Category Archives: Uncategorized

Men Are Like Dresses

Dating at 40 is like having 7 dresses out for the same dinner.
#1.) Looks amazing on, but the zipper is itchy, or maybe it’s the tag. I’m not quite sure, but something is off. It looks fucking good though.  The dress that can’t make sentences.

#2.) Is totally comfortable but not nearly as pretty as the others, and I’m not sure which I want to wear right now.

#3.) Is pretty inexpensive, but allows for you to get a pair of shoes, too. This one has long term benefits, but I question the fabric. I’m not sure about the quality.

#4.) Probably should be returned. This one is ridiculously priced, or might be an outrageous style that I don’t wear…but is quite flattering. Even though I really like it, I never pick this one for any dinner, so this one kind of takes up space.

#5.) Is way too big. I don’t even want this one, but I kept it in my closet. What is wrong with me?

#6.) Is way too small. The one that doesn’t fit, but I wish it did. It’s gorgeous, but not my size at all.

#7.) Is someone else’s. Borrowed. The already married dress that I could wear for a night. Or for a few. But it’s not really mine. I mean, eventually I have to give it back so I don’t even want it.

I’m looking for a sexy, inexpensive, available, comfortable dress in my size that can be worn to different dinners without getting worn out. If you see one pick it up for me, but keep the receipt, just in case.

Dear Lorelei…

In 1999-2000, I was working at a local restaurant. It was my second job. I worked the dreaded 9-5 rushed home to grab an apron that reeked of Romano cheese, and went off to wait tables Thursday through Saturday. Life could have been worse, but it also could have been so much better. I was stretched pretty thin.

I was in my early 20’s, had lost my boyfriend to a heart attack in 1998, and was taping life up to keep it from falling apart. My 80-year-old blind Nana often slept over while I worked nights, so that my daughter could sleep in her own bed. Other times she would sleep at Nana’s and I didn’t know who to worry about more.

I worked with a woman whose name is Lorelei. I actually couldn’t remember her name. But I remember that she was calm. We could be in the middle of an hour wait being screamed at by the chef and the back-of-the house manager Johnny, while Girls Gone Wild was being played on the kitchen television, and she was a cool as they come. There was just a gentleness about her that I enjoyed being around. She wasn’t much older than me (at least I don’t remember her that way), but after meeting her only once it was clear she was a “motherly” type. I was far from calm. Always on, always ready, always on guard, and ready to react. I’d tell the chef or line cook to go fuck himself, and didn’t hesistate to hand my tables over to Johnny who thought he’d be a better waitress than me one night.

Lorelei seemed to have a more “peaceful” kind of life. Husband, small children, a car that didn’t appear to brake-down, have a cancelled registration, and it was probably insured more than mine was.

We weren’t close. It was a busy place to work and not a lot of time to talk. But she was kind. I remember that. Here’s why I remember her most. At Christmastime, my then 6 or 7 year old daughter wanted a Baby Alive. (I think that’s what she was called.) I didn’t have a lot of free time, was a single mom, and was never going to beat the psycho stay-at-home moms to the store for the damn thing.

I came in for a shift one night and she said, “oh” (nonchalant) “I picked up that doll you wanted.” 

She bought the doll and brought it in. For me. She saw it, knew I was looking for it, and picked it up for me.

I was moved. I didn’t have a lot of people in my life. At all. All I did was work. I paid her for it, and I went home and cried. I didn’t have a babysitter except Nana. I didn’t have any days that I didn’t feel like falling asleep and not waking up. Christmas shopping was terrible because it was something I couldn’t do with my daughter and we went everywhere and did everything together.

I don’t remember if I ever showed my appreciation. I don’t remember if my gratitude was obvious, or if I looked uncomfortable and awkward because I wasn’t used to people being kind. But, this year, I was walking into Target, and there was a sign taped on the door that said “We are all out of Hatchimals right now”, or something like that. And, my first thought was “I’m so glad I’m not one of parents looking for whatever THAT is.” I thought back on how stressful that was. Alexis never asked for much. Ever. In fact, for her first 5 years, I made, painted or got on clearance and spruced up every single gift. (Dear Alexis, I don’t care what you say, that hand painted fanny pack in 1997 was awesome!)

