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

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Hands not required.

Hello friends,

My sincerest apologies for my lengthy absence.  Yes, it's happened before and it's likely to happen again, but we all know that I always, always come back to my writing space - I will go through times where I do not really know what to write but as soon as I sit down, I am often hit with a little reminder of how much of a help it is to process things through blogging.  Sometimes it takes a little while for things to start to flow, sometimes I have to get up and return the following day.  This particular entry has been sitting in draft mode for a few days, already, but - finally, it's made its way to you all.

It has been a very, very long and emotional week.  For those of you who don't know, our beloved kitty has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  He was an otherwise healthy 8-year-old boy - until one month ago, everything changed for him when he suddenly became paralyzed in his hind legs.  Nearly one month from this discovery, he is gone.  I am still absolutely heartbroken, although with each day, I am comforted a little bit more, knowing he isn't suffering nor is he in pain.  He's probably extremely happy now, having been reunited with his hind legs in the afterlife, and is purring while running, jumping, chasing other animals in the fields of Heaven.  

We honored our boy's wishes and made the call when he let us know that he was struggling just to stay with us.  We chose to do the euthanasia at home, so that he wasn't having to experience the stress of being transported to an unfamiliar location, especially being as sick as he was.  He was surrounded by people (and his cat siblings) who loved him dearly and at 4:35pm 2/11/19, he passed peacefully in J's arms.

There is a very noticeable emptiness in the house - our boy was 'the man of the house' and he was ALWAYS present, ALWAYS where we were.  Whenever we had guests - there he was, to 'observe' everything.  He was docile, he was patient, and he was approachable.  Although he was more J's cat than he was mine, (he preferred her presence over mine, although he would sometimes demand that I allow him to climb onto my chest while I laid down) I am taking his passing VERY hard.  I am the one who is home most of the time - and so, I was the one to provide the around-the-clock care, medicate him, clean his litter box messes, transfer him and his bed, food/water dishes and litter apparatus from room to room, keep him company, etc, for the last month.  The day following his passing was especially difficult, for it was finally hitting me - there was nothing for me to do for him, no way I can make him comfortable, he was no longer there for me to open the blinds for so that he could enjoy the natural sunlight.  Just seeing his empty bed and empty food and water dish and rolled-up litter mat would send me into fits of ugly-crying - and even as I write this - I can feel that lump in the back of my throat and the tears begging to fall.  

I've just ordered cremation vials/pendants for J and for myself.  His ashes will be returned to us within the week by the vet that put him down and handled his cremation arrangements, and we plan to carry a piece of him with us wherever we go - when the pendants arrive, we will fill them with some of his ashes and surely as he's in our hearts, he will also be on our person, even in the smallest way.  It is one way we are made a little bit more okay with his (sudden) departure.  I am also considering a small paw print tattoo, while J, his preferred 'human,' is wanting a more elaborate likeness of his beautiful face tattooed onto her arm, so that when positioned a certain way, it will look as if he's resting atop her chest like he used to do every night.

Moving along, though, before I really DO ugly-cry some more and have to postpone the release of this blog entry for another day.

Survivor's Art Group was canceled this month - we had snow on the actual day it was planned for, and there weren't enough confirmed guests when it was rescheduled for a couple days later.  M, the leader,  had sent me the topic of discussion so that I could give things some thought.  Ironically, this would be a 'Helping Hands' workshop/group and since I'd expressed an interest in knowing the topics beforehand so that I could better prepare my responses - so M has helped me to do this, in a sense. There WERE more questions listed than the ones to follow,  but these were the ones that stood out and were what I felt related the most to some things I've been recently dealing with.  The rest, I omitted, but saved for a later time/train of thought.  (And let it be known and understood that my 'train schedule' is AWFULLY unstable right now!  I never know what I am going to end up pondering and when.)

Name something your hands have helped someone else with that you are proud of. How does it feel when you think about a time when you helped someone?

I don't think it's my actual, physical hands that actually help others.  Yes, I help physically by giving assistance or even affection when asked - but this is just what's expected of anyone - when you see someone struggling with physical baggage and your hands are free - you help them.  If they need their hand held, you offer yours.  When they ask for a hug, you open your arms.  Other than that, my hands are not my best way of helping others.

As most of my interactions are online, it's my mind and my heart that does most of the helping.  My voice.  Even if and when it is not my physical voice, as that's not one I am very comfortable using, especially around strangers.  While I do not hear with my ears, I do with my eyes and I respond with my heart where applicable.  I am told I am empathetic, have a very calming presence, a patient and caring disposition.  Lately, I'm not so sure this is the case as each and every one of my senses is being put to the challenge.  Not in small ways, either.  And I truly do wonder if I am indeed helpful.  I believe that no matter how much we help others - ultimately they have to help themselves.  Perhaps we've helped them to reach the point where they're able to.

I have mixed feelings about my 'help.'  Sometimes it feels good to have been there when I was needed, and sometimes it feels terrible.  Especially having to make the difficult choice to 'help' along my cat's transition into his end-of-life stages, and eventually over the Rainbow Bridge in a humane, loving manner.

Imagine all that your hands may hold for you, or for others, either materially or energetically. Over time, this may become very heavy and you may have your hands full. Is there anything you are holding that you would like to let go of now?  Describe what you are holding and how it feels to let go of this.

I have let go of more than one thing, lately.

The most obvious answer is, of course, my cat's required, continuous care.  I received these questions, ironically, a couple of days before his passing.  While taking care of him, I was also relentlessly researching how to care for cats with hind-leg paralysis.  I'd even joined a Facebook group for people dealing with handicapped/disabled felines and had conversed with a few on what to expect, how can I help him? What can I do?  What toys can I buy him to boost his morale?  Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to apply too many of their suggestions, as the upper respiratory infection soon began to batter away at his reserves.  Both vets we had taken him to were quick to say that his quality of life needed to be considered.  J and I agreed that as long as he wasn't in pain and was doing all of the important things (eating, drinking, eliminating), we were going to let him call the shots - for as long as he was able.  And here I am - browsing the 'net for alternative treatments, etc that would help him to thrive and adapt to his now-new lifestyle.  My plan was - get him strong enough, then help him learn to get around on his front legs - was fully prepared to buy him 'drag pants' (to protect his lower end from rug burn/skin irritation that the dragging was likely to cause) and work with him on his balancing so that he could properly and comfortably position himself  to use the litter box.

This quickly became an obsession.  I wanted to hear the words 'euthanasia is probably best for him,' less and less.  He wasn't showing that he was in pain....why was this coming out of the vet's mouth, rather than, 'let's try this...'?  

I felt like I was his biggest advocate; even J had to keep me in check by pointing out to me certain things - 'look at his legs, they're rock solid and it's just a matter of time before the rest of him is affected,' 'he's not eating,' 'he's suffering, even if he's not showing us as clearly...'

Slowly, I began to see she was right.  I was holding on too tightly, to the idea that I could fix our kitty.  I needed to - not give up - but to step back a little bit and let J decide.  I was not helping him anymore.  Not that we were hurting him, but perhaps those words we'd heard from the vet were indeed the truth - there was nothing under the sun that could be done for him.

I have also learned that, in general, when there is nothing I can do, then I must stop trying.  It's time to let go and to let things happen as they're supposed to.  It is not healthy for me to stick on this same obsessive path to nowhere.  There are more ways than one to learn this very important lesson and I've learned it in many ways recently.  It is not easy for me to let go - not by any means, and NOT with how much of my heart and soul I invest into it in the first place.  

Think of a time when someone else loaned you a helping hand. What did it feel like to receive help?

Tricky, this one.  I am not a big fan of asking for help.  Ever.  My mother taught me well - when you ask for help, you had better be readily available when someone asks YOU for help.  It's a tit for tat kind of thing - to ask for help gives someone something to hold over your head.  At least, in adulthood - this is the case.

But, I don't know if it was always this way.  You see, I don't remember ever asking for help before I was seventeen.  Sure, my parents did mostly everything for me - they cooked, they provided a roof over my head, they bought my clothes, they gave an allowance so I had 'pocket money.'  There wasn't really much I needed 'help' with.  To me, this likely wasn't 'help' - they were doing what they, as parents, do.  What I do for my own children.  I don't look at this as 'helping them,' but as obligatory nurturing, instead.  

I asked for help twice on the night I was raped.  Once directly, to the man who would rape me instead of helping me.  And the second, indirectly; for it was not even a 'help me,' but instead, a 'can I have a glass of water and can I use your bathroom?'  

The help came in an unexpected form and was more accepted than asked for - from a kind-hearted stranger, a diner waitress, who, without my asking her to, called me a cab.  I didn't tell her anything - nor did I say anything about what had just happened at the time of my arrival.  My understanding was - you couldn't use a business's facilities without being a customer.  And I might've been somewhat stuck on the fact that she'd done what I asked my rapist to do.  I didn't supply him with the number to a cab, but did intend for him to call a friend to let her know I needed a ride back to where my car was.

But somehow, this woman knew that something was wrong.  She was very careful not to touch me - even though I was trying my hardest to put on the 'I'm fine,' face; obviously ineffective.  My body language was likely suggesting differently.  When I returned from the bathroom, she handed me the glass of water and a menu, (just in case, I guess) and gently told me that there was a cab on the way, and that the driver was a relative of hers.  I must have been able to mumble a 'thanks,' because she said, 'take care.'  The cab was there shortly after, although it felt like hours and I'd hardly touched the water and still being under the impression that I had to be a customer to have the right to sit at the counter, had mindlessly stared at the menu without intending to order anything.

The driver came inside and the waitress conversed with him for a brief time before he went back into the car.  On a normal day, I'd likely be able to lip-read the entire conversation.  Not tonight, though.  I did catch, 'when you're ready, he's waiting outside.  Just let him know where you need to go.'

It didn't occur until later...YEARS later...that she'd also given me something that my attacker hadn't that night.

A choice.

Medical attention was likely what I needed, but it wasn't what I had the common sense to say at the moment.  Physically, I was hurting.  Mentally, I was telling myself that I was 'fine' and that the bleeding had already slowed - it would stop eventually.  So would the searing pain in places I'd never felt pain before.  All I could think of at the moment was how angry my parents would be at me if they ever knew about what had just happened - especially since I'd gone to lengths to lie to my father to get him to allow me to go.  In hindsight, I probably didn't even HAVE to lie to him - my father isn't the type to question where I was or who I was with - his usual is, 'have fun and be careful.'  (Which, further thought processing would tell me I failed at that, too.)  And WHAT would they both say, should the police be called?  I was a minor; they'd be called.  And then my parents, in turn, would be called.

All of these thoughts sending me into instant panic, I gave the driver my home address and he asked no questions.  He drove.  And when he arrived at my Dad's house, he let me know that the fare was already taken care of, likely by the woman at the diner or it had been an 'off duty' favor.  Either way, no explanation was provided and another 'thanks' mumbled.  

The help was greatly appreciated, but the choice was what I was more grateful for.  She COULD have called the police, especially if she knew something was wrong.  She COULD have told her family member to take me to the hospital, likely closer to the diner than where I lived.  She COULD have done so many things differently - just as I could have, too.  She chose, though, to allow me to make the choice between going to a hospital or going home.  What I wouldn't give, today, to thank both of these kind people for giving me what I needed at the time, no questions asked.

This still scares me when I find myself needing help, whether it's with something simple - like taking out the trash or other household chores.  Or when I'm grappling with those deep, invasive thoughts.  My first notion is to make it clear that it's something I'll eventually finish (chores) or figure out on my own (thoughts) - but I never, EVER ask for help with these things.  J will attest to this, and often scolds me for taking things on by myself.  My usual response is, 'Well, if I want it done right, I have to do it, myself!'

But I cannot and still will not ask a stranger for help; the biggest reason for this is obvious.  Even today, I am very, VERY choosy with who I ask for help.  J is my first and (I tell myself) ONLY option.  If it's not possible, I'll approach the Son.  I refuse to ask my parents for help - although my mother will offer it verbally and although she'll not say 'and in return, I want....' I will always know it's coming and she will always hold whatever it is that she's helping with over my head.  My father seemingly offers it freely and without strings, but I've never asked him for anything.  And it is only in desperation that I accept help - and even so, I am uneasy in doing so.

I'm just not comfortable admitting the need for help - I know, in reality it is not the case, but my own, stupid brain tells me that to do so is an admission of weakness.  I am quick to let others know that there's nothing wrong with asking for help - and I believe this.  It's just, with myself, there is a barrier, a strong, almost impenetrable one - and that annoying voice in the back of my head, 'Capulet, you must deal with it yourself.  If you can't, go to J, but you MUST try to figure out your own shit!'  

If you could reach out with your hands and take in everything you have ever wanted for yourself, what would your hands reach for?

Not sure there's any material thing that I could physically reach out for that I want right now - other than my cat being alive and well, which is obviously unrealistic.  Aside from a million (or two or twenty million?) bucks, there's really nothing I want for as far as the material things or the money to pay for it all.  

No, what I want is more those things nobody can see, the things nobody can give me.  I want to be normal, but don't know how that's possible, as for me, my definition of the word was tainted VERY early on in life.  What if THIS is all normal, based on what I've already seen?  

I'd LOVE to have been left unscathed by life's ugliness.  I'd love to not understand heartbreak, trauma and its effects, loneliness, depression.  There are times where I wish I were the perfectly-formed person - the one who has it all - but there is NO 'all' without the bad, is there?  An 'all' good just doesn't exist.  Not for me, not for anyone

Air.  That's all my hands are going to reach for.  Maybe some understanding.  Maybe wisdom.  Maybe motivation.  All of those things that are unseen to the naked eye, but would make sense of everything at the same time.

So yes, I'd most likely reach for clarity.  Not just with myself, but in everything I've ever questioned in life.  

In closing, this is the gist of what I've been struggling with this week.  A whole lot of everything and nothing.  My search for additional purpose continues - I did have a temporary, very important one for the last month - my fur baby's care and medical needs - but now that he is gone, so is that particular purpose.  

I am well aware that one adopts many, MANY different purposes in the course of their lives.  I know I have great purpose here, and that is not in any way diminished nor will it ever be.  I love being here, I love this site, and love ALL of you.  It just seems when one alternate purpose disappears or is cut short, it is very, very hard to see what still remains as we grieve that loss. That being said, I wish to thank everyone who has reached out and who has sent me kind messages and who has allowed me to feel what I was feeling without judgement or criticism.  There was an outpouring of support, both before and after my beloved cat's passing, and I will NOT forget this.  :throb: 

On a positive note, amidst all of last week's insanity, I've submitted one college application for this coming fall's semester - to the local university where my son is now a student.  I paid to have my transcripts sent over to them and I am now waiting for a response.  The next step will be to meet with the Dean of Transfer Admissions - and this will hopefully happen soon.

I am trying to remain focused on moving forward with life, because this is, above all, what we must ALL do whenever we're knocked down or otherwise delayed, be it through loss, or any other significant life event.  It is important to pick ourselves up, to re-emerge, to re-focus, and to keep going.  And this is something we survivors have to learn to do - not just once or twice, but SEVERAL times as we continue on our healing paths.

I am hoping everyone is doing well, or at least as well as they can possibly be.  I am sending my love and thoughts.  Be good to yourselves - this is not something I say easily as it's something I am also having to remember to do for myself.

Love and light.
- Capulet


I surprised myself last night.

J and I had a much-needed date night.  We were at dinner and we were conversing about some OT hours she wanted to pick up.  I casually mentioned that Oompa was fully expecting ME to pay her a visit this month, as she was here last month.  She had casually mentioned, "oh, and the 10th is a good day for me!"  The 10th is THIS weekend.  

No, thank you.  I'm still somewhat infuriated with my mother for the bullshit she pulled in regards to my niece and nephew's birthday party and the inviting of her brother and the trying to rope my father into her plans to get him there.  It was LAME and so WRONG of her - I just don't understand how she can be 'respectful of my feelings' sometimes (there was once a time when she had to answer a call from him when she was with me, and told me, 'don't worry, I won't tell him I'm with you'), then completely disregard them another time?  She is PUSHING me, to see how much she can get away with - and then she's going to attempt to manipulate me on top of all of that by saying I shouldn't let that be the reason I don't come to my nephew's and niece's birthday celebration.  "You wouldn't do that to them, would you?"  

I do not want her to have any control over anything I do - she doesn't, but she certainly tries.  Manipulation is her game - it's what she resorts to when she doesn't see any other way around it.  So because she wants me to come on the 10th, I am NOT going on the 10th!  I'm TIRED of bending for her!

Instead, I want to be pissed at her for a little bit longer.  I'm not ready to drop this.  She's likely noticed the side order of ice I've been giving her whenever she texts - she'll say how much she misses me, and my answer is always an underused, sometimes (purposely) misspelled 'me too/to.'  But, do I really?  No, I do not.  I do NOT think she understands how angry this latest shenanigan of hers has made me.  And until last night, I couldn't blame her too much, because I'd dropped it like a hot potato on the night she conversed with my father about it.  The physical conversation ended abruptly when I expressed unhappiness over the whole thing, but the mental conversing is STILL ongoing.  Despite additional stressors, this continues to be on my mind, and my mind refuses to shut up.  Perhaps this means I need to NOT shut up, I need to start becoming more vocal.

As my niece will be turning 1 on the 20th of this month, I decided that I would be the one to say when I was coming to her neck of the woods (she lives about 15 minutes further away from my sister) and first texted my sister to tell her that I wanted to see my niece for her actual birthday - the dual party for her and her brother is taking place at the end of March.  I asked my sister if the 23rd was okay with her.  She said yes.  THEN I texted Oompa to let her know I was going to come see my niece closer to her actual birthday, we would do lunch at my sister's house.  She could come see me there.  I didn't say this bit,  but I'd rather come see the nieces and nephew than my mother.  THEM, I'll make a monthly trip for - because THEY are innocent in all of this - and there is SO much love in my heart for those beautiful children who call me Auntie.

"You ARE still coming for their party at the end of March, right?"  Was the first thing Oompa asked.

"Yes," I texted her back, "I'm NOT happy about the surprise guest you sprung on me, but I'm coming for the kids."

She then said, "Well, we don't even know if he's going to feel up to coming."  (Again, he's this miserably unhealthy S.O.B. - bad knees, bad heart, diabetes, high blood pressure, probably a bunch of other maladies or things wrong with him, not including mentally - so yeah, by all means, let's invite an unhealthy, unstable man to a kiddy party!  What a wonderful idea!)  

"NOT the point," I told her, "He shouldn't have been invited, and Dad shouldn't have been asked to go pick him up."

She then tried to say something along the lines of, 'well, I'LL pick him up, I just needed your father to drop him back off...."

I told her it was a 'waste of time.'  

And it is.  A waste of her time, my father's time, MY time.  Because I really, REALLY would have liked to have gone to my nephew's and niece's birthday party without the added stress of having to make sure he wasn't staring at them or at my daughter with those disgusting eyes of his - because I just might have to kill him.  

Oompa didn't respond to that text, nor did she say anything more after that.  I wonder if my assertiveness offended her - because this is not something she's used to - she's NOT used to being told off, nor of control being taken from her.  And believe me - being told she was wrong or that something she did was wrong IS akin to ripping the control from her hands.  Because now, things aren't going so well for her, are they?  Now she has to figure out how to make this right.  

And...guess what?

I don't care.  I don't feel bad, I don't feel as if I'm out of line, or I'm wrong about this.  I spoke up.  I stood my ground.  I let her know I was angry.  This is extremely unordinary of me - I am usually the type to shrug things off, an 'it is what it is' type of girl.  Anger is hard for me to express; one of those learned behaviors I'd mastered - suppression - always seems to kick in whenever I am made angry.  Well - I am proud to say that this is something I am more actively trying to change - when I'm angry, I need to make others aware of it, even if it isn't convenient for them. It may take me some time to do so, but - it's progress.

THIS was a win - regardless of whether this piece-of-shit shows up - I still made my anger known.  I was not afraid of 'not being nice' and I expressed anger and disappointment.  I've yet to yell at my sister for inviting him - but I'm not entirely sure my mother didn't have a hand in this.  This entire situation SMELLS of my mother - and my sister could have been manipulated into inviting him, herself.  She, like my father, could very well have been a pawn in my mother's game/attempt to involve her brother - she claims the invitation was my sister's idea,  but I'm not so sure she didn't PLANT the idea in the first place.

Anyway,  Small victory.  In this battlefield we call life, there are so many little wars we have to endure - whether we are at war with ourselves or with others - and these sweet victories add up.  Slowly.   Sometimes they're hard to notice, but they're there.

Will keep you all posted on this.  For now, eyes are closing on me.  Hoping everyone is doing well this week.

All my best. :throb:

- Capulet


The mind is a VERY, VERY tricky thing.

This will be a short-ish entry as I'd like to share something that happened last night.    (Or it might be a medium-length entry, as you know I'm VERY susceptible to rambling!  We'll just have to see how it all flows!)  This should NOT trigger - it's not that kind of 'happened.'  But JUST in case - I will issue a SMALL trigger warning for a recovered memory, sorta - the memory itself isn't triggering, but you know - I'm thinking this has happened to some of you before and although it's not triggering, it's a little bit unsettling.

So - here's the thing.

Last night, after the kids had gone back to their father's, J and I went to the store to pick up some food and snacks and desserts.  Her Patriots are in the Super Bowl - AGAIN - so naturally, I am happy for her if her team wins - they'd earned it at this point - but...secretly, I'm rooting for the Rams. :)  Yes, I'm a little salty that my Giants/Jets (hometown teams) and Eagles (local team) didn't make it this year, but it seems that those damned Patriots are in it EVERY year!  So, like MANY, I'm rooting for anybody BUT the Patriots!

Anyway - my love decided she wanted to have a party and since her work friends (including boss lady) got her into playing Fantasy Football and they'd been following the NFL since the start of this previous season - she wanted to invite them to our place for the game/food/drinks.  (I balanced the guest list out a little by inviting MY bowling friend and her husband - I'm NOT entirely comfortable about meeting some of J's other friends, but I did promise to get to know them in more 'comfortable' settings!)  So...counting us, we will have eight people here tonight.  We needed alcohol - as MOST of the people coming tonight are heavy drinkers (boss lady, especially) and we needed a bunch of snacks, food, etc.  

OK, so we're coming home...our local town is a small-town type - there's a Main Street, with little shops, some fast-food joints, tailors, a bank, a diner, a Dunkin' Donuts, pizzeria, ice cream parlor.  There is also a very small cinema house - I want to say they feature OLD movies, and they charge maybe $1.00 to get in - but these movies are mostly ones that we can buy from the bargain bin at Wal-Mart in most cases.  We do have a regular Cinemark (for the new releases and the recent big-screen movies) at the mall, so fear not, there IS somewhere we can go to see something new. :)  

So, on our way home from the store, we pass all these little shops, and the movie house - it's one of those old-style ones where there's an awning over the box office, almost - with the name of the movie on the side....I have NO idea what these are called, so I'm putting a photo as an example:


Note - This is NOT my local small-town theater - ours is much more plain.  We don't have the fancy lighting shown up top, just the sides are similar - this is where they let us know what's playing and usually, we'll pass by there and I'll smile - last week they showed "Marmaduke,' and during the holiday time, they showed 'Home Alone.'  

So - last night's 'feature' was missed, as I got caught on the phrase, "Stan and Ollie are here!"  The letters on the side spelled this out - perhaps the name of the movie was on the other side - or perhaps it was under the phrase advertising the return of Stan and Ollie, whoever these two were.  I didn't bother to look, though.  My brain was ALREADY racing.  Stan and Ollie.  Stan.  Ollie.  

Stan and Ollie.  I don't know who they are.  Indeed not as Stan and Ollie.  If you were to ask me, "who are Stan and Ollie?" I'd likely have shrugged because yes, while I'd heard of the duo before, I wasn't sure who they were.  They were just another duo, one of the unknown ones that you'd heard but didn't have faces for.  And there are SO many famous duos - there's Thelma and Louise.  Ozzie and Harriet.  Punch and Judy.  Simon and Garfunkel.  Siskel and Ebert.  But almost immediately after reading the names in THIS duo, I had a mental image of Laurel and Hardy.  Just like that, there they were, in black-and-white, as I'd last seen them.  Laurel with his top-hat and Hardy with the bowl cut hair and badly-maintained toothbrush mustache.

When I was a small child, my uncle (yes - the one I HATE!) used to watch March of the Wooden Soldiers.  On repeat, it seemed.  He had a copy of the VHS tape, and whenever I saw him or he was babysitting, he would ask if I wanted to watch Laurel and Hardy with him - and although I didn't necessarily find this particular movie entertaining, I would still agree to watch March of the Wooden Soldiers.  I was likely four or five - and I was not introduced to closed-captioned television until I was at least 8.  So this movie, to me, was completely visual.  Perhaps as it was one of the duo's 'silent movies,' it was something my uncle felt I could 'follow.'  I honestly would have done better with Tom and Jerry (another duo!) but March of the Wooden Soldiers, it was.  

Laurel was the skinny one, Hardy was the stocky one.  Both were equally stupid.  They didn't do a lot of talking in the movie; it was mostly gestures, actions - mostly resulting in either Laurel or Hardy falling into water, getting a pie in the face or injured in an otherwise comical way.  Perhaps that's why I was able to derive a minimal amount of enjoyment of this movie - it wasn't because I understood the plot behind it.  I am sure there was one - and my uncle was able to 'explain' who some of the other players were.  I'd later find out that most of their movies were 'silent' films - makes more sense I'd understand them.

But - to me - Laurel and Hardy were JUST 'Laurel and Hardy.'  A friend confirmed for me last night that their names were indeed Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy - so this tells me that I've remembered something - something purely out-of-the-blue, as I don't ever remember ever knowing that Laurel and Hardy had first names - or that they were their real names - I'd always thought they were fictional characters - they've always been recognizable to me as just Laurel and Hardy, those stupid, bumbling idiots from those stupid movies my stupid uncle used to watch and burst out in uncontrollable laughter, every single time one of them made a stupid move - says a lot for his own intelligence, I suppose.  (On another note, I am guessing that this is why I find MOST comedy 'stupid.'   That's yet ANOTHER realization I've come to in recent years - I can be made to laugh by a movie, but then there's 'stupid' comedy - I have found that kind of film is more likely to annoy me than make me double over in hysterics!) 

This 'recovery' is even more bothersome because I've so closely associated Laurel and Hardy with my uncle.  I'd been doing so well at pretending he didn't exist - being I've no concrete memories of what possibly happened while I was often under his care as a child.  It was just so much easier to do this.  No memory = didn't happen.  I could live with this - as long as I kept him out of sight, too.  There WAS always the possibility of things coming back to the surface, but I'd always thought it would be upon his (delayed) death.  I'd also successfully blocked out anything having to do with Laurel and Hardy, just as I'd blocked out MOST things from that time frame.  It IS possible I knew or heard "Stan and Ollie" back then, but I've absolutely no memory of it.  And then, thirty-five years later, I see Stan and Ollie in bolded text, and BOOM, there's Laurel and Hardy, front row and center of my brain's auditorium!  HOW does that happen???  

Is this what happens in the beginning?  Is it like a storm, perhaps?  As they all start off small, bearable and mild...then, before you know it, the elements become fierce, unrelenting, and you eventually find yourself flooded.  

I'm GUESSING it's now started to 'drizzle' up in my brain because of my very recent struggles/trigger with having to possibly see my uncle at my nephew's and niece's birthday party.  We've also had additional stressors since my mother dropped this bomb on me (bomb discussed in my last entry) and as I deal with things that are more important (my sick cat), I've chosen to put this into the back of my mind, knowing I have a month and a half before this event is to take place.  That's ample time, right?  I just refuse to give this piece-of-shit ANY importance or any thought - he will NOT destroy me - I said that, of course, after deciding that my nephew and niece are FAR more important to me than he is - and I'd go to their party regardless - even if I had to carry a flask of vodka with me.  I've also some hope that he will eventually say he can't go for whatever reason, or he'll develop a nasty cold or he'll....oh, I don't know....die?  Or my father will be on MY side, and refuse to have any part of chauffeuring him there and back.  This is not likely, as my father, bless his heart - is clueless.

Either way, it would seem that this has been sitting in the background for three weeks and is now starting to rot.  It smells AWFUL.  I cannot explain last night's experience otherwise.  

I welcome any thoughts on this - especially those who have recovered memory from seemingly nowhere.

My break from cleaning is over.  Back to the grind.

Let's go, Rams!

- Capulet


Well, would ya look at that...TWO blog entries in two weeks - a good start to my promise to do some more writing/mental uploading!

This entry can mostly be attributed to Oompa's prompt and not-a-moment-too-soon departure on Thursday morning - she and my stepfather were here for two nights.  My father (to many: 'Lord Capulet') and his wife were ALSO in town, and since Monday, I've spend every day with one or both of my parents and their spouses - 'the steps.'  Yesterday afternoon was the first time we were ALL together, and I sat at the kitchen table with my four parents, having a cup of coffee while everyone conversed about what restaurants were close by, who had a coupon for what, which establishments offered senior discounts...

