Little (Social) Butterfly–Where Did You Go?

As you get older, sometimes you take a stock of your life.  This happens especially when things are going absolutely nothing the way you thought it would.  Of course, there’s that whole best laid plans thing blah blah, but really when you’re hit with no, no and no, especially when you could really use a win, you find yourself wondering just what happened.  Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, as a child, I used to be friendly and outgoing.  I am still really good at faking it.  But I used to genuinely want to connect with people. As I got older, like most teenagers I wanted to be “popular” and in some ways I was, looking back on it.  I had friends from all sorts of different “cliques”.  People at school knew who I was—there were people who would tell me hello in our neighborhood, from our school, and frankly I did not know who they were.  But, I was never popular as in “hang out with the cool kids and go to a bunch of parties” popular—though I wasn’t exactly a homebody either.

Then, when I started college, I really realized, I just didn’t care about popularity, fitting in, whatever.   But really, who cared in college?  The most “cool” I did was when hung out with one of my friends who was pledging a sorority, plus I knew someone from high school who was in a fraternity at the college by the time I got there.  Fraternity and sorority rows were a way of partying for me (but just one way). And frankly, I didn’t really care that they were frats or sororities.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved to dance and drink and meet new people like most people in college.  But by then I was doing it on my terms.  I didn’t pledge the sorority and they knew I never had the intention to and the only fraternity guy I dated was my old friend from school.

I also worked while in school, and joined different social clubs and went to meetings about issues that mattered to me.

I was still outgoing, but not really friendly.  I wasn’t a bitch though.  I just didn’t make a conscious effort to make friends.  I did the things I wanted to do, I hung out with who I wanted to hang out with, and I accepted the fact that I was the type of person who, unless there was an instant “click”, it was going to take me awhile to warm up to you.

And I was okay with that.

It was when I entered the workforce that things really…changed.  I was no longer outgoing.  I would go to work, and sure, I had work friends, people who I would have lunch with when time allowed.  A lot of times though I would meet Mom for lunch because we worked in the same part of the city, and I had long accepted that in many ways Mom was one of, if not, my best friend.

Friends I had made through the years, and some still have, they of course grew as well and started to have separate social lives with boyfriends turned husbands and girlfriends turned wives and they became parents and did all of those sorts of things.  They moved out of the area into the suburbs and some moved out of state all together. Hell, I left the country for a number of years.  I managed my own romantic social life too though it got harder, but in the end, I think finding who I did wound up being a whole force of fate and will kind of making us each think outside the box in order to happen.

When you have two people who aren’t really outgoing…let’s just say that at first,  I got used to doing things by myself after awhile.

Then I got used to just not doing anything.

Work was tiring, and people sometimes made me feel…crowded.  And why go out when I can relax at home?

A lot of stuff happened between friendly and outgoing, to maybe not friendly but outgoing, to I can just do things by myself, to hey Sweetheart what’s on TV tonight?  If I really think about it, I could probably pinpoint the main things that made me change throughout the years—some of them are coming to me right now, right off the bat. But…maybe other posts.

I’m not saying all of this change was bad.  The fact is, that you can only be so trusting…you need to have some sort of walls up, because frankly people will take advantage of you if you don’t.  And honestly, that drive to be “in” and “cool” or whatever will drive you crazy.  Have you watched the Real Housewives franchise?  I used to, but one day it hit me, these are a bunch of beyond grown women still trying to fit into some sort of clique—complete with bullying, and…really?

But, sometimes, like today, I just find myself wondering, how exactly could things have been different for me if I had kept that drive to be more social.   And how do you go from “ack no thanks…too many people”…to, hey, maybe making new friends may be a good idea?

Perhaps I will find out.  Perhaps I won’t.  I never know with me.

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It’s Their Turn Now

Sunday was Mother’s Day, the first after my Mom’s recent death.  As mentioned, Mother’s Day snuck up on me…I had the thought of it buried until I randomly saw a commercial a couple of weeks prior to.

And then it was all I could think of.  It had me an emotional mess, and that included on Sunday.

So, when I went to visit my Mom, I talked to her and told her how much I loved and missed her (which I tell her all the time, frankly).  And then as I was talking I asked her to tell Grandma Happy Mother’s Day as well.  And I thought of the people my Mom gets to be with now; people that she had loved and missed that she doesn’t have to miss anymore.

I am Mom’s only child she gave birth to.   Doctors did not think she would be able to carry to term…she called me her miracle.

