the case as today, I'm still alive.  

Okay, so here's what this post is REALLY about.  

I have a question for you all - a question that lately I've had to ask myself.  Mostly because in some respect, I spend a lot of time trying to justify marrying an asshole.  The temporary insanity argument just doesn't cut it as well as it used to - there's so much more behind it all.  

So, I met the wasband in the middle of all of this, shortly before turning 20.  He was introduced to me by a mutual friend, though so from the start, it was different from previous 'hookups.'  AND - he was a cop.  I suspect that friend we shared knew that I needed some positivity in my life and while she didn't intend for us to become anything more than friends, she had hoped that he could help me straighten out my life and sort of re-route the direction I was headed in.  She did tell me about him, too, before asking if it was okay to pass along my screen name.  He was recently separated, he had two small children and he was a 'good' guy - and bonus!  He was local.

I met him online first.  We chatted a few times before agreeing to meet for dinner.  So at this point, my brain's like, here we go - here's the next one, this'll end just like all the rest of them...

But then, it didn't.

We went on several dates (dinner, movies, long walks...oh and there was TALKING!  Imagine that!?)  before he ASKED me if he could kiss me before I would go home for the night.

I'm not sure what happened to my brain then, but something clicked.  Where that 'do whatever you can to keep from getting hurt' went, I don't know.  It wasn't there then. I did want to kiss him, yes, but there was also that fear of this turning into another hookup.  For the first time, it felt significant, it felt safe.  He wasn't pushing for sex.  He was patient with me.  It felt..not 'right,' but better than anything I'd ever felt before.  So, my first thought then was to test him.  And myself.  

I told him, "Not yet."

He respected my boundaries and didn't ask again until our next date.  I obliged this time and we shared our first kiss then.  From there, he would ASK me before proceeding any further.  We eventually (slowly) became more intimate - and were pregnant with my son four months later.  The choice to marry was next - and I was quick to accept his marriage proposal.  I didn't think about it.  I said yes.

But I have to admit to myself that it wasn't out of love.  Shit, I didn't have enough TIME to learn how to love.  It's such a complex feeling, one that requires TIME to develop.  

But, now there was a baby involved, now I'd met someone who made me feel that it was okay to leave all of the self-destructive urges behind and refocus on something far, FAR more important than ways to hurt myself.  And now, I had more to look forward to, I was bringing a perfect little human being into the world and it was time to put such thoughts to rest.  The transition from being a nothing more than a booty call or one-night-stand into someone's wife and mother, was sort of forced, but in a way, I think it's what I needed - I needed to be grounded, I needed to be forced into making this choice, even if I was the one to force myself.  Otherwise, I really don't know where I'd be now.  And so, I took what felt acceptable at the moment and went with it, regardless of the absence of the head-over-heels feeling that usually is the deciding factor in getting married...and so against my better judgement, I said yes to the dress.

I think that for a while, it felt pretty great - I was beating myself at my own game, at life.  It's because when we were just starting out, he allowed me to take control.  And looking back, this is highly unusual for him - shortly after we were married, he seemingly evolved into an entirely different person and managed to seize any relinquished control back and became the aforementioned asshole.  At first, it was usually the money and budget related, or kid-related, parenting fights.  Then he would slowly bring up (and criticize) each and every one of my past flaws - possibly due to my still having some lasting, left over, under-the-surface issues despite his 'rescue' efforts. 

I think that once I took his last name, he'd assumed that my name wouldn't be the only thing to change.  He had expectations that being married would somehow "fix" or diminish anything bad that had happened in my life.  I'd attempt to reach out and discuss things that still bothered me.  At first, he would listen.  Then slowly, he began to become increasingly 'tired' of hearing it and eventually the words, "you need to get over this," came out of his mouth.  That was my cue to stop badgering him with such matters.  I went to others with it, instead, especially those I felt could relate on some level.  When he found out that I was sharing feelings with people other than him, he became angry with me and accused me of seeking attention and that my preference to take some of these issues elsewhere was 'emotionally cheating.'  Even though I explained to him that I no longer desired to burden him with all of this, he was still paranoid and untrusting.  He needed to see ALL of my communications - emails, texts (now that they were a thing) and instant messaging.  If he, Heaven forbid, saw that I was beginning to confide in someone else, or even become close to someone (even though it was strictly on a friends-only basis) he'd get angry all over again and sometimes insult my friends to the point where I felt ashamed even talking to people that I truly liked.  To open myself up to someone else, even if it was just to spare him the repetition, he would view as a betrayal - I have absolutely NO idea how that even is the case.  

I soon began to suppress EVERYTHING.  I just stopped talking.  I stopped thinking.  I stopped dealing.  Whenever something popped up, I engaged in a mental game of whack-a-mole and would quickly banish it back from whence it came.  I knew there was stuff still lingering, but it just wasn't acceptable to discuss any of it anymore.  And I certainly wasn't going to resort to old ways - I was now married, I was a mother.  The beast had been 'tamed,' unsure if this is even the correct way to describe it.  Yet, by respecting his wishes, although unreasonable and suppressing, I suspect I did some further damage.  Instead of healing through the support that others would have been able to provide, I began to isolate again.  

Although I felt I did as he wished, I'd find out that this wasn't going to change the type of person he was turning out to be.  He continued to bully and manipulate me and everyone else around him.  He continued to put me down when I needed the opposite.  Little by little, he broke me down.  He made me feel horrible about myself.  I soon began to feel that just as I sadly didn't really love him when we agreed to marry, he likely felt the same way about me.  Why else would he treat me this way?  There just wasn't any other reasonable explanation for it.  I soon felt that this was punishment for all the crap I'd done in the past - it HAD to be.

I'd just basically gone from one prison to the next.  Getting married and having children and raising a family did NOT fix me.  It only ensured a transfer from maximum security to minimum.  I'm still so, SO affected (although not as severely) by what's happened in the past, but now I've learned better ways of coping, simply because I forced myself to.  I served 8 years in this particular mental prison, he was my 'guard' rather than a husband and he subjected me to the most confusing 8 years of my life.  I was paroled and set free only by divorce, which will be close to 10 years ago that it was finalized.    

During the time I've been 'out,' I've worked hard to pick myself up.  I'm in a healthy relationship with an absolutely amazing woman.  When I met her, I was a complete MESS.  

I didn't know how to communicate very well offline, with another human being.  I'd gotten SO used to keeping to myself.  To allowing others to see only what I wanted them to see.  Once we met in person, we had an interesting time trying to get to know each other on every level.  And that's where I found the love that I didn't know I was capable of feeling.  My only regret was having not met her sooner, but I'm not sure if that's how life would have played out if I had.

I have had to re-educate myself on how to properly sort out my feelings, my thoughts.  Regardless of being in a MUCH better place now, I'm finding it to be a lifelong process....and the whack-a-mole games have restarted - only I'm now struggling with moles I've never seen before...the moles, when they used to be purely black and white are now teal, pink, purple, red, blue, polka-dotted, striped, etc.  One pops up and I'll take a swing, only to find that another has popped up in a different location before I've had time to deal with the first one. And that's when it starts to get overwhelming.  

Guys...there's still so much SHAME, though. 

I'm so ashamed of myself for the things I did prior to meeting the wasband.  I know that I just didn't know how to handle it and I let others handle things FOR me.  My personal growth and evolution has provided me the wisdom to understand why I (and others) did (do) these things.  I get it.  All of it.  

It doesn't help the feeling of shame I still get from time to time when I think about the blatant disrespect I treated myself with.  I was literally ready to punch in my one-way ticket to the point of no return.  But instead, I did something that I thought would potentially be less harmful and would give my life some purpose, no matter the cost.

So...

Has anyone else ever done this?

Did anyone else get married just to escape the possibility of an alternative, less favorable path?  In my case, it didn't work out but it DID deflect from a far more dangerous existence.  If so, what was the outcome for you?  

I think more people than we realize are guilty of this.  Not particularly on the same level, but still. I think this is something that I need to be told is normal (under the circumstances) and that I'm not a terrible person for making some of the poor choices I've made.  I've already forgiven myself for past indiscretions and accept my reasons for doing so but in the process, I've felt so ALONE with it all.  I've felt judged, even though very few people even KNEW this about me.  I was and still am my worst critic.

This turned out to be MUCH longer than intended - will also post it in my blog as it's a cross between a post and a cleanse.  Regardless, it's one that I'd TRULY appreciate some feedback on, so please don't be shy.  Hit the comments below.

Wishing you all an endless supply of hugs, if those are your thing.  If not, then I wish you strength, healing and light.

:throb:
- Capulet

Capulet

I've been quiet for the past week.  I'm sorry, guys.  

After my last entry, I've had a lot to think about.  That incredibly annoying voice in my head is back, and even though I'm deaf, I can still hear it.  There's a hamster, that although is cute in a little hairy rodent sort of way, is CONSTANTLY running in his little wheel situated in the middle of my brain...every time the wheel turns, a new question, thought, memory, WHATEVER, is thrown into the fray and is resulting in less of that thing that normal people refer to as 'sleep' and more of those not-so-wonderful headaches.  I did just buy a BIG ASS jar of Advil for those, though.   

It's just been a week of realizations...I suppose these can be both good and bad.  Good because it's a sense of understanding that perhaps wasn't so clear before - and bad because well, really - who wants these new truths to exist?

Guys, I promise this is NOT a blog entry having to do with weight-loss.  It is, but it isn't.  I won't be discussing numbers or food; I did give my word that I wouldn't be blogging about diet as it's a sensitive subject to some and I don't wish to unintentionally promote poor body image.  But there IS something new that I'm realizing in regards to myself - and it sort of applies, it 'fits' and I'm pretty sure that it's one of those things that pop up when something else does - whether intentional or not.  Very much like when A pops up, then it makes you think about B, C, and D.  There's a lot of that happening with me lately.  And I feel that I need to cleanse myself a little by admitting something to you all that I've been struggling to share - I'll explain further why at the end of this post, but here goes.

But, first, a couple of 'background stories.'

This one is from back when I was a child, aged 11.  I remember it very clearly, though it was a lifetime and a half ago.  Setting the scene a little.  It was my cousin's birthday.  My father's sister's son was turning 8.  And my aunt, a single mother, was having a family gathering for his birthday at her house.  She boiled up a pot of hot dogs and served them to all the kids - mostly, it was just the rest of my cousins and maybe one or two of the birthday boy's friends from school.  

Anyway - I ate my hot dog rather quickly, having been hungry. 

I brought my plate over to the stove and asked my aunt for another.   There were plenty in the pot.  Some of the other kids were already chomping on seconds.

"You don't need another one," she said to me, "That's why you're so fat."

I didn't argue with her.  I remember there being a slight pause as my stomach somersaulted.  Instead of responding with, "I'm hungry," I simply put my paper plate in the trash and went to sit next to my grandmother on the couch.  

When they had cake, a piece was offered to me and I declined.  I remember looking at myself in the mirror later that night and deciding that my aunt was right - I was fat.  11 years old and fat.  And I didn't know it then, nor understand it - but that is absolutely NOT what an adult tells a child.  When a child is hungry, you feed them.  No questions asked.  You simply don't make a kid feel as if there's something wrong with them for being hungry.  That is completely and totally un-fucking-acceptable.  And I often picture myself standing next to that 11-year-old version of myself asking for another frankfurter, so that when told I was fat, I could THEN respond to my aunt in a manner that would have impacted her as much as her statement to me at 11 years old had.  

Of course, I know this is not in any way realistic.  It does please me, (although only slightly because of that 'nice person' I am) that my aunt is a miserable old lady now, with very few friends who can tolerate her endless criticism.  She's lonely, she's realizing that she's not as liked as she thought she was.  

Now, let's fast-forward a few years.  Now I am married to the wasband and I am raising three children.  We have our son, who was a toddler, and then we have his two older children that I'd raised since they were ages four and two. By now, I'd already been through my fair share of weight fluctuations.  The short version - I was 'pudgy' throughout high school.  Not fat.  Pudgy.  Then in college, my SA occurred about a month into Freshman classes - after that, I dropped a bunch of weight due to loss of appetite and actually looked good for a while.  

Then I married the wasband, became "comfortable" with eating and gained a bunch of weight after the Son was born.  Motherhood took an enormous toll on me - I was still young...21, 22, 23 years old and raising three kids.  I honestly don't know how I did it, a lot of it was on autopilot mode - or perhaps it was because I felt I had so much to prove to the wasband...and to everyone else who was telling me (even if non-verbally) that I couldn't do it.  I'm not going to lie...it WAS stressful.  I was home during the day with the Son, who cried and cried and CRIED, I couldn't even clean the apartment without putting him in the Snuggli so that I could hold him while I did laundry, dishes, floors, whatever.  Then, the older kids would need to be dropped off/picked up from school, and that was me, too.  Whenever one of them got sick, it was also me to take them to doctors, pharmacies, all with a colicky infant in tow.  Now, we'll top all of that off with the 'in the background' stuff - my r*pe having occurred as recently as 5-7 years prior to that - it wasn't as 'fresh,' but it still indeed bothered me - I still had nightmares, I still cried on the bathroom floor during the few opportune moments I was alone, simply because my husband was a VERY firm believer in 'what is in the past, belongs in the past....and in the past it should stay.'  These were the 'suppressing' years; he'd ask how i was doing, I'd say, I was fine.  And for a while, I believed it.  At the same time, I ate because I was stressed out, I sought comfort within food.  And that resulted in me being at my heaviest.

The wasband was not kind to me.  He would tell me I was fat, I was unattractive.  He would point out other women he found attractive.  He'd ask in front of the kids, "what does your fat ass want to eat tonight?"  I'd shrug.  I felt horrible, ashamed, unimportant.  But at the same time, he wasn't wrong.  I WAS eating unhealthily, I WAS overweight.  I DID let myself go. I mean, I couldn't have it all - what I really needed was love, support and a little bit of understanding and when there was very little of that available to me, I had instead given in to bad eating habits.    

So, after he'd called me fat for the umpteenth time, I went on a diet.  I was successful and lost a bunch of weight.  Got myself back to where I was before the Son was born.  

And so, here is story number two, now that I've set THAT scene:

We were at the mall, the wasband and I - meeting up with some friends.  Another couple that we knew - while our sons were at soccer practice, we'd gone to the food court in the mall for lunch.  

He bought himself and me these enormous chicken parm rolls from the pizza place.  I'd already lost a fair amount of weight and could only eat a couple of bites of mine before feeling full.  And the wasband, in front of these people that we barely even knew, pointed out that I'd hardly touched my lunch and commented that I was starving myself.  I honestly wasn't; I just wasn't hungry at the time.  Even if I WAS being mindful about how much I'd eat, it was still NOT the time nor place for him to make such a comment...and certainly not something you do in front of other people.  He then told me that he wanted me to eat every single bite of this way-too-big chicken parm roll, it'd be good to get some meat on me - I was both confused and mortified.  I mean - you're going to tell me how fat I am and then when I lose the weight, I'm starving myself?  Just what the hell do you even want from me?  I did want to ask him this at the time, but I didn't.  At the time, I just forced a smile at these people and fumbling for an excuse, said that the food didn't taste right.  I had it wrapped and fed it to the kids later on that evening.  He wasn't happy with me, but I don't think I cared enough at the time to discuss it.  I just felt even more like a failure.  Nothing I ever did was right or pleased him.  It would only be a few more years we'd be married at this point - but this was shortly before I became pregnant with my daughter.

So now I have shared a story from when I wanted food and a story for when I didn't.  Both times, I was made to feel ashamed for what I wanted.  Hopefully, I have successfully painted a little bit of a clearer picture of why I am so conflicted with diets or even the topic of weight.  Why, in addition to everything else that's wrong in my life, I can add 'eating disordered' to my list of problems.  

See, I always knew this about myself.  I always blamed genetics because it was easier to do so - my mother's side is big-boned, my father's side is not.  I could be either way - I do think that while my mother CONSTANTLY struggles with weight, I tend to have better luck than she with diets in general - possibly thanks to Dad's genes.  

This, though, I don't have a name for.  I'm definitely not bulimic; I do not force myself to purge what I've eaten.  I do not think I am anorexic - I DO eat, although I do limit food intake at times because I'm fearful of becoming the 'fat' person again or the 'unattractive' one, which is indeed a characteristic of the disorder.  I've never dropped enough weight where hospitalization was necessary.

I just don't want to be seen this way anymore - I was seen as fat when I was a child and chastised for wanting more food.  By a family member.  Then I was seen as fat/unattractive by the man I married - when the one you marry is supposed to love every single thing about you - even the extra pounds, should there be any.  See, when something is ingrained in you from an early age, you sometimes don't realize it's not the proper way of looking at it until MUCH later, when the damage is already done and the scars are deeper than you thought they were.  Is there even a correct name for this issue of mine?  Or is 'eating disordered' it, even though it's a pretty broad description?

Anyway - I couldn't help LOSING MY SHIT when last week, I got on the scale and three pounds of bloat showed up in big, bright, red, digital numbers.  I'd GAINED three pounds.  WHY?  What the hell had I DONE to gain three pounds in seven days?!  I certainly hadn't overdone it - not three pounds' worth, anyway.  I'm currently on a mission to return to a healthy weight - and TRUST me on this - there is still a ways to go before I'm there.  I've made progress.  I DO feel better.  I'm in a committed, healthy relationship with a supportive woman who loves me no matter what the numbers on the scale say.  She certainly has NEVER made me feel badly for my weight although I HAVE fluctuated a couple times in the nearly ten years we're together.  She's celebrated my accomplishments with me as I'm on my way back down to a healthy weight, after discovering earlier this year that  I was at my all-time high.  I'd gotten comfortable AGAIN, I'd let myself go, AGAIN.  And it was because no one was telling me what was wrong with me anymore - I was genuinely happy.  When someone is happy, it's very easy to carelessly slip back into old habits simply because no one is putting you down for that extra helping of food you helped yourself to.  And it all adds up and has a way of catching up to you.

And so, this is a little different.  I realized for the first time, that being at this weight was unacceptable to ME - before it was unacceptable to anyone else.  And the decision to fix it was made solely by me, completely unaided by anyone else.  

Yet, when that three pounds showed up, ALL I could hear in my head was how fat I was, how I'd ALWAYS be what others already saw me as.  All I could feel was failure.  And a soreness in my big toe after kicking the scale across the bathroom floor.  I swore up and down, left and right, I was ready to break down and CRY.  The only reason I didn't is because I had plans to take the Son to an appointment.  I no longer wanted to go to this appointment - I wanted to literally run until that three pounds was GONE, even if I had to sweat it out.  All these unreasonable ways of removing that ridiculous THREE POUNDS were running through my head - I found myself thinking that I needed to skip a meal or two, I needed to do BETTER than this.  I saw the ex's disgusted face, I heard him belittle me over and over.  And for a fraction of a minute, I believed it.  I'd failed.  I'd screwed up.  

And then - two days later, I'd discover that it's my time of the month; the bloat was simply my body's way of prepping for my impending menses.  And so, that episode in the bathroom?  Completely uncalled for.  How stupid do you want to guess I felt, then?  PRETTY silly, I'll say - I have already apologized to the scale and to myself - but I will not apologize for WHY I am this way.  It's not my apology to make, but it IS my responsibility to recognize the reasons for my flawed thinking.

So what am I realizing other than I'm eating disordered through no fault of my own?  (If there's no name for this, then it's perhaps acceptable to leave it at this...)

I'm realizing that as I heal, as I progress further and further into an understanding of the complex mess that is myself, I am able to better delegate blame for these things, and place it where it belongs. The weight issues - definitely started by my aunt, whose intention was probably not to cause permanent damage, but instead to exercise tough love.  Definitely not the best way to go about that, though.  And then, it was further exacerbated by the domestic violence by the wasband, who seemingly makes a career out of being hurtful toward people whom he's supposed to be kindest to...his emotional, verbal and mental abuse certainly played a role.

It does help, though, to sit here and attempt to make sense of my thoughts by writing them out - it's the same thing I would be doing in therapy, honestly.  And I've covered all my W's.  Who?  What?  Where/when?  And of course, the most important of them all: WHY?  

I guess while I've given it all my best guess as far as the 'why' goes.  My whys.  I don't think I'm capable of understanding THEIR whys.  

I suppose that's a good thing, though.  I don't wish to understand why people do horrible things to others and make them feel as if they're anything less than valuable.  It isn't something I'd ever do to another.  I think the problem is this - because of THEM, I still do it to myself.

I guess I just want to feel that I'm doing this the right way, that my feelings are normal.  I don't expect all of them to be - surely many are understandably influenced by repeatedly being abused - but I also feel that it's important to divulge that this weight loss journey is by no means without struggle.  I HAVE had success, do not get me wrong.  I just feel that some of it is because I'm too hard on myself, and some of my methods are a result of being fanatical rather than relaxed. I simply don't know how else to be.  I don't know how else to shrug off a couple pounds' gain as being no big deal rather than break down and become obsessed with taking it back off immediately.  I'm feeling the need to own these things, for to admit is to recognize the problem.

Thanks for listening, if you've made it this far.  And of course, for allowing me to (try to) make sense of why I am this way, even if it's just to myself for now.  I will try and come back in a few days with another entry...perhaps something a little lighter next time.

I welcome any and all comments, but please - do not post them here.  I feel that PMs are likely the best place to send feedback on this matter.

Good night, all.

- Capulet 

 

Capulet

I’m sitting here, amazed.  Just amazed.  Or completely flabbergasted.  Or a mix of both.  That expression, ‘one step forward, two steps backwards’ makes SO much sense today.  And there’s absolutely no particular reason for it.  It’s not something someone said, it’s not because of something I read.  It just hit me and brought with it the elusive sense of clarity that had been hiding for a long time.

You see, I thought I knew everything about myself.  With the exception of the fuzzy, not-yet-accessible repressed childhood memories, I thought I knew everything else that happened to me, everything I did and that was done to me, every single STUPID-ass decision I made (and now I also understand the reasons behind these) and everything that I’ve spent every day simply trying to move past and to survive.  Because right now, life is good.  Aside from all of the shit that’s ‘in the background,' life is truly going as well is it’s ever gone.  I know I’ll never be able to get back all the time where it DIDN’T go so well, so all along, I’ve been trying to make up for it, instead. 

See, I just thought I'd had it all figured out - why I am the woman I am today.  Also, what I need to do to improve…to be the woman I want to become.  

I’m not by any means trying to say that I’m a bad person as is…if you’d take the time to get to know me, you know this isn’t the case - but deep down, I know I can be even better if only I’d allow it.  I know I can be healthier.  I can smile wider and mean it, and I can laugh more, I can be more loving, compassionate and considerate to those around me, to include family members that I’m struggling to even like at times.  I can certainly travel that extra mile, make that extra effort to be better.  While this is all true for just about everyone on the planet, for me, it’s the result of a defense mechanism triggered by shit I’ve been holding onto for most of my adult life.  I find that instead of dropping everything and rushing to another’s rescue, I hold back.  Mostly, this is the case with the aforementioned family members but lately I’ve been finding that I do it with friends, too…old and new friends, alike.  

And I don’t want to, anymore.  I have been trying to reach out, under the impression that this is how it’s supposed to be…if I don’t reach out, how am I supposed to be your friend?  How are you supposed to be mine?  I mean, I can be anyone’s best friend - I’m there for someone whenever they need or want.  They call and I’m there.  But when I need or desire some company, support, a bag of popcorn, whatever - I don’t ask for it.  Instead, I wait.  I suppress, I stew.  I focus as much of my healing energies elsewhere.  For a while, though, that worked wonders.  I found that in supporting others, I was slowly, but surely healing my own self, too.  I firmly believe there’s no right or wrong way to deal with what’s built up on the inside - someone just does what they’re comfortable with and what feels right.  And for someone like me, who isn’t in a position to seek out therapy (GOOD therapy) then if this method works, then what’s wrong with that?

I mean, I’d love to say that I’ve been able to fully lay out all my cards on the table and list everything, all the little secrets that still bring me shame...although I KNOW I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of…these were things done TO me, things that I know were not my fault at all.  I’m just trying not to feel like the phony I KNOW I’m not...because I'm so understanding and extremely perceptive when it comes to other people, what they are feeling.  I can answer their questions, but when it comes to my own, I draw blanks.  You see, it seems that no matter WHERE I turn, there’s new questions, new realizations and my mental list gets longer rather than shorter.  I’m finding myself understanding things I never would have thought of before and it’s nothing short of unsettling.  Things that I never admitted, even to myself, things that deep down, I was more than aware of for YEARS and buried rather than dealt with.

I didn’t even know what gaslighting was until I was educated by an earlier post.  I swear, for a moment, I thought this woman had dated my ex.  God, it’s TRULY unnerving to say ‘me too’ to something you really never thought was a problem, isn’t it?  Especially when it’s something you originally knew wasn’t quite right but didn’t really have a name nor could I properly categorize what was happening as being a form of domestic violence.  A silent, more difficult to recognize version of domestic violence in the form of mental, verbal and emotional abuse.  I always thought that domestic violence consisted of screaming, door-slamming, one spouse beating the other, one spouse controlling the other, perhaps there was unwanted/forced sexual intercourse.  To me, THAT was domestic violence.  It just didn’t fit with what I formerly perceived it to be.

