Monthly Archives: September 2016

Momming: One Day At A Time

I had a conversation several months ago with an old friend. He was talking about how fantastic his mom is and how she has always been at his side through everything. Good or bad, his mom has loved and supported him through everything. I’m lucky enough to know her. She is as amazing as he says.

She is compassionate and empathetic and loving and supportive, no matter what he did or didn’t do. She is and continues to be his biggest cheerleader, and is always there for him whenever he needs her. And, he needs her a lot. He calls on her a lot. More than other men his age. But, he is never alone in this world, or standing by himself anywhere, because he always has her.

She is always a call away. She shows up, picks him up, and talks him up no matter the circumstances.

So, as he spoke of her, because I know her, I agreed as he professed gratitude.  He made promises to take care of her and make her life easier, and I nodded. She deserves to be taken care of, she’s been a wonderful mother. She’s hard working, generous with her heart, and fiercely independent. It’s time for her load to be lightened by a greatful son.

“I’m so lucky. So fortunate to have her. She’s my rock.” He said

She is so good to him. She has never turned her back on him. Even in times where if she had, no one would have judged her.

I wasn’t ready for the what came next.

“I feel so bad for you.” He said.

“You don’t have that at all.”


I just didn’t think we were going there.
I remember saying “Yeah, nope. But a lot of people don’t have parents.” A lot of people don’t have Moms for all kinds of reasons. “You’re very fortunate.” I reminded him.

That conversation has stayed with me. Perhaps because I’ve found myself in an emotionally crippled puddle, and I’d love nothing more than a home to run away to. I’d love the option of a lap to lay my head in. I’d like the chance to pick up the phone and put it against my wet cheeks to ask her through tears if she could come over to take the little one to soccer so I could go to bed. I would love someone to help me put one foot in front of the other, brush my hair, tell me he didn’t deserve me, that I’m better off without him, and assure me that everything will be okay after it’s done sucking. And, maybe this is going way too far, but I wonder what it would be like to be tucked into clean sheets in the room I grew up in. Not the actual one. But an imaginary pretty one that I imagine I loved.

Children of addicts don’t get that.


Well, instead, we do one of two things. We self sooth. Or, we disconnect and we don’t sooth at all. We know how to take care of other people and we know what they need, because it’s what we needed or what we gave. We struggle to care of ourselves. We never struggle to survive.

My mom was a really great mom for a little while. She was affectionate, a really great hugger, and probably the world’s best snuggler. If I was scared or cold, I could climb into bed with her and she’d hold me like a little spoon all night. She was the kind of mom that wouldn’t move even if her arms fell asleep or her legs cramped, because she never wanted us to wake up to her leaving. She was like that until she either stopped coming home or when she did, the door was locked.

Children of addicts learn not to knock on the door. We begin to wait until they need us.

We know what to say and we know what to do for someone when life feels like it’s falling apart, because we were there soothing the addict every time. We wiped tears, and slept in thier beds with them to make sure they didn’t leave and do something stupid. We held their hair when they drank too much and came home sick and we made sure they didn’t drown in vomit. We put them in pajamas when we could and laid on the floor with them when they were too heavy to get into bed. We fended off fists that flew when they came home angry from too many or not enough pills, and we loved them through it because we knew they were hurting.

These kinds of moms don’t have open door policies at home. They don’t come over to cook for our children, or pick them up from school. They don’t call to see if we need anything, if we’re okay or if we want to watch a movie.

In many cases what they do do is so far from supportive, that they have to be let go from our lives. I don’t sulk or complain about not having a mom because I made the decision to not have her anymore.

Most of the time, I don’t even think of her as a mom.

On occasion, I miss the one I didn’t get to have.

Sometimes, I wonder if she’s cold or hurt.

Frequently, I remind people to be grateful for the support they do have.

Always, I try to be a mom my girls can come home to.

So, when he said “I feel so bad for you” and “You don’t have that at all.” What I should have said was…

“You’re right I don’t. But, because I don’t, I know what it’s like to need that. I know what it’s like to miss that. And so, my girls…my girls will always have me.” I will always have my door open for midnight snuggles. I will always wipe thier tears and tell them how amazing they are. I will hate the jerk who hurt her, or I will rock her while she cries it out. I will always have tea, and clean bedsheets they can climb into if ever they need to run back home. I will be a super cool grandmother, or I will spring into action to pick up thier life pieces if they need to relearn one foot in front of the other. So maybe I don’t have a mom, but I definitely am trying to be better than the one I had.


I See You, Now

Maya Angelou said “When someone shows you who they are believe them, the first time.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe he’s cruel. It wasn’t that I didn’t know he’s vindictive and spiteful when he’s hurt. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe his angry could lash like a whip off his tongue. I know him.

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe he could hurt me, because I handed that ability over after he wore me down with charm. I just didn’t think he would. I knew he was a narcissist, and I loved even his dark side. But I naively believed I was more than an ego salve. 

What I believed was the character in the story of us. I believed the part about me being different and special. I believed the lines of the script where I was cherished and loved. I believed he’d be gentle and loyal and noble with me. I believed he’d be strong for me. I fell in love with the scene where he’d be consistent and determined and committed and wouldn’t leave. I illustrated the page where we lived happily ever after.

In between the charm and professing of love, there were favors and manipulation and tantrums that showed me everything I needed to see.

I just closed my eyes because the vulnerable girl in me desperately wanted the story to be true.


You showed me who you are and

I tried to love the reasons

You showed me who you are and

I related like two souls meeting

You showed me who you are and

I showed up to hold the mirror

You showed me who you are and

I dismissed my aches and tremor

You showed me who you are and

I never excused or dismissed it

You showed me who you are and

I showed up to purchase a ticket

You showed me who you are and

I helped you set the stage

You showed me who you are and

I turned every single page

You showed me who you are and

I watched you leave, retreat

You showed me who you are and

I just watched the rerun, repeat

You showed me who you are and

I reread the story’s script

You showed me who you are and

I only then noticed the pages were ripped

You showed me who you are and

I believed your heart is true

You showed me who you are and

I know now I was only a Muse

You showed me who you are and

I missed the truth before us

You showed me who you are and

I always loved a good chorus

You showed me who you are and

I’m sorry it took me so long

You showed me who you are and

The tune you played…wasn’t my song

Maya Angelou was so incredibly poignant. When people show us who they are and we don’t believe them the first, the second or the third time, we have no one to blame but ourselves when we keep showing up.

I didn’t dodge a bullet.

I shot one. At myself.

Last night, the only part of me not scarred was cut open. And, today the last part of him left me.

As I say goodbye to the script of that beautiful story, this is my song for the day.



Dear Mr. Jacobs

Today, 18 years ago, I lost my boyfriend of 5 years. He was 32 with diabetes and had a massive heart attack. I was 21 and wild with a massively broken heart. 

our last day togethether Christopher Lee Jacobs 3/30/1966-9/23/1998

On Sunday, he was the best man in his friend Shawn’s wedding. On Wednesday Morning he was dead.

I drank too much champagne at the reception and was drunk. I started to feel sloppy and he wouldn’t take me home. In his defense, neither of us had a car, we took a limo and it was gone by then. But in true Heidi fashion, I left him there. I took my strappy heels off, pulled up my dress and walked barefoot out to Long Pond Road. I put my thumb out for a ride wearing a $400 dress. I took a ride from a stranger, didn’t care, and fell onto my bed to pass out when I got home. I wasn’t a drinker and couldn’t hold my liquor. I also didn’t have a lot of champagne experience.