I stood at my Mom’s body’s final resting place on Sunday and I thought of her being with her parents, and some of her siblings, and friends, and other family members, and even having con-fabs with some of her social heroes, and favorite musicians and other celebrities, and being at peace.  And then I thought of the two babies she had been unable to carry to term, and I realized, “It’s their turn.  They get to have you with them, and you get to have them with you, this Mother’s Day and all of the Mother’s Days thereafter.”

I still want my Mom with me.  I’m selfish that way.  But, I am trying to remind myself that there is no shortage of souls who loved her and whom she loved that she is with now.

I hope that those of you who were able to celebrate Mother’s Day had a wonderful Sunday.  And I hope that those of you who were unable to celebrate with someone because of a loss were able to find any sort of needed peace.

 

Can I Just Curl Up Into a Ball Today?

You know how life goes on?  And you can’t just curl up in a ball and be left alone?

Well, I do think that you should be allowed some days to say, “Yeah.  Fuck that.  I need to curl up in a ball and be left alone.”

Yesterday I was just minding my business, watching Masterpiece, one of the shows I grew up watching with my Mom.  One of those shows Mom and I would text about when I became an adult, because watching it and enjoying it was a habit she was so happy she had passed on.  I was doing fine—I was appreciating the show and thinking of what Mom and I would say about it if she were still physically here.

Then the show went off, and I was flipping through the channels to see if there was something else on I wanted to watch or if I just wanted to read or something before I got ready for bed.

And as the channels went by, I must not have been moving quickly enough, because I saw my first Mother’s Day commercial.

And all I could think was “I don’t have a Mom.”

And I know that is not true.

I have a Mom.

I just don’t have a Mom I can see or kiss or touch or hug or hear anymore.

I have a Mom that for the first time, I will visit on Mother’s Day with flowers and have to lay them at her grave.

I’m not ready.

I knew the day was coming but I guess I wasn’t prepared.

I’ve been crying pretty much since last night.

I cried myself to sleep.

I woke up and cried.

I made coffee and drank it and started to cry.

I tried to remind myself that my Mom is no longer in pain and she is at peace, and yet still I cried.  Because I am not at peace.  And my soul hurts.

I pretty much want to cry all day, every day, but I suck it up because, you know, can’t just wander around in tears.

My acting chops have come in handy.  Because “Oh, I’m doing okay, considering.”  “I’m hanging in there.”  I sound and look believable when people ask.  The key to acting is to be believable, so it’s not like I’m going to say “I’m fine”.  That would be too big of a lie.

“Oh, good.”  I hear.  “I’m glad it’s getting easier.”  I hear.  And now people want to “do something”.  Let’s “go somewhere and hang out.”

Yeah.  No.  I’m not like Angela Bassett or Meryl Streep or something.  I can’t pull that off.  “Doing something” where I should be enjoying myself with others?  Nope.

I can’t make plans.

Because I am full of tears which sometimes need to just flow at any moment.  I don’t want to have to act “okay considering” when I don’t actually have to.  I need the moments where

Commercial. Why not?  Cry.

Songs.  That’s a big one…just minding my own business, listening to music, and a song will come that hasn’t yet been a trigger, I didn’t think would be a trigger song, but *surprise!* it is now so sure, why not?  Ugly cry.   True Colors was that song most recently.

Cooking.  Yep, the act of cooking. Add salt to the meal with tears.

I am an actress at heart.  I always have been.  I can (and have and probably will again) write about my “little adult” side I had as a child, where I could usually be believable that I was fine through pain and turmoil.   This transformed into “mature” teenager, and “strong” adult.  I can usually be believable that I am fine through pain and turmoil.

Right now is pretty much constant pain and emotional turmoil so If people are involved I have to constantly be “on”.  I prep myself for calls, hell even texts when I often want to (but don’t) answer “why are you bothering me?” or “so what?” when people reach out.  (Because being in pain and turmoil has made me want to be a bitch I suppose).  I need to be “on” to go out into the world to work, or run errands, or have any sort of human contact.  I switch “on” and suck the waterfalls up most of the time.   But, when alone, I turn to “off” and during “off” I have no sense of control of when the dam will break.

And I need that.  I don’t want to be “on” 24/7.  So I avoid “hanging out”.  That’s too much fucking pressure. It’s hard enough to even summon a proper response to answer a text.

I can’t avoid the every day.  And I don’t want to.  Not really.  Or maybe that is a lie.  I don’t know.  Sometimes I am grateful that there are things I need to do, and other times, not so much.

Today, not so much.

I don’t feel like acting today.

