29 December 2010
I feel like I'm kind of cheating on the Favorite HNT theme this year. With only a handful of shots, it was pretty damn easy to whittle it down.
I chose two.
The one you see below probably expresses the real me better than any photo has in quite some time. It's just me, the sun and the road. It's times like this that I feel the most freedom from all of the noise in my head and in my world.
The *click* (for those of you new here, clicking on the picture will give you a different - NSFW - photo)? I am a very tactile person. I vividly remember the feeling of that silk scarf dancing lightly on my skin when I took that photo.
Yesterday, our Aunt Becky put up a post about her son Ben, who just happens to be on the autism spectrum. In discussing his "rejection" of her, she writes:
The older he got, the worse I felt. The pain was exquisite. It was compounded when I enrolled in school full-time to earn my nursing degree while working part-time as a waitress/bartender over the weekends as I didn’t see my son much.
He didn’t care.
I, however, cared very, very much.
While reading this I had one of those moments where a thought bubble containing a light bulb appeared over my head. And why is it a light bulb? Why not a telephone or chop sticks? Those are both inventions too! Anyway, light bulb moment.
For most of my life I have "battled" with my family about my level of attachment to them. Yesterday, I received an email from my Aunt Wiener (don't ask - long story) that said, in part:
I hope you and Cam had a great Christmas. I am going to say something that I hope you take in the vein it is given ~ with love. You sure have pulled away from family. I understand your need to live your own life and respect that, but it is as though you are just a person we once knew. Whether you realize it or not, you do have people that love you and care about you, but you seem to pull away and want to do life your way or the highway.
I believe that it is a sad day when your parents and family have to go on Facebook to make sure you are still around ~ somewhere.
I sat down and wrote a lengthy email response, attempting to explain - yet again - that my lack of attachment has little (nothing?) to do with the family and everything to do with me ... which prompted me to write a very overdue email to my parents.
In it I told them that I understand my lack of communication and regular updates looks selfish, purposeful and might even be seen as a reflection of negative feelings towards the family. That I struggle with relationships, be they family relationships, romantic relationships, work relationships or friendships. That I know what others expect and, although I can manage it for a while, it becomes emotionally overwhelming and exhausting. That I refuse to make another promise to be better at keeping them in the loop when I know that I cannot keep it. That my actions are not some passive-aggressive way of lashing out for perceived childhood wrongs.
I also shared with them that I now realize that I was likely a much more difficult child than I ever owned up to.
I concluded the email with, "I just want what everyone else wants, to be accepted for who I am, for it to be OK for me to be me."
In spite of my pity party on Christmas, I know that my family cares a lot about me and Cam. I know they love us. I also know that I don't show them my love in the way they expect to see it, and that makes their hearts heavy.
Some of you might think I should change - that I should do what everyone else does and be a "good" daughter. That I should quit being selfish and thinking only about what I want.
I don't know. Would tell a blind person to just try harder to see? That they should just do what everyone else does and be a "good" citizen? To quit being so selfish and expecting others to lead them around obstacles?
A bad analogy? No ... even though many of you may want to argue the point, it's actually surprisingly accurate.
28 December 2010
Click the pic to find me today and (most) every Tuesday ...
27 December 2010
There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning
and not be a child.
~ Erma Bombeck
Maybe that is where the sadness came from - memories of childhood Christmases that revolved around family and, at least for a few minutes on Christmas morning, knowing that people were thinking of me.
We all, at some level, want to be acknowledged and validated.
Last year was a difficult Christmas. The move out of husband's house was still raw and scary, but people opened their hearts and made it one of the most memorable Christmases for Cam and me.
This year? They were gone. I should be all settled now, right? Last Christmas may have been difficult, but someone else needs more attention than I do, right??
Yes, I did find find joy in giving. A few opportunities to pay it forward, trying to recreate that joy that I felt last year, for a few people who really needed it this year. I hope I was successful.
Cam had gifts under the tree and a stocking filled to the brim. He hadn't asked for much, instead wanting to spend money that would have been spent on him on others (primarily his girl friend).