When I woke, he was breaking basically everything in the place, angry because I’d left him. I snuck out in the same dress I’d passed out in, and didn’t come home that night. As I left he was smashing his guitar into an oil canvas he bought me for Valentine’s Day. I didn’t say a word. I was scared. I just took my keys and left.

I would see him on The Cape the following morning when I was picking up my daughter. She climbed into a cardboard appliance box in the yard, and he carried her around and played, while she talked to him from inside of it. Man, he loved that girl like crazy. He was the only daddy she knew. We met when she was 11 months old. When he came to me for forgiveness, I wouldn’t speak to him except to say it was over. It would be the last time I’d explain holes in the doors or the walls or pick up and throw things away before the baby came home.

He went outside and sat in my car with the passenger side door open for a while. I watched him through a window. He hugged our girl goodbye, and kissed her face a whole bunch before he picked up a duffel bag and handle of vodka and left for The Patriot to ferry him to Martha’s Vineyard where he worked.

It would be the last time either of us saw him alive. Later, when I went to my car, I saw that he’d written a note. In his super neat all caps printed handwriting, he wrote:

 “I’m sorry. I will wait for you, forever. Tell me when you’re ready. I love you guys.”

We didn’t have cell phones, we couldn’t have text message arguments. This was a time of landlines and pagers. He paged me 143…a lot. I never replied because there wasn’t a number to call. He was staying in a room on the island.

He died three days later, early on a Wednesday morning, on his way to work. Shawn called me at work to tell me. I thought it was a mean joke the two of them cooked up to get me on the phone.

It wasn’t a joke.

I was never quite the same after that call. I was 21.

I’m certain I left my body.

Those were some fucked up circumstances.

Man, we were fucking crazy. When we were good, we were pretty fucking sexy. We loved each other other like crazy. But when we were bad, we were bad. To say “We had some times” would be an understatement. Today, I wrote him a letter to remember him.


September 1998, Shawn’s Wedding at Brewster Garden, the last day we spent together
Hi Baby,

I’ve missed you and haven’t quite been the same since you left. I still remember you like you were here yesterday. I don’t need pictures to see your face. I think about you all the time, especially in September.  The cool air and the color of the leaves remind me of loss and of you and your champion sweatshirts over tee-shirts, paint covered jeans and high top Reeboks.

I own a house now, and I think you would hate it because the walls are uneven and made of horsehair plaster. I can remember whenever you finished a job, you’d shut the lights out, plug in a shadeless lamp, and sweep the wall with the light looking for drips or inconsistencies. My walls would make you crazy. Sometimes I stare at the lead paint trim peeling and the gap between the ceiling and moulding and wonder what it would look like if you put your hands on it.

I can remember going to work with you, and the sound it made when you tapped your brush on the inside of a paint can. I loved working with you. I can picture paint spray over baby oil and sweat on your body in the summer. I know how to perfectly care for my brushes and rollers after a project, but sometimes I just fucking throw them away. When I don’t, I imagine you’re proud of me.

I remember when you painted the Nantucket Inn and I spent a weekend there with you. We spent the nights partying with the Irish and Jamaican staff who worked there. I remember walking out to the bluffs with you, after you walked me through the Haas house that you painted in Chilmark. I still can see the entryway, the height of the ceilings, and the view from the edge of the bluff. We went to an Oak Bluff’s bar for beers, I wasn’t even old enough to drink, but you were basically an old man compared to me. I couldn’t get that house out of my head. I’d still love a home with a tiny guest house on the property some day. I remember the pickling you did on the cabinetry on Manomet Point Road in Plymouth, and the crappy little 150 sq ft studio cottage we lived in on Taylor Ave. right down the street. We kept champagne cold in a potty chair of ice and sat on crates one New Year’s Eve.

I miss staying home during the Summer with Alexis and Christopher. I miss planning his birthday parties and how excited you’d be to drive to Connecticut to pick him up. I don’t miss how sad you’d be when we left without Jess. I miss your proud daddy face, though, and how you loved to love those kids. I miss Christopher’s sweetness, his rounded nose and his dirty blonde cow lick.

I still have a brand new paintbrush of yours and an aluminum coffee mug that I took from your island VW work van. On 9/25/1998 I rode the Steamship Authority ferry over to clean out the van. I kept my round-trip ticket stub as a reminder that yours was one-way. I think I was punishing myself by making sure I felt a little bit of sad every day. It stayed inside my mouse pad at work for 17 years.When I left that job, I decided it was time to let the ticket go, too. I couldn’t give my round-trip to you. I took Alexis back once that fall to be near you and say goodbye with her. It rained and hid my tears.

I’m still pissed about you not paying the rent in our State Road condo, not telling me, and leaving me there to deal with the landlord with the kids. I still hate you for us having to stay with Mark and the wicked bitch witch Susan. I should be grateful she helped me get an apartment, but she was a hag and mean. You are so lucky we had Mark looking out for us. He was so good to you, to us. And Miss Alexandra was the sweetest girl. I didn’t keep in touch. I’m really sorry for that. I meant to. I should have tried to stay in touch with Carla and Christopher, but it hurt to see them, and I was afraid it hurt him to see me. I always hoped he’d look for me one day so I could tell him stories of you (maybe not these ones!)


Christopher and I, while you washed and vacuumed my car
If I’m being honest, your mom is a bitch. I know what a momma’s boy you were but she was awful. People really get ugly when they lose someone. Everyone in your family thought I was holding onto your “stuff”, whatever that was. Marlboro Miles, cassette tapes a leather jacket and some clothes. Baby, you didn’t have shit for “stuff”! I miss being that poor with you! Maybe if I were your mom, I would’ve needed to blame someone too, but she knows I took care of you. Maybe I should’ve given her slack for grieving, too. But I wasn’t capable of that. I had a hard time just existing in the world. Waking up, pretending to be normal and mothering was all I could do. And even that was marginal.

You were the only man to ever understand what a psycho I was when I was PMSing. When you and Mikey (was it Mikey?) were leaving for Woodstock ’94, you said “hey catch!” and threw a bottle of Pamprin to me.  I wanted to fucking kill you…but not as much as I did when you came back covered in mud with a blood sugar count over 400. You fucker.

I love remembering how young and untamed I was, and how angry you’d get at me. You loved that I was wild, but hated that I was disobedient! You’d be so angry when I walked outside in my underwear and a tee-shirt to check the mail., or laid in the sun topless in my yard. I never thought anything was wrong with either and always laughed at how mad you’d get, worried someone might look at me.


Card Night on State Road, Chris age 28, Me age 17
Remember the time I told the bartender I was 18, after a pitcher of beer and some pool at The Trading Post in Buzzard’s Bay? oops. How about the kid who threw a full beer can at you and hit my face with it? I love that you beat him up on the hood of the car before you asked me if I was okay. I was amazed it wasn’t a broken jaw. (You were always mouthing off to someone and getting us in trouble.) Getting pulled over with you in the car was always a joy, too. You were so bad!