As for me, I didn't care.  I've BEEN trying to get back on the diet wagon - so I was slowly trying to get used to the fact that it would likely NOT happen tonight.  Not with the restaurant names being thrown around.  My brain would adjust to the idea of one restaurant, but then they'd yell out the name of a different one.  Finally, I reclined, sipped my coffee, and let them figure it out for themselves.

"What about Olive Garden?  I have a $5 off of $30!"

"Wait, wait!  Texas Roadhouse?  $4 off two adult entrees!!"

"Longhorns?  Don't they have a fifty-five and up menu for seniors?"

"I don't have a coupon for (insert less-famous local eatery here), do we want to call them and see if they're offering any early-bird specials?"

I managed to get through an ENTIRE cup of coffee while they threw ideas at each other.  And I'm not usually a quick coffee drinker, usually there's a small amount left in the mug when I finally dump it into the sink.  My answer was the same whenever asked - 'Sure.  Whatever you guys want.'

I'm not sure who suggested what, but they decided on Texas Roadhouse, so we clipped the coupon and my father's wife tucked it carefully into her purse - then the next 'discussion' began.  Now, it was 'what time are we leaving????'

I had no idea what time we would be leaving but I knew it was, at the very least, time for a second cup of coffee.  

I'm not sure if I even knew what time everyone agreed on leaving my house - at this point, I was no longer really paying attention.  But somehow, I caught glimpses of what my mother was NOW talking about.  She started talking about the invitation on the table for my nephew and niece's dual birthday party.  My nephew will be five and my niece will be turning one.  My sister, in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, planned a party for both kids on a Saturday in between their month-apart birthdays.  She talked a little bit about how my youngest niece 'got the short end of the stick' because both my nephew and my OTHER sister's kid had both had 'big' parties for their first birthdays.  So again, I stared into my coffee while once in a while looking up and pretending to be interested in their conversation.  Only, next time I did 'check in,' she was in the middle of asking my father for a favor.  I didn't get all of it, but I saw, '...pick him up...' and 'on your way home, if you could drop him off...'

Wait, what?  I snapped back into reality.

I interrupted and asked her what she was talking about.  I think she'd assumed by now that I was comfortably situated in la-la land and that she'd be able to discuss this without my input.  She was wrong, though, and she kind of paused, took a deep breath, and said:

"Well, you know...your sister invited your uncles to the kids' birthday party in March."  She might've seen the smoke beginning to shoot out of my ears, I'm sure of it, because she trailed off with, "...and she wants Uncle B to do the balloons for the kids and and they have no way of getting there...so, I thought your father could maybe give them a ride..."

"Are you fucking kidding me?"  I cut her off.  I didn't care that I was surrounded by the four people who raised me and although Oompa has heard me swear a number of times, Lord Capulet is not used to seeing me angry.  Maybe it's because around him, I'm rarely angry.  My father doesn't push nor test my limits like my mother does.  Well - consider them currently pushed to the maximum, because I was LIVID now.  

* Here is some background information, to clear up any confusion at this point - by 'my uncles,' I am referring to my mother's brother (Uncle L) and his very long time partner (Uncle B). Their relationship is as strange as it can be - they've not outwardly admitted to being gay, even after living together (in separate bedrooms) for over forty years.  Uncle L is a 'priest;' (the air quotations are being used VERY loosely here) - however, he's ALWAYS been a phony and I've some VERY strong suspicions of his being guilty of a lot of wrongdoing during my childhood days.  Uncle B, I believe, is his asexual domestic partner and for as long as I could remember, has had a talent for making balloon animals. Of the two,  he's the more harmless, more likable, but unfortunately remains faithful to my uncle.  It makes it VERY difficult to consider him family, but he is the one I will say a polite 'hello' to while I'd walk past and avoid the uncle whose blood I share like the plague.

I asked Oompa to tell me again, HOW this fucking idiot got invited to a kids' party.  She repeated herself.  Uncle B's been asked to make the animal balloons.  Yep.  Got that.  Uncle L would come along with him.  He IS after all, blood, and wanted to see the kids for their birthday.  I rolled my eyes.  

"He's just an old man, we'll put him on the opposite end of the room..."  My mother, by now is trying to calm me down because I'm starting to lose my shit.  Dad and the steps - both quiet. 

I went off on her.  "You mean to tell me (my sister) can't hire a fucking clown that can make balloon animals that already lives in New Jersey that has his own means of transportation, isn't over seventy years old and isn't required to lug along his pet piece-of-shit wherever he goes?"

"Stoppp..." my mother's WELL aware of how pissed off I am - I'm SURE she, by now was regretful of having brought this up in my company and was silently kicking herself.  But I am realizing that it's even more fucked up that she would deny me this information and sooner allow me to walk into my nephew's and niece's birthday party to find THAT fucking douche-bag sitting there.  Staring at me - because that's what he does, given the opportunity.  His eyes are unsettling, piercing, and whenever I see him, he's looking.  RIGHT at me.  

"I'm not coming," I finally said, "I'll send a present for each of them, but if he's there, I won't be."

My father and his wife gave each other a look.  My mother just sighed and asked if I'd really do that to my nephew and niece.  My niece, at a year old, would be fine if Auntie Cap wasn't there, but I KNOW my nephew would be looking for me.  Well, SHIT.  No, I'd probably not disappoint him, if you're going to put it that way.  My nephew is totes my little buddy - despite his parents, who are as fake as they come.  NO, I would not do that to him, but I CANNOT be expected to be as I normally am, with HIM there.  

"Wait..." My father's wife finally said breaking the silence that had come over the kitchen table, "What is going on, here?"

Ahhhh, that's right.  I'd not told anyone about my suspicions.  I'd given Oompa alternate reason for not liking Uncle L, reasons that seemingly don't fit a meltdown of this caliber.  I've decided she's never going to get all of the reasons - I can't trust her.  Just when I think I can TRY, she goes and pulls bullshit like this!

Obviously, my mother had never shared with my father my hatred for Uncle L, either.  I felt...cornered.  No, this wasn't a good thing - this wasn't a good TIME.  No way in hell was I getting into something I wasn't prepared for.  

INITIATE SHUT-DOWN SEQUENCE, I could hear my brain saying, in that robot voice.  Over and over.  Don't think.  Don't scramble for words.  Just get OUT of this!  And so, I did.  I was only able to say that I wanted nothing to do with him - he was a horrible person and I didn't want to be around him.  

My Dad and stepmother were even more confused - when asked why, Oompa proceeded in telling the story I'd been giving her for the last decade and a half.  It did help that there was actually credence to these things - and surely, they're reason to dislike him but I'm sure my mother KNOWS there is more beneath the surface - and she's likely playing me at my own game - only sharing what I've been willing to share with her.  Perhaps she's hoping someone else knows more and she can get more details out of them.  The only one to know the entire reason is J...and although Oompa HAS tried to question J a couple of times over the years, my lovely wifey has claimed she knows nothing and is faithfully guarding that information.  I hold the control that way - and I know that my secrets are safer that way, too. 

So, I sat back, fuming, while my father and stepmother listened, and my mother rattled off the reasons for my not liking my uncle.

Here's why I don't like my uncle and why the thought of seeing him sends me into a panic, a rage.  According to Oompa, of course, and now, according to Lord Capulet and his wife:

He'd allowed my grandmother to live her final days in FILTH - she lived downstairs from him.  There were cracks in her floors, roaches crawling up the walls, a nasty odor in the air.  He'd originally fought my mother on letting her live her last days at home - he wanted to put her in a nursing home because 'he couldn't take care of her.'  My mother did EVERYTHING she could to tend to my grandmother - at the time, she worked at a public school and she'd first go to my grandmother's house every day for a few hours before coming home.  She arranged for an in-home aide to tend to, feed, assist my grandmother while my uncle did what he does best - nothing.

When she died - he wasted NO time in 'removing' her from the house, so that he (and Uncle B) could make renovations to the entire downstairs apartment she lived in - and transform it into a church.  He had a chapel upstairs but had been making plans to redo her living room into a congregation room.  This man HAS no congregation - he says mass daily, or so he claimed years ago - now that he's slowly becoming senile.  

He (possibly with the help of his 'partner,') cheated my mother out of her inheritance.  My grandmother was NOT the sharpest tool in the shed and was someone who was very easily manipulated.  Somehow, Uncle B convinced my grandmother (when she first became ill) to sell HIM her half of the house - she owned half, and Uncle L already owned the other half.  Uncle B bought the remaining half - for 20 grand, so now, the house was entirely theirs.  A brick house in Brooklyn goes for WAY more than that - yes, the house was a DUMP - but it was still my mother's childhood home and she'd NOT been given the opportunity to purchase the house if she wanted to.  They'd gone behind her back.   A little work could have been put into it - some renovations, perhaps - and it would have put the value MUCH higher than what Uncle B paid.  Regardless, my ailing grandmother took the money and put it away - she willed that 20K to be split among her three children upon her death - my mother, Uncle L and their sister, who predeceased them all.  When she finally did pass, 'half' of THAT money now belonged to Uncle L - leaving my mother with a measly 10K - and her brother with the house and all of her earthly possessions that could be sold/distributed, etc.  My mother used 'her inheritance' to pay for the funeral, leaving her with very little money and maybe a few trinkets, including my grandmother's wedding ring that she'd wanted my Mom to have, (that she'd had to fight my uncle for - there was a time he claimed he couldn't find it - she cleverly told him that since it was willed to her, she'd hold him responsible for the monetary value of the ring - he had a change of heart very shortly afterwards and told her that miraculously he 'found' it) - or he'd have pawned them for even more money to pad his own pockets.

(Admittedly, my father looked shocked at this point - BOTH he and his wife did.)

Sadly, this is only enough to label him as simply an unsavory, dishonest person - but sometimes I wonder if this is enough to explain why I'd say I don't want anything to do with him - I don't even mind his partner, Uncle B, too much.  EVEN if he'd been dishonest with my grandmother and DID purposely cheat my mother out of what she was entitled to, I don't hate him.  I just don't want Uncle L near me or my kids, I don't think he should be around my nephew and nieces - I might've said too that I didn't understand how the asshole had more lives than all five of my cats combined, death had evaded him more times than I could count.  One doesn't wish death upon a miserly old man - especially one who is seemingly already paying the hefty price of his past greed - he relies on Uncle B entirely, needs 24/7 care, his knees are shot.  He cannot walk, he doesn't go anywhere.  He sits at home, day in and day out - and according to my mother, has forgotten names of some of his nieces and nephews - he's called my sister my name, or he's questioned my mother in reference to my sisters, "the one in the middle," or "the niece of mine who's in the medical field."  My mother has said he's 'slowly' losing his mind, but if you ask me, he's never had full possession of his mind!  I didn't know what pissed me off more - the whole invitation thing, or that she was asking my father to shuttle his disgusting ass to and from a party that I'm not looking forward to going to, anymore - or that she was making excuses for a piece of shit who doesn't deserve them!

And my stupid, fucking sister!  We've HAD conversations about our uncle before.  Granted, not THE conversation - but she is WELL aware of how I feel about him.  Yet she invites him to a kiddie party!?  Where Uncle B, when he's not playing with fucking balloons, is going to be running around with a goddamned camera and taking pictures so that Uncle L can have them.  As if the creep doesn't stare enough!  I remember when my sister (this same one) got married - seeing him was unavoidable - he was at the wedding - the church part - and he had to walk past me to walk out.  Uncle B was behind him and as soon as he was next to me, he whips out the camera - "Let's take a picture!!!!"  Not a good place to cause a scene - my sister's special day...so I put on the fakest smile I could manage and held my breath.  My daughter was standing a few feet away and I might've made up an elaborate story about how I didn't want her to mistake the holy water for a drinking fountain and walked away as soon as he'd snapped a photo.

My father didn't confirm whether he would pick up Uncle B and the douche-pig and drop them back home on the day in question - but at least he's got some things to think about, now.  Unfortunately, since I was in no position to fully explain my outburst, I feel that I have lost this battle and this, like my sister's wedding, will turn into another one of those 'can't be helped' situations - even though it COULD have been - if only my family had my back.  It further proves that they do not, and that when it suits them, they'll not think twice about making me uncomfortable.  I'll wonder if it is partially my fault, I've not exactly been straight-up with them about my suspicions - instead, I've allowed them to believe a different set of reasons for my hatred toward him.  It's something I will regret having done - but at the same time, I can't imagine ever being ready to share the truth with any of them.  How can I, though? I can't trust ANY of them!

Anyway...it's taken me two days to get all of this out.  Normally, a blog entry takes about a day, with me getting up in between writing sessions, with interruptions being frequent, with having to constantly put my writing on hold because of things that come up in 'real life.'

However, reality has made itself known in ways that very few people know about right now - and I've been HIGHLY emotional.  I will likely get to all of those details in a future entry, though - for it's taken me THIS long to finish THIS particular thought - THIS was put on hold by the 'other thing,' and now the other thing needs some further internalizing before I can discuss it fully and with some of my emotions still intact and without losing my mind.  The short of it, though - we are losing one of our fur babies.  It was a very unexpected development starting with the loss of function in both of his hind legs.  He's been diagnosed with 'saddle thrombus.'  Nothing can be done for him - and as he's seemingly not in pain, we have decided to let him live out his remaining days at home for as long as he's not struggling.  The moment he does show that he is starting to suffer, though, we'll be taking the hours-long drive to the vet that is only 20 minutes away.  As of right now, though, he cannot walk and has to be carried wherever he'd like to be, has to have his food and litter pan near him (within drag-distance) and has to be watched closely for any changes.

J and I are devastated, we have spent the last couple of days crying off and on - and all of this bullshit with my mother and my uncle - seems so, very unimportant right now.  I second-guessed posting this entry, too - it seems SILLY to bit*h about a party guest who might not even remember my name - when there are far more important things to be concerned with - especially when it concerns a loved one who DESERVES more 'time' than he's been given.  

More later.  Want to release this entry before it becomes THREE days!  I will be back with another update as soon as I can string together coherent thoughts on the rest of it without bursting into tears.  The tear dam has already broken - it usually takes a LOT for me to be able to cry - and the last couple days have shown me that I, as much as I'd love to, cannot control the flow of tears.

Hoping all of you are well.

- Capulet



Well, it seems I've started a new trend of updating 2x a month rather than weekly, but my promise to you all is that I'll TRY to blog more frequently. I have truly missed my for-the-hell-of-it writing and do resolve to get back into the routine of doing so regularly.  It's important to me to keep the mental wheels turning, even if they tend to slow down from time to time.  

I've just not had much to update you all on - other than I've had a one-week reprieve from the wintery joy that is home - and J and I have just returned from one week in Central Florida for our 10-year anniversary celebration.  We visited Disney World, Universal Studios, Downtown Disney Springs.  We had an absolutely wonderful time - (word to the wise, though - do NOT visit Disney World on a weekend!  And if you're interested in Universal - SPLURGE on the Express Pass to bypass the long lines, it is TRULY worth it!) - and now we are back home, trying to re-acquaint ourselves with our normal routines.  J's gone back to work and all our laundry has been caught up on - and all our cats have been reassured that we will not be leaving them for another five years - seems to be how we roll - big anniversary trip every five years.  Not sure, though, that when we're both 45, we'll have the stamina for Disney World.  Maybe we'll take on Australia or overseas!  I've always wanted to see London, Ireland, maybe even Italy!

We've five years to figure that out, though.  Our trip was nice, though - and it was much-needed.  Now our bank accounts and wallets are in need of some severe replenishment!  :wink:

In the meantime, I've missed two consecutive meetings/months of the Survivors' Art Group.  The last one was smack-dab in the middle of our vacation - and the one before that - one of the kids wasn't feeling well.  I have, however, seen M before leaving for vacation and she did supply me with a worksheet and accompanying color-in sheet of paper depicting a blank head atop some shoulders, that they'd completed as a group during the last meeting - the first one I'd missed.  

"Self-portraits," she said, "Feel free to complete this on your own if you're inclined!"

The worksheet page had listed questions.  But the first one was immediately an indicator of how tricky this assignment would be.  HOW do these people complete this in one hour???  At this point, I've had this paper for over three weeks!  This should be an assignment we have a MONTH to complete; likely it can be proposed that at the end of one group meeting, a preview of next time's discussion could be provided and we could bring these worksheets to the next meeting for discussion?  At any rate, it's a thought for me to bring up to M on our upcoming session on Friday.  But, anyway...moving along.

What would a self-portrait of me look like?  There were other questions, too, (but I'm too lazy to go fetch the paper from the visor of J's car - it's 12 degrees outside and we've had some rain) - but that's just the thing with these questions/exercises...not just this one, but usually ALL of the meetings are accompanied by questions that make you tap into the deepest parts of your mind for answers to.  They're thought-provoking and they make me sit and think for what seems like hours, before I answer one and move onto the next!

I am PRETTY sure they're not asking for me to try and draw the profile picture I have of myself on Facebook, although that is probably what most people see - especially those who haven't taken the time to learn (read the book) the story behind the picture (face).  What they likely want drawn/written in that circle no bigger than a baseball, is FAR more complicated than just adding eyes, a nose and a mouth.  I think I'd need an entire wall - for who I am is not summable by just a few words.  And when you ask a WRITER who they are, you can fully expect an explanation of each trait.  Y'see, writers are explainers.  We're big on supporting what we write - if I write about my hatred of broccoli, (not the case, just an example!) I am going to explain WHY I hate broccoli.  We try to get the point across, and if we can, we can add a humorous spin on things or if the situation calls for it, we can be a hundred percent serious.  And like anyone else, it IS easier to talk about things that don't pertain to us, especially those dark, painful things that in order for them to be understood, they take a HELL of a lot of explaining!  

Ironically, most of who you are resides and originates in the brain - and that's not even visible!!!!  We only see what's on the outside, what a person allows for us to see.  I suppose that sums up my existence these days - for only a VERY small handful HAVE been allowed to navigate the endless corridors of what is my brain.  (Do you like what you see in there?  I haven't kept up with the decorating, but I do try to spruce up the place every now and then with NEW content...wink, wink.)

Well, crap.  I don't know what to put into this tiny little circle!!!!  Eyes, nose, mouth will take up most of the space - that's a given.  No room for interpretation on anything I draw, either - as I am by no means an artist!  Surely there are some key words that describe me to a T, that require little to no explanation.  

For starters: I KNOW I am loyal, faithful and honest.  Although loyalty, faithfulness and honesty CAN be explained in depth, I don't think that my reasons for outwardly possessing these traits need to be discussed here - for the reasons that these are most important to me are likely the same for so many others.  We've been burned too many times, we've been hurt in immeasurable ways, we've been abandoned, we've had our trust ripped from us, torn to shreds, stomped on, chewed up and spit out - the list of ways of the breaking of trust goes on and on - and we've been hurled into the discard bin more times than we can count.  For these reasons alone, I'd sooner die before doing this to someone else.  To me, this is the creed to live by - there's NO alternative way to be.  I am NOT the people who have hurt me - these people are NOT in this portrait with me - not in the spotlight, nor in the background, even if blurry, like in one of those old Poloroids!

And here's what we DON'T see in the pictures....

I am also described as/struggling withabused, afraid, angry, an aunt, authentic, anxious, balanced, battered, broken, bravebullied, consistentcranky on occasion, a daughter, defeated, depression, determineddistrustful, domestic violencedon't like confrontation, eager to please, easily manipulated, eating-disordered, edgy, emotionally shut-down at timesexhausted, fear-driven, fidgety, fierce, a fighterfragmented, a friend, givinga hard workerheartbroken, isolated, insecure, kind-hearted, lovinga mother, nervous, obsessive-compulsive, paranoia, a partner, PTSDrape, reliablerespectful, responsible, sadnesssecretive, self-blame, self-hate, shy, a sister, sleep-deprived, socially awkward, submissive, supportivea survivor, tensetimid, tired, wallsweary, a wifeworrisome, a writer...

My portrait contains ALL of these words and phrases, (and possibly even more that I've not even thought of yet!) even if they are not things I'm currently dealing with and have come and go throughout my life - these traits and tendencies still exist and some were put there by those whom in the course of my 40 years, have taught me to possess the ones that might not be necessarily healthy, even if they are lying dormant at the moment. They are there because of my disgusting uncle, my rapist, & my ex-husband, primarily, and I have learned how hard it is for folks to see PAST some of these unfavorable qualities that are NOT my fault (but still MY responsibility to 'fix') - and see ME for the person I've always tried to be, regardless of what I've been taught.  As you can see, there ARE some qualities that are admirable - and I'm proud to be able to admit that these fit me, too - for it's also easy to see how they COULD have been omitted from the list entirely!  

Yet, I still cling to and have never lost sight of those three key words - loyal, faithful, honest.  When you have all of these OTHER traits swimming beneath the surface, it is VERY hard to maintain and stay true to those preferred traits (and others, of course) that hold the most importance.  I've managed to do, though, by some miracle - so for the most part...

I am VICTORIOUS.  And I will continue to be.  I will push myself to overcome those traits that can be viewed as faults, and I will succeed in (slowly) removing those undesirable characteristics OFF of this list - for I no longer want to be described as anything other than the good person I BELIEVE myself to be.

TRY fitting all of that into a baseball-sized circle!!!!  :blink:

I suppose I'll get to those other questions that were on that worksheet later on, or I'll just see what the next group session brings - it's seemingly an endless cycle of thinking that we've, as survivors, been doomed to, isn't it?  Either way, I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak openly on these topics, even if it's just to myself within the confines of a blog.  Maybe it resonates with others, maybe it doesn't.  It helps me greatly, though, to be able to process all of it here - it helps to see where I am and how far I've travelled to get here.  :throb:

Until next time!

- Capulet


Have I REALLY been gone since December 4th?  :blink:

Yes, friends - this is VERY much unlike me.  Those of you who know me - know that when my mind is cluttered and my brain is busy - I write.  It's how I make sense of things.  To say that my mind has been clear lately would be a lie - there's SO much clutter up there - it's starting to look like Grandma's attic! (Although MY grandmother, may she rest in peace, did not have an attic - she had a basement that scared the shit out of me for most of my childhood!)  

My brain has been running a mile-a-minute, but I've been effective at compartmentalizing - at least until the holidays have passed us.  Rather than say, "okay, I'm going to think on this tonight and see what comes out - it'll be a good thing to blog about because I'm SURE there are others who feel this same exact way," the last few weeks have been more of a "maybe later," or a "perhaps after Christmas" or just plain, "not now."

Things with J are....fine.  I don't want to say there's been improvement because with the looming holidays, stresses have indeed mounted and any left-over issues we have been having were not to be confused with the typical stress the holidays are notorious for bringing forth.  It's easy for past stresses to escalate, when new ones are introduced.  So rather than let this happen - I chose to just go through the motions of the holidays - and make the most of it, even though I was not feeling it this year.  If you've been following this blog for a while, you know by now the result of LAST year's (2017's) Christmas - I didn't want a repeat of that, when it comes to my mother and my sisters, and that entire part of my family.  

This year's wasn't as dramatic - but it was still sorely lacking.  

It hasn't been terrible.  Don't get me wrong.  It just hasn't been spectacular.  Maybe I've set the bar too high - maybe I'm just expecting too much at this point?  It IS, after all, what I thought Christmas was supposed to be.  Filled with love, with enjoyment, with fulfillment - instead, it's become purely obligation...my obligation to others, to make sure they have everything THEY want and need.  Over the last several years, I have bent for everyone else - to the point where MOST have now began to take me and all of my efforts for granted.  There is very little reciprocation - if not for my mother, my father, and J - there'd be NOTHING for me under the tree.  And while I'm not a material girl at ALL, it's hard to ignore that - when I have been attempting to MOVE heaven and earth to make EVERYONE ELSE happy - never mind my own happiness and sense of holiday cheer.  

Since the divorce, the wasband has been unrelenting on where the kids spend the holidays.  They MUST be with him.  ALL of his kids.  They've got to be seated at HIS table - for Christmas, New Year's, for Thanksgiving, for Easter, for St. Patrick's Day, for Halloween, for Father's Day, (that one, I understand!) for July 4th, for Passover, for heaven's sake - and he's not even Jewish!  Early on, years ago, I had asked if I can bring the kids with me to someone else's house for the holiday (or if we could alternate?) and it's been met with an "absolutely not."  

This, of course, means, that, if I want to spend any of the holidays with my children, that I, too, have to be at his house, celebrating within the chaos of HIS home, with HIS wife, all HIS kids.  Mind you, I don't mind any of his kids - I raised all of them, if you think about it, to include his and his wife's youngest.  I am, of course, free to choose whether I want to be there for the holiday, or if I want to go celebrate with someone else.  But my children would not be allowed to come with me.  If, God forbid, I chose to spend a holiday with someone else, then he's the type to turn around and poison my children's minds against me - "your mother would rather be with so-and-so than you...."  

Yes, friends - his abuse goes ON - even though we are no longer married, even though we no longer live together.  His manipulation continues - and WILL NOT cease until he is six-feet-under.  This IS painfully hard to accept - but I'm out of energy.  There comes a point in time where you no longer have the desire to change things that simply cannot be changed.  

So, I've sacrificed my ideas of what I'd like for Christmas to be, for the last decade.  It's supposed to be give and take - this, I know and this, I've been taught in childhood.  My parents aren't eligible for POTY (parents-of-the-year) but they DID teach me to have good manners, and consideration for others.  They DID teach me the true meaning of the holiday - that it was to spread joy, kindness and happiness.  Instead, I've learned to DREAD not only Christmas but every holiday, too!  No, it's not fair - I know this, you all know this - anyone with a shred of human decency and a sense of compromise knows this - but it is what it is.  He's not budging.  And because he won't budge or so much as meet me halfway, I have to celebrate holidays with my family on days that aren't the actual holiday - adding MORE stress to my already full plate.  And it is NOT easy to get the kids to come with me to 'family gatherings' that don't include their father - he's done enough moaning, groaning and bitching and complaining to them over the years - and if he's not invited, they're quick to refer to the 'WWDD' (What would Dad do?) way of thinking.  And if Dad wouldn't want to go, neither would they.  So, that's ANOTHER battle - I guess it's a good thing that my birthday is conveniently located five days post-Christmas - I can very well play the 'it's my birthday, I want my kids with me' card.  This usually works. :shrug:

This year, I INSISTED upon doing Christmas Eve at my house.  Oompa, after some resistance (she wouldn't be Oompa without her slew of complaints!) promised to come for Christmas Eve, and then to sleep over and leave early Christmas morning so that she could spend Christmas Day with her other two daughters and the rest of her grandchildren.  

Both my sisters were invited also - along with their spouses and all of their kids.  Youngest sister had previous arrangements with her husband's family - so she politely declined.  Okay.  I understood that and didn't begrudge her at all.  

Middle sister came up with every excuse in the book before saying no, too.  What were her excuses?  Let's see...her husband is working for the first half of the day.  Oh, and he's allergic to cats! (he's not had any problem with the cats when he's come to my house in the past - my cats don't want to be around the likes of HIM, either!)  Or my youngest niece is bad in the car - a 2 hour drive would be 'too much.'  Yet, there are PLENTY of Facebook posts documenting their MANY family outings - some locations MORE than 2 hours away from where they live.  So, yeah.  Long story, short - she doesn't want to come.  

So the stage was set, at this point.  Oompa would be there, I'd be doing a Christmas Eve/birthday celebration for J at my house.  She'd see her elder grandchildren Christmas Eve and her littler grandchildren Christmas Day.  I'd be spending Christmas Day at the wasband's, of course.  So now this meant that I wouldn't be seeing my nephew or nieces unless I went to THEM for my birthday - which doubled as an opportunity to give them their Christmas gifts, thus extending the holiday aggravation by a few days - I'd just like for them to be over and done when they're over and done!  

Most of my shopping was done online - alone, and without much input other than the Son's sending me a link to an eBay auction for two books he'd been wanting to read.  "It's a good deal, Ma....you can get it for me for Christmas!"  I didn't think twice.  I bought the books.  Both of my kids are at the point where it's HARD to shop for them - they're getting quality over quantity, a couple expensive things and a few smaller things as 'fillers.'  They are the only ones I really splurge on.  I DID get for the wasband and his wife, and I did get for the REST of his children - I ensured NO one was left out - because although two are adults, one is not even his child, (it's his wife's son) I didn't have the heart to exclude anyone - there was something under that tree for EVERYONE who would be around my dinner table for Christmas Eve.  No questions asked.  Did they bring me anything?  No.  They did not.  They, just as always, took me for granted - they came, ate all my food, made a mess in my house, and left with full stomachs and a trunk full of gifts they'd received - my mother got nothing from them, I got nothing from them.  All we received was a sheepish "didn't realize we were exchanging!"  I could hear my brain going, then...Maybe not, you ass, but common sense dictates you go to someone's house for the holiday - you BRING something!  Even a freakin' dessert platter or pastries or whatever - it doesn't have to be wrapped!  Because the ONLY reason I want YOUR rude, ungrateful, obnoxious ass in my house is because it means I can have my children home too!