Then, this…I realized that this wasn’t the same sentiment Lorelei had when she saw Baby Alive in 1999. Not even close. She knew my daughter wanted it. Only that. And she grabbed it for us-people she hardly knew.

I have a lot of Loreleis that have come and gone from my life. I’m lucky. I am grateful and appreciative of every single one of them. Every act of kindness is remembered. I don’t know if I showed it properly. But if you are reading this and you are someone’s Lorelei, know you made a difference. Don’t stop.

I called the restaurant this week to ask about her. I couldn’t remember her name. It turns out, she’s working there. I’m going to be “the Lorelei” this time.

If you are reading this and you are MY Lorelei, I thank you. So much. You spared me that year. You spared me the guilt of not being able to find it. She only wanted one thing. You spared me the stress of finding a sitter, paying for one I couldn’t afford, driving my unregistered or uninsured and sometime both car around, and the stress of all of those things combined on a rare day off. You gave me a smile. You gave Alexis a smile. She’s 23 now and she  doesn’t remember the stupid doll. But I remember you.

If you are anyone else, go be someone’s Lorelei. Please.

Xo

You 

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.

xo

  

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.

Design Thinking My Ass Out of This Shitty Morning

I’m in traffic on Rt. 3 Northbound heading to Boston. When I finish writing, I’m at Mass Ave. & Harrison Ave. taking a breath…feeling pretty smart. (Insert crazy laugh)…

I’ve got a job opportunity and a App development idea I’d like someone to prototype. It doesn’t suck, I swear. Stay with me.
I just finished a two-day-dig-my-eyeballs out “Design Thinking Boot Camp”. Good stuff. So I’m applying it.
First, I fell in love with the problem: I’m in “developing blood clots” traffic alone in my  car, have to pay $42 to park…at my fucking job…and I can’t even estimate what time I might arrive at the office this morning-or home for that matter.)
Then I remembered to ideate! Fucking stupid word, right? Don’t try to make “idea” a verb, it’s perfectly happy as a noun. Anyway, my solutions mostly sucked, and weren’t feasible…

Tell the SVP commuting would be too stressful on my morning, and to meet me at the beach.

Hovercraft.

Cry.

Quit and eat cat food.
You get the point. Not feasible. But this idea may be testable…
It’s for a collaborative App where the end users are both working and stay at home moms.

Here are the end-users more perfectly described…the “Shit-Show-Working-Moms.” Not you ass holes who can’t find your check for the nanny and worry about when the X series SUV goes in for winter tires. I’m talking about the moms who cry after dropping F bombs on slow moving  6th graders and then cry when they realize they have to stop for gas and be late or be on schedule and maybe end up waiting for AAA in the breakdown lane.

The other end users are the “Stay-At-Homies” (a.k.a. “Front Row Moms” on some days. This is what I call them, in an angry voice, on select days. The days I fall into the school production late with one broken shoe, no charge on my phone to take one fucking picture that proves I was there, and stand in the back of the room hoping my kid sees that I showed up. By the way, can one of those Lululemon-and-a-tunic uniform wearing bitches get her perfect little ass up and offer the haggard slob moms like me a fucking seat, and high five me for remembering the thing was today as she scoots over to her pink-cheeked-cherub? Bitch.)
Anyway, here’s the idea that needs to be tested and prototyped…
A “Stay-At-Homie” could sign up on an Uber-like app to be paid to ride in the HOV lane. “Shit-Show Working-Mom” pays her less than said parking fee to listen to Eminem’s Lose Yourself in the HOV lane, and helps her get to work on time. Sure, there’d be fewer pet-sitting and house-cleaning posts on the “everything local” pages of Facebook. And, there’s some loose-end details to work out, mainly what do I do with her when I get to the city. But I’m counting on someone smarter and less aggravated than me to focus on the details.
So- I’d pay for that. For real.
Now, Insert a slew of “we work just as hard”, “don’t mom bash”, and “respect my choices” comments below, but please know i already agree with you, I love both sides some days, and I hate bitches on other days-both sides-it ain’t personal.
xo

Raging PMS Mom Avoids Altercations At School

 There was a raging-bitch-face PMS mom at the “Spring Concert”at our school tonight. It was awful!

