I knew her

I called the number I found for L. There was a pause, while the lines made the long connections across the Atlantic. And then – a ring. My heart jumped. Two rings. What was it I was going to say? Three rings. I was ready to hear my old friend’s voice.

When a Midwestern drawl answered, I barely comprehended what was said. I kept on the line, listening as a pre-recorded message read off a list of extensions.

It was a company line.

Which means, of course, that the number’s been recycled. No one ever tells you that. That the new phone number you feel all shiny and happy about in your brand new home is probably from someone who died. Goddess! We pick the electronic bones of the dead.

Found a handful of photos. All of them were from one trip: our infamous Grand Canyon/birthday bash in Arizona. Most are too distant. L along the handrail by a huge backdrop. A few were taken at night, when we rented a limo to take us out to the clubs. I had a lousy camera at the time, and all of the nighttime pics are overexposed from the flash. But there’s one. One picture that shows the L I remember. We were in the car, taking some back roads to an out of the way hot spring we heard about. She’s driving, with sun glasses on. I must have told her to look at me for the pic; she turned, and in typical fashion of L at that time, she stuck her tongue out at me. That’s the picture. Not the ones of her and I trying to look grown up as we stood by the limo. Not the ones in the hats. That one, with her tongue sticking out. That’s the one that made me cry.

My brother was gone all afternoon; he’s found a band to work with and he was at his first rehearsal. When he came home, he was full of energy, full of stories about the day. I kept quiet, my responses limited to short exclamations of happiness on his behalf. It kept on that way all thru the evening: me wanting to bring all this up, yet saying nothing.

11 p.m. The last episode watched for the evening, I muted the tv. And in that heartbeat of silence, I told my brother what happened.

Not just about the phone call. About all of it. This obsession that came over me the last 48 hours. How, while waiting to make that phone call, I googled other things. Pictures and videos of my old home town. Walked the google street views from my old high school through the local village and up the hill to my dad’s house. Took a car trip along Lake Michigan. Places I’d travelled thousands of times in my youth. Places I could have driven blindfolded when I was 21.

There was little I recognized.

Buildings downtown, large skyscrapers – they’re still there. Still look the same. The lake is still there. Fair grounds: just as I remember.

But the trees were all different. Many were too tall, and now obstruct the view I grew to know as a young woman. Streets were widened. Shops had changed hands.

The more I looked, the more nostalgic I grew. It was a strange nostalgia, though. A ‘member-berry nostalgia. Because it wasn’t real. I knew that even as I felt those tugs at my heartstrings. These pictures didn’t include the heat, the humidity, the insects. The audio didn’t include the crassness, the ignorance, the bigotry. And even as I felt I’ve missed so much! I knew I hadn’t. I left because nothing ever happened.

Ended by searching my eldest brother. Figured I needed to see what info was available on him, someone I knew, before I could make a judgement on the info I had on L. Odd thing. I found a sales record of the family home in 2005. And a new address for my brother. He never mentioned selling the house or moving.

…You know, some idioms are like onions: so many layers, it takes a lot of peeling to get down to the core. You can’t go home is an idiom heavy on my mind today. Thought I fully grasped that one years ago. Turns out there was a whole other layer to it that I didn’t even know existed until it was ripped away.

I’m leaving the past behind. Letting it go. My brother agreed that, when we have a bit of extra cash, I can pay for a death certificate search for L through the state records. Just don’t know if I’ll ever hear anything from her daughter. For all I know, I was demonized in her eyes. The bad girl that led her mother astray. So I’ll rely on that cold confirmation of public records. But for me – I don’t want to lose today because I’m caught in memories of the past. So I’m snapping myself out of it. When I’m done with this post, it’s dishes and bed making, then off to the gym. Gonna run my lines for the play, and get some writing done. I’ll listen fully to my brother, engage in real conversation. Later in the week, I’ll take the metro downtown and just walk around, window shopping. Remind myself of where and when I am.

I could get that picture of L reproduced in a larger size. Get it framed, put it up on my wall. And maybe I will. But more than that, I want to write her. I don’t know that I’ll ever capture the person or entity I remember. I feel it my duty to try, though. She was and will always be someone who had a great influence over me.

And I have no doubt that I will see her again. Not in the same form, obviously. But I know we will meet again. Our friendship was one of those strange old soul things; we knew each other the moment we met in this life. It’s strange to say that, because I can’t honestly say I know that much about her physical life here. Who were her friends, other than me? I don’t know. What happened all those years we didn’t speak? I don’t know. But that…that’s surface stuff.

I knew her.



The internet is so not free. Nor open. Searching for an old friend from overseas is frustrating, to say the least.

I have an address and land line.

I also found a death notice that claims L died at the age of 45.

Searched for an obit. All afternoon. Found nothing. Plenty of places I could cough some money up to, places that may or may not have any further info on her. No word from the message I sent out to her daughter. Found her husband, after a prolonged search. His online status lists him in a relationship with someone other than my friend.

I’m thinking of dialing that land line number this afternoon.

…Not even sure I want to know the truth. In some ways, people who live only in your memory are already dead. You think of them in terms of the past.