I'm NOT going to have an easy Christmas next year, that's for sure - Oompa is flirting with the idea of taking BACK the torch she's passed down to me - and she wants to do Christmas Eve at HER house - which is far smaller than mine.  She'll, of course, invite the wasband and all the kids - but knowing him, he won't budge - he wants ME to do it - apparently I 'do a good job' keeping the family together.  Completely oblivious to the very sad fact that I don't feel as if I've a choice in the matter anymore.  Top this off with J wanting to spend next Christmas with HER family in Massachusetts - she did tell me this BEFORE this year's festivities - but knowing that she won't be here and there is likely going to be MORE bending on my part to keep everyone appeased.  

How much more bending am I capable of, before I finally SNAP?

I feel this is enough of my bitching - at least, for this year.  I DO sincerely hope that YOUR Christmas/holidays went smoothly and with a minimal of drama/stress.  It seems to be unavoidable to some - as some families don't understand the concept of 'simple.'  Still, I do hope that everyone's had at least one smile this past Christmas - at least one gift, be it something wrapped with a pretty bow or simply the gift of kindness, friendship or a phone call...whatever it was that made us feel loved.  We are ALL deserving of that joy, even if it was a small amount.  I did have some of this; and for that, I'm grateful.

I am now headed over to the wasband's to watch the ball drop with my children - J will be working an overnight shift tonight and will drop me off there on her way - then I'll just drive my car back home, as the son has it sitting at his father's house for absolutely no reason at all.

The next few days, the first three days of 2019 will be filled with NO celebrations, NO festivities, no NOTHING.  On the 4th, we are headed to Disney World and Universal Studios, where we will be celebrating out 10 year anniversary - of the decade we've spent together, 2018 has been the most 'bumpy' year.  And yes, I admit, this past year has unnerved me to my core - but I am going to resolve to continue to better myself as a person, as a wife, a mother, and a friend.  And to shed off the pounds I've re-gained whilst stress-eating all of the Christmas cookies!

Happy New Year, everybody.  Will be toasting to my AS family tonight at midnight!

- Capulet


The first time I attempted to get this entry started, I got maybe two words typed out before my very demanding cat jumped up onto the desk, spilling my pencil holder of its contents as well as knocking my (thankfully covered) water bottle as well as other empty soda cans and nail polish bottles over.  I'm telling you - when this boy wants his love and affection, he stops at absolutely nothing and often resorts to destruction!

So - here is attempt number two, now that I've banished him to the other side of my bedroom door with, "my Christmas tree BETTER still be standing in the morning, Mister!"  I then locked the door so he couldn't let himself in, (believe it or not, the little shit KNOWS how to open handled doors! He taught himself and has NO regard for privacy!) and am now sitting down to write.

I had my second session with the Support Group Leader on Friday.  I will from now on refer to her as M, it's easier.

Anyway - we really didn't have time to 'go over' my assignment from our last session (the one where she wanted me to share where I thought I'd be in three years) because I walked in prepared to discuss instead what I wrote about in my LAST blog entry - my recent struggles with J's re-entrance into therapy, of her starting EMDR, of being distant, overworked and overstressed, and of the rekindling of her social life.  It's what's been on my mind the most nowadays, and it felt fitting to discuss this in place of whatever the hell I might be doing in three years.  

Previously, we briefly got around to talking about the company J keeps - particularly her boss/friend.  I've always been honest with J and told her that there's SOMETHING I can't quite put my finger on, SOMETHING about her that I don't like.  I've said it until I was blue in the face.  It is NOT a romantic attraction I'm fearful of.  No.  I trust J in every aspect, and I know that if there was any chance that she didn't want to be with me - she wouldn't be.  I have tried several times to explain to her that it is simply the fact that while she and I are actively disconnecting, I am witnessing her becoming close to someone else.  Although it's not on the same level, it still makes me feel (perhaps unnecessarily) threatened.  And although J has always invited me into the fold and tried to include me, I've always felt reluctant and as if I didn't want to be around her boss/friend, because of these irrational thoughts.

Anyway - J's sisters dropped in on Thanksgiving night.  During the day on Friday, I was dealing with our cable mishap, so I was unable to join them for the trip to the nail salon (I swear, when it comes to mani-pedis, I'm probably the man in the relationship - I could care less what my nails look like as they're usually cut short for bowling purposes, and GOD HELP anyone who touches my FEET!) or for the breakfast they went and ate after that.   

Being as we live four hours apart, J doesn't spend a whole lot of time with her sister.  So, whenever her sister comes for a visit, I am perfectly fine keeping a distance and allowing them the time and space to visit and reconnect.  Whenever J goes out with her sister (a heavy drinker) there is ALWAYS music and booze involved.  I am generally uncomfortable being around people who share this overtly loud and obnoxious, outgoing personality.  And that Friday night after Thanksgiving, the three sisters wanted to go to a bar for a few drinks after supper and said that I should join them.  I struggled with the invitation, but then I agreed to join them just for the food, but bowed out of the after-dinner bar plans.  

Admittedly, there is currently more revolving around my not wanting to be around J's one sister either - it has a LOT to do with what happened prior to J's radiation treatment this past summer.  I am feeling that is not quite resolved - her sister had said she'd like to communicate once per week, she'd like to get to know me better, things like that.  She hasn't made a single effort to communicate with me - AT ALL.  And I'm all about reciprocation - I've done nothing, too.  I am stubborn, yes, but I also don't feel this is mine to fix.  SHE is the one who acted poorly.  If I said things that weren't necessarily nice or polite, it was because I was defending myself.

Anyway, I remained civil and friendly - I politely declined the second invitation to go boozing afterwards.  Instead, I went straight home after the restaurant, thinking to myself, how long would it even take to get a couple drinks in?  A couple hours, maybe?

They didn't get home until One. Oh. Clock. In the morning. 1:00.  1am.  An hour after midnight.

What the fuck?

Still, I figured, these are not family members J sees very often - she did move four hours away from her family so that she could share her life with me - so, that thought in mind, I remained calm when she came into the bedroom at 1am.  She admitted to having a little too much to drink and that after the bar, the one outgoing sister had insisted on driving out to ANOTHER bar where there was karaoke.  

"I'm so glad I went," I was being sarcastic.  But still asked how karaoke went.  I still showed an interest, even though I wished she'd been home sooner - I felt as if I hadn't had any time with her that week, at all.  She'd worked a double on Thanksgiving, then Friday the sisters were there, etc, and as it unfolded, I couldn't be with them during the first half of that day because I was waiting for the cable techie.  She'd managed to get the day off work on Friday and Saturday, but still - with the added company, I wasn't feeling anything other than lonely at the moment.

Anyway, she told me that the karaoke place was pretty crowded and that her sister got up there and sang and danced, she commented on how this same sister makes 'friends' wherever she goes.  She talked about how they had several drinks together and that the other sister (whom I truly DO like) was the one who had driven them all home, having only had one or two drinks all night.  And she waited until the VERY end to mention:

"Oh and (boss/friend's name) met us at karaoke."

See, I was fine until that mention.  I was.  I don't even think it was the fact that J was pouring alcohol into her body when she normally doesn't.  It was, though, the fact that she'd NOT told me that boss/friend would be there because she knew how I'd react.  She'd omitted that detail entirely, which felt like a betrayal, although a small one.  When asked why she didn't think to tell me this, she confirmed it.  "Because every time you hear her name, you lose your shit!"

And yes, that's true.  I don't even know that it's jealousy - perhaps some of it is.  But at this point, I'd ALREADY explained that I was feeling disconnected from the one person I trust the most.  And that I didn't like this other friend's sudden and frequent presence.  Yet, J is not willing to change her friendship with boss/friend based upon these feelings I'm having, nor is she willing to slow down anything she's doing.  And, so, it's me who has to change.  And how the fuck I'm going to do that, remains a mystery.  

We bickered about this on that night, making it a very emotional and late one.  I didn't sleep a wink.  She had a fair amount of alcohol in her system so that did enable her to get some sleep eventually.  But I was just unable to allow sleep to take over, there were simply TOO many thoughts swimming around in my head.  I still remained in bed, my heart raced all night long and I recognized familiar signs of anxiety that I hadn't seen in years.  This bothered me.  SO much. 

It hit me that THIS was our first REAL argument in the decade we'd been together.  See, up until now, we've ALWAYS been on the same page with pretty much everything.  Yes, we've disagreed but it's NEVER felt like this before.  Since that night, we've talked many times about this particular 'fight' and for the time being, we've reached an understanding.  She will continue to work on herself in therapy while also enjoying her social outings after work once per week, and she will continue to maintain her friendship that she has become fond of.  At the same time, she will work on being more present at home.   She would like for ME to work on myself, too, and for me to continue sessions with M.  She wants for me to branch out and be able to make connections with people other than her.  "It's healthy," she says.  I told her that was something I needed to work being able to accept - because it was so deeply ingrained into me by my ex-husband that one simply does not form close connections to another person outside of a relationship.  You can have friends, but there's a line there - a boundary.  Only HIS idea of healthy boundaries and HER idea are two entirely different things.  

Although she tries to remind me that I've been with HER longer than I have been with him, I can't help but be stuck on the simple fact that it only takes a split second to change someone's 'sight,' whether it's during one isolated moment in time that can be considered a trauma or something someone else has said to you that seemingly becomes tattooed onto your brain.   In the case of my ex-husband, this is what's happened - even though I TRY not to adapt to his way of thinking, I sometimes can't help when it's something that automatically kicks in!  

She mentioned that she'd also like for me to get to know boss/friend and to perhaps become friendly with her.  Now, this is tricky considering that right now, this woman is EVERYWHERE and it's more unsettling than not.  But I did promise to try, if this is what would make her happy.  We have decided that J is going to engage boss/friend into perhaps going bowling or going to ball games, or into doing anything in a setting that I can actually FOLLOW and maybe ENJOY.  I have made it clear that I don't want anything to do with bars, with karaoke, with anything music-related and I refuse to be in a setting where people are just acting overall reckless. 

This recent fight is also something she asked me to present to M, so on Friday's appointment, I went in fully prepared to do so.  I know I could have posted it here beforehand, but it didn't feel right.  Plus, I am generally slow to process what is happening, even those things right in front of me.  I suppose this is a place where I can gain some unbiased feedback, same as with M in session, so I am okay doing it now that I've openly discussed it with M.

Plus, there WAS a moment in counseling that set off that little light bulb in the back of my head that has been dormant long enough for me to question whether it needed changing or that I'd be subject to being in the dark for the rest of my life.  So, these words are all the more important to write.

I did previously explain J's rising social status to M, but our last (also our first) meeting was before the argument on the day after Thanksgiving.  By now, things had escalated, and I needed the time and space to address it.  So we talked and, somehow - (it's weird how this happens!) - something clicked.  We talked about how I didn't understand WHY I didn't like boss/friend.  She isn't a bad person, the few times I have seen her, she was actually fun to be around.  Yet, there was something else there.   Something that, when I backtracked a bit from not liking the bar/drinking/music setting.  

Let's return, for a minute, back to October 4th, 1996.  Some of you know this date already.  It's forever etched into memory for me, as it's the night I was raped.

For starters - I was not at all used to parties, or even attending one that didn't involve balloons, clowns or goodie-bags.  Or a Sweet Sixteen from the previous year - I'd attended three or four for high school friends.  Other than that, I wasn't a partier, and this was okay with me.  Being hearing impaired usually excluded me from many invitations, but I wasn't normally one to take offense to it.  It is what it is. 

One of the 'first' friends I made when I started college a month before the incident, was a very outgoing type of person.  I'm not sure what exactly made us friends, since I didn't have this in common with her at all - but at the time, I had no reason to fear being social, either.  

She was the one who invited me to this party that she heard about.  She convinced me to lie to my father and tell him that I was going to be spending the night at her house, following the completion of a school project that would likely take HOURS.  Lord Capulet, being the trusting man he was, agreed and said, 'have a good time, just be careful!'

When we arrived, she almost immediately met up with some kids that she had gone to high school with.  And so, it quickly became a case of, 'see ya later, Cap!' and I was left alone.  Alone, surrounded by loud music and the combined smell of alcohol and weed.  It was thick, and it didn't take me very long to want to go home.  When I went in search of my friend, I found her nearly topless - her shirt was opened, she was laughing it up with a bunch of surrounding horny frat guys and it was clear to me that she was heavily intoxicated.  I approached her and told her that if she'd give me the keys (we arrived in her car) then I'd drive us home.  She guffawed in my face (what the holy hell had she been drinking!?) and told me that she was having too much fun and wasn't ready to leave.

I don't need to get into details here as I've likely already set the stage for what happened next, but the short version of it - in attempts to leave on my own, I was raped by an older partygoer in one of the bedrooms when he'd lured me inside under the pretense that he would be making a phone call for me.  I ended up walking out of the party pretty much unnoticed, as everyone around me was drunk, passed out, stoned or otherwise oblivious.  BECAUSE of the booze, BECAUSE of the music.  BECAUSE of this very setting.

So - I explained all of this to M.  For her, it made sense right away - that, for the past 22 years, I have been unwittingly connecting the bar setting with the party setting - that whenever someone were to ask me to go have a drink, my automatic answer, without thinking about it, is 'hell, NO.'  It doesn't matter who I'll be with, even if it's J.  Even if it's someone whom I KNOW would not leave me flat.  I don't mind the occasional drink of alcohol - I even have a favorite!  (And if you've actually read this far, you're welcome to inquire on what it is in the comments!)  I just prefer to drink at home - on MY turf, either alone with J or with my family members.  Imbibing is not something I do frequently, as I also deal with that pestering guilt of ENJOYING something that indirectly caused my trauma 22 years ago.  I was not intoxicated at the time - I was sober.  But the person I was with was drunk (and I don't even know WHERE she was when I left!) and I'm uncertain of what my attacker had in his system, as when he approached me, he did NOT have a drink or a joint in his hand.  Regardless, I automatically find myself arriving at the same place each and every time I recall this moment in my life.  She was drunk.  Had she not been drunk, this would NOT have happened!

I didn't realize even THIS until Friday, either - but the loud, obnoxious personalities of both J's sister, as well as her boss/friend, both remind me of this particular 'friend,' (I use that term very lightly, we are not friends today) who has now made it impossible for me to look at anyone who ENJOYS heavy drinking, loud music, reckless, STUPID behavior and the bar/weed setting, etc, with anything other than loathing and disgust.  I honestly don't think it's the actual person I've grown to hate - because both J's sister and the boss/friend are (if I can remove their love of the things I hate) decent people.  If they were not, J wouldn't even like them at all nor would she associate with the boss/friend.  I know family is family and that is a connection that is not going to change but it is true for any of her friends.

I just cannot connect with these types, especially if they are not willing to try and connect with ME, either.  And the way to do that, really isn't rocket science.  I need to feel that someone WANTS to get to know me, someone truly is interested in learning about the person I am.  I'm not getting that vibe from neither one of them.    

I think that what it boils down to is - this is the TYPE of person that I can't bring myself to trust, the person who would choose alcohol or drugs over my well-being and peace of mind.  And not only do I not trust them, I don't find myself being able to ALLOW new people the opportunity to prove themselves trustworthy.  I simply don't leave my comfort zone long enough to do this.  I'm still, after 22 years, (or even longer!) living in fear of social settings, and not necessarily ONLY the ones where alcohol and loud music is included.  It has been said that I am 'different' whenever I am in a group of people.  I am quiet.  I focus on whatever it is we're doing (whether it's a board game or a meal) and do not engage in conversation, I laugh whenever everyone else laughs so I don't look completely oblivious, and I often pray no one has asked me a question that I just responded to with a laugh.  

So perhaps, that's it.  This was the moment when the bulb went off in session.  Maybe this is why this woman's friendship with J is so bothersome to me - I wonder if I am also, deep down, fearing that this will eventually become something J enjoys, too.  SHE likes music, she likes drinking with friends.  She isn't into karaoke but she's in the process of evolving.  What if this is something that happens later?  (Not the karaoke specifically but rather, the more extroverted lifestyle?)  What if this a change that is yet to happen but is in the making? 

This is NEVER going to be something I'm entirely okay with, no matter how much work I do on it.  It's not going to erase the injustice done to me by that other 'friend.'   I don't know how to fix this, either.  My speed is just different.  I am not opposed to having friends or making connections with people but I personally prefer 1:1 meetings for meals, coffee, shopping, something like that. I like the heart-to-heart talks - they are what strengthens a friendship.  I don't mind taking in a drink or two with J and perhaps one other person, but I HAVE to be within a setting that doesn't catapult these fears to the surface.  There IS one person, though, that I bowl with who is also a fan of the mixed drink.  She is, though, first a bowling friend than anything else and HAS truly made the effort to know both J and I on other levels and is becoming someone I can indeed consider developing a friendship with that is both based on trust and mutual fondness.  So, I guess this is progress. 

I did remind J last night that I needed for us to stay close to each other through this...whatever it is we're going through.  No matter how irrational I've seemed lately, no matter how much of an asshole I appear to be at times when I feel threatened or otherwise rejected.  I joked that maybe one morning I would wake up to a world where EVERYTHING made sense.  That got a smile out of her, at least.  I suppose it WAS a funny thought to entertain, even for just a moment.  

I'm just terrified of this type of adjustment I'm having to make, not to mention, sick and tired of being hurt, abandoned or otherwise expendable because I can't change these things about myself too easily.  I'm not sure if this means there's more from what happened 22 years ago that I've got to work on - maybe it does.  I've had some therapy, but maybe not enough.  Maybe this is the point in time when that unfinished business has become more evident and has chosen to show up - and not politely, either - the expression 'bull in a china shop' comes to mind when I try to picture the state of my brain at the moment!

The issue of abandonment is also becoming more prominent following my birthday celebration last month.  (Not sure if this is even worth to mention - but J's sister did not attend my surprise 40th nor did she even care to follow up on it.  She was supposed to come, but claimed that her hand was hurting following an injury - yet if the party were for J, a little hand pain would certainly have been a non-issue and she'd have been the first one to arrive.  And J had also invited boss/friend to this party, too - SHE didn't come either, apparently something came up for her, too.)  And then we add to that, the staggering number of long-time friends I also had not show up or follow up either - it just all succeeded at making these thoughts even more confusing and bothersome and my heart genuinely HURTS right now over ALL of it.  

That's it for today, I suppose.  It's taken two days to get all of this written out - and yes, this is unusual for me, too.  I'm normally able to hammer out one of these blog entries in a matter of a few hours, but this has taken me DAYS.  Even now I'm reading and re-reading and my finger is hovering over the 'DELETE' button...I'm unsure of how much I even like myself and how I am right now, so how can I expect too many others to?  The more I think about it, the more I am tempted to just click out of the tab because some of it probably seems so SILLY - but these are authentic concerns of mine and regardless of how they come across, they're things that NEED to be said.  So it's time, I guess, to hit 'SEND' and be done with it.  

So...here goes.   

*pressing button*

- Capulet


Bumpity bump...

Okay, friends - I lied.  

I FULLY intended to be here and updating a day or two before Thanksgiving, but WHEN do things go exactly as planned!?  I'm just glad that I was able to extend to you all a proper Thanksgiving greeting in some way or another before the holiday.  Additionally, it is my hope that you all made it through the holiday unscathed and that you're all gearing up for Christmas!!  

I'm here now, so that's what matters. :)

My Thanksgiving started off horribly.  It was shortly after 12:45am on Thanksgiving morning when the internet at Casa Capulet decided to stop working.  I tried everything to get it back up and running - I actually was contemplating posting a few things, but there was apparently an alternative force that was hard at work in preventing me to do so.  

I begged, pleaded with my modem to cut the crap.  I even tried the neighbor's dog's name to see if I could 'borrow' their WiFi.  It was the middle of the night, they weren't using it, so why couldn't I? LOL.  (Either they don't like their dog very much or they were smart enough to use a more randomized password, because that was also a no-go!)  I reset the modem thrice; each time allowing it to be 'off' for longer periods of time in case that was the issue.  It wasn't.  It was too late to place a call to our cable company and demand a fix/reboot on their end, so I ended up giving up on it and going to bed around 3am.  I was up again at six or seven - and the modem was still flashing like a Christmas tree.  Our HOUSE phone worked, but that wasn't connecting me to the internet.  It did connect us to the cable company, though, who first attempted to troubleshoot over the phone - they insisted that it was not an outage, but instead it was a need for our modem to be replaced, for it was likely broken because they were unable to get a signal.  Then, they said those horrible eight words no one wants to hear:

"We're going to have to send someone out."

Now, in the past, and especially living in New York City, this meant we'd be waiting for at least a week for someone to come get us reconnected.  I don't know if living in the sticks of Pennsylvania makes any difference but immediately, I began to assume the worst.  I'd be waiting for a week or two, wouldn't I?  I was extremely relieved to hear that I'd only have to wait until Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and someone would be by between 9am and 9pm.  This did put the kibosh on any Black Friday shopping plans but I didn't really have any other than to use a coupon or two.

Thankfully we have neighbors (across the street - with a different dog) who are kind and they allowed me to access THEIR network until the techie from the cable company was able to come over.  (And their dog's name was not the password, in case you were wondering!)  So, after Thanksgiving dinner at the wasband's (which went as well as it normally does - we sit around and do nothing/watch their usual chaos unfold as he barks out orders) I was able to come home and connect for a little while.  The connection was slow but it still enabled me to electronically keep connected with others.  So it was a decent end to a long, tiring day with minimal contact with anyone else.  My J was working from 7am until 11pm - so as is, I wasn't seeing her at all.  

Late Thursday night, J's two sisters dropped in (they did say there was a possibility they would) and so, Friday morning, they went out for breakfast/getting nails done while I stayed behind and waited for the cable techie to show up - in the meantime, I pulled down the attic stairs and enlisted in the help of my daughter in getting out all the Christmas decorations.  Together, we got the tree up and we were decorating it when the cable techie finally arrived.

Apparently our modem was fine.  It was the wires outside - they froze, and as a result, there was water in our lines.  It was the first I've EVER heard of something like this happening - and during the beginning of this year (March or so) we had two extended power outages lasting 3-5 days each.  Basically no power = no WiFi - so THAT's the worst-case scenario.  Water in the lines, though?  Never heard of such a thing.  

"So, how do we prevent these wires from freezing?" I asked him, "Do you have wire sweaters, or something?"

He gave me a look, he must have thought I was trying to be funny.  (Not me!)  I got a 'ahem,' followed by, "sometimes, ma'am, it's what happens in extreme cold weather conditions."

I gave him a look back.  "You do realize it's only November, right?"

At any rate, my wires have been replaced.  I am not sure if he took extra measures to keep them from freezing, but I suppose if it were to happen again, I always have my neighbor's WiFi to fall back on until they can come fix it again.  

And get this - HER wires did the same exact thing on Saturday!!!!!  By now, MY WiFi was fixed, so I was able to extend to her the same courtesy.  I did tell her that just for shit and giggles, she should ask for wire sweaters, too.  :P

So, this was the drama surrounding Thanksgiving. Thankfully (not a play on words, but...) it is all over with - the turkey has been ingested, the leftovers thrown away by now, the guests have gone home, and the weekend-after Thanksgiving plans to 'Christmasize' the house have been carried out, leaving just the outside lights to be put up. (maybe later this weekend?)  Now my primary focus is to just get through this ONE last holiday of 2018.  I've done SOME, but not all, of my Christmas shopping by way of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales but there is still much to  be done in that respect.  

I'm just not feeling it.  I'm TRYING, but i'm not there, yet.  

Here is where I will reluctantly admit that there's more going on in my life right now - there is more than just cable/internet problems, more than the usual holiday stress, more than the occasional tiff with the wasband about what I'm not doing correctly, more than the usual kid-related drama.

In summary, my fiancee has returned to therapy a couple months ago and is currently undergoing EMDR.  

I'm unsure if I've mentioned her return to therapy previously but it was a choice she's had to make - she's had a lot of work related stressors lately, and they have brought forth some emotional changes in her.  She admits to stuff coming up from 'way back,' stuff that she never truly finished dealing with or working on with her previous T.  When we met, she was undergoing therapy in the state she lived in - and our relationship, although it was what we both needed in order to get ourselves in a happier, better place, did 'interrupt' the work she was doing in therapy - even more so when she moved out-of-state and had to stop going altogether.  

Now, for the last ten years, we've not had to worry about things - we were both safe.  She wasn't with her ex anymore, she wasn't even in the same state as him anymore.  And I was no longer married to mine - not to say a lot of damage wasn't done to me either, but we had each other, our relationship was healthy and rich in communication.  We carried one another through just about everything.  The love is real, the support is unwavering; we have been each other's rock for the last decade.  But it did neither one of us any favors that her pre-relationship treatment was interrupted and she is now in need of some maintenance.  

So - it's been tough.  Without getting into details, the EMDR has been intense and there has been some distance within our relationship.  It's not because of a shortage of love or support, but instead a culmination of work stress, therapy stress and the emotional side effects of it all.  J is the one struggling with this, firsthand, and I've had to assume the role of a secondary survivor on top of being a survivor, myself.  She's throwing herself into work and in turn, I'm throwing myself into my new role as a moderator here - she does her thing, I do my thing.  It's probably what we BOTH need the most right now...the time and space to sort through things on our own without the other's influence but it's resulting in feelings of disconnect that I've never experienced with her before, and I'm TRYING not to be so uneasy and unnerved by it.  

It is not an easy thing for me to feel so disconnected from the one person who really and truly gets me, the one person I've COMPLETELY opened up to.  She continues to remind me that I NEED to branch out more - and damnit, I've been trying!  And the recent no-shows to my birthday celebration isn't helpful either, it's only shown me who I THOUGHT were reliable friends but turned out not to be.  

So right now, I will continue to make it known that I am there for her when she needs or wants and at the same time, bite my tongue about what I'm feeling about it all.  I've already tried to explain it but we all know that verbal discussions in the moment are not my strong point.  :shrug:  We have made efforts to reconnect already; we have our date night 1x a week, bowling leagues 2x a week and most weekends but there is still an uncomfortable feeling of division looming.  I truly feel this is expected while she's dealing with issues in therapy and it's just temporary and HOPE that's the case, but am trying not to rock the boat any further by being overly vocal about things right now.

Other than this, in the last two weeks, two mysterious bumps have appeared in the back of my head, both within inches of where my cochlear implant has been living for the last 16 years.  One feels like a pimple, it's an 'external type' of bump and it's been suggested that it's an ingrown hair.  I don't think that's the case, though, as I do buzz my hair every now and then but it has never been completely shaven.  I've tried popping it, I've tried letting the hot water run over it, it's still not gone away.  Earlier this week, I noticed a second bump, this one more 'internal' and bigger than a pimple.  It is located behind my ear, where my neck meets my scalp, maybe a slight bit higher.  THIS one feels like someone smacked me in the back of the head with a heavy object, it feels like a bruise, both to the touch and whenever I press on it.  I do not, however, recall injuring my head at any recent time.  I don't know what is going on and J's suggested that a visit to the doctor may be in order.  And yes, I had to pause before typing that - because I DO know that whenever one has foreign objects implanted in their body and starts to experience discomfort, it's always been imperative to get it checked out.  

But, y'all know me, I'm terrible with doctors.  I'm deathly afraid of what this means - tests, tests and more tests.  Blood work.  CAT scans.  (I cannot undergo a MRI, that'll kill me since there is a magnet implanted in my brain!)  I just about lost my shit over the summer over having to have tests done at the GYN, and my mammogram test (and re-test) and this is probably mild in comparison.  But it's just not something I want to do, right now.  J herself has a follow-up scan scheduled for later this week to check on whether the radiation treatment she had in June was 100% effective.  So we really don't NEED any other possible medical emergencies, not right now.  And if I can wait things out for a few weeks, that's what I'm likely to do.  Especially since we have a vacation planned (our 10-year anniversary) for the beginning of January. 

I want to reach for my swatter, and thwack all that is unnecessary into that state of oblivion - at least until much, MUCH later.  

But now????  Right now???  It's CHRISTMAS time, I cannot fall apart right now, especially having to be the glue...

But that's a summation of why I'm Scrooge-ish right now, why I put together the Holiday Buddies thingy (have you signed up!???), why I'm such a constant presence here - it is because offline, I've nowhere else to go for support other than to a place that may not be entirely accessible to me right now.  Next week, I have a visit from my mother to look forward to - Wednesday, she will arrive and she will depart early Friday morning - in the meantime, we've plans to bake five types of Christmas cookies (which I will gladly share by way of photo status updates!) and hopefully that'll help somewhat ease into the spirit of the season. 