When adult parents and their children failed to stand OR be quiet for our own country’s National Anthem sung by little ones, less than a week after fucking Memorial Day…she almost lost her shit and couldn’t recover. It was a why-isn’t-she-on-Prozac kind of evening, if I ever saw one.

She spent the evening 1.)shushing people around her without discretion, 2.) being annoyed by the 8th grade boys for being loud and disruptive and rude (read: being 8th grade boys), and 3.)giving the loud-fat-ass-standing-up-in-front of-her parent dirty looks for bad behavior.

I’m home now in my PJs though. No one was choked, no swear words were directed at children or parents, and no one got a throat punch. You’re welcome. Another event without an altercation under my belt. I’m good. 

You’re Beautiful, Too

Today, I told a little girl she was beautiful, too, and I regret it.

It was after work.  I was wearing a knee length blue patterned dress and black heels. I stopped at a local chocolate shop on the waterfront for a quick gift on my way home.  When I stepped out of the shop, there was a little girl, maybe 4, sitting with her mom on a bench outside the door.  As I walked by, the little girl was looking up at me with a huge smile.

“Hi!” She said, very excited like.

“Well, hello!” I said back in an exaggerated expression, meant to show her mom how cute she was.  (Moms have a way of making eye contact or using tone instead of words to say things like “so cute”, “I know how you feel” and “I feel your pain”.  Today, my tone was telling this mom “She’s kind of awesome.”) Four-year-olds are more often found hiding behind mom’s leg than sharing outward joy with strangers.  This girl was just magnetic.

I kept my slow pace over the stones, in heels, and the girl yelled after me, “You’re so beautiful!”

I was stunned, and a little embarrassed. A tattooed man had just stepped out of another shop.  He looked at me, then at her, and kept on. I’m not sure if it was instinct or habit, but I stopped and turned back to her, still smiling.  “And, you are so beautiful, too!”, I told her. I took my time to annunciate each word pointedly so she knew I meant it.

I was now about 15 feet away.  “I like your shoes.”, she replied, still a giant smile on her face, and by now she had scooted her bum forward so she was was on the edge of the bench.

“Thank you so much. They are my favorites.”

Her mom and I shared a smile and I reached the door of the next shop, and went inside.

When I reached my car I was still thinking about her.  I wish I hadn’t told her she was beautiful.  I wish I had stopped.

I wish I hadn’t t responded in kind with a superficial compliment about the way she looked. I complimented a little girl on something she has no control over. I wish I had told her I thought she was brilliant, or amazing, or a fabulous speaker.  I could have told her that she seems like the kind of girl that lots of people want to be friends with.

I wish I’d come up with a better way to tell that little girl that her smile and her hello were the shiniest things I saw all day. I wish I’d told her that beautiful isn’t how we look, it’s how we make people feel.

When Looking for Love: Are His Hands Big Enough?

I’ve fallen both in and out of love. I’ve lost love tragically, and thought I’d never recover from the overwhelming sadness. I was absolutely traumatized, in a way that left me numb and unaware. The only time I’d allowed myself to be completely vulnerable in a relationship with a man, I lost him to sudden death under terrible conditions. After that, accepting love and feeling deserving of it became an uphill battle. I never wanted to let someone in that much again. Once I knew what it felt like to lose that big, and hurt that much, I never wanted to be near it.  My disassociative response leaves a big gap in time.

