Thursday, September 30, 2004

Raining and pouring

Continuing the thread of "when it rains it pours" I realize, when I hear about others lives and struggles, that it could be worse.

For example:

  • My friend MH, whom I work for, lost his brother to cancer two months ago and his father passed away yesterday.

  • A family we knew in Utah found out recently that their son has leukemia. He responded well to the initial chemo, but just as he was into recovery, it came back and now he is on chemo again.

  • A woman from my husband's church, who has four kids, her youngest two years old and her oldest 14, has battled against a rare cancer five years ago and beat it....only to have it come back a few months ago.

  • A family we were following on the freeway three years ago crashed in front of us. We got out to help and found six children inside the van. The parents were severely injured. We pulled children from the van, one by one, but the last one my husband rescued from the back seat died during the crash. She was 14.

  • My dearest friends, T & SP lost their daughter when she was 18 months old. She drowned in a hot tub. They had just moved into that house, after their previous home was destroyed in a fire.

  • Two years ago, Ward Weaver kidnapped and killed Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis, both 14. He knew both girls and offered to drive them to school, only to kill them. I didn't know either girl, but we lived close enough at the time that I could have. Even more frightening, my daughter could have known him.


The reason I'm thinking of this today is because of MH. He didn't like his father very much, mainly because his father was very stern throughout his entire life, but losing him is still hard for MH, especially on the heels of losing his brother.

So I'm counting my blessings today.

I have relatively healthy children. We have a home, cars, jobs and friends. Both of my parents are living. I feel like my life is difficult and I struggle with religion, God, my husband's devotions to both and I wish my life had been different at times, but really, there are no guarantees if I went back and changed the past, that things would be any better. They could very well be worse.

So I suppose, no matter how much I struggle, I wouldn't want to take on anyone else's trials. I wouldn't want to lose my mom or dad (though I know that will happen eventually), and I can't imagine losing one of my kids. I will continue to struggle through my own life and continue to be there for my friends with comfort and support as they struggle through theirs, but we each have our own shit to deal with and thinking about it right now, I'll keep the shit I have.

PS - My husband came home early from working out of town, so I didn't get that second blissful night's sleep after all. Now that's shitty. :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I did something today that I've been wanting to do for a long time

I got my nose pierced!

I drive my kids to ballet every week and there is a piercing studio across the street so tonight I went in, asked how much, picked out a pretty little stone and got it done. I didn't hurt at all and looks really great (if I do say so myself).

I feel like a have a big booger in my nose all the time, but that should pass in a couple of days.

Yea!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

What's that old saying?

This is all going to be a bit random. Today's been a busy, hellish day.

It started last night when I realized now that I'm working practically full-time I need a little help with the general, run-of-the-mill household items. So like a stupid woman, I asked my husband for a little help. I prepped him ahead of time, saying I didn't want to seem to overbearing, that I didn't want to argue and even threw in an "I love you" to sweeten the pot. Then I asked that he take the kids to swimming on Thursday and cook one or maybe two nights a week. He got pissed. You see, what I didn't know was that he's specifically requested that his weekly church planning meeting be changed to Thursdays because he's been out of town working Tuesday through Thursday and the meetings used to be on Wednesdays.

So being out of the Mormon loop on this one, I again, seemed like a callous ex-Mormon wife to my staunch Mormon husband by asking him to take the kids to swimming on Thursdays.

Well, I didn't know and we ended up in an argument. Once he's pissed at me for breaking his church bubble, he doesn't calm down easily. And he was pissed still this morning when he left for work. At least I know now that I won't be getting much help with the household stuff. I didn't think I was asking too much. I mean, as a mom who didn't work, I didn't have a problem with all the cooking, cleaning, running around of the kids, etc....because that was my "job." But now I have an actual job, regardless I guess I'll still be doing all the other stuff, on top of it.

Note to self - if you do end up divorced....don't ever, ever marry a Mormon again.

Second, I never got acne as a teenager. Which I thought was great at the time, but there is an irony there. As a kid, when most kids get stricken with acne and you have clear skin, just know that karma gets you. I've had adult acne for almost five years. So while most of the kids who had acne as teens are now clear-skinned , I look like a teenager. So I went, *sigh*....again, to my dermatologist this morning and got *sigh* some more sample creams and *sigh* another prescription. I can only hope for the best.

Then I went to my chiropractor and found out this morning that I may have a hairline fracture of my pelvic bone. Oh, joy! What I don't really know is how I got it. Scratch that - I do know. You see seven weeks ago, as those who've read this whole blog know, I went on a trip and spent a weekend with GB having what can only be called a marathon weekend of sex, sex and more sex. I came back from that barely able to move and lying about why I couldn't move. But the pain in my hip never went away. I started to limp and eventually broke down and went to see the chiro. So in explaining to my husband why it hurts to have sex now, I have to fib again, and let him think that it was sex with him that caused the problem. Now we have sex, and sometimes a lot of it, and we do get a little wild, scratch that....a lot wild, on occasion, but probably not enough to fracture my pelvic bone.

The lesson here - having that affair was stupid, in so many ways. I'm still lying to cover it up. I feel like shit for putting myself out there to a guy who was lying to me the entire time and as soon as I let him know how I was feeling about him ran for the damn hills. I just didn't see it at the time. I sent out all the wrong signals and what I got was a guy who just wanted sex, said he wanted much more than that, but then when it came right down to it, really only wanted sex.

I came home from the chiropractor and my new Dish Network DVR (digital video recorder) had arrived. The highlight of my day was getting it hooked up and programming it to record my shows. What a joy to be done with VCR tapes.

Now onto the last bit of my day. My oldest daughter (14) is rarely ever ill. So her missing two days of school and rocking herself to feel better set me off this afternoon and I finally took her to the doctor. She has a double ear infection. So I found myself this evening *sigh* again....at the pharmacy filling her prescriptions.

Which wouldn't be such a big deal if we had health insurance. The husband is self-employed and we make way too much to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan (note - a family of five has to make under $1700 a month to qualify) so by my saying we make "way too much" isn't saying much at all. We make enough to pay the bills, but not enough to afford the $400 a month extra it would take to pay for a private health insurance plan. And that is the low end, $2000 individual deductible plan. So essentially, we would have to pay a collective $10,000 a year in medical bills before the private health insurance would kick in. So we don't have insurance.
But then even more joy abounds, when the hospital calls me and quotes me $3000 for my youngest daughter's (she's 10) tests. She's been having some kidney/bladder problems.

As much as I hate the old saying....I'll say it anyway "When it rains it pours."

I will close with this....tonight is one of two nights of any given week that I actually get to sleep through the entire night without getting woken up. Because my husband is gone at work....tonight and tomorrow. I look forward every week to these two blissful nights of sleep. Because on the other nights he's home and he snores like a fucking buzz saw.

I just had to get that out there. And with that....g'nite!

Monday, September 27, 2004

How long does the desolation last?

I watch three television shows that just bring me to tears every week. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition gets me every time, just seeing people's joy as they walk through their new home. Everwood is this great family drama and for some reason, so many of the eps hit home with me. I love the narration and I especially love the things that Dr. Abbott says. He's the annoying character on the show, but he tells it like it is and I love him for that. Then there is Joan of Arcadia. I'm wondering now if I can even keep watching it, it tore my heart out last week.

If you don't know the premise of Joan, it's about a girl who starts getting visits from God. God is a cute teenage boy, an old lady, a little girl, just about anyone and each time God visits Joan, he asks her to do things. Some things are crazy and others are innocuous, but each has an overall purpose.

The new season of Joan started last Friday, but I taped it and watched it Saturday morning and afterward, I cried and then bumbled around the house in a daze. Joan found out she had Lyme Disease and thinks now that her visitations from God were merely hallucinations brought on by the disease. Joan wants nothing to do with God, yet her mother starts dreaming about God and wants to rejoin the Catholic church. Joan's father is the one I relate to the most. Throughout his life, he's felt like God abandoned him and he thinks that we are just people surviving life at the whimsy of fate and that God doesn't care about any of us. He's devastated that his wife wants to rejoin a church. Oh, yes, welcome to my world.

Joan's mother tried to explain to him that there are two types of religious living, consolation and desolation. Consolation is when we need comfort and God is there for us and helps us through it. Desolation is when we are angry at God and feeling alone and going through things that are overwhelming, but God leaves us alone during those times to test us. Joan's father asks "How long does the desolation last?"

That is what I'd like to know. Not that my life is overly desolate right now, it's not. And yet, it's still life. And life is not easy. Is there ever a time when God consoles? I can't honestly say that for myself, I know without a doubt, that God was there to console me. Not when my dad left, not when my mom did all the crazy things she did, and I didn't feel Him there during so many other times in my life. Times I don't often think about. Really, maybe He was there and I just tuned Him out. But there were times when I was so open to God, when I really wanted consolation, when I just wanted to feel something and I didn't.