While there were many heated arguments between him and I during the course of our marriage, (mostly one sided - he’d always be the one to belittle, bully, etc and I’d be the one to apologize for things I didn’t feel I needed to be sorry for) he never, EVER raised a fist to me.

However, the very confusing sexual advances/encounters did happen a small handful of times toward the end of our marriage, I’d thought to myself it was probably because just as I was confused and needed to get used to us not being together anymore after eight years, he, too, had to make that same adjustment.  We had agreed to separate (he asked for it) and since he was penniless and unable to relocate into his own apartment which would make him responsible for two times the amount of bills, etc...I allowed him to live at home with me and the kids - we figured the transition would be a little bit easier on our little ones if he remained consistent.  I suggested that while he could stay for as long as he needed to set up somewhere else, he should sleep on the sofa.  

He looked absolutely APPALLED with me then…

"After eight years of being together, you would kick me out of my own bed, too?”  He said, “You know I have to work in the morning, I should at least be able to get a restful night’s sleep in my own bed.  Especially since I’m the one who has to move out eventually."

He piled the guilt on, layer by layer.  He was the sole breadwinner in the family.  He paid the mortgage, all the bills, bought all the food, supplied the clothing.  All I did was maintain the house (not very well, either), cook the meals, and tend to the kids…and here I was, kicking him, the hard worker and sole supporter of our family, out of his bed.  

I remember that day so clearly.  I was making a PB&J sandwich for my then two-year-old.  He was standing behind me, having just gotten home from work and we were having our “daily” discussion.  We had so many of those.  As part of our separation, he’d asked if we could talk a little bit every day - especially since he was now ready to start seeing someone else (I do think he knew her long before this - he’ll never admit to that, though) and he was ‘concerned’ with my frame of mind and how I’d be able to cope with his being the first one to move on.  He’d say he wasn’t officially leaving until he was sure I’d be okay on my own.  Trying to be a nice guy throughout the whole divorce process so that looking back, he would be able to say he was decent throughout all of the proceedings.

And so I shrugged when I finished making the sandwich.  “Fine.  You can sleep in the bed, but we’re not having sex anymore.  We can’t.”

“Why not?”  He asked.  I could have told him that he was glowing in the dark, he appeared THAT surprised.  All I could do was look at him with the best ‘are you serious right now?’ look I could manage.  But no words came out.  I just didn’t have any.  I mean - what?  You don’t want to be married to me, but you still want to have sex with me?  You want your cake and you want to eat it, too?

A few weeks passed.  He one day came home from a night out with the woman he was now seeing regularly.  I was already in bed when he slipped under the covers and began to have sex with me.  And then, when he was finished, he said, “I can still see us doing this ten years down the road, even if we’re with other people.”  Stupidly, I nodded.  I don’t know why.  No, I didn’t agree with it…I am not someone who cheats, therefore I would NOT be engaging in sexual intercourse with him if there was someone else in my life.  And maybe in a way, this was his way of admitting to me that he’d cheated before and was capable of cheating again.  I didn’t have someone at that time.  He did.  He had HER, this woman he was spending most of his free time with now.  What did he need me, for??  So now, he was cheating on his mistress with his wife.  How ‘bout that?  How much sense does this even make??

Luckily, this only happened only a few times.  In different ways, he would solicit sex and if I resisted, he would make me feel as if I was the one behaving irrationally.  (“You’re all of a sudden not comfortable with me anymore?  After all this time?”)  And so, believing I was already dead inside, I’d give in and participate, even if it meant laying still and ‘checking out’ while he did what he wanted.  Eventually, I suppose he tired of the ‘stick in the mud’ personality I’d adopted for the time being and it stopped completely, but from time to time, he’d remind me of our little ‘secret,’ and that he trusted me not to tell anyone.  And like an idiot, I didn’t.  Like a CHILD, I didn’t.  I held onto it.  All of it.

By now, he was ready to move out.  His ‘mistress’ was letting him spend the nights at her place - so there simply was no need for me, anymore.  And so from there, he moved out and the divorce was finalized.  

Now, his mistress is his wife.  And now, ten years later, SHE'S miserable.  The person he is, has not changed.  He still thinks of himself to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.  He provides for all of his children (he has five total - three others in addition to the two we have together) and he is an active, present father.  He’s just an absolute shitty husband, and while I understand his wife’s current situation all too well, I don’t pity her at all.  I feel horrible, but I’m partially glad it’s not me, anymore.  Another part of me feels that maybe she's not having as much of an issue with him...she's still married to him, after all.  And, maybe it was just me he treated the way he did, because he knew I was too weak to defend myself.  But, maybe I'm completely off and the reason she's still with him is because she's not ready to break away yet.  History repeats itself, sadly.  

And although I am no longer with him or live with him, the effects are lasting and I imagine these scars will be with me for the rest of my life.  Because of him, I’ll never feel as if I’m anything less than an ugly, fat cow.  Because of him, I’m afraid to speak my mind sometimes, I’m afraid to disappoint someone if my opinion differs from theirs, even though they’re not like him and would probably be okay with a differing perspective.  Because of him, I remain silent when I should be using my voice.  I was weak when I met him.  And instead of making me stronger through the love a husband is supposed to have for a wife, instead of helping me to build myself up into the woman I deserved to be, he further battered me with words, with insults, with bullying.  He constantly undermined me, disrespected me, called me names, even made fun of me in front of our children.  Yes, there were occasional good times - probably more good than bad, in hindsight, but whenever there was a rough patch, it would ALWAYS overshadow the good parts to the point where I couldn’t remember them anymore.

In case you are wondering, I did tell my fiancee about all of that stuff when we got together.  But, no one else.  

This, right here, is the only place I’ve spoken of it.  This is where I’ve given it the name it deserves and where I’ve finally recognized this, along with his behavior throughout our marriage, as being so, very wrong.  This is where I break my silence and for the first time, acknowledge that I am a survivor of domestic violence.

There's probably more I can say.  Probably more I NEED to say.  But if I don't post this now, I probably never will.  

I feel both relieved and ridiculously gross at the same time.  Back later.

- Capulet

 

Capulet

*** possible trigger warning for medical procedure details, etc.  I've kept it as mild as I could but you just never know. ***

Hello friends!

Apologies for not getting this blog out sooner.   It's been a busy few days and I've not had the quiet time that my writing usually requires.

This is the follow-up to the 'Have you seen my big-girl panties?' blog entry; with a bit of added information that I don't believe I've shared yet.  

Firstly, the mammogram results showed some calcification on the right side and the doctor felt that he needed another, closer peek - and that was done via 3-D imaging.  It came back benign and I've been instructed to simply return next year for my routine yearly mammogram.  So, of course, after agonizing over having to have this done in addition to the biopsy, I was relieved to be told that there was no further cause for concern over the ta-tas at the moment. So that's one (of two) weights that have been lifted off of my chest.  (No, no pun intended...)

The biopsy was another story.  

See, I can deal with my boobs being squished for a few seconds while they take an x-ray, but this particular OTHER test - the biopsy - was causing my anxiety levels to skyrocket.  Made the mistake of letting Oompa know about this upcoming test.  Hearing my mother say, "oh, yeah, that's definitely unpleasant" was NOT helpful and I promptly changed the subject.  She didn't ask too many other questions though and went on about other things that were going on in her life that she deemed more important. 

Anyway, biopsy day came...J took half the day off work and came with me for moral support, and I was of the impression that she would be allowed in the examination room WITH me.  And at first, she was.  The nurse came in and took my vitals first.  My BP was through the ROOF, but I told her that was no surprise - this test was making me EXTREMELY nervous.  She smiled and told me that I needed to calm down.  The whole procedure would take no more than five minutes.  I wouldn't feel anything afterwards.  I'd already had children, and what was going in was far smaller than what had come out.  She showed me the specimen-collecting tool - looked like a straw, almost.  Thinner, though.  She explained the 'straw' would be inserted, and the sample would collect inside.  "Five minutes, and you're all done," she said.  I shrugged and apologized - "I'm just not good with this kind of thing..."

I know that some people choose to share whether there is sexual assault in their history, and there have been times where I entertained the idea of letting my GYN/the nurse know that I have some serious issues with examinations/touching (even though said touching is for examination purposes) and I'll also have a problem if the touching causes pain.  Paps are a necessary evil, but even with those, I'm clenching the edges of the table, they're irritating and my stomach's in knots by the time they're finished.  And just the idea of having to have this biopsy done was causing me pain BEFORE I even walked into the doctor's office.  Yet, it had to be done before he'd approve me for any medication to keep these periods under control.

So, then, the doctor walks in and promptly asks J to leave.

It happened so fast.  I don't think I even heard him say that she had to leave for the duration of the procedure.  I think that if I'd heard him ask her to go wait in the waiting room, I would have insisted upon her staying in the exam room.  But at this point, the lower half of my body was covered with a sheet and I was now in full-blown panic and really couldn't speak.  All I could think about was going home, being in my own bed, in my comfortable pajamas.  But to get there, I had to finish this stupid exam, first...  But anyway, J complies and mouths "sorry" as she's ushered out into the waiting room.  They closed the door and again, the anxiety levels begin to rise...it's go-time now and I'm beginning to consider running out of the building. I think what saved me from actually doing that was the fact that I had nothing on from the waist down.

The doctor must have been told that I was nervous because he hands me this squeeze-ball thingy.  It was one of those foam stress balls, about the same size as those high-bouncing blue rubber balls I used to bounce off my grandmother's stoop back in Brooklyn.  

"Okay, you just hold onto this..."

I held it.  He then instructed me to lie down, and assume the position most appropriate for the examination.  The nurse stood next to me and was nice enough to warn me prior to whatever would be done next.  "Okay, he's now going to clean the area with betadine,"  then "Take a deep breath and exhale..."  "You'll feel some cramping now."

I nodded after each 'warning.'  I complied when they told me to breathe (who knew, you had to breathe!) and I counted the moments until it'd be over.  I got through it...somehow.  I'm not sure if it was because I was squeezing that stress ball so tightly for the duration or if I 'checked out' for a few seconds during the painful, cramping moment - that, too, is entirely possible.  But the nurse was right - the whole thing DID take just five minutes.  

And now, it was over!

When the doctor was finished, he gave me the "okay" sign and left the room.  The nurse stayed behind only briefly while I sat up.  I guess I was shaking.  She asked me if I was all right.  I handed her the stress ball back and nodded.  I couldn't really say much.  She asked if I wanted a pad.  Another nod.  She opened a drawer and handed me one.  I had a feeling there was more she wanted to ask me but she didn't.  Again she asked if I was all right.  I could feel my eyes well up, but I refused to show weakness...I still have a problem with this, guys, a big one.  I do think, though, she was able to pick up on more than I'd intended, and rather than ask any more questions, she gave a reassuring pat on the arm and finally left me alone in the room.

I fumbled with my clothes and dressed as quickly as I could.  

In the meantime, a few tears escaped.  I wiped them away as quickly as they'd fallen; I'm not even sure why I was reacting this way.  I questioned myself, mostly...and where I stand when it comes to my own healing journey.  I thought I was over this, to be honest.  Yes I was raped - but this happened nearly 22 years ago.  A lifetime ago.  Since then, I've been married and divorced.  I've had two children.  I've had at least 15 paps done, one for each year between now and then, perhaps one every two since I very possibly missed a year here and there.  I've had plenty of other medical procedures done, including a five day hospital stay (with meningitis) and two cochlear implant surgeries.  My body's been through plenty.  This simple little 5-minute procedure SHOULD have been a walk in the park in comparison to brain surgery (implants) or having a PICC line put in following the meningitis episode.  And I honestly don't remember THOSE procedures (perhaps I was too sick or anesthetized to really remember) causing me this much stress before and after.    

I just don't know if this means that I'm not as far along as I thought I was?  Or does this happen often, with others?  You're okay for a while and then one thing, even something as simple as a medical procedure, causes you to revisit a state of panic that you hadn't felt in a while?  Are you momentarily flooded with an overwhelming rush of emotions during that five minute, ten minute, however long it is, procedure - and then, when it's all over with, you're back to normal?  (or at least whatever you perceive 'normal' to be?)

Either way, I managed to compose myself and we left - the doctor let us know that he'd call within a few days with the results. This was Wednesday last week - Thursday through Sunday morning, I had mini-vacation plans with J, my mother and the Daughter.  This is also a reason to stress, apparently, as my mother NEEDS to be administered in SMALL doses and the daughter's tolerance of her grandmother is wearing thin.  VERY thin.  Admittedly, it WAS a little easier to be able to go on this trip knowing that the underlying stress over these appointments was no longer and they were over with - now I was just waiting for results.  

He finally called on Friday - and gave me the green-light to start taking the depo shots.  "A touch of endometriosis," he said.  But no cancer cells, everything else was fine.  The depo shot would regulate and relieve some of the endometriosis symptoms.

See, I could have told him that, myself. But these medical professionals have to see for themselves, don't they? :blink:

But anyway, there you have it - that's the update on that...I do not have cancer, but apparently, (surprise, surprise!) I have underlying issues.  

What ELSE is new?

- Capulet

Capulet

Years ago, I used to spend a lot of time interpreting dreams.  Mostly my own, but whenever someone else told me theirs, I'd sit with them and we'd together make sense of why they dreamt about this person, why they'd dreamt of themselves either doing or behaving in a certain way, the list went on.  It was healing to be able to make sense of certain dreams, and so I kept a notebook and whenever I had one, I'd write down whatever I could remember so that I could further analyze them later.  I haven't kept such a notebook in a while, though - perhaps that's because I've not had many analyze-worthy dreams in recent years - most of them have been 'reruns' or the reoccurring dreams that I've already made sense of as best as I could.

Dreams are a magnificent thing - they are so, very powerful, they're derived from our innermost, deepest thoughts...and when you can remember them (as some of them disappear as soon as you open your eyes and are fully awake) they're possibly the more important ones that contain hidden meaning and messages within.

I had a very strange dream last night about my uncle.  The 'most reverend'...the...ughhh...the...abomination of a human being.  Yes, that's better and much, much more appropriate when it comes to feelings while talking about him.

This particular dream was strange, in a way, funny, even a little scary when you think about it.

I'm not sure what brought it on.  It could be anything at this point, but I think it's due to him coming up in conversations twice in the last few weeks.  Maybe a combination of that, topped off with the memories (involving him) that I have been struggling to make sense of as of recently.

The first time he was mentioned was when Oompa was visiting us last - we were on our way to the supermarket and he'd called her cell.  I was driving and so at a red light, she turned to me and said, "I need to call your uncle back, he left me a message asking for a favor.  Don't worry.  I won't tell him I'm with you."

(Yes, I did find that to be a bit strange - why now, all of a sudden, she's being all protective?  Same woman who has for YEARS been asking me why I can't stand her brother?  Now she's all, 'don't speak, I won't tell him I'm with you'??  Hmmm.  VERY interesting and I'm seeing possibly more flags than I should be, but this isn't what today's blog is about.)

And then, Oompa sent a text last night, asking me if I wanted her to buy me pizza.  I responded with, 'Huh?' knowing she likely didn't mean to send me that message - its intended recipient was likely my sister.  My mother responded with "Oops. Wrong daughter.  I'm with your uncle and cousins (not his kids) at Luigi's Pizza* (* = name has indeed been changed...I'm not sure where the REAL Luigi's Pizza is although I'm sure there are several scattered across the United States) and was going to bring your sister some pizza for dinner."  

I responded with, "Oh, that's nice."  And I had no desire for pizza for last night's dinner.  Made a nice little bowl of quinoa and brown rice with apple-flavored chicken sausage, instead.

So...now, about the dream - it was odd to say the least.  I'm not even sure where I was - perhaps it was at a family gathering of some kind because that's the only reason I could think of that would warrant his being there also.  But dreams aren't known for precision; they're erratic and unpredictable so that throws that theory out the window.  Lately though, he's not been attending any family parties - because no one wants to be delegated the task of picking his rotting ass up and bringing him home afterwards and he lives far from all the rest of us (me being the farthest) and he doesn't drive nor do well with public means of transportation, having bad, arthritic knees.  I've also made it clear that while I can't really help whether he shows up at a 'big' event such as a wedding, I'll NOT attend if it's a small holiday gathering at someone's house and he'll be there.  And for the most part, my mother and sisters have done well with not including him - but they make it clear also that their reasons for not doing so are because of the reason stated above - no one wants to chauffeur him to and from the event.  

Okay, so, in last night's dream, I was standing there - there were people around me.  I can't remember whom, now.  I'm sure my J was there, my kids were there.  It was that kind of event - it was important; I sensed that.  The only person I remember seeing, though, and clearly - is him.  

Or at least...parts of him.

Let me just say this, he is not a short man, he's of average height.  Taller than me, for sure.  I'm 5'2 with sneakers on.  He was always a large, obese man.  I last associated with him at my younger sister's wedding, a brief hello and 'gotta go,' was the gist of our brief interaction, as I went out of my way to avoid him whenever I could for the remainder of the wedding.  

There are some surefire signs of aging - his hair is thinned and grey now.  The eyes, though, have not changed - they're sky blue - and while I absolutely love blue eyes on a person, his always made me uncomfortable; they had an inexplainable way of piercing through me, threatening me.  And that feeling has not changed...when I see his face, the eyes are what makes my heart leap into my throat.  He's survived far more than he deserves to - a heart attack, a quadruple bypass, gangrene, other shitty ailments that he has no business being alive after going through - he's lost some weight but still carries around a large overall frame, filled with a whole lot of ugliness that if you ask me, should entirely cease to exist.   

So I'm just minding my own business.  And there he is...his...HEAD...was walking by.  All I see is his face, there's no doubt in my mind that it's his.  His face sickens me...and then there were feet.  You're probably thinking of this grotesque vision of a severed, bloodied head but it wasn't that way at all, it was as if that were his natural shape/form.  Head rested on top of feet where the neck and shoulders are supposed to be.   No blood, no gore - just this...defective, malformed creature that he'd become in my mind's eye.   If we can get past the sheer creepiness of this image, I'm thinking there's more that I can derive from this dream.

And he walked (scurried or waddled, perhaps, there were no legs) past me.  He looked at me and kept walking.  At one point, he probably would have stopped and tried to speak to me, but in this dream, he did not.  Nothing happened.  He said nothing.  I said nothing.  

I may be silly in thinking there's perhaps a meaning to all of this.  Maybe I'm overthinking, which is something else I am guilty of doing all the time.  

But seeing him reduced to being just inches tall...that was the nice part.  If I wanted to, I could have picked up, drop kicked and punted that walking head into the Atlantic Ocean, but for some reason, that wasn't how the dream ended - I just woke up after he passed by.  And I kind of had this stupid smile on my face, too.  I think it was confusion that kept me from laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

See, there were perhaps times where, theoretically, he WAS bigger than me and I likely felt powerless against him.  I'm without concrete memories to support these theories, but I've had to further accept that I feel a certain way toward him for a reason.  Even if that reason is not entirely clear right now, it is time to listen to my gut feeling.  And to see him take on an entirely different shape, even in a pretty far-fetched dream, his being small and without any way of defending himself, was NICE.  Unrealistic, but nice.  

I'm bigger than you, now, asshole.  And now I have power over you.  I CAN hurt you and turn your pathetic life upside down if I wanted to, but I choose not to.  I choose for Karma to take care of you and give you what you deserve, and when the time comes, she sure as hell will.  And THEN, I'll laugh.  I'll not lose any sleep over any of your misfortunes or eventually, your death.

This is basically what the dream tells me.  That, and I've got to lay off the horror movies before bedtime.  Or maybe it's the salty snacks...?  I'll go with the first assessment, though.

Hope you're all doing well.  Until next time... 

- Capulet

 

Capulet

Hi, all.

Visiting this site on a daily basis is a constant reminder of the amount of unjustified pain and suffering that sadly exists around us in today's world.  It's even harder to realize that some of the pain we see and hardships endured are so close to our own.  And let me be clear on this - this isn't to say that it's a bad site.  No, this isn't what I'm saying.  I mean to say that AS is just real, SO very real and the things I read daily are yet another reminder of just how much I understand that neither I nor anyone else SHOULD understand.  And while each day goes by and the next begins, I come back in hopes of seeing someone post some good news, something to celebrate, something GOOD and positive that is happening in their lives. 

Being here (as well as having slightly too much time on my hands) also makes me think in depth about the small, yet complicated things that continue to burden my heart - and then I find myself fantasizing about what things would be like in my version of an ideal world.

- In an ideal world,  I'd smile every day and mean it.  None of those fake smiles.  You know the ones.  The ones you put on just so no one can see you're starting to cry.  

- In an ideal world, I wouldn't look at someone and first wonder how they'll end up hurting me in the long run.  I'd be willing to take more chances at both new and old new friendships, because I'd know nothing of betrayal.  Betrayal wears many, many faces and does its job in different ways - but the end result is the same.  

- In an ideal world, I'd have allowed more people into my inner circle.  While I fortunately have my longtime partner by my side daily, there's still a need for a larger network of people to share your life, your triumphs, your joy, your disappointments, sorrows, etc.  Because, let's face it.  One person can't possibly be your everything.  In a perfect world, I'd have realized this a lot sooner and in turn, I'd be more willing to welcome within my circle anyone who wanted to be in it.  Alas, I've seen too much ugliness and it makes it VERY difficult to be without some skepticism.  In an alternate, fantasy universe, though, this hesitance wouldn't exist and I'd have plenty of room in my heart's blueprints to fit everyone and I'd spend less time purging those whom I cannot trust.

- In an ideal world, family wouldn't be your last choice of people you want to be around.  You wouldn't DREAD upcoming birthdays or holidays like I have started to lately, simply because the demands of others have gotten to the point where the holiday spirit no longer is felt; instead, these 'wonderful' times  have become obligatory, mandatory, and no longer fun, thus resulting in a severe case of the bah-humbugs.  

I should add this side note to my last 'ideal world' list item - since my move (and even before) I'm currently feeling that I need to take in my mother in small doses.  I might need bail money wired over sometime soon because I've had to walk away from her a number of times lately, during some of her recent outbursts.  At Christmas, at the kids' birthdays, at the Son's graduation party.  I'm TIRED of having to referee between her and my daughter, my fiancee, my son, the wasband...in another realm, I'd not have to do this at all and everyone would figure out their own shit!  

And as much as she wants me to care about whether my daughter spends a week at her house, I instead leave it up to the daughter.  If SHE wants to go, then fine, I'm more than happy to make it happen.  But if the daughter says doesn't want to spend four days with Grandma being paraded around her friends at the senior community pool, then that should be enough of an answer for my mother.  However it is not and I end up getting the 'woe is me' text message.  I, being the nice person I am, don't have the heart to tell her that I honest to God don't give a shit about how disappointed she is that she can't entice a 12-year-old into staying with her for more than a day, if even that long.  Because the truth is - I don't think I could, either!  Five minutes with her and I'm annoyed.  Ten minutes and I'm ready to go home.  Any more than that, I end up in autopilot mode and while I still manage to count down the minutes until she (or I) leaves, I spend the remainder of her visits enjoying her less and less.  And this causes me to hate myself for feeling this way toward the woman who birthed me, who is in MANY ways responsible for my successes.  There's more to this, but I'll not discuss this right now.

- In an ideal world, medical appointments do NOT lead to additional medical appointments.  There isn't much I can do about this one, but I sure could dream.  I have yet another appointment on Friday - the previously mentioned biopsy will take place.  And then I will likely STILL be stressing after that because now I've found out that the mammogram results showed some calcification in my right ta-ta that the doctor now wants to get a better look at.  So a 3D scan is scheduled for Tuesday.  And ALL of this started with a simple, routine, annual pap.

- In an ideal world, we would have no concept of time, no deadlines, no limits.  Everything we need or want to do for ourselves should be attainable easily without the fear of not having enough time to do all of these things.  It'd also be nice if we could make those wonderful, special moments last longer if not forever, and bask in the euphoria we feel during those times.  Wouldn't it be great to be without fear of good things being sullied or tarnished by negativity??  Furthermore, wouldn't it be ideal also for negativity to simply cease to rear its ugly head?

This perfect, ideal world simply doesn't exist, though.  As much as I want it to, I know it doesn't.  

Instead, we're left with what we perceive to be ideal as opposed to what we have in front of us.  And more often than not, what we see first are the things that we don't particularly enjoy.  

How can we change or modify things so that they look more like we want them to, instead of the blistering mess that we're used to?  What changes do we have to make within ourselves to make life a little bit more bearable?

Anyone want to share some of their ideals?  It's healing, I promise.  Just post 'em below!!!

