My Mother The Camera

This morning i woke from terrible dreams. Fortunately, i’d half expected them, and that softened the impact a little. I’m woken from a blood-filled moment by a jaunty tune, some elevator music wake up call. I swing my legs over the side of the bed, grab the phone and swipe it off. I hold my head and will myself to get up and begin the day. I feel slow and foggy and my heart aches over this morning’s tragic loss; love, hope, life, sleep are gone from me today.
I don’t pretend at home anymore and so my family asks when they see my face. They’re both kind and that’s good. I’m dragging my ass, that’s for sure.
They’re gone now and that’s also good.

Survey the damage. Pick up the fruit on the ground. Share what’s good, add sugar and put up the unripe. Make wine with the rest; i can get drunk later. And that will be good, too.

A few years ago i reconnected with my foster mother. She and her family had taken me in when my mom had a nervous breakdown. A mental collapse. Whatever.
Her family was everything a foster family should be: steady, solid, kind, normal, regular.
Of course they are more than all of those things, but those were the truly important things for me at the time. I think it was a duplex and i even remember the district and the name of the school i attended. He worked a regular job and he went there at the regular times, and she cooked normal meals at normal times, and their children all looked normal and did regular things. Of course they were, all of them, much more than that, but those were the truly important things for me at the time.

I immediately kenned what and who they were and when they took me out to supper that first night i called them Mom and Dad over Ponderosa steaks. I wanted them and their children and their life.
She sewed my clothes and curled my hair.
They had an organ and i learned to play a little, following along with the letters helpfully placed above the notes on the staff.
Their church was much better than Mom’s. They served torn bits of fresh, white bread and grape juice in tiny glasses that they passed around in polished silver communion trays.
The only time i was ever hit was a smack on the butt for smuggling the brand new Polaroid camera into the bathroom to take a picture, after i’d been specifically told No. I looked in the mirror, preparing to switch in anticipation of a beating…
I couldn’t see myself for the spots the flashbulb had left on my eyes.
It didn’t even hurt.
The children sneaked their Brussels sprouts onto my plate and i sat there at the table for hours, refusing to eat them.
It was all peacefully regular and wonderfully normal.

Once my mother got visitation it was all over, though.

They were the wrong church.
They thought they were better than her.
They forced me to call them Mom and Dad, which i let her believe, too afraid and ashamed for her to know it was my idea.
They were trying to have her parental rights severed.
They were trying to adopt me.
They were brainwashing me and trying to take me away from her.
You can’t believe them.
You can’t trust them.
They’re bad people.
They’ll take you away and you’ll never see me again.
They don’t love you.
You’ll never be their child.

I went Halloweening and i’d never been allowed to keep the candy before.
The children were upstairs in Mom and Dad’s bedroom for stories.
I sat on my bed and ate until i vomited all over the coverlet.
I wasn’t one of them; i didn’t belong there.
I had to go home.
I got a cold that wouldn’t get better. There were terrible tasting syrups but i could have a sip of water after.
My mother said that made the medicine useless. It had to taste bad or it wouldn’t work. They were doing it wrong and they were going to kill me. She said they gave me pneumonia.
On Christmas Eve a lady came to my foster family’s house and took me back to my mother.

My foster mom came to see me yesterday. She is one of fewer than a handful of people who’ve been invited to my home in the last 15+mos. She brought lunch and openly shared herself with me, and i heard what my life might have been like if i could have stayed; a regular, normal life, but Oh! so much more than just that.
I see the time i spent with her through my own eyes now, not my mother’s.

Last night i dreamt of betrayal and abandonment and drinking myself into oblivion in a house filled with death.

I’ll feel better tomorrow. Today i mourn.

I was an electrical storm on the bathroom floor, clutching the bowl
My blood was full of gags and other people’s diseases
My monstrous little memory had swallowed me whole
It was the year I officially became the bride of Jesus
~Magneto, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Bother

Woke up the same damn way as i have for over 2 weeks now. Once the hubs and our Kiddo were gone, i was sorely tempted to go back to bed, so tempted in fact, that i brought out my body pillow to cuddle with on the couch, by way of compromise.

If we don’t go back to bed, i’ll let you cuddle with the big pillow, okay?

I’m always “we”, but i only use the pronoun when other parts of me are directly involved in what’s happening, which they were this morning. Some were active in my dreams last night, and sometimes that will result in some more conscious interaction continuing on once i’ve woken up.

Dreams are a very potent aspect of how my brain works, and always have been.
My dreams have been an outlet and a safe place and an alarm bell and a movie based on real life events, and even my very own episodes of This Is Your Life, masquerading as dreams. So, while i remember my dreams with varying levels of recall, from vividly to barely, if i wake to someone close-talking* me, there’s a fairly good chance that i’ve been dreaming rather intensely.

So i wake up and someone is close-talking me, and their commentary is negative and constant. Luckily nobody talks much around here in the mornings, so i don’t have to filter them out in order to hear anyone else. I let her drone on because she’ll fade soon enough if i do, but by the time my guys have gone to work and school for the day, i’m already running low on energy and feeling heavy with depression. I sit in my recliner, put the body pillow on the arm, place my wee fluffbutt on the pillow so he’s giving me intravenous puppy shnuggles, place my laptop in position and begin to write.

My dreams are incredibly thematic and rich with meaning, and have been since i can remember. My earliest were of being chased through a neighbourhood that looked very like the epitome of middle class suburban life in the 70s – by a nameless, faceless terror that was always right behind me. I’d run into a house that looked like my grandparents’ looking for help, but no one was ever there. No matter how hard i tried to stop myself from going down into the basement i’d inevitably end up there, facing away from the stairs, on my knees, and i’d place my face in my hands  in submission to the thing that was about to touch me from behind.