Keep telling myself it’s just an online mix up. One of those bullshit things that happen. I searched for her name and a death certificate; obviously, some site out there is gonna claim to have one. Thinking how silly I’ll feel if I call and she picks up. Of course she’s still there in Wisconsin. Of course she’s alive. How silly, how silly!

Yet…we’re talking about someone who was working with computers before computers became the thing. I have a difficult time believing she would have no social pages, no posts, no professional links whatsoever if she were alive.

Dead? At 45? That would make it 2010. Seven years ago.

And what does that make me? If ever you’d ask me, I would have said L was my best friend ever. Never had another connection with anyone that rivaled the bond between us. If she’s been dead for seven years…and I didn’t even know…

Can’t wrap my head around this. I’m in denial.

Want to find her photograph in my pile of memories. Look at her face. Demand her to be alive, be real.

…Goddess. I have to make that phone call.

Is it silly to mourn so belatedly?

The strange thing is, when people from your past die, a part of your memory dies. All those things we did, we crazy 20 something young women – now, maybe, I’m the only one to carry those memories. There is no one to reminisce with. The memories becomes stories, the stories become legend, the legend fades away and becomes forgotten. Somehow, thinking of L as alive – even tho we lost touch and hadn’t spoken for years, even tho we parted on less than ideal terms – it made the world a little less cold. There was someone out there who remembered me.

Now…now I have a four hour wait before I can dial the phone. A four hour wait to think, and remember.

A vigil. Light a candle, and pray like hell.

Triple F

I found it hard, as a child, to reconcile the memories voiced by my mother’s family with the truth. After all, what is a four year old to think, listening to her elders talk bout ‘gettin’ whooped’ while laughing heartily? I imagined a Dennis the Menace scenario. Something non-threatening and, ultimately, funny. Not a one of my aunts or uncles ever seemed to be angry over their past. ‘Whoopins’ were what you got. With a belt. Sometimes until you bled. But ha, ha, we all laughed about it in the end so it’s okay.

My dad, too, had stories. Stories in which he was always alone. Stories in which his parents grieved (and grieved and grieved) so much over the death of their first born that they seemed to forget they had another son.

And other hints. Frowning brows and dark looks now and then. A sharp tongued remark, quickly retracted. A tear that never fell from an eye.

I am a second gen product of abusive families.

Understanding – full understanding, the kind you only get with age and experience – hit me the other day. This is why my mother never doled out punishment when we were very little. She was too afraid she’d follow in the footsteps of her parents, and really smack us around.

My mother was an abused child.

And my father, a neglected child.

No wonder I am what I am.

I’ve often thought about my parents. How they got together. I know the story – a teacher in high school set them up on a date. What I never got was the why.

My father was very much into physical appearances. Comments on my appearance were usually limited to the ‘you’re a workhorse, honey, not a racehorse’ range. I was told I was beautiful only as a consolation, when I felt ugly and unloved. ‘Ah, honey! You’re beautiful just the way you are’ – which felt like a consolation and a lie. I was never freely told I was beautiful or even pretty. And I figured he had to say it; parents always have to say it, don’t they? Even if their kid is the butt-ugliest person on the planet.

At the time of their meeting, my mother was a slim and young size 12. My father was an extremely huge 350 pound linebacker for the school football team.

My mother claimed she saw beyond my dad’s weight. Saw he was a good person, a good man, and that’s who she fell in love with.

But there was another man in her life. A sailor. I’ve one black and white photograph of the two of them together. He went off to war. Mom never talked about him, other than saying she dated him.

I wonder now if Mom was just looking for a way out. Someone – anyone – to help her leave the house.

And I’m not saying my mother didn’t love my father. Just that the initial reason she got together with him might not be as noble as she would have me believe.

As for my dad…Mom was his first and only love. Again, not surprising when you take into account his past. He was starved for attention. First person to give him even a little bit of time and energy, and he asks her to marry him.

Never did get a straight answer on the pre-marital sex issue. Mom said no, they never did it, and Dad said yes, the were at it like rabbits.

I used to think my parents’ story was this great romance. Now…it’s just grey and bleak, like the weather hanging outside my window.

Bullshit ordinary things I need to keep track of: Tired all day yesterday, ’til I finally broke down and had some more coffee. Left 10 hours open to sleep, so naturally I was up after 8. Doing okay but not great with smoking. Getting down on the floor to do abdominal exercises these days. Sucks big time. Still not writing anything but these morning blatherings. Frustrated. Bored a lot. Feel very out of step with the world.

Everything’s weird. I’m weird. That’s the real problem: me. I’ve got that un-tethered feeling going on. Free floating fear. The dreaded triple F threat.

There’s already enough

Heavy sigh.

If I were to take as long healing from all the crap I got growing up as it took to brainwash me into thinking I was a piece of shit, I’d be 76 and counting before I got over it. That’s the thought that elicited the heavy sigh, a depressed feeling, and anger over time never fucking being on my side.

I hate my family.