I keep telling myself it shouldn't have bothered me that there was nothing under the tree for me. After all, Christmas is about giving, not receiving, right? I was able to provide for my son and share some joy with others. That should have been enough, right?
Yet waking up Christmas morning and facing the fact that there was nothing for me - that other things (people) were more important - hit hard. It made my heart heavy.
I snapped when we picked up Cam's girlfriend Christmas morning and she began reciting the long list of gifts she had received. UGG boots, a flat screen TV for her bedroom, $250 in gift cards. I was disappointed that I wasn't able to do that for Cam and angry that her "bragging" resulted in Cam trying to "justify" the few things he did get.
My snotty toned, "You know, Christmas isn't about all of the things you got" comment managed to quickly shut her up and simultaneously piss off Cam.
A phone call from my step-son Christmas Eve led me to believe that Cam and I would be making a visit to husband's house - spending time with family - something that really has far more value to me than any material gift possibly could.
A text message from husband Christmas morning took that gift away. He was irritated that plans hadn't been made far enough in advance and told the kids not to come for Christmas. There would be no opportunity to spend time with what little family I have here.
My father, who specifically asked what Cam wanted for Christmas, didn't come through with one of the few things that was on Cam's list. I knew I shouldn't have trusted him with something Cam actually asked for, but hoped beyond hope that he would come through for his grandson even though he never came through for me as a child. He didn't. I was silly to think he'd do things any differently than he has in the past.
There was an invitation for dinner from a dear friend, but I couldn't bring myself to go knowing that I would likely ruin a joyful day for others. I knew I wasn't in a place where I could fake being happy which meant going would have been extremely selfish. I stayed home.
I kept trying - really trying - to let go of the feeling of invisibility - of feeling like I just didn't matter to anyone - but the glaring reality was difficult to ignore, especially from my own family.
I take responsibility for most of this. I've built walls. I've kept people out so that they can't hurt me and instead I end up hurting myself. Somehow that is easier than letting other people do it.
I've got to figure out how to stop this. How to be a better judge of character, choosing relatively safe people to open up to. How to feel comfortable letting people in because keeping them out? That just invites misery and self-deprecation and honestly? I'm tired of feeling not good enough damn it!
25 December 2010
Thursday Thunks - The Christmas Version
C- What color/flavor candy cane should I put in your stocking?
In my world (a perfect, consistent, black and white world) this is a silly question. Candy Canes come in one color combination - red and white - and one flavor - peppermint - and I would prefer they be used for decorations on the tree rather than find their way to my stocking - EEUUUWWWW!
H- If Santa really comes down the chimney of people's houses and he busts out the bricks on the way down, do you think that is covered by his Christmas insurance?
I'm thinking Santa doesn't carry Christmas insurance ... which is why I live in an apartment without a fire place.
R- Did you know that rabbits eat their own poop to get the nutrients from the food that they didn't get from it the first time they ate it?
No, I didn't, but I think I'll suggest this to Cam as a means to lower our grocery budget.
I- Have you ever sucked on an icicle?
Is that a euphemism?? Ummm ... YES!
S- Do you think there is too much sex on tv?
I think there is not enough sex in my bedroom.
T- We're eating tacos. Taco sauce - hot, medium, mild or OMG my butthole is going to hurt tomorrow! ?
Is there a level above "OMG my butthole is going to hurt tomorrow"? I like a challenge!
M- Are you sick of Christmas music yet?
I love instrumental Christmas music - classical piano, symphonic and acoustic guitar. I could listen to that type of Christmas music all year long, and in fact I do. But that muzak crap pumped through every mall and grocery store speaker? I was done with that before it ever even started.
A- Add up the number of windows in your house, subtract that number by the number of doors you have in your house, multiply that by the number of hallways you have in your house and then add the number of light switches. Whats your answer?
4 windows - 4 doors * 0 hallways * 7 light switches = ZERO!
S- You build a snowman (yes you really do), what color hat do you have him wear? And now you are going to build a sand castle (yes, shut up, you do that too), does it have a moat?
Cross dressing Frosty will be wearing a red hat with a veil and the sand castle? A moat? Of course it has a mother fucking moat! It's a sand castle!
22 December 2010
Soooo ... do I get kicked out of HNT if I don't play by the "rules"?? I think not!
