Window of opportunity has cracked open…
solitude again, at last, albeit brief…
fresh air of relief washes over my face
even as fear and apprehension taunt me.
Am I brave enough?
I’ve ruined or missed
every chance I’ve had in this life.
It’s clear I’m nothing but mass destruction,
bringing heavy misery to all I love.
Cursed like Cassandra to carry the burden
and weight of truth in a world
where only pretty lies are valued
Can I believe in myself just enough
to stop the incessant suffering I bring
There it was.
gross and grotesque
like intestines spilled out for display
at a homicide scene…
and yet beautiful enough to steal the breath from
There it was
the heart that went missing
5 agonizingly long years ago.
A Starbucks table full of older children…
I wondered why the others were turning to stare
when I saw it.
The smoke and ashes of a soul’s empire
lovingly built, brick by brick
sitting nonchalantly at a table
surrounded by friends,
who turned to stare
at the lonely old has-been crazy woman
in her car,
waiting at the drive-thru window
My very own heart
pretending it didn’t see me
purposely looking straight ahead
as its friends turned to stare…
I recognized it though.
After all, it’s my heart….
It choked my throat…
floods of hugs and kisses
long talks at the dinner table
giggles making up silly stories
and how the number 3 makes a heart
…for a reason…
There it sat,
surrounded by friends,
pretending it didn’t see me….
my very own heart…
splayed out on that table
I never existed
Maybe I never did?
Does one really exist without a heart?
So I forced a laugh, alone in my car…
trying to turn the choke of memories into laughs
hoping my empty, gaping chest
wouldn’t show itself.
I no longer
Once she wrote
flowers dangling from her pen
words dripping onto the pages
flowing from a place inside
that hid itself away
like a little girl punished in the corner
not allowed to dance or play
doing twirls in her mind
playing with friends
being loved in big warm imaginary families
inside two covers on pages that came to life
inside her mind
Writing was her interpretative dance
oozing all the hidden emotion,
dancing playfully…or lovingly…or angrily…
Now, the words spit – projectile vomit
in between heaves and gasps
8 hands choking
Choking on the very words
which beg for oxygen
thoughts dying to dance in the sunlight
choked back inside into oblivion
4 hands squeezing her heart
scrambling the flowers
4 hands ripping off the petals
She makes the best damn banana smoothies ever.. and pretends her amazing, beautiful children made them for her.
By the way, the secret is FOUR bananas , a splash of pineapple juice(I didn’t have any fresh pineapple to use), frozen vanilla yogurt and a splash of cream, fill blender with ice and blend.
Yummy. Thank you, Lexi Lou and Savannah Banana! This is the best banana smoothie EVER!
I can’t feel totally sorry for myself today on my 6th year straight of being entirely ignored and erased by the little people I grew and birthed out of my own body. Every year for the past few Mother’s Days my Aunt sends me a dozen gorgeous fragrantly delicious red roses.
I try not to let the day get to me- after all, it’s a manufactured holiday-not like birthdays or major holidays, but it does get to me…still. Mostly in the memories. And it’s everywhere anyway: the television, social media pages, radio… It’s impossible to ignore.
So I’m treating myself to the most delicious banana smoothies ever and sniffing my beautiful roses thinking how happy my children are without me and how much I would never want them to be anything but happy.
I made a little video in honor of my maternal grandmother yesterday. I had found so many old photos of her on my dad’s computer and I wanted to preserve them in the event that anything happens to me, so I figured a YouTube video would best keep them somewhere forever.
I sent the link to several family members, including my daughters before I recalled Savannah’s reply when I told her my mammaw (her great grandma) had passed and that I would pay for her and her sister to fly in for the funeral if they wanted to attend. Her reply was, “This isn’t a convenient time“.
Strange how this tiny little phrase was so very unlike my daughter and so very exactly her father. My children were sweet and thoughtful, exceedingly unselfish, and advocates for the less privileged as well as against bullying and cruelty. Nothing this child had ever said or done in the entire 13 years she was in my care would have suggested to me she would ever make such a heartless reply. Only a pathological narcissist would feel “inconvenienced” at the timing of a family member’s death enough to actually say, it’s inconvenient… I read this reply and felt literally nauseated at the striking likeness to a narcissist’s typical reaction and heartbroken deep inside at the blatant implication of what my child has become in the four years in her father’s care.