Gods…I know I look awful when I’m at the gym. Catch myself too often too deep into emotion. I tear up, my face turns red – I’m sure I look either like I’m about to have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Or both. It’s what happens. My body moves, stuff shifts and suddenly I am overwhelmed by memories and emotions. Therapists really should think about doing sessions during work-outs. At least in my case.

Gotta go through it. Free up whatever got blocked. Breathe. Fucking breathe. That’s the only thing I can think of, when it hits me. My feet move, time ticks on, but I’m unaware of any of it. Just stuck somewhere deep in a half hidden memory that’s full of old, built up muck. I’ve only impressions left over. Impressions of regret, and anger. Why did it go down that way? Why couldn’t I have been one of the lucky ones born into a family that cared?

Don’t talk to me about fate. I’ve always felt like I’m paying forward in this life, and it sucks. I was never a kid who enjoyed frying ants or ripping off the wings of flies. I don’t have that mean streak in me. If I’d been a shit in a previous life, wouldn’t it have shown up early on? I think so. But I was that weird kid who’d get up at 4 am to sing the sun up. I talked to trees, and cried over injustices.

And if the secret to reaching zen is dealing with people shitting on you all the time, I must be some freaking holy zen master.

So why do I find all of this so fucking difficult?

Haven’t I learned anything?

But, hey. I don’t have social niceties. Was never taught them. Don’t get hidden agendas, or most faux pas (what IS the plural on that, anyway?). And if I had a nickel for every time I heard about how ‘different’ I was…well, I still wouldn’t be rich. But I could buy a cheap meal for myself.

So what’s stuck in my craw today?

Other than the welling up of old memories and feelings, I guess I’d have to say it was what happened at my language lesson. Yeesh. You know, questioning any of this makes me wonder if I’m not just some drama queen timing things out and demanding my fair share of attention. Nonetheless, I noticed a definite difference between how I am treated and how my fellow student is treated. The effect was heightened for me because we had another new volunteer teacher sit in with us, to learn how a lesson might be. I think she looked at me twice. The remainder of her eye contact was reserved for my fellow student. And rightly so; the majority of conversation took place between my teacher, the newbie, and the other student. I was not included. I was not asked questions. I searched for things to say, to include myself…didn’t feel it was well received. They turned, they listened, but they didn’t follow up with statements or questions. Am I being paranoid? So difficult to tell. The other student is not as far along as me, and both instructors might have felt she needed more practice speaking. That’s logical. Still. I’ve an undeniable feeling that something else is going on, something I’m not catching onto. I hate that.

Mm. That’s the second thing I’ve said I hate.

Decided something. Had a weird few minutes during the script read through. I was outside with the director and someone the director knew was leaving. The guy asked me – twice – if I was the director’s wife. My reaction: laughter. I’ve thought a lot about that, and realized it might have sounded derisive to the director. Like I was laughing at the idea that we could be married because I found him unattractive or whatever. I wasn’t; I was laughing over the idea of anyone even conceiving ME of being capable of marrying someone. I’m just a bit worried that my hilarity will be taken the wrong way, and I don’t want any misunderstandings over my lack of social skills. So I’m gonna bring it up to him. Remind him of that moment and explain myself because I didn’t at the time. And I don’t need anyone else thinking I’m a shit.

There’s already enough.

Responsibility for the Now


After an hour of tossing and turning in my bed, trying to recapture that elusive thing we call sleep, I got up. There’s only so much hoping you can do; for me, that’s about a dozen turns on either side: left, right, no left again ’cause it’ll be so much more comfortable, damn it! try the right again – and so on.

For some strange reason, I can’t get George Michael singing ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ out of my head.

And I’m not even a big George Michael fan.

Sticking in my craw: a little tidbit I floated past my bro yesterday afternoon, as we SIM’d and gamed our way through the late afternoon with South Park playing on the telly. South Park – which is truly our repository of all social commentary – gave me the clue (again). I realized that Americans tend to think of their country like a sports club – go team, no matter what. That’s not right. A country is supposed to be a group of people who work together for their common good. I mean, if everyone’s just out for themselves, it’s hardly a country, right? Just a bunch of yahoos grabbing everything they can. Sounds like the Old West, which, btw, was a territory. Not a country, not a nation, not even states yet – just a territory. No. A country works together. A country realizes the benefits to such things as proper infrastructure (roads, trains). A country realizes they need to keep their people healthy in order to continue producing. It’s a simple matter of economics.

But Americans….They’re very much the half naked painted fat guys you see at the Superbowl, drunk out of their minds on a cold winter’s day, screaming for their team to kill, kill, destroy the other side. They have a sense of victory when someone from the other side gets taken off the field with an injury. They are small, and petty, and demand daily confirmation that they’re the biggest and baddest bully on the block.

The only thing Americans come together for is mayhem.

Other than that, they’ll let you rot. No money, no help. You can die right outside the hospital grounds and no one will lift a finger. I tell that to people here, and they don’t quite believe me, just as they don’t quite believe me when I tell them that American food products that carry the word ‘cellulose’ contain wood pulp.