Will also post some more in my own comments, if I can.  There are just so, SO many things I'd like to change in today's world and it appears that while listing them and discussing them, I've lost track of time and my bowling team is patiently awaiting my arrival. :) 

So, until later, my friends.

- Capulet

 

Capulet

***Please skip this if you're generally uncomfortable with talk of periods, bleeding, medical procedures involving the female reproductive system.  I'm trying to make this mild and non-triggering but you just never know.  So proceed with caution!***

Okay, guys, I'm nervous.  

Ain't gonna lie, I'm seriously trying to swallow the lump in the back of my throat, with my new doctor's name on it.  If the roles were reversed, I'd probably be the one saying, "it'll be all right, it's gonna be uncomfortable for a few minutes, but then it'll be over with...your health is more important than being nervous or scared for a little while..."  But when it comes to applying these pearls of wisdom to myself, it's an entirely different ball game.

I don't want to get into extreme detail about my female woes; some of these details are just plain disgusting, so in summary - when I have a regular period, it's not pretty.  Not that monthly menses ever is, but mine are absolutely ridiculous.  And since having my children, they seemingly became worse.  And so when my daughter was young, I consulted with a local 'vagician' (we may thank my darling daughter for this alternate, creative term for a gynecologist - it's seemingly stuck and I now refer to these doctors as 'vagicians' only) and she put me on birth control.  Obviously, my reasons for being on BC is NOT to prevent pregnancy, as for the last ten years, I've had relations with only a female and I'm not worried about conceiving.  My reasons for starting the pill was to regulate/control monthly periods.  And for the last several years (I want to say five or six years) the pill I was taking daily was working BEAUTIFULLY.  I wasn't HAVING a period.  I'd take this DELIGHTFUL little white pill every day and I spent more on the prescription than I did on Tampax.  And my GOD, it was the best, BEST thing, EVER... 

But I ran into a birth-control snafu last year.  Almost exactly a year ago, in fact, right smack in the middle of my move from New York to Pennsylvania.  In the midst of the move, I forgot to take a pill.  It might have happened twice.  This wouldn't be the first time I've forgotten to take a pill, but it was the most unforgiving, indeed.  I tried to get back on track, but since messing up once or twice, I began to experience spotting.  This wasn't the once a week kind of spotting - this was more like every single fucking DAY kind of spotting.  It increased with activity, too.  Then, when I thought it had stopped, it would start again within a day or two.  I couldn't catch a break...this went on for literally months.  And to top it off, I wasn't near my regular vagician anymore.  And my insurance was no longer the same, and we were in the process of changing everything over....and I didn't have a CLUE where to go in my new surroundings.  I kept telling myself - it'll correct itself...just give it time...

When it continued, I stopped taking the pills, thinking that maybe my body needed a 'reset.'  I had enough for the next six months, and so I threw away the "pill wheel" I was working on at the moment and planned to start again at the start of my next period two months ahead - I'd allow my body to have a normal (abnormal) cycle, then I'd start taking the BC the following month.  Hopefully I'd get things 'fixed.'

My spotting stopped.  EVERYTHING stopped.  

I got a regular period a month later and was reminded once again, WHY I became so reliant on these BC pills.  Still, knowing that I'd go back to my pill-taking regimen that I knew would eventually control it, I endured it.  I loathed every minute of it, I envisioned throwing my uterus, my cervix, my fallopian tubes, everything involved in the female reproductive system, out the window - what the hell did I need 'em for, anyway????  I'm almost 40, I'm DONE with baby making.  I don't need my eggs anymore. I could sell them.  I'd donate them if I could.  But I certainly don't need one released every month anymore, there's NO way they're going to ever be fertilized.  So I grumpily went through that time of month, every single day swearing up and down every time I went to the bathroom to remove and replace a saturated tampon.  The first couple days of a period (while not on BC) are usually crampy in general - days 2-4 are the heaviest and then it will taper off on the fourth or fifth day.  Usually.  

The following month came along.  I started the pills again on day one.  Of course, I had another ridiculous period but this was to be expected.  It lasted the usual 4-5 days.  And now because my body had to become re-acquainted with these pills, the spotting was back.  But upon looking up the side effects of this medication, I knew to expect that, especially for the first few weeks.

But then the weeks became months.  I'd been waiting patiently for my body to 'take' to the pills again, I hadn't forgotten to take any, I'd been taking them every morning.  Yet, the spotting never stopped.  And, again, with increased physical activity, came increased spotting.  Again, I felt that I couldn't catch a break.  My uterus hated me and I didn't know why.  My J had been saying for weeks already, "I think it's time to get checked out." I'd been saying, "yeah, it'll correct itself, that's what it says online!"  But deep down, I knew it probably wouldn't, it would have already if it was ever going to.

So, this prompted my visit to the vagician two Mondays ago.  J made me the appointment and although I didn't want to go, I begrudgingly went.  Although I understand that at this point, something had to give.  Prior to visiting this new doctor, I once again stopped taking the pills and discarded whatever was left in that month's supply - since I knew that stopping was likely the only way to stop the spotting.  And it did.  Leads me to believe that the pills simply aren't working for me anymore.  Or something else is going on with me that is causing these pills to be obsolete.

The doctor gave me my (two years' overdue) pap, did the breast exam...we then discussed the pills I'd been taking and he suggested the depo shot - once every three months...won't have to remember to take any pills, I will just have to remember to go in every three months for a new shot.  Which I'll gladly do if it helps manage the monthly discomfort.  

"I'd also like to send you for bloodwork."  He said, "Just to make sure your hormone levels are okay and if the shot is indeed the best option for you."

"Sure."  (Now I'm NOT good at bloodwork in general - that's another blog for another day - but in short, needles being anywhere in my inner elbow makes me panic, my BP to spike and overall, I lose my shit...I instead direct the phlebotomist to the back of my hand where my level of anxiety over bloodwork is usually lessened - and if they can, they'll oblige.)

"And I'd also like to schedule a mammogram..."  I knew this was coming.  Bring on the 40's, bring on the obligatory booby-squishies every year.  This isn't as invasive as having paps, though, on a scale of 1-10, ten being the most uncomfortable, I'd put annual mammos at number four and paps at a nine.  

"Yep."  I've got a cousin who DIED at age 41 due to breast cancer.  So this is something I KNOW I'm not going to fuck around with.  So the mammogram appointment wasn't as concerning as what he'd want next.

"Okay, and then I'd like a trans-vaginal ultrasound...to check for fibroids."

Hooooold the phone...what?? I must have looked at him funny because he further explained that in order to confirm that the depo shots were the best form of BC, he had to run some tests and make sure that my abnormal periods (when I had them) were not being caused by any other condition.  I guess that made sense.

I left the office.  Went straight to the lab, got my blood drawn from the back of my hand, as requested.  Check!!!  

Then the radiology building was across the way - dropped in over there, made appointments for the ultrasound and the mammogram for later on that week.  Check!  

I went home feeling, gee, I accomplished a lot in one day - it was a nice feeling.  For a little while.  I then spent the next few days dreading the ultrasound and wanting it over with.  The ultrasound and mammogram were scheduled as back-to-back appointments and so they too would be dealt with in one combined visit.  I agonized over the ultrasound more, naturally, mostly because of the location of this particular test, as well as it being an internal exam to boot.

Surprisingly, when the day came for the mammogram and ultrasound, I would discover that although the ultrasound is indeed a bit invasive, it was NOT as uncomfortable as the pap I'd had in the doctor's office.  The technician was a female.  She gave me a sheet to cover myself with and treated me with professionalism, respect and considering the nature of the test she was about to perform, her demeanor was overall calming.  I needed this.  I'd put the Ultrasound at a six or seven, based on this.

Went home proud of myself for having done everything asked of me at this point.  All done!!!!!  And I'd managed to deal with it all, process it all, as well as bring myself to these appointments without having to be dragged - may not seem as big an accomplishment to most, but for me, it's big.  I've been told I need to follow up with my primary care doctor because my BP was found to be 'elevated' (gee, I wonder why) and I'm also due for a regular wellness check with a new doctor - one that I do have as appointed by insurance company, but also one I've not met yet.  

Later, though.  This isn't a priority right now.  It SHOULD be, yes, but it's not.  A dentist visit is also on the horizon - and the same situation applies - I don't have one of those, either!  I'm pretty sure I'm going to get scolded for the shape my teeth are in and the fact that I've not had a cleaning in five years. :( I don't do very well with the dentist, either but I'm guessing this is common among survivors and non-survivors alone.  It's something I'll work on, eventually, I guess....but the best way for me to deal with these medical things is one at a time.  Piece by piece.  Little by little.

And apparently, the vagician is not finished with me, yet.  

He called on the same day I had my ultrasound...several hours later, in fact.  J spoke to him on the phone, there was a lot of 'okay, so when can she come in for that?' as well as other things that ultimately meant to me that we weren't as finished as I thought I was.  J hung up and then told me that he had called to say that the results didn't show any existing conditions (which is a good thing) but he still would like to determine why I have abnormal periods and rule out endometriosis as well as a couple other things that I really didn't care enough to ask for clarification on.  I'm stuck on what he said first - he now wants to do a biopsy/DNC before I get my next period as a final test prior to prescribing the depo shot, which would need to be administered on the day my next menses begins.  I'd likely feel some period-like cramps and some discomfort for a few days after the procedure, but he'd be able to run some further tests...

...a biopsy.  I don't even like THAT word.  A sample..??  Fine.  A specimen?  Ehhh, that's fine too.  A BIOPSY???  Are you TRYING to give me a heart attack or is that a natural reaction to the word for everyone else too??

"Oh, hell, no," was the first thing I said when J finished relaying the message to me.

J's saying she'll go with me and hold my hand through this but even so...what?  Why can't you just go by what you're seeing in the bloodwork, the ultrasound and just give me the stupid shots????  I know what a DNC is and I don't want that shit, I don't want to relinquish a piece of my uterine lining, my cervix, I want it all to stay where it is and where the good Lord intended for it all to be.  I did the bloodwork they asked for...that came back fine.  I did the mammogram, which although uncomfortable, I knew was necessary.  And then I did the trans-vaginal ultrasound which came back showing nothing concerning.  Why can't we leave me alone, now????   

So while I went to the first appointment on my own and to the lab on my own and finally to the mammogram and ultrasound on my own, this is increasingly becoming an appointment I have to be dragged to.  And J is willing to do that, for she's more worried about this shit than I am.  The appointment is currently set for next Tuesday, but we realized that J has to work on next Tuesday and likely wouldn't be able to make sure I show up at the doctor's office to have this procedure done.  She knows as well as I do that I'm more likely to say, 'screw it...I'm not coming."  And so she asked me last night for the doctor's phone number - she would reschedule for three days later - for Friday next week, since that's her day off.  And she'd go with me and we'd go to lunch afterwards.  It all sounds great but I'm stuck on what the procedure entails, I can't see past that right now.

So after I moaned and groaned about all of the above for a half-an-hour last night, J eventually said: "Sometimes we just have to put on our big-girl panties and go do what we need to do..."

Me, in the middle of my meltdown:   "But how am I gonna put them on if he keeps asking me to take them OFF?"

I got the "only you" head shake, followed by the much-needed laugh.

Yeah, only me.

For now, I'm trying not to agonize over this.  I seriously would like for one appointment to STAY one appointment.  None of this, 'let's get some labs' or 'let's check this out' or 'let's take a look at that' shit.  If it's not broken, don't fix it.  That's always been my motto, and deep down, I DO know that things break for unseen reasons and they have to be 'investigated.'

Never said I liked it, though.  

And if this is all a preview of what life after 40 looks like, I've got some adjustments to make when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to medical stuff.

Still nervous.  Still more scared than I'll ever be able to verbally admit to anyone.  But I'm also working on being honest with myself with what I'm feeling, as well as with others who ask me what's going through my mind at any given time, rather than shrug it off and say 'nothing.'  And writing these things down is the most effective means of doing that...so thank you in advance if you've made it this far.

In closing, I hope that my American friends have a safe, happy 4th of July!!!  I'll be using the holiday as a distraction from the events that will likely take place next week - it's all I can do right now.  

- Capulet

 

Capulet

It’s time to smile.  I know a lot of things you’ve seen from me have been deeper, more serious stuff, so here’s something light for today.

I have a funny story for you guys to enjoy.

This morning, J and I were in a dead sleep.  She was planning to be up early-ish this morning for a work thing, and I was also planning to be up so that I could get a head start on drinking a 32-oz bottle of water prior to having an ultrasound done at 11.  Alarm was set for 8am.  

That wasn’t what woke us, though.

Okay, so, there we are - we’re sleeping.  Snoring, perhaps.  Either way, we were OUT.  And, in my sleep, I feel my back being pushed.  I hear nothing, of course.  I open my eyes a bit and see that sunlight has begun to seep into the bedroom through the blinds.

And I smell…something.  Doesn’t smell bad, but it’s not something I’m used to smelling first thing in the morning.  It was NOT the unmistakeable scent of freshly brewed coffee but it wasn’t entirely unpleasant, either.  It was just plain unidentifiable given having just woke up.

I turn over (major belly sleeper here) and there is my daughter, with this cheshire cat grin.  She’s holding a plate overflowing with scrambled eggs.  Ahhh.  Brain and nose made a connection right about there.

“I made you guys breakfast!” She’s proud of herself.  “I texted you to tell you.”

“Huh?  What did you do?”  I jumped up out of bed. The first thoughts that ran through my mind were 1) What the hell time is it?? 2) Are we dreaming?  And 3) Considering the daughter NEVER cooks unsupervised, what does my KITCHEN look like right now?  

I checked my phone for the time.  It read “5:49am.”  Additionally, there was a text message from the daughter, sent 10 minutes earlier, letting me know that she was making us breakfast.  J also got a text.  However, neither of us was awake to receive these texts.  And if you already know what my sleep habits are, you know as well as I do that 6am is still considered to be the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT for me.

I groaned.  I’d JUST laid down at around 2:30am.  Not blaming the daughter for my lack of sleep...I know that's entirely on me...but now I was posed with another question.

“Did YOU even go to sleep at all last night?”  

I’d gone to say good night to her around 2am.  She’d been face-timing with one of her school friends and I’d told her THEN to go to sleep.  She waved me off, saying she would.  But as it is summer vacation, I am not as strict about when she needs to go to bed.  And so, I left her in her room and turned in….but, now, I’m thinking I should be a little more adamant on when her bedtime is - a little later in the summer, but still no later than eleven or twelve, the absolute latest.  This staying up all night shit - that’s MY thing.  Out of all the things I could ever inspire my child to do, I wouldn’t want that to be one of them.

“Nope!” She was a little too cheery.  And again, she’s holding up this plate of food she’d just prepared.

“Oh, hell, no!” I said.  I might have been prepared to unleash a string of obscenities along the lines of “You need to go to SLEEP when I tell you to go to sleep!  You’re not supposed to be sitting up all night! (I know, I know, pot calling the kettle black!) What the fuck were you thinking, coming upstairs at this hour and cooking without help!?  What if something had happened in the kitchen, what if you’d cut or burned yourself?…”  And a whole bunch of other things that sleep deprivation would have certainly inspired.

But, instead, I quickly bit every corner of my tongue and stopped myself.  

Ya see, she’s standing there holding the plate of (seven!) eggs.  Smiling.  She’s proud of herself.  And, if I’ve learned anything about parenthood…it’s as follows.

When your child brings you something they hand-drawn or hand-made, you hang it up or display it, even if it looks like the equivalent of a two-year-old’s scribblings or something made with cracked, drying Play-Doh.  If your child is ACTUALLY two, you’re to tell them it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen and you think it belongs on display in a museum.

When your child wrecks something accidentally, you stifle any and all of your feelings of sadness, anger, or that are otherwise unfavorable, and tell them with a smile so forced that it looks real, that it’s okay - it wasn’t as important to you and can be replaced.  Even if it was passed down several generations and is truly lost.  Kids are generally destructive and chances are it’s your own damn fault for leaving whatever it was within the kid’s reach in the first place.

And when your child makes you seven scrambled eggs at 5:45am, you get up and eat it.  Even if you’re not hungry.  Even if you’re slightly annoyed at the hour.  Even if your kid makes you something that closely resembles animal vomit, you eat it and hope it tastes a hell of a lot better than it looks…you also hope they didn’t use anything that was on its way to spoiling because kids aren’t known to check the expiration date on the refrigerator contents when they’re in the mood to be creative.

And so, while J stifled her laughter into her pillow, I ate the eggs, trying to hide my “WTF” face in between forkfuls.  J had a few bites, too.  Several hours later, I’m happy to report that the eggs stayed down, they were actually cooked very well and that although this spontaneous meal resulted in us being super-tired today, it made a pre-teen genuinely happy.  

She went to bed after we ate (at about six-thirty in the morning, she was apparently wide awake all night long but still overtired enough to drift off to sleep as soon as breakfast was served) and I first surveyed the kitchen to make sure nothing was on fire before putting the milk she’d left out on the counter away and then attempting to try and go back to sleep.  

However, we were unable to do so and our day started at 7am.  

And so, today, I’m tired.  We both are, actually.

Tonight, the daughter goes to bed at 11.  I have already informed her of this.  Additionally, I told her that as much as we appreciated breakfast this morning (we otherwise would likely NOT have eaten anything at all before work/appointments) and as much as we LOVED that she wanted to surprise us, to please make 8am the earliest time breakfast is served.  We are not morning people in this house.  

On that note, I also gotta say that the kid who woke us up this morning is the same kid who REFUSES to wake up when she has to get ready for school.  What the hell is that?  I literally wake her for school at 6:10, which is LATER than the time she woke us this morning.  

I usually start by walking into her room (with shoes on, of course, because if I’m not careful, I end up stepping on whatever she leaves on the floor the night before) and I’ll start pulling out and rearranging the pillows from underneath her head to the back of the bed.  I pull down the blanket, thinking the fan being on will give her a chill and she’ll get up.  Nope.  She’ll instead pull the blanket back up.  I’ll holler her name in 20-second intervals, followed by, “GET UP!” or “If you’re not up in five seconds, you’re losing your iPad.”  Or “Okay, iPad belongs to me, now.  Wanna lose your phone?  Get UP!”

Nada.

I’m not sure if it’s the frantic “YOU HAVE TEN MINUTES TO GET DRESSED, BRUSH YOUR HAIR AND GET OUT THE DOOR!” that does it, but she’s not missed her bus ONCE this past school year.

Yet, when I can get a few hours of extra sleep, she’s waking me up at 5:45 in the morning with scrambled eggs.

:blink:

Hope everyone's having a blessed day.

Best wishes.

- Capulet

 

Capulet

It would appear that I have two sides.  Two faces.  There are currently two versions of me - and while it’s been suggested/confirmed that I do/have suffer(ed) from a personality disorder involving multiple other versions, these additional ‘parts’ have become silent and have grown otherwise dormant at the very least.  

Now I am currently faced with just two opposing sides of myself that are currently attempting to form a coherent connection.  Or rather, to integrate, if that description even fits better. Furthermore, I am wondering if it's more of a one-sided effort on the part of the adult version of myself.  I'll explain this further, don't worry.  

I've recently shared the information that I'm about to discuss in this entry...and I know in the past, I've shared other bits and pieces of what I recall about childhood, but my thought process is CONSTANT, (imagine the hamster in his wheel, it's always going and going and GOING) and I'm always searching for alternate perspectives on the same matter.  It's mostly so that I can understand on more levels, even if others have difficulty following.  I need to thoroughly investigate these things, and by writing/posting and re-reading what I've put down, this affords me the ability to both gain perspective from outside parties as well as to have it available to me to refer back to when I finally hit that brick wall that is repeatedly thrown into my path toward understanding myself as a whole.

So, who am I? 

When I say I am two-faced, I am not referring to the negative version of the term, which is most commonly described as being the type of person who would smile at you one moment and then stab you in the back as soon as it was turned.  

No.  

This isn’t me.  I know that and you all, I’m hoping, know this too.  I am kind, I am caring, I am loyal and I am compassionate.  This, I know for a fact - I couldn’t intentionally hurt another person.  I have killed before but my victims are primarily of the eight-legged variety and it’s usually done by way of a shoe or rolled-up newspaper - even so, if it’s within my capacity to do so, I’d sooner scoop them up and toss the spiders outside.  But that’s pretty much the extent of the harm I could cause another living soul.  I’m more inclined to help someone else if I can - especially in situations where the pain they are enduring is a common, familiar one.

My conflict is with myself, basically.  The much younger, child version of myself that is flat-out REFUSING to share with her older self what she knows/has been hiding for years.  

You see, these are two equally as powerful forces, despite the age difference - the adult is stronger in the sense that she’s already gone through a fair amount of healing.  She understands the effects of sexual assault, whether it’s a constant thing or a one-time thing.  She has facts to support her memories, she has a deep, accurate understanding of the aftermath, of the emotional roller-coaster that we, as survivors, are forced to ride.  

And then there is the child, who although she’s young and without the same level of understanding, she’s been working hard at being an impenetrable fortress of information; she’s managed to keep in place these enormous shields - and to keep them there for thirty-five years, give or take.  She’s effectively locked away and kept things from people around her, from her parents, from her teachers, from psychiatrists, from friends, and even from her adult version, the single person she could likely trust the most, but still isn’t willing provide the key to at the moment.  And for this great amount of time, she's stood her ground - doing whatever it was she needed to do in order to protect this information from whomever she felt the need to fortify it from.

The right-now Capulet is whom you’re all familiar with.  This is who you see, who you talk to, whom some of you converse with regularly.  What you see is what you get.  Right-now Capulet was raped at the age of 17.  She can give you accurate details about that - for she remembers every single moment of that night where her world was shattered and everything came crashing down, every minute she laid on that cold, wooden floor, every second that took seemingly longer to pass than a mere second.  She can tell you how that floor smelled, what was on the computer screen, she can tell you of the rusty barbells that were also on the floor, just out of her reach, and how she’d briefly considered using one to fend off her attacker.  She can tell you how helpless, how defenseless she felt when she couldn't.  And furthermore, she can tell you how this single event has absolutely everything to do with the person she’s become, nearly 22 years later.  She is still more comfortable conversing online than she is in an in-person social setting, but is open to working on learning how to get through these hurdles in the near future.  A lot of right-now Capulet's struggles are a culmination of being hearing impaired (especially the socially awkwardness) and having been sexually assaulted as a teenager, then dealing with a number of abusive situations on top of this - it all adds up.  

And then we’ve got the small child Capulet who, while she’s done a VERY good job of blocking out details that she knows are true, she’s had moments of weakness - evident only because the adult version has managed to obtain tiny little snippets and fragments that somehow seeped through these shields - perhaps they’re not untraversable as we originally thought they were.  Or perhaps, throughout the years, they have weakened some or have otherwise lost some of its original strength, comparable to expired medicine.  Either way, right-now Capulet is aware and further convinced of there being something of importance behind these shields.  She knows it's likely ugly and thus the reason for these shields being there in the first place.  Yet, she struggles with an insatiable need to know the truth, no matter how grisly it is and how damaging this information has the potential to be.  

Why, though?  Aren't I doing well enough without these added bits and pieces to my already overflowing plate?

I'll attempt to explain this before wrapping up this entry - been working on it for HOURS, already - my brain hurts.  Thinking I'll go to Dunkin' for an iced latte.  Or maybe not because it's raining and I don't desire to leave my house this morning.  Either way, I'm rewarding myself with something sweet, something sugary, once I've posted this.  I fucking deserve it, don't I?

But anyway, here goes.  I think that these little fragments - these little memory snippets that I can't make sense of right now, are pointing to something that although I'm without evidence, I can't completely ignore, either.  Just as I couldn't overlook these signs if I saw them in someone else, particularly a child.  These snippets/fragmented pieces that I AM privy to, are strong ones.  Kind of while piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, you have to complete the outside border, first.  I would say I have a fair amount of that border in place, but nothing in the middle.  It's a whole lot of emptiness.  Each of these broken memories I possess is a a piece here, a piece in the other corner over there, a piece in the middle of the bottom...etc.  While they're different pieces in different locations, they're all a part of whatever the finished picture turns out to be.  So right-now Capulet is sitting at the table, trying to get this puzzle completed.  Small-child Capulet is not supplying the missing pieces, and although I've tried bribing her with the things I KNOW she loves, I've gotten nowhere in the acquisition of said pieces.  Instead, it's 'HELLO, brick wall!'  This kid has major skills, let me tell you.  I've been at this puzzle for a long time, now, and have gotten nowhere.

Another thing I struggle with that is likely contributing to my desire to get to the bottom of it all - I also want to know...(no, I NEED to know) - if anything having occurred in my childhood led to what I'd later on endure as a teenager - what kind of shaping/forming/grooming took place at such a young age?  What happened to small-child Capulet that caused her to lock up and hold onto the key for a lifetime afterwards?