Apparently, the depth of selfishness and cruelty of a pathological narcissist does not subside, not even with death. Sad, too, that this was the only great-grandparent my children had left as far as I’m aware.
Aside from the narcissistic implications, this saddened me even further. It seems the circle of dysfunction and brokenness my mother began will have no end. Its sharp, jagged knives continue to slice into generation after generation.
My mother didn’t speak to her mother for years as I was growing up. Because of this as well as some added geographical distance, I wasn’t permitted to develop as close of a relationship with my grandmother as my cousins had. If mother didn’t like someone, her children simply were not permitted to like them either. And my mother had a plethora of various “wars” with her family members all her life and mine, which true to narcissistic form, heavily influenced my family circle and bonds (or lack thereof).
Although my mother told me many (conflicting) tales of the cause of these family alienations – all of which she was the poor victim of their cruel injustice, of course -I have been privy to facts which better and more sensibly explain the truth behind these things.
- My grandmother testified in court against my mother getting custody of my sister and I and for my father’s behalf. I’ve since discovered that this was because my mother was habitually unfaithful to my father (as well as her first husband), rarely was home with us as babies when my grandma came to visit, and because she had made it blatantly known to her entire family that she had despised me from my conception. My mammaw was quite concerned about these things when my mother left my dad for a man she’d been having an affair with. This, of course, is not at all the story my mother tells…
- My mother’s version is that my dad was gone for weeks at a time, drank every dime of his paychecks leaving us to starve to death if my mother (the selfless hero!) hadn’t worked her ass off to provide for we kids, cheated on my mother constantly, beat her, and treated her like a maid.
- Hmmm…. yet her own mother testified against her in court for custody of her children? A religious, righteous, woman raised with the deep old traditions of the south regarding marriage and motherhood?
- Another contradiction of my mother’s version of family events was that her father adored her, spoiled her, and was a righteous, good man. And yet, when he died suddenly and very young, she wasn’t “speaking to her dad” at the time and claimed to carry all this unresolved grief every year on his death anniversary. Naturally garnering a great deal of sympathy every year for this “tragic unresolved grief” she suffered. Strangely enough, a tragic loss in the midst of shunning her own father never prevented my mother from continuing her alienations of her other family members!? One would think all that unresolved tragic grief would have taught a lesson in staying mad and distant from family for unreasonably long periods of time… Not my mother though, she was mad at (and alienating) half her family for my entire childhood.
Regardless, I thought I would be the catalyst to end these sad and destructive familial fractures. Although I worried very much about my children even knowing the bitter, hateful, evil woman who despised me all my life, with my dad’s pleadings and my desire to be the bigger person, as well as my strong wish that my children have all the family possible to love them since I did not have that as a child, I allowed my mother to know my children. Mostly with an agreement with my dad that he would not ever leave them alone in her care or presence, which he agreed to (but did not honor I subsequently discovered after his death).
In yet another great display of irony, this relationship I allowed via my dad, greatly assisted in the destruction of my relationship with my daughter – a bond I truly believed could never be damaged, much less destroyed – not even by pathological narcissists like their father and my mother. I would give my children all the love, attention, and respect I did not get from my mother and in my ignorance, felt that created an unbreakable shield protecting my children and I from the dysfunctional alienation my mother had started decades earlier in our family.
It did not protect it. The strength and pathology of two narcissists with influence on vulnerable children who recently lost their patriarchal figure was evil and deceitful enough to break that bond I’d spent years building like a fragile twig. Another mistake I’ll never forgive myself for. I allowed them to even be in the presence of the deception and hatred of my mother. I allowed that, naively believing I was demonstrating being the bigger person. Even if that woman chose not to love me or be a good mother to me, how could anyone not love my amazing children? And how could I be hateful enough over her mistreatment of me to prohibit my children the luxury of having a grandma? The luxury which had been all but taken from me as a child? A luxury I had always envied other children having while I was growing up? I could not then, in good conscience, keep my children from having every ounce of love and affection from all the people in the world.