You’ll be happy to know I’ve maintained your strict no littering rule, but you’d be disappointed at how messy my car is. Some days, I wish I had a guy that took it and vacuumed it out they way you always did when I drove the Saab. When I tought Alexis to drive, I quoted you…”Go, or don’t Go. Never hesitate. Hesitation will kill you.” which is what you always said to me when I was pulling out in a 5 speed to make a left through three lanes on Samoset St. 

Remember the year Santa brought Alexis a kitten? Yeah, that fucker lived for 16 years. I didn’t get to tell you, but that was an aweful decision. She grew up to be evil. You didn’t tell me cats live that long. I had that cat longer than I had you!

For the record, I have never smashed a plate off the head of another person since that one time I did it to you when you called me crazy. There’s some irony in that, isn’t there? And, maybe you know this, but after you died and I was cleaning out the apartment, there was still shards of glass on top of the cabinets. I laughed between tears when I packed up the few things I owned and left. Remember when I broke my hand breaking your cheek? I’m sorry about your plastic surgery, but really, you never should’ve cheated. We were such ass holes.

I miss making your lunch and tucking love notes inside it for you. I miss notes from you hidden in the house. I miss making sugar free desserts. I do not miss Jello-O! (By the way, Bill Cosby is a rapist, and there are tons of sugar free options today, besides Jell-O. And I think if you were around now, you would’ve lived a little longer and maybe been open to more good-for-you food.) I miss how happy you were to have dinner ready for you when you got home, and making you your disgusting half cream-half coffee-one equal coffee.

I miss sucking at rock & roll trivia, but I still remember that the name of The Who song is Baba O’Riley, not Teenage Wasteland, and that Jethro Tull had an electric flute. I do not miss your drinking, or your temper, or your mullet…thank you for letting me shave that off accidentally. I have never attempted to cut another man’s hair and they all have you to thank.

I miss how cocky you were at everything. I miss you teaching me to shoot pool. I miss teaching you to write in cursive. I miss your stupid air guitar to Van Halen, but I don’t miss your pegged jeans.

I miss how fearless you were and remember hopping the fence at the Melody Tent to see Robert Cray. The weekend at the Newport Folk Festival that we snuck into without tickets, blowing bubbles through the moon roof on the way there, and putting Alexis on the news truck in a pink wig during the Indigo Girls.

I miss Sega Golf and VHS Movies because I couldn’t afford cable, and the way you’d hold me from behind while I did dishes.  I do not miss mixing your insulin, your tissue trauma, worrying about your blood sugar, or giving you shots. I do not miss calling ambulances,  ER visits, and how you refused to see a doctor. I miss the good days, the good meals, the family time, and how many places we took the kids. I miss bills with both our names on them.

I remember peaceful weeknight evenings with you when we’d make coffee in our cobalt blue mugs, take a few hits off a joint on the porch and snuggle in for the night. I refuse to ever date an Aries, or a diabetic, or a guy without a license. I still have cassette mix tapes that you made for me and few songs from the 90’s don’t make me think of you. Dan Fogelberg’s Same Old Lang Syne (not the 90’s!), Ani Difranco’s Imperfectly, Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, and Pearl Jam’s Black are some of the ones that stand out. I’ve never met a man who held the small of my back quite the way you did when we walked into a room, like I was property. I think you thought I was.

I miss how much you loved Alexis, how much you loved me.

Chris & Alexis Circa 1995 at the Hyannis Ferry, we were leaving for The Nantucket Inn

I love how many photos you took of us because if you hadn’t there might not be any of me. I remember 35mm film and having to send it off to be developed. I ordered 3″x5″s because they were cheaper. We’d get pictures in the mail and get excited over coffee at the ones that actually came out. No one prints pictures anymore.

Everyone knew you lived to live and that you were here on your terms, even if it meant a short life. I wish I could have had a little longer with you. I wish the children did, too.I’m angry at you for not taking care of yourself. I’m angry at myself for not telling you how fucking much I did still love you before you got on that boat. You still knew though, right?

I miss how you were such a good, all night hold me, snuggler.

You never let go.You would say “If I die in my sleep, I love you.” and as you kissed my neck I would laugh and make you promise you wouldn’t die next to me. “Do not die in our bed, I mean it, say you promise!. And you would say it.

And you would keep that promise.

I want to say thank you for sparing me that, but I’m not sure I’m thankful. I wish I got to hold you, the same way I did so many times on the floors of our apartments or in the grass by the harbor.

I have not been right since you left. I got pretty serious, and scared, and have spent decades worst-case-scenario planning. I say whatever I feel, so as to never miss an opportunity. I only keep close people I really love. I say or think “If I die…” a lot. 

I’m making changes though and want to love life a little like you did (Minus the jail, booze, dying young part.) Certainly not in the reckless-ride-on-top-of- a-truck-on-the-highway -going-the-wrong-way, kind of way that you did! I’m going to take care of myself a little better, but I’m going to try to relax a little. Today, thinking about you, and about how you sort of breezed through and didn’t worry much about anything has helped me a little bit.

I really miss you, Chris Jacobs. Thank you for the time I had with you. All the good. All the bad. You left us way to soon, but on your own damn terms. You helped us live while you were here. Still loving on you 18 years later you crazy fuck!


PS I still find rocks that are shaped like hearts and wonder if you leave them for me sometimes. 


At Falmouth Harbor


(Guest Post) Inducted Member

The following piece was written by my beautiful friend Tracy. I have been lucky enough to know her for 19 years. She is the mother of three amazing children. She is the most compassionate, loving, nurturing and gentle mom I know. My youngest daughter once said “I wish Tracy was my mom.” Not because she was mad at me or being mean to me, but because she was being genuine. Tracy is so incredibly soft and gentle. If you could pick a mom, I promise you’d pick her.

She is hurting. She is proud. She is strong. She needs the world to be gentle with her. And, she needs other moms to hear her. I share this here for her with love and pride and support. Please leave comments for her to read.-Heidi xo

INDUCTED MEMBER written by my friend, Tracy Faye
I have had this echo of a song inside me for all of my lifetime. As if I can feel it in every fiber of each hair on my head. It is written on my bones, the stories that would become mine are so familiar.​ Shaded, slightly murky and always waiting.
My daughter placed me into a club that I never wanted to be part of. Without my consent, forced by the breath she breathes, I have found myself in the “Mom of an Addict” club. Never crossing my mind even for a moment during my time spent wiping her nose, teaching her the alphabet, answering all of her “why” questions from the back seat as we drove.

I taught her our phone number, address, my name and birthdate so if she was ever lost she would be able to find me. I warned of strangers. I showed her pictures in magazines of smiling grandmothers and told her they were even strangers if you don’t know them. However,it escaped me to teach her about the worst type of predator that would appear in her life as her dealer and take her from me as they wrapped their heroin arms around her like a snake.

I held her, consoled her, fed her, clothed her…Watched TV with her, read to her, made mud pies, rode bikes, colored in coloring books, gave her music and dance. Dreamed of my fantasy life: her and I against the world as we grew together.

My heart, My whole entire heart existed outside of me.

I cried the first time she slept over her Dad’s house when she was two. I couldn’t imagine me not tucking her in or brushing her thin wispy baby hairs out of her eyes as she chewed her pacifier on the side of her mouth, “goodnight momma” whispers in her sweet raspy tired toddler voice. She would ask for her blanket, tell me she loved me “bigger than the sky”. The Lion King song “Circle of Life” was translated by her into “Circle of Love”, her and I were the circle. Sometimes she would include other people but mostly it was her and I, as she grabbed my hands initiating the circle. Sometimes she insisted on wearing a hat to bed. Often she choose to wear her tutu out into the world and I let her.