When I speak of Americans, I also speak of my family. The two are intertwined; it was my family who raised me on the motto ‘If you don’t like it here, get the fuck out’. This despite a firm and rather desperate need to keep all their children from entering the armed service – the most patriotic thing you can do, according to their lip service. But not for them. No! My eldest brother even made sure to pave the way for his son way back in ’00. Contacted me and planned an escape route up to Canada, where I was living, in order for his son to escape a possible reinstatement of American conscription. It didn’t happen at the time, but my point stands: typical two faced behavior from my family. Say one thing, do another.

Sometimes I wonder how I learned to function at all with those people around me.

I know just a few days ago I was saying how understanding and compassionate I felt towards my family. I know this is a flip. I don’t know why, particularly. The news has been bad for quite some time now. Nothing jumps out at me, nothing is bugging me, other than George Michael (still singing) and my irritation towards Americans and, thus, my kin. It simply IS today.

Formatting on the script is complete. I’ve got a PDF waiting to be printed at the library. I hemmed and hoed, re-read the script again, made a few on the fly subtle changes, and walked away completely convinced I don’t have a cohesive story at all, I haven’t made my point, and it’s not very good. I’ll call it the final stage of editing madness, and it’s a thoroughly unpleasant malady to suffer from. The only real remedy is rest, the one thing I find myself incapable of doing. I am a manic sloth; antsy to sit and waste my time with games, ready to lie down in bed yet unable to stay there.

Wake me up, before you go, go….

I wanna go. Why is the world asleep? Because it’s dark? Hardly a reason! Wake up! Wake up! Open your shops, start the coffee, make some noise. If I ever buy fireworks for New Years, I’ll get up early one morning like this and set a few off. Just because I can.

Gods. And it’s Sunday! A day when people are even slower than usual.

Naturally, this will throw my whole day and perhaps my entire week off. My sleep patterns will be off, one way or another. My routine is set for a shake-up, too, with an old friend breezing thru the city for two days on a whirlwind tour.

Trigger, trigger, trigger, down the line.

Ah. Old friend. Memories. Been looking at those with different eyes lately. Eyes through which I see myself differently. It’s not a pleasant picture. The beginning of accepting that I chose this. One form or another, I chose it. I chose each little step along the way, all adding up to the big NOW. And I think about the blaming I’ve done. Sure, it would have been nice to grow up in a supportive family. A family that doesn’t play narcissistic games. But how long can I point my finger at my family, my mother, my sister, my brother, and say ‘this is because of you, because of how you treated me’? Yes, what happened back then influenced the decisions I made, and in that respect, they are responsible for a lot of shit. I’m afraid I may never be free of that influence. That scares me more than anything.

But the now…that’s mine. I can destroy it, or I can play with it. I can make friends, or create enemies. I can look back, or plan for the future.

The responsibility for the now weighs heavily on me today.

Robots and Doormats



These five a.m. wake ups are better called coming to’s. I come to at some point. Something demands my attention; either my shoulder hurting, my hands going numb, the fact that I have to pee or that I’m hungry (all four this morning). There’s no open my eyes and suddenly I’m awake. There’s only layers of coming to – damn! my shoulder hurts when I lay that way, let’s flip over; shit! my right hand is going numb; oh, wow! am I hungry?; gotta pee, gotta pee, gotta pee.

Then suddenly I’m getting my socks and slippers on. No sense in going back to bed; at a certain point my body just decides it’s time and no matter what I try I become more and more restless until I drive myself up, out of bed, and to my computer.

And there’s something else this morning, too.



Coillette is a name I borrowed from Futurama. Or should I say my brother borrowed it as a nickname for someone I knew once, for a while. He began using the name to try to diffuse a wind-up situation for me and it stuck. Now I have to think hard to remember her REAL name.

But it was her face this morning, whatever name you use for her. Her face laughing at me while I cried. Her face telling me that people that sleep in the position I do invariably end up dying of cancer, her face (drunk or stoned; never found out which) at my home at 2 in the morning arguing with my brother (she’d let herself into our home; just walked in uninvited) and then demanding an impromptu performance of one of my poems.

I’m angry. Under control angry; you’ll notice I’m not cussing up a blue streak yet. But angry, yes. At Coillette and at myself. All the rants I should have let fly at her head are coming up, and a good dose of ‘you should have recognized another narcissist in your life’ guilt to make me feel even more miserable.


Fine. This is a fresh one, so let’s talk it out.

Let me take you back to the not so distant past for me: Ireland. Bum-fuck at the end of a peninsula Ireland. If you don’t live there, don’t think you know what I’m talking about. In all my hopping about I’ve never lived another place like it. It’s a hostile environment. Imagine an island with a base of solid, hard rock. Now scatter about 20 feet of gravel on top, then compact it down with five inches of soil. That’s Ireland. No trees to speak of (yes! I know there’s one or two forests in the ENTIRE country – I’m talking about living with trees in your yard or on the street). I heard from more than one Irish national who was afraid of forests and trees. There’s nowhere to sit down. Nowhere. Not even in towns! Public benches are almost unheard of. Nowhere you’d want to go to the toilet, even if the facilities are operational. It’s a place where, at 1 in the morning if you happen on the public square, you’ll witness fist fights and kids pissing in the holy water outside of the Catholic church. I was going to add old men pissing in public, but THAT’S not restricted to 1 a.m. You’ll see that anytime. And the Irish will welcome you, welcome you, when you’re a tourist. Tell them you want to move in and watch them become hostile within 20 seconds – it’s magic grow; watch distrust erupt like a volcano!