I unconsciously, and later with intention, set out to live a life where I never depended on anyone, for anything.  Statistically, I was already fucked from a relationship perspective. A myriad of unhealthy childhood and adolescent experiences had shaped an unhealthy picture of what love and trust looked like, already. Surely my relationship style was “avoidant”, at best. I learned quite young that to be well I had to expect nothing, prepare for the worst, trust no one, and rely on myself. At twenty-two And alone, I added “love no one” to the list of ingredients. And, for a long time, that trauma soup worked for me. Really well.

Being vulnerable was a weakness. While I’m not where I need to be, I’ve learned to take some risks with my heart, and I’ve been rewarded with so much self awareness and understanding.  I’ve learned a tremendous amount about what I want, what I need, what I don’t, and what I love. I’ve learned just how weak I really am, and just how strong a man I need. I’ve also learned what I can do, what I can’t, and just how confusing it can be for a man who isn’t tender to try to hold a broken heart when his own hands and heart aren’t big enough.

I’m not easy to love, and I constantly challenge it. I’m hard to please, I’m not tolerant, and I’m now filled with expectations. I’m both venomous and nurturing, and refuse to settle for less than what fills me. I am direct and independent, often confused with bossy and controlling.  I’m moody and sharp. I resist charm and superficial bullshit like a super-power.  To bring me to a place of openness requires a significant amount of trust. I need a presence of love that moves me, and as I grow older I am more comfortable with that expectation. I’ve grown to understand that I can deserve it, I just don’t always feel that way because I’m letting in the lover that isn’t mine.

Every kind of love is a gift and teacher, no matter how small or fleeting. But just because we love doesn’t mean we stay, or commit, or should. Often we shouldn’t.

I’ve had a brief encounter that took my breath away and it still makes me smile when I think of him. I’ve worked hard to make a relationship work, and I’ve turned my back with ease on another. I fought for one with Spartan determination, and tested another to see if he’d fight for me. I’ve been proposed to, and never married. I’ve given back an engagement ring…twice. I’ve been worshiped like a goddess and sung to by moonlight. I’ve had crushes that were nothing more, and once secretly adored a boy I never spoke to. I’ve had an emotional connection with no physical relationship, and I’ve had a physical relationship without a hint of emotion. I’ve tasted summer love to have my heart broken on Labor Day weekend, like most girls from The Cape. I remember my first love. And for years, I’ve held on to a deep and lifelong true love.

Some boys loved me, others didn’t at all. Some left scars, some became friends, and others just memories. I believe that love and heartaches are part of our journey and I do truly love love. I’m trying more than ever not to resist it.

I’m grateful for all flavors of love, but long for the companionship that both takes my hand and fills my heart. The kind that lets me bask and rest and trust. The kind that lasts. The kind of love that I love back, and it feels like a sigh when I do. The lover who knows that broken hearts are whole hearts…in more pieces with more edges. He’ll love it for all its complexities and lack of smoothness. He won’t try to patch it or assemble it, because it works. He’ll know that it doesn’t need to be fixed. 

I’m ready to accept the love of a soul who has lived and hurt and loved as much as I have. Someone with his own scars and cracks. Someone who is as in tune with me as he is with himself. Someone who’s definition of love has also changed and developed into something much more than youthful unsustainable excitement and now includes something that moves him.

I’m waiting on a different kind of love than I’ve taken before. The one that charges my blood. The one that makes my chest flutter while I push responsibilities aside. A love who understands my instincts and my fears, and promises to nurture them. The one who accepts my challenges and laughs at my venom. The one who’s super power is to make me laugh. I’m looking for someone who loves love as much as I do.

I’m holding out for that one because I believe in its sentiment.  Because with him comes balance and peace.

And when that man who knows how to hold a broken heart, in all its bloodied sharp pieces comes along, his hands will be big enough to hold both my heart and my hand.

xo

You Can’t Pull The Plug on Trauma

On Monday, I saw my mother for the first time since last year. I’ve spent the last week recovering both physically and mentally from seeing her. It took me exactly six days to realize that both my mind and my body are swimming upstream in a current of PTSD…saturated and cold and slow.