Anyway - posting this now - again, my apologies for being somewhat absent.  I am trying to be better with this - perhaps it's a good thing that I have an appointment on Friday morning with the group leader/social worker.  

I'll be back, soon. :)  

Sending you all love.
 - Capulet



Layers of the Lotus

Have you ever walked into a class or a training or instructional setting to find that you already knew the material?

This week's group meeting was exactly this for me.  I arrived a few minutes early so that I could use the bathroom and just sit and relax for a few minutes prior to the meeting.  Once I sat down and saw in front of me the art materials, I sort of knew right away what we'd be working on.  There were watercolors, crayons, markers, cups of water, paint brushes, glue, and two sets of plain, white flower cutouts in three sizes.

"Is this a lotus?" I asked the leader.  She looked genuinely surprised that I was able to identify the project before she'd explained it to us.

"It IS!"  She said.  

A couple of the other ladies that were there were a bit unfamiliar with the symbolism behind the lotus, so there was a brief period of meditation/explanation before we started.  Then, we were instructed to color in/put together our lotus and write a little on what the colors we chose meant to us - the meaning/significance of the lotus itself had already been discussed, and we had a very wide variety of colors/art materials to choose from to use in decorating our lotus, along with a sheet of looseleaf paper.

I should say first, that I actually did not know what a lotus flower was until joining AS in 2007.  It's always been the image I'd see on the site's main page and forums page - the hands cradling a lotus.  I remember looking it up and deciding that this was indeed a significant flower representing my long-time healing journey and that I'd someday get this flower tattooed on my calf (although the location is indeed negotiable, it is now dependent on the SIZE tattoo I'd like to get).  

I chose for the the largest/bottom 'layer' of my lotus to be PURPLE.  Purple has ALWAYS been my absolute favorite color, so it felt fitting to choose this for my 'base' color.  I would later realize that purple is also the Domestic Violence awareness color.  I was fully intending to recognize my survival of DV in the crafting of my lotus and to give it a 'layer' of its own rather than sharing it with my 'base' color, but have slowly come to realize that this, although it took me YEARS to realize, is the type of abuse that I have endured the longest.  Eight years of DV, on top of a one-time rape at 17, and maybe 2-3 years of CSA that I cannot remember details surrounding - maybe THIS is indeed the 'big one?'  Maybe it's appropriate after all, to make purple my base color - for this is the color that likely best describes me and my current struggles.

Next came the TEAL layer. Teal is the Sexual Assault awareness color.  This, I've known for a while, despite just having made the recent realization about purple.  I felt it appropriate to stack the teal over the purple, to represent that I've 'carried' sexual assault with me for the last two decades + two years.  For a long time, this was a very, VERY heavy thing for me to carry upon my shoulders and try to heal from, all the while I was trying to raise my kids, be a mother, a wife, a homemaker.  I am somewhat pleased to say that over time, it's become significantly lighter - but it is still a VERY important part of me that should indeed be recognized.

Finally, for the top layer, I chose PINK, to represent hope, healing and the love of oneself and others.  I know pink is USUALLY representative of surviving/awareness of breast cancer - but like cancer, sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence - these are IMPACTFUL events in a person's life.  Upon further investigation of the color pink, I've discovered that this color also represents caring, compassion and love.  It stands for unconditional understanding - and is associated with giving and receiving care.  Yes, this color indeed belongs on my lotus - and right on the top layer, to show that regardless of what I am already carrying, I still have the strength to heal, and at the same time, provide that unconditional love, support and empathy towards others who are trying to accomplish the same.

And pictured below - is my completed lotus.  It's nothing extravagant,  but I'm happy to share with you what went through my mind during the making of it.  It also helps that my bedroom floors are the color of mud - after all - "the deeper the mud, the more beautiful the bloom."  Unless you're me and your coloring skills leave much to be desired. 


I hope this finds everyone in good spirits.  I will try and update again before Thanksgiving - but JUST in case I do not - I wish you all a blessed Turkey Day.  I am thankful most especially for all of the friends I have made here - the very first place I've seen such a beautiful flower, and the same place that best taught me the meaning of rising above.

- Capulet 



Huh.  Whadda-ya-know?

I'm having a little bit of difficulty with my 'assignment.'  The counselor I saw last week gave me something to ponder for the next time we were to meet (there is no appointment set, yet) and I was happy to have something to occupy my thoughts with and even more giddy when she said I could write it out!  I suspect she understands the level of effectiveness writing has on me, so she was quick to encourage some 'writing homework' on my way out.  I accepted the assignment, as usual, because I do like being made to think seriously about something, to be tested, to be given the opportunity to be honest with myself at the same time.

I just didn't think it'd be THIS much of a challenge!

We all know by now that I'm a writer.  I know I'm always annoyingly pushing the idea upon others if there's an opportunity.  "You should write it out," "It'll help you make sense of things if you tried to put it all down in writing."  The list goes on.  If you're among those I've incessantly pestered about the importance of utilizing the power of the written word, I do apologize for coming on so strongly about it.  But this is something I TRULY believe in.  I believe it can help...because whether you're writing for your eyes only or you're intending to eventually share the finished product, it's still the easiest way to purge some of those thoughts and ponderings that are simply too hard to verbalize.  

You see, writing is my biggest outlet.  More than talking.  More than therapy.  More than beating the shit out of a pillow.  It's my strongest means of communication.  The majority of my communicating today is done electronically as I do not have a whole lot of in-person contact these days between the kids being either at school or at their Dad's and J working a ton of hours.  I write texts, posts, emails, PMs, blog entries, MUCH easier than I can speak these words to others.  

But, anyway.  

The assignment is, "Where do I see myself in three years?"

I did graciously accept this assignment when she gave it to me, thinking, 'piece of cake,' - because this is what I do, even when there are group sessions.  I'm always anxious to be given something to write, so mentally, I'm all - 'let's have it....throw it at me.'  Lately, though, I am finding that it hasn't been as easy as it used to be, for me to dig deep.  In the group meetings, I find myself sitting and thinking while everyone around me is furiously scribbling or otherwise working on their own responses.  It seemingly has gotten deeper, and there are now layers upon layers of CRAP sitting on top of it, making it even harder for me to gain access to these thoughts.

I don't even know where I see myself tomorrow.  Or next week.  Yes, I have previously expressed some long-term plans and these are still active plans - but are going to take a little bit of time to set into motion.  And because things happen in their own time, and sometimes unpredicted circumstances come into play and effectively throw some of your plans completely off track, I've always just taken it a day at a time.  I've always paced myself because it made the most sense...we, after all, have to learn to crawl before we can walk, and then eventually break into a run.

So, I now have to fast-forward THREE years??? (grumble, grumble.)

In three years, the Son will be 21.  He'll be possibly about to graduate with his 4-year degree.  He might have an idea of what he wants to do with the rest of his life - which will put him in a FAR more advanced place than I was when I was his age.  I was 21 when I birthed him, I'd dropped out of college and was completely clueless on where I was going with the credits I'd already earned.  "I'll go back," I said to myself - and it will have taken 20 years by the time I do, but better late than never, I suppose.  He has just recently introduced to me his girlfriend - a lovely young lady that he's been seeing for a few weeks, now.  Perhaps in three years, he'll still be dating her - I like her a lot and personally hope she's still around.

The Daughter will be 15, and in High School.  I am fairly certain she will be giving me daily heart attacks.  She's been applying mascara and lip gloss daily before school and she's only 12 now and smack dab in the middle of the seventh grade.  I joke often that she must have gotten her love for cosmetics from her father, (who wears many different 'faces') because she sure as hell didn't get it from me!  I am HOPING that in three years, her attitude will have significantly improved and that her immaturely destructive behaviors will have diminished, even just a teeeeeensy bit.

For some reason, it's so much easier to envision where I see my kids in three years than where I see myself.  See, if this were a test, I'd have flunked on that, alone.  

Fine, I'll try and shift gears and see what develops.

I am positive that I will still be with my lovely J.  There is no doubt in my mind that we will be still be going strong in three years.  We have had our bumps and hurdles, but that's why we're BOTH striving to fix it now before it becomes a bigger problem.  To call it a 'problem' in the first place is a bit of an exaggeration, actually - so - it's just bumps.  In three years, I'm hoping these bumps will have been bulldozed a bit and that our path moving forward is more evened out.  When the surface in front of you is flattened, it's easier to see what's ahead - whereas the bumps sometimes serve as distractions and if hit hard enough, can bounce you completely offsides.  And like hitting a speed bump at 35-40mph, it can take a minute to recover from the jolt.

Perhaps in three years, I will have learned that it's truly okay to be social, it's okay to let loose once in a while, it's okay to have fun and to SHOW that I'm having fun.  I know I'm uptight.  VERY much so.  And that isn't helping me AT ALL.  Maybe I will also find that I LIKE this - I can't say that's the case, yet, but it's being worked on.

Maybe having started school (and probably having also graduated with my Associate's within that same three-year period) will have made it a bit easier for me to 'upgrade' from my current hermit status.  I'm not by any means wanting to be a social butterfly who is never home anymore; I think that to remain somewhat of a homebody, to keep myself calm, centered and reserved with the exception of a social outing or game night with friends one or two times every week or two is something I can live with.  

I am far too used to keeping myself company - to the point where I like it a little too much to entirely abandon the thought. :)  I would like to be at that comfortable halfway, in-between point where I am no longer feeling extremely lonely and I'm also not feeling the anxiety or stress of having to be around too many people at once.  Again, I'm reminded of the 'baby steps' concept - maybe it will take MORE than three years to dissolve some more of that irrational anxiety.  And maybe, it is what it is.

Maybe if I've already acquired my Associate's, I'll have already undertaken my mission toward my Bachelor's in Social Work.

And, this might be a horrible thing to say - but since it is in reference to someone that didn't necessarily treat ME well, I am trying not to feel bad about saying it.  And this, too, is something I have to work at - not being so nice to people who treat me like stepped-in shit.  I am too forgiving, I am too weak to fight.  I do not do well with confrontation.  (Adding those to my growing list of the necessary little self-improvements.)

But maybe, just maybe my ex will no longer be here.  The Son has already expressed his opinion on the matter.  "Dad isn't well.  He probably won't live past fifty."

This is true.  My ex is NOT healthy.  So, in three years or less, maybe I'll finally be free of his influence, free of the bullshit he's ingrained in me and taught me.  I wonder often if his presence, the fact that he is ALIVE, serves as an impenetrable barrier between myself and that complete freedom.  Because, as stated before, we are not married anymore, but his reach has still remained a powerful constant.  I find myself panicking at the thought of him being angry at me for shit that I really don't have any control over.  Or, what he'll say to me next, how he'll react to anything that could be perceived as offensive to him.  I would like to find that I am no longer obligated to nod my head every time he asks me if I think he's right.  It never mattered if I didn't, there is still that weakened, mentally battered part of me that forces myself to agree with whatever bullshit he's currently spewing if asked.  

Maybe in three years, I'll have found the pair of brass balls that I'm still trying to grow when it comes to standing up for myself, my thoughts, my wants, my feelings.  I am comparable to a trained animal at this point; even when an animal has been removed from the care of an abusive owner, the behaviors stick with them, forever.  And sometimes, this makes them 'unadoptable.'  No, I am not looking to be adopted - simply to express the disgusting gravity of this man's presence in my life.  In three years, I would like for this hold over me to be dissolved; I want to NOT worry about what dire consequences any choices I make may have.  

I've already made a VERY small, but significant statement toward taking a tiny step away from his unwanted influence.  I told him over last summer that I planned to go back to school.  In part, I think I wanted him to realize - I'd quit school nearly 20 years ago because HE advised it.  Yes, it was me who ultimately carried out this choice because I was tired, emotionally a wreck, and pregnant.  Still, I let him convince me to put everything on hold so that I could not only focus on the Son when he was born, but also on HIS two children that he had by the wife before me.  Going to school was no longer feasible - in his eyes, being an instant, just-add-water wife and mother was my life, now.  This took precedence over my education - especially since I 'didn't have a plan.'  He has NEVER believed in me, in what I was capable of doing.  

I don't think he made this connection, though.  This narcissist of a man instead made the comment/suggestion that I should just bypass the back-to-school idea and apply to work at the post office because they're a government agency and they hire individuals with disabilities and that I'd likely have no problem securing work.  

"I don't want to work at the post office." I said to him, completely shocking myself.  I said it quickly, without thinking.  And normally, we do NOT speak to the wasband without carefully planning out our words; it does NOT end well if he finds he doesn't like what's been said.  I think I surprised him, too, with my abrupt answer.  He appeared slightly taken aback.

"Oh." Was all he said.  And then he shrugged, "Whatever."

(What is it with that word?!  "Whatever."  It makes me want to punch him in the face every time he says it!)  I think it's because I know that it's his 'dismissive' word.  It is what he says when he is finished talking.  GOD FORBID, though, I should be the one to mumble, 'whatever.'  It would lead to a full-on, drawn-out fight and of course, the end result was always the same, he was right, I was wrong, and I owed HIM an apology.  

Perhaps in this case, the 'whatever' was a good thing - it wasn't toward me as his wife - he REALLY didn't care.

In three years, I'd like to NOT feel the need to apologize to him anymore.  In the meantime, I am not holding my breath for the moment he realizes how many people he's wronged and with whom HE needs to make amends.  I do not even think 'I'm sorry' is in his vocabulary.  I have accepted that I'll likely NEVER hear them from him - but in three years, maybe I won't give a shit anymore because he just won't be ABLE to fix the damages he's caused.  Whether it's within three years, or within five or ten, all of his inflicted damage, including all of the effects, will die with him.

There are probably a bunch of other things I'd like to see happen within the next three years.  I will likely become an aunt 1-2 more times.  I will possibly get a new car as my car has pretty much been commandeered by the Son, who uses it to commute back and forth to school.  I will likely have experienced some loss - two of my cats are elderly and are on a slow decline - this, I'm NOT looking forward to, but have to always consider the balance of good and bad whenever trying to look to the future. Perhaps this is what keeps me from shattering into a million pieces when something unexpected happens.  I need to prepare myself for every possible surprise, especially the unpredictable ones.  

I don't expect to be right about every of my 'guesses' but if I can check off even ONE positive thing as being correctly predicted, then that's, in itself, a victory.

Love and light,
- Capulet


Hello, friends. 

As many of you already know, I spend a good portion of every day just thinking.  You could call it self-meditation I guess, but without the breathing exercises as most of my current thoughts do not warrant 'calming' breaths.  I just find myself sitting silently, staring into space, and just zoning.   This past week has been one of those weeks where a lot of thinking and reflection has been done.  I am now finding that I'm feeling uncertain about some things - if not uncertain, then just plain confused. I'm probably confusing all of you right now, as a matter of fact, so I'll not beat around the bush any longer. 

There is one thing that has been on my mind for the last several days.

I have shared this privately with some of you but haven't mentioned it here, yet.  My parents and J threw a surprise 40th birthday party for me this past weekend.  I've known about it for months, though - I am NOT an easy person to surprise, although there were a few surprises within the (non) surprise that I WAS pleased with.

Back in August, my mother planted the 'bug' in my ear that she was planning a 65th birthday celebration and that I should keep November 3rd open.  I knew that this would also be the year I turn 40, and that SOMETHING was coming - it was just a matter of WHEN - so this mention of the date was the first 'hint.'  

This was another - we were on our way home from the wasband's - I want to say it was my goddaughter's birthday and we were there for dinner.  I expressed a desire to have a Halloween party this year.  Halloween fell on a Wednesday this year, and that's a workday/school day for most, so the idea was immediately met with, "well, why don't you do it the weekend before or the weekend after?"  The wasband then (perhaps too) QUICKLY corrected himself and said, "On second thought, do it the weekend before."  (The weekend after would be November 3rd.)  He is NOT one to give any thought to family gatherings, and he's sat the last several out.  Go figure - he makes a big deal when he's not invited and when he IS, he doesn't go.  

Anyway, on the way home, I turned to J and asked her what was really happening on November 3rd.  She asked why I was asking.  I told her my suspicion that this was not a party for my mother, and that she was trying to throw me off the scent of my own party.  

J admitted to it, then - and made me promise that I would not let on that I knew.  But she also said she was glad I'd figured it out because SHE wanted my input on things so that she could ensure that things were exactly as I'd like for them to be - my mother is a manipulative, controlling woman above all of her good qualities and tends to attempt to control EVERYTHING she puts her hands on, everything she gets involved with.  She tries to take over, she tries to top everything, she tries to take credit for it all.  The thought of her being in charge of everything was...ugh.  No.  My mother does know how to have a good time, she's good with food choices, she's good at baking cookies and cakes, she's good at tracking down guests and harassing them for RSVPs, (I know this for a fact....she was bugging ME to RSVP to my niece's 1st birthday before I even received the freakin' invitation in the mail!) and so on.  

But Oompa's interests are NOT the same as mine.  NOT at ALL.  Before expressing my concerns to J about it, I'd been dreading the thought of her being the primary showrunner - and given how I'm feeling toward my mother in general, (other stuff that I'm trying to deal with internally) I didn't even think I WANTED this party.  I also found out then that she was not planning it on her own - my father and J were splitting the plans three ways - so it did make me feel a bit better about the party.  I would be behind-the-scenes, I would be able to provide J with answers to those questions that would likely come up. Plus, I could help give her ideas on who to include on the Facebook invitations - she set up an event page and I supplied about three dozen names.  Knowing they wouldn't all show up, it was still a way for me to make sure that those important to me were included and invited.  My mother doesn't know who most of these people are and I knew she'd only invite the people SHE knew.

There were also times my mother would drive my J absolutely insane.  When the subject of seating arrangements came up - J let her know we didn't need them.  It was better to let people show up and sit wherever they wanted - perhaps a table could be reserved for the immediate family but everyone else should be free to sit wherever or with whomever they 'gravitated' and it wouldn't be a major issue.  You would think that would be enough, but no.  She kept right on singing the 'I don't know how to plan a party without seating arrangements' song - eventually I told J to let her know that she was free to seat the family as she saw fit but to allow the guests she didn't know the privilege of finding their own seat.  Seemed like a fair compromise for the time being.  

So, anyway, this past Saturday was the 'big day.'  At this point, BOTH J and I were ready for it to be over with.  She has vowed never to be on a planning committee with my mother again and was looking forward to not having to argue about seating arrangements or however the napkins were folded.  I was getting tired of pretending not to notice all the whispering, the winks, the 'does she know yet?' looks.  Oh and practicing my 'surprised' face.  I had to make sure it wasn't the 'I knew all about this' face when I walked in, so I do admit to practicing my 'surprised entrance face' on my five cats for the past several weeks.  (Yes, I did.)

I'll mention that ANY announcement to my kids that we're going to a 'family gathering' is usually met by moaning, groaning, eye-rolling, stomping of the feet, whining, irrational excuses and just about ANYTHING negative...I did not receive such protest from neither of my children when I mentioned to them that "Grandma" was having a party for her 65th birthday.  The Son even tried to 'play dumb' and said, 'so, why's she celebrating her birthday late?'  To that, I simply supplied the reason my mother had given me, there are simply too many October birthdays, so she wanted to break away from that cluster.  

On the morning of, both kids got dressed without complaining about THAT, too - (they are DEFINITELY my kids - most comfortable in sweat pants/leggings and tee shirts!)  They both cleaned up as nicely as they could while remaining comfortable - him in a polo shirt and khakis, she wore a lace sleeved black shirt and black pants with heels.  By then, the cat's been out of the bag for a while but I wasn't about to let these two know that I already knew what I'd be walking into.  Nah, I was gonna milk it. :)

Under the guise that she was 'working,' J had gone early in the morning to help with the party set-up.  So I arrived with the kids a half-hour later than they had asked everyone else to show up.  J met me outside, she was the 'go get her' person while I assume my mother turned all the lights off inside and was ordering everyone into position.  

When I walked in, of course, everyone yelled out, "surprise!"  (And damn it, my cats were not there for me to respond in the manner that I had practiced!)

I looked at my kids, who walked in behind me.  They were smiling, they had their phones out and were probably recording/taking pictures.

"You two knew all about this, eh?" I said to them.  Then, the lights were flicked back on and one by one, the guests began to greet/hug me.  In a way, this was good because I didn't have to put on so much of a show.  Of course, EVERY SINGLE ONE asked me if I was surprised.  I'm a terrible, TERRIBLE liar (you can ask J - there's apparently a 'tell' - I giggle/blush when lying) so I said I had a suspicion, but yes, I was indeed surprised.  I just didn't tell them WHAT I found surprising.    

I WAS pleasantly surprised to see that my closest and dearest cousin, (whom I haven't seen since 2011) flew up from Florida.  He came by himself, he has a wife and kids that I've not yet met (but will in January) - but this was likely one of the better surprises that came from that day.   His mother came - this is the aunt who is the at the root of my ED/weight issues but she was pleasant and said NOTHING other than how good I looked.  So that was another 'nice' surprise.

I was also surprised in a way that almost makes me feel ashamed to admit.  Ungrateful, even.  Because those who have gotten to know me know that I am not a hard person to please.  The little things make my heart happy.  I'm laid back, I'm extremely low maintenance.  I don't require extravagance, just things as simple as love, loyalty and honesty from the people I care about.  So to write this blog entry makes me feel, for the moment, the exact opposite of thankful - and I do NOT wear this feeling well.  I hate myself for feeling even the slightest bit unappreciative of this party that my fiancee put in a great deal of effort (and worked together with my parents and managed to refrain from killing my mother) to pull off.   I love her with ALL of my heart and it KILLS me to feel anything less than beholden.  

You see, I quickly spotted that out of the three dozen 'other' people I'd insisted on J inviting through Facebook, maybe two or three were standing in that room.  

Don't get me wrong, this was not an 'empty' party by any means.  About 40 to 50 people were there.  My immediate family was present.  My parents, step parents, my sisters, their husbands and their husband's parents, my two beautiful nieces and my handsome nephew.  An aunt and uncle from both my mother's side and my father's.  My cousin and aunt from Florida, along with another local cousin, his wife and kids were there.  The wasband, his wife, and three of the four other children were there.  My four bowling friends from where I live now were there - they carpooled and came.  J's parents drove in from Massachusetts.  Originally more of her family was SUPPOSED to come but in the end, it was just her parents.  Then there were a couple of my mother's friends, people I've known for at least two or three decades.  And a few others I'll mention below.


My best friend, someone that I've known since 1996, was not there.  (I think this is truly the one no-show that stung the most.)

My high school BFF and her family - who had been sent a paper invitation because she was not on Facebook - was not there.

Another friend I've known since CHILDHOOD, who coincidentally LIVES near where the party was held - was not there.

The members of my softball team from where I used to live?  They were all invited.  NONE of them came.

About twenty of my bowling friends from the league back in New York were invited.  TWO showed up.  (They were a husband and wife.)

Then there were random people that I watched J invite - people that although I don't see them often and most correspondence nowadays is through Facebook, were still adored enough for me to want them included within the celebration.  

None of them came, either.  And some were people I considered to be family, I'd known them THAT long, probably since I was in diapers.  And it's not because they lived too far away - some of them lived far closer to where the party was than I do.  

I had one FB friend come - and she isn't even someone I've ever really been close to.  I have known her for twenty years, but there was a very long gap in between then and when we reconnected about three years ago.  But regardless of the gap in communication, SHE came.  So while that was a nice surprise, I was also gobsmacked at just how many DIDN'T.

I mean, yeah - life happens.  But it just chafes me that ALL of these people had over a months' notice to make sure they didn't have to work or they didn't make any alternative plans for that day.  Yet most of them waited until the absolute last minute - some even the morning of the party, to say they weren't coming.  Some said they had other plans, but I don't buy it - if you knew you had plans, why didn't you say something sooner?  

So while I truly appreciate my parents' and J's efforts to throw me a party, I cannot help that feeling of disappointment that started at the moment I walked in.  Maybe it wasn't complete disappointment because to say that would be an insult to the people who DID make the effort to come.  I am thinking that maybe the correct word is 'sadness.'  

Yes.  That's it.  

It is a very deep sadness/hurt that I don't know how to suppress, as I fill out the thank-you cards to the people who did come - while I truly AM appreciative that THESE people chose to make the occasion more special by being there and I sincerely enjoyed their presence, I cannot shake the nagging feeling that most of them likely came out of familial obligation.  It does NOT make me feel good about the person I've become in the eyes of those who were absent, regardless of the excuses supplied.  When you love and care about someone, your ass is there for them - you make it happen.  You DON'T wait until the fucking day before or the morning of the party to send a text or Facebook RSVP - that's just plain LOW.

It feels like, to them, I've become expendable.

I want so much for that to be an exaggeration, but it certainly doesn't feel that way.  And for some of these no-show friends - this was the final straw.  Some of these are people I've opened up to, for fuck's sake, because I trusted them with the version of myself that not everyone knows.  

If I wasn't done with them before, (because I had hopes of them coming around eventually) I certainly am, now.  

Have I disconnected myself from others to the point where they think it doesn't hurt if they choose not to show up for me?  

Is this my fault???  Is this something I've done to myself?

Am I being childish about this?  I feel like I am and that I should just be thankful for how nicely (it truly was - my J did a fantastic job!) this party turned out, despite these no-shows - but there IS that soft, almost muted, little voice in the back of my head, saying that I'm indeed not being immature about it.  It's also saying that I have a right to be sad.  

Thoughts on this, guys?  And I'm not asking for pity - just a little validation that what I'm feeling isn't unwarranted.

....few hugs wouldn't hurt, either.

- Capulet


Why am I here?

Happy Halloween, friends!  I hope everyone is satisfying their sweet tooth and staying safe in the process!

Will try not to scare anyone with today's blog entry.  It won't be a long one - it serves as a little bit of a double purpose, though.  

To clarify - I made an appointment for a 1:1 session with the woman who runs the monthly support group that I have been attending.  At the close of the last meeting, I inquired on potential volunteer opportunities for me, and a possible 1:1 session where I could come in and dump some of what was going on with me.  It wasn't an emergency - but at the time, it had been a rough week; I was feeling overall anxiety and uncertainty for MOST of this past month but especially so after recent discussions with my fiancee in regards to her rising social status.  (That can be read up on in my 'turbulence ahead' entry, if interested.)  My relationship, I don't think was ever in any danger - I just didn't realize that right away.  I needed TIME to process everything, to do so in the moment has NEVER been my strong point.  When I'm battling conflicting feelings and inner dialogue, I am guilty of  temporarily shutting down while I overthink things until they make sense.  Sometimes it takes a few days, sometimes it takes weeks, months, years.  At any rate, it's always been the safest pace for me.

While I think I can safely say that those most recent meltdowns POSSIBLY could be related-but-not-related to my anniversary being at the beginning of this month (which is over tomorrow - GOODBYE, October!) I am feeling a LOT better, now - more calm, more at peace with some of the changes I'm working toward.  I've got some new goals, new responsibilities, new PLANS.  For the first time in several months, I feel I am making progress toward being more successful, more accomplished, climbing out of the 'same ol', same ol'' pit that I've been stuck in for far too long.  There are still some things I am waiting to hear about (school) but for now, everything else is going GREAT.

And so, I've entertained the thought of cancelling Friday's appointment.  I got the 'you better not!' look from the fiancee when I told her - and so I've decided that rather than cancel it, I'll instead give some thought to what I can 'bring' with me on Friday.  Earlier last week when an appointment time was emailed to me, I asked if it would be all right to bring with me something I wrote - kind of a breakdown of what I felt I needed to work on with myself right now.

I know I'm going to have to answer the question posted in the title - 'why am I here?'  (Isn't that the FIRST thing a new counselor or therapist will ask?)  And given my past experience with therapy, I'm more likely to shrug and say, "you tell me."  That's not going to fly, I know.  I need to have an answer.  

I'll discuss my search for additional purpose...the growing need to become more active and involved.  There are already some ways that I've already done so - but it honestly should NOT be THIS much of a challenge!  Especially in the 'offline' mode; I need to better prepare myself for going back to school and other upcoming social opportunities that may arise.  I need to feel the confidence to take on these things without doubting myself and what I know I'm capable of.

I've done very little 'work' on healing from the DV my ex-husband put me through.  It wasn't even until recently that I realized that I was a DV survivor on top of the other stuff.  On everything else, I've done PLENTY of healing work, thinking, writing, sorting through, soul searching.  But I think MOST of my current mental conflicts are a direct result of his handiwork - although I've broken away from him and have not been his wife for nearly eleven years, his influence STILL haunts me today.  And it's in many ways, affecting my desire to put myself out there.  I just feel that, for the moment, there are 'consequences' to enjoying myself around others.

I've only got 45-50 minutes for the session, so I'll start with this.  I'm not sure if this is going to become a regular occurrence, going to counseling.  I only know this lady through the group meetings and don't know if she will be an ideal sounding board but the only failure in this case would be not giving it a try.  Either way, I think it will be enough to talk about this time.