So Coilette moved into the area and I tried to strike up a friendship. It seemed perfect; she was definitely a free spirit, an artist, and a toker. I helped her and her husband work on an artist gallery/coffee shop and volunteered to bake up some goodies to sell and work behind the counter. Unfortunately we had very different ideas about the level of cleanliness needed for that kind of thing. She thought her three under the age of 12 children should be allowed free range behind the working counter (even after the health inspector said otherwise), and I thought it was foul and disgusting that she’d allow them in to put their dirty hands everywhere. The last straw for both of us was one day when I received a call at 1 in the afternoon to come down now to man the counter because her mother was visiting and she wanted the whole family to take an outing. I had just put some baked goods in the oven and explained that (plus why didn’t I get a call earlier?). Not a good excuse in her book. A few days after that I was told that I was not needed and my baked goods were not needed. I picked up some jarred stuff I had there and never spoke to her again.

*sigh* There’s a whole other layer in there, too. I’ll admit I was looking for a mother/sister substitute. That’s right about the time I threw my sister out of my life for violating my boundaries and trust (again). So I was a bit more vulnerable, a bit more needy than I should have been walking into the whole thing. I wanted Coillette to fill that female gap in my life. She certainly did that – right down to the projectionism and gaslighting that all good narcissists do. The problem was all mine, she never said any of that, etc. etc. It was such a familiar set up! I could have been dealing with my own flesh and blood.

And just like dealing with my own flesh and blood, there’s a lot I feel I left unsaid. A lot I shut up about because putting up with that shit is just part of having women in your life. That’s what they do. They back stab and take advantage. They run you down, verbally and physically. They use you badly, then come back and expect to be forgiven and welcomed with open arms.

Beeps don’t play that game. There’s a line somewhere in my head. I can’t tell you where it is, what will be the last straw. Not until it happens. Just know that there IS a last straw and try not to use them all up, okay? I can forgive a lot, but not everything. Don’t cross that line.

And stop walking all over my back.


P.S. I realize I never even began to touch on ‘all the things I left unsaid’. I think I’ll go write a private vomit up of THAT. This is long enough as it is.


My Body Wins


I meant to take a day off. Then it turned into a couple of days. Not by choice; just circumstance. Suddenly I found myself yesterday, in the middle of the afternoon WITH my new trial shoes, feeling kind of blue and I couldn’t figure out what the fuck was going on. My bro asked me and I said ‘I don’t know; I haven’t written in a couple of days’. I was surprised at how angry I was just over not writing.

And it’s odd how strange this suddenly feels.

I let the girl have time. She eventually wrote, after being prompted and given a promise I was listening to her. Then she spewed. Same old complaints at the beginning; writing it out was stupid, I’ve said it before, it’s not going to change anything. Then four fast scene sketches of the strongest memories coming up in my brain. While I was writing them, I had no thought over any of it. When I got done and re-read it, I realized all but one of them happened within one year when I was 14. Obviously a pivotal age for me. All of the memories also had to do with sex. With men coming onto me sexually. There was simple flirting (how exciting!):

Kevin is too cute for words and I’ve got a bad crush on him. He kind of flirts with me once in a while. It’s a little dangerous and thrilling, and I wonder if we were alone would he try to kiss me or do more.

Kevin IS flirting with me, I know it, his girlfriend knows it, everyone knows it. His girlfriend hits him.

And there was far more than simple flirting:

An older man begins to talk to me. He seems nice at first, and flirts with me. Then he starts to talk about sex. Sex with me, and what he wants to do to me. When I tell him I am only 14, he tells he that really makes him hard and he wants to fuck me up the ass so hard. I am scared, and leave.

I was naive and didn’t want to appear so, so I faked a lot of conversations at that age and pretended I knew more than I did. Later those lascivious advances from men would become desirable; at 14, it just scared me. I told the girl she did great. We set aside time, she used it, and we didn’t fall apart. I’m not sure what I need to look at in these memories, but they’re foremost in the teen girl’s brain so I’m not gonna diss them.

My sleep has been heavy and long.

My pain level is increasing, seemingly every day.

The truth hit me yesterday evening, as I was walking back from shopping at Albert Hein. I guess I’ve been telling myself the pain in my feet was all due to bad shoes. It isn’t. Don’t get me wrong; these new trial shoes are great. I’ve never in my life had a pair of shoes that fit me like these do. They take all the impact pain off my feet. The pain that’s left OVER, though, that’s what I’m talking about. And it seemed to me that once the impact pain was taken care of, I was able to feel the REAL pain going on and man! It isn’t good. I no longer have one or two spots on my feet that hurt with every step. Now my entire feet hurt every time they hit the ground. Everywhere. Just that deep ache that shouldn’t be there. That deep ache that IS rheumatoid arthritis. Carrying back the few groceries I did set off my wrists, and I spent last night babying my hands while in bed, always waking up enough to make sure I wasn’t holding my wrist in some wonky position for hours.