At the time I chalked it up to God hating me. In fact, for years, I felt like I was God's personal joke. I thought that God dished out all this shit on me and had a great laugh with the angels while I floundered. I mean, every court needs a jester right. Why couldn't I be God's?

But now I think that it wasn't just me. Every person on earth has trials and desolation and I think every person at one time or another has felt like their God abandoned them. And I'm willing to guess that everyone has felt like they just couldn't face their trials; like they were being pushed beyond what they could handle. I know I have felt like that. There are times when I am thoroughly pissed off at other people, who I don't really even know, for no good reason other than they aren't going through the shit I'm going through . Conversely, they are going through their own shit and might very well be unreasonably pissed off at me for having what they think is a cake life.

We keep so much bottled up and we hide so much of ourselves from others. What happens inside my house, generally stays there and I don't often tell others, because I don't want to seem a drag or to burden people with my issues. I'm convinced others feel the same. So if everyone faces such desolation and if life is so difficult and full of hardship for so many, many people why are we not consoling each other? Shouldn't we be able to find some consolation? And if not from God then from each other.

Why can't I tell my friends how I feel about God and my struggles with religion and my husband's devotion to it? Why can't I pour my heart out about how I feel cheated because I got a college degree and wanted to do great things with it, but am stuck looking for work in a recession? Why can't I tell my girlfriends that I feel like an awful mother sometimes, because there are times when I say things that remind me of my mother? I'm worried that I'm going to turn out like her and at the same time worried that I've tried so hard not to be like her that I've given my kids too much freedom.

But I don't tell anyone, not really. For two reasons - the first is that I'm frightened of what others will do with that information, because I don't want it to become fodder for the gossip mills, and second, because I don't want to lose my friends. And I'm in the middle of that happening right now.

You see, when you have a friend and you burden her with what is going on in your life and marriage and then you work it all out. That is OK. But when it happens again and you work it out again, that is less OK. And when it becomes apparent that the marriage itself is just rocky all the way around, yet the two people married to each other are still willing to stay and work, well, some friends decide that is just not OK. They tell you to leave your spouse, they tell you that you are wasting your time and eventually, they tell you that if you don't leave then they don't want to hear about it anymore and eventually they get fed up and leave you.

And then there is more desolation. When does it end? Because if you can't rely on friends and family to buoy you up when you need it and if you can't be there for them when they need it because they don't tell you what is going on, then in the end, who do you each rely on? And it turns back to God.

(And then you realize you've been typing about yourself in the third person. )

At least that is what happens with me. I wonder when I'll feel consoled by God, I wonder why He doesn't love me and why He puts me through all this desolation. And then I get so angry when I don't feel His love and I don't understand the trials and then I shut God out and try to go about life on my own and it takes it's toll.

And then a television show like Joan of Arcadia comes on and suddenly I'm watching other people, people who are paid to memorize scripts, speak what I'm feeling in my heart.

I feel no less confused by the desolation, but I feel less alone. Because even if it was just a TV show, someone wrote that, and maybe, just maybe… the person who did write that felt like I feel now. Oddly enough, there is comfort in thinking that.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Oh, the joys of working at home

I've been working on a web redesign today....almost all day. I was asked to have it done by Monday (tomorrow) and I sort of procrastinated on Saturday, so I had a lot to do today. Which I did, but not without a lot of stress and frustration, especially when everyone wanted me to cook dinner and I didn't. :-)

I just wanted to write, because even though I haven't been blogging for all that long, I really missed it this weekend. I checked my comments....and wanted to thank everyone who wrote.

My date went well. I ran to the coffee shop, met my Farscape friends and then the hub and I went out to dinner. We had a good time talking, which was....well....good. I'd guess we spent most of our time talking about the kids and how they are doing. Our son was asked to join an advanced ballet class, to dance with the older students, under the direction of a man who dances with Oregon Ballet Theater. We are really excited about that. Our son is only 11 and a half, so it's a big deal for him and thrilling for us.

He's an incredible little ballet dancer and very fond of Billy Elliot, the movie. LOL In fact the line from that film "just because I like the ballet, doesn't mean I'm a puffer" is spoken at least weekly in our house. I grabbed the pic above from the pic archives at his ballet school.

But now, back to the date:

Then CP and I went over to - where else - our favorite karaoke bar. We met our friends T & SP there and also had friends M & PH meet us there. So the six of us sat around and laughed and some of us drank. We've all known each other for 15 years. We met as young married Mormon couples with little kids and we hung out all the time. Our kids grew up together. But we lost touch with M & PH over the years and we all left the Mormon church. My husband is the only one to go back. We've all started spending more time together in the last two years.

It was really great to just sit back and talk and laugh. And the bar was empty, so we started singing.

MH can sing, oh my God, can he sing. He sang Desperado and had waitresses and kitchen staff coming out to listen. I sang "Stay" by Lisa Loeb and then MH sang "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer and us girls stood behind him and danced like the girls did in the music video. We even had little blow up toy guitars that the DJ gave us. We hung out for a long time and I think over all, it was a good date night.

It was wonderful to check my blog and see so many supportive comments and much good advice from so many.

Thanks.

Friday, September 24, 2004

He's such a beautiful disaster

It "sucks much ass" that I spend all this time thinking about what I want out of my life, I make plans and feel really good about what I'm doing and deciding and then my husband freaks out.

He didn't really freak out, he just started acting all weird, but good weird. Are you confused yet? Because I am. It's like he sees that I'm going out more, that I have more things written on the calendar, that I talk on the phone more and make work plans. He sees that I'm at my computer designing this new website for work and he knows that I'm making my own money, meager though it may be. He sees all these things and rather than being glad that I'm making a path for myself and enjoying it and letting me do it, he seems worried and hesitant. I think he's glad for me and he is letting me do it. I feel that he is, but he's acting differently.

Case in point:

My husband came home last night from a church thing and asked me out on a date for tonight. Now I cannot tell you the last time he and I went out on a date. A full on dinner and a movie date. The last movie we saw together in the theaters was "Signs" the M. Knight Shyamalan movie. So that would be summer 2002. The last time we went out to eat together....alone....um....I don't even know. We've been out with friends or groups of friends, and he and his buds talk shop and I chat with the girls and eventually we girls end up at a bar, or on a bar, dancing. That has been our typical date routine for a couple of years. At least until he went back to Mormon church and now I do all the chatting and bar dancing with friends and he stays home.

So my husband asked me out to a movie. However, my problem.... I already had plans. Because....HELLO....I've had plans every Friday night for a year because I like taking some time away from the house and the kids and having a little fun.

Now I'm working my previous plans into a date with my husband, because I really do appreciate that he asked me.

The plans are to meet my friends at a coffee bar and get everything ready for the Farscape promotion we are running next week with 105.1 FM and Suncoast Video Stores. I know Farscape is a television show....and my husband thinks it's stupid, but I love the show and I love the friends I've made because of the show and we are putting together tons of giveaways and things trying to get more people to watch the miniseries (airing on SciFi, October 17th, 9/8 PM Central)....shameless plug.

But it's such a big deal that he even asked me out that I'm meeting my friends really fast and then he and I are going to dinner. I hope it's fun, good fun, not weird or tense.

I hope he's really OK with what I'm doing with my free time and generally with my life and maybe....just maybe....he's asking me out on a date because he sees that he and I can be married, have differing religious beliefs and yet, still get along and have fun together.

Maybe I'm hoping for too much.

He's soft to the touch
But frayed at the ends he breaks.
He's never enough,
But still he's more than I can take.
Oh, I don't know,
I don't know what he's after
But he's so beautiful
Such a beautiful disaster.
And if I could hold on
Through the tears and the laughter
Would it be beautiful,
Or just a beautiful disaster?


Kelly Clarkson

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Some things I know and some things I wish I didn't know

It's just about 5:30 PM my time and I'm trying to remember what I did today and I'm having some trouble.

I remember waking up and I remember getting my kids off to school and then I cleaned both the bathrooms and vacuumed. But after that, well, from about 10 AM to 11:30 AM, damned if I can't remember. It's weird, because I know I sat down at my computer and looked at some new screensavers, I probably answered email and checked on my Amazon order, but did that really take up an hour and a half?

Then I showered, went to therapy, went to the tanning salon and came home and ate. I spent some time talking to my oldest daughter and just got back from driving one of my kids to ballet.

And yet, where did the day go? That is how I feel almost every day.

It's like I'm so busy existing in this highly stressed marriage/home that I just go through each day, like a robot trying not to think too much. And then in trying not to think too much, apparently, I stop thinking all together, because now I feel like I'm losing days.