And all of this is likely stuff that a therapist would get giddy over and likely see an opportunity for some major dollar signs.  “Come to my office and we'll figure it out, we'll get some answers!” I’m sure they’d say in response to this blog, should they come across it.  And I've actually just pictured the face of my old T...followed by a brief image of her clapping her hands.  She used to clap in order to get my attention as a child.  I remember not liking to look at her sometimes, and so she'd 'clap' or gently rap on the tabletop to get my attention so that she could speak to me.

But sadly, I’m not in a comfortable enough financial situation to seek out a GOOD therapist.  I've had the same aforementioned therapist twice.  She met the small child version of me when I was approximately eight years old, as well as the adult version when I sought her out about ten years ago and I was going through a divorce.  Both times, she's failed.  I likely wouldn't have considered going to see her ten years ago, knowing she wasn't successful in breaching small child's walls, but I'd hoped that she had some memory or input that she could share with the adult version.  She either did know some things that she wasn't comfortable sharing right away and maybe wanted me to work up to remembering at a slower pace rather than just dump all of this information on my already mounting reasons for concern, (and for this reason, I agreed to continued weekly sessions) OR she truly knew nothing - either way, I had some issues stemming from the dissolution of my marriage that she WAS in a small way, helpful with.  But for these deeper, more pressing issues, she was proven ineffective and not helpful and I felt as if I was wasting money.  And so, I stopped visiting her altogether.  I still do have her email address and I've considered sharing some of my recent writings with her - just in case she does know something - but then again, maybe it's best that I not do so.  She's one of those who would ask me to come in for a session and I don't feel I should have to pay for this information.  

And now, here I am.  With the same concerns.  Minus the marital problems - my current relationship is healthy, secure and wonderful - no complaints there.  

As far as I’m concerned, I AM my own therapist.  Anything we’d do in a T’s office, I’m perfectly capable of doing on my own.  I talk, sometimes too much.  I write.  Also too much at times.  I think.  If it helps me, who's to say that's a bad thing?  I spend entirely too much time thinking, I believe that too, has been confirmed.  However, none of these are unhealthy ways of coping.  They're just what works for me.

I also want it to be known that I am NOT in crisis.  All this is just stuff that until recently, I’ve kept in the furthest confines, the deepest corners of my mental health closet - and I've recently come to open up this closet and begin searching for deeper meanings to these two sides...one side who wants to know everything and the other who wants to keep things suppressed and hidden.  

How do you get these two sides to work together?  Is there some way to reach a compromise?  What does small-child Capulet need, and from whom if not from the older, more knowledgeable version of herself??

I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to this, either.

And so, I'm not sure who is going to win this ongoing tug-of-war battle.  The adult will pull and pull, and ultimately grow weary and tired.  Then the small child, who's got a comparable amount of strength, will pull back, by way of solidifying these shields until SHE'S tired or otherwise feels safe.  This game may go on for several more years.  Possibly for the rest of my life.

While it's way easy to look up cheat codes for some of the console games I play, this isn't something I can search for a shortcut on, there are no guides that I can follow, no secret twists and turns or jumps that will catapult me onto the other side of those shields.  I'm stuck on this level and I'm not seeing a way to get through it.

And for that reason, I feel defeated.

And now, I'm going for that coffee, even if I make a cup in the kitchen. Not feeling Dunkin'. 

- Capulet

Capulet

Greetings friends, 

Here's hoping that June is wrapping up nicely for you all!  

It has been an absolutely insane month between trying to get the back yard finished, my son's high school graduation, the end of the school year for all students, having yet another handyman/contractor show up to install a transfer switch for our new generator (our VERY early Christmas present from Oompa) as well as a ceiling fan in our family room so that we don't melt this summer.  And I also got the ball rolling (with J's help) on making my first doctor's appointment in the state of Pennsylvania.  

Side note: I'm TERRIBLE with doctors, guys.  TERRIBLE.  I've been sick a small handful of times since we moved here eleven months ago.  I've changed insurances two times but STILL have not gone to a single physician, primary care or otherwise.  ('otherwise' is the reason for tomorrow's 10am appointment)  I don't know if this is the norm for everyone.  Yes, I am well aware that NO one likes the doctor or going to visit but I sadly admit that in the past several years, I've gone out of my way to avoid anyone with "M.D." after their names.  Dentists, too.  While my health is slowly improving due to diet and lifestyle changes that I've initiated without a doctor's recommendation, I've got other, separate issues that I've been ignoring because they're not an emergency and I'm not experiencing any discomfort that I can't live with.

This won't do, though - I'm smart enough to know and realize that this is by no means a permanent solution.  Over the past several months, I've had some uncomfortable and unfavorable side effects to the birth control medications I'd been taking for years, now - so it's time for a GYN exam/re-evaluation of whether or not this medication is still good for me or it's time to find something else.  This will require a physical examination, I'm sure, as well as a breast exam, a pelvic...and to top all that off, this is a NEW doctor that I've never seen before, and even better (not really) - it's a male doctor.

Honestly, aside from not being able to live with one, I have nothing against men.  There are some fine, upstanding men in my life that I love very much.  However, from a medical perspective, I don't care if my dentist is a male. I don't even care if my PCP is a male.  I don't care if I go to the ER with a mysterious onset of symptoms, chances are you'll get whoever's able to handle your needs first.  But if someone's going to be poking around in the nether regions, it'd damn well BETTER be a female!  However, I'm not getting my way this time around.  The situation I'm having right now with irregular spotting/bleeding needs to be handled NOW (I've had enough) and the female doctor in the office is not available until August.  And so I'll suck it up and go visit the male doctor, but will INSIST upon having a female nurse present during the exam.  There usually is one, though, so this helps me not to lose my shit over this and focus more on resolving this medication issue and for future appointments, I can always switch to the female as she'll be available for the next visit.

Anyway - let's move on.  (chorus:  "Yes, please!")

So...recently, I've had some things come up that have made me question how I come across to others.  It's also made me question myself, in some ways.  I don't blame myself for the REASONS I am who I am, but I wonder if, along the way, I should have made more of an effort to be a different TYPE of person, overall.  A different version of me that others see.

Yes, I know....you all have your "HUH?" faces on right about now?

As I attempt to explain this, I don't want to get into extremes because in order to do so, I'd have to share personal background information about certain family members that I don't feel that should be put out there by me.  So I will do the best I can whilst omitting incriminating details.  

There was a misunderstanding about three weeks ago, between myself and a few of my in-laws.  

I WILL say that two of these in-laws (J's parents) are NOT supportive nor do they approve of my long-lived relationship with J, but it is for religious reasons - as a person, they like me, or so they say...but as J's partner/lover, they do not.  I have repeatedly felt that they hold J's decision to move away from them against me  - for I, at this point, represent to them her choice to leave her family behind in pursuit of love as well as a better life for herself.  I often wonder if this sits in the back of their head, even though J made this decision on her own...every time they see me, are they consumed with a level of hidden animosity toward me and this prevents them from truly liking me?  Whether they do like me as a person is true or not, I really don't care at this point, but let's be real - who wants to be disliked or given the feeling that they're not accepted in EVERY aspect?  I certainly don't, and I don't know if this stems from an early desire to people-please but deep down, the two-facedness of J's parents bothers me a GREAT deal and it has for years.  

Regardless, they are her parents and I respectfully keep a distance whenever they are around or we go visit them.  I do not believe in their religion, but know that it truly makes them uncomfortable to see me slide a hand around J's waist or hold her hand, or peck her on the lips as I walk by...and so whenever in their company, I find it more effective to just sit across a room or excuse myself entirely so that they can feel comfortable visiting with their daughter without me around.  It's not as if they attempt to engage me in conversation, either - when they do, it's simply small talk.  They have made absolutely NO efforts to get to know me on a deeper level - I don't think they even know J as well as they would like to think - so I don't take it personally. I am comfortable just keeping that rift in place; although we are polite to one another and we engage in simple, meaningless chit-chat and kiss hello and goodbye, there is always going to be that unspoken understanding between her parents and I.  It's unfortunate that it has to be this way, but it's something I simply don't know how to fix nor do I know if its within my capability to do so seeing as they're not only drinking the Kool-Aid, they're also SWIMMING in it.

Now, one of J's sisters is another story.  She has always been an ally to us, a very strong supporter of our relationship.  She's always been the OPPOSITE of their parents.  And before I came along, she was J's 'person.'  J felt comfortable going to this sister for emotional support, for advice, for whatever at all she needed.  And resultedly, they became EXTREMELY close.  She, too, misses J a great deal, and even though she's been living away from the rest of her family for nine years, will sometimes comment on how she wishes that we lived closer to all of them - I'm sure J wouldn't mind cutting the trip back home by a few hours, but for me, that'd be a HUGE no-no based on the cold shoulder I'm used to receiving from the parents.  And they currently live WITH her sister, so lately, I've felt myself detaching even MORE and allowing J to go visit them all (her parents and sister) and I'd stay home so that she would not have to hear me moan and groan about how uncomfortable I am and how much I want to go home - this usually starts about ten to fifteen minutes after we arrive. :unsure:  It's not fair to J to have to feel pressured or rushed while visiting her family, and so it's just better this way - it's better for me to stay behind so that she feels less pressure, less tension when she's in their company.

I'm not sure if this is doing us any favors in the end, though.

Here's a short summary of what happened.  Recently, J underwent a medical procedure (no further details needed here other than that) - and there was a miscommunication between J and her family and somehow, her sister's claws came out and she lashed out at me because she felt that I wasn't handling the situation in a manner that was acceptable to her.  She said some horrible things to me through Facebook messaging and came at me with some OTHER things that were nothing less than surprising to hear, coming from someone I thought was on our side.  I'm not sure where THOSE comments came from, but basically, I'm wondering if her sister has also been two-faced all along...because yes, while a lot of things are said in anger that aren't necessarily true, there's always an element, no matter how small, of truth to it.  People don't say things that they don't truly believe in the smallest way, so now I'm left with a lot of underlying, leftover stray, random thoughts that are strengthening this rift that was put into place by her parents.  

At the time when J's sister got nasty with me, I responded in kind.  Actually, I wasn't nasty, nor was I rude - but I WAS firm and I defended myself - I simply told her MY perspective on the whole thing and she seemingly backed off - she ended her part of the conversation with "I'm sorry, I just love my sister so much and if I can't be there, I expect YOU to be."  It was something along those lines, something indicative of her belief that I would actually allow the love of my life to be without ANYTHING that she needed as she underwent this treatment.  And so, I shot back, "I've been loving and taking care of your sister for the last ten years, almost.  I'm not stopping now."

And it ended there...no resolution, no making nice, just a dropped conversation.  I was SEETHING, though.  I mean...what the fuck!?  Never in my life have I mistreated someone, especially someone I've been in a relationship with.  I've never cheated on a partner - having been repeatedly cheated on by the wasband, other partners in the past, I'd never dare to do that to someone I loved.  I've never been abusive nor have I raised my hand to another person, except in dreams...and many of you will remember that I have trouble doing that even in my dreams.  Sure, J and I have got our occasional moments where we bicker but it's NEVER been a full-on fight.  We are soul mates in every sense of the word...I've never done a thing to deserve what was said to me, and I truly felt blindsided - I think that's really the gist of why I felt so frazzled afterwards.   

J had her medical procedure done, which lasted one week. During that week, I had many, MANY conversations with her.  I really didn't want to share what was said to me by her sister/family before she had the procedure done as not to add any stress to her already overflowing plate, but she knew something was bothering me before the procedure and all plans to wait on discussing it went out the window.  Honestly, it would have likely made things worse if we had saved these conversations for later.  They couldn't be delayed without mounting anxiety in the meantime...and so I shared with her the messages, to include my responses.  I was completely honest with her about everything that was said, as well as everything I was feeling.  Her sister had made a lot of comments that had led me to believe that she'd been misunderstanding J for a long time, as well - I simply couldn't understand where some of these horrible things CAME from!

Side note - J's parents and sister were invited to the Son's graduation party to be held at our house.  Prior to this 'falling out,' they were planning to come.  After all was said and hurt feelings and shit being slung from every corner, I wasn't sure they'd still come but they did tell J that they were still attending.  Now, her parents, I knew from before, would never change.  We're still going to have those uncomfortable, awkward moments - because that's what we've established at this point.  It is what it is with them.  

But her sister was also coming and SHE's the one I am having the most issue with at the moment.  My son's party was going to be the first time I'd seen or heard from her sister since this incident, and nothing had been resolved nor any apologies made, nor any attempts made to set things right.  I wasn't approaching her - because I feel I did my part and what she did, she did unnecessarily and it was completely uncalled for.  

And so J had a conversation with her sister on the morning of the party.  They called to let J know that they were on the road and asked if we'd like to meet them fro breakfast.  I declined because I still had a lot of setting up to do and couldn't get away, but J got dressed and went to go meet them.  She was also tasked with speaking with her sister beforehand and letting her know that this was NOT the time for continued awkwardness or an argument - it was my Son's graduation celebration and I wasn't going to be made to feel uncomfortable or angry by anyone.  This was a day to marvel in the Son's accomplishments, enjoy the company of the people who came to share in it - there was much to be discussed but now wasn't the time nor place.

When J's sister arrived, she came in first, ahead of J and their parents.  Without a word, she took my hand and brought me into the bedroom.  There, she apologized for what she said to me and explained that a lot of her behavior stems from her feelings of helplessness - being four hours' drive away from J was taking a toll.  When J called to let them know that she had to get the procedure done, she had been upset and as a result, her sister's protective side took over - she didn't understand the full picture and so she prematurely lashed out, thinking I wasn't upholding my end of what needed to be done.  I told her I, too, was sorry - not for what I said to defend myself, but if I'd somehow given her the impression that I was in any way abandoning J's needs or coming across as being selfish because that indeed is not the person I am.  And I also said that while I expected that sort of comment to come from their MOTHER, it was extremely hurtful to even think she'd (her sister) think that low of me after knowing me for nine and a half years.  Her sister looked me in the eyes and told me that I, too, was her sister.  She loved me, she lost her mind momentarily and her claws would have come out for me too, if there ever were a situation where I needed defending.  (And I think this is another 'issue' that needs addressing at a later time - J is a grown woman and can certainly defend herself if she felt the need to do so...and from our talks on this matter, J has never felt the need to do so with me - it looks more to be an internal issue that her sister is having...for the duty of being J's 'person' is no longer hers - perhaps she's having trouble with that and it has also caused her to lash out on me - because I didn't 'do' things the way she would have, etc...)

J's sister ended this five-minute conversation apologizing once again and then saying that she would like for us to become closer.  She'd like for us to talk once per week, through text or through FB.  She'd like for us to truly get to know one another, beyond the hellos, goodbyes and small talk - which admittedly while I am more comfortable being affectionate toward J when her sister is around than her parents, I STILL don't feel I quite fit in there, either.  What happened has certainly driven that wedge further, but we made 'nice' for the moment, which is what I needed to happen in order to start moving forward.  

There is still some work and reparations to be done/made as far as this relationship I have with J's sister, but it's made me think about OTHER relationships that exist in my life.  Relationships with family members, with my parents, with my sisters, with my children, with the wasband, with friends, with people I've met here.  The list goes on.  

A little statistic for those factoid-lovers out there - on average, us humans live for 78.3 years. Most of us remember people we meet after age 5.  So, let's assume we interact with 3 new people daily in cities, 365 days in a year plus leap yeas days is 365.24. In total it will be (78.3 – 5) x 3 x 365.24 = 80,000 people we interact with in a lifetime.  Let's also assume that at least 20% of these people are ones whose names we know, who we remember beyond that first meeting.  That still comes out to be a pretty big number of people.

It's made me think about myself a lot, too.  About the walls I put up...(I think the POTUS would be proud.)

These walls have been up for a long, long time, I'm guessing.  I have such a hard time allowing people through...I am picturing this as I type...there's a HUGE wall, possibly two or three football fields' width, with a single door somewhere in the middle.  Some people have made me aware that they've been running into, driving into, attempting to jump over it, even trying to dig underneath it...but can't seem to get through that tiny little doorway enough to say that they TRULY know me.  And, you know...this isn't their fault - it's the way I've intended for it to be - all the while I've had the key and means to allow people in.  

Right now, after the events that have transpired recently, the only one who is behind this wall and has one hundred percent of my heart, soul and trust, is J.

She's inside this wall, and she's sitting next to me and we're surrounded by this enormous amount of open space.  I am imagining though that while I like that well enough, it's still a lonely place - because between the presence of this wall and the amount of time it's been up, I'm at risk of ending up alone later in life.  Because as much as I don't want to imagine this ever happening - I have to be realistic and remember that ANYTHING can happen that could result in a break-up or separation.  This is NOT to say this is something I am concerned with right now because J's and my love is a strong one, perhaps even stronger than these walls - but I have to repeatedly ask myself - hypothetically, what if someday, she wasn't there anymore?  Then what?  Where would that leave me, standing in the middle of this huge, empty space?  I know that I have been able to scale J's walls but her sister has been behind her wall before me, so if something were to happen to me resulting in my death, I know that moving forward, J would be okay - she has another rock situated there for life.  Me, though?  She's it. I love her with everything I am and if life could guarantee that she's going to be there for the rest of my life, this wouldn't even be a thought.  But it can't.  And I've been working so hard and for so long to make sure she's the only one there.  I'm not sure if this is more harmful than helpful, though.

Not even my mother has breached this wall.  She can't figure out why, and she's expressed many times a frustration over not being able to 'reach' me but, well...that's just too bad.  She's too much of a pain in the ass to even WANT inside this wall.

My two children are stationed at the imaginary doorway - if not sitting on top of this wall.  I only say this because while I trust my children completely, there are still things they do not know about me and that I've not been able to share with them in regards to my life and my past.  I still feel the need to shield them from these details because as their mother, my wish is to spare them some of the grisly details that may otherwise and unnecessarily upset them.  Nothing can be done about these things right now, firstly - and secondly, even though the Son is about to turn 18, he's still in many ways a child.  The daughter is just 11, she's not ready to see past the doorway just yet.  And so they are granted access to the 'inside' by default because of them being 'permanent' fixtures in my life.  Nothing short of death will eject them from my heart - and should they, one day, approach me and ask me about my past or for details, I'd be okay with sharing them - but they'd have to ask for them.

I also feel the need to mention that with each time I've been burned by someone, a layer is added to this wall, to solidify it.  I think it's all measured in invisible 'materials,' if that makes sense.  For example, if someone were to lie to me or break my trust in a minor way that can be eventually moved past, and otherwise apologized for, I'll certainly forgive them but won't be able to help adding a 'dirt layer' in front of my wall that they'll have to spend some time cleaning up/digging to get through, but will eventually be able to find this doorway and try again. If someone were to cheat on me though?  A wall made of steel will come crashing down in front of these people and they're not guaranteed to get through this one in this same lifetime.  The wasband is currently behind THIS wall - I've forgiven him his infidelities, though - because without having burned me this way, I would not have found my true soulmate.  And so, the only reason he remains behind this steel wall and I haven't banished him into an entirely different universe reserved for those I never want to associate with again, is because of the children we share, that love him very much.  Between dirt and steel, we also have brick, glass, etc to measure the different strengths of wall required for that 20% of the 80,000 people I'll meet in my lifetime to pass.

So, along with the idea of working with my sister-in-law in future weeks, months, years to come, I'm now wondering if I should further open this make-believe (solidified, of course) door, and see who's still trying to get in and who's given up by now.  Do these persistent people deserve a chance?  Do I need to work on making room (although I think it's a matter of FILLING space rather than making room) in my heart for others by opening up a little bit more and loosening some of these self-inflicted barriers? I've spent a fair amount of time collecting trust - I am told that I'm an easy person to trust - and I believe this because yes, this is a great deal of who I am.  I'm loyal, I'm honest, I'm faithful, I do not break others' trust; I can't live with myself if I ever did, and if that did happen, it'd likely be accidentally or otherwise unintentional.  And I always own up to my mistakes when they're made.

I wonder though, if it is time for me to reciprocate and put some of my own trust in others?  Even if I do it a little bit at a time (which I'm working on), it's still so, so hard to do enough to allow someone complete access. I imagine that'll take a while but it's another hurdle I'm finding myself facing these days.  

How does one even clear this type of hurdle?  I'd love to hear, so if anyone has any input, please do comment! :) 

Until next time, folks.  My dinner (pizza) and date (of course, J) have arrived.  We're taking in a movie and we'll relax tonight.  I'll be back later.

:peace::throb: and all my best,

- Capulet

 

Capulet

Hello friends. :)

I know that I have been somewhat absent for a little while.  My prescence here has declined greatly over the last couple of weeks and for a little while, I was only really responding to PMs and giving posts a quick-read, just to try and keep up.  I sincerely hope that while I've been scarce, that everyone's doing as well as they can be doing.  While I've been thinking of my friends here while keeping busy offline, the reason for my decreased activity is indeed a good one.  

There is now a high school graduate in the house!  That colicky, fusspot of a little boy that I rocked to sleep every single night for the first several months of his life, has now officially completed the twelfth grade.  I do admit to stealing the title of this entry from a shot-glass at the Christmas Tree Shop.  But I believe it, completely!  It amazes me how much WORK was involved getting him to this point, to get him across this particular milestone.  How many times he'd gotten frustrated, how many times he's expressed his hatred toward school.  There have been countless projects, book reports, science fairs, visits to the school nurse on the days he'd faked sick because he wanted to go home, (the elementary school nurse and I were on a first-name basis) parent-teacher conferences, two previous graduations (from elementary and junior high) trips, and HOMEWORK.  The homework, is of course, in caps simply because I have six more years of homework woes to endure as the Daughter will be entering 7th grade at the end of the summer and through her, it will all continue...she and her brother are SO different, in personality, in movie, music and food tastes, but when it comes to homework, they're the same.  BOTH of my children dread it and do the bare minimum - it's the only complaint I've gotten from both of their teachers whenever the time comes for me to visit their schools for parent night.  "Your son/daughter is an absolute delight to have in class (I'd make sure at this point they were talking about the right kid) however, he/she is missing x amount of homeworks..."  Then the wasband and I would have to remove any and all electronics for x amount of time - one day per homework missed was ideal...this way, while they MADE UP the missed assignment, there would be absolutely no distractions. :) 

But for my son, it paid off.  My only hope is that he feels the same way - and that as he embarks upon a new journey (college), he sees that all of the hard work he's done up until the present time has been worth it.

The big day was Thursday.  On the way to the ceremony, I looked at him while stopped at a red light.  He was dressed in his shirt and tie, had on his cap and gown, he looked so damn handsome!  

"Hey," I nudged him, "I want you to know that I'm so proud of you."

"Thanks, Ma."  I could tell he was trying not to show his nervousness.  He fiddled with his tie, scratched underneath the cap, (those things are itchy) and chewed on his nails.

"I also want to apologize in advance for the ugly cry you're probably going to see when you walk across that stage."

Then there was that grin I love so much, followed by a light chuckle, "That's okay, Ma!"

Surprisingly, the ugly cry happened AFTER the ceremony and tossing of the graduation caps (as well as the frantic relocation of aforementioned cap with attached tassel) when he descended the stairs leading from the school building...carrying in one hand his diploma and using the other to unzip the deep purple gown so he could free himself from the confines of the graduation robe he'd had to wear for the last three hours in a sweltering gymnasium.  Twelve years of school (fourteen, if you count pre-school and Kindergarten) finished in the blink of an eye!  That brought on the tears and I couldn't hide my emotions long enough.  I got a look of horror from the Daughter, who I'm sure, pretended she didn't know me for a full sixty seconds, the usual narrow-eyed wince from Constipa-Face (I expected no less from someone who has not a single sensitive bone in his body) and the "there she goes!" from someone else, possibly Mrs. Constipa-Face.  

The Son, though, gave me a hug.  I kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear, "wait til your next and final graduation...if you think I'm bad now, I'll be a hot mess, THEN!!"  

Lucky for us all, I have another four years.  Now I've got to get around the fact that he'll graduate college before his sister even finishes High School...

And then, to the Daughter, I said, "You just wait, too...when YOU graduate, I'll be crying even HARDER, and I'll make sure there are honking noises when I blow my nose...JUST for you, my darling...and even better, still - you're the spitting image of your Mama, so you won't be able to hide..."

She groaned.  Serves her right for making fun of her mother, doesn't it?

I'm sure I'll be ugly-crying AGAIN when his senior picture proofs arrive.  He took them two days before graduation and I'm expecting those to arrive in about two to three weeks. 

Then, two days after the graduation, I had forty people show up to my house (would have been at least six to seven more people, but I had a few last-minute cancellations) and although I had Oompa staying here for a few days to help out, I certainly got in my exercise...just within my own home.  I lost count of how many times I went up and down the stairs, how many trips I made from the kitchen sliders/upper deck to the newly-set concrete slab one story below.  By the time the night was over on Saturday, I was ready to collapse in exhaustion; my feet were KILLING me and I had some unpleasant chafing in an even more uncomfortable place.  