She was loved, snuggled, missed, thought of, celebrated and disciplined.   

I talked to other parents before she went to her friends homes. I secretly followed her through the mall the first time she thought she was there alone, checked up on her, paid attention to her grades and her friends. She expressed herself, different clothes for the different people that she tried on. Each time encouraging words to her were spoken: to be herself, whatever self she felt at the time, knowing someday the clothes would fit just right and be a second skin, but she had to try on every color first to see what one felt best and most like her own uniqueness.

I am left without knowledge of the first time I stepped through the door to this club. No recollection of a first impression or what it looked like or the people there, just empty echoes, cold gray memories. I have resented, contorted, anguished, and died in my head throughout the course of one day inside the metal, stuck, swollen walls of drugs. I have told people to fuck off that I care about. At times the heartache swells; consumes me in its entirety. Yet I still nod and empathize with someone sharing their bad news or bad day with me. The car didn’t start or they spilled coffee on their shirt in a morning rush or they are upset about the weather and the price of groceries. I have to remain part of society, blend in, so I cannot scream, hiss and run like the animal that is inside me. I never want to compare tragedies. I sometimes cannot have another paint brush stroke of sadness on top or the weight will shift and cyclone me into another reality.

I keep this rock that I carry with me all day to myself, I protect it, I do not show other people my rock or ask them to hold it for a minute. The fear of judgement pokes at me with an icy sting.

Being a Mother is something I have always given my all to and excelled at. I love being a Mom. For someone to think I didn’t do all of the Mom things right or out of order is terrifying, as if some magical cocktail of parenting exists where one is guaranteed to not set an addict free into society.

Some members of my club have meetings to support each other & others have social media groups. Nights have turned tirelessly into birds chirping while searching for the answers alone in my bed, light shining from the glow of the phone that connects me anonymously to the world of addict moms.

Some people write truthfully on these pages. I read them, gaining awareness of others that are in my club makes me feel less alone. However, it magnifies my sadness to be aware of all of the other people walking around with half hearts, pieces missing from every place. Taping on their shoes, filling them with rocks to keep their feet heavy and grounded. They are gluing together their body parts because they feel like they may fall right off. In rare moments when the fear was bigger than me I did share things with the world or an individual just so someone somewhere would know I am not whole.

I am not what you think I am.

I am broken with jagged shards protecting my skin. Armored more than I ever have been and looking for something solid and unbreakable at every angle.

Shuffle one two, shuffle one two, through the days.
Keep moving.
You cannot stop.
Do not stop or you will stay there.

Don’t forget to sign the boy up for camp. Don’t forget we don’t have his favorite breakfast item. Don’t forget to tuck him in and hold him tight and breathe all of him into you so he sticks right there in the place he can never leave.

Remember the other girl needs you too and she asked you for that thing. What was that thing she wanted? What did she say? Remember to console her too because her heart is just as broken as yours. We are both mourning a person who is still breathing. I have lost my daughter and she has lost her sister. She is growing, too quick, don’t forget to teach her that people’s opinions do not matter because she shines. She glows and shines and you can feel it in her presence ever since day one. She leaves a trail, a path to find her always. Her glow softens me.

Keep working. Pay bills, in slow motion. Does it matter if we have electricity?
You need light, sunlight and air. Maybe you need yoga. Maybe you need to try to become a runner again? Lose weight, Have a drink, remember how much fun you had when you consumed all of the alcohol everyday… Maybe a good book? No it is ice cream..a whole tub of ice cream. On second thought it isn’t, it is a good walk in the woods with the dog…laughter you need to laugh, where are those friends? Find them, you have them, remember, can you remember anything before this, before the smoky glaze that covers your eyes appeared.

Unsure if the cloudiness is from too many tears or not enough. Forget this, if only for one minute, I want to forget.

God please do not let them ask me how she is doing, I will need to cry and look for an exit or feel as though I have a mouth full of salt and have to talk at the same time.

Shuffle one two, shuffle one two, skip, hop.

A glimpse of the exit shines through the haze. My body believes that I am somehow carrying out a sentence, doing time, that will come to an end point and return to life before the drugs, when all of the freckles on her face showed all of the time. When she knew her way home.

There is no end. There is a circle, rough, unevenly textured, differently colored circle. There is no choice to be caged within the circle. No soft spot to break through, no comfortable place to rest.

I love Free Will. I hate stuck. I hate not controlling my own mind or ways that I spend my time. Too many nights furiously searching for anything that will give me a glimpse of her viability left my eyes crazed and my heart on the floor out of my body. In my life I have been many people, had many roles, many jobs, many styles, many friends, many favorite things, many pet peeves, many happy hours and much laughter. This person in this club was never a thought.
Trying to explain to someone not here in this room of grief with me is impossible. If you are not in the club you do not comprehend the rules, no instructions are given nor would they teach you this game or how to do the dance of the shuffle shuffle step, two, five, one…

I have become someone I once judged and thought I knew all about.
My daughter has become someone I once judged.
The NEVER has happened.

The NOT my child IS my child.

“Opioid Epidemic”, “Heroin epidemic” or now just “THE epidemic” will do.
… has swallowed me, whole, my brain, my beliefs, my heart, my whole body at times as it is crumples into bed, atrophied.

Tough love, Rehab, Section, Detox, Sober House, Meetings, Commitments, NA, Convention, Narcan, Vivitrol, Clean time, Home drug test..I only had vague relationships with these words in the past. All words I thought I understood the definition of.

Two, three, eight, shuffle, fall, clap….this is all wrong…..

Compassion is MISSING from THE epidemic, for the addict & for those who love the addict. COMPASSION IS MISSING FROM THE DEPLETING, EXHAUSTING, SEVERITY OF THIS DAILY LIFE I LEAD. Compassion only comes from weary eyes who know your battle. Compassion seldom comes from the institution of the moment.

The Choice VS. Disease debate has rotted and hollowed out my heart.

Onlookers spew their filth to those whose hearts are already slowly beating and weak. Does it matter to you if it is a choice or a disease… MY BABY IS STILL DYING EVERYDAY.

You will still judge her and me.

There are no casseroles for this. Food is reserved for births and deaths and I am somewhere awkwardly in between.

In my paranoia that exists within me, at least once a day my baby is dead, somewhere. Versions create themselves in my non stop brain, sometimes she is found by me, sometimes found by people who only like her for her ability to survive, Or only like her for her beauty. Or her ability to find a way to obtain anything she wants, including drugs and they do not help her. They walk over her.

Sometimes she is in a coma and privacy policies prevent me from receiving a call or no one knows who to call because even though she knows her name, address, mom’s name and phone number you can’t tell anyone when you are half dead.

There is no medical alert bracelet for heroin addicts.

Sometimes she is never found, just alive and part of the sky that just vanished under a cloud. How something so concrete has turned into an oily slick on water leaves me glaring off at the sun to sting my eyes so that I know I can still feel. You can see that shiny slickness, twinkling on the water, colorful, try to grab it or shake it or hug it, you can’t, you end up sinking under the darkness of water holding your breath searching for the beauty that was just at your fingertips. baby is the one who will beat this, see she is already doing it, shuffle step, step, skip, 3, 4,8…beg..this dance is making my insides raw…plead, cry, …

What parent would not do all they can to save their child’s life? Who? I want advice, I hate advice, I want love and support, I hate love and support. It feels better alone. No judgement, no questions. No talk to remind me of how far the wind can carry something away that you once believed to be anchored to you.