My husband is gone, out of town working, as he has been almost every week since the beginning of July. The kids and I settle into a nice routine, that is pretty much stress-free, I might add, and then he comes back and the whole vibe of the home changes. Suddenly we're worried about saying the wrong thing, whether he's going to ask about the kids weekly church activities, or that there might be some church thing on the weekend that he's adamant about going to that we have to re-arrange our schedules too.

I know I shouldn't blame him, I know it, and yet our whole life, collectively, has changed since CP decided to be a staunch Mormon. We used to laugh, we used to pop popcorn and sit on the couch and watch a movie, we used to go bowling. Mormon's do these things, I'm pretty sure, but he doesn't. At least not with us.

I've been trying to wrap my mind around it today, because today was a therapy day and I talked about this. I think somehow we've all let him down. At least that's how he sees it, when in reality we are just *people* and no two people believe the exact same thing. But to CP, he went back to Mormon church, and in his mind he thought we would all jump on board and love it, like he loves it. And he had reason to think that. We've done that in the past. He went into martial arts, we all took classes; he went to Catholic church and the kids wanted to go and even I didn't mind it so much.

But life happens and time passes and our kids are growing up and making choices and deciding who they want to be as people and they don't really want to be Mormon. And so he sees the kids are not *into* it and he sees that I don't want to go and instead of thinking "I want my family to be happy and I miss them and want to try and make something work out so that we can all be happy" he decides "my family doesn't want to be Mormon, so I'm just going to continue doing that my way and live my own life and let them live theirs."

And that is what's going on. I've noticed in the last three weeks that CP has every second of every day filled up with things to do, whether they be church, work, hunting, fishing...whatever. He gets home from out of town work late, is up at dawn going fishing, comes home, runs to work, runs to another job. Sleeps at home, is up at the crack of dawn again to go into the mountains hunting, comes home, goes to work, comes home and then goes to the temple. Even on Sunday he has a full schedule.

I don't think he wants to be around us and probably because we don't share his beliefs. I feel like he's written us off. And I sense that the clock is ticking, either down to a time when he finds someone else who can be his everything Mormon wife or until our kids are grown and graduated and we can divorce without custody issues and intense money issues. I know my clock is ticking down to the latter.

I know I had an affair recently, I know the reason I miss him so much right now is because I'm missing that emotional connection. I know I'm with my husband because of my kids and because financially we'd be wrecked through a divorce. I know I grew up desperately poor and the financial security is something that keeps me here. I know I care about him and I'm concerned about him and I really wouldn't blame him if he found another women more like him. I also know that if he knew about GB and the affair, he would divorce me in a second. Yet, I did it anyway, because I wanted to be wanted, just for a while, and I was, for almost a year.

I know I might not make it seven and a half years until my youngest is out of high school, but I also know that I've made it 14 years with a man who rarely says "I love you." I know that at any time in the last 14 years, if you asked me what CP was feeling, I couldn't tell you because I don't know. He doesn't tell me, even when I ask. I know I don't understand him. I know I try to. I know seven years doesn't seem that long to me. I know I'm making a life for myself and doing more for me and I know it confuses him. I know he's terribly unhappy with me and with our relationship. I know he loves God. I know I've found I can live with so much more and tolerate so much more than I ever thought I could.

When I was growing up and dreaming of getting out on my own I never imagined this for my life. If the girl of then was here now, she'd scream at me for settling.

There is one last thing I do know.....I would give up the money, the house, the cars, the hot tub and I would live in a cardboard box if I could live that destitute life with a man who really loved me and who let me love him completely.

I know I could do that.

Monday, September 20, 2004

You catch more fruit flies with coffee than you do with fly paper

My house has been taken over by fruit flies. It bugs (pun intended) the hell out of me because I keep my house pretty clean. My mom would have kicked my ass if I hadn't kept the house clean as a kid growing up and that mentality carried over to my early married years. I mopped every day, I always did the dishes, I swept and cleaned bathrooms almost daily. It's a wonder my kids got fed. :-) I've mellowed in the last few years, but still don't like a messy house.

In the last few weeks I've noticed an ever-increasing number of fruit flies in my house. My kitchen and my bathroom are severely afflicted. It's annoying, especially when you reach for your toothbrush and at least four fruit flies flutter away.

I cleaned my bathrooms, kept up on the dishes, dusted, vacuumed...in short I've done everything. I even thought I found the fruit fly breeding ground when I discovered some old garlic in a cupboard. I threw that away, but the problem got worse.

So, Saturday I was cleaning the garage. I brought out my winter bedding, was doing laundry and putting away the camping gear that was strewn about from my husband and son's camping trip. While rearranging things, I found an old lunchbox that I thought had been given away with the Goodwill stuff from this last summer. It was one of those soft, foamy lunch boxes that has Velcro on the lid.

I picked it up and looked at it and what seemed like hundreds of fruit flies erupted from the crack in the top lid.

And like a total idiot, I lifted the flap and looked inside....only I couldn't see right away because again hundreds of fruit flies came at me. My daughter screamed and ran.

Inside this damnable lunch box was a nest of eggs and larvae and little clear fruit flies crawling about and mature fruit flies waiting for room to squeeze out of the small opening.

It smelled horrible and no longer resembled anything fruit-like.

I went right out to the hardware store and bought fly paper, the sticky stuff, and I tacked up fly paper all over the house. The garage (right at the source), the kitchen, both baths, hallway, etc. I was a madwoman. Then I grabbed a towel and proceeded to snap at every little one I saw. I walked from room to room, checking the fly paper and cheering if a fly was stuck to it.

But then I noticed something really gross. My coffee mug, that was sitting nicely on the kitchen counter was rimmed with fruit flies. They didn't want the fly paper, they wanted my coffee. So I surrendered that cup of java to the hoard and set the cup directly under some fly paper I'd hung off the range hood.

And wouldn't you know it, I caught about 10 fruit flies in an hour. I did a little happy dance.

It's been two days and their only remaining stronghold is my bathroom. They are on my towels, my toothbrush, my hair gel and all over the windows.

If they aren't gone by tomorrow, I'm buying bug spray.

The moral of this tale: Always check your kids lunch boxes at the end of the school year for bananas, you'll need lots of coffee and fly paper if you don't.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Some Sunday musings

I went out again last night. It wasn't planned, but while CP was at the temple, my married friends T and SP called and said they had tickets to a club downtown. I met them for dinner and then we drove downtown to the club.

It was OK (actually the club was dead), but then we always have fun. Another girlfriend TA went with us. So us girls hit the dance floor and had a great time. I love to dance and even though I'm 35, I love getting out there and just moving. I close my eyes and just go. I don't care what anyone thinks, not one bit. And if I'm 50 years old and I still love to dance and I'm not a scary old lady frightening people, I'll still get out there and dance.

So we dance for a while and then the DJ cleared the dance floor with some shitty house music and we just ended up sitting, drinking and talking until the club closed down. I got home at 3:30 AM.

So today I'm just trying to catch up on laundry and get ready for the week.

Oh, and I went to Mormon church today. I wasn't going to go, but my daughter was performing in a program (so was my son), but it was my daughter who begged me to go. So my mother came over and we went. I was only there for an hour and my kids did great and were glad I came.

And lightening didn't strike...a gaping hole in the earth didn't open up and swallow me....so I suppose it was OK. Weird, in the extreme, but OK. Then I celebrated by going to the mall and buying a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. :-)

I'm going in to my new "job" tomorrow, and I use that term lightly, since I don't even have a job title yet or a salary. But it's nice to have something to do.

And I'm going to quit now, because this particular blog is really random. I'm much more tired than I thought I was.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

A Saturday night alone with my thoughts

If you're a Mormon you understand temple attendance. If you're not, you don't. My husband, CP, went to the temple tonight. I can't really be upset, last Saturday, I went downtown and drank beer and ate pork ribs with friends. I didn't include him then and obviously, he didn't include me in his temple trip.

Yet, as much as I am not a Mormon, there are times, and tonight is one of them, when I am reminded, full on, that CP loves God and would give anything for Him. CP does not feel the same about me. He left and I felt alone and like I'm wasting my life loving someone who will never love me.

I got sad and I wrote this. I don't know if CP will ever see it, maybe like Anais Nin's husband, Hugo, mine will see this someday and be heartbroken. Maybe he won't be heartbroken at all.

I didn't write it for him, I wrote it for me - to help me understand. Here it is:

This used to feel like my life too. I used to feel like I had a say in our life, our marriage, our family and in my friendship with you.

But when you decided to go back to Mormon church so much of *my* life changed, beyond repair. Now there are things I'll never have a say in, no matter the firmness of my belief. There is a level of friendship and commitment to you that I will never feel because of your commitment to God.

You decided to be Mormon and therefore you seem to now "overrule" in a way. No matter what I believe or feel or want, there are things I'll never get and you are looking forward to the eternities with what you want.

There are times and circumstances now in which I do not even matter, where I am not even a consideration, when I might as well not exist and times and circumstances when the only way I will be considered is if I'm involved in an emergency.