This morning, I felt a ton better, both physically and mentally - Oompa left early this morning (but not before expressing any and everything that disappointed her at one point or another...while Constipa-Face is good for nothing less than a daily dose of disapproval, my mother takes first place in every single woe-is-me contest that there ever was - even the imaginary ones) and will be gone until the Daughter's birthday, which is in two weeks.  I spent the day with my father, who leaves tomorrow morning and will return for the next party, which is going to be held at the wasband's house.  And since the wasband has effectively demonstrated that it's NORMAL to show up an hour after the party has started, I may demonstrate my own learning abilities by doing the same thing.  (I say 'MAY' only because my Daughter will likely suffer the consequences of my being purposely tardy; and that's not fair to her at ALL.)  Who am I kidding? I'll be there on time if not a little bit early - at least my kids will know I'm reliable while their father is not.

I will be spending the next two weeks attempting to get back that feeling of normalcy and calm - the amount of stress that I've had on my plate was at an all-time high and the lowering of my blood pressure is a vital, necessary thing.  

I'll be posting another update shortly - for now, another good nights' sleep is in order as the recuperation process has begun.

Sending lots of hugs and love to you all - I've missed everyone!!!  

- Capulet

Capulet

This will be brief, because this is being typed while I can still move. 

Tomorrow, I may be in traction.  Or just very, very sore.  Possibly too sore to go and retrieve the free taco that Taco Bell is offering, while supplies last.  So, if you've got a Taco Bell near you, today, June 13th, is free taco day!  Personally, I like the ones with the Nacho Cheese Dorito shell...

I, however, may be in too much pain to get myself to the car.

I will start you all off with some good news.  The concrete has been poured and I now have my table and chairs set up outside.  The Son's graduation party is almost ready to go.  I'm expecting 40 people to show up for the celebration this weekend.  My niece's christening was this past weekend, relieving me of SOME of what's been on my plate for the past several weeks.

And now for the reason for my (slight) exaggeration.  Today, I spent three hours this afternoon in the yard, collecting and decorating with rocks.  The cement is a 20x20 slab, and there's somewhat of a 'step' up from the grass.  I decided today that it would be a wonderful idea to line rocks along the slab's perimeter, to 'dress' it up a little bit.  And so one by one, I collected large rocks from the wooded area behind the house and walked them over to the slab, placed them down along the outside in an artistic manner, piled the smaller ones on top of the larger ones.  Then I placed the solar light stakes along the path leading to the fire pit.  

By the time J came home, my back was killing me.  

Regardless, she needed assistance lifting a VERY heavy box from her trunk.  A box containing a flat-top propane grill/griddle that we had invested in yesterday morning.  It'll be great for when we have a power outage.  It'll be the only way J will cook outdoors.  She has a not-so-fond memory of lifting the cover off a traditional gas barbecue grill and when she pushed the 'ignite' button, the grill was a little 'overexcited' to be started up and she singed her eyebrows.  Since then, she's been deathly afraid of propane grills, but since there's no open fire on a flat-top, she's happy to share some of the cooking duties with me.  

And the Son, who can lift heavy things, was not home.  Whenever I need help, he's not home.  Always seems to be the case.  But he did have a good reason for not being home - he was taking his senior pictures.  The portrait studio was at his school today and they were photographing the class of 2019 and since he missed the opportunity to have them taken for THIS year, they were kind enough to squish him in between two juniors and I will finally have an updated graduation photo for my wall.  Of course, before that happens, I will need to wait for the proofs to be mailed.

So, anyway, this box must have been at least 100 pounds.  We aren't weaklings but we ARE both almost forty years old and this was quite the feat.  We struggled with the box containing the flat-top, managing to first drop it to the ground, then I pushed and she pulled - until the box has been relocated into the garage. 

Then...we went bowling in our summer league.  Three game set.  I walked in like an old(er) lady.  Managed to bowl 2 good-ish games and 1 trash game.  I throw a fifteen-pound ball an average of 16-17mph down the lane, and yes, in case you're wondering, the high speed does mess with my accuracy!

It probably wasn't a good idea to bowl with a backache. 

But I did it, anyway.  

So therefore, I will probably wake up in knots.  I'm not sure how to describe a delayed injury (or even soreness) any better than basically going to the gym, working out for hours and then waking up the next day wondering what the hell possessed you to do such a thing.

Wish me luck, friends.  I think tomorrow morning will be one of these.

Until next time. 

:throb:,
- Capulet

 

Capulet

That's what my daughter asked me this afternoon.  

Ahhh...it's been a crazy-ish week, so far.

For starters, I'm starting to think God has the absolute worst form of colic.  All he does is CRY!  I mean, yeah, looking at today's world, I can certainly understand the need to bawl rather than try and analyze why we're forced to deal with the amount of stress we're destined to deal with - all in one lifetime, too.  We've not had more than two or three days in a row without rain.  

I normally wouldn't care so much whether it rained or the sun was out - I'm not an outdoorsy type at all.  When it rains, I'm usually at home and I busy myself with housework.  When it's sunny, my vampire mode kicks in and I prefer to stay in and relax if I have no other pressing plans.  Oh, and another interesting tidbit about me - I have something called 'achoo syndrome.'  It's really a thing, look it up.  I can't step out into the sunlight without sneezing violently and scaring the living hell out of whoever's standing next to me at the time.

However, this rain worries me.  I'm planning a graduation party for exactly thirteen days from now and my backyard has been waiting (patiently I might add...since mid-April!) for a concrete pour and the ass-clown I hired to do the job will not do it if the ground is wet.  Weather IS a factor when it comes to cement pouring but he's also delayed doing the work on days God was 'happy' (as rarely as that's been lately) and I'm trying NOT to panic at the thought that the yard simply may not be finished in time.  Ass-clown says he will be here Monday and cement should be poured by Wednesday - but honestly, I've heard all of this, before. 

We'll see.  I'm seriously going to join God and cry if this crap isn't done by the end of next week.  The cement is only the first step - I also have to repair patches of grass that the men wrecked during their working moments, and I have to see about some decorating...this, of course, means another trip to Home Depot is in my very near future.

So, the party-planner in me is a nervous wreck.  I'll have about 50 people in my back yard, which, right now, looks like a waterlogged dump.

The Son's actual graduation day is the 12th.  He is in need of a pair of pants and a dress shirt and a tie.  And a shave and a haircut.  Oh, and if an attitude adjustment could be arranged, too, that would be great.  You would think he needed a root canal; he's constantly complaining that he doesn't like wearing 'dressy' attire but it clearly states on his school notice discussing graduation what the Class of 2018 is expected to wear.  Every day since that notice came home, I'll ask him, "shall we go to the Big & Tall after school today?"  And every day, his answer is, "nah, I'm tired," or "nah, I've got homework," or just plain, "nah, I don't feel like it."  We are now nine days away from graduation and he has no pants, no shirt, no tie and no shoes, he's built like John Candy but has Zach Galifianakis' haircut with a five o'clock shadow he's too lazy to tend to.  It's just ANOTHER THING we have to deal with in a short amount of time.  So not only is the cement guy delaying me in several ways, I feel the Son is trying to cut it close, too.

So, before he left to go to the wasband's house, I informed him through clenched teeth that on Wednesday afternoon, we were going to the store after school and we would NOT be leaving until he's got a full outfit for his graduation. I got a very well rehearsed, "Absolutely, Mom.  We will do that."

The sports fan in me is not happy right now, either.  My New York Mets have sincerely forgotten how to play the game called baseball.  My father, whom I inherited Mets fandom from, actually went online to try and get tickets to a YANKEE game.  His reasoning?  "I want to see some REAL baseball!  I feel like I'm watching a Little League team!"  (And he's not wrong about that.)  I just came from watching tonight's game...score is tied at 1-1 for seven innings or so - then the Mets (Mess) decide to put in a reliever with a high ERA (I DO understand the bullpen was getting thin, but STILL....) and the Cubs score six.  And to add injury to insult, the Mets come up empty in the bottom of the 14th.  They've now lost four or five in a row - I forget which, but watching their games is rapidly becoming a risk of wasted time.  Maybe I'll just start putting the games on during the last inning?

The Daughter had me laughing earlier this week, though.  Do you all remember where, in a couple blog entries ago, I mentioned that I was dealing with some private issues?  Well, I'm still not quite ready to divulge all those details but it has to do with her recent behavior and a phone call was placed by the school.  The wasband was involved, of course, but we've NEVER been on the same page when it came to figuring out what was best when dealing with our children.  He simply disciplines while I prefer to talk to them and both try to understand and help THEM understand why they acted in a certain way.  I feel that's the most effective way to parent because you're actually listening to THEIR side, too and they see this - which makes them more likely to come to me for guidance or advice or whenever they run into trouble.  I'm of the belief that if you lose your shit, they'll learn very quickly that you're NOT able to be there for them in a rational, calm manner when it's needed.   And so, I listen and I discipline them AFTER I've heard the full story, I know they understand what they did was wrong and not before.  But the wasband, having come from a broken, unstable home filled with violence and drug/alcohol abuse, has never been one to listen to what the kids have to say but is quick to deal out a punishment.  It's a typical Lion Vs. Lamb situation.  The kids are terrified of going to him first, for this reason mainly.

Anyway, long story short - the daughter has had her phone taken away for two weeks, now, as a result of her latest misbehavior.  The wasband and I had sat her down (was just us three) and we had a discussion.  Before this (pre-planned; 'meet me at the park at 5:00' sorta thing) discussion, I told the daughter that she just had to hear him out and let him say whatever he needed to say - we already knew he'd resort to his usual unreasonable, belittling ways and she wasn't likely to get a word in.  She knows now that even if she doesn't agree with him, she'd better pretend she does because there is simply NO reasoning with him when he talks.  This is exactly how I felt when I was married to him, and sadly, STILL how I feel, even after being divorced for almost ten years.  The path of least resistance is simply to nod and let him THINK he's getting a point across.  She (and her brother) has come to recognize this trait in her father and she was prepared for this meeting knowing that she and I would talk later on when it was just us two.  

So, this is the part that made me chuckle.  The wasband has a very distinct, unmistakeable face that he puts on whenever he doesn't understand or agree with something.  His eyes get narrow, his lip curls upwards.  He'll talk slowly, making you feel like you'd BETTER respond the right way.  Yes, I'm fully aware this is all part of the abuse he's been inflicting on everyone around him for the last two decades or more, but some people, I've learned to accept, simply can't be fixed.  The Son is nearly 18 and will eventually lock horns with his father (won't be a good day, but is inevitable, I think) and the Daughter, at 12, is already forming her own conclusions in regard to her father's character versus her mother's.  Anyway, when this face comes on, he's clearly disgusted with you, he makes you feel as if YOU'RE the crazy one, and whatever you approached him about in the first place, becomes something you simply don't want to address anymore, resulting in the dropping of said topic/subject.  It certainly was a deterrent when I approached him while we were married, and asked him if I could visit a therapist once per week.  That didn't work out so well.

Anyhow, during our meeting, he put this face on.  A face that the Daughter now refers to as the 'TrumpFace.'  We had a very amusing talk on the way home from the park, where in the car I asked her how she felt it went.  She felt she didn't get a chance to explain herself because he simply wouldn't listen to her nor did he present as approachable due to the constant putting on of the TrumpFace.  I think, though, we'll just call it Constipa-Face because to me, it does resemble our current POTUS but also looks as if the wasband is severely constipated and is in serious need of some toilet time.  

On one hand, I'm secretly glad that the Daughter and I have this mutual understanding about her Dad, but on the other, I am somewhat saddened because I do not feel that any child should feel that a parent is not truly there or understanding them and their needs.  I guess in this respect, I'm going to be pulling double duty because Constipa-Face is incapable of change.  

Has a nice ring to it, don't it? :)

So, ahh....yes - when the Daughter came into my room and caught me in autopilot mode, just kind of going down the list of shit I have to get accomplished this week, I looked down and realized that I was slowly feeding tiny bits of beef jerky to the cat.  He was enjoying it, too...it was a tender enough brand of jerky and he was likely savoring the flavor-filled chews before swallowing his treat.  And he'd wait patiently for the next morsel, too, which I'd deliver in between my own little bites.

I suppose I'll find out in the morning if he truly enjoyed it or it ended up irritating his stomach.  

Hoping all's well with you guys.  Until next time. :)

:throb:,
- Capulet

Capulet

Hi, everyone!

I know I promised this update a few days sooner, but I've had some unexpected things pop up that I'm not quite ready to share with the world, yet.  Please know though, that I am physically and mentally okay and this is simply something that happened that I feel I need to spend some time processing privately before it becomes blog-fodder at a later time when I've got it all figured out.  I also need to scream at Will Ferrell for a little while - because now even HE is asking me if I'm sure I'm handling it the way I should be.  All I can say on that is, I hope so.  

But anyhow.  In my last blog, I promised to let you know whether I met my short-term weight-loss goal.  I did.  So, yay!  Yes, I'm very happy about this - I'm now setting another goal, and when that one is met, I'll keep setting goals until I can say I'm sincerely comfortable in my own body again.  It's been a very long time since that was the case and I feel that for the first time in ages, I've got control over my weight and my diet - which was one of my biggest health concerns.

And now for the apology and the rest...

It was recently brought to my attention that a post of mine in the forums was edited (just a sentence) because providing numbers/amounts of weight lost is against the forum guidelines.  (I'd only confirmed this AFTER the fact, by visiting the specific forum and saw them for myself.  See, when I browse the forums index page, I usually peruse the most recently added topics on the right hand column - I don't access these topics through the forum categories themselves.  And so I was not aware of this specific guideline when I responded to a post about dieting!)  Anyhow - I got a (friendly) note from a moderator letting me know that the post was edited and let me be clear - I am NOT upset about this nor am I upset with the moderator, who is a fantastic person and has always been kind to me.  I was very happy to see that she was doing her job keeping AS a safe place to be and I thanked her for doing whatever she felt was necessary.  It does my heart a LOT of good knowing that there are people out there devoted to keeping this a safe place for us all to visit and to turn to when we need.  So, to my friends who are part of the administration at AS - thank you for everything you do!!!  

I'm generally not a rule-breaker and just KNOWING I'd broken one, although not intentionally, was what bothered me the most.  And then I thought about it in-depth some more later on in the evening, even though my exchange with the moderator ended on a pleasant note...

It hit me that I've been posting a great deal about weight loss in my blogs for a long time, now.  My reason?  Simply put, you're supposed to write about things you think about, your life's challenges, everything and nothing in a blog.  Well, weight is a hurdle for me, always has been.  And my way of analyzing and dealing with this and other such obstacles in my life is to write about them and if I could, share them with anyone who would want to read.  But I realize now that in doing so, I wasn't thinking about others, about YOU guys - weight is a hurdle for more people than I realize, whether they're trying to gain it or lose it, maintain it, etc.  And it never occurred to me to, while I was ranting about my own personal struggle to adopt healthier eating habits, to stop and think about how many others are eating disordered as a result of traumatic life experience and how discussing these things may not be as well received as I originally felt it would be.

And for this, I am deeply sorry.  While my intention was merely to share a personal triumph, I simply was not thinking ahead when I wrote these blog entries and may have come across as selfish.  

Furthermore, I've decided that I'm no longer going to discuss my diet ambitions in my blog or in a post.  I am probably making a bigger deal out of it than it truly is, but this is a decision that I feel comfortable with making at the moment.  I'm pretty sure I'll have plenty of other things to ramble about. :)  If you're among the few that actually likes these (sometimes boring) diet updates, I invite you to inquire about my progress through private messages, where I feel I'll be able to speak more freely and without fear of offending because the topic is asked for and not imposed upon. 

It's been a LONG day and I'm about to turn in...just wanted to get this sent out before I did.  

Thanks for listening and for all the support!  Have a safe holiday weekend!

:throb:,
- Capulet

 

 

Capulet

The sun is shining today!

It has rained almost every day last week.  And when it rains, I'm tired, I'm moody and I'm just plain overall annoyed.  All I want to do is sleep.  Driving in the rain puts me at risk of entering autopilot mode - the wipers squeaking across the window...repeatedly...is what does it.  I'm unsure if this happens because it's a trigger or if it can be filed into the 'happens to everyone' pile.  Either way, I'm not sure what Mother Nature's problem is but she's cried buckets, drowning us all in the eastern states for the last several days with occasional, too-brief periods of reprieve. Brings me back to when I was a child and someone (for some reason, I cannot remember whom) told me that was because God was crying.  And I, being the extremely gullible child I was, would talk to God through the window and tell him that he needed to cheer up so that I could go ride my Strawberry Shortcake bike with the banana seat.    

Ahhhh, the days without electronic stimulation!  Remembering myself as being seven, eight years old always made me smile.  Briefly, but a smile regardless.

Having not much else to do because of inclement weather has forced me to think a lot about childhood days.  Mostly about the happier times.  I think there were a lot of contributing factors, really, other than my own boredom.  My own kids would never DREAM of doing the things I enjoyed when I was younger than they were.  No, they are far too fixated on their phones, their video game consoles, their iPads and any additional electronic devices that prevent them from being able to tell whether or not it's a nice day.  

I was a kid who loved going to the park on nice sunny days.  I loved the monkey bars...most all of New York City parks had a set.  They were the boxy, metal square ones at first, before the builders got more creative and started building sets out of heavy duty plastic.  I loved hurtling myself upside down and hanging like a bat until all of the blood rushed to my head, then doing a gymnastics-style roll/flip back onto my feet.  I loved turning cartwheels in the grass...this was something I was good at, apparently - while I'd never mastered a back handspring, I was pretty lithe and was able to perform both two-handed and one-handed cartwheels, splits, back bends.  I didn't fancy the slide too much - as those too were made out of metal back in the day and if it was summertime, we'd scald our asses along with the back of our legs going down without a towel or something to sit on.  There were also the old fashioned see-saws and you don't see those anywhere anymore.

Swinging was my favorite, though.  Some of my friends had back-yard swing sets and we'd swing as high as we could, until the poles came out of the ground, signaling to us that we'd best recognize our limits.  But in the park, the swing sets were welded into the ground and when there was no limit to how high we could swing, I'd go higher and higher until I was at risk of doing a 360...it felt as if I were flying.   There were times when I'd hold onto the chain links on either side and close my eyes, put my legs straight out in front of me, and lean backwards for an extended period of time.  Swinging while in that position would tickle my stomach.  I also remembered wondering what would happen if I were to let go of the chains.  I mean, I knew that I'd fall.  I wondered how much it would hurt.  Would a swinging midair hurl off of the seat kill me?  Luckily, I didn't investigate that any further since the thought scared me enough to outweigh what was likely childish curiosity.

Then there was the familiar melody of the ice-cream truck - Mr. Softee is still my favorite.  I always preferred soft ice cream to hard.  I never could hear jack shit, but I knew the SOUND of the Mr. Softee that would make hourly rounds.  The familiar horde of children that would run over to the park entrance whenever that sound came blaring through the speakers.  SOMETIMES, my mom would get us each a cone - depending on the mood she was in, of course, or whether she had a few singles on her.  

And sometimes, when it was REALLY hot outside, the sprinklers would be on, there was a little fenced-in pit with a drain where kids could run around in their bathing suits and keep cool while their mothers fanned themselves on a nearby bench.

Those are the memories shared by most 80's kids that lived in Brooklyn.  When it rained, if we were lucky, we had the original NES systems with Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt to keep us occupied, but for the most part, social media didn't exist and so we had to rely on nice weather in order to have any sort of fun on summer days.  Hell, some of these kids didn't give a shit about what the weather forecast said or whether or not God was crying - they went to the park ANYWAY.  

I'd tell my kids these things and get all sorts of 'are you crazy!?' looks.  But that's evolution, I guess...we're simply not in the 80's anymore.  Rain or shine, there they are with their phones, their tablets, video games...because who cares about the park?!  It's more important to follow the saga of who's going out, who's breaking up, who's sleeping with whom...it's not just my kids, though, so this is somewhat relieving.  It's just saddening, a little, to know they'll never love these things as much as I used to.  We're just from entirely different times.  Makes me wonder what things are going to be like when THEY become parents!  

There IS also a reason I'm mentioning these fond memories, I know I like to ramble and I thank y'all for bearing with me through all these novellas...LOL.

So...we also had (another) power outage last week.  It went on from Tuesday at about three-thirty in the afternoon until Thursday afternoon.  Two full days with no power.  Thankfully we weren't reliant on running the heat, otherwise we'd have been cold on top of temporarily living the Amish lifestyle.  

I'd been watching television when the storm hit and within a couple of minutes, we went dark.  We'd later learn it was because of a downed tree as a result of tornado-force winds in our area.  You can certainly imagine the kids' turmoil when nothing worked - at least until batteries were 100% depleted.  The wasband had power, though his went out for only a few hours before being restored.   And so for the sake of preserving whatever sanity I still possessed, I sent them over there until things were back up and running at my house.  Luckily, it wasn't like last time - when Snowmageddon wiped out our electricity for five days.  Still though, I cannot stress enough how much tree-inforcement is needed in these parts - the trees are tall and most are so dangerously close to power lines.  All it takes is strong winds and we're shit out of luck for however long it takes for the utility companies to come repair the lines.  But before they can come fix the lines, whatever tree that is lying on top of them has to be cut down and removed, making this a long, trying process in the Pocono Mountains.  And it's happened two times this year already - it being extended power outages.  

If there's anything I miss about city life, that's it.  We paid about as much as you'd pay for a kidney on the black market for electricity and gas, but THEIR outages (unless it was due to a hurricane) were only hours long at most.  Here?  A single flipping tree falls and BAM, 15K people in the dark for three days.  And whenever we have bad storms, that's multiplied many times over, resulting in a surge of restaurant activity and generator sales.  I seriously need a generator...when the power goes out, it takes the running water with it and we are completely, (pun intended here) powerless to function until restoration.

But as initially stated, that's about all I miss about the city.  Even though so many good memories were formulated there and it's where I spent the first twelve years of my life, I don't miss Brooklyn.  I don't even miss the park, and this is probably the saddest part of the whole thing.  Admittedly, the parks here are subpar in comparison and some don't even have swing sets! But my kids simply don't care much for them in general, as their brains have effectively been taken over by the invention of electronics and that thing called wi-fi that I, too, find myself in a state of panic without.  Mr. Softee, since he doesn't cover this area, has been replaced by Rita's - their gelati with vanilla custard with cherry ices in between is uh-mayyyyzing!!! (I won't put down the points value but I do know it for my own reference.)

And I'm thinking there's more to my wanting to close the door and put away these childhood memories that I once loved - because I've come to realize that there are not too many others in existence that effectively fill in the gaps in between.  Not full ones, anyway.  Just snippets here and there, of people I loved and are long since gone...gone before they could and perhaps would have been able to answer my questions about myself as a kid.  Questions that plague me now as an adult.  I also remember places I'd gone and visited, some smells, too.  I can recall little details here and there but not what I felt or experienced during these times.  I'm just more often left with more questions I started with, and so whenever something sends my mind on a throwback, I find myself shifting focus more onto the present and imagining alternate futures that would have otherwise stemmed from perhaps, a more stable childhood.  

I just stuggle with what could possibly have happened to cause these enormous, gaping holes in the canvas containing the events of my childhood?  I want to say that part of me is fine with not remembering the bad parts but I think I'd be lying to myself and to all of you if I said that I didn't want to eventually know the truth.  I know I'm a broken record about that sometimes, but it's simply not something that goes away.  I guess I just have to continue to be patient, I need to wait and see what unfolds with time, IF anything decides to reveal itself, it will be when when my brain allows for it.  It seems that most of my other happy memories came with a darker counterpart.  And this, I don't like at all.  For example, I remember my grandmother's house being a place where we gathered as a family and spent holidays - Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.  And then I remember entering the house after she had died - feeling no remaining evidence of her warm presence.  No, all I felt was a blast of cold, with a side order of hatred toward my uncle who was now the sole owner.  And as I wrote about in a previous blog, this brought forth a rush of a new set of emotions that I'm STILL dealing with, years and years later.

In attempts to understand myself a little clearer, I try to picture an imaginary timeline of my childhood.  

It had all started out sunny and bright.  Flowers in bloom, birds singing, (even though I can't hear them, I can picture the little musical notes floating above in this vision) people smiling, myself and other kids playing, laughing, not having a care in the world.  

And little by little, the timeline weather begins to change.  It absolutely changes for all of us, for it's a part of life.  I'd imagine, as we mature and we transform from being children into teens and then eventually, adulthood, our 'timelines' do, too.  Because, as we grow, we have things to worry about - we have concerns.  We have responsibilities.  Some of us don't have secrets, though, like I feel that I did.  Secrets that even I don't know I had, buried deep inside that fun-loving child that exists only through these few clear memories, now.  

For me, though, watching my own particular timeline unfold, these imaginary skies gradually became cloudy and darkened earlier than it would someone who isn't riddled with suspicion or confusion about things having occurred during their childhoods - for me, there are black patches of a whole lot of nothing.  There are these obvious voids; bottomless swirling holes that I can't make sense of.  Most of them are indeed accompanied by little bits of information - enough for me to form a hypothesis, but not enough to get the full story...I HOPE this makes sense because I don't know how to explain it any better than through this analogy.  

