Complete culpability

Thank you for loving me, Daddy.

Thank you for loving me, Daddy.

It’s pity party time. I’ve officially spent my second birthday and the second anniversary of my dad’s death alone. Without one single phone call on either day…not a “checking in to see how you are”, not a “hey, I’m thinkin of you”…not a single friend or family member thought of me on the two most significant days of my life: my birth and the day I lost the only love I was ever going to know.

After 44 years of life, millions of friends, several boyfriends, one husband, and two children of my own, I now realize what I feared most from my earliest days is literally true. My mother, my sister and all those other people over 44 years couldn’t ALL be wrong about me; I’m not someone who can be loved. I’m just not…
I suppose I could write of how it’s my mother’s fault. How being raised by a narcissistic sociopathic woman damaged me so cruelly, left me with huge holes in my soul that can’t be filled, making me so desperate and needy for the one thing that scared me most, love. I found it crazy ironic to discover at 26 that I have a flap in my heart which doesn’t close properly. What a perfect description of me…it was almost an explanation at last for what I am that I can’t seem to help or change. The pieces of me that are so just wrong that they’ll never be right finally made literal, physical sense when the doctors told me that back when I was pregnant with Savannah Grace.

I suppose I could write how it’s other people’s fault, as well. How being so painfully insecure and desperately needy for love and approval for as long as I can remember being alive led me directly to the kinds of people who would manipulate and abuse that…furthering the unlovable clause I was born with. Seriously, WHO gets molested as a 6 year old by a teacher and a babysitter? And WHO is ridiculous enough to get raped *three* times in 44 years? And WHO is blessed enough to have had so many wonderful men profess the most beautiful depths of undying love and still ends up alone? What kind of idiot runs so fast and so often over a lifetime from the very thing she has been praying for since the tender age of 4? I certainly could never convince myself that it was all THEM…that there was something inadequate with every one of THEM. No, the common denominator there is me…and only me. I chased, pushed, argued, and crazied every one of them away from me, even the most tenacious of them. I could try to blame any one of a hundred girlfriends who shit on me, stabbed me in the back, devastated and used me…..but again, who’s the common denominator there? Me.

And what about my daddy? I was fortunate that my mother kicked me out with just a trash bag full of clothes at 16 for lying about smoking a cigarette. Thus, I spent the majority of my life, from 16 to 42, with a most amazing parent who demonstrated love, acceptance, kindness, honesty, integrity, and joy. So many children don’t have that kind of example or love in their life from ANY where growing up, at ANY age. Hell, I was fortunate that my daddy somehow always found the strength and ability to love me at all. Why didn’t that fix those fucking holes I was born and raised with? Not everyone who is unloved by her mother is blessed enough to be unconditionally loved by her father. If the cause of this unending and irreparable unlovability issue isn’t ME, at my very core, then that shower of my daddy’s true blessings would have repaired that. It should have, right?

Yes, it should have. It would have. If it wasn’t me, my fault, my issue, my fault, my inadequacy…mine, mine, MINE.

I’ve never felt good trying to blame any of this on other people anyway. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, I’ve just never been the person who could blame someone for anything at all really and feel confident it wasn’t really my fault. When the teacher molested me at 6, I even felt guilty when he got in trouble…even at that tender age; I felt it was me, my fault. After all, I had actually appreciated the special attention he had always given me, hadn’t I? I had looked forward to his smiles in the elementary school hallways that made his face beam whenever he saw me….it actually made me think of my daddy’s huge grin whenever I got to see HIM! And my favorite was the day he lifted me up to drink from the big drinking fountain. I had appreciated feeling special to a grown-up who saw me every day and still seemed to think I was someone special in this world. I would have never told on him intentionally. Not EVER! And I really didn’t want him to get in so much trouble either. Somehow, even way back then, at such a young and innocent age, I just knew it was my fault. Everything was my fault, so that had to be too. All three times I was raped, no matter how cruelly, I still felt deep down it was my fault…that I HAD gotten what I deserved. And I think I was always afraid to tell my mother because I knew she would be sure to bring that to my attention immediately and then all doubt of me “not deserving” to be raped would be totally eliminated. Hell, somehow I’ve been “asking for it” since the age of 6! I’m sure at 17 and older, I was REALLY asking for it. I just wanted to blame them because I never figured out HOW I “asked for it” and thus, couldn’t figure out how to stop “asking for it”. I only blamed them in my own mind out of frustration that I couldn’t fix what had always been wrong with me.