Gimme more drugs.

I was the reluctant one to go back on heavy doses of methotrexate. I’m ready to stop being reluctant now. Ready to take it in injection form. Ready to be hyper vigilant about colds and silly illnesses that will drag me down.

Mostly, I’m ready to have less pain.

My dermatologist said pretty much the same thing when I saw him: more methotrexate. That will take care of the disgusting pustular psoriasis on my feet.

Gimme, gimme.

Can’t tell you how sad I am to admit that. I really hoped the RA had somehow improved. That I’d need less drugs to keep in under control. It hasn’t and I was wrong. My first rheumatologist classified my RA as ‘virulent and chronic’ and I guess he got that bang on. This disease wants to kill me. It’s taken my body hostage and the only option is to neutralize it however possible, even if that puts the body at risk.

Well. Ten years of living means more than 20 years of slow suffering.

Remind me of that when the 10 years are up.

But let’s face it: falling asleep at 7:30 because your body won’t stay awake no matter what you do just doesn’t cut it. I’m not 90, for fuck’s sake!

Meh…Sometimes I think it would be fine to lay down, go to sleep, and never wake up. That’s how tired I am. I understand old age, if this is the way it feels. Just so damned tired every minute of every day. All you want is release. I’m so tired right now I might just go back to bed.

This sucks.

More coffee. This cup should help keep me awake for another 10 minutes.

Eight days to go before I see my rheumatologist and get more medicine. I can do that. And I’m an old hand at sleeping in my chair.

Tra. la. Life is such a joy.

I also think I might be fighting off something.

I’ll check in when I can. Try to do it more often. In the meantime, if you don’t hear from me, I’ll be asleep. Guess I should look on the bright side: I’m not smoking much at all (don’t need to) and I’m not thinking too much (can’t).

For now, the struggle is over. Off to bed. My body wins.


Disembodied Voice


I was not going to post this morning. Give myself a day off; why not? Nothing really happened yesterday.

Then I watched the documentary Child of Rage. And it got me thinking.

I lay no claim to the kind of early sexual abuse documented in the film. But once again it made me think, and think hard to see if maybe…maybe there was.

Because there’s something at the back of my brain.

Something that scares me, and always has.

And it has to do with my mother.

I do not think my mother sexually abused me. I do think my brain misinterpreted some of what happened. What I’m going to talk about next is extremely personal and extremely embarrassing. I do not want to disable the comments on this, because I do think I need some balance. Maybe even answers. But I beg you to think very carefully before saying anything below.

Early memories. While I have a very clear memory of a specific incident, my gut tells me this happened repeatedly to me. Two years old, maybe younger. I was in diapers. The skin on my butt developed sores, little pimples that were hard and painful. What I remember is laying on my back with my legs over my head. That was the position my mother put me in when she wanted to lance these things. She didn’t do it with a blade; she did it like you’d pop a pimple, by squeezing it between her fingernails. It was horribly painful. I cried hard, begged her to stop. She kept telling me it was for my own good, that she knew she was hurting me but she had to do it.

While there’s nothing overtly sexual about that memory, I remember feeling sexual. My vagina was wide open and exposed. I was extremely vulnerable.

Without the penetration, it felt like a rape. The pain, the begging for it to stop with no effect.

I remember my dad looking on, his face extremely worried. He may have even suggested my mother stop, but she would have brushed him off.

And I wonder if this incident, if the repeating nature of that ritual, was the source of my early nightmares.

I wonder if that sharp, remembered feeling of a sexual nature was the source of my early masturbation. Daily masturbation. Public masturbation.

And I wonder at the position my mother put me in. Was my diaper being changed and that’s why I was on my back with my legs in the air? Why didn’t she flip me on my stomach to get to my butt?

Why that vulnerability?

I have no answers to put into my mother’s dead mouth. I have never felt like really talking about this before, other than in passing.

It might be my first memory.

While I’ve lived my life as a heterosexual, my fantasies while masturbating remain about women. Women who rape me, hurt me.

It’s always made me wonder.

And it’s always felt shameful. And sick.

I’ve experimented with women, but none that I was actually attracted to. It was clinical and unexciting. I wasn’t aroused by the experience.

But is that because I didn’t allow myself to be with someone I was attracted to? There was one woman, long ago. We were friends. I told her, she was cool and said it was okay, and that was that. Nothing happened.

We lost touch. Probably because of me. I don’t really remember.

This is nothing I want to be discussing at 8 a.m. It’s really nothing I want to talk about, full stop. But seeing as this blog has to date been my best source of therapy…I figured I’d take a chance and lay it out.

I’m just a disembodied voice out here, after all.



Oh fuck. The page is fucking empty, and so is my head.