But, yeah...they're there, right along with these occasional bright spots that I do recognize and I can smile about.  As I proceeded down (or up?) the timeline, they remained there, and even though things were cloudy, the imaginary sun still shone through and illuminated my path going forward.  It, however, shone bright enough for me to notice and subsequently, to skip over those black voids - because they simply weren't things that were going to be explained to me anytime soon.  Why sit there?  Why obsess over them?  Why peer into those holes?  I wasn't going to see anything.  In hindsight, I've tried, many times during the course of my thirty-nine years, to stop and peek into some of these holes and have always come up empty.

The rain came during puberty, as I faced unpleasant bodily changes and contended with hormones that I, as expected, didn't know how to deal with the inevitable transformation into adulthood.  Who does, though?  If you asked the younger, child-like me, I'd say that was when God started to cry a lot.  It started off with little droplets and occasional showers before the sky finally opened up following a sexual assault when I was seventeen.  That's when the torrential downpours began, often accompanied by thunder and lightening and otherwise frightening 'weather' in between the usual periods of sunshine (the good days) that would best represent the years I'd spend healing, rebuilding the me that my own personal weather conditions have battered over the years.  

Just like, in reality, while the bad weather occasionally batters someone's home, someone's property, causes wreckage and turmoil (power outages, hello!?) an emotional representation can also be successfully formed, at least for me.  Recovery reminds me of weather, in many ways.  There are good days.  Bad days.  Days where we want to be out and about be productive...and then there are days where we don't want to get out of bed and face the cruel, damp, dreary world.

It's just so, very easy (and at times, appropriate) for me to make these symbolic associations to my past, using rain, gloominess and cloudiness.  I think it's also why I appreciate sunny days more, now that I'm older.  I think it's safe to say that I weathered those teenage-year storms and now, only the childhood voids remain.  And there they will continue to remain until the time comes for them to reveal the information that is hidden in each.  

I do know that there are going to be many more rainy days to come.  That's to be expected of life.  Everyone's life, not just the lives of a survivor.  

(I know I don't need to explain to anyone here that sometimes it feels like MY life is more sullied, tarnished, tainted and at times, 'worse' than other 'normal' people's lives, when in fact, we know next to nothing of what that person deals with on a day-to-day....it FEELS like this at times, though!  This is just me venting, though - I know that these 'normal' people have their own crappy cards dealt at one point or another.) 

Even on these bad days, I make it a point to search for the smallest amount of 'sunlight,' little snippets of positivity that serve as reminders that there are indeed things to smile about regardless of shit weather, both metaphoric and real.  Reminders that even though so many question marks have been applied via (imaginary) Sharpie onto my envisioned timeline, there are still so, so many beautiful people, things, moments that I can stop to appreciate while I wait for the other things to make sense.  Kind of like enjoying the finer bits of life while waiting with a club in hand for the whack-a-mole creature to pop up out of whatever void it feels inclined to pop out of, first.  THEN, I'll hit this poor, unsuspecting mole (hope it's not a cat) on the head and see what unfolds.  It may decide to reveal what's in the gap from whence it came, or it may pop out of a different hole, sending me on a wild goose chase...similar to the one I've been on for the last several years.  

Patience.  It's what I'll have to work on, now.  I can play this game for as long as I need to.  But brighter days are indeed helpful for the overall mindset.

It IS, however, going to rain tomorrow.  According to my trusty weather app, God will shed some tears in the Poconos and it's going to stop on Wednesday and we should have drier conditions for the rest of the week.  Here's hoping.

In closing, I am genuinely hoping you're all well, too.  I will provide a weight update soon but since we missed last week's due to the power outage, I'll simply say that I'm hoping to drop a pound and a half this week to make my grand total an even 30 pounds.  If that happens, you'll hear from me tomorrow at some point.  If not, then I'll plod on and keep trying.  You might still hear from me, anyway.  That's future planning for you. :) 

- Capulet

 

Capulet

Hello, all!

A Happy Belated Mother's Day to all of you who are either mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, fathers pulling double-duty, babysitters, to anyone at all who loves and nurtures a child...be it for a lifetime or simply for a few hours at a time, it matters none...yesterday was all about you guys - and I hope someone took the time to let you know how appreciated you are!  The Son and Daughter got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers as well as a lovely card - the card is on my mantle and the flowers are in my bathroom with the door closed, for that's the only place they are safe from the extremely disobedient cat that likes to feast upon the flower buds.

Moving on...

Today was...interesting.  

Interesting in the sense I stepped foot on a college campus with a backpack slung over my shoulder, but not because I'm the one taking classes.  No, that ship has long since sailed.  I was NEVER a good student.  The whole school setting was ALWAYS a challenge for me.  I did complete three years of college before I dropped out when I discovered I was pregnant with my son...and never looked back.  Lately though, I've been thinking about finishing up my Associates'.  Why not?  I can do it.  I'm only a semester or two shy of the degree.  

But this isn't really about me.  It is, but it isn't.  I'll explain. 

My son, the soon-to-be high school graduate, had his college orientation today.  We were, of course, accompanied by the wasband, since this, being a monumental moment in our boy's life, warranted the presence of both of the Son's parents.  Especially since, for the majority of the duration of the orientation, the Son would be traveling seperately with student cluster groups while the parents would be required to sit through six (yes, count them - SIX) separate topic lectures on financial aid, student safety on campus, student financial institutions within the college, managing course loads, a small lecture on what we, as parents, would now expect out of an 'adjusting' college student and finally, a briefing on commuting.  Yes, you may now YAWN, I know I did plenty of that.  

This is where it gets stupid - because upon arrival at the orientation event at 7:30 in the morning, we were presented with a folder outlining the topics of each lecture, and MOST of what was discussed in each 'meeting' was simply read to us by whatever unfortunate professor had been assigned the task.  I mean, did they think we forgot how to read?  

One of the main reasons the wasband was convinced to take the day off is because me + lecture halls = disaster.  In large crowds, theater/auditorium surroundings, I generally miss about fifty percent of what's being said, especially during the end portion of each briefing when hands would shoot up and we'd have a Q & A.  The wasband agreed to join me and be an extra set of ears and during each lecture, he would mumble, "they're just reading from the outline on page whatever-it-was," and he'd be answering work-related emails on his phone.  And so, I silently sat in my seat, and I allowed myself to 'get fuzzy' during those parts.  I think I even closed my eyes a couple of times - to say the whole thing was boring is certainly the understatement of the year.  It's relieving though, I was not the only one - many of the other parents were also sleeping.  When I get blurry, as I sometimes put it...you know what I mean?  You stare at something for long enough, your vision begins to blur as it turns into a non-blinking daydream.  It happens A LOT with me.  I talked about when it happens while I DRIVE, sometimes - I know, it's not safe at all, but it can't be helped.

However....during these fuzz-outs...

I did find myself forced to remember...especially during the moments when the Son and his peers would join the group of parents for certain parts of the orientation event.  I watched him walk into the auditorium in the beginning of the day for the introduction.  I watched him smile (he's so handsome!) when he saw some people he knew from his current school.   I watched him talk to other incoming freshmen, saw him shake a few hands.  I watched with pride as he requested information on campus employment during the information fair walk-through.  

I also saw things in him that reminded me of myself, when I was seventeen years old.  I noticed the clueless face; it appeared at moments when he THOUGHT no one was looking.  But, you know...Mom sees everything.  

It looked so much like my face, guys.  

I saw him shift nervously when he accepted his folder,  when he was given his sticky name tag that he'd be wearing for the day.  I saw the tiny little cringe when they talked about joining one of the dozens of clubs the University had to offer.  

You see, my son is by no means a social butterfly (do they refer to males as butterflies?) and while our reasons are certainly different, it's something I can relate to.  My being 'different' was always something that prevented me from initiating conversation, it caused me to shy away, to simply observe from afar.  If someone approached me, I was always friendly.  I still am.  For the most part, though, it's VERY difficult for me to take the initiative to approach someone else and introduce myself.  The Son, although he's very well liked, also prefers to keep to himself - he likes being friendly with people from a distance.  He spends hours talking to 'invisible' friends by way of his XBOX headset and he prides himself in his ability to have over twenty thousand Instagram followers - but I rarely see him conversing with 'real life' friends.  His idea of a normal day is to wake up, go to school, eat, play XBOX and sleep - rinse and repeat. I, too, felt more comfortable being by myself.  I still do.

The Son's hearing, if you go by the medical assessment, is diagnosed as being normal.  However, he's got a condition that plagues MOST teenagers these days - it is called 'selective hearing.'  The Daughter has it, too - she was blessed with this condition at birth while his, I feel has been gradual.

For the most part, I ignored the wasband and his phone and focused mainly on the boy I raised.  I watched his expressions, his movements.  He's terrified...no more or less than any of his peers, though.  Eventually, my ex's presence faded - I ALMOST forgot that he was even there.

Today, while watching my son, I was brought back to MY freshman year.  This was not a good year for me, as many of you know by now what happened to me in 1996 - and it is safe to say that this experience I had when I was encouraged to 'be social' ended up forever tarnishing my remaining college days as well as the rest of my life.  I'd been told, "Hey, listen...you're in college, now.  It's time to get to know people, have fun, join clubs, socialize."  And it might have been Oompa's voice saying these things since I didn't begin to find Will Ferrell annoying until much later.  And eventually, my mother's voice morphed into my own - I believed all of it and started echoing these things to myself.  I tried to be what others who were less socially inept recommended for me to be, and I ended up putting myself in danger.  Yes, I do know that what happened wasn't my fault - there is no misplacement of blame here, it falls upon the miserable excuse of a man who assaulted me.  I just feel that my way of thinking had been effectively manipulated when I truly wasn't unhappy with the way things were in the first place.  So WHAT if I was quiet and shy?  Who cares?  I had my innocence.  I was simply doing things at my own pace.  Until things happened and my pace went out the window along with any self-caring I had left.

And now, 21 years later, here is this know-it-all professor saying that the way my boy likes to live, the way he's comfortable and content, (eat, sleep, play video games, with the addition of his new college class attendance in between eating and sleeping) is described as the 'highway' way, and he'll find himself bored if he doesn't integrate some University club and social activities into his (already) busy schedule.

What do you DO with that?  My mind at this point was racing.

I wanted to scream at this idiot...let him be who he wants to be, damn it.  If he wants to get up, go to class, and come right back home, then that's his God-given right - no one has any reason to tell him any differently.  If he joins a club, it's going to be because he has a genuine interest in it, not because he's going to be coerced into it for the sake of building up his social resume.  If he prefers quality over quantity when it comes to making friends, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.  If he wants to be socially awkward, then that's what he'll be.  

He's my boy and I love him, dearly just the way he is.  And I'm going to make sure he knows that.  I'll encourage him to be the best person he can be - the choices that lead him onto the path of adulthood will be his own and his own alone.  If he's happy, I'm happy.  

That should TRULY be enough, shouldn't it?

OMG.  What time is it?!  My eyes are closing on me.  I'll be back later this week.

Hope y'all are doing well.

All my best,
- Capulet

 

Capulet

Hey, all!  Hoping this finds everyone in good health...mental and otherwise!  As for me, I'm still...well...me. I dare not say for sure that I'm in good mental health because that, as always, remains a matter of opinion. :)  

So...spring has finally sprung where I live...where there were gnarled, menacing tree branches, there are now lovely cherry blossom trees in bloom, colorful leaves growing, grass and flowers sprouting.  Rising temperatures are also lifting my spirits - although we've had more than enough rain, it's still nice to be free of the arctic nightmare that was this past winter.  I'm more motivated to go outside - this week, we're having a little work done in our backyard.  Next week, I'll be attempting to decorate.  The Son's graduation barbecue has been set for five weeks from now and I'm motivated to make our back yard beautiful.  The cherry blossom tree I want of my own is likely going to be next year's project; making the yard presentable is going to keep me busy enough for the next few weeks.

Lost a little bit less than one pound,  bringing my total to 26.1.  Slowly but surely, I'll get there.  My water intake hasn't been what it should.  Will work on that this week.

But, anyway...enough of the small talk... 

Lately, I've been struggling with sleep, again. I thought I had it figured out, but I apparently do not.

Tylenol PM has been deemed ineffective - two nights this past week, I took two and waited, waited and WAITED.  Sleep remained elusive, even though I had managed to cover every single little annoying light in the room.  I tossed and turned for at least another two or three hours before I finally fell asleep - an hour before the alarm roused me to get the kids up and off to school.

I think I know what the problem is.  It's not until I'm trying to fall asleep at night that my brain (which has been inadequately programmed to accept SLEEP as an acceptable and normal way of life) decides that it's time to think about things that I don't necessarily have answers for.  At two or three in the morning, no less.  I'll be tossing and turning, intent on replenishing on my energy and strength and my brain goes something like this: "Pssst.  Hey, Capulet.  D'ya remember the kitchen drawer you meant to re-arrange and organize?  Well, it's getting fuller because you've been neglecting it for weeks.  How much longer do you think it'll be before you won't be able to open it?  And when you finally DO get to it, the knob you pull to open the drawer is loose.  You're going to need a Phillips screwdriver to tighten it.  The screwdriver is actually IN that drawer, too, so you don't have to look far.  You planned for that, actually.  And then when you're done with that knob, you're going to need to tighten at least a dozen other knobs throughout the kitchen and bathroom cabinets..."

So, there you have it...there's me...at three o'clock in the fucking morning, there I am with the screwdriver, because my brain won't shut the fuck up about the knobs.  You'd also think - okay, all thirteen knobs tightened, am I going to be able to sleep now?  No.  Because then it starts with the next thing.  It's like my brain queues thoughts - things I push away when I have all the time in the world during the damn day, and it saves them for when I'm supposed to be sleeping.  But I think I'm a sleep superhero - I've mentioned previously that this was something I've been used to since I was in my late teens.  Sure, the day after, I'm a zombie and the night after, I USUALLY crash accompanying a NyQuil swig.

So, a couple nights ago...I had a pounding headache.  Took a Tylenol PM - (and here's further proof that it simply doesn't work...I either need to take three or four or find something stronger) and headed to bed.  Few minutes in, there's the voice of my brain.  

"Hey.  Hey.  Never mind sleep.  Tell me, Capulet, why do you think you don't like music?"

I punch my pillow.  Oh, my God.  All I want is to SLEEP!  Shut up, brain.  SHUT UP!  I attempt to ignore the voice.  I think of other things.  I think of my beautiful nieces and my handsome nephew.  My cats.  My upcoming house projects.  The parties I'm trying to plan for birthdays, graduations, other marvelous life moments.  I try to "start" a dream...hopefully I'll drift off and finish it.  No such luck that night, though.

"You're not going to sleep until you explain to yourself why you hate music.  Come on.  It's time to think about this and nothing else, because you're NOT going to be able to sleep until you do..."  I want to say Will Ferrell is the voice of my disobedient brain - simply because I can't stand him and find him annoying.  Very convenient, isn't it, to have him narrate my impromptu middle-of-the-night thoughts?

So, I get to thinking about my dislike of music.  It's not because I want to or choose to, it's because Will Ferrell won't let me sleep.

I always thought that it mostly has to do with the fact that I can't hear it.  I can feel the beat, I can hear, through the help of my hearing aid, the sounds.  But I cannot string together the words to a song.  I can't tell if it's a pleasant sound or dissonant.  I can't enjoy it, even in the smallest way.  I don't understand when someone tells me that music is more than hearing; it's an experience.  I don't get it when my fiancee rushes over to me after watching 'The Voice' with goosebumps on her arms and she says, "Oh, my god...their singing...it sent chills through my body...look!  See the goosebumps?"  And sure enough, yes, there they are.  I don't get it when I see people in the gym or jogging in the park with headphones in.  I mean, I guess I CAN understand - for these people, it serves as a distraction...when you can focus on your favorite songs while you work out, the exercise doesn't seem so tedious.  Maybe that's why I fail miserably whenever I DO bring my ass over to the gym. 

I see people with song lyrics tattooed on them.  Lyrics I normally cannot identify the song they came from or who the artist is.   

My mother loves music and enjoys Broadway...she goes to shows often with her (retired) friends.  My father, when he's not swearing at the Mets and their recent lack of baseball talent, loves music and occasionally 'jams' with his (also retired) friends - he plays the organ and the saxophone, for fun.  He's also known to enjoy American Idol when it's on.  My sister (the one who's a bit of a snoot) has been performing since she was a small child and much to all of our relief, she's now just had her second child and is just now focusing on motherhood, something she should have started doing five years ago when my nephew was born.  

My fiancee loves playing her favorite music in the car or in the bedroom...she will attempt to tell me about certain songs, certain performers, and as much as I try, I can't bring myself to care.  In fact, J and I have an inside joke.  Whenever I see people sing, I have to admit to being amused by it and often referring to it as 'people screaming.'   Because, to me, it looks like they're screaming in pain.  Especially the ones who belt out in song and distort their faces so excessively, it reminds me of someone attempting to pass a kidney stone or preparing for childbirth.  And so, on J's days off, I sleep late (most likely because the night before was a restless one) and while she's waiting for me to awaken, she 'watches people scream' with her cat.  It works for me.

And finally, my KIDS love music.  The daughter is constantly playing music through her iPad while she does homework, cleans, takes showers.  A lot of the time, I have to tell her to turn her stuff down, because it's giving me a headache.  The Son, a few weeks ago when I picked him up from school, expressed his sadness that I couldn't hear music.  He said he 'felt so bad' for me, that he found it devastating that I didn't know what I was missing.  I told him that I wasn't bothered by it.  I think I found it more touching that he was of the impression that we'd even have the same taste in tunes...

I've even seen and met other deaf people (and it's safe to say they are just as deaf as I) who enjoy feeling the beat and claim to love music, even watching people sing/perform on television, even if they're not getting the full audio experience they still SOMEHOW manage to gain from music and reading the subtitles as a person performs.  I'll never understand though, how that's possible, either.  But I never questioned it. I don't think I ever really cared enough to do so.  I guess it would be a different story if I'd ever heard music.  If I'd been born with the ability to hear and lost my hearing later in life, I think I'd have been crushed, having something I enjoyed so intensely taken away from me.  I think that's what my son THINKS happened in my case, even though I've explained time and time again - you can't possibly miss something you've never had the pleasure of understanding or experiencing.  

But...I have to confess...I hate music.  When I hear music playing through the radio or through someone's phone or from the TV, it sounds staticky.  It's just loud, annoying noise.  Oftentimes, it gives me a headache because that's what noise DOES.  When you can't make heads nor tails of it, you're left with unnecessary background noise that plays in your head long after it's been turned off.  I can't help but roll my eyes - is it really as hyped up as everyone says?  I mean - I've always said people were entitled to their own opinions, not everyone likes and dislikes the same things.  But almost every single person I know likes music...and I can't help but feel left out because this isn't something I can take joy in alongside them.  Ebenezer Scrooge's 'bah humbug' comes to mind whenever I see someone enjoying music or singing...and I just find myself disconnecting from any and all forms of music.  I allow myself to get lost in thoughts and if the 'noise' gets to be too much, I take my ear out.  I retreat into silence, because, for me - this is more comfortable.

I have another theory, though, on why this is such a torrid topic.  And this isn't an easy theory to recognize but in hindsight, it makes a whole lot of sense.  I am going to issue a trigger warning at this point...okay?

When I was assaulted at seventeen years old, it happened at a party.  I was in someone's bedroom (it was not my attacker's house nor a fraternity house - it was simply someone else's 'folks-are-away-on-European-vacation-so-let's-have-a-rager' house) and my assailant had locked us inside that upstairs bedroom under the pretense of making a phone call to someone who could pick me up since my 'ride' was downstairs and drunk.

Anyway, at one point after things had gone terribly wrong, I was pinned down on the floor, with him on top of me, methodically ripping away my soul.  It was after I had stopped fighting him - any previous attempts to cry for help were not heard nor recognized and the door remained locked for the duration of the assault.  And although I may not have understood it in the moment due to shock and eventual 'check-out', I'd later begin to realize why no one came.  It's because, through the floor, I could literally feel the blasting of the music playing downstairs.  This kid must have had top-of-the-line speakers and stereo equipment because it was the type of loud that one could barely hear themselves in, never mind someone in a bedroom upstairs.  My body (back mostly) vibrated along with the floors.  Surely, no one heard my feet and fists stomping on the floor.  No one heard me scream.  No one came to my rescue because NO ONE HEARD ME.  During that life-changing moment that I will never be able to associate without the presence of loud "noise," I lost not only a huge part of myself, but also the ability to see music as anything but bothersome as well as loathsome.

And there you have it, friends - I want to think that although the hearing impairment is likely the primary culprit, that there is also that secondary reason why I won't open up my mind to music.  I just can't.  Yet, I've been known to jot down some poetry and I was constantly writing things down following the sexual assault.  These were my most common outlets.  Both of these are closely associated with songwriting and with creation.  But for me - there was no musical vision accompanying these words.  While another artist might be able to put 'noise' and lovely melodies to these words, all I can manage, is silence.  I am sure that music in general is a beautiful thing - yet, I can't help but associate it with something so ugly and heartless, cruel, cold.  And this is something I don't like about myself nor to admit about myself, especially since I know that for so many people, whether they are close to me or not, this is a STAPLE.  People have said they don't know what they'd do without their favorite music...for to them, it's comforting.  

As I near the end of this post, I do want to put a little disclaimer here - that if you are one of those who gain comfort from music, I certainly do respect that - I just would never be able to understand it the way you do!  And in no way do I feel differently about any of my friends who love something I dislike so much - for I truly feel we all have our valid reasons for loving/hating something.  I just feel that unless you can effectively explain and comprehend what your own personal reasons are, then you're not justified.  (I don't know if this is even the right word or even fair to say - it's just a feeling I have when it comes to my own likes and dislikes, and it's, as expected, nearly 3am right now so I've surpassed the point of translucent thinking.)  

I truly wish that this was different for me and that I were more open to reading song lyrics, 'feeling' the meaning behind them, etc, but this is not something I can do right now.  If this will ever be possible, I don't know, but I'm not in a hurry.

But, to me, aside from not being able to hear it properly, music is simply just noise...and likely a triggering one.  

I'm not sure if writing this blog entry will enable me to completely understand or even to answer this particular pressing question that from time to time plagues me at odd hours of the morning.  I'm not sure if it's even validation I seek.  Either way...I'll hope that this interpretation appeases Will Ferrell as I hobble over to the bed.  I've taken the swig a few minutes ago and am hoping that shortly, sleep, along with silence, will overcome my otherwise busy, insomniac brain.  I'm sure that in the next couple nights, Will shall be back and he'll be asking me (at 2am) if I've remembered to feed the Daughter's hermit crabs or if I've remembered to transfer the clothes from the washer into the dryer or I've paid a bill or emailed an aunt for her birthday.

My best to everyone.  And, until next time, adios!

- Capulet

Capulet

Hey, guys!  Me, again.  Did you miss me? :throb:

So...here's a question.  

Have you ever gone on the same drive a million times?  It's usually something as simple as dropping a kid off at school or running to the store for a gallon of milk.  You know, it's a routine at this point...you take the same route, you know where to turn, you've nicknamed the landmarks/street signs/other distinguishing areas surrounding you so that while you navigate and drive, you can kind of 'reserve' some of your attention to scenery or to whatever else is on your mind.  Yes, you're behind the wheel, so you're actually paying attention but at the same time, you've gone into a sort of autopilot mode?  You get to your destination (store, pick up kid, bowling alley, etc) and snap back into reality, "gee, that was quick."  And then you also wonder how you got there in one piece without REALLY paying attention.

That's been happening a lot, lately.  Especially since moving from city surroundings into the country.  There's just less traffic on the road, so I find it far easier to zone off into space while I drive.  

What do I think about?  I don't even know.  Everything and nothing.  

Like, the Son brought home his cap and gown on Friday last week.  That just makes me feel even older than I am.  I think about how I'm going to have to plan a party for him for both his graduation and his birthday, how I've got to soon deal with the pains in my ass that are my family and wonder what kind and what amount of drama I'm going to be faced with in the near future.  I ponder the daughter's continuing childish behavior; and of course, remind myself to check for feathers if she's recently been unsupervised.  I think about the bills, how we need to build back up our bank account some now that taxes were just due.  These little things come to mind when I'm in autopilot mode, I'm feeling my eyes get fuzzy, I'm yawning...I get the shit scared out of me when I run over the grooves in the road, because I'm so deep in thought sometimes. 

And today, I almost drifted off to sleep on my way home from the store!

Oooooops.

We can blame it on the Mets, if we want.  They just finished playing the Padres in San Diego, so two games started at 10pm this past week.  But that's likely not going to hold, especially if you know what time I actually DO go to sleep on any normal night.  And J knows that I went to sleep an hour or two AFTER those games ended, because that was simply closer to my 'normal' bedtime, which is now between two and three in the morning. 