So, now they have all the love in the world, except they’re void of any affection, compassion, or love for their own mother. Thus, my mother’s legacy of dysfunctional alienation lives on in spite of my attempt to discontinue it.
And after all, death is just so very inconvenient for the living, isn’t it?
I know the weight of the world,
never getting anything right,
I know whippings and the snide rip of my flesh stinging with bewildering confusion for my crime,
I know the desperate longing to belong,
and the relentless ache to be loved.
I know hate without cause
and wondering why…
I am a rape survivor.
I know helpless.
I know disempowerment,
the emotionless vacancy in blank eyes,
I know the feel of odd objects thrust inside me
and the tearing of flesh from the inside
I know terror
and wondering why…
I am a domestic violence survivor.
I know caking makeup to hide black eyes,
I know the sting of broken noses, the bruising of ribs,
I know the bloody lips, chipped teeth, bald spots,
I know the cuts, scrapes… the not-so-delicate finger shaped bruises adorning my neck.
I know fear and the impossibility of walking on eggshells
and wondering why…
I am the daughter of a loving father.
I know unconditional love from a distance.
I know big southern breakfasts
and daddy’s that laugh til their whole belly jiggles
I know feeling my mistakes were forgiven
and the feeling of home.
I am a momma
I know singing lullabies with babies breath in my face
I know the peace of watching a child sleep in safety and contentment.
I know giggles and token rocks as priceless gems.
I know chasing away bad dreams
and mending little hearts
with sweet kisses and gooey cookies,
fairy dancing and pretty dresses.
I know tiny hands reaching confidently for mine
and feeling strong for the first time,
knowing I’d rather die than allow this child pain.
I am a targeted parent.
A cancer that grows stronger with every word or action.
I know helpless.
I know worthless.
I know empty.
I know hopeless.
I know how it feels to be vilified,
persecuted, falsely accused,
Without a voice, a prayer, or a single hope.
I am an erased momma.
I know of everything I know,
of this , I am no survivor.
I know parental alienation by narcissists
killed me in the end.
Killed by obliteration; insidious erasure of all that was my past, present, and future.
She opened the blinds to let the sunshine in the way her father had every day all his years.
She can’t feel sunshine anymore but somehow it’s important to open them because he never failed to.
She limped to her car. Not entirely sure which part of the limp was paralysis versus the recently acquired broken bones.
One socked gimp-like broken foot and a sandal on the other. She’d given up trying to be beautiful a long time ago.
It’s the second time in her memory in which she’s been grateful for the ability to walk again. This time, far less dramatic than the first, but the depth of gratitude is strikingly similar.
She could never have asked someone to pick this up at the store for her; that seemed inherently wrong.
It’s sunny today as she drives to the little local store. She takes a moment to be grateful to have a car. She can’t feel the sun, but she’s grateful it’s out today.
In the store, she knows right where to go as she’s cased out this necessary item which is last on her list.
She offers an empty gestured smile and waits for the older lady standing where she needs to go to finish. Not wanting to appear impatient or rude, she pretends to browse the aspirins and cold medicines as she waits.
She calculates on her phone the math required , double checks, and takes a moment to be grateful there is plenty in stock and enough remaining on the shelf left for any who may need it.
She’s never been comfortable taking the last of anything.
She limps to the register, stopping briefly to look at new chap sticks she’s not seen before. Her lip balm addiction is severe. She ponders, then decides she has plenty of lip balm already.
She passes the wine selection and wonders if she deserves wine. Hmmm…
No, she does not.
Wine belongs to lively people, hopeful hearts, gatherings of friends, and good mothers. She doesn’t fit it any of those categories now.
She doesn’t even try to fit in them anymore.
Once home, with all the curtains opened as they should be, she gathers the ingredients and puts them all stacked neatly on the mantle.