I’ve never minded taking the blame for things, actually I usually prefer it. After all, if it’s MY fault, then I can fix it. If it’s not, then I’m powerless to ever get it right. And yet, in spite of years of therapy, and so many wonderful years with a loving father, a zillion self-help books and strategies, I’ve never been successful at fixing it. And I still don’t feel satisfied trying to put the blame on other people for anything really… It’s been my life problem as long as I can remember; therefore, it’s still MY problem. My ex-husband even said to me once, “NO one in this world has such chronic shitty luck as you. The shit that happens to you regularly, just doesn’t happen to anyone…not even one of then usually, much less a lifetime of them!?” He was so right. I’ve always known that deep inside too. It’s me…it’s GOT to be. There is no other logical explanation. Hell, my mother abused the hell out of me physically, mentally, and verbally for 26 years and I was STILL desperate for her to love me. I’ve counseled so many children whose parents were fiercely abusive and still, they loved them and would do anything for their love. Me? I have two children who tossed me AND my love in the garbage without a second thought or one single look back to just wave good-bye….just threw me in the trash like the worthless garbage I’ve always been. And in spite of all my mistakes and failings as a mother and a human being, I gave those two children the very best of anything good I have ever had inside me to give, which was still apparently utterly worthless.

And since it seems to get worse the harder I’ve tried to repair whatever this is I was born with, what does that even really mean? If I own it all, I still can’t fix it; if I blame everyone else, I can’t fix it either.
I have so many of my daddy’s amazing qualities…deep down I think, where most can’t see them, but I have them dammit! So, why don’t they make me and my life even a fraction as valuable as my daddy was in this world to almost everyone who ever met him? Why can’t I fix what’s wrong with me?

Why?

I realized recently that I’ve never really been afraid to die… Well, as a mom I was because I felt my children deserved to know the love and nurturing of a mother…the love I never knew and started my desperate journey toward a life of failure lacking. Other than that, I never was afraid to die though. Obviously, my greatest fear is living. And figuring out why I’ve been forced to do something for 44 years that I’m just not able to do well. I’d rather not do something at all, than try for 44 years just to get worse and worse at the effort.

I did always hope that someday, before he passed or I did, I’d have the opportunity to deserve to matter in this world by giving back to my daddy somehow. I always told him, “someday Daddy, I’m going to get myself together and do something REALLY amazing for you to repay all you’ve ben and done for me over my life time”. It still wouldn’t have ever been enough, but I really always hoped I’d have that opportunity and ability someday. I didn’t. He is gone and I’m still fucking alive and every bit as unworthy, useless, and unlovable as the day I was born.

I’m sorry Daddy. I’m sorry I didn’t get it together in time to return your wonderfulness to you even a little bit. I’m really sorry. I know it made no difference to you whatsoever, but it really would have made the world of difference to me.

It seems so cruel. So much death all around me over the last two years since my daddy passed. All these beloved people and children dying and leaving behind heartbroken masses of hurting folks who loved and admired them. Yet, on and on and on I go…. 44 years of nothing but worthless efforts to somehow give the world what I always dreamed of. A life of nothing; worth nothing, for nothing, meaning nothing. No one notices or cares I’m alive and who can blame them? I don’t. So, why does God take the cherished ones and leave the insignificant failures to continue being a burden.

Yet, on I go…

The Death of Muchness

It's all empty.

It’s all empty.