I will be back later on over the weekend or early next. ;)  

Hoping you're all having a great day.  Please keep me in your thoughts on Friday - and all of your fingers crossed that I can walk out of that meeting feeling a heightened, if not complete, sense of clarity.

- Capulet


"I get it, Ma..."

Hi, friends.

I don't normally post a spontaneous blog entry...usually I save these periodic updates for when I find that I've been struggling or something has 'clicked,' or unless I feel there's generally more to say.  Sometimes, though, it's okay to post the shorter entries, too, and in the interests of keeping the mind-clutter down to a minimum, I want to share a little thought I had this morning...a thought that didn't immediately register, but instead was automatically shuffled back to the 'let's deal with this later,' pile on account of bigger things occupying the front lines.

I remember so clearly the night that the wasband and I sat our (then) 7-year-old son down in between us on the couch; it was the night we told him that we were going to be getting divorced.  It was the first time that we've ever broken his heart. I remember him looking up at each of us with tear-stained 'now, what?' face that in turn, broke MY heart.  The wasband, completely unfazed by our child's reaction, said, 'it's between your mother and I.  Suck it up, you'll be fine.'

I remember thinking to myself in that moment, I'm the one who is going to be fine - I'll not have to deal with this man anymore, I'll no longer have to answer to him, I'll no longer be CONTINUALLY subject to his emotional and verbal abuse - even if I wouldn't be completely devoid of it - because this is the kind of man he IS and always was.  And as long as we have children together, this asshole is still going to remain a consistent part of my life...and he WILL harass me the same way he harasses his FIRST ex-wife, the same way he verbally puts down everyone he comes into contact with, be it at home, or the workplace or at family gatherings or at K-Mart because someone had the NERVE to say something that offended him.  Either way, a divorce, to me, meant that my contact with him was going to be severely reduced, and I was secretly THRILLED that this was finally happening after being his wife and living with him for the 8 years we were together.

So, fast forward to ten years later, and also few days ago, my son came home from classes.  He and I sat at the table and had lunch - grilled cheeses!  While we were eating, he made the statement that he wasn't looking forward to going back to his father's house because he knew he would be treated badly, called names, and overall be made to feel like shit.  

I understood exactly what he was saying.  I HAVE indeed (in the last year, especially) noticed a HUGE change in the wasband.  His health is declining - he's got multiple stents in his heart, he's got a protruding belly hernia that requires surgery to fix, and he's got existing blood pressure issues, diabetes and likely more unknown underlying medical issues that we're not aware of, yet.  He's a homeowner now, for the first time in his life, and now has financial issues up the wazoo (new house, new car, new everything), and all of the added stresses of commuting back and forth to work (4 hours total) every day and having his THIRD wife and six kids to support has taken a tremendous toll on him.  He's angry ALL the time.  He barks at everyone around him, even his current wife LOOKS miserable and is failing at hiding her unhappiness.  I have NEVER been more glad that I'm not his wife anymore - but at the same time, I feel terrible that our kids constantly bear witness to his mood swings and his bitterness.  He's a truly miserable man and this is NOT what I wanted for my son and daughter.  But this, like many other things, is truly out of my hands.

BOTH of my children have recently come to me with, "I hate Dad."  BOTH kids have gotten to the point of (more than usual) eye-rolling at the mention of his name.  They have shared their frustrations about him with me and J - and I'm finding that I can 'defend' him less and less these days.  When they've complained about him in the past, I've always told them that he loves them and provides - and he does - financially.  His provisions are more obligatory than they are sincere - he SAYS he loves his children but instead belittles them all and acts as if he can't stand any of them.  He is the biggest definition of a hypocrite.  

He mostly verbally and emotionally abusive toward them - although he is NOT afraid to resort to physical means of discipline when he sees fit.  My son put it perfectly - right now, he is physically unable to give them the beatdowns he THREATENS to give them, so they just stand there and take the slew of verbal threats, knowing he probably is too weak to carry them out and can't really move very quickly - THAT's how bad his health has gotten.  And they've learned to NOT take his threats seriously, either; they KNOW he is a bully and an irrational sonofabitch and that his treatment of them, although it's not necessarily right, is simply all he knows how to do and it's not likely to change.  Ever.  

So, while we were eating our grilled cheeses, I asked my now 18-year-old son what he needed from me.  Did he need me to confront his father about how he's treating our children?  Did he need me to grab the balls I hadn't been born with, and defend him and his sister and speak up about what I now know goes on in his (unstable) household?

"Ma, there's absolutely nothing you can do."  He said, "I get it, I know how he is.  If you tried to do anything, he would just make everyone's life even more miserable.  He probably won't live past 50, anyway, so I have learned to just take it for now and shrug off whatever he's gotta say."  (And he said that with such a casual ease - almost as if he, too, anticipates his father's dying to be what frees us all from him!)   

I did the math, mentally.  He turns 50 in 2020.  If he's right, that's not a whole lot of time.

"Dude, you're an adult," I told him.  "You know you CAN break away from him, you always have here to come and live full-time if that's what you want to do."

My son shook his head, "No. Because then he'll say I abandoned my family and that I am refusing to help out.  And he'll harass me and treat me even worse than he treats me now."

There was a little more back-and-forth but eventually, my son confirmed that the divorce was the BEST thing I could have done for myself, and that breaking his heart when he was 7 was a necessity.  He also said, "I WILL be fine - my dad's an asshole but I have the kindest, most supportive mother - so I have both ends of the spectrum!"  

I managed a weak smile before he retreated to his room after lunch.  

It also occurred to me that not only is going back to school, getting my degree, and finally starting a job is definitely going to help me break away from HIM - if my son is wrong and the bastard lives past the time it takes for me to finish my education, then I'll be in a better position to make a jailbreak move and remove my daughter from his house if she's under 18 at the time.  But as is right now - I am not financially able to sustain myself and my own current living arrangements without the child support he pays.  I mean, how fucked up is this??  If I were to take him to court and to petition for full custody, (right now we have joint custody - they spend half the week with me and half with him) I know damn well he would argue that I'm an unfit (in the sense that I'm jobless and completely reliant on his child support payments on top of monthly SSI) mother.  Deep down, I know that is not the case, I've taken care of them for their entire lives - I've loved and nurtured and supported them in every single thing they've strived to do - I was the one to take them to doctors, emergency rooms, any appointments.  I'm the one who attended basketball games, concerts (even though I can't hear a damn thing at those - it was MY face they saw more often, because he was either late or held up at work).  I'm the one who took them shopping (yes, with his money) whenever they needed anything.  In my opinion, that's better parenting than he's ever done.  But all of that, for some reason, doesn't seem like enough when pitted against a person like him.  He's spent enough time putting me down and making my accomplishments seem minuscule compared to HIS 'financial support' and I'm left with that dreaded feeling that a judge will agree with him and declare that they're better off with him.  Granted, the judge would have to be just as much of an asshole as he is but it's not a chance I am emotionally comfortable taking right now.  

And, unfortunately my kids, if they were asked, are too damn afraid to speak up on HIS faults and abusive ways.  For some reason (probably because of his constant abuse!) they are naturally terrified of disappointing their father and I am fearful that I'd lose them entirely if they were too afraid to speak the truth.

I've decided that, for now, I'm going to watch the wasband like a hawk - and the MINUTE he causes either of my children (or any of his others, I don't discriminate, especially since I raised his elder two and his youngest is my godchild!) any physical harm, will be the same minute I contact an attorney.  The emotional damage has already been done to all of us - and although I don't live with him anymore, I am STILL suffering those effects.  Y'all have seen how much of his bullshit has seeped into my current relationship.  And my kids, one of whom is now an adult, I can't expect to say or do anything that I can't even do, myself.  

It looks like, though, little by little, my ex is losing their respect.  And it is something that he has brought upon himself.  In a way, that's a win for me. I'll no longer defend him to my kids - they're too smart for it, now.  And it is a small comfort that they are seeing him for who he is and that they don't like it, either.  Of course they love him.  Very much.  But it's VERY possible to love someone and hate them at the same time! 

My son will likely never read this, but I feel I need to say something to him, even if it's in my head or here in the blog...

BUT, thank you, Son.  You validate me more and more each time you share with me.  I hope you'll feel safe enough to KEEP talking to me about these things because for the first time in years, I feel like we COMPLETELY understand each other.  I'm glad that you know that I love you and will support you if ever you needed or wanted it.  And when the time comes for us to be 'freed,' I think this is what will enable us to heal together, along with your sister!

The domestic violence struggle is so real, friends.  It's had (and still has!) such a debilitating effect on me and on them.  And I hope that this blog entry serves to further explain what DV survivors struggle with on a day-to-day, even after they've been removed from the situation.  It's not fun-and-games, it's not easy, it's frustrating, and it's disheartening.  

With that, I hope you'll take the opportunity to let someone else know that you love and support them, regardless of what they are dealing with - that doesn't matter.  What DOES matter is knowing that you have their back.  That makes a world of a difference, and it's what I'm going to tell my kids, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

- Capulet


Hi, all!  

I'm not sure what today's blog is going to be primarily about, so we'll call it a smorgasbord.  We'll try a little bit of everything!  It's been a turbulent week (I've been using that word a lot - I feel it best describes a lot of the unexpected emotional twists I've had to endure this past week) and today is only the second day that I haven't felt as if I were on the verge of tears.  I've done a lot of thinking and have been able to put a few things into perspective, so am feeling stable enough to try and transfer some of it here.

To start with, I have an interesting question for my survivor friends and peers.  

Do any of you experience an unexplained physical coldness/chill during those 'turbulent' anniversary time frames?  My anniversary has already passed - it was on the 4th of this month, but I am wondering if some of the side effects are taking me a little bit longer to move past?  It is 67 degrees in my house at the moment (I've checked the thermostat multiple times!) - and I'm FREEZING.  My fingers are literally icicles. I've been 'cold' all week last week and thought it was because of the drop in overall temperatures, but....67 degrees?  I shouldn't be dressed like an eskimo and have my hood on while indoors just yet.  Aside from feeling like my bones are constructed purely out of ice cubes, I feel fine.  I do not have a temperature, I am not sniffly or have a cough.  My fiancee remains a furnace (I wouldn't want to subject her to cuddling with me right now, though) and my kids have said that they're not cold.  I do have to add that I remember feeling cold, above other things, on that night 22 years ago, but I cannot remember if I felt this same unnatural chill during last year's anniversary time - or the previous, and so on.  Is this new???  And if it is, what brought this on?

So, I had my second group session last night.  More people showed up to this one - and one person from the first meeting was there.  They first started off with some meditation - something I don't have a whole lot of experience with.  I was having trouble with the listening part (the leader was instructing us all to take our deep breaths, try and picture a safe place, inhale, exhale, relax this, relax that) and I couldn't really participate-along with the rest of them because by the time I got the 'message' to do whatever, she was already moved onto the next thing.  It wasn't her fault - it's just a casualty that being deaf has taught me to have to accept from time to time.  So, safe to say, this part of the meeting was not effective for me.  And I'd soon learn that the meditation was something leading up to the NEXT part - although I do already have a lot of experience with journaling, she handed out plain black-and-white composition notebooks and asked us to decorate the cover to reflect and show where our 'safe place' was during the prior meditation process.  A place that I'd not 'arrived' at, nor would I be able to envision as effectively as the rest of the ladies in the room.

Well, SHIT.  I'm already flunking at support groups!

So, after some quick deliberation, I ended up taking a different approach on the design of my journal cover.  I'll PROBABLY not use my journal at all - this is the place where I've been able to most effectively convey my deepest thoughts.  Maybe I'll consider printing out some of my most powerful and impactful entries and pasting them into the book - perhaps there will be a future discussion where I'll be able to read from some of those entries - I'll have already thought them out and perhaps they will resonate with someone else.  Otherwise, the pages will likely remain blank.  

To fill a page wasn't even the assignment; it was to present a decorated cover - depicting or representing my safe place.  It's safe to say I don't really have a 'place,' but there are some things that I try to remind myself of when I meditate - or rather, through my own way of meditation.  Yes, I do the deep breaths, I do inhale and exhale, but while I do this, I do not picture a particular place.  I instead mentally throw all of my cards onto the table and address each of whatever my current struggles are, with a motivating counter-thought.

And lately, I probably could do with a little more of (my type) of meditation.  I'm going to sideline this particular thought train for a little while so that I can explain a little bit more about why I'm feeling the excess turbulence this month.  

We already know by now that it's my anniversary month - and that this year, I'm experiencing some different side effects.  

Another thing that's been on my mind....(and this is something I've had that internal debate on whether or not I should share it with you guys or keep it to myself)...is a recent dialogue with J that has left me very confused, very unsettled and very anxious.  

First off, it wasn't a fight.  We don't fight.  We sometimes disagree, but neither one of us wants to fight with the other - we talk about things more often than not, but there ARE times where we 'drop' things and leave them alone because it's something that's not going to be resolved and falls into the 'just bitching' category.  Sometimes this is best, but lately, it's only succeeded in mounting our problems and issues and they are now starting to wiggle like a stack of Jenga blocks threatening to come tumbling down at any moment.

I've mentioned before that she's become more social and has taken a liking to going out with her friends after work.  Sometimes it's once a week, sometimes it's twice.  I've also mentioned previously that I am absolutely hating this - not that she's blossomed into a social butterfly, because that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but more so that she's found things to do and ways to have fun that do not involve me but instead involve people that are seemingly taking up 'more' of her than I am.  I don't even know if I feel this way because I'm not at that same point in my own life, but either way, it has left me feeling more and more lonely than usual.  And lately, I've been more openly 'bitter' about her spending time with her friends - she'll, as a courtesy, let me know when she has made spontaneous plans after work, and I'll usually respond with a one-liner that fails to hide my disappointment.  Last week, this such one-liner was, "Ughhhhh."  PROBABLY not the best choice of words, but in the moment, it's what my fingers wanted to type.  

Now, she KNOWS how I feel about social situations in general, and she knows about the anxiety I feel when it comes to the expansion of my own social circle.  She also knows that I quietly fume to myself whenever I'm told I won't be seeing her after work.  I have been honest about that and we both understand this is a direct result of what my ex has successfully ingrained in me.  She continues to remind me that I am no longer married to him, I am FREE now, and I need "more than just her" in my life.  This, too, is something I am struggling with - because for the last ten years that I've been divorced, it's been just her and I - there wasn't a need for me to have 'other people' to share (EVERYTHING) with.  It was a nice, comfortable, PRIVATE circle.  Either way, I've recently (probably for the last year) watched her change in multiple ways, from the person she used to be into a more evolved version of herself.  She's now made a true friend out of her boss, is becoming more and more friendly with co-workers and has taken more interest in doing things outside of our home 1-2 days a week.  As a direct result of some of these changes in her, she has now taken notice of me becoming increasingly withdrawn and snippy.  On top of all of this, she's also made the choice to return to therapy, a choice I support 100% since she's also mentioned the need to do some maintenance work on herself - something I think we ALL need from time to time.

I'm not sure if the return-to-therapy is what prompted her to bring up on Sunday evening, that she felt that we BOTH needed to work on things within our relationship.  She made it clear that while she wasn't unhappy, she just felt that there were some things that needed changing.  

This confused the fuck out of me, I won't lie.  The first thing that came to mind, was, "Oh, my God, I'm losing her."  

And for the entire day on Monday, I sat in silence and solitude - ready to cry at the drop of a hat - and thought, thought some more and thought HARD.  About everything that was said on Sunday night - which confused me even more.  She had stated she wanted me to be 'okay' with her outings so that she didn't feel guilty about them.  I told her that I wasn't going to hold her back from going out with her friends, but at the same time, I couldn't be expected to be automatically okay with it, either.  It was something I needed to work at, as well as something entirely new that I needed to adapt to.  On Sunday, it got to the point where she ended up telling me that I've been saying I would figure it out for a while now (truth) and haven't done so, yet.  I responded that I was trying - "Rome wasn't built in a day!"  Another thing she mentioned was that she wanted me to be more honest with her about what I was feeling - which baffled me, because I guess, I thought I already was.  My "ughhhh" text message was an honest response.  My admission that this wasn't easy for me was another honest thought.  My snippiness and grouchiness whenever she talks about her pals, you'd think that is all based on some form of honesty.  

How much more honesty did she want from me?  I think she sensed there was more that needed to be said, but at the moment, I was feeling lost and was drawing blanks.  Granted, emotions were running wild and I admit to having lost my shit on Sunday night during our talk, in an ugly-cry sort of way.  We both agreed to take the day on Monday to do some thinking and we'd reconvene when we were both in a better frame of mind.

So, on Monday, after a long day of reflection, I was able to summarize a little bit more of what I was feeling and I broke it down some to J.  Not by choice - I was already semi-crying when she got home from work.  I had tried my hardest to hide from her my 'I'm holding it in' face, but when you're with someone for as long as we've been together, these things become virtually un-hideable.  She asked me what was the matter and I lost it again.

And so, out it came.  What I'd realized in the less than 24 hours since Sunday's blind-siding conversation.  I have not changed.  She has.  She now has a more demanding job.  As is, our time spent together has diminished greatly.  She works a 40-hour week and VERY often ends up putting in a ton of OT to make it a SIXTY-hour work week.  Add to that, she's become so increasingly tired, unnecessarily stressed out, and on the days she comes home from work, all she wants to do is eat a quick dinner and go to sleep.  And as far as her friends go - it feels like they get more out of her than I do because she goes out with them AFTER an already extended day at work.  I VERY rarely even SEE her before she leaves in the morning (it's usually right after 6am) and when she's out with her friends, she comes home at 10 or 11pm and I'm LUCKY to get a five-minute conversation out of her before she's snoring.  She spends time with her boss for just about the entire duration of the work day and then there's the 'after work' activities that include this same woman, (counting two separate occasions when J went to help her move into her new apartment) so yes, maybe I do have a legitimate problem with that and maybe this is why the MENTION of this woman's name makes me envious enough to want to punch something.  MAYBE this is why when J invites me to come along, I really don't have any interest in it.  These are the people who are taking her away from me; (I know that's an unrealistic, paranoid thought, but for the moment, it was yet another honest take on it) why would I want to associate with them?  They represent the 'fun' that she's having that I am not a part of.  I am instead left feeling genuinely lonely after lately not seeing much of my one and only consistent 'person.'

And that's just not a nice feeling at all - it's how I felt when I was married to my ex and he didn't want me to have any 'other' people - and it's not how I want to make J feel, either.  You see, I KNOW where my strengths and weaknesses are - and perhaps the biggest confusion here is - neither one of us has done anything wrong.  We remain faithful to one another - that's never been a question.  We love each other.  We just are, for the moment, at different places in our social lives and she's just more comfortable with her newfound status than I am.  And just because she has changed, does not mean I also have to if it's not what I want or am not mentally ready for.

I honestly DO, though.  I don't want to let this go right now and then have to revisit the same problem ten, fifteen years down the road when she and her boss friend decide to take up knitting together after work days.  (Another unrealistic guess, but y'all get the point I am trying to make!)  I am absolutely TERRIFIED that if, by some twist of fate, I ever lost her, I would TRULY be a mess.  I'd force myself to physically move on but emotionally, that is going to be the challenge of my life, as I've no desire to forge this type of connection with anyone else, should she become unavailable to me.  I can honestly say I'd be FINISHED and a permanent emotional shut-down would likely be inevitable.

We had a longer (calmer) talk after my (blatantly honest) little outburst.  

I first have to admit that it didn't feel so good, though, guys.  I know that we're not likely to get what we need or want unless we ask for it, but I can't help but feel as if expressing these (irrational or not?) fears has made her see me in an entirely different light.  Does she now see me as an inconsiderate, ungrateful, needy bit*h?  I am not a selfish person at all and I'm admittedly the type to want to avoid confrontation at all costs, so just spitting out all of this inner poison has made me feel even more like shit!  I thought it was supposed to feel GOOD to take any kind of a stand - but nope, I'm not feeling that, just yet.

But, despite what I'm feeling, she heard me.  And unlike my ex, she actually acknowledged what I was saying and where I was coming from.  This, too, is something that STILL floors me, even after almost a decade of being in a healthy, trusting, communicative relationship.  Maybe that's why this feels like uncharted territory - I've NEVER had that before.  If I ever were to tell my ex how I felt, he would have slammed me back with insults describing how the way I was feeling was entirely my fault and about how truly damaged I was.  My J and my ex are absolutely not the same person - not by a long shot - J is a kind, loving person while my ex was a monstrous asshole that has succeeded in reducing my self worth into an unidentifiable pulp.

We have decided that she will work on being more present when she's at home.  Together, we'll do whatever it takes, we'll go out, we'll engage in activities that will keep her from falling asleep so soon after coming home from work.  Bowling two nights a week certainly helps!  We'll liven up our relationship by having a once-a-week dinner date night (not a bowling night), where it will just be the two of us.  We'll have a drink together.  We'll take in the occasional movie.  We'll try new things.  Last night was the first of several 'date nights' to come; we met up at a local steakhouse after my group meeting.  And it was truly nice to take that time to start to reconnect - because, as much as I hate to admit it, we DID lose something along the way.  It's never been MORE important to me to try and reclaim that connection before it drifts even further, simply because she's become too busy or I'm responding by shutting down. 

And in the meantime, I have some work to do....more so for myself than for anyone else - but work regardless.  I will work on trying to find other things to become involved in and I will do so at my own pace.  I will put my social anxieties aside and join her on an outing with her work friends from time to time - and I will ATTEMPT to get to know some of them.  I've already spent some time with the boss lady, and all jealousies aside, she is not a terrible person.  I will keep more of an open mind when it comes to dipping my toe into these social situations.  

We have established that relationship-wise, I trust my J completely, I am not afraid she'll fall in love with someone else.  This isn't the issue.  I've determined that I am more afraid that she'll eventually evolve even more and discover that she truly likes or wants more than what she has with the boring, laid-back, homebody that I have learned to be.  I am loyal.  I am trustworthy.  But right now, I don't feel 'fun,' nor do I have much to offer someone as far as a good time goes.  I'm stuck in a rut and I NEED to climb out of it.  

And so, I am going to begin to work on trusting MYSELF; and in my ability to intiate a transformation of my own.  Given where I am right now and all of the damage that has already been done, it may take years.  But, I will get there.  I think I just needed to feel more united and connected with my "main" person in order to take these steps toward learning to trust and confide in and learn to relax around others. I needed to be able to feel that I'm not in the process of losing the one person who changed my life for the better.  And perhaps, that's the root of my recent snippiness - I do not respond well when I feel threatened with that idea - it also makes sense that this is why J's family/sister's words to me several months ago are STILL fucking with my brain.  This is why I cannot get past what was said to me, even if it was said in desperation or anger.  It cannot be unsaid and is possibly where all of this started.  

Well, at least we recognize it - and I'm happy to say that we are working on us.  I know no relationship is perfect and by all means, neither is ours.  We are as good a couple as they come, but we've never had to really work at it, though.  It's just always come so naturally to us both, and I think I need that reassurance that we aren't the only ones who hit the occasional bump in that road!

Now, back to the journal cover that I was to design.  I found some 'phrases' in the pile of magazine clippings.  Words.  These are what I use to get through things.  I think about them, I redefine them, I write them.  Aside from some not-so-nice things, I've been called a wordsmith.  And so this is what I decided to decorate my composition notebook with.  Single words and phrases that right now, ring true for me.

"A window of opportunity has opened."

"Comfort zone."


"Chocolate."  (A reference to THIS blog - I could not let that go without some form of recognition as this is where I usually retreat when I have a lot of mind-clutter.)

"Your future is yet to be written."

There were a couple more - along with cut-out letters that I used to spell out my real first name across the top of the book.  When my turn came, I explained that I'd taken a little bit of a different approach to my journal cover decorating - and discussed that I use words and phrases in order to quell whatever my current anxieties are.  And each of those statements, at the moment, mean something to me.  

And why did I put my (given) name?  

Well - my name as well as my identity is another thing that I am struggling to define. I can tell anyone my name, but I honestly don't have a clue who I even am, being constantly torn between the person I really am and the person I present as, is exhausting!

You see, here, I am Capulet.  You all know why I am here.  You all know my story.  You know my fears, the things that make me happy, the things that make me sad.  Chances are, you feel the same way.  I've been nothing but honest with everyone through my blogs, my posts, my private conversations.  It helps that being here affords us all that unspoken understanding of each other - we're automatically able to validate one another because, one way or another, we all get it.  We don't have to truly know someone to understand them when they write something that rings true with us, too.  And so, I honestly feel more connected to myself when I am Capulet and less connected to the person that my given name represents - the person that people offline see.  And partially, this is my fault, I have spent so much time shielding these offline connections from the things that aren't so easy to share or explain face-to-face.  I feel like I am someone else.  And that 'someone else' is what people usually see upon spending time with me.  And if these people do not know or understand the reasons behind why I am the moody, withdrawn, shy, anxious, unapproachable person I appear to be (especially in social settings) then it's likely harder for them to make the extra effort it requires in order to get close to me.  Additionally I can't expect them to keep trying if I'm going to constantly shut them down.  This is yet another reason I feel that I need to work on opening up to more people, (once I've established them to be trustworthy) and allow them to understand me in entirety; allow them to see me, not only as Capulet, nor as the person they think I am.  But somewhere in the middle where both 'identities' can merge.  Only then will I truly begin to comfortably live my life as an evolved, transformed woman.

After the meeting, I was feeling a little bold and inquired about whether the Women's Center had any volunteer opportunities.  I was told they do, however they require one full year of affiliation with the center before they consider taking on someone as a volunteer.  And so I will continue to attend the group meetings and take them all for what they're worth - even though I may not in the moment be able to gain anything from them, they are thought-provoking and force me to be honest with myself.

I should mention that I am also feeling a little anxious about tomorrow's (yes, tomorrow's!) appointment with the VR intake counselor - I will be discussing with her the possibility of going back to school as a full-time student, and then continuing onto acquiring my bachelor's.  I am trying to allow myself to feel excited and to ignore that voice within (the one that seems to always be lying and misleading me) that is telling me that my dreams are not possible; that a better version of ME is not possible.  That I will have to settle for the minimum because I am aiming too high.  I don't think that will be an acceptable answer, and I fear that if this is the one I am given, that it will emotionally derail me - again.

I've also made an appointment with the support group leader for next Friday - I feel satisfied with having shared this much tonight, but feel that if J can seek 'outside' help and a place to safely put all of her own 'excess' baggage, then I certainly can, too.  I'm not looking for a permanent thing - just a safe place to vent to someone who is unbiased and may be able to offer me some suggestions on how to initiate some of these much-needed and long overdue changes.

I do feel a little bit better tonight.  I had all day to myself - she again went to trivia night with her friends.  And normally, you probably could see the smoke coming out of my ears while I silently fumed over being alone (again) but I think that tonight, I needed it, I truly needed the alone time to think and to process and to refocus.  I also think that I need to continue to find a different focus for the times/days she chooses to go out - tonight, my aim was to find a way to adequately express what was going through my mind this past week and I have done that.  Moving forward, I will just have to learn to occupy myself with different things and explore alternative ways of keeping busy when she's otherwise unavailable.  

I just wish this newfound, unfamiliar quest of mine for more purpose in life wasn't so fucking scary!  And that it came more naturally for me without my having to work so hard at it.  

And with that, it is time to wrap up.  I am emotionally drained (and ironically this will put me to sleep quicker than a dose of NyQuil) and have been for a while.  I've dropped with exhaustion before 12:30am for the last few nights - tonight, I'm up a little bit longer because it was important to me to not interrupt the flow of thoughts.  I've got that habitual tendency to 'drop' things if I'm too tired or reserve them for another time, but this simply could NOT wait.

In closing, I thank you all for continuing to listen to me, for not giving up on me, for getting to know me, and for supporting me.  I know I am by no means perfect and I know deep down that I definitely do contribute to my own problems, but, shit...none of this is intentional - it's just what I know and was taught that was needed as primarily a means of self-protection.  It truly does help to also know that the persona that I feel most connected to, truly has an army behind her.  So for that, thank you.  I truly appreciate you all.

- Capulet


Hi friends,

So sorry for the lapse in communication lately!  I've been sort of lurking (and I'm not sure I like that word, either - seems almost too 'creepy' to use on a site like this one) and have been doing more reading of than responding to but as always, my thoughts and well wishes have remained with you all.  I just needed a little time to adjust to and process the downswing of last week, when I was dealing with the passing of yet another anniversary.  Happy to say that sleeping has gotten better - I've only been 'startled' awake once this week.  The night time insomnia, however, remains my greatest hurdle - and sadly, will probably be a permanent battle.  

Anyway, this will be a small, yet significant update. :)  I'll probably write more after my next support group meeting that is scheduled for next Tuesday.  I like the idea of being able to go over some of the topics discussed in group after I've had adequate time to give them the thought they deserve.

I am, later tonight, going to be stepping outside of my comfort zone in a few different ways.