You say you want both, me and God. But in the end, you can't have both. Because you believe in your church and it's basic tenets, and due to your temple attendance and tithing, you will be with God and I, obviously, will not be. So you want both, but eternally you will not have both.

I only wanted you.

I always feel lacking in this marriage and I look at you as having it all, and as the person with more, you don't feel the need to make it more equitable. And so, watching you leave to the temple or church or leave a vacation early to get to church and come home from the cabin to get to church reminds me over and over again how much I am lacking. It reminds me how much you have and how much I don't.

And yes, all of this is due to a serious lack of communication on our parts before we got married. If we'd been truly honest with each other we never would have married. I do appreciate the honesty from you now, however, it doesn't change anything, it only makes me feel less. You want me and you want to spend time with me, but not enough to vacation with me during an entire Sunday or come home from the cabin to sit and spend an evening with me. You want me, but only if I don't interfere with your church attendance, required and otherwise.

That is why I'm focusing on doing what I want to more. Library, radio and making other friends. If I can't have you to the degree I want you, because your loyalties lie elsewhere, then I need to fill the void and the emptiness and move in a new direction in my life. We'll still be married, but you'll have your desires and your devotions and I'll have mine. And I'll have other things I love and am devoted to and feel as strongly about as you do about God.

I want something that takes my passion on a Saturday night so that really, I wouldn't consider staying home to be with you, unless there was an emergency. I want that. Not to be vindictive, but to be my own person and to have my own life and my own devotions so that I won't spend so much time wishing you were really mine.

Because really you are not, and I'm not yours, you're just pretending for this time we're still married that in the final outcome we will be together. Your church dictates that we won't. And I believe "until death do us part."

Regardless of how it turns out, whether heaven is what you think it is, or what I think it is, I want my life to be fulfilling and to share my devotion and love and passions. You have God to love you as you love Him. Right now, I love you like you love God.

You are everything to me.

And that is what I have to let go of, because I'll can't get that sort of devotion returned from you, you give that to God. I know that sounds selfish, but I want to spend even a moment of my life secure in someone's devotion to me. To know that I can love and be loved in return and for just one second we are entwined in each other and that we never want to let that feeling go.

Put more simply, I want someone to love me like I love you. I want that.

If our love was like that then, in my opinion, this would never have needed to be typed, because my life would not be changed beyond repair and I would have that commitment and friendship I want from you. I would have what *I* want, not what you want to give me. Because I would know that you love me and are to unfailingly devoted to me and that you love me like I love you.

And I think that is the kind of love God wants people to have for one another.

This may be too simple or too difficult a request for my life and my heart, and it may be more than you want to give me. Maybe, it's not that I'm not worth it because I'm not Mormon, maybe it has nothing to do with religion or belief, maybe I'm just not worth it to you. But if so, why are you still with me and why do you tell me you want me? Why does this have to be so difficult? Why does love have to tear people apart, instead of binding them together?

I don't want to be torn apart. I want to feel loved, I want that perfect love, just for a second.

I would die for that.

Friday, September 17, 2004

The fall of my sixteenth year

Oh, I don't know where to start, as I know I don't have a lot of time. I'm heading out to meet the husband (he's working) and friends at my favorite karaoke bar later. If I have enough to drink, I'll most assuredly sing. Probably "Stay" by Lisa Loeb. I'm in the mood.

So, high school. What can I say. I hated it. Am I just a pessimistic girl or what? I hated high school, not the learning part, which I really got off on, but the people part. There were other students at my high school and I just didn't want them there. :-)

The girls were mean and the boys were stupid. The boys thought they were cool and the girls thought they were hot. It typically worked itself out well though, as the "cool" boys would go out with a "hot" girl, screw her, tell all their friends who would, in turn, screw her too, and then the boys felt more "cool" and the girls more "hot." It was disgusting.

Now as a little, trying-to-be-perfect Mormon girl, I wasn't schooled by an older sister, a friend, my mother, anyone....in the intricacies of being a teenage girl. There are looks that girls give each other, these little looks. Their face doesn't change, no muscles move, but there is something in the eyes, something nasty and demeaning and when they give that look to another girl, that girl gets the meaning, perfectly without words being exchanged and then they laugh at it all at great length later.

I was the girl they laughed at. For a while anyway, but I was a quick study and I learned that look. And it's like riding a bike, when I need to, I can project my thoughts to another women, via my beady little eyes, without moving a muscle on my face. It's amazing.

So my early months of high school were OK, I got the usual toilet swirlies and taunts as a freshman and it didn't help that my mother worked at the high school as a teacher's aide. The seniors in high school would move her car (no one locked their cars in my hometown) during the school day, they egged our windows, forked our lawn. You name it, they did it. Oh joy.

During the fall of my sophomore year, I was with a friend on her farm for a birthday party and we wrecked her motorcycle. We weren't wearing helmets (I know....don't say it) and we wiped out in loose gravel. The bike landed on her and the acid from the battery burned her leg and she had many scrapes and bruises. I rolled on the gravel and ripped up my arms and legs. The worst damage done to both of us though, was by the rocks. We had rocks embedded in our skin, we had rocks stuck everywhere. I don't remember much, because we lay in and out of consciousness on the side of the road for a while and then my friend, SS, got the bike off her and helped me to the house. We lay there for what seemed like hours before her mother came home, screamed and drove us the half-hour to the hospital.

By that time I was in a coma. So at least I wasn't awake when the hospital staff spent hours digging the rocks out of my face, scalp, elbows, knees and legs.

I don't remember some of that fall, things like Halloween are completely forgotten. But the accident left it's marks, not only physical, but psychological. I couldn't sit in the front passenger seat of a car for months and I stopped driving altogether (I'd been driving since I was 13 because we lived in a rural area and my mother needed me to). But the lasting legacy of my accident wasn't to hit until January of the next year. I had a seizure.

And then they started happening often. About once a month, randomly I would go down and then sleep for a day. My mom was pissed, and I still don't understand why. Maybe because she kept telling me it was just "hormones" so that she wouldn't have to take me to the doctor. We didn't have a lot of money and she just couldn't pay the bills. My dad helped, but not near enough.

So I had seizure after seizure for the winter, fall and summer. My mom covered them up and never acknowledged them as anything other than my hormones getting the best of me and so I never saw a doctor.

Cue my Junior year. You can't keep secrets for very long in a small town. I had a seizure during choir and then another a month later during a music competition while out of town. And then the school staff stepped in a took me to the emergency room. The doc told me it was most likely post traumatic stress syndrome from my accident and that I was having panic attacks. He said they would go away. The school accepted this, but my mother got the medical bill.

Now what I'm going to write about is one of the most frightening events of my life. I probably won't be able to put it into the proper words to convey the cold chills, tears, and pounding heart that are coming over me even as I type.

I came home one day from school and it was the day my mother got the bill for my medical visit. To top that joyous news off, the school nurse also called her, and in a nutshell, reprimanded her for not taking me to the doctor sooner given that I had been in a coma. My mom was so phenomenally angry. I knew the minute I walked in the door that she was steaming.

She was cutting up a chicken at the counter with a huge cleaver. She started screaming at me for going behind her back to the nurse, for letting my hormones get to me at that music competition and for the medical bill. I told her I couldn't talk at the time to tell someone not to take me to the ER. I told her I was sorry. I told her I didn't think it was hormones. That was my big mistake.

My mom started slamming the cleaver into the chicken. She wasn't cutting with any plan anymore, she was slicing and randomly hacking at meat and bone. Pieces of meat went flying and she just kept going and going and going until she's massacred this dead chicken and cut through the Formica counter-top down to the particle board below. Pieces of wood were flying with the meat and I could hear the bones and wood crushing under her constant hacking and beating. All the while, she was screaming at me. "How could I do this to her?" How could I embarrass her like this?" "How could that damn nurse talk to her like that?"

It seemed endless. And in the end there was nothing edible left of that bird and our counter-top was destroyed.

I opened my mouth to say something to my mom, but she heard me suck in my breath and that is when it happened.

She turned that cleaver on me and started at me. She started screaming at me to get in my room and never come out. She never wanted to see my lying face again. She'd taken all she would from me.

I bolted for my room and shut the door and waited. I was trying so hard not to cry and not to breath, because I didn't want her to come in my room. I didn't have a lock on the door and I didn't want to die.

I heard her, winded and sucking air in and out standing on the other side of my door. And then I heard her walk away.

There is only one other event in my life where I have been so scared, I haven't written about it yet.

I stayed in my room for hours, but I had rehearsal for a school play that evening and I knew that if I didn't go and stayed in my room forever, like she'd said, she would be angry at me for not showing up and the inevitable phone call from the school play director to inquire about me. That would further embarrass her. But I also knew that if I went to that rehearsal and saw other people, I would most likely break down in tears.