In my early 20s i began to dream about being in a group of popular young people, and we’d hang around town and go shopping and eat out, but i would always get separated from them somehow, and spend the rest of the dream trying to find them – feeling so alone and hopeless. In my late 20s it morphed a bit into me winning my place in the group by impressing them with either my singing, or my secret superhero powers, but i still managed to lose them along the way, and even mutant abilities couldn’t find them again. I would be left with this same feeling that i’ll invariably end up alone, with nothing and no one. The young girl inside me that feels that way all the time is the one that was talking to me when i woke up this morning.
She’s all Eeyore, all the time.
I cannot muster up Tigger for her today. I don’t feel up to Christopher Robin, either.
I try to Pooh for her. Heh.

I almost went back to bed. I thought of lying about it, too.
I thought about it. And then i thought about how it would make it easier to lie again.
Of course i can’t do that. Not to myself, and not to anyone who reads this.
So i’m sitting here and tapping away on this blasted keyboard, not about anything in particular, and not with any other purpose in mind save not going back to bed. It’s funny, i don’t do that often anymore, but once i’d made the commitment not to do it for a month, i supermega want to. Like, a LOT. Fortunately, i know myself well enough at this point in my life that i knew it was a distinct possibility, if not practically a sure thing.

Dear Eeyore-Girl,

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
You dreamed your dream, now go to sleep. We’ll still be together when you wake up.
I promise.

Love,
~Pooh-ish~

*Have you seen the Seinfeld episode about the close-talker? Well, my bits n’ pieces can do that, too. It’s when they aren’t fully in the face**, but i can hear and feel them one or more of them as if they’re standing directly behind me.

**In the face means that i’m either not there at all and someone else is working the crowd***, or i am there, but i’m the close-talker.

***Whoever the world outside is currently interacting with, is “working the crowd”.

Rub ‘Til It Bleeds

The title made you wince right? Heh, me too. Every time. While it’s from a song by PJ Harvey, whether or not it refers to anything i’m about to touch on would be open to interpretation and debate (which is how she may prefer it). What the lyric is for me, is a very apt description of what anxiety is like.

Ever since putting up this blog, i’ve been experiencing anxiety. The kind of anxiety where describing it to a friend would go like this:

Friend: Are you okay?
Me: Why? What am i doing?
*panics*
Friend: You seem anxious.
Me: Anxiety?
*eyes bulge*
Do i have anxiety?
*shrill laughter*
Lemme tell ya ’bout anxiety!
*twitches*

As with most intense emotions, i wasn’t initially aware of feeling that way yesterday. I was out of sorts due to an issue in the home, but i knew that would be dealt with later, so i put it away until then. Hey, i can compartmentalise thoughts, feelings, and situations like i used to play that old Hasbro game Perfection – and i could finish that with time left over.

I began to realise something was off when i went to see a friend. I noticed that my thoughts were racing. Now bear in mind that social situations of any kind already cause my thoughts to speed up a fair bit, but this was far worse than usual. She doesn’t make me feel any more uncomfortable than i generally do being around people. In fact, it’s probably less, as i like her and think she’s a nice, kind person. Nevertheless, my thoughts were racing so fast that my conversation with her was zigzagging all over the place, like one of those jerks in rush hour that darts in and out of lanes and never signals.

In the time it took for the man-thingy to pick me up and get me something to eat at a local restaurant, i was utterly out of sorts. I nearly took his head off for no reason. Fortunately someone we know was working there, which kept me from activating beast mode. Instead, i was able to realise i’d gone off the rails somewhere, and i had to figure out where and why.

So here i am today with my answers. It’s the blog, and it’s because as soon as i put it up, i began picking apart ways it could go wrong. Ways that could compromise my pursuit of happiness or otherwise blow up in my face. To avoid that, some parameters seem necessary:

  1. If you’re someone i know, especially locally, know i absolutely will NEVER discuss your personal business, nor will i discuss specifics of our interactions. If we have any issues between us, they’ll never be fodder for this blog. I was never much for gossip, and these days i don’t tolerate it at all. There will be no identifiable details of any kind, ever.
  2. This is my new blog. It is not my old blog. The old blog was a purge, which i’ve now done, and i’ll only refer to it in an ancillary way. It was locked down long ago. I’ve also learned a great deal about my particular mental diagnoses. That, coupled with knowing some of the methods used to cause me harm, has enabled me to sort through what happened. Some i know with surety, some i’m reasonably confident, and some may have been coloured by illness, drugs, terror, or just the way the brain functions with regard to memory. This blog is not that blog.

This morning started with the terrible kind of anxiety that threatens to make you a prisoner of your bed. I woke with a headache, and my face and jaw were on fire, despite the mouth guard i now wear every night. My throat ached as it often does when i’ve spent the night dreaming emotionally charged dreams. I wanted so badly to escape back into the relative unconsciousness of sleep, but i couldn’t. It was the kind of anxiety where, if i’m able to drift back to some sort of almost-asleepness, it won’t last long. There’s this dread that grips me at regular intervals, like a knife in my chest. It causes a painful twinge, my guts to drop, and my head to explode like a piñata full of poisoned candy that i’m helpless to resist eating. It fills me up with terrible scenarios, dozens of what-ifs, all played to terrible conclusions. It holds me tight in its arms and drags me further down into despair.

I’ve fought this closet monster and won though, more than once. So i got my ass out of bed and forced myself to do things i’ve put in place to do when i’m in the grip of anxiety. A set morning routine that quickly affords me a sense of accomplishment and functionality. A regularity that calms me and buoys my morale and my mood, which in turn brightens my outlook. It renews my resolve to move steadily forward, turning my mind away from myself, towards more egalitarian pursuits.

Friend: Are you feeling better now?
Me: Ever so. *smiles*

IMAGE: ian dooley