A group of us (yes, I said GROUP!) are planning to meet up at a bar (yep, a place that serves alcohol!) for a couple of drinks and then we will proceed over to a local 'horror night' event.  The theme is Haunted Hotel - and it's apparently a yearly setup - to promote and further enhance the Halloween spirit as well as scare the shit out of anyone brave enough to venture inside.  It's a walk-through type of thing, we'll encounter plenty of those things that go bump in the night, our fair share of (fake) blood and guts, frightening scenes, etc.

But this isn't what makes me nervous.  I'm not easily spooked by grotesque displays.  Those, I can handle and during Halloween, can be even be entertained or amused by. 

So, what's my issue?

For starters, we will be a group.  J and I have gotten close to the couple we bowl with on Friday nights - they are older than we are, but very young-at-heart and are a lot of fun to be around.  We've done other things with them, but it's been limited to contained, easy-to-follow and well-lit situations.  Bowling, for one...when one gets up to bowl, it's easy to have one-on-one conversations with the other.  We did an Escape Room with them and had a lot of fun.  We've had them over to watch football.  We've gone to their house for a game night.  They're awesome company and lots of laughs are usually had whenever they are around.  They are TRULY good people.

J's boss, now also a friend of hers, will be joining us.  I've met her exactly once - and this is the person J has been spending a lot of time with - both inside and outside of work.  I still have my green-eyed monster lurking within (there's that word again!) but am currently trying to suppress it whenever she speaks of fun times with her friends - (times that don't involve lonely lil ol' me)  - I trust J with every fiber of my being and we both (as well as all of those who have been reading my blogs) know that this expanding circle of hers is my separate issue to work on - especially since I have SUCH trouble expanding my own.  Anyway, J's friend is also a fan of the spooky, macabre stuff.  And so, we (more so J) felt it was appropriate to invite her along. 

So it WILL be a small group, but still a group.  And even these small group gatherings (and in the dark, to boot!) are uncomfortable for me.  Doesn't matter if it's family or it's friends - I still stand to miss a GREAT deal when there is group chatter and cannot help but feel the simmering anxieties that are present for the duration. I will likely be laughing along whenever they all laugh in unison, even if I have no idea what they're giggling at.  A small voice inside will (LIES!) tell me it's me and my complete obliviousness - not necessarily the truth, but still always the perceived idea.  :shrug:

So, first - we will be going to a bar (and this is also NOT my thing) for drinks and introductions (J's friend to our friends) beforehand.  On the rare occasion that I throw back, it is usually done within the safe confines of my own home - I do not feel comfortable drinking anywhere else or around others.  I'm sure it's because being around drunk people is an obvious trigger and usually brings me back to my 1996 incident, but have been told that I need to try to more frequently participate in things that I haven't had much success with in the past.  It's the only way I'm going to build up to being comfortable in social settings.  And this will strengthen my personal mission to build up to the eventual expansion of my own inner circle of trusted friends.

I'm a different person, now, than I was in 1996.  I'm smarter.  More responsible.  I do trust J and our bowling friends - I don't think there will ultimately be any harm in my having a drink with them in good fun, but because I will not be at home where I feel most 'safe,' I am feeling like I'm back in high school and there's peer pressure - I don't want to be that 'wet blanket' and be the only one not drinking.  J's friend, as well as the couple we bowl with - are all social drinkers.  And going to the bar before the Haunted Hotel, was their idea - it certainly wouldn't be something I would suggest.  J, a non-drinker like me, is even considering having one, only because she's not fond of the 'scary' stuff and will require the liquid courage.  

And, so, I will probably end up giving in to the 'peer pressure' and have one drink with them - not because I'm comfortable with it, but because I know that despite old (although not unfounded) fears, I need to be able to keep an open mind and try new things.  I will just ask the bartender to make it a mild one.  I will make it a personal mission to stifle any and all discomfort and truly try to put aside my reservations long enough to enjoy the evening.

It all sounded like so much fun when it was proposed three weeks ago.   Not sure what happened between then and now, but presently, I feel that I am sincerely trying to convince myself that I won't have a good time when I may surprise myself instead.  Isn't that how it usually goes?  You dread something and then once you give it a legit try, you find that it's not as bad as you thought it'd be?

Pray this is the case for me tonight, and that walking the fine line between what is comfortable and what isn't proves to be a positive experience rather than the negative one my brain is well-trained to expect.

Will be back in the middle of next week.  Hope all is well with all of you!

- Capulet



Dear Eddie,

It has taken me at least five whole minutes to decide whether a piece of shit like you warranted a 'dear.'  It was completely out of habit that I started this letter in the same polite, courteous way I would start a letter to anyone else.  YOU, however, are not just 'anyone else.'  

I also debated whether or not I should use your name - I don't even know if it's your real name.  Either way, I have decided that I want people to know exactly who you are - and unfortunately, using your first name is not even enough.  This, though, is ALL I know about you.  There are many appropriate not-so-nice names I could call you, but for the moment, they elude me.  And so I'll use the name that has sparked terror and dread in me for the last twenty-two years.  

While there's so much accumulated that I need to say to you, I don't even know where to start.  

First of all, make no mistake - you're an absolutely despicable, horrible person and as far as I'm concerned, a waste of air and space.  But, no matter how much hatred I have for you, you're still, unfortunately, an important part of my life.  Not in the sense that I can't live without you - because I certainly CAN and honestly, would LOVE to.  As a matter of fact, I most likely would be living an entirely different life if it weren't for you.  I'm thinking that 'important' is a too nice a word - so perhaps I'll change it to 'significant.'  Clearly, that is ALSO too kind and positive a word to describe the likes of you.  

I'm not going to worry about word-searching right now though; there's far too much that I need to say to you, regardless of whether or not you ever see this letter.  I'm certain you'll never hear me; why would you?  You quite effectively silenced me 22 years ago.  

It seems fitting to write you this letter today.  I have had so much time to think and to cope with the emotional, mental, and physical side effects of what you did to me that night. I have not physically seen you in exactly 22 years - but I have 'seen' you MANY times, through memories and other reminders every single day since 10/4/1996.  It's gotten a lot better with time, but you have visited me in my sleep; you've assumed the identity of my grocer, a random person on the street, a classmate, the guy who owns a pizza place in central Long Island, the list goes on.  You were there whenever there were televised rape cases or trials; you did this to me, therefore your face was the one I saw, no matter who was currently on trial.  For a long time, you were everywhere I turned; there was no escape.  Now, you're not there as much, but deep down, I know that you'll never completely leave.  And that's both mind-blowing and kind of fucked up - we knew each other for JUST thirty minutes - and yet you are going to occupy a piece of my brain for the rest of my life.  

In hindsight, you probably do not remember that night.  Or maybe, you do.  Maybe it makes you smile or laugh when you remember how you brutally and heartlessly overpowered a distressed seventeen-year-old girl.  It doesn't do me any good to consider your pleasure in doing so, so I won't.  But do NOT, for one MINUTE, think I didn't see out of the corner of my eye, that cocky smirk that was on your face while you were holding me down.  You enjoyed every second of what you did.  Perhaps I was just 'another girl' to you.  You've probably done the same to other vulnerable girls.  You were calculated, methodical, and sad to say, you knew exactly what you were doing.  I guess I've always wondered how you can sleep at night - knowing you, using your body as a weapon, destroyed every single one of my hopes and dreams in a matter of just minutes.  And I also wonder why?  Why did you do this?  What was in it for you?  Was it worth it afterwards?  

Because of you, I spent the rest of that first year of college in a daze - it's a miracle I passed the courses I was taking.  It was a literal chore to get out of bed every day and do the same thing - get dressed in clothes that may or may not have been washed, drive to campus (and back) in a dissociated, autopilot mode, then spend evenings at home in a similar zombie-like state.  Then it was a rinse-and-repeat kind of thing, all while I withdrew socially and drifted slowly into a more consistent state of darkness.  Nothing was crystal-clear anymore.  Everything became fuzzy, jumbled and otherwise difficult to see - the life I had plans for no longer existed and was abruptly replaced with the life you forced me to live.   

Because of you, I searched for emotional and sexual sustenance in all the wrong places.  I felt as if I had nothing of worth to offer the boyfriend I had at the time - so he was history shortly after.  You were my first sexual experience - and you taught me that sex was painful.  You also taught me that saying 'no' would not work - that fighting would get me hurt, and that it was ideal to just lay there and take it.  And so I searched silently and recklessly, for that 'good' experience that would negate the bad one.  For the record, this didn't happen.  Of course, the guy that SHOULD have been the one I gave my virginity to, was instead, the one I cast aside when I feared my innocence was no longer intact.  Because of you.  

And on that note, it is because of YOU that I am both mortified and absolutely disgusted with my past behavior.  I've had 22 years to reflect on all of those poor choices and it's a goddamn miracle that I'm alive today!  I'm ashamed of myself - because of what you taught me, I allowed men to do absolutely horrible things to me - because I was too afraid to say 'no.'  I don't know if it was because I was afraid of being punched in the face or it was a learned auto-reaction at that point, but either way, whatever they wanted was usually what they got - this accomplished absolutely nothing more than eventually reducing my self-worth to zero.  I stopped caring about any repercussions or consequences of my actions.  In fact, I wanted to die - I wanted them to just put me out of my misery - the misery YOU started! 

Obviously, that didn't happen, either.  I survived you, and then I survived my own self.  And today, I'm STILL surviving, although the only difference is - I've forgiven myself for my part in these bad choices - as much as I'd like to blame you for those, I cannot.  I acted alone, same way I did anything else.  ALONE.  I will say, you may be to blame for my self-imposed solitude - it's how I felt most safe and the least threatened - but maintaining this constant need to be alone is on me, and perhaps on my ex, who further implied that leading a private, isolated life was ideal.  Even TODAY, I find myself wanting more personal space and alone time than seems reasonable - and because of this, I'm seriously lacking in social skills.  It may not be entirely because of you, but you definitely helped that along.

Because of you, I can't wash my floors with Pine-Sol.  The unmistakeable smell triggers me when I try and all I can remember is my face being held down against the cold, hard, wooden floor (which STILL smelled like Pine-Sol) while you raped me.

Because of you, I have a DEEP, almost UGLY hatred of music.  No, it is not your fault that I was born with the inability to hear it - but it was also the reason no one heard me calling for help.  It brings my children such joy - they LOVE music.  So does my fiancee.  And I can't help but remember and remain stuck on how the 'noisiness' failed me.  Ironically, the music became somewhat of a focal point - when I stopped fighting and succumbed to your brutality, I focused only on the vibrations of the floor beneath me.  And that's what I continued to focus on even after you were finished with me.  It was a small comfort.  I was alone in a place I was unfamiliar with, I was in a large amount of pain, I NEEDED something to distract me.  And so I kept my eyes closed and my face against the floor for several minutes before getting up...just counting each pounding, deafening beat....it was better than trying to figure out WHAT had just happened to me.  And for about five minutes, it was my only comfort.  It was the only time I can remember where I welcomed the 'noise.'  It was during that tiny window where music was still okay, that window was slammed shut once loud, blasting music became a known trigger.  

Because of you, I have not worn a skirt since that night.  There were a handful of occasions that required me to put on a bridesmaid's dress, but other than that, I refuse to wear anything without a crotch.  Even with those god-awful dresses, I wore a pair of skin-tight spandex shorts underneath because I needed to feel that extra layer of protection.  You taught me that I needed to be mindful of what I wore - and that skirts were not safe, regardless of whether they were long or short.  And every time I walk past one in the department store, I'm reminded of the cream-colored skirt with sunflowers on it that I wore that night.  That was my favorite - it was long, it covered my legs, and came all the way down to my ankles.  Because of what you did, I was forced to throw it away because I couldn't bear to look at it anymore.

Because of you, I learned all about fear.  The simplest, STUPIDEST things would now cause me anxiety.  For me, fear goes hand-in-hand with trust, another thing that I lost the ability to do freely.  Once upon a time, I was a very trusting person; I had faith in other people, I believed in the good in everyone.  To a point, I still do, but it's become increasingly difficult for me to trust that not everyone is out to hurt me and there are actually kind, honest and truly good people out there.  Because of you, I'm constantly second-guessing people, I'm questioning why people even wish to associate with me - what's their reason for it?  How are they going to eventually hurt me?  I HATE this about myself - I understand it, but I don't like it.  I've walled myself off, because of you, and now I'm in a position where I need to learn to break down some of these walls or risk being alone later.  

Because of you, I'm afraid to ask for help when it comes to communicating with others and putting ANY trust into the kindness of strangers.  Because if you recall, I was desperate and asked YOU for help.  We both know how that turned out.  Furthermore, I felt for the longest time that being hearing impaired was what landed me into trouble in the first place - I certainly could have made that phone call, myself, had I been born with two functional ears.  But it wasn't about that at all, was it?  This was what you planned, right?  This diabolical scheme of yours was devised and set into motion JUST as soon as I uttered, 'can you help me?'  Am I right?  This, like so many other questions I have for you, will likely remain unanswered.

You know, I wonder what you are like today.  Have you changed?  (Although it is hard for me to see you as anything other than a cruel monster, I know people change and truly have repented for things they've done in the past.  I'm not sure this applies to you, though.)  Are you a good person now?  Are you happy?  Are you proud of yourself?  Do you have a successful job?  Are you married?  Do you have kids?  Do you have a DAUGHTER????  If you do, I TRULY hope that knowing that YOU, yourself, are a sexual predator causes you to now live in fear of someone doing to her what you did to me.  Of course I am not the type to wish ill will toward the women in your life that you DO love and care about - but I sincerely hope that you understand the severe gravity of the effects of sexual assault - not just on the ones who have experienced it, but on the people around them.  And I hope you know and recognize that YOU are a person who has single-handedly caused these effects.

Do you ever even think about what you did to me, and possibly, to other women?  Or do you fall into the 'none of the above' category and are you rotting in a cell somewhere because you raped another woman who had more balls than I did and reported you?  Either way, do you feel any remorse at all?  Do you even KNOW what your actions have done to me, and perhaps to others?  I've had to accept that most all of the kickback from that night has been on me - you couldn't have cared less when you left me in that room, a bleeding mess.  If you're still alive and karma hasn't caught you yet, you probably still don't care.  You didn't care when I begged you to stop, you didn't care that all I wanted was to go home.  Instead, you laughed at me, you mocked my screams, you terrorized me.  

I've come a long way in 22 years, though.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I've fantasized about killing you.  And (because it was the only way I could get away with it) - in my dreams, I have killed you in multiple ways.  I've yelled at you, I've screamed.  I've beaten the shit out of you, I've smashed your face in, I've castrated you, I've hammered your ballsack to a slab of wood with a rusty nail.  You hurt me 'there,' and I wanted desperately to return the favor.  I'm not a violent person by any means, and I'm slightly embarrassed to even admit what I've thought about doing to you and to other sexual predators.  You have certainly made me angry enough to entertain these thoughts, but that's all they were - thoughts.  Time has shown me that the physical pain subsides and there is nothing at all that will completely cure the emotional and mental pain that sexual assault inflicts.  This specific pain, that because of you, I feel every single day.  Yes, time has mended my spirit a great deal, but there is going to forever be a part of me that you stole, you still possess, and that I will NEVER get back.

You know what, though?  I'm not mad at you anymore.  I have come to the conclusion that after 22 years, it is no longer anger I feel when this time of year rolls around.  It's become a permanent mark, yes, but it's also a numbing sadness that, no matter how much time has elapsed, will always live inside me and become more noticeable in the fall.  While I didn't have a choice in what's been plopped down on my plate (because of you), I DO have a choice in how I deal and cope with what's been served.  And I am now choosing to put that pre-existent anger behind me - it's done me NO good to hold onto it and I refuse to give you any more of my time or energy.  

Plus, when dealing with anger, there is usually a resolution...a way to come to terms with it and eventually dissolve it.  I think that, for me, means you'd have had to 'make it right' or otherwise pay for your crime at some point.  But you'll likely never be held accountable for what you did to me - even if you've been reported by someone else and you're paying THAT price, the debt between you and I will never be resolved.   So, today, 22 years later, I am feeling that it is time to let go of it...and while I've managed to released all of this pent-up anger towards you - I'm still and always will be disgusted with the poor excuse of a human being that you are.  I will never forgive you, either.  Your fate is truly out of my hands, but I do have hope that when the time comes, you'll get exactly what you deserve.

I do have remaining guilt for allowing you to walk free, for not getting up from the floor and chasing you out of that bedroom - I sometimes feel that in that moment, I should have mustered up whatever strength I had, found my voice, and exposed you for the rapist you are.  I've run through this scenario in my head, too - maybe someone would have restrained you, someone else would have called the police, and you would have been put away.  I'd have gotten medical attention, my parents would have found out what happened, sure, but at least you'd have been locked up.  Had that been what happened, it would likely have spared other women from having to experience the same thing I did.  But sadly, this is just another one of those 'woulda been nice' thoughts that will never come true.  Because of that life-changing, impactful half-hour I spent with you, the once fearless being I was, was rendered weak, speechless, and paralyzed.  I truly feel that because of you, I froze in fear and shock when that window of opportunity was open - I COULD have done something, but I did not.  While I now understand why I felt powerless in the moment, I feel that I still failed not only other women you may have subsequently harmed, but also myself.  And I HATE you for that, I HATE you for making me despise myself.  I hate you for teaching me the true meaning of the word 'hate.'  Such an ugly word; one that I don't even want my children to use...yet so fitting for how I feel about you.  I hate what you've done, what you represent, what you're capable of.  I hate your type - and that there are so many more of you roaming around.

I hate YOU, Eddie.

This is what I have to live with, though.  Other than this nagging feeling that I've failed myself and others, (which I've forgiven myself for as well) I've been a good person.  I've never hurt another person.  I am kind.  I am caring.  And I didn't deserve this.  I know this now.  Because of you, it took a LONG time to come to this realization.   

I survived 22 years ago and today, will continue to grow as a person.   I am not the same person I would be had I not met you, but that's beyond my control, now.  Instead of trying to duplicate the person I used to be or 'pick up where I left off,' I am going to focus on reclaiming the small, yet significant things that you either stole or otherwise changed for me.  There are some things that are gone forever, but there's hope for some others.  I'm going to embrace the rest of this fall season, and all of the fall seasons to come.  Rather than scowl at the natural beauty of the changing foliage, I will instead smile in appreciation of the breathtaking scenery.  I will buy the biggest fucking bottle of Pine-Sol and wash my floors with it next week.  Why?  Because I KNOW that my face will not be pressed down against that floor afterwards - and I'm going to prove that the dread I feel toward Pine-Sol is simply going to mean it's time to complete the never-fun chore of washing the floors.  I'm going to slowly work on lowering the walls that are up, because of you, and learn to more freely delegate my trust in those who are deserving of it. 

I suppose while there's plenty to blame and loathe you for, there is one positive thing that I can derive from our encounter 22 years ago.  Undoubtedly, that was the WORST, most impactful night of my life and to me, to be able to gain any positive insight out of such a negative, horrible event is pretty fucked up.  I don't want to give you credit for ANYTHING, more or less anything positive in my life - especially when I don't think I would be inspired to pursue the line of work I'd like to without first encountering your cruelty.  Because of you, I have developed a profound understanding of myself as well as the MILLIONS of other women who have been sexually assaulted.  I understand the deep, lingering pain and constant frustration, the emotional and sometimes physical toll that rape takes on a person.  I know that us women are individual beings and we all deal differently, but we all share this  common burden that we have to live with forever.  Because of you, and other predatory beings like yourself.

Before you, I was an English major and wanted to become a scriptwriter.  And now, after you, I want nothing more than to use this experience, coupled with my gained understanding and knowledge of 'what comes after,' and become an advocate for sexual assault/rape survivors.  Because of you, I understand EXACTLY what other survivors are going through and the grueling, seemingly uphill journey that lies ahead of them.  I am now ready to grab ahold of as many survivors' hands as I can, and climb this hill with them in unity and solidarity.  At first, I questioned whether I'd be able to devote the rest of my life to doing this type of work - it's certainly not going to be easy, but perhaps in the process, I will continue to heal.  I know and understand that I will be healing for the rest of my life.  And so, I have made peace with this change - I feel more confident in my abilities to help others than in scriptwriting - but perhaps I've done both.  I've re-written my life's script.  I'll never be able to completely discard the old, broken, battered version of myself - but I can certainly decide what happens to me, moving forward.

As for you, Eddie...

I don't know what's going on with you right now.  You can be living the American dream with a house and family - or you can be sitting in a 12x12 cell in prison.  I've no way of knowing.  Either way, I truly hope that at one point during the rest of your life, that you learn the true definition of suffering, the way you made me suffer.  I hope that one day, you will understand the feeling of being overpowered, and that you will experience vulnerability.  I hope you see for yourself how it is to feel lonely and isolated because no one around you understands what you're going through.  I hope you learn all about that feeling of keeping your silence - and that you come to realize that it's because you just don't know who to trust anymore.  It'd also be nice to see you struggle with things you thought were simple and easy, but are no longer.  Because following trauma, NOTHING is the same, anymore.  The things you did every day become foreign and become things you have to re-teach this altered version of yourself to do, all over again.  And I hope that someday, something scares you to the point where your heart (I know you have one) starts pounding for reasons that may not be immediately clear.  I hope that in that same moment, you freeze and are unable to move, or even BREATHE.  That's PTSD, that's anxiety.  That's what you unfairly sentenced me to.  That's what I've had to live with for the last 22 years - because of you.  

YOU however, have to live with everything I've mentioned in this letter.   And knowing your type, there's likely lots more that you're going to have to live with.  And, ultimately, that's what you deserve.  You deserve the absolute misery you've inflicted on others, you deserve pain and suffering.  I'm just sorry that I won't be there to witness that moment when Lady Karma decides it's your turn to pay the price for all the terrible things you've done!  

And last, but not least, I truly hope you see my face when she finally catches up to you.  Don't forget to watch for the satisfied smirk.

- Capulet
 (Because of you.)


Short and sweet...


I promised an update on my PT appointment sometime last weekend - and surely, you've noticed that I've said nothing.

Simply because there's really nothing to report other than my orthopedic doctor is an incompetent idiot.

Regardless of the fact that his office made the appointment for me to have my first PT appointment, the order was never sent downstairs to the 'gym.'  And so, last Friday, I showed up in my workout clothes, completed the registration, sign-in, co-pay, etc, only to be told that nothing could be done without the order from 'upstairs.'  And as luck would have it, the orthopedic doctor who had sent me to PT in the first place was not in the office that day, so a quick call couldn't be made at that time.  So basically, I was shit out of luck, short $35, and still hurting.  They DID claim they put in a request for the order - and rescheduled me to come back THIS Friday at the same time - I would not have to pay the co-pay again, and hopefully they'd have all they needed from the doctor in order to proceed with the actual evaluation.  

It's a good thing J was still in the neighborhood - the initial plan was for her to run a couple of quick errands while I was at PT - then she would come pick me up there and we'd go to breakfast.  

Breakfast came a little bit earlier - we went to a nice little diner that makes delicious omelettes!  So, eh..the morning wasn't a complete waste.

I DO have to say though that my hip HAS been feeling a little bit better...it DOES occasionally hurt when I get up and walk, but it's not as bad - perhaps there's some truth to what the idiot orthopedic was saying about having a little bit more mobility - it was a rough return-to-2x-a-week bowling, but slowly, I've been feeling less sore on the days after.  I may not need to continue with the PT - I sure can't afford to throw $35 per PT session at them - so this week, I plan to let them evaluate me, then I will ask them for exercises I can do at home and I'll just manage any stray pain with OTC anti-inflammatories. I'll show up at my orthopedic for a follow up the week after - and I'll let him know that PT will NOT be an option for me.  Maybe he too can recommend exercises that will help.

So that's it - the short, sweet (with a reduced-helping of 'ouch') update.  Will keep y'all posted on Friday's evaluation.  Hope you're all well! 

- Capulet




Hi, everyone.

Here's hoping you're all well this week!  How am I?  I don't know, honestly.  Mentally, I'm fine.  Physically, I'm falling the fuck apart and I don't understand why.  You would think that losing over 40 pounds (yes, yes, I did...consider that your small, harmless weight update without details!) would make me feel better - and it has.  But lately, after bowling, my left hip has been hurtin' something awful.  It's usually fine if I sit stationary, but getting up to get a water refill or to do simple household tasks - HURTS.  It's been gradually happening; and most noticeable the days after league bowling.  It'll feel better a day or two afterwards and then I go bowling again and am back at square one.  I feel like an old lady. 

BUT y'all will be proud of me when I tell you I've ALREADY been to the doctor...better yet, TWO doctors.  The first visit was to my primary care doctor, had to go see him in order to get the referral to the orthopedic.  He was my second visit and took x-rays of my hips.  He found nothing.  It's not arthritis, it's not any other issue with my hip.  He did ask me where exactly it hurt and when I pointed, he said based on the location, he feels it's more of a muscle/back strain, and prescribed 2x a day over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, ice after bowling (which I'm not going to do - I don't like ice) and physical therapy where they can work some of the muscles out and perhaps teach me some exercises I CAN do at home that may lead to my back/hip feeling better, overall.  My first PT appointment is this coming Friday.  I'll keep you all posted.

Had my monthly visit with my mother, AKA 'Oompa Loompa.'  She was supposed to come LAST week, but forgot that she had promised her free babysitting services to my sister, who had a wedding to attend.  So the week before's visit was rescheduled to this past weekend.  She arrived early on Saturday, we had lunch here (sandwiches) and she spent some time with the kids before they went back to their Dad's.  Then, we actually did something we never really do with her - and we went to a movie - we saw Peppermint - not a very realistic flick, but still was nice to get out of the house and to go someplace where we didn't have to entertain each other by actually talking (see what I did, there?) to each other.  When we got home, she went to sleep.  That was the gist of Saturday - it was painless, it was 'busy' and she had time to enjoy her grandchildren during the day.  Sunday was a little different - she needed the local craft store because my eldest niece will be turning 1 next month and she's making the centerpieces.  So I drove us down to the Hobby Lobby - knowing fully well that I was going to be exposed to all sorts of FALL things as soon as I walked into the store.

She went off looking for what she needed and I kinda lingered around where the garlands were.  

Lemme explain a little something else that I may not have shared before - I'm not a fan of the fall.  I never was.  When I was a kid, 'fall' meant school was starting and summer vacation was over.  I hated school - I was constantly picked on and bullied - back in the 80's, they didn't have preventative measures in place so the kids that were fat, handicapped or different in any other way were getting bullied left and right - and because I was 'the pudgy deaf kid,' I was an easy target. 

When I was a late teen, the fall was the season when I started college as a freshman, and also the same time of year that I was raped.  My 22-year anniversary is approaching - October 4th is the 'date.'  I do have to say though things have gotten MUCH better, the looming season change has always been accompanied by triggers, memories, little ugly-cry fests (for no particular reason) and bouts of depression, moodiness, sluggishness, etc.  I almost always feel crappy during this time of year.  Even though many years have gone by since my assault, it's almost an automatic fuck-with-your-emotions-thing at this point.

I however, DO like Halloween - I know it's a 'fall holiday' but it was always, ALWAYS my favorite.  I loved the idea of being someone (or something) other than myself.  I hated myself - why like me?  No one else seemed to!  But yeah, Halloween...too bad it only comes once a year, right?  And there's CANDY...lots of it. :)  That made it all worth it.  I don't know if it would have made any difference, but when I finally walked out of that party where the assault took place, I did NOT see any Halloween decorations.  The walk from the party site to the diner at a local intersection was not a long one, but still - considering the time of year, I was pleasantly surprised to not see any carved pumpkins.  It might have been too early for that, though, the carved jack-o-lanterns don't usually come out until later in the month if not on Halloween night.  I might also have not seen ANYTHING but the tear-blurred pavement in front of me.

So, at the craft store, there is a section dedicated solely to Halloween - here, you have all your black, orange, green and purple wreaths, the window clings, your skeleton/skull stuff, your cobweb netting, other decorations that you can 'add onto' existing wreaths or garlands, (these are called 'bits') and so, so much more.  You can literally go nuts in this store - and I did.  I actually found more season-related items than I did Halloween - I do already have some things to decorate further with in the garage - last year's 75% off sales at Walmart were amazing for such findings. :) 

Anyway, what I DON'T have is too much generic 'fall decor.'  The most I'd ever done was put out my (fake) sunflower bouquet and then when it got closer to Halloween, I'd put out some (also fake) pumpkins and gourds...if I'd made it to the supermarket for a real pumpkin, I'd carve it on All Hallow's Eve and put him out on the front steps for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy.  