In the end, I crawled out my bedroom window and ran to school. And I did end up in tears with my head on my friend's shoulder, babbling incoherently about not wanting to hurt "her" and not wanting to die.

That's all I can do tonight.

PS - The seizures were not diagnosed until about nine years ago, about 10 years after the accident. I've done all the tests, taken epilepsy medication, which didn't work, and been poked and prodded. Technically, what they tell me is that something healed wrong after the motorcycle accident and that my brain just misfires. It makes sense. Also, the seizures have decreased considerably in frequency and severity. I only have them once every couple of years and they are pretty mild.

(Note: The seizures are gone. After a lot of therapy and working through my shit, I've come to realize that the seizures were more than likely post-traumatic stress. Once I left my ex-husband, got through the painful divorce and found contented happiness, my seizures stopped. The PTSD problems continue every now and again, but they are more managable)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Restless tonight because I wasted the light

I was listening to that new song by Finger Eleven (weird name for a band) and the lyrics just struck me:

If I traded it all
If I gave it all away for one thing
Just for one thing
If I sorted it out
If I knew all about this one thing
Wouldn't that be something


Anyone who's read this blog knows that my "one thing" would be. I know there is NO way to prove God exists, but I really want to sort that out. Not the proof part, just the believing part...the knowing part. For me to know, in my heart, that He exists and that he cares. That would go a long way toward easing the vice grip on my heart.

Maybe it's because I grew up with such staunch religious beliefs, but it's hard to let go of the concept that there is something out there, someone out there who loves us unconditionally. My mother doesn't and my husband certainly doesn't. My kids love me unconditionally and oh god, I love them. They are keeping me going right now. They are, quite simply, the best.

But this thing with God. I don't need any proof, just what I feel inside me. And I don't feel anything. And when I try and think over my life and what has happened I get angry that a loving God would "let" that happen to me and then the vice grip comes on strong and I can just feel this tightening in my chest and I seeth with anger.

And that is where I stay for a while, hating God and everything to do with Mormon church. But then the days, weeks, whatever wear on and the anger fades and I realize that it is crazy for me to be blaming some ethereal being for my life. Everyone has trials, everyone has things in there life that suck beyond anything they want to deal with. It's not just me, it's just....life. It's hard and it's unhappy and there are moments when I really don't want to be living it anymore.

But then I hear the laughter from the TV room or one of my kids gives me a hug and then I realize that that is God. This unconditional love I feel from them and feel for them. God, whomever He is, doesn't need a physical form, He just is. He's in my kids and the trees and the beach, He's in everything. If He created the Earth in six days, He created childbirth, he made smiles and laughter and hugs and quiet moments on the couch watching movies. If that is all I ever get of God and who He is then I can live with that.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Just another manic Monday

I received an email from a friend, TS, who I used to know when I lived in Utah. She was a great lady and a good friend and we had kids the same age who liked to play together. She's been TBM (true believing Mormon) her entire life and she sometimes questioned me about why my husband and I didn't go to church anymore. She seemed accepting of my statement that we were just taking a break for a while. She said she would pray for us and our friendship remained good.

Then we moved to Oregon a few years ago and things tapered off a bit, but we've kept in touch. Recently, we've emailed each other more, probably because our kids began emailing and talking on the phone more over the summer.

TS didn't waste much time in asking about whether or not we were attending Mormon church. I told her my husband went back, but I didn't. Of course, she asked why and I told her that I no longer believe it in. That I no longer believe that church is true. I did tell her I was working on my relationship with God and was thinking of finding a religion/church I could attend and be a part of. I came right out and told her that I don't believe the way into heaven is secret handshakes and secret passwords learned in a Mormon temple. I thought I would greatly offend her. I didn't, which I suppose says a great deal about her friendship.

Instead of taking offense, she took the time to tell me her "testimony" again. Why she believes in the Mormon church and what it means to her. And I'm fine with anyone's beliefs, I am. It's when they push them on me that I have a problem. You can tell me what you believe in all you want, but when you tell me I'll be happier if I believe like you, well now....I take issue with that. TS did that and so does my husband. I suppose it's just something I'll have to deal with in facing others' zeal for their religion.

I've never been happier and more eager about life than I have since I finally decided I'm done with the Mormon church. I won't be confined by religious dogma anymore. I won't tolerate someone telling me what to wear, what to read, how to vote or what choice to make. The more I read now, the less I know and consequently, the more I want to read. I can vote for whomever I want. And I can choose anything, and if it's a good choice then I feel a sense of accomplishment. If the choice sucks, then it's all on me and I get the joy/pain/struggle of rectifying. I can't blame it on God or doctrine or anyone.

What I do with my life, my path from here, how I chose to live my life....it's all on me. I love that.

My husband told me tonight that TS and he feel sorry for me that I don't belong to the "true church" anymore. I told him I don't need his pity and that I'd feel better if he placed his worry elsewhere, with someone who really needs his concern, because I'm doing great. I appreciate that he cares, and that TS cares, and that they think about me. But they shouldn't worry or feel sorry for me.

I'm putting off posting more about my story. Mainly because I've been working and then getting the kids ready for bed and helping with homework, etc, and I'm too tired to work on the story. And also, I know what is coming in the narrative. It's tough for me to think about, much less write about.

I'll work through it though.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

The weight of the world carried by my teenage daughter

God, I don't know what to do.

My husband has been controlling the world around him (read me and our kids) for years and years. Granted I let him, by always giving in and going along with whatever he wanted, but he just can't handle it when we don't act the way he wants us to.

But that's changed recently. He went back to Mormon church and he pushed and pushed, but I didn't go back. Mainly because I don't believe it anymore, but also because when I did think about going back, thinking it would help out relationship, I got physically ill. My skin would crawl and I would get this choking pain in my chest. No matter how much I want things to work out with my marriage and for my kids, I cannot go back to that church. I don't believe in it anymore.

So my husband is saddened, yes, but he's also just coming around to face the fact that he cannot control me. He's terribly unhappy with my behavior and with the life I'm building for myself. This weekend I had things planned on both Friday and Saturday evening, events with friends and because I knew he wouldn't want to go with me and I knew he would rather just sit and watch television, I didn't even ask him to go or involve him in the planning. More importantly, I didn't even ask him if I could go out without him. I just planned and went. This is pretty indicative of our life in the last few months.

But in realizing that I have my own life and am doing my own thing, as long as it doesn't take away from the care of our kids, my husband is also facing the fact that he can't control me anymore. I am my own person. And so what does he do about it? He transfers all his controlling, manipulative behavior on to our oldest daughter.

And this is where I feel so badly. If I could take it all back and let him control me I would, if it would spare her the pain and suffering she is going through. She loved her dad, admired him and she could talk to him about anything. And now all she sees in him are his lies and deception. She cries so much and she seems like she's getting depressed. She doesn't want to be around him and plays video games in her bedroom more than she ever used to. She dreads it when she knows I’m leaving the house and he is staying home.

She and I talked yesterday and here are some of the things that are going on:

  • A few weeks ago, she was trying to explain to him that she didn't believe in Mormon church fully and she wanted time to figure it out for herself. Her father countered by asking her to prove the things she didn't believe in. In other words, prove the falseness of the Mormon church. Oh my goodness. Can he prove God exists? Can he prove the Mormon church is true? NO, he CANNOT. Yet he's asking her to do what he cannot. Prove why it is not true. She told me that she sees the double standard, the hypocrisy in it all, but she's also just a kid and doesn't feel like she can stand up to her father.

  • A discussion on Seminary. In Mormon church, Seminary is an early morning scripture class that high school students attend each school day. For my daughter is begins tomorrow at 6 AM. She does not want to go. My husband made a nice play at "talking" to me about it. I told him I didn't think she should have to go, that she is getting a nice base of education in the Mormon church by attending church on Sunday and going to youth group on Tuesday evenings. I also pointed out that she is going to be busy with homework and just getting used to high school and studying hard and why add in an early morning class that is going to take away from her sleep and ultimately, her study time. Add to that that there are quizzes, homework and study time required for seminary, and in the end a grade given for the class, and I thought it was too much. And not just for her, for any kid anywhere in the world who goes to Seminary. I suggested to my husband that we ask our daughter what she wanted to do and go with that. He agreed and we agreed that our discussion was not completed. But then I left to go grocery shopping and while I was gone, my "dear" husband went into our daughter's bedroom and asked her WITHOUT ME THERE whether or not she wanted to attend Seminary and she said no. He then told her that he DIDN'T THINK SHE HAD A CHOICE. Now bear in mind that Seminary is not mandatory. You don't have to go to be a Mormon. But he made the choice for her....and tomorrow morning she is going. When I asked why he didn't wait for me to be there and for us to talk to her together....he said that he is in charge of her religious upbringing and he made the decision. Yea right, 5 minutes after I left the house. He knew I wouldn't agree, that he couldn't control me, so he took advantage of the situation and pushed his controlling tactics on her.