It is a cruel irony that after 43 years of begging for love, begging to be deemed “worthy” of love, life, existence, the right to have feelings and thoughts, to count as a human being in this world I never requested to be brought into….
That I give up because I don’t. I don’t deserve those things. I can’t even give birth to anyone who will believe the nonsense hope I’ve been holding onto since my earliest memory… That I, too, am worthwhile.
I don’t know why God or whoever, put me here…a punching bag of regret and ridiculous dreams I guess…a cautionary tale in why not to love or hope or believe we all matter, each and every one. I make the easiest target. Hell, it’s not even sport!
He came to me last night… out of the very same deep blue abyss from where I starting losing my muchness. Imagine that?
I think it’s been since October that I saw him last… No communication whatsoever between then and now. …until last night. Until last night…gosh, that could be THE defining description of the past eight years of him! Until last night… Until last night… Until last night…
And I can’t possibly know why. I know how – via cab. I know what – nothing but a moment. I know where – right here. I will never know why though. Why last night? Why after all this time again? Why…? Why me? Why not she? Or that one? Or this one here? Why?
And that defining moment of which I’ve now had 1,462,892 and chosen the same definition again and again. Ugh…fuck that moment dammit AND my stuck-like-a-skipping-record repeated choice.
And driving him to his truck this morning, I ask myself the question, why? Do I even feel anything anymore? Once upon a time, I was simply trying to hold desperately to my muchness. My muchness is long gone now, so why?
The physical element isn’t totally gone…so is that my why? Without my muchness, even that physical aspect is altered from before. It is good, but not the phenomenon it was with my love, hope, faith, and muchness. Now, it is simply what it is, which is nothing. Nothing whatsoever.
The good part is, I can take it or leave it finally…so “taking it” actually feels like a choice, an option. And, it is good to feel it won’t kill me either way. Can’t kill that which is already dead.
Yes, I am dead. At this point, it is all just borrowed moments. Tiny flashing moments borrowed from a collection of my muchness memorabilia. So… why?
Why not? What matters is gone and the rest…well, it just doesn’t matter either way.

Confession…

I was unfaithful.  I cheated myself, my children, my heart, my faith, my hope, my spirit, my character.  Not only that, but I cheated Dave and worse yet, I cheated all of these things from him as well.  I cheated every one of everything that was right and good in our lives.

As with anything and everything, there is certainly more to the story and sometimes in fleeting moments of denial, I can comfort myself with those factual, but sad and pathetic extenuating circumstances, but for the most part, I cannot.

Is it wrong to have thoughts at times which say, “Surely there was something he did wrong before the infidelity…”  I would actually attempt to distort something (anything) he once did or maybe once said even just one single time that was slightly unkind or perhaps alluded to some kind of future abuse or psychosis….

Nothing.

And many have said to me there must have been something?  There had to have been.  You couldn’t have been truly happy or it wouldn’t (couldn’t!) have happened. 

Nope.  Clear as a miserable bell, I know I was very happy.  I knew it then (can’t blame this on hindsight either).  I know it now.

Too happy?  So happy it didn’t seem possible to realistically maintain?   Yeah…frighteningly happy?  Like when you go to a horror movie and the happy music is playing and there’s sunshine, laughter, security abounding and you wait on the edge of your seat, heart beating, pulse racing, and your logic silently screaming, “It’s coming!”   You know any second something horribly tragic is going to explode on the screen.  It must.  You don’t want it to come but something in you knows you really do want it because that’s what you’ve ultimately come to the cinema to see, right?  After all, you’ve specifically asked for this tragedy with the price of your ticket. 

That  kind of happiness.  Scary happy.  Waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop-happy.

Only it never did.  And it surely had to… Right?

So, it seems I forced it to drop.  Was the anticipation too much?  Did the happy part go on and on so long that my heart couldn’t take the wait anymore?  Was logic screaming so loudly at me that I couldn’t relax in that kind of happy?  Had life taught me too well already that this was only possible in fairy tales? My life certainly had never been anything near fairy tale quality.  I was no long-lost beloved princess finally saved from all the evils of the world by my fair prince who had been looking for me all his life.  There was no way this existed on any plane of reality possible for me…

There were no signs of impending doom.  There was no cruel undertone in something he even once casually said in a quiet or controlling voice. There were no sarcastic words; no subtle insults to my character, my appearance, or my intelligence, phrased as a “joke” so as to make it acceptable to keep me in my place or put me down sub-consciously.  …except in my logic.  In my brain and my experiential wisdom there was always this little nudge.  Nudge, nudge – another day full of kindness has passed… another day of sincerely spoken compliments, loving gestures, and sweet-nothings has passed… the music of my logic is getting scarier and scarier… Da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum…playing faster and faster.  The bad guy is coming.  The moment of tragedy is hanging in limbo directly over your head.  It’s just hanging there waiting around till you feel so safe and comfortable that it’s definitely not coming…for full, tragic effect, you know…