Time doesn’t mean anything. 3 am..shh… 4am..Squeeze eyes tight..Clocks hands do not care, they keep moving. The boy wakes at 6 and will know I forgot the breakfast I promised and he will cry. The girl needs to go to school, with her self-prepared lunch, reminding her mother of the day ahead. Work comes at 8, school after that. Somewhere else laundry and food shopping in zombie like fashion dark eyed. Are you sick, what’s the matter, are you sad, you’ve lost weight, are you ok? How are you? Good, I am good, Just don’t look me in the eyes and ask because you will see the crack in my soul.

Draw on your smile girl because you have to face the world.


We are all humans we all crave love, belonging and compassion when we are defeated.

I am the parent of an addict who suffered long, who was lost, who did not know the way out of her own rabbit hole. My hand was there always at the top of the hole quivering, fading, aging, she just needed to choose to grab it.
I will hold the rusty chain of the anchor tighter, I will not let you go as quickly next time. I will hold you, sit on you, drive into you and sew your arms to your sides to SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Counting days has a new meaning..14 days, 30 days, 45 days..60 days!

The longest club free, cage free time we have seen is here right now .. the light has returned to her eyes, her freckles re-appear as specks of glitter that I want to touch to remember the time they first graced her soft face. I always have wondered if I witnessed any of those freckles landing in their spots as she slept. Her hand holds mine and she remembers me, she really remembers me…and magically she remembers herself.

Right now there is no road map on her face to read that says I am broken, so broken that I am willing to take the chance of death just to feel better momentarily.

This is my life. My name is Tracy, I am the Mother of an addict.

Today was the first day I was glad to be in this club.

It gave me a chance to give compassion.

I had a conversation with a stranger. She told me her daughter was a recovering addict. Flatly. And paused. Waiting for it, I know, waiting for someone to find the words or the gesture that is supposed to come after hearing someone announce that. I met her eye and said “mine too”. Her face relaxed and we knew each other, heart mind and soul with just those few words exchanged, knew the broken sleeplessness of a shadowy life.

If everyone can reach the point to say my child is an addict or my child is a recovering addict and have a real conversation about it, my face wouldn’t twist up so hard and the knot in my belly would not feel so heavy when I say it out loud.

I am proud of my daughter. I want everyone to know my daughter is a recovering addict. I am completely 100 percent happy that she is my child. I will never disown her or judge her, or shut her out of my life. This is her life to live, with her path to make. I did teach her to take the one less traveled. Everyone has demons, everyone has made bad choices, not one person leaves this earth without some amount of suffering, struggling or internal conflict. This is OUR struggle. I do not need to explain if you do not understand that this is my child and that I am proud to tell you of the things that she has endured and rebounded from.

I am proud to stand next to her at a meeting and be introduced as her mother.

Through it all-she does fall and stagger, catch her balance, then forcefully rises again, she continues to sway and splash ferociously against the tide. She has been knocked out, dragged through, walked on, left for dead and has walked this earth in ghost form. Yet she reemerges with the gust of a hurricane with lists of contacts, Doctors and therapy appointments, with clear eyes.

How hard are you fighting today just to breathe? Clinging and swaying every single day just to be alive? Some are fighting to get ahead or to get more things, more money, more titles, more of what they think they should have. The timeline laid out by society, stay on the path, stay on the path.

She fights her own mind everyday for her life.

I am fighting every single day to not make a nest in my bed and stay there.

Every day is a question of if we will get to count it and stack it on top of the day before that. Every day I take time to remember her pure heart, her softness that exists underneath her coating of makeup, polish, hair or attitude. I revel in the days she strips her coating away, with glasses and messy buns when I can see her. That is my favorite version of her. I want to put the tutu on her and go for a walk and pretend she is a ballerina.

The courage of my child to say to the world “I am an addict”, this is me and I am trying is beautiful and courageous. There is not one other soul in this universe that I would trade her for. She is mine, next to her I am whole, my body finally relaxes, the spaces she carved out inside me as she grew fill up the hollowness and the world makes sense again for a minute.

Every Single Day my daughter is a mother fucking boxer in the ring. She wakes up knowing she will fight all day.

Sometimes she sleeps, sometimes she doesn’t. I think those sleepless nights are the days that she just wants blended into one another to feel a rhythm of consistency, to not have to start the fight from the beginning because it is still the same day if she never fell asleep. Eyes wide on the lookout to keep the demon at bay. She is thrown and tossed about in her own sea of emotions, in the memories that are imprinted inside her of the lives she has had, the people she has been, the masks she has worn. And of all the people she has known that have lost the fight and no longer have the choice to lace up the gloves. She knows more people who have passed on than I do. Yet she stands in her stillness, braces herself, waits for the storm, the flurry and rage to pass all around her right on through to the calm.


She still remembers that her momma likes her freckles.

She remembers to let me know she is OK.

She knows I hold my breath easily.

The people I have been in my lifetime fade in the shadow of how tall she has become to fight this beast.

She is my daughter and I love her for who she is. I am the mother of an addict who is now in recovery.

~Tracy Faye

Please share with love and compassion.

Autumn’s Gift: FALLing in Love

Thursday is the first day of Fall here in New England. On September 22nd we’ll experience the Autumnal Equinox. There’ll be an almost perfect balance of day and night, dark and light. The sun will cross over the celestial equator and the days will become shorter as our evenings arrive earlier and stay longer. As they do, I’m planning my next love affair.

I said good-bye to my short but passionate Summer. I hung on until it was clear Summer left me. The night air has cooled and darkness comes noticably sooner. As a woman from the Northeast, I consider myself hardy, hearty, and resistant. Each season requires some kind of preparation, and no amount of holding on to the last can either make one stay longer than it’s supposed to or do any good. Change is inevitable. Necessary. Expected, even when we don’t expect it.

It’s no secret I fall in love. I love, love. I fall in love with gestures, images, music, ideas, words and most recently, the wrong lover. Like Summer it was a a long build up but a short affair. Now, Fall has arrived, and I’ve begun to let that go. I am so tired from the heat and from holding on. I’m ready to fall into Fall.

I’ve been attempting a very intentionl shift to do something different, something for me, something that fills the space I kept for him and absorbs the energy I reserved to love him. Something that starts on the first day of Fall and wakes me with renewed energy. I’m looking to smile, feel passionate and alive and excited. I am tired of being tired. I want to fall into something beautiful.

I’m taking all my mislaid attention, energy and affection and turning it in toward me, the human I am and the mother I fight to be. A shift in focus. I couldn’t find a reason not to give to myself everything I’d given to him, to everyone. Everyone except me. I always thought I was honoring me by giving of myself, instead of to myself. I’ve been depleted, though. I need to fall back.

At first this shift felt uncomfortable and forced. Actually, it didn’t feel like my choice at all…because it wasn’t. I would have given until my last day. I had to be hurt and alone to realize exactly how much of myself I gave up and how little I consider me. I was left as though in tree pose. Autumn’s wind blowing me around, leaves being plucked off, my balance was off…I lost my focus. My eyes darted around for something steady, something reliable, so I could regain balance.