I’m anxious for no reason. My blood pressure is high. While lying in bed, I had chest pains so badly that I wondered if I could reach for the phone if it didn’t stop. Everything aches and I’m mad at my body for hooking up with my mind and turning on me.

The last time I saw my mother she was wearing her too-long white and grey hair in a pony-tail, like a child. She was handcuffed and her feet were shackled. Her translucent hazel eyes were surrounded by black and blue circles, evidently punched in the face. She was standing between two court officers who brought her into a court room to speak to a judge. In Massachusetts, under Chapter 123; Section 35 the court can involuntarily commit a person for up to 90-days if their alcohol or drug use puts them or others at risk. I don’t know why we put ourselves, or the judge through this. Everyone knows that this process is broken, that there is no real help to be had, and that she doesn’t even want help if it was available. She’s so far gone she doesn’t understand what the fuss is. It’s entirely fruitless, except that someone’s conscience is alarmed. Someone wants to help.

The concerns were shared. I listened, not surprised. No stable living situation, no electricity or heat. She was surrounded by drug dealers and prostitutes. She was stealing from people who trusted her (old people with money or prescriptions). A picture is painted for the judge. It was a shit-show, really, but I imagined he hears all matter of shit. I wondered for a minute whether he has to physically was the gross off at the end of the day? I remember supressing a “blah, blah, blah” as the facts are read off. I’m so pissed that she evokes so much anger from me, and energy from the world. I was annoyed that I was missing work and that I could hear my own blood moving somewhere between my ears. I was using a breathing technique to slow my heart and she looked like she had no idea where she was. She was blinking a lot. Pleasantly confused. Maybe she was high. I was embarrassed that she’s such a waste of resources. Appalled that she’s not already in jail for a million other reasons.   Isn’t this system sophisticated enough to be able to type her fucking name in and see everything she has ever been arrested for?   I sat. I listened. I tried to control my facial expressions. I reminded myself that I would be out of there soon. I tried to leave my body and then I saw that she was asked who I was. Someone was pointing at me. She answers with “That’s my daughter.” And inside I come undone. I give my best “I have no idea what she is talking about” face, and I begin to mentally will away the looks of pity and apology. These poor people are listening to this story of her reality like it’s terrible. And, now they’re feeling bad for me. Her addiction is not worse, people. Her judgment, morals and other guiding principles have not deteriorated. She is using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate the same way she always has, she’s just doing it in a different place now.

Once, her alcohol, cocaine, prescription and crack-cocaine addictions were masked by beautiful Cape Cod. We lived in a three bedroom one-story ranch on a cul-de-sac where we rode bikes and cought the bus at the end of the street. She smoked crack in the basement, had sex with random men in the living room, and accumulated clothes, burnt spoons and garbage like a transfer station. Now, she’s doing it in a three-family house of whores and junkies in Brockton. Nothing is different, it’s just a change in geography. But, on that day last year, someone’s conscience needed to be freed, and I was asked to be there to speak to the “history of behavior” if needed. I wasn’t needed. I should have waited outside. I could understand the desire to help, and the internal need to take action. I’ve been there, a fucking bazillion times. On that particular day they committed her for “up to 90-days” and sent her to Framingham for women. Not a treatment center. Not a mental health hospital. A jail. She was allegedly released after 5-days for passing a drug test. According to the FDA crack cocaine is detectable for 2-3 days.  Testing on day 5 makes sense right? By the time she had been arrested and brought to court, it had probably been 2 days since she used.  Genius plan.

I tried to feel sorry for her. I looked for any indication that she wanted more for herself. I wondered if she was sad, or embarrassed? I tried to look at her and force a feeling, because I know there is one somewhere. I tried desperately to come up with something other than rage and absolute disgust. It’s only a matter of time before she dies. I’m amazed she is still alive rather than sad at the thought of her life ending. I don’t know how she hasn’t been shot for stealing from the wrong person. I can’t understand how her body hasn’t failed her after so many years of constant abuse. How hasn’t her heart just stopped? I know that on some level I probably love and care about her…or, at the very least loved and cared about her.  She’s weak though.  I have no respect for weakness.  I despise people who don’t look to solve their own problems, and I’m the last person you’d want to invite to a pity party.  I would do anything to help anyone…provided they want to help themselves.  One’s mother should be an exception.  There should be some kind of natural soft spot, I think, but I could not find it.