I might even be able to convince myself that this is only the hind-sight story of a romantic hopeful, the rose-colored version of falling in love where nostalgia and regret fade the facts and amplify the colors of happiness to such a vibrant shade that the bad stuff disappears into oblivion.  Except, I was so overly aware of this unrealistic happiness that I spoke regularly of it to my dad, whom I knew would understand that this wasn’t logically possible.  Whom I expected to point out the tiny ugly realities I HAD to be missing throughout this experience.  And even he couldn’t.  My wise and all-too logical father could only continually remind and reassure me that I deserved this happiness and offer advice to me to accept it or else by looking so hard for the ugly, I would eventually make something ugly happen. 

What?  Make it happen??  That’s not possible!  I’m gloriously happy.  No person desperate for happiness, like me, would ever create the very unhappiness they fear and dread from a gift so pure and beautiful it must be directly from God.  That’s just some psychological mumbo-jumbo!  No one in their right mind, finally experiencing happy without a single sign of impending doom on the horizon would sabotage such beauty, such intoxicating joy of life, such a sense of security and love.  NO….don‘t be silly!

Hindsight does, though, strongly indicate to me that there was another sneaky element going on through this.  One I could never have anticipated or braced myself to handle.  The sneakiest of subtle sabotage tactics, so very tricky that it just hung out in the corner recesses of my mind, innocently playing all alone and not mingling ever with the other thoughts and fears which were obvious enough for me to ask advice from those wiser than I. Quietly gaining power and strength…

I am not worthy…

This sneaky element of sub-conscious sabotage actually came out in the light only once.

Right around maybe the sixth month marker, we had gone for a few drinks away from the crowd of friends, romantically alone, and were laughing and enjoying ourselves.  Having a nice traditional date in out-of-the-way places where we could adore each other uninterrupted by the “Ahh you two lovebirds make the rest of us sick!” And I was loving every minute of this until it dawned upon me.  Maybe this was even the first moment I ever had seen my happiness so very clearly and felt it to the core of my being, minus the what-if’s and can’t-be’s.  And I said to him, “What is this?  I’ve never known anything like this.  It can’t be real, can it?  And if it is, there’s no way I deserve this much.  Here is why….” And I commenced to tell him why I didn’t deserve this…deserve him, deserve genuine love…

And then he said one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard anyone say in my life that wasn’t written in a song, a book, or a movie…

…He said, “Every single horrible thing that has happened to you or me, every single bad choice or mistake we might have made in our pasts, every single thing right wrong, good or bad, has brought us right here right now.  And we have to just be grateful for it ALL and know that this was why it ALL happened exactly as it did.  If not for that exactly, whatever it may have been, we would not be here with each other right now in this exact moment, having this.”

I choked up. A huge lump in my throat developed, my eyes stung and threatened to cry as every horror-movie moment of my past flashed across my mind and I saw every path of it leading me, sometimes even forcing me to this moment with him.  He was so wise and so right.  He could see more broadly than I.  My devotion, my respect, my gratitude, my understanding quadrupled in that moment, with those stunning words of amazingly insightful wisdom.  And suddenly everything made sense.  Everything.  Every pain and every struggle from my earliest memory I could instantly and directly connect to the events (forced or otherwise) which led me to RIGHT HERE, directly to HIM. A million individually ugly tiny puzzle pieces of time dropped at once, snapped into place, and created a gorgeous sunrise shimmering with love and happiness.  And I could think of each one and actually FEEL each and every one of them as reasons to be grateful for it all.

I loved his simplicity…adored it even, amidst my confounding and irritating contradictions.  And it was in this moment that I realized his “simplicity” wasn’t so simple after all.  I saw him in an entirely new light of love and blessings. And it was also then that I began to fully realize that this might indeed be real…that perhaps the other shoe was not ever going to kick me in the face after all.  A most beautiful moment…  Or the beginning of the end?

Less than a year later and ironically while singing his praises, my blessings, and this very theory of deserved, “everything happens for a reason” happiness, I cheated. 

Yes………. I cheated.