  • When my daughter went into the talk to the Bishop (local church leader) in PRIVATE, as soon as she left his office and got in the truck with her father, he asked her what they talked about and wouldn't give up until she told him. So she told him some things and then made some things up....she lied. And I fully stand behind it. That meeting was private and he had no right to put upon her until she divulged a private conversation to him.

  • The other night my daughter and I were discussing college and what she wanted to do. She's a talented musician and wanted to try and get a scholarship based on her musical ability and then major in archaeology. She'd even done research on universities she wanted to attend. They were all in the eastern United States. I told her to check their admissions policies, that it would be good for her to start volunteering around the community to build her college application "resume" and even let her read some of my college application essays. She was excited. Then when I was gone at *work* last week, she told her dad of her excitement. He told her that she couldn't volunteer because she'll be too busy with school and Seminary. Then he told her that she can't go to college AND do something extra-curricular like play in the marching band. Finally he told her that she shouldn't even be looking at schools back East, because he was only wanted her going to BYU or BYU-Idaho (both private Mormon colleges). She was devastated. Her father offered a solution - she should go now to a Martial Arts school, get her black belt and then she could teach Martial Arts to pay her way through college and get a business degree so that she could own her own Martial Arts school. This is her father's dream. He's got a third-degree black belt and would love to own his own school, but finances are not such that he can afford to lease a retail space and pay the mortgage on our home at the same time. So he isn't living his dream. How hypocritical again of him though, to tell our daughter that she can't go to college and do something extra-curricular, like say marching band, but she can go to college and work teaching Martial Arts.


She asked me yesterday if I was still thinking of moving out and separating from her father. I told her that right now in order to try and work things out, her father and I were not speaking of separation or divorce as options, so that we could find solution(s) that worked within our marriage. She turned red and started to cry. She told me that she doesn't know how much longer she can stay here, how much longer she can stand to be around her dad. She begged me to move out so that she could live with me and not with him.

It hit me that whether or not I want a divorce, I will probably have to move out and separate from my husband to keep my daughter from a) running away from home b) rebelling in some drastic way, like pregnancy, drugs or criminal activity or c) becoming an emancipated minor (which, BTW, is something she asked me about one week ago).

I have to protect her, because really, the way my husband is treating her, is the way he used to treat me, and he's only treating her this way because he cannot control me anymore. He controlled me, he thwarted my dreams, and I let him. My daughter is an exceptionally strong young woman, and she will not let him do the same to her. She will fight him.

He's lost her already, at least emotionally. He cannot see it and I don't know how to help him see it. I don't know who to appeal to. The Bishop of his church, my therapist, a friend of his? Who do I turn to? How do I help him and my daughter before it's too late?

(Note: If you have read this blog, you will notice that after about 2005-2006, I have two boys and a girl. While the transition of my oldest from female to male was trying at times, and posed great challenges to certain family members, he has transitioned. It is easier for me to stay consistent with the gender references rather than go back and forth between male and female in the past and present. It can get confusing at times, but we make it work.)

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Oh, how I hate migraines

They always hit me on days when I have a lot going on too. It least it seems that way.

Yesterday, Friday the 10th, I was to go to my kids' ballet school and help the director there with some website stuff. Just coding and teaching, so that she can do more on her own. Then I was supposed to go into "work" at the company I'm now working with. I'm just in training and the pay is non-existent, but I was looking forward to it. Then I was going to meet with my Farscape friends at a coffee shop on Friday evening.

As it is, I woke up Friday morning at 5 AM with a terrible migraine. I took a pill, ate some bread so that I wouldn't throw up and went back to bed. I ended up switching ice packs four times during the morning and laying in bed until 11:30 AM. I did go to the ballet school and then went right back home and grabbed another ice pack and went to bed. I didn't get up again until 5:30 PM and I felt a bit better. I took a shower and went to meet with my Farscape friends.

As soon as I got home though, I was back in bed again around 9 PM and slept until the next morning. I feel today like my brain is dead and my body aches and I'm a bit dizzy from not eating very much.

I hate migraines. Been suffering from them since I was 14 and they run in the family. Much of the time I can struggle through and still function, because much of the time I have to take care of the kids and cook and stuff anyway, because, you know, life doesn't stop just because I feel like shit. But yesterday, I couldn't do anything really but lay in bed with the ice packs on.

I'm going to say it again.....I hate migraines.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The summer of my fourteenth year

So where did I leave off....I was about 11 and my mom got us a paper route.

I delivered the paper to about 40-50 houses depending on the time of year and the number of subscriptions. Most importantly though, I delivered the paper to this boys house, this boy I really, really liked. We'll call him BD. He was cute and nice and we were in home room together from 5th through 8th grade. But he never wanted to date me, which really turned out to be a blessing because he's stayed one of my greatest friends.

But back to the paper route, at 5:30 in the morning I was never looking my best, and I wanted to look my best when I walked up to BD's house and dropped off the paper. Even though I knew he wasn't awake, not usually anyway, in high school when he had early football practice I would run into him sometimes. We'd just say hi and I'd run my fingers through my tangled, permed, slept in hair and get the hell out of there as fast as I could. Which was difficult since I had to deliver more newspapers on his street. :-)

OK, so when I was 13, I had a boy ask me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. That was interesting and it lasted about two months. RMT (I always used his middle name) was cute, red-headed, freckly and nice. He smiled at me and I don't think we'd ever said a word to each other before he had his friend ask me to be his girlfriend. I sat next to him at the movie every week and we would hold hands and then during the last few minutes of the movie he would lean in a kiss me. We got pretty good at kissing (the first few times I thought he was going to eat my lips off). But alas, our relationship was not meant to be, maybe because we were both tired of missing the endings of the movies we were there to watch. He went on to play football at college, get married, lose a baby to SIDS, get divorced and he's owns a bar now.

When I was in eighth grade we got this new teacher in junior high. She taught English and was the girls basketball/track coach. Her name was CD and she was young and a single mother and had two little boys. But also in eighth grade some of the girls who I knew decided to form a club. We would meet once a week, pay our dues, I think they were a quarter, and hang out. It was very exclusive and when they asked me to join I was excited. Except that I didn't often have a quarter to spare. They said they didn't mind, but they did and one day I showed up to the club meeting and they voted and kicked me out. Then they decided not to talk to me anymore. So I went through about six months at school not talking to anyone. I don't know why I didn't talk to anyone, but since they weren't talking to me and talking about me behind my back, no one wanted to have much to do with me.

But CD the new, young English teacher knew what was going on and she tried to be my friend. At the time it was cool, but I can see now why my mother was so pissed off about it. CD had her students keep journals and we were just supposed to write about English class stuff. One day I wrote about how much I didn't like school or the girls and CD wrote back to me in the journal. So I talked to her and CD tried to help me work things out with the other girls and she did eventually. But she also tried really hard to be everyone's buddy and in the end she wasn't much of a teacher. We just came to class and chatted and laughed and by the time we all got to Freshman English the next year, we were in trouble and the teachers in my little town had to teach us two years at once....BTW, CD was fired after only one year of teaching.

Now, my mother, always the suspicious type and always looking for high drama in her life, became very jealous of my "friendship" with CD. She forbade me to talk to her outside of class. Of course, I did what any 14 year old girl would do, I went straight over to CD's house and hung out with her. My mom got pissed off and for some reason decided to take my journal and give it to the Mormon Bishop. That in itself was shocking, and even now as an adult, I still can't understand that invasion of privacy and would never do that to my kids, but what is more shocking is that the bishop actually read my journal. And it was a normal journal, I swore in it, said nasty stuff, mocked people, wrote about how much I hated my mother....you know, I was a teenage girl. I don't know if the Bishop got off on it, but the morning after my mother gave it to him, he and she confronted me at the front door of my house as I was leaving for school. I saw my journal in his hand and he opened his mouth to say something to me and I looked at my mother's smug, patronizing smile and I looked back at him and said "Fuck you." And I walked to school. My mother screamed after me and I turned around and flipped her off.

She didn't speak to me for two months, which was OK, because after spending several months not talking at school, I was used to it and it was no big deal to not talk at home.

What my mother did do was arrange for me to spend my summer, at 14 years old, working on a dude ranch in the mountains about two hours from my home. I was to watch these two little girls, the daughters of the ranch owners, I was to do laundry, keep their house clean, help cook for the guests, clean the guest cabins, do the guest laundry and help out where ever else I was needed. I worked six days a week, 10 hours a day and I got paid $100 a week, at least I think I did, as I never got a check. They mailed them to my mom. I was there for two and a half months. As bad as it sounds, and as grueling as some days were, I wasn't around my mother and I did have a good time and met some great people. After a while I think the owners felt bad for me, because my mother didn't come to visit, and they gave me more time off.