I am void of kind emotion for her when I see her. I wonder if she wants to die every day?  Or if she uses because she wants to live…but can’t face herself every day?  I used to say that the punishment for all her wrongs might be that she has to live with herself.

I stopped reading about cocaine, addiction, helping people in recovery, how to be supportive, and how not to be co-dependent long ago. I employed every intervention technique I read, and then walked away. Attempting to hold us together hurt me. I reached the point where I hated her more than I wanted to help. It took years to break ties with her, and I still get pulled back sometimes.  It’s amazing how quickly the human brain remembers bad stuff.  It’s a bit like riding a bike.  You can always learn new things but you can’t unlearn.

On Monday of this week, I saw her again. I watched her cross the street with long wiry white and grey hair, even longer than mine, blowing around in the February wind. I quickly tied my hair up into a twist, fearing people would think we were related. Most 61 year old women would wear their hair up. Or trim it. Maybe she’s forgotten her age? More likely, she thinks she looks pretty. She looks like Gandalf. Smaller and crazier. I hear someone say she sleeps in a homeless shelter now, still smoking crack and drinking every day. The condemned house she was living in was recently raided and boarded up.  I think she looks like she has showered, so that’s good.  I guess.  She isn’t pushing a stolen shopping carriage.  That must be hard to do, I think, with all this snow.

There was a time when this woman didn’t leave the house unless her heels matched the belt that matched the hat that matched the lingerie. I want to grab her hair and make her look at herself.  I want her to see what I see, but she can’t.  Today, her clothes are too big for her now tiny body. I wonder at how much is left of her. She’s slowly disappearing. You can still tell that she was once beautiful, but her face is like a skeleton, and her skin looks grave. I imagined grabbing her face and her cheekbones turned to dust in my palms.

I don’t sit around wishing I had been loved more. I don’t wish for someone else’s life and I don’t feel regret for mine or entitlement to some other kind of life. I don’t want to understand PTSD and I don’t want to feel it either.  I was nurtured. I was loved. I was breastfed and held. I was potty trained and hugged and kissed and snuggled. I had my hair braided perfectly, long before she pulled it to punch me. I know I gave her joy long before the weight of motherhood smothered her chances of happiness. She taught me to cook before she stopped bringing home food.  She showed me that women could mow the lawn, before she proved she could not survive without a man or drugs.  She handmade Halloween costumes before she started leaving holiday decorations out year round. She told me I was smart and pretty, before she told me how much she hated me. I was kissed and touched on the forehead when I was sick before I ever had to roll her on her side to prevent her from drowning in her own vomit.  On my 17th birthday I left home and The Cape for the last time.  I took only the good stuff with me.  At least that’s what I thought.  But today, the bad shit creeps back into my head and my heart and my bones and I’m angry that she’s infiltrated.

My mother was a woman with limited to non-existent coping skills. She was wild and simple. She has always needed more love and attention than any one person could sustain. She did the best she could with what she was made of. She loved me. She loved us, the best way she knew how. To the surprise of some, I never questioned whether or not she loved me. She was once good intentioned, beautiful, passionate and fun. She just couldn’t deal. With anything.

I’m grateful to her for life. I just want out now. I want the right to decide who is in my life and who is not. I would like to never see her again. I don’t want to help her, and I don’t wish bad things for her, and in my opinion that’s relatively gracious of me. I don’t want to field calls about her. I don’t want to be asked “mother’s maiden name” on websites. I don’t want to explain each time I’m asked for medical history. I want her out of my mind, and I want the weight of her lifted from my body.  I just want my sentence to be over.

I want to draw my hands back and blow the dust away…for me…and for her. If there was a plug, I would pull it.