Had my morning swim today. Never fell into my pace. I did manage about a quarter length of full out front crawl, which I haven’t been able to do up to this point. Damn! You move fast with that stroke. I also pooped myself out with it, gasping at the end of the lane to catch my breath. But I never hit that I’m there feel, that easy up and down I can just do all day long.

If life is made up of details, I have a lot of life to live today. Little shit. Garbage, recycling. Dishes. Pick this up, put that away. Drill my Dutch verbs. Get my bed made. Listen and record the song I’ve been working on. Try to write up what I need to say to the doc on Friday. Try to write up a note to the swimming pool about people who don’t shower. Take my pills, do my abdominals. Clean up the floor BEFORE doing my abdominals. You know – life.


There’s often a however for me. Today’s however didn’t surface in my brain until just a few minutes ago, while popping out a message on my email.

My uncle sent me one of his bulk email things. He often does it; when he finds something interesting while surfing the net, he’ll ping it out to everyone in his email circle, myself included. This was a thing on Thomas Jefferson. It listed off each of Jefferson’s accomplishments and the age he achieved them. Then it had several quotes from Jefferson. That’s where I stopped. Because hidden in the quotes, as so often is in these bulk messages from my uncle, was a statement that no government should ‘take away from those willing to work and give to those unwilling to work’. In other words, no welfare or subsidized help for anyone.

What can I say? This is the guy who posted and protested any public health care while AT THE SAME TIME knowing many of his family members – his sister included – could barely make ends meet. This is also the man who leant me money when I so desperately needed it last year.

I’m just shaking my head.

But I need to bring it up because it is a fresh reminder of precisely what my family puts me through. They make strong statements that are obviously against helping anyone like myself – thereby making me feel triple guilty for having to ask them for help in the first place.

It’s sick.

Not me; I am NOT the sicko here. At least I’ve come that far; I can recognize that this is their thing, not mine. It DOES rub me the wrong way, even when I know what’s going on. And it makes it damned difficult to hold my tongue. It also makes it damned difficult for me to ask for help in the first place.

I almost want to get up and give myself a cheer right now, because despite all the difficulty I have I’ve asked for help. I’m on my way. I’ve cleared this hurdle, tho it’s still a bitch and I wish they’d just take it out of my obstacle course.

But you can’t expect other people to change. Or at least, you can’t expect them to change the way you want them to.

Oh, well done me! Well done for recognizing that, for REALIZING that. One less finger gripping that angst…

Time for me to celebrate. What do I want to do today? First thing is to turn off extraneous chaos. My brother put some jazz on when he left the room. Usually a good choice while I putter. NOT a good choice when I need to listen to my own head. Too chaotic. Give me a little quiet. Aaaaah!….

I want to see George. He was being a duck slut yesterday, receiving bread from some nobody as I walked by. I felt very put out, and I demand my session with Doctor Duck today. I also want to get my mix out of the studio today. I need to hear it on my iPod. Soak it in. I also want to annoy my neighbor a bit, who’s been too loud lately. Let ’em hear what REAL loud sounds like – complete with throbbing bass drum. YUMMY!

…Mostly today, I want to laugh. Take time for whatever. Just take the time. No rushing. No need to rush. The dishes and dust bunnies and Dutch homework aren’t going anywhere. But today! There’s only one of those. It’s precious. The sun will never shine in quite the same manner, the birds will never sing the exact same melodious song as they will today. I want to taste that, fully. Remember it. Enjoy it. Stock up on a few good memories right now.

Something else wants to be birthed. I’m sitting on another song…I can feel it. I can also feel it’s a piano thing, not a groove box thing. Interesting. Those are ALWAYS interesting for me. My groove box songs tend to drone on a killer 4 measure bit. My piano songs move everywhere. Bleeding everywhere. Last one I wrote holds 7 out of the 8 chords you could put in a Western musical scale. All in a pat 3 minute song. And it came with the lyrics. Just – BAM! It was there in about 10 minutes. I don’t expect that again. But then, I don’t EVER expect anything when I approach a piano. I just lay my hands on, close my eyes, and let my subconscious take over.

What an adventure awaits for me today! My compass has found true North. Somehow through the muddle that was, I stand clear today. Focused. The kaleidoscope has shifted, and the new pattern is breathtaking.

Treasures Uncovered, Thoughts Revealed


So after wrapping up my post yesterday I went on to do a shit load of work around the house. By 5pm I was dragging my ass, barely able to get up for some water. Dinner, two cups of evening caramel coffee. Almost asleep, fighting it, fighting it….And then 10 pm came and my eyes were wide open without a hint of the exhaustion I’d been feeling. Yippee fucking ka yay.