You say it's Three Wishes HNT week? I say I want to play Christmas Tree HNT this week. See, I don't like that three wishes crap - no one ever picked me (and it's all about me! Me! Me!) and I didn't have my tree up last week, so there!
Last year, just weeks after Cam and I left husband's house, I was decorating a freecycled tree with hand-me-down and misfit ornaments. There was something about this ornament that really touched my heart then, and still does now.
18 December 2010
Well, after much anxiety and stress, the year-end bonus checks arrived! I was expecting a significant decrease in the amount - the economy has hit my industry pretty hard (we manufacture products primarily used in new construction) - but was pleasantly surprised. Although there was a decrease in the bonus, I couldn't get past being abundantly grateful that we received one at all.
The best part? Anyone who was reading me last year knows that Cam and I were on the receiving end of AMAZING generosity. This year? We are able to pay that forward. Isn't that what Christmas is really about?? I mean other than the baby Jesus and all ...
I really miss HNT, and surprisingly, not for the nekkidness! Good self portraits are really difficult to take, especially if you want them to evoke feelings from the person looking at them.
Reviewing my Dana Does Digital photos, it became quite clear that I am far more comfortable taking pictures of things than people, and although things can and do arouse feelings, portrait photography takes that to a new level.
Time to work on the things that are more difficult for me rather than allowing myself to get too comfortable.
There are a couple of reasons for that. First and foremost, it's a project I strongly believe in. I see writing as free therapy - as a way to connect with others when what you feel is stifling loneliness. Band Back Together - the brain child of Mommy Wants Vodka's Aunt Becky - is a safe place to write and connect with other people.
I am far more of a behind the scenes person that a lead role person. I like knowing that I was part of the nuts and bolts that enabled a presentation to sparkle. In other words, I don't mind getting covered in glitter, I just don't want to step on the stage sparkling.
Aunt Becky asked if I would be interested in helping out with the editing of Band Back Together. Not only was I extremely flattered that she believed I had the skill set to successfully edit, but hell to the yes! This is right up my alley.
I edited my first post just a few days ago and plan on being an integral part of Band Back Together's continued success.
but comes through continuous struggle.
And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.
A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
14 December 2010
Click the pic to find me today and (most) every Tuesday ...
13 December 2010
It answers the question so many of you are just dying to know, "What was the first line from your blog the first day of each month that you posted in 2010?"
January - 2009 was an interesting year, to say the least! (Little did I know that 2010 would be even more interesting)
February - You might understand, especially if you'll be celebrating Valentine's Day a little differently this year! (This post was titled "Overwhelmed" - not sure why I was so overwhelmed ... )
March - Today my Boo-Bear turns 14. (This - a birthday wish - will likely be my opening line every March 1st)
April - Good Friday. (And it was!)
May - I miss you too, but this isn't about us anymore - it's about the people in this family who are at the mercy of our decisions. (It was a Sunday Secret)
June - According to a recent article in the New York Times, Owners Stop Paying Mortgage ... and Stop Fretting About It, foreclosure is becoming a way of life for some folks. (A post on "Real Live Lesbian" - a weekly guest post gig I picked up this year)
July - For the past 20 years, the 4th of July has been far more than just a celebration of U.S. Independence. (A post reflecting on my husband Alan's death by suicide)
August - Olivia Harrison's parents spent a great deal of time looking into pre-kindergarten programs for their daughter. (Another guest post on "Real Live Lesbian")
September - Life is funny sometimes, giving you what you need to hear when you need to hear it. (A post about worry)
October - WooHoo?? It's October?? How the hell did that happen? (A Friday Wrap-Up Post)
November - Relationships. I suck at them. (A post on family facebook drama)
December - What is an auditor? Someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets the wounded. (The first day of the HUGE internal audit at work)
10 December 2010
Wow! I cannot remember the last time I posted only three times in a week. Now I realize some of you might think that is still too often ... ehhhh ...
Work continues to kick my ass. The auditors are ... well ... auditors. They ask for silly things, requiring I spend hours at the copy machine and then double that time at the file cabinet putting everything back in order. Any free time I have is spent doing my "regular" job.