It’s now the only thing neat and orderly in her house so she takes care and pride in their orderly presentation.
She doesn’t know when. Maybe Mother’s Day would be appropriate as the thought of yet another of those passing by fills her last teeny tiny empty crevices with dread.
She feels there’s something profound to be said but she no longer has access to profundity. She has become a “see spot run” version of her former mind; a flat, used up crayon of her former creativity. The edges aren’t sharp enough to comprehend corners and intricacies and staying inside the lines is impossible.
This one’s a hard one to force out. Even anonymously, I feel nauseated at the thought of sharing such horrifying intimacies of my horrific flaws.
I’m of the opinion though that I must write of it though, and especially because it’s so hideous and shameful. I must blare it out somewhere in the universe so it can be known that I admitted even the most mortifying true aspects of my unworthiness.
I peed in a parking lot. Actually, I’ve peed in many bizarre places in my life. I’ve peed in bushes, I’ve peed my pants, I’ve peed on dates, I’ve peed the bed. I’ve peed while sleeping. I’ve peed while awake. I’ve peed myself while drunk. I’ve peed myself while sober….
I recently read Sarah Silverman’s biography, The Bedwetter, and I confess, it’s helped me have the courage to openly (albeit anonymously!) address my personal issue with this. For the first time ever, I realized I’m not the only one who suffers from such unwanted struggles! So here goes nothing…
My bladder sucks! My bladder sucks so badly that I’d be willing to bet the only way it could be worse is if I had no bladder at all. And even then, I could pee safely in a bag I carried around…. so, maybe that’s not actually “worse”.
My bladder is a cruel bitch. However, I refuse to offer excuses about that here. I have zero excuses, but I very much want a platform to be free to discuss the myriad of bullshit behind my stupid fucking horrible bladder. It may seem like a black and white issue, but I assure you, it is not. This issue has more shades of grey than those Christian Grey books. Yet, not once have I had the opportunity to discuss it beyond “yes, I did pee in a parking lot. Yes, I have a weak bladder”, so fuck it, I deserve to tell the rest of the story behind this confounding, humiliating, and unreliable bladder of mine.
Not that the why’s or story behind this matter for what is or change what is. What is, just is.
1st shades of grey:
- I had chronic bladder and kidney infections as a small child.
- I was the dreaded child to take on road trips because I had to pee every 10 miles and couldn’t hold it very long or very well.
- I was very slow to stop bedwetting and to train myself to wake in the night to pee. I didn’t kick this fully until around 6 years old. (I was very proud of myself when I finally did!)
- Incidentally, there has been much research which indicates that children in an abusive, scary home struggle with bedwetting and bladder problems longer than the average child.
2nd shades of grey:
- After I was molested in the 1st grade, I started having night time accidents again and occasional day time accidents as well. This continued well into my teens and was a huge source of embarrassment. By around 16, I had it mostly under control again aside from occasional accidents which accompanied night terrors.
- At 17, I was gang raped by three older boys from my school. They not only raped me with their penises, they also thrust random objects inside me. This did a tremendous amount of damage to my urethra, cervix, vaginal tissue, and you guessed it, my bladder. The damage was so extensive, the gynecologist suggested it highly likely that I possibly would not even be able to carry a child to term later in life. I also suffered a concussion from this event.
- After the gang rape, my bladder issues resurrected with full and added force, as did my night terrors.
- I met my first boyfriend 3 months after the gang rape. He was charming, fun, and very loving, except when he beat me. After the initial domestic assault at 18, the assaults averaged once of twice a month. I dated the man for 2 years. Throughout those two years, I suffered three diagnosed concussions and the emergency room physician who examined me the last time he beat me, suggested the possibility that I’d had more concussions which were undiagnosed because I didn’t come in for treatment.
- By my early to mid 20’s, I was back to only the random accidents…usually only accompanied with night terrors or extreme emotionally and psychologically stressful events.