This is just one of those days I’d like to just be able to curl up into a ball and be left alone.

 

 

 

 

Mixture of the Two And That’s Normal

I am a pretty even mixture of two people.  I am one of those people that if you saw me with my Mom, you would say “You look just like your Mom!”.  If you saw me with my Dad you’d say “Wow, you look like your Dad!”.

If you saw us all at the same time, Mom won out.

People say that often you are attracted to yourself.  I paraphrased that.  But basically, often you find people attractive that actually sort of look like you.  My parents are an example of that.

Personality wise, they could not have been more different.

And personality wise, I am my Dad.  For the most part.  We both are not people-people.  We love animals.  But people?  Take em or leave em.  We could be hermits with no problem.  Mom liked to get out and meet people (even though she liked only a few).  Not me and Dad.  Why go out and meet people you probably will just be annoyed by?  That’s our unspoken motto.

You wouldn’t know that if you met us though.  Dad and I are charmers.  On the inside, we are both shy, but on the outside, we are friendly, outgoing and nice.

Dad and I are logical.  Mom was what we called a “Wheeeeee!” person   She would just want to do something, no holds barred, no consequences thought of.  “You’re just like your father” Mom would say with disdain when I worked her second to last nerve.  That meant, “Stop being so damn logical and let me have some fun!”.  But being logical to me is just….well…logical.  How can you not be logical?  I still don’t get that.

Mom–animated and often loud.  Me and Dad–calm and usually quiet.

Sometimes, I look over at my sweetie and think–yeah, we do not look alike.  So I don’t know what happened there.  I guess I don’t love myself as much as my folks loved themselves.  (Goodness, my parents…vain.).  Then again, we act a lot alike, so maybe I do love myself at least on the inside…..  Yet, we’re different enough in ways that parallel (ooh…word of the day prompt!) the issues we inherited from our folks.  Meaning we push each other’s buttons the way our parents pushed each other’s buttons.  What you know is comfortable, even when it shouldn’t necessarily be.  Paraphrased that too.

So, I am someone who looks like both my parents (more so my Mom though), acts like my Dad (with certain Mom tendencies…for instance, I will not let something go), and love someone who acts like me except in certain situations which then cause us to relive patterns that probably should not be relived…but, hey, what we know is comfortable.

Yep.  Sounds normal to me.

Parallel

Can’t…Not Ready.

I had been going to therapy for a bit.  Had is the operative word.

Life happened.  And really, therapy is something I could use.  Because life did not just happen—life kicked and continues to kick my ass.

My relationship with my Mom was part of what I was discussing…part of what I needed to deal with, to grow from, and learn from, and make some changes to myself because of.

Now my Mom is gone.  So…how am I supposed to deal, and grow from, and learn from, and make changes to myself because of…when all I want to do is just go back to our sometimes-dysfunctional patterns because at least she was still here.  I would do anything to have a dysfunctional conversation with Mom right now.  Anything.

I do not want to deal, grow, learn, make changes.

I just want my Mom.

During the day, I am “eh”.  I try and keep myself busy, and it works to varying degrees.   But there are calls that I miss.

I talked to my Mom every day.  We would speak at least once a day.

So, when I am on a break, I still want to call my Mom.  And if something really good or really bad happens, I want to call my Mom.  And if I want to run something by someone, that someone is usually my Mom.

I can keep busy, but my days are “eh”.

Then there is night.  And as the evening goes on, and I go through my routine, I realize just how much my Mom was part of that.  She is the person I would text when watching TV—anything from “this crappy soap”, to politics, to, “OMG have you seen” TV show A or B.    We had such similar tastes, and such similar views that she has always been my go to.  Part of my end of the day unwind.

Other people reach out to me, but it is not the same.  They try and help, but it is not the same.  I am a person of routine.  So, when Life throws me the biggest curve-ball I have ever had, my automatic reaction is to tighten the grips on my routine.  Give myself some “normal” when things are not.

How do I do that now?  I can’t.  And no one else can help me.  I appreciate that people try, and I thank them for trying.

I’ve mentioned before that I have had insomnia since I was 19 years old.  Not a “every now and again” kind of insomnia.  An every single night it takes me hours to fall asleep and I am lucky if I get more than 4 hours of sleep a night insomnia.

That was before Life kicked my ass.  Now even 4 hours of straight sleep would be a luxury.

Mom kept telling me…get some help.  You need sleep.  And I would tell her, it’s not like I don’t try.  I’ve tried all the methods, and I’ve tried the sleeping pills, and yes, I know I have things I need to deal with in therapy.  I’m trying, but I still cannot sleep.  And she would get frustrated and sometimes angry because I was not taking care of myself as far as she was concerned.