*note the time of this blog's posting.  See what I mean? :) 

I suppose I should eventually try and get to the bottom of my sleep disorder.  I think it's safe to call it a disorder at this point because it's simply not normal.  I can't say my sleep patterns have ever been normal.  

Some of you already know about my (ridiculous) sensitivity to light.  I can also say many are amused by it because, well, it kind of IS funny when you think about it.  Me, covering up all the lights, or first getting comfortable in bed, only to whip the covers off and grab a stray t-shirt to cover that damn blinking light on the cable box, because I'll NOT be able to sleep unless I can't see that pesky little green light!  If it's not the cable box, it's J's phone - she sometimes wakes up in the morning and finds her cell phone covered with a sock. (There's only so much I can see in the dark so while rummaging around her side of the bed, that's usually what I come up with...so I apologize to my sweetheart if her phone ever mysteriously smells like feet in the morning...)

That light  sensitivity BS started in childhood.  I would literally NOT sleep if one of my sisters needed a night light.  Or there was a hallway light on that I could see from underneath a closed door.  Nope.  Until that hallway light was turned off, I would feel as if I were underneath a spotlight.  If I could see anything in the room because of these little tiny (LED lights on phone, cable/tv lights) sources of illumination, then I think I knew they could also see me.  Now, I don't know how much sense this makes, because really, how is being able to see me sleep a threat?  It's something I never really put too much thought into.  I'm REALLY thinking, though, that the possible CSA I experienced (and don't remember) has added to the mystery surrounding my sleep, or lack of.

I also used to sleepwalk as a child.  This began at age eight or nine and continued until I started high school.  Thankfully, it wasn't a frequent occurrence.  My parents witnessed it a few times, and I am sure that there were times when they, along with the rest of my family was unaware.  I remember wondering why I was "on the other side" of my bed when I'd wake up in the morning.  (I'd go to sleep with my head on my pillow and wake up with my feet on my pillow.  The pillow never moved, but I certainly did.)  Back then, though, during my high school years, I used to go to sleep during 'normal' hours; I'd bring myself up to bed at 10pm and sleep until morning with few issues.  I even recall sleepwalking when I was a teenager, but cannot recall any other incidents past the age of fifteen or sixteen.  

I should add that upon reading up on somnambulism a bit on Wikipedia, I've also discovered I have RLS (restless leg syndrome)...I didn't know there was a name for that!  In order to go to sleep, or FALL asleep, in addition to the need for pitch blackness, I also have to be moving my leg/foot.  One leg is almost always dangling off the side of the bed and it's moving all the way up to the point until sleep finally consumes me.  

Good God, I'm a hot mess, ain't I?

And I'm a very, very lucky woman, because I've been sharing a bed for almost half of my life.  Thankfully, the wasband and J both sleep like logs and my sleepwalking, talking, shaking, whatever the hell else I'm doing whenever I'm supposed to be sleeping, had/has no effect on their rest.

I'd later add to my growing list of sleep issues when I started college.  After being sexually assaulted (and yes, there I go again with the sugar-coated version of what happened to me in 1996...twenty-one years later,  the four-letter word beginning with 'R,' still makes me cringe.)  I had horrible nightmares whenever I slept too deeply, I felt unsafe while sleeping.  I suppose this part makes sense - when I'm sleeping, I'm not able to hear anything, not able to see anything (thanks to my issues with lights) and therefore, I felt even more powerless and less willing to just let myself sleep soundly.  I mean, how dare I sleep, when this would force me to relinquish any and all control over my body?  Yes, unfortunately, that was my mindset back then.  I avoided sleep by way of caffeinated drinks, sugary snacks and late-night computer sessions.  I think it's also safe to say this was when I got my 'autopilot's license.'  I zoned out during class and traveling through the campus from one class to another, driving back and forth to school, I stared and stared while sitting alone in the cafeteria or I was at home in the safety of my room - it didn't matter where I was, I'd always, ALWAYS find myself slowly losing focus, losing myself.  I'd also find myself "fuzzing" during regular day-to-day interactions with the small amount of friends I had.

Then of course, I had a baby at 21.  When the wasband and I welcomed the Son, I was already used to functioning on less than four hours' sleep per night.  So, when my son was a colicky baby that didn't cooperate nor sleep when I wanted him to, forcing me to sit in the rocker with him until he did go back to sleep, I whittled my amount of rest down to 2-3 hours per night.  I eventually would crash from exhaustion, and once my demon child started sleeping through the night, I slowly got back up to four or five.  

That all being said, let's fast-forward to me, now, my present self STILL has self-diagnosed insomnia.

This is what I don't get, mainly.  I'm in a decent frame of mind.  I no longer fear sleep.  I'm not sure if 'fear' is the correct word, as over the years my attitude toward sleep has evolved.  On occasion and when I'm nothing short of burnt out, I find myself welcoming it.  Maybe it was fear in the beginning, which is certainly understandable and justified.  That was when I avoided sleep at all costs, I would tell myself I wasn't tired when deep down, I knew I was full of shit.  Today, I'm an adult, I'm raising two children, keeping up a house, running errands daily, and I certainly get tired.  I'm exhausted at midnight, yet, I don't retreat underneath the covers until two or three in the morning.  

Explain that to me?!  Because I sure as hell can't explain this to myself!

Sometimes I need the help of my trusty bottle of NyQuil; this will eventually steer me to the bed, especially on nights that I feel the most restless.  Like I would when I was a teenager and a young Mom, I still eventually crash - and when I do, I'll sleep all day if no one wakes me.  I take less than the normal dose - just a little swig to get my eyes fluttering.  That usually works.  I don't like feeling like a zombie in the morning, though.  

But, anyway.  Like most of my other life questions, the answers will present themselves when it's time.  I know I need to learn how to just allow myself to adapt to healthier sleep habits, but I also have to work on my patience.  With myself and with life, because these so-called answers simply don't reveal themselves overnight. (See what I did, there?)

Oh - before I go - today was scale day!  (You didn't think I forgot to update you all, did you?)

I lost just a slight bit under a pound today.  I am now over 25 pounds smaller than I was when I started.  Yay, me!  As for the scale, it gets to live a little bit longer.  What did I do differently this week?  Had a glass of wine with a friend that I hadn't seen in years.  She brought a local sangria that we used to love throwing back together back in the day - she was passing through my area to get to an Expo and swung by on her way home.  We had pizza and wine and while I am sure I could have drank more, I stopped at one full glass.  Believe it or not, wine has points!  And then on Sunday, the Son prepared dual briskets for everyone at his father's house and invited me to dinner.  

That's right, the wasband and I did SOMETHING right - I do think it's because the wasband (as lazy as he is and in attempts to relieve his miserable wife of extra household responsibilities) often places cooking responsibilities onto our son, but the result is a favorable one.  While the wasband and his wife were gone all day on Sunday, my seventeen-year-old chef-in-training seasoned and prepared via barbecue/smoker two beef briskets that were absolutely delicious and ready when they got home.  They sliced them thin and put them between two slices of extremely bready Italian, topped with coleslaw and pickles.  I skipped the pickles and coleslaw as well as the bread and enjoyed my son's meal with a knife and fork.  

So - onwards to the next 25!  As always, will keep you all informed.  (whether you like it or not!)

Hope everyone is doing as well as can be!  Will update again, soon.  My best to you all - and as always, thank you for reading.

:peace:

- Capulet

 

Capulet

Boo-yah!

As promised, your morning update following last night's novella.

I'm smiling. 

The scale is still alive, so if inanimate objects could smile, then the scale would also be smiling.

Not only did I lose the pound I gained last week, I lost another on top of that!  I am now only a half pound away from my 25 pound goal!  Of course, I'm wanting to continue but 25 seemed like a nice number to set as a starting goal.  Almost there!!!

I'm also pretty happy because not only did I have the steak dinner last week, I finished off a delicious gelati from Rita's.  My bowling friends wanted to celebrate the end of our bowling season and invited us to Rita's.  This place is certainly another one of my weaknesses.  Those frigging gelatis are to DIE for.  They put a layer of custard at the bottom, put a layer of italian ices (you pick the flavor), then top it off with another swirl of custard.  Oh, my GOD.  

Each of those damn things is 19...yes, 19....points. (Oompa: "points!")

They're closed in the winter, which is probably a good thing.  J and I have been known to go to the grocery store for ice cream in the dead of winter should we have a craving but since moving to Pennsylvania and enduring this past winter, ice cream is about as appealing as an ice bath.

Rita's re-opens in the spring.  We were driving by it earlier in the week and upon seeing that it was now open for the spring and summer, I looked up how many "points!" a gelati was.  Nineteen.  UGH.

SO I decided then and there, I'm going to reward myself ONCE per week with a vanilla custard/cherry ices gelati from Rita's.  I'll have to save up my weeklies, and will treat myself to Rita's if there haven't been any other slip-days in the week.  I think the fact that I had one last week and still lost over 2 pounds is yet another small victory; it tells me that I CAN treat myself.  I just have to be super cautious on the six other days.  

So, that's it for now.  Hope everyone's day is marvelous.  Mine's started out wonderfully and I'm off to raid the fridge.  Eggs and toast actually sound GOOD right now.

:peace: & :throb:,

- Capulet

 

Capulet

Hello, all.

I'll say this entry is part one of two - I will owe  you all a very brief entry tomorrow morning after I have faced the scale.  Oh, yes, I shudder at the thought; last week's numbers having gone in the wrong direction certainly does a 'number' (pun partially intended) on one's motivation to step back on!  But I held myself accountable for it and I'm hoping that I am ready for tomorrow morning's outcome.  I've taken my usual Sunday night cocktail, hoping that Friday night's steak dinner (no fries on the side, skipped the before-supper unlimited bread and butter, had a salad with my meal, although the dressing was the most lethal part of it, AND I didn't even finish the whole steak!) isn't held against me; I was extra vigilant with my food intake on Saturday and today, hoping that reflects on the scale in the morning.  

I'm also starting this entry now because as I type, I'm fighting off the urge to make myself a bowl of popcorn.  Stomach is growling, likely because I had my supper at 4:30pm.  Usually we eat hours later, but my fiancee brought a pizza home from work when she got out at 3 and we all know the best time to eat a pizza is when it comes out of the oven!  Soon as she got home, we each had two slices and a couple of delectable garlic knots.  I know I have a few more points (insert Oompa's voice here...."points") that I'm allowed for the day, but have decided to skip them if I can, the numbers have more of a chance of being more favorable if I do!

Y'all know I'm good for a brief update in the morning.  Just say a rosary for me if that's your thing! ;)

Anyway, I had a bit of a surprise when scrolling through Facebook earlier.  A friend (and I use that term lightly, explanation to follow) of mine, someone I knew BEFORE I met the wasband, just became a grandmother.  Her son, whom I remember being five or six years old at the time and the equivalent of Hell on Earth, just became a Daddy.  

She posted photos of her brand new grandchild, a little girl.  She posted photos of her and her husband, cradling the new addition.  The years haven't been too kindly to either one of them - she's recently had some health problems and he's looking a bit gaunt.  When I remembered/spent time with them both, they were in their forties already.  He was working at the fire department and she was a SAHM; (stay-at-home Mom) they had a little side company deejaying on the weekends and would invite me to their karaoke nights (which is kind of silly considering I never could hear the music or sing along) and I'd go, for the free drinks if nothing else.  I'd then be drunk at the end of the night and their guest bedroom would be where I stayed until I was sober enough to go home.

Some background information here - I'd met her online, we both volunteered for an AOL sponsored writing forum and upon conversing, discovered we lived 20 minutes apart.  This was back in 1998, just before the two-year anniversary of when I'd been sexually assaulted at a party.  So, that being said, I was NOT in a good overall frame of mind.  I was eighteen, nearly nineteen.  The flashbacks, the sleepless nights, the constant mini-breakdowns were common, and she acted as a sounding board during a lot of those times - she had some CSA issues in her background, and she kept my secret.  My family remained clueless.  Online, I had a small group of supporters - AOL had a chat room for survivors that I would frequent whenever the house was empty and I had ensured privacy - but in person, I had no one.  I kept to myself, I stared at the floor more often than I looked in front of me, I rarely made eye contact with anyone.  I was soft-spoken, I wrote my thoughts down.  My grades had slipped, so I focused more on pulling them back up than I did being social.  I didn't want to be around people who were my own age.

As far as friends went, she was the most available.  The few friends I'd gone to High School with were either away at college or simply too busy to be hanging around with me.  She was home all the time, so whenever I didn't have classes or before/after school, I'd trek over to her house.  We'd to go lunch, go shopping, we'd spend hours talking.  I spent countless weekends at her place, usually following a Friday night karaoke session.  

I eventually told her that I had trouble trusting men.  I shared with her my feelings of a developing bisexuality and told her I felt safer and more comfortable in the company of women.  I would later come to discover that this was true even before the 1996 rape, but it was a feeling that I couldn't shake at the moment.  I remember her laughing at me when I told her that I thought I was 'bi.'  I asked her why she would laugh at that, and her answer was, 'because I'M bi, too!"  So rather than table this conversation for a time when my mental state was more healthy, I allowed her to lead me down a dangerous, risky path that I have spent the last 20 years regretting.  

Now, please don't misunderstand me, here.  I don't for one minute regret the last ten years I've spent with a loving woman.  J and I have a successful, committed relationship and we are happy.  Y'all have seen and heard what we fight about and it's usually nothing more than what we're having for dinner that night.  I don't even regret meeting the wasband - without that fateful blind date, I would not have had my beautiful son and daughter to show for that relationship.  Sure, I would have liked for things to have gone differently and to say that an ugly divorce wasn't a part of my life, but if it ultimately means my life would have improved, then I'm okay with having gone through a (failed) marriage/divorce.  Those are things that happen to survivors and non-survivors alike, so these are things I never use the word 'regret' for.  To me, that's life.  These are bad things that have happened that bring forth some good.

Here's what I do regret, though.  And I do think that I use this word mostly to describe the choices I made while being friends with her.  And if YOU are not in a good frame of mind as you read this, perhaps you will come back later or altogether skip the rest of this blog entry because I am about to share a little bit more about myself and most of it is stuff I'm not necessarily proud of.  Oompa knows NONE of this.  My J, though, knows all of it.  Now THAT's a relationship!

Okay, so...

I regret being weak enough to allow this woman to become my first female sexual partner.  I would have liked my "first time" with a female to have been a little more special than that afternoon.  I was at home in my room when she called me from her house, saying she wanted me to bring over some sign-language textbooks so that I could begin to teach her.  I didn't hesitate.  I grabbed my books, drove over to her place.  When I got there, I let myself in.  At this point, I either had a key or she left the door unlocked, knowing I'd be coming by.  Anyhow, I searched through the house and found that she was in the bathroom adjoining her bedroom, and she waved for me to come in.  I sat on her bed while she blew-dried her hair.  We exchanged some small talk about the usual everything and nothing.  When she was finished, she came into the bedroom, stood over me and asked me if I was going to take my pants off, or was she?  Just like that.  I was so surprised at what she'd just said and don't think I was even able to speak.  But I tossed the book aside and the next thing I know, she's 'showing me the ropes.'

I think my eyes were closed for most of the time.  I didn't participate because, really, I didn't know how.  I don't think she cared, nor minded that I wasn't reciprocating; she kept at it until I managed a weak orgasm.  When she was finished, I got dressed again and went home.  I felt different.  Not violated, because, well, if it was something I didn't want, wouldn't I have said something?  Wouldn't I have told her 'no?'  I didn't.  A part of me felt more mature because now I'd been with a woman and it was an experience that I no longer had to be curious about.  I think I also felt a slight bit of guilt because she WAS married and her husband wasn't 'in the know' of the new nature of our friendship.

I didn't feel guilty for very long.  As time went on, I learned a lot of things about my "friend."  Things that led to more and more of the subsequent "bad choices" that I made.

Not only were we fooling around on a regular/weekly basis (we took a few small road trips, we'd sneak in some activity while her son was in school and husband at work, etc), she was also known to fool around with other men behind her husband's back.  She was overly friendly online and made many of her online flirtations a reality, especially if the gentleman caller of the week was "close by."  I'll never forget accompanying her to meet one of them.  She spent most of the one-hour trip ranting and raving about how attracted she was to him.  Then when they finally met, I sat in the car and waited while she got into his back seat.  No details needed there.  

She also made it her personal mission to promote my sexual health - she'd attempt to set me up with men.  I don't know if this is because she felt the need for me to have an all-the-time partner, just like she had her husband.  I didn't object.  I trusted her.  I was more comfortable with women, but I was also not ready to commit to a long-term relationship with one.  My family would never have understood nor approved of that.  And so, I allowed her to "introduce" me to some of her men.  

I dated a guy who consulted with her on a deejay/karaoke gig.  This was short-lived; we just had very few common interests and he eventually moved on.  She attempted to set me up with various men that she knew from servicing her house at one point or another.  And I only agreed to date the carpenter because he looked like Matt Damon.

(He really did.)

But that didn't work out, either.  

She sent me to meet a car salesman.  I don't even remember WHY...all I remember is going into a motel room with this (older) man and waking up naked.  I don't even remember his name.  His face.  Nothing.  I could have walked past him on the street and wouldn't have recognized him.  Yet, I consented to this, apparently.  I'll later attribute my fogginess to likely dissociation - I certainly don't feel as if I was violated by him.  But back then, I always thought and believed sexual assault to be what I'd already experienced it to be - the crying, the kicking, the screaming.  Not this.  This was more along the lines of my not giving a shit about myself and just doing whatever I thought would help make me normal again.  Whatever she thought would help me be normal.  Help me ENJOY sex.

Whenever she and I were together, she'd make small comments that, in hindsight, give me more questions rather than answers.

"You're like a robot," she would say to me, after we'd been to bed together, "You go somewhere else whenever I touch you in a certain place."

Back then, I had no idea what she was talking about.  Now, I do.  I was dissociating.  I was 'checking out.'  It was my way of blocking out whatever it was that I was SUPPOSED to be feeling.  Because it wasn't right.  It wasn't wrong, we were both consenting adults at this point, but there was always something there that I didn't quite understand, nor could put my finger on.  Something wasn't right.

Just like it wasn't right on the night I was drunk after karaoke at the bar and I'd retired into the family room.  I'd just fallen asleep when she came in, took my hand and led me into her own bedroom, where she whipped the covers off her naked husband.  I didn't object, I simply obliged.  I had sex with both her and her husband that night, all of it a drunken blur.  I can't say I was too drunk to remember what happened.  I could have stopped this if I wanted to, though.  I will not convey details of the 'during,' but the 'after' left me ashamed - mostly with myself for having done what I'd done and furthermore, wondering if this woman really was my friend.  Following that night, there were a couple more threesomes, both while I was lucid, each one leaving me more and more uncomfortable with myself and with them.  I began to hate myself and what I was doing, I felt unclean, I felt more damaged than I'd been at the start of this "friendship."

And, so, I began to distance myself.  I stopped going to the karaoke events she worked, I stopped visiting her home.  I cut down on our communication, saying that school was keeping me busy.

I met the wasband around this time, too.  From the moment he and I began dating, there was no more physical contact between her and I.  

They eventually moved to Florida.  It was a number of years after I'd married the wasband.  By now, the son was a toddler.  She'd send a yearly Christmas card that I'd chuck into the trash when it was time to put away the holiday decorations.  Then, she found me on Facebook and both she and her husband sent me friend requests.  I accepted.  Don't ask me why, I think a part of me felt badly for dropping the friendship, even if deep down, I knew it was an unhealthy one.  Over the years, I've flirted with the idea of deleting them both but haven't done so, yet.  I don't know why.  I don't understand it.  I think a part of me holds onto a point in time when I trusted this woman with all of my secrets and cared about her.  I guess keeping her as a Facebook friend was my way of watching from afar and was harmless - perhaps it's a good thing to kind of know what she's up to without having to spend time with her.

So, here's another thing I have trouble admitting, mostly to myself.  Because from a different, outside perspective (yours perhaps?) it is far more clear.  

I never classified her as an abuser, and I've always had trouble with this kind of thing.  In my mind's eye, abuse is something you don't consent to.  It's rape, something I've experienced, thus making it easier to recognize.  It's violent.  It consists of the yelling, the screaming, the hitting, the crying.  It's repetitive.  I could have said no to her advances/propositions, but I didn't.  I allowed whatever happened, to happen.  I was silent through it all.  I did not cry, I did not experience any violence with her.  Eventually, I began to participate, although slowly.  It's just not something friends do to each other.

I know now that when someone is being abused, a fair percentage of the time, they don't even realize it.  How else do you explain child abuse?  Spousal abuse?  A child is most likely to do whatever he/she feels will please their abuser.  Only they don't understand they are being abused.  A wife will move heaven and earth to appease a controlling husband and say it's because she made a vow to obey and she's afraid of what he'll do if she doesn't comply.  That's abuse.  Mental abuse is abuse, too.  It took me years, YEARS to realize and recognize the many forms of abuse.  And it's taken even longer to figure out which forms I can hashtag, 'me, too.'

I'm older now.  I'm smarter.  I'm not a child anymore.  When she and I were friends, (again, throwing that term out there lightly) I was an adult only in years, but have come to realize that I was a child in so many ways, stuck in a child-like mentality when it came to sex and experiencing sexual things.  Yes, that was because of what happened in 1996, and this wasn't her doing.  However, she knew my reasons for becoming 'a robot' and she took advantage of that.  She hurt me without leaving visible bruises and scars, and with each passing encounter, she further battered my self-respect until, finally, I had none left.  

When I met the wasband, I was a broken down, submissive product of this relationship.  It's hard to call it a friendship now; to refer to it as an 'unhealthy relationship' seems more appropriate.  It makes more sense now that I think about it and am writing about it - why I jumped from one poor relationship into another.  The light bulb, that's been flickering for many years, is now brightly lit.

So, earlier this evening, seeing her picture scroll by on my newsfeed, I couldn't help but stare at the screen in disgust.  It became so much more clear.  She's an abuser.  Whether she realizes this or she doesn't, I can safely say she is an abuser.  And on top of that, this woman is now a grandparent.  

I sure hope people change.  I know I did.  I suppose meeting her and being "friendly" with her for about two years shouldn't be a total regret, either - she taught me a lot, even though some of these lessons took years to be fully learned.  And I think she continues to teach me, even if she raises question after question on nights like this one.  I answer them all, even if just to myself.  And then, I ask them again, again, and again.

On that note, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, folks.  What happened, here?  And how or why was I so blind to it back then?  Or was I just stupid?  (I mean, yeah, I know I made plenty of stupid choices!)  How does someone just do that to someone else?  

In closing, I also want to mention to you all that I've forgiven her as well as myself.  That was something I needed to do in order to move on, bury the bad relationships as far away from me as possible, and proceed onto a happier, healthier union, such as the one I share with J.  I think keeping her on as a Facebook friend is part of this forgiveness/evolution.  No, I will never look back at those times and smile; but I'll at least say I learned a lot from those experiences and they're certainly not things easily explained.

Okay, so...tomorrow's part two will consist of either happy me (numbers down) or pissed-off me (numbers up).  It won't be as long as tonight's entry, I promise. 

For now, good night.  My :throb: to you all.  

- Capulet 

 

Capulet

...not to my fiancee, of course!!!  

Guys, I'm not that kind of girl.  Never have been and never will be.  I've been cheated on (likely by the wasband, and likely by other guys that I dated before I married him.  One girl I dated briefly (for a few weeks) cheated on me...with a man, no less.  Imagine that?!

Either way, unfaithfulness and I do not get along.  I've no respect for unfaithful partners, the heartbreak they cause and the re-building of trust that is required afterwards - nope, it's not a road I ever want to go down, nor would I want to go down with anyone who was unfaithful to me.  Because really, that's a deal-breaker.  My lovely wifey and I strongly agree on this, it's a hundred percent over if either one of us were to stray.  I'm sure that a lot of why we both feel this way has to do with both of us having endured abusive relationships in the past.  

So why the (clickbait) title?

Well...

Last week, I was unfaithful to my diet.  I admit it.  I'm holding myself accountable to you all.  I'm writing this for a couple of reasons.  First off, I want to be able to come back to this whenever I feel the 'ah, screw its,' because a (small) setback like this one is likely to make anyone think that.  I'm still over the 20-pound mark, but now it's going to be a little bit longer to get to the 25-pound mark, which I'd been hoping for.  

I got on the scale on Monday, my usual weigh-in day.  And yes, this is a big part of the reason I didn't update right away.

I gained one stinking pound.  1.1 to be exact.

After I kicked and screamed at the scale (half expecting it to scream back at me, "What the hell do you expect???  Do you know what the hell you ate this week?!") I rang Oompa to share the verdict.

"Do you know why?" Was all she said.  My mother's had her own ups and downs, if anyone were to understand the frustrations of dieting, it's my mother.  She's been on a diet for as long as I've known her.  