So, I found some leaf, berry and pine cone 'bits' for half-price, then I found a 'fall leaves' garland that was lighted - my creative juices were flowing - I can't explain what came over me in that moment.  Here I am, I hate the fall and I'm standing here, appreciating the prettiness of these fake leaves, acorns, etc.  What the hell, man?  I have no reason to have this idea but here I am, thinking about how I could pretty this garland up even further by adding the 'bits' to it and securing them with thin pieces of twine.  I have a lovely mantle in my home that the finished product would look nice on.  And so, I filled my cart with small items that I could add to the (also half-price) pre-lit garland.  My mother, in the meantime, found everything she needed to put together centerpieces and met me up front.  We paid for our items and were on our way home.

Once it was quiet-ish, (as much as it could be with my mother's nonstop mouth) I laid out all my 'bits' and the garland on the floor in front of me.  I then got to thinking as I began stringing together the garland and the bits - maybe I've been looking at it all wrong, all along?  Yes, the fall will forever present as a 'bad time of year' for me, both because of being bullied at school and the sexual assault having happened in the fall.  But the season really had nothing at all to do with what happened.  People didn't treat me poorly because the air was chillier, because the leaves were changing colors, or because to was October.  Hell, classmates or other people have fucked with me at least once or twice in the spring, summer, in the winter, my ex probably had made me cry at least once a month, so all bets were off as far as what my worst time of year actually was.  My hatred of the fall really doesn't have to do with something so beautiful; maybe the gorgeous fall scenery should be a distraction rather than a reminder.  Maybe instead of grumbling whenever I saw pretty colors up in the trees, I should have refocused on its natural beauty - for that's probably what I needed rather than focus on the ugly memories.  I'd been holding onto this particular dislike of the fall for the wrong reasons - and for too long.  

I should add, this will be my second fall in an entirely new state - I remember last year's fall - we were still new to the area.  I had to pick up my son from school daily, and so the drive through the back roads was always SO scenic and absolutely gorgeous in the fall, and then of course, in the winter after snow had fallen.  So maybe new state = new slate?  Is it time for me to seize back a love for those things that are natural?  They ARE more beautiful here than they were in New York City!  Plus, here, I was not abused or bullied.  Here, I have no reason to dread the change from summer to fall.  Here, I have a new life and am sure being three and a half hours away from where I was assaulted is a huge help.  

Perhaps I can learn to appreciate these things again, or even for the first time in as long as I can remember.  

I'll ATTEMPT to get a picture uploaded of my finished garland.  I still have that irrational fear of the wasband coming across this blog and seeing all the things I've ever said about him, and as he's a frequent visitor in my home (kid transfers, holidays, drop-ins, etc) he knows what my mantle looks like and would be able to pick it out of a line-up (of mantles).  I'll play with photoshop and see if I can't crop it a bit and make it a little less incriminating...

I WILL say that despite my unspoken rule of having to hate anything having to do with the fall, it IS quite nice to look at - and I enjoy having it lit up in the evenings while we watch television or a movie.  I feel at peace with my creation - and for the first time, with the season.

Now, I FULLY expect to go through all the motions as my 'anniversary' nears - but perhaps this year, I will allow the scenery to provide me comfort rather than remind me of the inevitable - fall's going to come along every damn year - it's how I embrace it that matters.  And perhaps this sudden burst of creativity will make this upcoming anniversary and anniversaries to follow a little bit easier.  This year, I made a garland...and I think that on the 'anniversary,' I will make it a point to sit outside for a little while and take it all in.  And next year, I'll do something ELSE to reclaim the fall - to take back what, all along, I should have been enjoying but couldn't.  

And that's progress! 

Hoping you're all having a good week.  :throb:  I'll update again soon - likely this weekend with a PT update.  

- Capulet


What the heart needs...

Hello, everyone!  TWO blogs in a week????  How unusual.  Or is it? :) 

Well, guess what?   I did it.  I did something I PROBABLY should have done years (and YEARS) ago, and joined a local support group.  

Firstly, let me explain something to you all.  I'd always thought about joining a support group.  I've always fallen victim to loneliness - ALWAYS.  Being hearing impaired is only one contributor to this constant feeling of being the outsider and never quite being able to fit in, but it was further exacerbated by being told that there were limits to what I should be talking about, being made to feel that sharing was a bad thing.  (Thank you, ex-asshat...uh, husband, for that) And so, previously, when faced with whether or not I should seek out a support group, I'd always decide against it because regardless of that pesky loneliness, it didn't feel safe to take that leap, yet.

Joining AS was, before last night, the closest I've ever been to a support group.  This was more my speed - it's a community rather than a small group, but for me, being somewhere there was an unspoken understanding among members and not having to explain myself in depth was NICE.  It was even nicer that my hearing impairment didn't keep me excluded from conversations and that I could 'speak' freely without having to use my voice or show my face.  Oh, and I was able to keep AS anonymous - it was another way of keeping my private life separate from the life that I share with people who aren't privy to my personal struggles.  I still do this, to this day - the only person who knows about my belonging to AS is my lovely J.  And, there's another thing - joining a support forum online has enabled me to THINK out my responses.  Speaking live is new to me - I am a think-before-you-speak type of girl.  Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's not.  Maybe it's the reason I leave so much out - because online, I have time to mentally (and then physically) edit what I put out there.  Who knows?  Either way, I've always been SO much more comfortable online but now that I'm entertaining the idea of getting involved in this line of work, I'm going to have to learn to master the concept of live, in-person communication.  So an (online) search led me to join such a group.

We had our first meeting yesterday evening; this particular group meets once a month.  

There were only three of us, including me, and a leader.  (The group leader was the same very nice woman I emailed to inquire about the meetings in the first place.)  This group is centered around art, although you do not have to be an artist to participate. They provide the paper, paints, crayons, markers, colored pencils and paintbrushes.  You need only bring yourself and an open mind.

So, first, there was a question written on the dry-erase board in the front of the room.  The general idea is to answer/discuss that question and then afterwards, we are to try to use art to express further what we have just discussed.

I shit you not, I sat there with a blank piece of lined paper in front of me for what seemed like forever.  I was wishing for my keyboard and a monitor to magically appear in front of me, but only had my pencil available to write with.

What makes my heart happy?  Safe? Proud? Scared? Strong? What does my heart need? How do I look when my heart is happy/sad/everything else?

Those were the questions we were given at the beginning of the meeting to ponder.  I felt like I was back in school and my teacher had just given me a timed assignment - we had ten minutes to write some stuff down and I think I only managed half-assed responses, simply because of the type of thinker I am.  When called upon to respond, I simply told them that I'd share my answer to the last question - the 'how-do-I-look question.'  For some reason, this was something I felt I could best explain given the amount of time I had already wasted not knowing what to write for the other ones.  For those, I just jotted down simple, one-word answers for the time being.  I wasn't going to even share my answer to THIS question - but it just felt okay to say this much in that moment.

I explained that I look the same when I am happy, sad, scared, proud or feeling strong.  I've spent so much time trying to mask my true feelings.  For a long time, I wasn't allowed to share when I was sad or afraid.  I learned to pretend that I was fine, or if that didn't work, supply a bullshit, sometimes nonexistent reason for looking as if I were particularly 'off.'  And so, to keep myself safe, I would adopt the same generic, expressionless face for everything.  I was honest ONLY with the person closest to me (yep, my wifey) and even so, there was still an insatiable need to downplay my true feelings.  Not because they were unimportant, because I know they WERE valid thoughts and concerns, but they were simply thoughts I didn't have enough words to back up at the time.  

Y'all ever see this fantastic T-shirt featuring just squares, words and Darth Vader's face in every square?  Underneath each face is a word - happy, sad, cheerful, excited, frustrated, angry, proud, sleepy, confused....and there's the same exact picture of Darth Vader's face above each word.  See the attachment below. :) As you can see, the expression is the same, it doesn't change.  That's what came to mind when it comes to me - not to mention my kids (and J) tease me about my breathing sounding Vader-ish from time to time.  That last bit is not the point, it's just there for your entertainment as well as motivation for me to order this damn T-shirt for myself somewhere down the line.  


Anyway, this is, for sure something I feel that I need to continue to work on.  I know that now, I am safe to express myself truthfully with the (very few) people I trust.  And lately, I've made a little bit of progress with this, too.  It's been an emotional few months, to say the least.  I have been able to even CRY in front of my fiancee - never before have I been able to speak about something to the point of tears rather than drop it and pull out my pre-determined face for whatever it is I'm supposed to be reacting to.  I'm finding that I'm expressing myself more now than I have in the last TWENTY years. 

This brings me to what makes my heart proud - it took me a while, but I did that.  I got to where I am, DOING what I felt I needed to do and without being properly taught the right way of expression.  I self-educated - and I listened to my own heart when it came to choosing how and to whom I expressed myself honestly.  I still do feel that this blog is where I'm most honest - but perhaps, one day, I will be able to do the same thing offline.  And perhaps, people will TRULY be able to identify what I'm truly feeling because my face, I'm sure, will gradually soften as I become more comfortable removing that (heavy) mask.

What about the rest of it, then?

It isn't hard to tell you what makes me sad.  I just didn't really feel comfortable getting into such a long-ass list at the meeting.  But it's the same shit that makes us all sad.  I don't think there's anything that I am uniquely sad over other than how long it's taken me to reach the point I'm at and all of the wasted time and potential - while I understand it, the regrets are what gets to me in the end.  I'm not sad enough to let it eat away at me, though.  I'm going to fucking FIX that - I'm going to make up for that lost time, if it's the last thing I do.  But most of all, what makes me (and probably you, too) sad is the existence of UGLINESS in this world - people being abusive to others, not giving a damn about what their cruelty does to another person.  I'm sad that people are betrayed left and right, trust is broken every day, that fear is something so easily learned.  And of course, this particular type of sadness is going to exist for years and years to come - NONE of that shit is fair!  

What makes my heart feel safe?  Ahh, this is a hard one.  I think this varies from person to person but they're not asking about them, they're asking about me.  I didn't write anything underneath this word at the meeting.  I was literally drawing blanks...and again, reaching for the imaginary keyboard.  Honestly, though?  Being able to trust someone and to remove them from my imaginary list of 'toxic' people and put them on the safe list is something that isn't done often or in my case, easily.  By now, I'm used to people 'disappearing' or becoming otherwise absent from my life.   And so, it's become 'safe' for me to keep most people at arms' length and cease making emotional attachments right away.  Not to say I don't like them - there are many, MANY people out there that I am fond of and think of as being good, honest  people that I'd love to one day get to know and become good friends with.  ONE DAY.  But just as soon as I say that or start to feel that is possible with someone, my safety mode kicks in and all I can think about are those who have disappointed me in the past by making promises to always be there but haven't kept them.  I'm well aware that people come and go from our lives, that's what happens; that's life.  We find ourselves being close to a person, thinking this is a 'lifer,' only to discover that three or four years later, they've gradually drifted and moved on.  Perhaps there is a pre-set time and place for people to be friends or feel close to each other...I do believe we cross paths with people who are perhaps put there for a reason by forces unknown - as fate has it, they may need us too, for that particular moment in time and for whatever reason.  I'm thinking, though, maybe very few things, if any, are forever?  The 'forever,' you have to work at.  For that, BOTH parties have to commit and want the same thing.  I've found that usually it's me who makes the effort with others.  And it's not safe for me to keep doing that  - when and if it doesn't work out the way I'd like or hope for it to, the hurt is real.  And so, it makes me feel an added layer of security to keep an emotional distance for a little bit longer whenever I am faced with becoming friends with a new person.  

I suppose the above friendship issue is one thing that scares my heart.  In a nutshell, what truly scares me is the loss of something I find to be a sure thing, something I TRULY cannot imagine life without.  Don't get me wrong - what terrifies me the most is the idea of anything ever happening to my kids, or to J.  These three people are the ONLY three I have an emotional attachment to that NOTHING can ever change.  Okay - that's not entirely true - I know that there isn't a single relationship on this planet that comes with a lifetime guarantee - a better way of phrasing would be to say this is the ONE relationship I've had where I've been able to lay ALL my cards out onto the table and allow my partner to see things I've never shown anyone else...I've given her my entire heart; I've held back nothing.  My kids, too - my love for them is permanent, unwavering and unconditional.  They piss me off every single damn day - in one way or another.  But NEVER will they 'drift' from my heart. The thought of anything ever happening to any of these three people scares the shit out of me - it's more than the idea of losing them, I truly believe I will lose myself, too, should that happen.  

And finally, what makes my heart happy?  What, indeed?  The three people mentioned above - the son, the daughter, and J.  Absolutely.  They all make my heart happy, despite the times they annoy or piss me off.  Them being a permanent fixture in my life makes me happy - because they are safe and safety = happiness.  It's never been the material things that have brought me joy - it's consistency.  

So, what does my heart need now that I've identified the other ways it both keeps me going and holds me back?

Thinking back to last night, this was probably the hardest of all the questions. Again, I am a very deep, profound thinker; when I am asked a question, the answer I present MUST make sense to me before I attempt to clearly convey it to others.  Not sure if that's an OCD thing, a Capulet thing or the way it is for everyone - I'm guessing the latter is only true for some and not for others, because this, too, is dependent on what mental problem solving methods they most frequently use.  But in order for me to answer the question of what my heart needs, I had to FIRST get through the other questions.  In a way, they serve as a map, a blueprint, sort of - a route to the answers.  I am simply incapable of arriving at one conclusion before figuring out the prerequisite answer.  It's just the way my brain works.

Before I answer the 'need' question, though, I want to mention the 'art' part of the meeting - since talking about this will likely build up to a more effective means of responding to it.  Since we were discussing hearts, it was suggested we draw one and surround it/fill it in, with words, other pictures, colors, whatever, to try and describe what your heart feels through your drawing.  The two ladies got started right away; I guess they already had their answers.  The leader did her own picture, too - but I sat there and stared at a blank page for the first 20 minutes.  No - scratch that - it wasn't completely blank - I'd completed just the first step and had drawn a heart - just a plain, empty heart.  Nothing inside.  I suppose that wouldn't do - those who know me know that my heart is capable of so, SO much more than the emptiness that was reflected on my paper.  Yet, I truly feel restricted - I don't put as much of my heart and trust out there as I know I can.  I am not allowing as much INTO my heart, either - for the longest time, I've been content with what I have - it's enough for me, there was never a true desire to spread myself even further, to share myself with others and trust in others as I do J, who has been my 'lone' person for the last ten years.

This has become different, now, though.  My kids, I will trust with my life - but I cannot expect them to be able to see me through those things I'm trying to survive - they are not privy to that part of my life, and that's not their fault; it's simply the way I've wanted it to be.  Should they ever approach me wanting to have a conversation about such things, I'll trust them with those details then.  But until that happens, I am content with trusting them to become good people, to stand up for what they believe in, and to not put me in a nursing home when I start to shit myself on a daily basis. :)  J holds my highest level of trust - there is not a single thing about me that she doesn't know.  But now, she is evolving - she doesn't have a wall fortified by a padlock over her heart - she has made new friends, she is starting to enjoy social outings with people other than me, she is growing into a stronger person.  Now, don't get me wrong - our relationship is by no means in danger.  We're good.  I just feel lately that while she's growing, I am truly stuck in that same comfort zone that I've been sitting in for the last decade and if I continue to be stuck, I will end up even more lonely in the end.  A change is necessary, and it's ME that has to change.  

Who the fuck invented that word, anyway?  Surely not someone who is content with keeping things the same forever!  

So, I grabbed my crayon and filled my heart with bricks and colored them red, to symbolize the wall that obstructed the way in.  It was all I could think of, really - the best interpretation of my heart in its current state.  There's much to be seen beyond that 'brick' wall, but that wall needs to first be torn down, little by little, piece by piece.  I waited until my turn came and explained to the group that I felt that there were many things my heart needed but for a long time, I've been building and fortifying walls - my goal was to start chipping away at it so that I and others could access my fullest potential as a person.  

I have that picture on my desk right now - I said I was going to keep it and bring it home and when I felt I made a little progress in lowering some of these mental walls, I'd draw little cracks in it.  There will eventually be no more room for 'cracks' and this wall will eventually crumble and fall.  I'm going to make sure of it - this is what I hope to gain from joining a support group.

So, I've determined that I need to be able to overcome my hesitation and fear of becoming emotionally invested in or attached to the newer people in my life.   I need to be able to make those cracks in this wall and then work on first weakening it - (not completely demolishing it because there are certain safeguards I need to keep in place) - in order to allow others the chance to show me that they are capable of being both supporters and friends.  I'm not looking for anything beyond friendship, but even that seems harder for me to find given my own personal hangups.  I need to be willing to take chances on people, I'm sure there are some who doing the same.  I need to open my heart to the possibility of expanding my very, VERY small circle so that there is a safety net in place - what happens if something DOES happen to my person?  In doing this, I will also be making my heart stronger - I can only assume at this point that to shy away from these opportunities would have the opposite effect.  So - yeah - If I get burned, I get burned.  At least I'll know deep down that I tried and it was through no fault of my own.  I will have to deal with the emotional fallout, yes, but then I will simply have to accept it and move on rather than stay stationary for the next decade.

I NEED to explore what else makes me happy.  I trust that the already existing factors will remain in place, but if I was truly content with my life as is, I would NOT be feeling as emotional as I have been as of late.  That's a given.  It's taken me a while to figure that out but better late than never, I guess.  I also recognize that in my quest for happiness, I'll have to take risks that scare me.  Perhaps they'll make me more proud in the end, once and if I've succeeded.  Who knows.  Either way, I see how it's all connected.  It was a good question - it didn't seem like it at first - it was almost too loaded.  Lots of things make me happy, lots of things make me sad, scared, strong.  I guess it's easy to put down what's obvious without giving it an excessive amount of thought, but that's just not who I am.  :shrug:

And lastly, I need all the help I can get.  I'm not usually one to ask for it, but perhaps I should start effectively expressing to others what I need.  I'm rediscovering and re-training that little voice within that, in the past, was denied the requested help and support.  I recognize this as being the reason I stopped asking for help, I stopped reaching out, stopped offering my own support.  This accomplishes nothing, friends - nothing!

I've already started picking away at this wall covering my heart.  I've been at it for months already, I wanna say - it's not been easy but there are some small cracks beginning to form.  So, I'm getting somewhere.  Slowly, but surely. 

So, hey, grab a mallet.  Help me make some more cracks. Maybe we can help each other through this daunting part of the healing process?  Isn't that what the point of it all even is?  Isn't that what I needed from the start??  Maybe instead of building and fortifying walls, we should start being more openly focused with communicating (both with ourselves and with others) what our hearts need?

Until next time.  Hoping you're all well.  

Sending :throb: and a :dance:just because it makes me smile.
- Capulet


Hi, all.

Here is a little bit of an in-betweener kind of post.  I've had a bit of an emotional week and while I build up to writing about it, I've chosen to keep my mind circulating by blogging about something a little bit lighter today.  Something that makes me smile and laugh.  It's important to share those things, too - not just the stuff that requires deep contemplation.  I believe that we all need a little bit of a break from that every once in a while.  

There is one little Oompa-Loompa update - she texted me this morning saying that yesterday was 'Grandparent's Day.'  And out of her nine grandchildren, only my sister's son called.  AND, I'm sure even he did not do this on his own - he's four and autistic.  Ummm....is this like Christmas or something?  Is this an annual thing?  I don't remember celebrating or calling MY grandparents on September 9th every year.  I certainly don't remember my kids EVER calling her to wish her a Happy Grandparents' Day.  So there's the baffling question of the day....WHY is she inclined to bit*h about it now???  

I'll be seeing her this weekend, perhaps I'll ask her.  Or maybe not.

Okay, without further ado - a story about my cat...mostly because talking about Oompa usually raises my blood pressure and defeats the purpose of keeping it light.

I've unofficially diagnosed my cat with separation anxiety.  

Wherever I am - he is, too.  He's my (much more adorable) shadow.  I think he literally panics when he can't see me - he will follow me from room to room.  Whenever I go downstairs, he'll join me, even if he just needs to see that I'm doing something as 'boring' or 'unimportant' (to him) such as laundry or emptying the dehumidifier.  I am a fan of baths, and while I soak, he will sit on the edge of the tub, especially if the faucet is running.  Once he's had his fill of running bath water, he'll sit contentedly on the toilet seat until I'm toweling off.  He will occasionally 'interrupt' my typing by jumping up onto the desk and staring me in the face until I move my (wireless) keyboard and focus completely on HIM.  He doesn't give a shit if I'm in the middle of blogging - when he wants a scratch or two or two hundred, he'll make damn sure he gets it.  When he's needing to be close to me but not necessarily wanting to be petted, he will sit on the floor next to my chair - almost as if he's standing (or sitting) guard.  And there is where he'll remain until I decide to leave the room for whatever reason - he'll follow if he hasn't fallen asleep.  

Of course, he doesn't accompany me to the bowling alley on league nights, but if he could, he probably would.  I think though, given that he has never been a fan of loud noises, the constant sound of clattering pins would add PTSD to his list of mental issues.

He is this gorgeous orange striped tabby with a little bit of a mischievous (mean) streak - he's the youngest of my five-feline family but the second biggest.  I'm sure he means to play but he tends to bully the other cats by spontaneously lunging at them as they walk by - he's gotten his face scratched a bunch of times by unappreciative siblings, but still hasn't learned the concept of personal space.  He's a very handsome cat - and he knows it; he will sit with his head held up high whenever I walk by because he knows that I can't resist stealing a kiss whenever I pass him.  I speak to him in the same voice I use to speak to babies and he'll reward me with the content slow-blink.  He is usually the first to greet me when I come home (although he's probably mad at me for leaving in the first place) and the last kiss before bed.  Since the other cats have no way of reading nor will they find out any other way, I'll also admit that he's my favorite.  

We share a connection - this fella and I.  When we adopted him, he was no bigger than a bell pepper, if they had arms and legs, he would look like those delicious orange ones.  He was taken too soon from his mother - the woman claimed the mother cat had very little to no interest in feeding her kittens anymore and her busy work schedule made her unable to handle bottle-feeding them all every two to three hours - so I agreed to take him in as he was, he was no more than three weeks old and needed to be nursed via kitten formula for at least three more weeks before we'd be able to introduce him to the kibble.  

(That was an absolute disaster at first; he would attempt to eat the cat litter and habitually took his shits underneath the TV stand for a couple weeks before grasping the concept of what that "really, really big food dish" REALLY was.)

But - we bonded.  Through the feedings, through times where he'd nestle into my neck and take little naps on my shoulder, he'd even suck on my tee shirt - there's a name for that condition but it's a safety thing and common in kittens who were forced to wean too quickly.  He's since grown out of the 'wool sucking' (that's the term - I Googled it) but still has a need to be close to me at all times.  

He also has a talent for opening doors - that's likely been mentioned before - we don't have the traditional knobs; we have the door handles you grasp and turn downwards.  And our little redheaded feline, when he feels his entrance is warranted, knows how to put all of his weight (and he's not by any means light) onto the handle, push the door open, and stroll in.  If we really don't want him in our rooms at night or to be awakened before the sun comes up, we HAVE to lock the door.  According to J, he's gotten inside and has managed to scare the shit out of her when she wakes up to find our bedroom door (always closed when we go to sleep) wide open.  She'd started locking the door after two or three of these scares.  This, though, didn't stop him from 'rattling' the handle while he tried to figure out why he couldn't come in.  And that makes noise - a lot of noise that I can't hear, but she can!

Sometimes, though, on the rare occasion that he's not in his usual spot next to my desk and is out roaming around the rest of the house, I'll close and lock the door sooner than usual.  I swear, though, this boy knows when I'm still awake, and he will literally sit and meow-cry at the door until J gets up and either lets him out of pure frustration or yells at him to 'shoo' because - "it's not time to come in and collect your daily dose of love!"  If I do let him stay in overnight, he WILL eventually catapult himself off of my rear end before daybreak because HE'S ready to be let out and quite frankly doesn't care whether I was having an epic dream.  Most nights, though, he will be forced to leave as soon as I'm ready to turn in - and it's an endless cycle...he'll make several attempts to get back in before surrendering to sitting outside the door until morning.  J has mentioned though, that lately, he has been relentless to the point where he's keeping HER awake or waking her up at 3-4am.  

(Oh, and when he does this, he's my cat.  No one else's but mine.  At least, that's the impression I get when the wifey says, "YOUR cat kept me up all night meowing at the door/jiggling the handle/walked across my face at 3am!")

Is there some sort of kitty-valium out there?    

I think I chose to talk about his separation anxiety because this has a little bit to do with what I'm also trying to deal with.  See, I'm his 'person.'  The thought of not having access to his person scares him.  He has to have me in his sights at all times.  I sometimes wonder if this is a little bit more noticeable nowadays because of my own mounting fears/issues surrounding MY person's evolving social life.  That'll all probably be discussed further in a future blog but for now, I'm still in the process of communicating both with her and with myself on how to quell these fears.  Of course, it's different when we're dealing with animals - they don't have the same needs as we humans do, but they sure as hell understand that 'lost' feeling if their person is absent, busy, or otherwise unavailable.  

So, make sure you give your furry friends (if you've got 'em!) some extra love today, 'kay?  They'll appreciate it. :) 

Anyway - that's the 'light' blog for today.

BTW - I just realized the date...  

Tomorrow, our nation grieves the 9/11 attacks - my thoughts are with all of those affected by this historical tragedy and especially with my native state of New York.  I will never, EVER forget that day.  I wept that day from my back porch as I saw the sky blacken with smoke, and will likely weep tomorrow morning, too, as we mark 17 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center.  If you're a praying person, please say an extra one for Michael C. and Lloyd R. and their families.  One was a rookie firefighter that I went to high school with - the other was a broker who never made it out of the towers - he was married to one of my friends.  Both lives were full of hopes, dreams and a whole lot of promise but were cut short.

There will be no blog tomorrow in observance, but I will 'see' you all, soon.

Love and light,
- Capulet


Hi, everyone!  #51 in the works. :)  And it's been less than a week since my last blog entry, so hey, progress already!

I'd like to paint a mental picture for you all - may seem a little strange and somewhat comical if I'm successful, but please do bear with me for there is (almost) always a method to my madness as far as thoughts go.

First off, I am picturing the New York State Marathon.  I am a native New Yorker and have seen this event both in person as well as on TV.  If you've seen this event televised, that may help formulate a 'starter' vision.  The marathon in New York City takes place usually the first weekend in November - usually on a Sunday morning.  Upwards of 50,000 runners gather in Staten Island and run through all five boroughs, a total of 26 miles, before finishing in Central Park in Manhattan.  Although fall is well underway by now, the ambitious runners are usually dressed in either spandex pants made out of bathing suit material or those too-short shorts resembling the speedos my father had NO business wearing whenever we'd go to the beach when I was a kid, and sleeveless tank tops.  These runners would get warm regardless, some would even overheat, so I definitely understand the need for 'light' clothing.  Some runners stop for water breaks along the way; there are 'stations' set up for runners to rest and recharge and re-hydrate.  There MAY be some people running the marathon competitively - it's perhaps a dream of every runner to be the first to burst through the finish line tape, but finishing the entire 26 miles, even if it takes all day, is the true achievement.  Some run the marathon because they CAN.  Some spend months or years training before attempting this feat.  Either way, it's a journey - a test of resilience, strength and endurance.  

I like to think of our healing journey as being our own personal marathon.  Although we're not doing much, physically, it certainly DOES test our mental and emotional boundaries.  And it matters not where we are in our journey; what matters is we are all on that same crowded (and bumpy) road that leads to where we want to be, and we're all 'traveling' at the speed in which we're most comfortable.  While the NYC Marathon has a pre-set distance, our own finish lines take different amounts of time to reach, and for some, the mere existence of a finish line is questionable.  All we can truly count on is making it through one checkpoint at a time, as quickly or slowly as necessary.  

And like in the 'real' marathons, you've got your different types of runners, just as we have come to realize that there are different types of healers, too.  

Note - the following descriptions are only set forth only as examples and for reason of differentiating between different types of individuals and providing mental images.  I do not claim to be an expert on marathon wardrobes or the actual reasoning behind it.  So, without further ado:

Runner A: I think the runners who choose to wear the skimpy, short speedos are the most confident.  Let's face it...I'm guessing that if they're gonna wear THAT, then they certainly are NOT going to let themselves feel ashamed of what others see.  They're comfortable with the image they're presenting, regardless of what they're feeling on the inside.  They're collected, focused.  There's absolutely nothing getting in their way.  These are the ones who throw themselves into healing 100% - but this is, of course, not without risks.  Moving too fast makes it too easy to burn out sooner.  Some can prevent it, some can't and are forced to slow down.  Either way, these are the ones with only the finish line in sight - and their determination can be what makes them succeed as well as what can potentially derail them before they arrive.

Runner B: If they're wearing the spandex skin-tight pants, they're still confident, but they're also cautious.  They don't plan on running as fast, they're going to slow down often enough to analyze what hurdles are ahead rather than run right into them.  They're going to make sure they CAN clear any roadblocks before they do.  They'll push themselves to the point of impending burnout, but will also know when it's time to sideline themselves for a little while and revitalize before proceeding.  Sometimes this particular runner will feel that temporary burst of speed just before their next 'break;' but they'll be quick to recognize their limitations.