I self-talked, wrote, willed, yoga’d and often cried myself through heartbreak, anger and grief. It was ugly. Making progress toward this Fall…from one love to another…requires intentional thought and provokes some tough-to-describe feelings about how it left me standing here. I am the only steady and reliable thing I had to focus on.

I turned off the hurt so I could analyze facts and reason. I had to cry out about my loss and then come out of myself, turn around, and respond sternly. These are the conversations I had with myself about this past Summer…about this passing love.

When he stepped out…

I lost the greatest love of my life. So far. Life is not over. How lucky to have loved someone like that. No one else could ever have loved you because you held onto and saved that space for only him. Now it is available, so do something for you.

I lost the love who is also my oldest friend. A friend shows up for you how and when you need him. Duration of a friendship does not determine its quality and depth. Let someone else in.

I lost the person I most enjoyed being held by. Let someone else hold you. There are a lot of arms out there, and some are strong enough to not let go. You will be okay.

I lost the person I most enjoyed being silently stared at by. Other people were staring, you just never looked back. Look around.

I lost the person I spoke to every day. Every. Single. Day. You did. You lost that. Very few of those conversations were about you, how you are, what your dreams are. You are okay.

I lost the person I was the most honest, the most comfortable and the most safe with. Yes, You did. You will be okay. You will find that again.

I lost the person who knows the most about me. And he used that knowledge to be hurtful. The list of negative adjectives he used on you were angry. Someone who knew and loved you would know you couldn’t survive that.

The rest of my life is still very much in tact. Not much changed at all when he left, I wasn’t getting what I needed from the relationship emotionally. I never had his time when I arranged it. I was very much an afterthought. A back-up option if something else wasn’t available. I only heard from him if he needed me. That’s not mutually beneficial. You couldn’t depend on him. Walk away.

I lost a love who didn’t love me, think of me, consider me or want me as much as I, him. Yup. That’s not awful. Someone will come along who wants your kind of love. Someone will come along and love you the ways you need to experience love. Let it go and be grateful for the opportunity to practice loving. Now go love yourself and your own happiness that much. 

So, as I enter Fall, the Autumnal Equinox, I decided to name it…FALLing in Love With Myself . I will focus on a regular yoga practice. I will bring myself to a safe mat each day. I will be the woman I need to be for me.


I have no intention of spending time analyzing any of the adjectives he used to describe me. I have no plans for personality changes. I have no desire to try to make myself fit into anyone, or anything. I have spent a lifetime being harder on myself than anyone ever could. I’ve spent decades giving attention to everything that is “wrong” with me and never deeply considered my own happiness. I  have no plans to do any fixing.

I do plan to spend a great deal of time learning and loving. I plan to appreciate the qualities I have to offer this world, my children, my friends and my lovers. I plan to embrace Fall and her long dark evenings, as I wrap myself up in a blanket of self care. I will meet myself on my mat every day. I will listen to my breath. I will pay gentle attention to my body and treat myself to kindness. I will calm my mind.

Not because I’m broken, but because I’m worthy. I want to fill myself and love myself. I’m looking forward to a season of supermoons, crisp air and beautiful foliage. I will take lovers and vacations. I will pick apples and eat pumpkin pies. I will walk the beach during full moons, naked if the air is tolerable. I will read, and write and sleep. But mostly I am looking forward to feeling what happens when I really, really FALL in Love With Myself. 


She Gave A Warning About Me

I’m the one, she said. I’m the friend that follows a warning to the others that don’t know me.

“She says whatever she thinks.”

“She’s kind of crazy.”

(Maybe they leave the ‘kind of’ out.)

Both are true. I will say what I think. I am a bit crazy.

You’ll hate me or you’ll love me. You’ll be offended by me or you’ll not take yourself or this life too seriously and laugh with me.

Sometimes I’m fun crazy.

Sometimes I’m loud crazy.

Sometimes I’m my-face-should-be-telling-you-everything-you-need-to-know crazy.

Sometimes I’m leave-me-the-fuck-alone crazy.

Sometimes I’m screaming-yelling-and-overwhelmed-please-just-hug-me crazy.

I am always crazy loyal.

I am always crazy honest.

I always love like crazy.



Fuck Crying-Namasté

It’s the letting go part of yoga that is so hard. The release. The submission. Letting go of thoughts, of negative energy, of worries and of everyday life is hard. It’s so fucking hard to free my mind of shit and my body of the tension built up from carrying that shit.

But, today, I did. I let go. And it wasn’t this spiritual beautiful thing at all. I fucking cried. During a practice. During Shavasana. What the actual fuck? I love Shavasana. I mean, not today, but normally I do.

I arrived with a broken heart and an intention to heal it. I was laying on the floor in Shavasana (corpse pose) wishing I never had to get up. Begging the universe to either make me a corpse or extend the class because I could feel myself losing it and I needed time to work through it.

I pretended the weight of the blanket was warm dirt. 

Tears and feelings were swelling and I wasn’t strong enough to blink them away. Twice I started to leak and was able to reel it back in. My chin quivered and my breathing was jagged, but I pulled it together and tried to just breath and clear my mind. I was trying to imagine just melting into the floor, or more dirt being added to my chest to calm me. 

Then, I quit that shit and just focused on not bawling my eyes out. Maybe even the hope of leaving with my shit together, maybe a little dignity because there is no way my sniffing and breathing was not heard.


When the teacher came to me to do an adjustment, which I basically pine and drool for, she held my head, and turned it from side to side. There was a remnant of a tear in the corner of my right eye that I couldn’t feel…and when she turned my head left, it slipped out. That was fucking it! That was all it took. As she set my head down, I mouthed thank you with eyes still closed. As she walked on I took a few shaky breaths and then couldn’t stop the avalanche.

Tears poured, and I sobbed…as quietly as I could. Like someone had died. Only, in real life when people die I don’t really cry that much.

It was not a “beautiful release” that people write about. It was a “get me the fuck out of here” moment. In yoga. My ears were full of tears, I wiped and wiped and wiped and couldn’t stay ahead of it. Boogers, stuffy nose, wet hair, red eyes. All the makings for a genuine and sweet “are you okay?” which would have been the end of me.

Thankfully, no one asked if I was okay, and I dashed out of there fast as fuck. (Fuck, yes, that’s a measure of speed now.)

I basically cried off and on, the rest of the day. That sucked.

Crying in yoga…not beautiful.

Fuck crying in yoga.


Fuck Laundry

I don’t do my own laundry. I don’t do anyone’s laundry, actually. And, I don’t give a shit if I lose any “mom cred” over it either. Fuck that.

I don’t spend a single Saturday folding little pairs of cheeky undies, hanging up dresses or putting creases in anything. Cries of “None of my socks are clean!” Or “Do you know where my black yoga pants are?” Are generally met with “At the laundromat!” Or “I’ll go see if Gen has washed them!” I love Gen.

I’m terrible at laundry. And by terrible at it, I mean I leave it around and pick through it, because I didn’t put it away after it has been washed and dried and put in a basket. It’s like some kind of amnesia that presents itself when the clothes are done and ready to be put away, and then…nothing. I grew up with a house full of dirty clothes and a mother who was a clothes (and everything else) hoarder. The kind you see on TV crying because the cat they were missing was found flattened and dried up under a pile of who knows what. Piles of clothes make me feel like a terrible person. Even if they’re clean they stress me out. In fact, I think when I’m dropping clothes on the floor I’m punishing myself.