It was mid-August when my mother came to pick me up. She gave me a hug, smiled and we loaded my stuff in the car. She seemed fine, though she still didn't talk to me much. My sister babbled away about boys and the summer fun at the pool and who liked who and who cut their hair and who wrecked their bike. I was completely lulled into a false sense of family happiness and security and excited to be going home and starting high school.

Imagine my shock when I walked in the front door of the house and saw the word "Fuck" in red lipstick written over every picture of me in the house. And I do mean every picture, big or small. My sister didn't seem at all surprised, so I don't know how long it had been there. Then I noticed my journals and poems and letters sitting on the table. My mother had combed through my room over the summer and found every thing I'd ever written and she'd made is public consumption. The Bishop had read it, she talked about it with my friend's parents and other parents in the Mormon church. And because I used the word "fuck" in one letter to a boy I was angry at (and probably because I'd said it to the Bishop earlier that year), she decided that my using that word had polluted me, it darkened my soul, and so rather than look at my pretty face in the pictures and hear that word, she decided to just cover my face with the obscenity. This is what she told me as she screamed at me and then grounded me to my room.

My face in those pictures was covered in that word for weeks, because I refused to clean it. My mother didn't invite anyone over during those weeks and eventually when she knew that people from church were going to be coming over, she got out the Windex and wiped her "work" away. I took it as a personal victory that she had to, in a way, admit that she was embarrassed by what she'd done, because she did not want anyone else to see it.

It was also soon after this right before I started my Freshman year that my mother took the hairbrush out to beat us....for the last time. She was pissed at my sister for something and grabbed that damnable pink brush with the white bristles and she lunged at my sister. My sister tried to get away and they ended up tangled on the floor, my mother holding my sister around the waist and trying to get her backside exposed and all the while clinging to that brush and trying to find a way to beat my sister with it. My sister was crying and begging my mom to stop.

I stood there not knowing quite what to do, I wanted to run to my room and hide in my bed, but when I saw my mother lift that brush up in the air getting ready to strike my sister on the back, and I lunged at them and grabbed that brush out of her hand. I held it up to my mother and said " you will never, ever hit us again. I am taller than you now and I will fight back. " My sister stared and wiped her tears. My mother's jaw fell open and she stalked down to her room. I put the brush back in the bathroom and pulled my sister to me and we sat on the floor and held each other and then we watched "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" on television.

My mother continued to ignore me, but I was OK with that, as long as she didn't hit us or write obscenities on our pictures. I couldn't wait for school to start so that I had something else to focus on and something else to do besides be grounded to my bedroom.

More later.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I am feathered by the moonlight falling down on me

I was listening to the Counting Crows this evening, hence the blog title tonight.

I spent two hours last night trying to get my blog to publish and finally got it to work this afternoon. I have to send thanks out to Pop's for the very kind words. I've visited your blog every day since you *popped* over to mine and spent this evening after I read your entry today saying "wow" over and over. Thank you.

It's 10 PM here for me and I've been up since 5:30 AM because today was the first day of school and my oldest daughter started high school. For some reason high school here in the great state of Oregon begins at the crack of damn dawn. I am so not a morning person, so getting up this early has thrown my whole day off. Though I have to say, I did nothing today....really. I saw the Ellen DeGeneres HBO special "Here and Now" a few days ago and her advice was "Procrastinate now, don't put it off." Do I did. I played a computer game, I read lots of blogs, I took a shower around 2 PM. I did not do the dishes, laundry, vacuum or do any of the other cleaning/general household things I had planned for my first day alone with all the kids back at school. It was so awesome!

However, because it is after 10 PM and my brain is fried and I have to get up and do it all again tomorrow (my husband is the early bird, but he is out of town working, otherwise my ass would be in bed until 7 AM) I don't know that I have the energy or the brain power to write more of my story.

I've been thinking about it all day though and it's amazing what I'm remembering. Some is good, some is so sad. I wonder how my sister, my mother and I survived at all. But then again, did we...really? I'm mean we're alive, but my sister and I haven't spoken in years. My mother, 28 years later, is still single, in fact, she's never been on a date, not since the day my dad left us. We screamed and yelled and hated that little town. I think it's fair to say that each of us has been greatly affected by life there, by growing up there and my mother by choosing to stay there. I mean, we each decide our life's path now, but we wouldn't be who we are without the experience of living in no-wheres-ville Montana.

When I was a kid I walked for an hour every morning (two hours on Sunday), delivering newspapers and I dreamed of leaving. I dreamed of growing up and graduating and getting the hell out of there. I left one week after I graduated. But some days I feel like I'm still that little girl. I still feel like the eyes of everyone are on me, feeling sorry for me and clucking under their breath when I screw things up. I still worry what everyone thinks of me and whether or not I'm going to let someone down just by trying to be me.

I just have to make some decisions and live with them and if I hear that faint clucking of the tongues by the old ladies in Montana (or my husband, for that matter), I'm going to stick out my chin and hold my head up and turn around and keep doing what I want. And I might throw in an expletive or two depending on my mood.

I mean, ultimately, if I'm not taking away from my usual time with my kids and I'm still there to drive them to swimming and ballet and to their friend's houses for sleepovers, what does it matter what I do with the free hours in my day or evening. If I want to volunteer at the local library and spend a few hours a week walking around reshelving books (and reading the inside jacket covers quickly as I reshelve)....then why the hell can't I do that? I ask you....why can't I? I know the answer now. I CAN! Isn't it amazing that such a trivial little realization to many, many people is like the greatest news of my life.

I've been taking care of other people since I was nine years old. For 26 years, I've been responsible for an entire household. First my mother's and then my own. I didn't choose to be the caregiver for my mother and sister, but I did choose to marry young and have three kids in four years and now finally, I can choose to do some of the things that I want to do.

It's the most amazing feeling. I cannot fully explain just how amazing it is to me.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

There once was a girl named Rory....

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today and came across this post, which I missed a few days ago. Ciara is an incredible woman and putting all that down for anyone to read, it takes strength. The reason I write this is because I've been toying with the idea of filling in more of my back story, you know, writing down things that profoundly affected who and how I am today. I didn't want to write it all down just to complain, or even to blame others for how I am now, but just to put it out there and learn from it.

So here goes....

My life pretty much began when I was nine years old. The years before that don't really matter, because they were normal, kid-like years. If my life had stayed that unremarkable and nothing had changed when I turned nine, I would have grown in Washington state, had two parents, three dogs, a farm and blah, blah, blah. It would have been great. Oh my God, what I would have given for that wonderful, unremarkable normal life.

But when I was nine, my mom, sister, dad and I were on vacation in Montana. We were visiting friends in a tiny little town. My dad left for coffee one morning and never came back.

I wish that I could have somehow, with my naive nine-year-old intuition, known that my father was going to drive down the road and never come back. I would have jumped out of bed and ran after him and thrown my arms around his neck and begged him to stay. I would have promised to be good and never talk out of turn and never be loud when he had a headache and was taking a nap. I would have promised never to climb too high in the trees and to never, ever swear again. I would have chased his truck for as far as my little legs could take me screaming at the top of my lungs, begging him not to leave me in that little town with my mother and sister. Oh, how I loved my dad and for years I was devastated that he left. I was his tag along, his shadow and I never wanted to face a day without him.

It's stupid, but I imagine what it was like for him the morning he left. Because I didn't wake up....so I had no chance to say goodbye to him. I made up this scene in my head so that I could remember a "goodbye" even if it wasn't real.

I imagine that he gathered his things and stowed them secretly in his truck and then walked down the hallway to where my sister and I were sleeping in our little double bed. I imagine that he paused a the door, his heart pounding as he looked in on us, seeing us for the last time. His steps were small and quiet as he made his way to our bed and then gently sat down, on my side of course, because I was his best daughter. I imagine that he gently brushed our hair out of our faces, one at a time, slowly touching our little checks, memorizing how we looked at that moment. He bent down and kissed my sister's cheek first and then mine, breathing in deeply, taking in our sweet little girl scent so he would never forget. I imagine that he cried. His tears dropped, unheard on our skin as he pulled away and turned to leave our room.

I wonder - did he falter? Did he, even for a second, not want to leave? Did he want to run back to the bed and quietly wake me up and take me with him? Did he love his little girls more than he needed to flee his life with my mother?

Oh, how I wish that love had been enough to keep him with me. But it wasn't and he left. Years later I know why he left, but it didn't make it any less life altering for me. My childhood ended that day and my life, as I know it now, began.