Now I lie in bed at night, and my mind goes through all the things I should have talked to my Mom about.  And sometimes I still talk to her, but I cannot hear her answer.  So sometimes I say to myself, well, what she would say, and actually I am pretty good at figuring that out.  I know my Mom.

But it is not the same.

She would want me to restart therapy.  I know she would.   I am not ready though.  Therapy requires an honesty I am not ready to give.  There is too much there.   Too many issues, too many thoughts, and I cannot handle them right now.

And I know that if Mom can hear me now (and I think she can), she is telling me “Stop saying can’t.”  She hated it with a passion when I said I couldn’t do something.

Yes, I can hear her…but yet I can’t.

Or, perhaps I should say, I am not ready.

And if Mom is looking at me, she is sighing and scowling at me now.  I am really good at frustrating my Mom.

 

 

Still a Work in Progress…I Suppose

I am not the type to get irritated or angry easily.

Allegedly.

At least on the outside.

As the “little adult” that Mom said her friends always said I was, it seems that I have always had a mellow on the outside attitude.  I didn’t throw too many tantrums from what I am told/remember.  I was always quiet and well behaved.

I was raised to be polite with people, especially adults.  Adults were to be respected even if you didn’t like them that much.

Neither Dad or Mom would have tolerated being rude to an adult.

I do remember a couple of times—and I very clearly remember them, even though I was young.  Once I was so mad that I locked myself in the bathroom and tore up toilet paper (it was the only thing I could think of taking my anger out on).

I got in tons of trouble for that.  As in spanking trouble—probably why I remember it—I didn’t get spankings very often; I was the “little adult”.

But I am guessing I learned then, that even if you are angry, even if you don’t take that anger out on others, there is even danger when you express it in any way.

So, yes, I get angry.

And yes, I get irritated.

Rather easily in fact (irritated, not angry).

But I don’t express it…not even to myself.

I am a person who buries those feelings.

Until I just can’t.

And when they come out…they explode.

In a quiet way 98% of the time.  That other 2% is usually saved for someone specific.  I was raised in a household with parents who argued with each other loudly, and passionately.  That is a “normal” couple relationship to me.

I am still a work in progress.

But generally, I am not someone who yells.  Yet, I will say mean, hurtful things.  And I know they are mean and hurtful when I say them.  I am not someone who thinks “You should not have said that.”

I am still a work in progress.

Right now, if I said it, I meant to say it, and I’ve been thinking it for awhile, so I don’t apologize for saying it after I am done, and the argument is over.

If I really love you, eventually, I just move on.  I might apologize for hurting your feelings (I don’t do those non “I am sorry your feelings were hurt” apologies  That’s a BS apology.  That places the person you are apologizing to in the wrong.  If I apologize, I apologize for my actions “I am sorry I hurt your feelings.”), but I am not going to apologize for what I said.

I meant what I said.

I am still a work in progress I guess.

And if you’re not in that small group of people who really matter to me, I also just move on.  But as in, we have nothing left to say to each other.

It takes me a long time to express anger and irritation.

I bury those feelings.

Until I can’t anymore.

I am still a little adult.

Who is now an actual adult.

I am still a work in progress I suppose.

 

I Miss You More Than Words Will Ever Be Able to Say

This time last week was the first day that I would never see my mother’s physical self again. We buried my Mom just last week.

This has been really my first week without any sort of physical “still here” sight of my Mom.

My Mom is now buried, picture of newborn me in her hand.

She always carried that picture with her. So, I made sure she had it with her forever.

It was not a copy of the picture. It was the actual picture from the hospital.

She carried it every day.

My Mom and I have always been very close. With that closeness came arguments. No one; and I mean no one, could make me as angry, or make me feel more like shit than my Mom.

My Mom was nowhere near perfect. I know that. Neither was her Mom. Neither am I.

But she was MY Mom.

And she ALWAYS had my back—even when she actually didn’t, I know she always did everything because she felt I needed it—she always did and said everything with the thought that she had my back..

And right now, I just want to say

I love and miss my Mom.

She was MY Mom.

And she loved me like no one else.

And while we could fight, we loved. And while we could fight we could also make each other laugh. And while we could fight we could also make each other cry tears of joy.

I am grateful and blessed to know that she loved me and always wanted the best for me.

And I am grateful and blessed that I know that she knew how much I loved her too.

 

Thank you Mom.