Good news: I’ve been uncovering my treasures. Yesterday I found BumBee, a stuffed bumble bee with a little bell inside that jangles when you move him. He was a give away at a bank, and became my best friend as a toddler. I carried him EVERYWHERE. One terrible summer after camping we couldn’t find BumBee and I cried and cried. Mom had actually got 2 BumBees and tried to give me the one she’d been saving. It was new and perfect and not BumBee at all. MY BumBee had been with me through everything. He was missing one of his antennae and a wing was torn. His stripes were worn and kind of dirty. But he was mine, all mine, and he never judged me or made me feel wrong. The new BumBee didn’t cut it, and mom and dad heard all about it in a night of heart felt sobbing. We found my original BumBee a few months afterwards: he’d hitched a ride back home in my sleeping bag. In the long run he did not survive, of course. He lived and loved and stayed with me until he fell apart. The BumBee I have is that secondary BumBee I didn’t want as a kid. He’s still colorful, still has both his antennae and wings. And I just love having him up on my shelf. I smile every time I see him. Hey – chalk one up for mom for getting the back up.

Last night I fell asleep seeing not just BumBee but so many other things I remember; the pretty flower plate I always loved, and the set of the most beautiful wine goblets ever (when I finally uncover my camera I’ll take a pic to share). I’d spent hours in the day unwrapping things, like Christmas. At first when I picked something up out of a shipping box I didn’t know what it was. As the bubble wrap unfolded recognition came. Then a gasp. Then a grin. I was surrounded by the ghosts of my mother and grandmother yesterday, telling me the history of each piece anew as my eyes saw some of them for the first time in 20 years. All of it made me think of family, think of the past, think of everything I’d heard and seen and sometimes not understood as a kid.

Two thoughts are difficult for me to even begin approaching. My head keeps skipping back to them, saying ‘yes that fits, that’s right’ and then runs back away to forgetfulness. The first is the highly probable idea that my mother suffered from narcissistic personality disorder. The second is the cold hard fact that there was physical abuse in my mother’s family.

Mom…will I ever be rid of dealing with mom? I sure as hell hope so. As far as evidence for her suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, just about everything I’ve read so far fits both for her and for me as a survivor. I’m beginning to understand WHY the first emotion I remember feeling is GUILT. You know, there’s an episode of Ab Fab I have problems watching. Usually I love Jennifer Saunders, but in Birth she pulls a face that triggers me like nothing else, ever. It’s just a second or two on screen, and the first time I saw it I cringed. I still cringe. I cringe just THINKING about the face. It’s my mother’s face. It’s a sarcastic, mean face: her lips are tight and pulled down in a grimace. I hate it. I can’t remember ANY time when I clearly remember seeing my mother’s face like that but it is SO my mother’s face. Even when I know it’s coming it stops up my breath. She MUST have done that to me and I don’t want to see it in memory. Otherwise, I don’t understand my extreme reaction to it. Mom was a fucking martyr; oh poor her for ever having fucking children to fuck up her fucking perfect fucking life! I remember a lot of sighs. Sighs when you asked mom to do something for you. Sighs when you confided a secret to her. Sighs when you told her what you were really thinking. I remember feeling punished for no reason: mom ONLY slapped me as a teen in her final moments of frustration. She did not hit me as a young child at all. Dad did the spanking/swatting across the bottom. But mom did hurt me in a lot of other ways. The day I was allowed to wash my own hair was one of the best days of my youth. Before then, mom did it. And mom filed her nails down to points. And she’d scrub, and scrub, and scrub until I was SURE she was making my scalp bleed. I’d protest and she’d tell me it was necessary; a horrible echo of what she said to me when I was very, very young and had pimples on my butt she’d pop with those same, razor sharp nails. All I kept thinking was that I must have done something WRONG to merit such treatment. It hurt and I’d cry and she wouldn’t stop because she’d say it was for my OWN GOOD.

My mother’s family was always BIG into family. There were many family reunions and reasons for everyone to drag their families out to some place for a big summer event. At these gatherings I loved to hang with my aunts and uncles for a time. They were funny people, and always telling jokes and stories about when they were growing up. “Getting the belt” became a phrase I heard and understood as a child, and in my childish understanding I equated it with the rare but memorable swats on the bottom I’d received. Now I see it differently: I see my grandfather meting out the punishment with an iron hand. My uncles and aunts never talked about how MANY hits they’d get with the belt. I always ASSUMED it was one or two. It could have been a lot more. And even if it wasn’t, how fucking BARBARIC to hit a child with a belt! Mom never joined in on the stories about the belt. Did she get more than the rest? She was the first child. I never saw any scars, and she did wear swim suits that showed her back and legs. She never had plastic surgery, either, so ergo: she was never whipped enough to leave permanent physical marks. But what about her mind?

Did mom make dad spank me as a young child because she didn’t think she’d be able to hold back and not really HURT me? I’m beginning to think that’s the case, especially since she was so physically brutal in other aspects of my life.

*sigh* It’s not like I can ask any of my aunts and uncles, either. Like they’d fucking tell me the truth! HA! I don’t believe any of them are able to handle the truth. I haven’t heard any of THEM seeking out counseling for what’s obviously a FAMILY fucking problem.

….You know, amongst the treasures I’m uncovering I’m also finding a lot of framed photos. There’s one of my grandparents before they died. I WAS going to hang it up. I don’t think I will, now. I don’t think I want to see their faces right now, just like I won’t hang any picture of my mother up. My dad, yes. Absolutely. Not my mom. Not right now. Maybe some day. But not now.