Let's see.  Monday, I want to say I ate normally, eggs for breakfast, chicken for supper.  Tuesday, we had pasta with homemade alfredo sauce (I was sure to use the cream of mushroom in a can rather than buy the store brand jarred alfredo sauce).  Wednesday, I made a pulled pork in the crock-pot and served them on rolls that weren't necessarily the healthy type.  Thursday, we had chinese take-out because the kids begged me not to make anything to do with chicken.  I guess I can't blame them - they've had enough at this point.  And so, the Son requested I make different things this past week, and I obliged.  And I also indulged.  My portion sizes weren't enormous; I can't eat as much as I used to.  However, I still ate mindlessly, without measuring, without being strict with myself, without cutting myself off when I'd eaten enough, regardless of whether I was still hungry.  On Friday, the wifey had a medical procedure done (more on that another time) and wanted a cheesesteak with fries afterwards.  I didn't eat the cheesesteak, but I ordered a chicken parm hero - when they handed me my plate, I think I might have said 'sweet Jesus' a little too loudly.  Suffice to say, I ate about 1/4 of that hero - brought the rest home where the kids devoured my leftovers.  Then on Saturday, we went to my nephew's birthday party and I ate two slices of buffalo chicken pizza.  Then I've got to consider the nights I had (fat-free but not point-free) popcorn for a snack.  I didn't track ANY of these foods - but I don't blame my weight gain on that.  I haven't been tracking via electronic app for weeks, because I was eating all of the same things and it got too easy not to write it all down.

Here's what happened.  Like the kids, I got bored with the same ol' and I gave myself a little too much slack last week.  Lesson learned! 

And yes, guys, I know - it's only one pound.  I do know I could have done a lot worse than that.  This brings me to the second reason I'm writing this and sharing here.  I need to convince myself, too, that it's not the end of the world.  Maybe I just didn't drink enough water and maybe retention is part of the problem.  And I know I COULD HAVE done a whole lot worse.  I was not strict with myself, but a part of me WAS careful and a part of me was doing some damage control - I think the numbers on the scale could have been a lot more grave.  So, while I'm annoyed with myself for not taking care and losing that pound rather than gaining it, I have to remember to also commend myself for having a degree of self-control and minimizing the damage.  

And now, I must go on.

I told Oompa I certainly did know what I did wrong.  There was just too much, so I didn't give her any details.  Not only did I go over my allotted points for each day, I was sure I surpassed my weeklies, too.  

Interestingly enough, I won't admit these little menu details to Oompa.  I don't know why - like I said, my mother likely would understand anything I had to say about diets.  Maybe it's because for years and years, I rolled my eyes at her and made fun of her measuring cups and spoons and recipes...I can't tell you how many times she served me something that looked like cat puke....being a mediocre cook to begin with, her "diet" foods weren't appealing, either.

God, I can't begin to explain why I hear her voice CONSTANTLY when I'm going down the food aisles at Wal-Mart.  "That there, you mix it with this here, and it's three points," etc.  Whenever I see the words on the app - I hear her voice.  "Two points."  "Zero points."  "Points, points, POINTS."  And I'm hearing impaired, explain that!?

She's never scolded me for my dieting snafus.  The last thing she said to me before I hung up with her on Monday was, "It's all good.  Just keep going." 

But I've got no problem with admitting it to you guys.  No one here knows me from a hole in the wall, and yet, sharing little things online has always been far more comfortable to me than sharing in person with someone who knows me.  Someone who can see me.  Tell me I'm not the only one?

So, yeah.  I failed miserably last week, but I'm going to try to get back on track this week.  I'm going to get back into my app and starting tomorrow, pay better attention to what I eat.  I did make a lovely bean soup with white meat chicken on Monday.  Today, I had balsamic chicken with roasted potatoes and vegetables.  Tomorrow, J will be making pasta with meatballs, but I am going to measure what I eat.  And I'm going to be downing the water.  I wanted my popcorn snack while watching the baseball game tonight, but I decided against it.

It's all I can do, really. These little things.

Hoping to have better news for you all next week.  

To myself...I'm sorry.  I screwed up.  I'm going to make it right.

To the scale - screw you.  I'm coming back next week,  and I'm owning you!

- Capulet

 

Capulet

Hello, hi, hola....shouting out to you all on this very dreary Sunday afternoon - however, the New York Mets' 12-2 start to the 2018 baseball season has me smiling even if the weather is not. :)  

At least it's not snow, right?  Happy to report that we haven't seen any of that in over two weeks.  Looks like spring has finally sprung and the underboob sweating and rash season is upon us all!  (If you're a woman, you'll definitely understand this.)  J is already trying to convince me to install the air-conditioners but I feel that it's still too early for this.  I have, though, agreed to let her put the ceiling fan on at night.  Aren't I a doll?

I do have some life updates, though.  Not many, but some. 

The daughter's "boyfriend" (yes, you may picture me with the quotations again!) is now just her friend.  Apparently, she made the mistake of telling her father about her "boyfriend" during one of their (usually chaotic) dinner conversations and he immediately insisted that she 'downgrade' their relationship to just 'friends.''  I have to say that I'm not upset about this. She did her share of pouting over it, but now that the heartbreak is over, she's back to face-timing and chatting with him, same thing she was doing when he was her "boyfriend."  When I say she should just be friends, I get an argument, when he says she's going to just be friends with him, she complies without hesitation.  Go figure.

On the same topic of my daughter, she's now "friendly" with that snooty problem child that she's been having issues with since the start of this school year.  So, I'm sure this means there will continue to be drama.  It just seems drama FOLLOWS this kid around.  I try to avoid it at all costs; I LOATHE drama and I just don't have the patience for it.  

One of my baby nieces had a hospital stay over the weekend.  She was admitted on Friday night with a fever and pneumonia.  My niece is the only child of two medical professionals, so I'm guessing there is never a shortage of germs in the house.  My brother-in-law is a Pediatric Dentist and constantly has his hands inside the mouths of germy children and my sister is a Physician's Assistant and works at a hospital.  (Ironically the same hospital my niece was born in and spent the weekend in.)  Fortunately, she had two days of IV antibiotics and she's hopefully going home today.

Saw my nephew and my other infant niece yesterday, at his birthday celebration.  Was nice.  Of course, now I see less and less of Oompa; but in a way, that's also an equivalent of a drama-free visit.  

My mother certainly has her hands full now, with the "younger" grandchildren, and my daughter has resorted to eye-rolling at the mention of anyone in my family, not limited to Oompa.  She's in general annoyed with my mother, because Oompa doesn't see much of her (or any of us) anymore.  It's not entirely my mother's fault, because we DID move two hours away from the rest of them, but a large part of her absence these days is due to the arrival of my two new nieces.  My sister who is a PA enlists in Grandma's Babysitting Service two to three days a week and whenever she's not with that sister, she's with the other one.  Doesn't leave much time for her to spend with us.  So the daughter is in part, jealous, but she's also UIW (Under the Influence of the Wasband) and a lot of damage has been done because of his mouth.  He makes a career out of saying that she is "dividing" our family, giving the ones who live closer priority.  I know, this is not fair at all, but I'm tired, I've no longer got the energy to combat the bullshit that comes out of his mouth.  And so whenever I see him during a kid swap, a quick hello and goodbye is best.  My children are far too impressionable and they unfortunately adopt HIS unreasonable way of thinking more often than they make decisions on their own.  This isn't an update; it's something I've known for too long a time, now, and something I don't have a clue how to fix.  

Little side note: it's taking me a very long time to type this.  I have a cat who insists that I don't give him enough attention during the course of one day.  He's being very demanding and whenever I look busy, he jumps onto my keyboard and insists I drop whatever I am doing until he's finished rubbing his (adorable) face against mine.

I'm almost down a total of 24 pounds, will have a more accurate number in the morning.  Being Sunday night, it's nearly time for me to take my weekly laxative/cleanse pill before the morning weigh-in.  I will be doing that soon, then will watch the Walking Dead with some bathroom pauses, thank heaven for TiVo.

For a little while, we're finished with Friday night bowling.  We didn't do as well as we'd hoped, but there's always next year.  We will just be bowling on Mondays for now, until that league ends and we start summer bowling.  One night a week for the summer; we've got some mini-plans and both my kids have birthdays over the summer, as well as my son's high school graduation being right around the corner (yes, NOW I feel old!) which means at least three backyard parties are in my future...

Leading me to the last thing I'll mention for now - my need to clean up/beautify my back yard.  The people who lived here before us had a pool.  They apparently took out the pool (we never saw it), leaving us with a bunch of rotted wood that was built into the ground (it bordered the area that used to be the pool) as well as a lot of areas in the yard that are lopsided or otherwise uneven, terrain-wise.  I just dropped a little over a grand to have the tree people come cut down some trees that were dangerously close to the house as well as pull up these unnecessary slabs of wood that are no longer purposeful, then they removed a bunch of other debris from the yard and used their Caterpillar to try and flatten the terrain out some, but it still needs more work before I can consider hosting any parties in the near future.  Soon as it gets a little warmer (today was in the 40's) I will be out there trying to finish the job and will soon be seeing about some grass acquisition.  Right now, the yard is nothing to look at - there is a little fire pit off to the side, but the rest of it is a beige rock and dirt mess.

Anddddd that's it.

In a way, I'm guessing it's a good thing that I don't have much to report.  Whether that means life is going well or it means I'm just boring right now is debatable.  I guess this makes me human, we all have our boring moments, right?  Right?

Hoping everyone else's life is boring right now, too.  Sometimes no big developments are enough to call it good news.

- Capulet

 

Capulet

Hello!

Today, I come to you all humbled, because I have no idea how to handle the Jekyll and Hyde type individual that is my soon-to-be 12 year old daughter.  

Last week, she came to me with a smirk on her face saying that there's a boy at school that she's now calling her 'boyfriend.'  At the time, it was 'hush-hush,' meaning she didn't want me to share this information with her father.  It's not information I think needs to be shared right now, so I said nothing to him about this kid.  I did see texts from this aforementioned boy, and he's sending her little heart and rose emojis and being all sweet, to me it looks like puppy love and it's seemingly harmless.  Additionally, my daughter's lock screen on her phone has his picture on it.  I inquired as to what made him her boyfriend at this point.  She said they're 'dating.'

"Oh, really?"  I asked her, "So, he came by on his bicycle to pick you up, then you went to a Disney movie together?"  I'm trying to think of what exactly two eleven-year-olds consider to be a 'date,' considering neither one of them has a penny to their names.

"No,"  (and she added a little eye-roll in there) "We're together at school."

"Oh, so you two share a smooch in between classes?"

"Ewww, MOM!"

I have to say I was relieved when she acted appalled at the last question, but then asked her if she was getting confused between friendship/crushes and a boyfriend, and she says she's not and insists upon labeling him her 'boyfriend,' possibly because, apparently, it's what's cool in middle school.  She talks about her friends having their own boyfriends, so I know it's something that is somewhat inspired by peer pressure rather than on her hormones.  In school, she's mature and she wants to be on the same level as her 'mature' friends.  On one hand, it's good that she and her 'boyfriend' are the same age and in the same grade, and if this blossoms into something a little bit more certain in a couple of years, then I'll begin to worry about the other little things and I'm sure the wasband will be inviting him over to come see his shotgun collection.

Right now, I feel as if I have other things to worry about.  Like my daughter's re-occuring propensity for childish behavior.  On one hand, she likes to feel grown-up...the 'boyfriend' is just one little change; she's also been asking me to have her hair highlighted and she occasionally wants to get acrylic nails.  Then other times, I catch her doing childish things and feel she's in need of the same type of reprimanding you'd give a toddler.  

So, this next thing I'm going to mention also happened last week; although a couple days AFTER she came to me to tell me about her 'boyfriend.'  

She was in our family room playing video games, with her homemade slime and with her phone and iPad at the same time.  (I do think she's undiagnosed attention-deficit-disorder because she can NEVER just focus on one thing.  Even when she's doing homework, she has to have a million things going on at the same time.  It makes for a good future multitasker, but right now, it's not doing her any favors.)  So, she's got all her things out on the couch next to her, she might have also had a snack and drink in front of her.  I know there was also a pillow that may or may not have had a small hole in it before she started playing with that, too, but when I went down to check on her, I found her amidst a conversation with the 'boyfriend,' slime in her hands, game controller sitting idle on her lap, crumbs on the floor and feathers from the pillow scattered all over the floor in front of her.  

"What the holy hell happened in here...???"

"What, the feathers?"

"YES, the feathers!"

"Oh, they just fell out of the pillow."

I can't...I just can't.

I wasn't buying it.  Feathers don't wiggle their way out of pillows.  Nope.  I deduced that she was pulling them out, one by one, because for some reason, doing so fascinated her more than any of the other wonderful things that she had in front of her.  I called bullshit on them feathers jumping out of the pillow unassisted and said a whole bunch of things at that moment, but long story short, I told her that I expected it cleaned up before she left to go to the wasband's for the next few days.  She said she would.

She got picked up on Saturday afternoon, this was the day after she made the mess.  Side note, I'm sure you're all asking - why didn't I go check to make sure?  Simply because I made the mistake of thinking that her age meant she was mature enough to do what she was told?  Well, lesson learned.

Sunday, I went downstairs to fetch a new battery for my XBOX controller.  I had to go through the family room in order to find the Double A's in the garage and when I did, I saw that there were STILL feathers scattered about the floor.  Still a container of slime (thank GOD it was closed) on the couch.  Still the empty water bottle in the cup holder.  Oh, and about the feathers...there weren't that many of them out in the open, leading me to believe she DID attempt to clean up her mess, she just hadn't gotten around to putting the slime away, right?

Nope.

Already slightly pissed off that she didn't clean up 'properly,' I grabbed the nearby broom so that I could finish the job.  She's 11, I'm telling myself.  I can't expect her to clean the way I would clean.  I'm putting the bar too high.  At least she swept up most of the feathers, the reason I'd gotten annoyed with her in the first place is because I KNEW I was going to have to 'finish' her cleaning job.  Just like when I ask the Son to clean something, I ALWAYS end up in there after him, getting places he missed or just plain ignored.  That's the deal when you have kids...you make them clean up their messes when they're old enough to do so, and even so, that Mommy instinct goes in when they're not looking and you re-clean.  It's a way of life for me.  I don't know if it's because of my existing OCD but either way, at this point, it's expected.  As a result, I never ask them to clean too much - why bother?  I end up fixing it, anyway!

When I went to sweep up whatever was left on the floor, I discovered that there was already a PILE of feathers BEHIND the TV stand.  It literally looked as if she'd swept the feathers and rather than sweeping them under the rug, she accumulated them all behind the TV stand hoping that I wouldn't find them there and accuse her of a job NOT well done.

I flung the broom, narrowly missing a cat. (He's fine, he was just startled.)

Out came my phone, and I texted her, making sure not to make any spelling errors:

"Explain to me why it looks like a chicken exploded behind the TV in the family room?"

I get back multiple emojis symbolizing that she's laughing/crying.  

"THIS IS NOT FUNNY NOR COOL!" I texted back to her.  

"Oooops.  Sorry," she texts back.  

My OCD kicks in again.  I could very well have waited for her to come home (tonight) and made her pick each and every one of those frigging feathers up.  With chopsticks, if I wanted to be difficult and serve up a side order of payback.  Or I could have gotten into the car, driven to the wasband's house, picked her up, made her clean up in the above described fashion, then brought her back over there to finish out her time with him.  That's just even more work on my part than just the usual 're-clean.'  I could have done either one of those things, but no.  I couldn't have those feathers there for even a minute longer, especially in an area where various electronics are plugged in.  So I swept up and disposed of the feathers, all while thinking of what I could possibly do to inspire her to grow up.  

And, by 'grow up'...I don't mean in the sense that I don't want her to be my little girl anymore, that's always going to be something that won't change.  The Son is looking more and more hairy as he approaches 18.  His voice is deep, he's driving, he's heading off to college in September and when I look at him, all I see are his baby-faced pictures and thats' usually all it takes for me to get nostalgic.  Same for her.  Only problem is, she's STILL acting as if she's five years old, and her recent redecorating with feathers is just the last straw for me.  I'm partially responsible, for not monitoring her every move, but in my defense - she's almost 12.  Why would I have any reason to believe that a 12-year-old had to be watched while playing video games?  But as I said before, lesson learned.

I spoke to her again last night about it, after I'd had a chance to calm down and process further what she'd done...and asked her why she'd swept the feathers behind the TV stand.  Her response?  "Because I didn't want to clean it."

I informed her that she'd already done most of the 'cleaning;' it takes the same amount of effort to sweep the feathers into a damn dustpan and then empty the dustpan into the trash than it does to put them in a neat little pile behind the TV for me to find and have a fit over later.  She giggled.  But then I threatened to take out her baby pictures when I finally had the opportunity to meet her 'boyfriend.'

 (And, yes, every time I say "boyfriend" you are all free to air quote!  I do.)

Then her eyes got wide.

"You want to have a boyfriend, you need to grow up," I told her.  "You're going to be 12.  Numbers go up, not down.  You need to start thinking before you act, cleaning up your own messes and learn to set an example for your younger sister!"

I'm REALLY hoping I don't have to have this conversation with her, again.  Chances are, I will, because this is simply her Dennis the Menace personality - she once squeezed out an entire tube of my hand/body lotion into the trash can and on the bathroom walls, 'because she liked to see it all come out of the tube.'  And no, she wasn't five when she did that - she was about eight or nine.  NORMAL children that age simply don't do that stuff.  If they do, then I do apologize for the rant and for being mistaken but something tells me I am not.  I think she's, despite all of the things she has, actually BORED and she destructs rather than does things that can be seen as otherwise productive.

Maybe I need to go into her room, dump a pile of feathers in the middle of her floor and when she got home, there they'd be, waiting for her to clean because I didn't want to clean them, either....  (Oh, DAMN, I should have!!!!  WHY do I think of these things AFTER the fact??)

But that's what I'll be doing from now on, it's time to give this kid a taste of her own medicine.  

Hope everyone's day is going well. :)

By the way, new total for this week - 22.7 pounds gone.  I feel great, I am less hungry, I have more energy.  Looking forward to warmer, sunny days, so I can work on exercising outside more with Dennis, errr....I mean, the Daughter...she's going to try out for the 7th grade basketball team for next year, and I'm sure hoping this will distract her from some of the unfavorable behaviors she's been exhibiting.  We love our basketball hoop, which will be accessible again after tomorrow - Winter Storm Riley decided to droop a tree branch in front of where the hoop is, so a guy from the tree company is coming tomorrow to properly detach the entire branch.

Meanwhile, I'm locking up the rest of the throw pillows until further notice.

- Capulet

 

 

  

Capulet

Hello all,

Apologies for not having been around lately.  I'm still here at least once a day; checking boards and my inbox, in case anyone's said 'hello.' :) (hint, hint.)

So, I do have a few updates for you all. 

I won't get into too many of the weight loss details, but that's still ongoing, I've dropped 20 pounds and there's still quite a way to go!  But being able to bend and cut my toenails without looking like a circus contortionist is fantastic!  Oh, and I can finally fit inside a regular-sized bathroom stall and I don't have to wait for the 'handicap accessible' stall...you guys know what I mean, the biggest stall that you can find in almost every bathroom.  Mind y'all, I always could 'fit' into those half-stalls, but man, twisting and turning to take care of/clean/wipe certain areas wasn't an easy feat...

On that topic, I haven't bought new clothes yet.  My old clothes are starting to get baggy on me, which is a nice thing to see but pretty soon, I'm going to have to get things a size or two smaller.  I started with underwear last week and am loving my new granny panties!  (I'll always still wear full briefs, I don't think any weight loss is going to change my attitude regarding the butt floss some people prefer - I'm going to be 40 this year, that butt-floss ship has sailed)...

I also bought myself a new XBOX with my birthday money.  My birthday was months ago, but my old XBOX decided that it didn't want to recognize wireless connections anymore.  So my son called Microsoft to attempt to troubleshoot, but the fella on the other end had him reset the console to factory settings (basically wiping the whole thing out) in attempts to fix the problem.  All that did was render the console obsolete because in order to re-install games onto it, we have to have an internet connection.  They wanted me to pay $135 to have it fixed, so I just surrendered my birthday money, plus a little extra toward a brand-spanking-new XBOX.  And for the last several days, I've been playing GTA V.  (If you think I have a potty mouth, you should hear the language coming from THAT game!)  

Okay - moving along...

Most of you know that I have a problem with religion.  I don't understand it.  To me, it's just a set of rules that apply to only a select/elite group of people who believe they're right about whatever it is they believe is going to happen to us all when we leave this world.  Did you know? The Catholics are right about theirs, the Jews are right about theirs, the Christians, Buddhists, Islamics, Hindus, Slavs, etc are all right, too.  Here's my thinking - we're all headed to the same place after we depart this one, and EVERYONE can't be right!  If you ask me, I think the Atheists are right - you just gotta be a good person, the best kind of person you can be, and you're golden.  Sticking with that.

So, holidays in general, especially the religion-based ones, are very rarely seen by me as anything other than an opportunity to enjoy some good food and family or friends.  I always end up feeling badly that I don't even think about the real reasons behind the Easter or Christmas...but then I remember that fact that no one ever feels the same about them and I don't feel so badly anymore. 

It seemed fitting that I'd post a little blurb here today.

I woke this morning at around 9:30; I was having some weird-ass dreams.  Something to do with one of the past Hell's Kitchen contestants trying to jack my wallet.  (As if I had anything in it!)  After I thoroughly checked the house for the thieving contestant and confirmed my wallet and it's contents were still in my possession, I sat down at my computer.

I started thinking about how as a kid, my mother used to dress us in those god-awful Easter dresses with the equally as ridiculous bonnet/hats and we'd go to church before ending up at my grandmother's house for dinner.  My grandmother wasn't the best cook.  In turn, my mother isn't the best cook, either.  Her forte is cookies - she does well with the holiday baking, that's something she enjoys immensely, and partially why she's always on Weight Watchers.  

My grandmother, though, was second generation Sicilian.  (I'm not even sure I'm correct using the 'second-generation' term; what I mean by this is HER parents were born in Sicily, Italy and came to New York before she was born.)  She was a gem of a women, although impoverished, had nothing and raised three children (my mother, aunt and uncle) on potatoes, eggs, and bread.  She didn't know how to cook anything unless it was eggs or pasta.  And when serving pasta, they had what was called Sicilian Meatballs, she used to plop peeled hard-boiled eggs into the sauce (or as she'd call it, 'gravy') and say that those were their meatballs because she couldn't afford the meat.  

When I was a kid, we'd have real beef meatballs, but old habits die hard.  We were introduced to the hard-boiled eggs in the gravy when we were kids and every year on Easter, we'd have one meatball (a real one) and an egg in our pasta.  Gravy on top.  I know it sounds nasty, but when you're introduced to these "weird" eating habits as a kid, you're kind of doomed as an adult to introduce to your own family and friends these little culinary inventions.  I'll never forget when my kids looked at me as if I were crazy (I KNOW I am, I left that one wide open, so...shhhh!) when I asked if they want an egg in their sauce.  So I never did again.  

I have to also mention that whenever I try to remember holidays when I was a kid, every single memory is tarnished; he was always, ALWAYS there.  My uncle, the priest.  As he was my grandmother's son, it's hard to cut him out of these memories.  He was always a presence; he lived in the same house.  I will admit to being adequately blocked-off so much, that I didn't mind him being around.  It was just a way of life at that point, an instance where I didn't have a choice.  It was one of those things that couldn't be helped, because wherever Grandma was, there he was, too.  In hindsight, I can certainly say I ignored the little things.  He constantly smelled like sweat and rotten farts, he had that birthmark on his hand that I didn't like, little things like those were ignored because the younger version of myself simply didn't know how to express or further process my reasons for hating him.  But anyway, he used to cook, (not very well, either) and since HE was a slightly better cook than his mother, our holiday dinners were hyped-up by my mother, his sister...it was usually "Uncle So-and-So is making a lamb for Easter," or "aren't we so excited to have Uncle So-and-So's turkey for Thanksgiving?"  As my grandma got older and older, he took over more and more of her cooking duties until she stopped preparing food completely a year or two before she passed away.  And I know I've previously mentioned that when she passed, a switch within was flipped.  I realized how much I hated this man, and now I feel as if all of my previous holiday celebrations were, well...fake.  

I'm not even sure this makes an ounce of sense.  So I'll stop here.

Just because I have an issue with religion-based holidays doesn't mean that you all should, too - we have different likes and dislikes...for me, it's all about the food and the chocolate and spending time with my children and watching them eat the things they love, but for others, it's going to have a completely different meaning.  I accept that and respect that.  

So, in closing - enjoy your day, friends!  Enjoy the food, if you're partaking.  Enjoy the company, if you'll be with people you love and trust.  Or, enjoy yourselves if you've got plans to spend the day alone - do something wonderful for yourselves, you're worth it!  Either way, enjoy today, in any way you can.

XOXO :throb:
- Capulet 

 

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