I know how to use the washing machine. And the dryer. I have a small stockpile of HE soap, scent beads, dryer sheets and lavender scented fabric softener. It looks legit.  I do actually wash towels and sheets and shit. But, mostly, I just run an empty wash load so I can put washer cleaner through it so it doesn’t get smelly. That’s normal, right?

I own an iron, but do people actually iron anymore?  Isn’t everything basically wrinkle free or disposable? Mine was purchased mostly for the Girl Scout sash from 5 years ago. Also, because I think grown ups are supposed to have one, so….check! And, maybe one day I’ll decide to actually use it on those no sewing heat activated iron on hem thingers I bought at the fabric store 6 years ago when I bought this house. Aside from that, it’s best purpose is probably a weapon…in case I’m ever attacked in front of my closet.

I have two daughters and between the three of us we average 6 outfits a day.  Six. What the fuck? Our dirty (and sometimes not dirty but definitely “tried on”) clothes decorate our bedrooms, adorn every piece of furniture, and there are approximately zero door knobs on the second floor that aren’t draped with a bra, or seven. Anything that even remotely resembles a knob or hook, like say a bed post, is fair game for clothes and bras.

Gen has been doing my laundry for 6 or 7 years. She knows what not to dry, that everything that fits on a hanger is hung, and she separates my clothes from my daughters. She makes little smiley faces next to my name on my basket, which completely contradict her bad-bitch mean exterior. She calls me out when I bring in clean clothes to be washed, just because I need them to be re-hung. She’s mean to everyone, and she yells at people. Actually yells. But, I kind of love her crazy F word slinging ass because how do you not love the person who folds your underwear?

She recently quit the laundromat. Yeah. She fucking quit. Suddenly, my basement has a pile of clothes I have to walk over right in front of the machines. Some need to be washed. Some were washed, but then I left them in the washer for like two, no three days. And they smelled awful in there so I re-ran the machine and now it’s just a vicious cycle of forgetting and washing. Everything basically fucking sucks since Gen quit her job.

BUT I got a text message from her that said she was coming back one day a week. That was the absolute best day ever.

Things are looking up at my house. Fuck Laundry!


Messy Lessons

I fell in love with a man who broke my heart, again. Everything is all messed up. Our dreams didn’t come true. And our story got ruined. I’m still moving through grief and anger and shock and sadness and hate and jealousy and regret and crazy and mean and lonely. ..I’m still hurting through all of that, but in an attempt to remind myself to keep moving, I captured a few of the lessons I’ve learned from my messy bleeding heart.

I learned I can be hurt and sad and angry, and still compassionately love and hope for wonderful things for him.

I still love him. A stupid amount. I can’t have him back. I can’t imagine ever being over this. He ruined our story and me. And, despite my roller-coaster responses to heartbreak, I’m still capable of love. I’m capable of loving and understanding him while, not after, being so hurt. I don’t want to or need to be his friend. But, having been his friend, and having really loved him, I can acknowledge and accept that what I bring to the table is simply not what nourishes him. I can still feel love for someone, without giving it. I can still hate what someone has done and love that person.


I’ve never been the person who loved more in a relationship, and I don’t want to be again.

I think in every relationship one person always loves one more. That can’t be me. I’m incredibly untrusting and therefor insecure about how people feel about me. I need to know, with all certainty, that I’m the one, always. Then, I need to be reminded often.

Heartache is real. It actually hurts. I can physically feel my heart hurt, ache and get hot, like it burst and is spilling out of me.

When I read the words “I can’t do this” it ached. It felt swollen or bruised.When I listened to Liz Longley’s Goodbye Love I had to hold my chest because it felt like my heart was leaking or falling out. Literally a pouring sensation. When I listened to this song written by Mark Seymour (and performed with Eddie Vedder) I thought of how I never got to hear him sing this one to me at the fire. Losing love hurts.

I learned that if I didn’t try with him, I never would’ve let anyone else in.

It’s true. I would’ve continued comparing everyone to him. I can stop that now, because I know it was our story of us, not us that he loved. If I didn’t take the risk with him, I would’ve been waiting for him to come claim me as his own forever. I would’ve wondered “what if?” I would never allow myself to completely love another man.

My period makes me a psycho. I have extreme PMS. 

Legit psycho. I actually put an entry in my calendar to remind me that the week before my period I’m crazy. I’ve been doing this for more than a few years, but without fail I get my period and think “Oooooh WellThatExpainsALot!” I’m a hateful, mad, dangerous, randomly crying lunatic who loves you, then hates you, then needs you, is hungry but can’t eat Monster.

I am lucky to be surrounded by beautiful fucking people.

I have the love and support of fantastic friends, whether I take them up on it or not. I am able to look up after a few dark days and remind myself that “birds of a feather flock together” applies to me too.  I look around at who I surround myself with, and appreciate that I have a circle of strong, loving, protective and caring people. They’re truly good. Some sent me “You do not have to reply, but I just want you to know…” text messages.  Some left i-love-you voicemails that I was invited to not reply to. One drove 40 minutes to make sure I did yoga, and dedicated a breakfast to dream scheming my next 3-6 months. A few are angry and offered to give him a piece of their mind, I was offered girl-time, alcohol, a date, and other distractions. One offered to come over for the love letter bon-fire that I’m too sentimental to follow-through on. Some sat by me with honesty and told me to my face I could stand to be more open and tolerant. One just said “I’m sorry, because I know you thought he was the one.” They reminded me to write. And sleep. And yoga.  One explicitly reminded me that I am authentically me, that he has known me for 27 years and knows me, and that I haven’t changed. And while me may not be perfect, I never claimed or promised anything that wasn’t me. I don’t know if I picked them or if they picked me, but I’m fucking lucky. When I think of the people around me I love that they’re not pussies, they’re honest, and they have my back.

My children HAVE learned something about love from me.

I have two daughters and I have been a single mom for 23 years. I have always told my girls this…

Relationships must be mutually beneficial. You must be adding value to someone’s life and they must be adding value to yours or it is not healthy.

It must be give with take and take with give. I saw a note to him from my oldest daughter. I wasn’t happy that it happened or when it happened or that he engaged her. But, when I saw my daughter tell him how much I loved him, and how she’d never seen me love anyone except she and her sister like that, I felt happy to know she saw and recognized love from me. I felt a sense of relief. She knows I love her. A lot. And she saw me love someone else just as much. I also felt a sense of pride when I read “My mother is the strongest woman in this world…she raised us to not ever let anyone let us feel that way and I’m beyond mad that you’re doing this to her.” She thinks I’m strong. She saw me be vulnerable, which I wasn’t sure I’d shown, and she showed me that I did teach her not to let people make her feel bad about herself. I was also just proud that she would stick up for me. I think loyalty is gorgeous. I didn’t need it, and she never should’ve been in a situation to have to. But when I read that, I felt some validation. I raised a tough, protective loving girl who recognizes love and loyalty. My 13-year old knows I haven’t felt good. She knows the guy I’ve been loving forever is suddenly absent. She knows his calls have stopped, she doesn’t hear his music, and she has stopped asking where he is and if he’s coming over. From her, I got “Can I sleep in here with you?” And “If you want me to watch The Walking Dead with you, I will.” Not profound, but I fell asleep so still the night she snuggled me.