Tweet-tweet memories

Early morning,  birds chirping….so many memories…

She was a junior in college, working the swing shift at a casino in Mississippi…driving home with Jennifer at 4 am, laughing,  feeling so brave, fresh, young, self-confident, and maybe just a teensy bit cocky!  Arriving home at daybreak and lulled to sleep by tiny spirited chirps.  Birds chirping sweetly mean freedom and independence and they whisper softly to you in your dreams that life is just beginning…

Later, she was married…waiting and worrying through sleepless nights for him to arrive home safely.  Sitting up with exhaustion night after night as she heard the birds sweetly start chirping, like an alarm clock confirming another full night of his absence…wondering why…  Wondering what…  Remembering his stories of frighteningly excessive cocaine use and bird chirping confessions regarding his first wife.  Realizing that this alarm clock no longer brought happy thoughts of freedom and a life unwritten, full of opportunities to create future happy memories.  Now this charming sound indicated it was long past time to lock the door.  Yes.  Lock the door.  Birds chirping sweetly mean your husband is still using drugs and your marriage might be a terrible mistake.

Some years and a nasty divorce later, she often stayed at his house.  Him….the only him for her.  The one who brought joy to her simplest thoughts and hope from her worst fears.  The one who showed her how  to smile while sleeping and taught her to wake with excitement and promise…the only one. She loved that he would wake early and go fishing…  Birds chirping sweetly as nature’s background music as he made love to her.  He hated leaving her alone in his bed and simply had to have her in the wee early mornings when watching her sleep made him want her more than anything else in the world… Sometimes it seemed more like a dream and the gentle chirping reassured her this was no dream….he was real and he loved her.  Kissing her softly on her still sleepy mouth before he left, she would linger in the land between dreams and reality waiting for sleep to return….knowing that when she next awoke it would be to his adoring smile and passionate, I-missed-you-so-much-before-the-sun-came-up this morning wake-up kisses.  Birds chirping sweetly mean that you are the luckiest, most loved and adored woman on earth and bring millions of kisses….kisses that taste like falling deeply in love  and smell like the fresh ocean breeze.

A newlywed’s conversation

It was 2 days since the wedding.  A simple, beautiful wedding in a tiny white gazebo in the park over-looking the big lake, gorgeous summer day, fresh green grass, and even a few butterflies attended the ceremony. Understated and simple, the bride wore a white sundress and the groom wore khakis and a white linen shirt.  Other than the butterflies, it was attended only by immediate family… The perfect casual summer wedding!

A well-loved and favorite memory of this wedding, for the bride, would always be the groom’s mother hugging her so warmly immediately following the ceremony. She whispered in the newly married girl’s ear,  

I finally have the daughter I’ve always wanted! Thank you! 

As a girl without a mother, this was particularly precious to the bride and made the day even that much more perfect.

The wedding night was not so perfect, but that’s another story altogether.  The couple didn’t go on honeymoon…that was not in the budget and this really didn’t matter much to either of them.

Two days after the wedding, the newly wedded bride is speaking on the phone early in the morning with her mother-in law and discussing various things like the children and the wedding.  God was always a big part of these conversations she had with her husband’s mother too. The bride appreciated this and valued not only having a “mother” at last, but one who could provide such guidance and support on spiritual matters. She felt truly fortunate and blessed!

During the conversation, “Mom” starts explaining that she keeps the picture of her son and his ex-girlfriend up in their living room for the child’s sake because she wants her 5-year-old grandson to have happy memories of his mom and dad together.  Something about this statement feels just a little strange to the bride.  She’s not at all jealous of her husband’s ex girlfriend, after all they had broken up many years earlier, long before she had known him.  So she doesn’t mind the picture staying up, there’s just something that feels a little funny about the conversation when “Mom” says this and she can’t quite put her finger on what exactly it is.  So she smiles into the phone and says, I think that’s a wonderful idea!  Children need to have memories of their mother and father together.  It’s probably a really good idea to do that for <grandson>.

Having shrugged off that weird feeling, the conversation continues as it had and the bride is practically gushing with love, adoration, and gratitude at this great relationship with this Godly woman, who is now actually her “mother”.  Ohhhh so blessed!!

Toward the end of the conversation, “Mom” revisits the photo subject.  She adds,

I really don’t want to take that picture down anyway.  They really looked so great together, you know?  Everyone always said what a beautiful couple they were, but I was always quick to remind the kids that looks aren’t everything.  A relationship can’t be maintained on just looking so perfect together.