3rd shades of grey:
- My boyfriend at 24 (my children’s father) was physically abusive on occasion as well. Not as frequently as my high school boyfriend, but every bit as violent when it did occur. I believe it highly likely I suffered at least two undiagnosed concussions in the duration of this relationship. I didn’t go for treatment after these incidents or call the police because I didn’t want to get him in any trouble and possibly be the reason he might lose his job.
- I had an acute ischemic stroke at 26, paralyzing the entire left side of my body. Among a plethora of other obvious issues, my bladder issues resurrected yet again. At this point, in addition to the physical damage, the night terrors, and the lifelong effects of PTSD, my brain literally lost its ability to communicate effectively with my bladder.
- Over time and various neurological and physical therapies, I’m back to #4 in the “2nd shades” section with some added complications. On most days, I typically can force my brain to communicate somewhat with my bladder, but if I’m quite stressed, especially fearful, or overly fatigued, the communication is difficult at best. Often, by the time my brain is alerted that my bladder is full, it’s a race to get to the bathroom in time. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I can’t. In addition, the residual weakness and imbalance on my left side from the stroke hastens my ability to walk quickly to the bathroom and I no longer can run at all without falling.
- I still struggle with bedwetting when I have night terrors, which can be brought on by stress, fatigue, or highly emotional or frightening events. I exist in a state of chronic PTSD since my father passed and my children turned against me.
It’s my fault. It isn’t my fault. None of that matters. It is what it is. My bladder and my brain have apparently been at odds since I was born and beyond that, life has not been kind to my brain nor my bladder.
Yes, I peed in an empty parking lot once with my 15 year old daughter in the car. I have also peed in empty fields and woods throughout the 15 years my children lived with me. Once, I even peed my pants while driving my car on the interstate when I couldn’t get to a bathroom exit in time. My children knew well of my bladder troubles, perhaps not the extenuating causes of the struggle but they watched me for years – me, trying to get to a bathroom in time and terrified I would not make it. I always tried to laugh this off with my kids out of embarrassment for how deep the struggle really was for me.
My oldest daughter chose to tell her dad, my mother, and her dad’s attorney (and subsequently an entire courtroom via dad’s attorney) only about the parking lot incident; using that as evidential proof that I am an alcoholic.
In court, I did not go into detail about my bladder issue or its extenuating causes. I was mortified and ashamed and could barely muster up the voice to say, “Yes, I have struggled with a weak bladder all my life”. In hindsight, I realize it’s good I couldn’t summon up the courage to go into further detail anyway, as things like my stroke, my rapes, and the domestic violence I tolerated were already going to be used as nails in my “bad, bad, worthless momma” coffin anyway.
Lexi has also thrown the parking lot peeing incident in my face every time we’ve talked in the five years they’ve been gone, citing it as clear evidence of how horrible of a mother I really was. Were I even able to get her to listen to the various shades of grey which surround my lifelong bladder issues (which I’m not able to do), I know she would simply scoff, cut me off mid-sentence, and say I’m just throwing out excuses for being an alcoholic, making myself out as the victim again, and just trying to manipulate her by garnering up pity.
I suppose we could just sum all this up to say, quit making excuses for yourself Chloe and just accept the dirty fucking truth.
The simple truth is, women with heinous crimes like bad bladders should not be allowed to be mothers.
*Sheerly as a side note: While I carried both my children inside my body, the two traits of mine I fervently begged God not to curse them with were my big feet and my awful bladder. My prayers were answered. Neither of them suffer from either of those curses. YAY! They’re the luckiest ones after all!
I birthed two children but I am not a momma.
I was born but I have no parents.
I’m rich but I have no money.
I’m employed but I have no work.
I’ve given all I have but I’m selfish.
I’m a disgusting bitch if I stand up for myself but I’m a pathetic doormat who deserves what she gets if I don’t.
I’m a woman but I can’t have sex.
I tell the truth but I am a liar.
I have a heart but I can’t love anymore.
I’m over 21 but I can’t drink.
I’m alive but I have no life.
I have a house but I don’t belong anywhere.
I’m a friend but I have no friends.
I have vocal cords but I can’t be heard.
I have skin, blood, and bones but I’m invisible.
I’m no one of any account.