I have spent a significant amount of time, energy and money to nurture and take care of others. It is time to make a personal investment. 

I do want to do something nice for myself in a lasting way. I’ve always felt that helping or taking care of other people was a personal investment. It’s my way. It’s my default to solve other people’s problems. I want my legacy to be that when you needed something and I could give it to you, you got it. I will help you before you ask. I will surprise you. My thoughts will work for you and wheels will spin for you. I will know you well enough to know what you might need and do it. I don’t regret anything I’ve done for this man because I love him. What I do regret is the amount of energy I took from other spaces in my life to give to him. If I hadn’t, would I feel less shattered today? How different might I be today if 5 years ago I’d started checking things off my own bucket list instead of making “ours”? What if I’d not joined him in prison? If I’d gone to Kripalu for the summers by myself would I be a more peaceful person? If I cared about, or for ,myself more would I have waited for him and risk what feels like my whole future? I can’t answer any. But I fell hard, took risks, spent time, spent money and moved a lot of things around for him because I fell. There is absolutely no reason why I can’t shift all of that to something that makes me more comfortable. I want to fall for myself and see what that teaches me.

What Fine Feels Like: When I’m Afraid of Myself

I wrote this for the people who want to help. Please dont. People wanting to help me, scare me.

I wrote this for the people that worry about me. Please don’t. I worry enough for all of us.

I wrote this to try to describe the dark place that some go when we are hurt, or remember, or are triggered. It’s not a ticket i buy. It’s not an outfit I choose. It’s not a trip I want to take. But I go because I’m already on the train and the only place to go is the next stop. Sometimes I can get off. Sometimes I have to go a few more stops. I always come back. There isn’t an alternative. Perhaps some temptation not to, but I always come back because ther is more to make.

A little sad today. In a bad place. Anxiety attack. A flashback. Feeling crazy. Panic attacks. Coming undone. Whatever I call it-I’m fine-but I’m afraid of myself when it happens.

Perhaps of what I am, or what I think, or what I feel, or who might see, or what I’m capable of…but I’m afraid of myself. And I’m afraid for them…whoever they are.

I’m not out of control. I’m completely aware that I’m struggling. I don’t need help. I don’t want help. I want to dissapear. I know it will be terrifying, briefly, but I know it will pass.

I’m overcome by my own shadow and an overwhelming feeling of alone. My own brand of darkness and I wear it like humidity in August. A gown of grief and rage and sadness. Loose hems have been stitched up with shame over time. Memories heavily adorn the collar and add weight. It sticks uncomfortably to my naked skin. Buttons of anger poke into my bones when I move. 
It’s not an unfamiliar piece. It’s a staple in my wardrobe that I never choose. I wake up wearing it at times like this, and there’s no escape…until I’ve suffered it off.I try to be still, until I can practice the rhythm that brings back some form of peace. It’s a process. Suffering to feel easy. Dehydrated to recognize quenched. Starved to know what full feels like.

There’s a rush of heat in my chest that feels like hot clouds, and they feel nice for a moment, before they get stormy. My heart beat turns from time keeping to heavy, heavy stop-watch. A numb flutter happens under my tongue, and my breathing feels panicky before I take a breath. My first few inhales are fake-just a chest compression. No air comes in. There’s a pain, but it’s deep, and putting my hand on my heart would be a tell.

I’m afraid of something. Seemingly of my own feelings. Of how this dress feels on. I try to be still, because struggling is always worse when you’re stuck…in a web, in quicksand, in life.

My breath gets away from me only momentarily and I wince or quietly groan mostly to bring myself to attention. I breathe. Deep. Slowly. It’s shaky and the hot clouds have turned to water. My slow deep breathing contradicts the quick thumping in my chest and it takes a few minutes for them to come together. I’m holding back tears, and I feel like I’m underwater. As my chest rises and falls more steadily, the corners of my eyes leak. With every extended and forced exhale, salty tears streak down my face and under my earlobes. I taste blood, or metal.

I’m afraid I’m going to break somewhere irrepairably. I’m afraid I already have and don’t know. I’m afraid I might be mad. The only strength I have I use to breathe and sometimes to stay concious as my fingers and toes tingle. I know that oxygen and my blood want to dance, but this dress traps me and my capacity for air and movement is restricted. I’m overcome with a déjà u feeling. I know this exact spot, this exact feeling. There’s a memory I feel but can’t see. It’s something terrible, but I can’t tell myself what it is. It is scary and it is sad.

I’m absent from almost everything, except my immediate and present surroundings and need to stay sane. My sane stays on nearby like a child’s nightlight in the corner of the room. I  try hard to keep myself still. Together. Invisible. Unnoticed. The mute screamer begging not to be noticed.

I’ve met an edge in my sticky and pokey dress, where sanity meets an abyss of something else. Stepping in could be terrible and tangled. But I wonder if it could also stop something terrible. Heartache and worry? Sadness and memories? Shame and  regret?

I’m not sure what’s in there. I don’t know for sure how it could make me feel. It could be freeing, but my instincts keep bringing my face to the light in the corner of the room. Stay here, it reminds me. That in itself makes me wonder if I do the wrong thing by coming back to the light in the corner. Do other people reach this place and step in without contemplation? Do they let go of their mind and breathing and tears and shut off the light? Might that be why other people worry or hurt less? Are they more brave? Are they less crazy? Do they care more?

Pains are coming and going and I feel like a child feels like when she’s awoken, scared, in her bed alone, in the dark, and she’s screaming out for help. The kind of cry that makes a mom jump up and run in to hold her. The kind of scared inflicted by something she can’t remember in a dream, but knows it scared her. It felt real. Even if it wasn’t.

Whatever she feels like is what I feel like. I don’t scream. My cries sound like breaths in and out.  I never cry out. No one ever runs in. No one ever did. I rock myself. And the rhythm helps an adrenaline overdose start to subside.

I’m physically sick. And sore. And tired. I can hide behind that. But, mostly, my heart hurts. It’s not broken. It’s not shattered. It’s something worse. It’s exposed. Leaking. A torrent of something thick and infected is leaking out and can’t be clamped. I shamefully try to push it back in, and it’s like swallowing vomit. My stomach starts to hurt.

Whatever it is…love, regret, happiness, time, memories, fear, madness…I’ll make more, I assure myself. I’ll make more. I rock myself with a foot, with my waist. My breath comes back to me, and my heart relaxes. My stomach and my head hurt.

I could get up and move if I had to, but I want to come into myself physically as much as I do emotionally. I could talk if I had to, but I will avoid any and all chances. They deserve better than this, yet this is the absolute best I can be in this moment. Awake (sometimes) and alive (seemingly). The indignity of regret.

I will make more. And I say “I’m fine” to anyone who notices or suspects. I don’t feel well-but I’m fine. And I don’t, and I am. I will be fine. Unless it happens again in a bit, but right now I’m fine. Everything else is fine. Nothing around me has changed. I didn’t worry anything away. I didn’t fearfully move anything into better. My tears didn’t rust something out of motion. The adrenaline didn’t make the memory more clear. Nothing has changed. So, I’m fine.

Tomorrow I will make more. More love, regret, happiness, time, memories, fear, madness…I’ll make more, I assure myself, and, I assure you. I am scared. Every day. But there is no alternative except to come back.