It was then that I became what many therapists have called a "parentified child." My mom fell apart and my sister was too young to even understand what was happening. My mom could have gone back to her travel agent job or gone to California to live with her parents for a while, both were options. But instead my mom chose to stay in that tiny town in Montana. She took on three jobs, working from 5 AM to 11 PM almost everyday. We moved into this tiny watermelon colored house. A guy in the Mormon church felt bad for us and gave us a car. Seriously, he looked around his farm and found, in the high grass growing behind his barn, an old pink and white Chevy (a 1950's something vehicle) and drove it out from amongst the weeds and gave it to us. I remember the terrible smell of the gasoline and the thick cloud of dust and grass and burning oil that spewed out of that awful pink car. Pink was becoming a terrible theme color for me.

At nine years old, in the fifth grade, I began to cook all the meals, do all the laundry, mow our lawn and any neighbor's lawn if they paid me. I took care of my sister and cleaned the house. I began to stress about money and bills, because I was the one responsible for cooking....I knew when we were almost out of food. I would usually call the bishop of the Mormon church and tell him we were running low on meat and veggies and a couple of days later someone would bring us some food. I no longer felt nine, I felt 39. My life became utterly miserable.

When I was 10 years old my mother got us all a newspaper route. I delivered newspapers to the fine townsfolk until the day I graduated from high school, eight and a half long years. I worked with my mother cleaning offices on the weekends and I babysat to make extra money.

One thing I was lacking was friends. From the moment my dad left I became that "poor little Kearn girl who's father drove off and left her." The other girls thought I was weird. They wondered why I only had one pair of pants and three t-shirts. I had a pair of shoes that were falling apart. I'd wear my jeans until they either a) got too short or b) got too many holes in them and then my mom would spend some time crying over the bills again and then walk me downtown and buy me a new pair of jeans. And the cycle would begin anew.

My mother bordered on suicidal for much of the first few years. She would be driving my sister and I down the road and say, out loud, "if I just veered off the road right here and hit that tree, maybe I would die." Did she even remember that we were in the car with her? Did she care if we died? Did she care about what would happen to us if she did die and we were left behind? I don't know. Beyond that my mother suffered from migraines and I would have to drive her to the doctor, yes, drive....even as young as 10 years old....and take her home after she'd had a morphine shot. She slept for a couple of days and I would have to take care of everything.

There wasn't a day that I didn't want to be with my dad, that I didn't think about him. But I couldn't leave them. I had to take care of my mother and my sister. I didn't see or hear from my dad for six years....

I need to stop now, but I'll write more tomorrow.

Monday, September 06, 2004

View from the top of the world - well pretty high up there anyway

School starts tomorrow and as usual, I'm trying to get my ass out the door to a Labor Day BBQ. The husband is working, so much for his Labor Day, and won't be getting to the BBQ for a few more hours, but I'm taking the kids and heading over early.

I wanted to post a pic from our vacation. One thing we used to do as a family is go hiking. It was a lot easier when we lived in Utah, because the desert and warm weather and dusty trails were only an hour or so away. I don't like the wet, cold, tree-lined Oregon trails or weather for that matter, so we've stopped the hiking thing. I miss it.

So anyway, we went to the "high-desert" of eastern Oregon and stayed at a resort/casino and swam and ate and watched movies and went on a nice three-mile hike. The wind howled at us and I uploaded a video of the kids and the hubby on the mountain - I hope it works.

I'm also including a picture of us. It was taken at the top of a peak called Raven's Roost.



Like I said last night, it was a good vacation, I could just do without the emotional crap of coming home. But I'm doing a lot better today than last night.

You know, you marry a guy and whether he loves sport or cars or his job or God, you just deal with it. The emotional connections I value most in my life anyway are the ones I have with my girlfriends. And I'm trying so hard not to be negative, because I do have a lot. I have a house, kids, we can pay our bills, I might have a job soon, we have our health. So my husband is a Mormon, it's weird, especially given that I grew up in that faith and now think it's a bunch of crap, but he doesn't and he has the right to believe in whatever he wants.

I suppose I'm jealous of him or anyone else who has a firmly rooted belief system - someone who loves God and really trusts Him. I don't. I don't know who He is or how to trust Him. I know I don't like Him much and I know that sometimes I blame Him for letting crap happen in my life that I didn't want to happen, and I blamed Him for not helping me when I prayed for strength to overcome the crap.

I suppose maybe he did give me strength because I'm still alive and I'm working on overcoming it. But 20 some years later since the beginning of the crap, I'm kind of tired. It's like having an older brother who beats the shit out of you and calls you names and occasionally sticks up for you on the playground, but then at home beats the crap out of you again. Do you love your older brother? Yea, I would imagine you do. But do you want to hang out with him a lot, maybe....maybe not. I wouldn't. And that's how I feel about God. He's the older brother and I just plain don't like Him.

So I have no firmly rooted belief system. I don't like attending church because I don't like God. Life might be easier if I did. It's like Angela said in "My So-Called Life" -

"This life has been a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received instructions on where to go and what to do."

I wouldn't mind some instruction, I read the Bible, I still do sometimes. They are nice stories and sometimes they provide some comfort. Is that my instruction? Is that all there is?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Which is harder, going or coming...

LOL....coming is more fun. Oh, why does my mind go there?

What I mean is...which is more difficult a) getting ready a family of five for a vacation, i.e., packing, questioning what was packed by an 11-year-old who thinks he only needs one pair of underwear for four days, loading all in the car, driving, hearing "are we there yet?", etc or b) coming home and unpacking, doing endless laundry, realizing you forgot to get the dog from the kennel and Monday is a national holiday so you have to pay an extra $30 to get the damn pupster out of there, doing your own cooking again, realizing you no longer have access to an Olympic size pool for the kids to swim in and finally, looking at your husband and knowing that despite the fun, laughter, drinking (me not him), sex in the bathroom while the kids slept, and warm, snuggly, loving feelings....we are still the two people who can't figure out how to live together and *be* together.

It's like when we were there, vacationing and sitting in the sun holding hands and talking, everything was fine. There was no future, no religious "Grand Canyon", there was only us....and now we're back and sitting at the kitchen table and words spewed out of our mouths like vomit and we were back in the thick of it. And fully reminded that pretending we are happy together and actually being happy together are the two ends of the swinging pendulum. Can the damn thing stop swinging already? Can we just stop moving and land in the middle? Because dammit, I'm getting sick of sounding like a complainy bitch. And he's sick of reminding me that he loves God the most.

Ugh.

Anyway, despite the bitchy ramble here, we did have fun, swam a lot, ran around a really nice resort and charged everything to our room. We hiked a nice trail (pictures will be posted tomorrow) and danced with the indians who run the resort.

A great way to end the summer.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Heading out on another little vacation

I just wanted to write something really fast. For the first time in a year, the whole family, me, husband and the kids are headed out on a last minute vacation. I'm hoping that it is a fun time for all, really.

We're going to a resort/casino in the middle of the desert. Hopefully the kids will swim a ton, we'll do some hiking and relax, which we all need.

I've decided on two things for sure that I'm going to go out and do because I want to. And yesterday an old friend, who owns a fledgling company called and made me a job offer. The money isn't great to start out and there are no health insurance benefits, but he says he's on the brink of going bigger and making enough to pay me not only a regular salary, but a good one. I've known the guy for 15 years, and since the husband is working, I really don't have anything to lose and a great position working with lots of great people/travel/training to gain. It'll even include a lot of web site re-design.

So that is good. And I'm feeling good today and now watching the time tick away...as I really need to get my ass out the door.

Happy Labor Day Weekend.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

A little blog about how much I love my kids

My kids go back to school a week from today. It's weird, but while most parents I know are just dying for their kids to go back to school....for me, it's too soon. I could stand to have them around for at least another two weeks. We have so much fun, we hang at the pool, we play chess, Risk, Monopoly and Clue and we watch a ton of movies.

I don't want them to go back. I'm already sad just thinking about it.

And then add to it the fact that my oldest daughter is starting high school this year. High School! I just don't feel like the parent of a high school student. I also have my son starting middle school and my youngest daugther is in her last year of grade school. So basically, in eight years all my kids are going to be graduated from high school. I'll be 43 years old. In some ways I'm excited for that, so that I can head out and do some of the things I've always wanted to do, like travel, that I've put off because I had kids. In another way, I'm going to be so sad when they are all grown. I just don't want the eight years to pass.

So that's what I'm thinking about today. We've done all the back to school shopping, we've got the haircuts and the supplies, the backpacks and the clothes. Tomorrow we head out on the final little summer vacation and we'll be back on Sunday.

I love my kids, I had them as quickly and as young as I did because my religion pretty much dictated it. But now that I"m not a Mormon anymore, I guess, well, I can't be pissed at the church for preaching to me about having kids. Because it was the best damn thing I did. I love them, I adore them. They make me laugh and cry. And I see myself and the things that thrilled me about being a kid in what they do in a day. I love to hang outside a room and listen to them talk and smile to myself. I love watching them grow up. They are truly my greatest blessing in life.

I can't imagine life without them.