The bride says quietly, Yes, I agree.

“Mom” says, Still, no one could ever argue that they sure did make the most beautiful couple!

Not so sure what response is appropriate here and feeling terribly uncomfortable at this moment, the bride decides to end the conversation and go attend to the children.

Thanks so much for talking this morning.  I’m so happy and blessed that I finally have a “mom”!  I love you. Have a beautiful day!

Spring morning and tragedy

After the long dead silence of winter, I love waking up, snug in my bed, to the sound of birds chirping… It sounds like renewal, a fresh slate.  Out with the old, wet, heavy, drudgery of snow and ice and in slides the hint of soft green grass under my naked feet and sunshine that longs to warm my skin.  It’s incredible!

This morning, I wake up just a few glorious moments before my alarm yells at me (and that is one of my favorites by the way…waking up naturally) and I think of the recent tragedy.  It’s ironically the beautiful renewal of spring which brings me to this horrible question…

Why would such a successful, talented young man with a beautiful young family, choose to end his life?  This tragedy weighs heavily on my heart because of my own fights against the tyranny of depression and the weariness that sometimes takes hold, telling me I don’t have  the strength, desire or reason to keep trudging along through this life.  Now, I think of him, where he is now, what created such a tragic degree of sadness in him…….and his family….  What he has left his family with gnaws at my insides like sharp little teeth of would-be guilt for my own indulgence in sometimes thinking of that kind of thing as a solution.

I wish I had known him better, although under the circumstances I can’t imagine that would ever have been appropriate in my society.  Had I known him better, would I have recognized the similar burden of dark thought that we shared, the danger zone we both visited?  Could I have made any difference? Would I have even seen or been able to help, if I had? 

This is the fourth suicide that has touched my life.  This one just hides along the edges, close enough to touch me, yet too far away still to feel any literal responsibility.  Suicide hurts so many, so much more than the actual victim.  Its like a ripple of darkness through an already messed-up world…a ripple of darkness so solid and massive that it trips all who merely know of it, like waking in the night and stumbling over an unseen object that’s not supposed to be there.  And although my own toe feels like I stumbled directly on it even just in my safe perimeter (a subtle throbbing my mind returns to again and again), I can’t possibly imagine how his family feels.

God, please wrap that family in love, compassion, and a massive healing light of  white and an energy of warm, yellow hope.  Please send them the hope of hummingbirds.

Hummingbird

This morning, I sat outside alone enjoying my coffee and solitude…and sunshine in Las Vegas… Wanting to write, but feeling too disconnected from my creative source to actually pin point any topic or capture my fleeting thoughts…

Suddenly, i look up and a hummingbird has paused mid-flight and seemed to stop, turn and look directly at me!!  I don’t know much of hummingbirds, so i wonder then, do they perhaps fly sideways and so it just happened to pause directly in front of me, appearing as though it stopped to look a me? 

Intrigued by this random little momentary visit, I google the symbology of humminbirds and am delighted to find wonderfully inspirational and positive possible meanings of this bird:

WikiAnswers says:  “Hummingbirds, called new world birds cause they are native to North America, Central and South America, are considered to be symbols of peace, love and happiness, moreover, ancient pagans held them sacred for their tireless energy and anxiety. In Native American culture, a hummingbird symbolizes timless joy and the Nectar of Life. It’s a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible and will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances.  They are really spectacular birds, and have a lot to teach a person about self discovery and healing.”

Animal totem says:  “The Hummingbird animal totem is a messenger of hope and jubilation.Hummingbirds are signs of:

  • energy
  • vitality
  • joy
  • renewal
  • sincerity
  • healing
  • persistence
  • peace
  • infinity
  • agility
  • playfulness
  • loyalty
  • affection

And Wikia.com says:   “The hummingbird symbolizes many different concepts. Because of its speed, the hummingbird is known as a messenger and stopper of time.

The hummingbird is a messenger.

It is also a symbol of love, joy, and beauty. The hummingbird is also able to fly backwards, teaching us that we can look back on our past. But, this bird also teaches that we must not dwell on our past; we need to move forward. When the hummingbird hovers over flowers while drinking nectar, we learn that we should savor each moment, and appreciate the things we love.”

Beautifully inspiring!!