The upside? I've managed a few hours of overtime the last two weeks - something that seldom happens. It's kind of nice right before Christmas.
Rumor has it the bonuses are still going to be paid out, but with the economy being what it is, I don't bank on rumors ... or do any Christmas shopping on rumors. Let's just say I may be asking Jay and Matt to do a radiothon for Cam should the bonus rumor turn out to be false.
I think, more than anything, it's the absence of information trickling down that is the most frustrating. I know there is a group of people who know exactly how this is going to be handled, but they are - for whatever reason - keeping that information to themselves. Assholes ...
- Picking up my geeky-chic glasses. That's right! I decided to embrace my inner geek and display it on my face. Or something like that. My glasses have been ready for pick up for a week, but it requires I travel to a MALL. AACCKKK!
- Doing laundry - lots and lots of laundry. The rule in my house is that I do not pick up clothes. I wash whatever is in the laundry basket. There has been nothing in Cam's laundry basket for three weeks now, and trust me, he doesn't have that many clothes. Something tells me this will be the week he realizes his clothes are now standing on their own on his bedroom floor.
- Shopping for the Secret Santa gift exchange at work. The accounting and IT departments get together every holiday season for a luncheon and Secret Santa gift exchange (can you say wild and crazy party animals?). We exchange names, and a list of three items - each under $20. We then buy one item off the list of the employee whose name we draw. I got an easy one this year that requires I shop a Starbucks. I like that!
- Writing out Christmas cards. That's right, this year I will be sending out a limited number of Christmas cards decorated by the students at Cam's therapeutic day school. I haven't seen them yet, but I have no doubt they'll be beautiful! If you'd like one adorning your holiday display, DM me on twitter or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your mailing address.
07 December 2010
06 December 2010
Wanted to write with abandon?
Wished you could post something deeply personal on your blog?
Had something to share but feared the wrath of the trolls?
Or maybe you have family and friends who read your blog and speaking freely could create unwanted and unnecessary drama.
I'm not usually one who promotes other blogs. It's one of those things that can kind of snowball out of control and, quite frankly, if I think your blog sucks, I'm not going to to send people that direction to waste their time.
That said, occasionally a blog comes along that I think really has a purpose and fills a need. Band Back Together - where I posted Friday - is one of those blogs.
From the about page:
The brainchild of Aunt Becky from Mommy Wants Vodka, who, after delivering her third child, Amelia, who suffered from a neural tube defect at birth, realized (with the help of her amazing Band of Merry Pranksters) a need in the blog world for a place where we could all come to put our secrets down. A group blog that we could share our struggles and our triumphs as we walked through.
Band Back Together was formed.
So we invite you to put on your most comfortable pair of pants (or none at all, as the case may be) grab a drink or three, pull up a chair, make yourself nice and comfortable, and share your stories. Everybody needs a place where they can let it all out. Now you have it.
Don’t be shy now. Introduce yourself. Have a look around. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies for you to explore. Some may be empty now but soon will be brimming with people and stories. You’ll make some friends here; find some new people. Your people.
It’s safe here.
All the comments are moderated, all judgment checked at the door with your soggy wet clothes. Inside it’s warm and dry. We’re not here to judge how you feel or why you feel the way you do. So let it out. Write when you want to, support when you can and remember: you never know who might be helped by your words.
We’re none of us alone. It’s time to Band Back Together.
This was where I chose to share my feelings about hitting the one year mark away from husband because I knew that it would be OK just to be me. I knew that I could say, "You know this has really sucked at times" without someone stopping by and calling me a victim. I knew that other people considering leaving an abusive environment get tired of hearing, "Just leave" when it really isn't always that simple.
I am well aware that this type of writing just isn't what some of you do, but I also know there are quite a few of you out there who could really use this outlet and have valuable life experiences to share with others.
Think about it.
It's a good place!
03 December 2010
I have no regrets about my decision, other than I wish I'd made it sooner - before the damage became so severe. But I didn't.
I wish I could tell you it's been all glitter and unicorns. But it hasn't.
Sometimes life just doesn't sparkle.
You can read my reflections on the year here:
01 December 2010
Someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets the wounded.