And finally, Runner C:  The third type of runner is more like a walker or occasional jogger.  They will be dressed in sweat pants and a sweat shirt.  Why?  Because these are the overly cautious ones - it's November and it's COLD.  And they don't want to take the chance of becoming too cold or otherwise uncomfortable to finish the race.  They know they're not going to be proceeding fast enough to work up a sweat, and so they plan on the slowest and safest approach - wearing the sweats with perhaps lighter clothes underneath for when they're ready to shed layers and pick up the pace.  These are the ones who make frequent stops, too, in order to regroup.  Quitting is NOT in their agenda - no.  Their plan is simple - they are going to finish that race, but they're going to take their sweet-ass time in doing so.

Now, make no mistake - there's NOTHING wrong with being runner A, B or C.  There are probably in-betweeners out there, too.  In fact, there are probably D's, E's, F's, and enough types to assign every letter of the alphabet to - it's that wide a variety. 

But one thing is for certain.  We HAVE to keep running.  And we, as survivors, know that this is true - although we often wish that there were shortcuts or simply an easy out.  Unlike the 'real' marathoners, we didn't sign up for THIS - this is something we've unfortunately been forced into by circumstance.  I think that when we do stop and rest, we're going to encounter a myriad of other survivors.  Some are going to be running past us, trying to get to THEIR next checkpoint, some are going to also be resting while they figure out what their next hurdles are.   And in the process, we will observe each other's progress, we will share tactics, we will pick each other up when we fall, we will encourage each other to proceed.  I find that we are truly learning about ourselves in the process of learning about others.  And it doesn't matter if you're an expert runner or you're this is your first rodeo - we don't even really need to know the other people we encounter - just having that common understanding of the course ahead is vital to completing it.  

All that being said, my finish line still is a ways off.  But I have discovered that for me - there's indeed a pattern that is most consistent with Runner B, with some in-between qualities of Runners B & C.  

You see - I'm realizing that I personally require a 'regrouping' every ten years.  I've had experiences (or otherwise life-changing epiphanies) at 19, 29 and  now at 39.  I'm hoping that before 49 comes along, I'll have figured out my shit or at least have made it through the tape.

Now, this is not because I had a choice in the matter.  It's simply how the hurdles presented themselves within my own personal race.  There are SO many different reasons for our getting off-track and I think it's of high importance to be able to identify when and WHY we do.  I don't think it's completely avoidable, either, I believe we all travel off-course a few times during our journey.  We're human, it's only normal for us to trip or stumble over whatever hurdle is thrown at us that we can't avoid.  

For example - I experienced my first (this too is questionable, since I'm convinced more and more every day that there are repressed memories that I've not come to understand completely yet) trauma at the age of 17.  This will be the point in which I was handed my 'marathon clothes' and my 'number,' let's say it's 17 - symbolic of when I started the whole process.  I am actually not able to picture myself in any of the above mentioned outfits - cotton basketball shorts and a tee-shirt and a bra that actually KEEPS my girls tucked away is more my thing than spandex anything.   

Then I started running.  I took several risky paths...stupid paths.  I did this because I was searching for nonexistent shortcuts.  I wanted OUT of this race.  I mean, what the hell!?  There HAD to be easier ways of getting through it than THIS!  I mean, I was huffing and puffing right out of the gate - the mere thought of there being SO much more to go was exhausting!

Then, at age 19-20, I met the wasband.  Not sure if he represents a checkpoint or my first sideline - either way, he was NOT wanting me to take part in this race.  No, instead of running, he preferred that I remain at home with the children, that I focus completely on being a wife and a mother and I leave the past where it belonged - in the past.  And so that made me slow down and stand off to the side in wait for the next nine to ten years.  He never actually told me that I wasn't allowed to proceed on my healing path - instead, using words and very nasty facial expressions, he made me feel as if it were a weakness, a drug addiction, a FLAW.  It was something to be ashamed of wanting or needing to address.  It was something that tainted me - and it was also something I wasn't supposed to allow others to see.  And that kind of mental conditioning can be VERY difficult to erase.  And so I dutifully placated him - I suppressed, I buried, I continued to push the inflatable ball underneath the dark waters, regardless of how many times it'd bob back up above the surface and back into my line of sight.  I focused mostly on being a mother to my children and ensuring his meals were hot when he got home and that his work clothes were washed, dried and ready for him to slip into in the mornings.  

I never lost sight of the race, though - I knew it was still going on in front of me and would be there forever.  I simply sat on the sideline and watched others pass me by, feeling almost envious that they had the freedom to search out THEIR next checkpoints.  Hope of finding my own 'next step' began to dwindle until that fateful day when he came home and told me that he thought it was best that we separated.  I was 29 then.

At this point, not only did I have the stuff I'd 'put away' for the ten years just to keep him content and allow him to hold onto the illusion of a happy family - I now had more to sift through because being mentally and emotionally abused by him for the entire time we were married had only succeeded in flinging me further off course.  Now, it felt as if I were back at the starting line, destined for an entirely different path than the one I'd initially been prepared to take.  Because now, I wasn't dealing with just one trauma anymore - I now had his parting gift to me - the unwanted effects and burdens of domestic mental and emotional wreckage.  

Our divorce was neat, amicable and quick and with a minimum of arguing - mostly because by now, all I cared about was being rid of him and his nonsense; I was just like, 'where do I sign?'  He was quick to move onto courting wife #3 while I was anxious to tie up my sneakers and proceed on the forbidden journey - because now, I was in control - the dominant role of being the 'obedient wife' had finally been taken off the table and replaced by a new goal.  

And, so, that's exactly what I did - I took off from that brand-new starting point and for the next ten years, was able to balance healing and a budding romance (with another runner, imagine that!) and although along the way, there were some brief stops and pauses, I have finally come to terms with the sexual assault I endured at 17.  I no longer blame myself for that and have placed blame solely where it belongs - on my assailant.   I've done a lot of work toward self-forgiveness (not for what happened, but rather for how I saw fit to handle it by making poor choices) and strides toward reaching my next checkpoint. In the meantime, I've found the happiness that I was never before able to recognize because now, I am with a partner who truly understands the race and rather than telling me to sit it out, she's always encouraged healing and promoted the nurturing of my emotional needs.  

Now, at 39, this is where I sit....not sidelined, but simply pausing at one of those rejuvenation kiosks off to the side - regrouping, re-evaluating myself and the course that lies ahead, which is now clearer and more tailored to suit my own personal needs and desires for the future me that awaits near the finish line.  Now, I can't say for sure there IS one in sight right now - but this likely the steepest part of the race and it's on an incline - for dealing with matters of the body is, for me, easier than dealing with those of the mind; my latest task.  It is now time to deal with strengthening my emotional reserves and building those back up.  Now I am to turn another winding corner and begin working on breaking down the person my ex-husband taught me to be and rebuilding into the person I choose to be.  

I don't know about you, but my seemingly cluttered brain could not handle the task of processing two different (although related) situations at the same time.  I'm not sure if my organizing/categorizing and dealing with stuff one-by-one and only as soon as it was safe to do so was self-taught as a means of survival and self-preservation but I am thinking it has everything to do with it.  

Either way, I know this - I've gotta keep moving.  I know that it's okay to stop or to pause when I'm tired, weary, emotionally drained.  This mandatory marathon isn't going anywhere; it will forever be there to test me in every way.  If it ends up being determined that there is more ground for me to cover, it will simply extend my journey - but now that I've figured out how to temporarily disconnect in order to gather my bearings when faced with something new, I will not allow for it to impede my view of where I need to end up.  I think, for me, the finish line, even though I can't see it clearly yet, has stopped appearing to be so unreachable with the passage of time.  Before, it was as if with each sprint forward, the line would extend backwards by the same distance.  I had been running aimlessly, without any idea of what my own personal checkered flag looked like; without an inkling of what would represent progress.  Progress, which is only made when you actually advance toward this end point.   The end of the race doesn't seem so imaginary anymore - I know it does exist.  Not just for me, but for everyone - and with each of our small victories, we are closer to it.  

Perhaps the next ten years will clarify it even more.  I know I've still got quite a bit of distance to make up for, having sidelined myself for as long as I did, as well as additional obstacles to clear - but that's okay.  I'm still going to finish this damn race, even if it takes me the rest of my life!  

Onwards, and until next time!

- Capulet


Finally hit #50!

Have y'all been here for the 49 other blog entries?  Proud to say this is the longest running blog I've had in years.  Whether entries were added in the middle of the day or the middle of the night, I've learned a lot by writing my thoughts here.  I've gained valuable feedback and perspective from YOU, my readers, and I DEEPLY appreciate all of you!

Seeing as this is entry number 50 (are you sick of my ramblings, yet?) I wanted to make it a good, meaningful one.  I know I've been absent for a while (as far as my blog is concerned - I've been present everywhere else!) and I apologize for this extremely delayed update.  I seem to be experiencing a little bit of writers' block - this USUALLY doesn't happen too often.  But lately, it has been happening a lot - I don't know if it's because I've spoken on just about everything - but I know as well as anyone else, life is a bottomless pit when it comes to things we're struggling with, trying to make sense of or simply need to get off our chests. I am no different - I've just gotten caught by an invisible tree branch, and am, for the time being, hanging in limbo.  The things I COULD write about are swirling around me, I imagine in bright, neon sentences.  And as I stare at the words, they resonate as pure gibberish.  

Do I write a letter to one of my abusers?  We all know I PROBABLY have a lot of not-so-nice things to say to these people.  But no, that's not going to do tonight.  I'm not feeling this - and I'm guessing a lot of you are not, either.

Do I talk about the kids?  Because, really, we don't know enough about their typical nonsense, do we?  I have a feeling that this wouldn't be appropriate for tonight's entry, though they're starting school on Monday and this week, their pure ridiculousness has been amplified with the acquisition of their school clothes, sneakers, supplies and other needs that have successfully drained my wallet and bank account.

Do I talk more about my wonderful mother, whose drama has been a constant since childhood?  And do I talk about something she said to me recently that I'm STILL pissed off about?  No one wants to hear about that, I'm sure - as much as Oompa is a favorite topic around here, there's become a need for me to experience her in small doses - this does include writing about her.


The thought dawned on me to write about the power of memories and how these memories can certainly explain some of the self-proclaimed odd behaviors we display today.  I was watching "Castle Rock" on Hulu tonight (if you've seen this series, please - no spoilers - we're only on episode 4!) and one character asked the other, "what's your first memory?"

I remembered mine right away.  (Don't you love when TV shows inspire deep thought without intending to?  It's all squished in between dialogue and while your characters are talking about a song or a picture or a smell from their childhood, YOU find yourself doing the same thing, trying to isolate your earliest memory, just so you can 'play, too!')

My memory has nothing to do with music or smells or even anything I heard.  It's purely visual; given my hearing impairment, everything was, even from the beginning.  Perhaps that is where I get my gift of advanced perception - I see FAR MORE than is offered at times.  We've all heard of the possibility of heightened 'other' senses where there is one lacking.  I have found this to be true for me, as well as some slightly clairvoyant tendencies that I've never really tried to explain before.

I was in diapers, standing up in my crib.  I know we rarely retain memories from that far back, but this one is clear; it's possible I was roughly a year and a half old.  I was in my bedroom, the same room that I stayed in for as long as my father lived in that apartment.  When my parents divorced, my mother moved in with my grandmother and I spent weekends at my father's, and this bedroom was small but still "my" room until I was roughly 11 or 12 years old and he bought a house in the 'burbs.  There used to be a picture hanging over my crib.  Two, actually.  One was a clown needlepoint that my favorite aunt made for me while I was still in utero.  I still have this particular needlepoint - it rested in my son's room when HE was a baby but he's since decided that thanks to Stephen King, he's not fond of clowns and the picture has been ordered removed from his room when he was still a toddler.  I guess they're not for everyone...

There was another larger picture hanging on that wall, too.  I want to say there was some sort of nursery rhyme.  The Jungle Book is coming to mind.  Perhaps it had something to do with that.  I AM pretty 'smart' but I don't think I was reading at this age.  I do recall that hanging picture having words and it being there for years into my childhood, though.  Now, though, it is drawing blanks.  

So there I am, bouncing up and down from behind the bars of my crib - perhaps this was before things would taint the person I was destined to become.  This is perhaps before my life's 'script' changed.  But I was happy.  I didn't remember sadness nor fear.  My mother and father were both there.  When I was a baby, my great-grandmother used to say my father looked like Jesus.  He had long hair, a beard, and was Jewish.  I'm not sure he ever wore sandals and a robe, but my Italian great-grandmother used to remind him of his resemblance to the son of God every single time she saw him.  He was a very handsome man in his day - today he more closely resembles Jeremy Irons.  My mother, when she was young, looked a little bit like the late Brittany Murphy.  They were smiling. They came in when they saw that I was awake, and made faces at me.  They spoke to me.  I don't think I heard or understood their words, but there was no doubt - they both loved me.  They knew I was deaf before I was able to stand - so they would make sure I was always able to see them because not being able to hear them would likely scare me in my young age.  

And that's it...there are only a few more memories from that apartment - I had one of those Sit and Spin contraptions.  Mine was blue.  It was a round thingy I sat on, with my legs crossed around a middle piece/wheel that I would turn in order to spin myself as fast as possible, until the room and everything in it was a blur. I remember the couch we had - blue also - and quite ugly, I'd add.  I remember toddling down the hallway from my room to my parents' room and sitting on my Sit and Spin while my mother sat in a rocking chair and read.   

As I got older, I'd soon be introduced to the idea that not all memories were good ones nor would they make sense. It's possible I do not remember many of the happy times in which my parents were together because they were divorced by the time I was two.  Being a non-hearing child, it's also possible I witnessed NONE of their fights, there was NO sign that these two perfect, happy people were having problems.  And so this 'earliest' memory of standing in my crib waiting for my parents to appear is the only one I have that still makes me smile today.  And I've been called "silly" because "it's not possible to remember things from that young," but I certainly do, right down to the room being filled with sunlight, the pictures on the wall, both my Mom and Dad walking in and putting on their, "oh, MY, LOOK who's up from her nap!?" faces.  It was a truly peaceful and serene memory.

There are OTHER memories from childhood that when I look back at, I am NOT filled with this same sense of security.  In fact, I don't think ANY further memories award me this feeling.  Perhaps this is why it stands out so forcefully when I try and pinpoint my earliest, happiest recollection.  In fact, I'm betting on it.

Other memories, although not definitive, also play a role in why I suspect I behave in certain ways today.

In the memories to follow,  I am older.  Definitely no longer in diapers.  I am at my grandmother's house - so, SO many memories take place here.  This was also the house my mother's brother lived in, and still lives in today.  When you stepped into the main entrance, there were 2 doors - both were always kept open.  One led toward the left and a small hallway took us to my grandmother's part of the house.  The other led straight ahead toward a flight of stairs that would take us to my uncle's apartment, upstairs.  I remember sitting on those steps, just sitting there, so that I didn't have to be around those 'boring' grown-ups in the apartment downstairs.  In fact, I didn't want to be around ANYONE.

Now, I'm pretty sure it was around Halloween or Thanksgiving - my grandmother was big on hanging up these paper decorations she'd tape to the windows or onto the walls.  Now that I think of it, it may have been Thanksgiving/the fall because I'm now remembering two smiling Pilgrims - a boy and a girl - it was just their heads - they were smiling and perhaps it said 'Happy Thanksgiving' across the bottom.  The girl had on a bonnet...the boy had on a top hat and a smile, there were freckles scattered across his nose.  There might have been a turkey somewhere, too - Grandma had them all as well as a witch's head, a vampire's fanged smile, a pumpkin, a cornucopia, taped to these walls, her kitchen walls, her fridge, etc, in observance of the fall holidays.  After Thanksgiving, she'd replace them with Santa-themed decor - but she always kept up with them as ALL holidays were celebrated at her house.  She didn't have a large house but it was, by default, where we were every Sunday for pasta and 'gravy' or during any holidays that required family-style observance.  

I remember some of these decorations being a point of focus.  I'd simply stare at them for several minutes at a time.  Hard to explain but it's possible the one on her fridge was the one I focused on the most.  The layout of her kitchen was an odd one indeed.  Her fridge was actually against the wall BEHIND her stove - so whenever we needed to go get something from the fridge, we would have to exit the kitchen, walk around the corner and into another small hallway to where the fridge 'lived.'   Next to the fridge was the bathroom and across was a bedroom. 

Whenever I slept at her house, I'd be in the bedroom directly across the fridge.  The bedroom or bathroom doors NEVER closed properly - not sure if it was because she'd never gotten the hinges fixed and my uncle was about as useful as a potted plant when it came to assisting his mother with the cleaning or maintenance around the house, but I do remember the presence of the fridge being sort of (or not 'sort of' but 'definitely') ominous and unsettling because when I was laying there trying to sleep, all I'd see was those ugly white doors, the decoration (usually a Pilgrim or character head) hanging on it.  In my brain, I'd 'hear' threatening, foreboding tones (or at least my idea of what these would sound like) and I'd ATTEMPT to close the door so that I wouldn't see the fridge or that freaking Pilgrim, but my grandmother would 'peek in' and the door would be reopened several times during the course of the night.  I am not sure if this is even important to mention, but whenever I slept there, my uncle would 'tuck me in' and tell me a made up 'scary story' before bed.  The stories never scared me as much as amused me - he was NOT good at thinking up new content - most of his stories were vampire themed and all started with "Once upon a time, in Transylvania...."  I was always in the stories.  And I was always the one to drive a stake through Count Dracula's heart at the end.  My cousins were the ones who would flee in fear and I LOVED being made the heroine, even though I knew it'd never be any other way.  As MY memory currently serves, he would leave after the story and I'd begin the task of trying to sleep but there was always that feeling of uneasiness, not related to his story-telling, but more so with my surroundings and the feelings accompanying them.  It may also be worth it to mention that this was AFTER I seven years old and AFTER an investigation into my uncle had yielded nothing.  Then in the morning, after I'd slept horribly, my grandmother would make scrambled eggs and he'd come downstairs with this brand of cereal - Puffed Rice - that he ate religiously every morning.  For some reason, I remember that cereal - I'm disgusted today by it if I walk past it in the cereal aisle in the grocery store.  

Sleepovers at my grandmother's were a regular thing as my mother would be anxious to ship us off to Granny's whenever she wanted or needed a night out.  However, we were three girls and we never were together when we slept at Grandma's.  One week, she'd take me, one week, she would take the middle sister, one week she would take the 'baby.'  They do not recall ever having any problems sleeping - but I don't think anything was ever done to them, either.  The middle sister was born when I was seven - the investigation had already been completed and I'd like to think this was when any possible CSA had already stopped on account of perhaps my uncle being spooked.  They've made no mention of him tucking them in or telling them bedtime stories -  I've also never asked.  But today, they are fine with him - it's only me who has developed a profound hatred toward him.   They, along with my mother, though, have stopped questioning me as to why.  I've given the same story for the last decade: I hated watching him allow my grandmother to live in such disgusting, unsanitary conditions.  And this is what I'll continue to tell them if asked - the rest is just too complicated to try and explain.

Perhaps, though, this triggers the need I currently have today for all doors to be securely closed when I am in my bedroom ready to sleep.  If at some point I see a door is open, I have to physically get up and close it.  And now I have a cat who knows how to open doors that have a handle-style knob rather than the rounded sort - this is pretty much EVERY knob in the house!  In order to effectively keep him from opening our bedroom door in the middle of the night, we now have to lock him out of the rooms we don't want him letting himself into.

Anyway, there is one other issue I have when I'm trying to sleep.  Some of you may remember the light sensitivity issue I've brought up in the past but I will remind you if you're drawing blanks.  I absolutely cannot be able to see ANY sources of light, no matter how big or small.  I need for it to be completely dark - pitch black would work best. If I do not have these conditions, I cannot sleep well.  If there is an open door, that is one of the biggest issues because I'd have light coming in from neighboring rooms.  My grandmother would sleep on the couch whenever I was there, and so the kitchen light would pour into the hallway until she'd finally shut it.  Even so, I could still see that godawful refrigerator...not sure if it's because I knew it was there regardless.

There were two windows in that room.  She had blinds on those windows.  I would sometimes attempt to look in a different direction while trying to sleep.  Instead of looking at the fridge, I'd look toward the window but that wasn't much better, either.  There was possibly a streetlight that was located not too far from that window and these blinds were NEVER able to completely filter out the outside light, so I'd see whenever cars drove by at night, there would be bright lights every so often.  And I remember HATING that I could see the light coming in from the windows, enough to occasionally try and bury myself underneath the blankets in order to get the complete darkness I craved.  Gawd, I spent HOURS trying to fall asleep and sometimes didn't sleep at all! 

Today, I take extreme measures to ensure that every stray light is covered, even if it means draping a sock over the cable box to cover the small, red power dot that I feel is too bright.  I will cover my phone or flip it face-down, since while it's charging, a green light is constant.  If someone is awake (usually by the time I go to bed, no one is) then I will assume a light is on in the room outside my bedroom and I will lay a towel or clothing garment down across the maybe 1" space between the bottom of the door and the floor.  

I KNOW it sounds awfully odd - I can't figure it out, either.  It's probably one of those things that I will need to consult with small-child Capulet one of these days, should she become more forthcoming with the details that would explain these behaviors that have carried over into adulthood.  I do know that I'm not "afraid" of the light - I know it cannot harm me.  I'm not sure if the light is even what bothered me as a child or what the origin of this even IS.  Was there light once, before I was old enough to remember the reasons behind this irrational fear, and I 'saw' something that scared me?  

I just do not like that unsettled feeling that almost always seems to reappear whenever there is "spare" light when I attempt to go to sleep and it's dark outside.  Funnily enough, if I attempt a daytime nap, although I do try and block out as much of the natural sunlight by closing the blinds and drawing the drapes, I can still see everything in the room.  Even so, I can still fall sleep or nap in a room that isn't dark (although the door still MUST be closed!) as night.  

Grandma also had a basement that terrified me.  And as much as I was scared by the three-room layout of her basement, I still would venture downstairs when I was bored.  It was EASY to feel bored at my grandmother's house - she had some toys there but there were only so many that interested me, so I would seek out other ways to quell the boredom.  The first room was where most of her 'junk' was stored.  A lot of it was my mother's and uncle's and aunt's accumulated junk that none of them had thrown away.  The second room (let it be known there were no doors in the basement; it was all 'open' and one room simply 'fed' into the other) had a washer and dryer and one of those wooden racks that was for clothes hanging.  There was a small bathroom in the second room but I do not remember that bathroom ever being usable.  The third room was always pitch-black, the only way to see anything in there was to pull a string (that sometimes took a while to find) on an overhead light.  I was never able to reach that string, so I never ventured past that second room.  But I could still see those two holes in the wall, they were literally holes that we were able to see outside through - next to one another.  I'm not sure how those holes came to be.  The house was pretty old, though.  But the way they were positioned next to each other made them appear as "eyes," especially during the daytime hours when they'd actually be the sunlight coming in through those two small holes.  I'd call those the "eyes of the beast," and I would repeatedly peek toward the third room from either the first or second, to make sure the beast was still there.  It always was.  I'd realize I was still afraid of 'it' and would go back upstairs.  At night, though, of course, the 'beast' wouldn't be there.  

Again, this house was never maintained - my grandmother had her skills but house-cleaning and upkeep was NEVER one of them.  Everything was rickety and dirty, we learned to 'ignore' the occasional roach we would see crawling around on the walls or floors.  One of the adults would pull off a shoe and put it out of its misery if a big deal was made, but her house was literally infested by the time she did pass away in 2002.  This was also what 'flipped the switch,' I looked at my uncle and realized that despite remembering nothing 'off' from childhood (before age six or after) I loathed him.  And from that point on, I exorcised him from my life.  I think, though, I also eliminated the possibility of ever being able to get any answers from him, but perhaps that is okay - perhaps the answers will present themselves in different ways.

Either way, these are just a few memories that I have of childhood.  As you can see, a lot of them circulate around her house.  A lot of them have to do with my uncle, her bedroom, and being afraid in the evenings.   A LOT of time was spent in that house - a LOT.  And until she died, I was a frequent visitor.  Perhaps my reason for being able to sail through all the sleepovers, family gatherings was because it was what Grandma truly enjoyed and I loved her VERY much.  And when she died, there was simply no more reason to return to that house for a visit.  And that afternoon we'd gone there after her funeral HAD indeed been the last time I set foot in that house.  Her death somehow 'freed' me from that house - and brought forth a slew of memories, emotions, recollections that I'd learned to effectively ignore for a long time - to include my attitude toward my uncle.  THAT was the thing I noticed the most, in fact.

That tells me something, even though it's nowhere near the 'everything' I need to know.  In time though, perhaps I will understand more. 

Memories are THAT powerful.  And lately, I've been making note of the things I do remember.  Ways I behaved.  Every little feeling, every emotion.  There are other things I've done as a child/pre-teen that I'm still hesitant to share here.  For now, those are mine and only mine to sift through, but sadly those, too, make sense and are 'in line' with the other suspicions I have.  And these are things that bring me sadness as well as anger - sadness because they exist and anger because there's nothing I can do to change the past.

Memories sure are complex, aren't they?  They can bring us peace, or they can bring us further turmoil.  They can make us smile, they can make us laugh, they can make us cry.  They can confuse us while at times, they provide a sense of clarity.  And sometimes while they may repress, they cannot be erased, as much as we'd love for them to be.  

And finally...

In honor of this being my 50th blog entry, I've an announcement (of sorts) to make.  I've decided that my life has been 'in limbo' for far too long.  I focused only on raising my children and my family for the last twenty years, give or take.  I quit school and subsequently put my professional aspirations 'on hold.'  I was only two semesters shy of my Associate's, and I was majoring in English when I became pregnant with my first child and life just didn't allow me many opportunities to go back and finish what I'd started.

And, so, I've decided that I'm going to get the ball rolling and soon go back to school.  I am also going to change my major from English to Social Work and obtain my BSW (Bachelor's in Social Work).  I feel that to choose English as my initial major was a result of simply not knowing where my calling was.  That's traditionally what people who like to write major in - English.  At the time, it felt that was what I wanted to do with myself, since I spent so much time as a child and teenager writing.  Twenty years and SEVERAL experiences later has shifted that focus, though, and I feel that I can truly contribute more toward a job in social work than I could as a writer.  I mean, I'll still write, but I think that being able to tap into my own personal experiences in order to help others make sense of their own, will be extremely valuable in this new venue.  

And so, I'm going for it.  I am soon going to be making a lot of changes in my life.  Rather than feel 'stuck' on where circumstances have landed me, I am going to now embrace these circumstances and use them to strengthen me in my new career choice.  When I told my mother of my plans, she made a face that resembled one she'd make if I'd shoved a dozen lemons into her mouth, and said, "don't you realize how much WORK that is?  And that you're going to have to talk to a lot of people and you're hardly going to make any money??  I thought you'd be better suited to go into something to do with computers!"  

I told her to enjoy her lemons.  I'll not explain this to her as I don't feel it's worth the aggravation - all I said to her was that my choice was made; I was going to do what I want - after spending the last 20 years doing what everyone else wanted or expected of me, it's now time to make something of myself.  I refuse to choose a field that I won't feel accomplished in.  Computers may be something I use daily, but I do know I'm capable of far more than writing code or trying to de-bug a virus-riddled PC.  No, I'll pass on those headaches.

But to you guys, I'll honestly say it is NOT about the money.  It is also NOT about the amount of work, because as far as I'm concerned, I've already put in a significant amount of work into understanding how the mind works from a survivor's standpoint.  I have a natural understanding of it, mostly because I spend a great deal of time trying to make sense of my own mind.  I do know that others' work differently - of course they do!  But I think that having a basic understanding of the impact of sexual abuse/assault and its long-term effects will enable me to be a better advocate.  I truly feel that this is where my true calling lies - and by helping others to heal, perhaps I will eventually be able to consider myself healed as well.  I feel it will also give me a greater sense of purpose - for being a survivor of DV as well has greatly diminished my self-value in addition to putting a limit to what I could do with myself.  It's time to build myself back up and if I can, bring others up with me.  I want to make a difference in myself using the cards I've been dealt, the memories I've collected over the years, and to be able to pull something positive out of those negatives.  Because they're there - they're hard to see right now and I've still got quite a bit of work to do on myself, but I DO recognize that those positives exist and they are simply waiting to be recognized.

I'll be keeping everyone informed of the process, of course!  I'm excited for myself, for the first time in years!

Here's to 50 more entries. :)  Hopefully they'll flow a little bit quicker than the last few have, but you betcha they'll be here.  Thank you all again for being here and for hearing everything I've had to say.  You are all dear to my heart.  

Peace, love and light - (darkness for me, please!)

- 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."


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



*** 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.


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.

- 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