I love and miss you more than words will ever ever ever be able to say.

Yes. Me Too.

There’s a big thing happening right now. Victims of some form sexual abuse (primarily women but I know there are men out there too) are finding their voices and coming forward. Most of them after the statute of limitations has run but they are still finding it within them to come forward. Too many of them just children when they were harmed.

I have always been a strong advocate of survivors whether they choose to come forward in the public or not. It takes strength to be a survivor.

You may not get it right the first time or the 100th…trying to take back what you were stolen..trying to move forward without these crippling walls.

I know. It’s hard for me to admit but I know. I am just now able to admit aloud; yes, me too. And I still can only say it to a certain public extent.

I just keep trying. I mess up. I have so many issues that sometimes I just *shrug*. But at the end of the day, I try. And I’m behind you as you try do the same.

 

Thanks. I Don’t Recommend It

I grew up with both of my parents bad eating habits. My mom worries about her weight constantly (still-to this day. Aneorexia is an ongoing battle with her) and my dad likes to eat.

So I grew up worried about my weight constantly, wanting to fit into an ideal I actually already fit into though my mind didn’t know that. And yet loving to eat.

For awhile there wasn’t a problem. For awhile I could eat what I wanted and just stop eating when I wanted to lose weight “right quick”. Then age hit and with it came a slowing metabolism.

Then I eventually just…started losing. I changed my eating habits-not to the point that I am a health nut just enough because who I loved had a more healthy eating habit and I’ll mirror certain parts of someone I love. I heard that’s normal. If it’s not I don’t have time to deal with it. I have enough issues.

Anyway eating healthier and being more active…oh yeah…meant losing weight. And when I lost weight I lost quickly. And then it kept going and going and soon I was the thinnest I’d ever been in my life. Without even trying.

Then even after gaining some of it back during a depressed state I soon lost it when I got sick.

People would compliment me because they noticed the weight loss not knowing I had been through hell and back and I would say “Thanks. I don’t recommend it.” Because going through hell and back is not the diet of choice.

I fought long and hard to stay here.

I am my mother’s child.

Once again I’ve lost a lot of weight. People have noticed.

Thanks. I don’t recommend it.

I think my body is healthy. But I am my mothers child. And all of a sudden there are times I’m just not hungry.

Not all the time. I’ll tear a burrito up. And pasta I love pasta. But we don’t eat those things often.

So normal food. Eh.

I’m not that hungry. I am my mother’s child.

Work has become hell. My love is going through so much of his own shit and I feel I can’t help him and I hate it.

So I’m just not that hungry.

I don’t recommend it.

I’d rather be happy and have the people I love happy and have a normal appetite.

But I am my mother’s child. And my father’s. And the love of my sweetheart. And we all are fighters through hell and back.

It’s what we do.

So thanks for noticing but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Hopefully my appetite will return soon.

To a point.

Because I am my mother’s child. The tendencies are there. I have to be on guard.

But thanks for noticing.

 

 

Awareness. Pain. Anger. Wonder.

My boss changed because my old boss is at a level where she really should be focusing on other things. Life happens. But the new boss doesn’t have her shit together and she is accusatory and a good worker has quit under her watch already. And then there’s me.

2 times in less than 3 weeks she has accused me of something, once in front of other people (basically where she dropped the ball and claimed it was my fault) and when I had my documented proof otherwise instead of owning up to it and saying “I’m sorry” she just drops it.

And those are just the major things. But on a day to day basis she makes my day harder than it needs to be.

I’ve been here before. I’ve had a boss like her. Where she can’t admit she’s human and *gasp* could be wrong. Where she fucks up but expects me to fix it yesterday. Where she has no sense of her own duties beyond what she wants to do. There no benefit of the doubt, no matter how earned, ever applied. She makes snap judgements based on her own emotions and doesn’t look at any facts.

I’ve left the country in order to leave a job because of a boss like her.

So just like that the unbearable which was bearable under a good boss becomes a “How fast can I get the fuck out of here” place.

And it makes me angry.

Which is the point to my post.

Guess what? Anger is an emotion people feel. They are allowed to have it and express it (in non harmful ways) and guess what–it should be encouraged. Because without the healthy expesssion of anger all you have left are those inner thoughts of frustration with no one to hear you. So you internalize it and it can make you physically sick. Trust me. I know. I left the country for a new job because of it.

It is when you are angry that you learn at least in part, where your true support system lies. I’m not talking about people who will enable you; I’m talking about people who will allow you to actually be in your feelings and listen. Not forever but for the moment.

I’ve been in therapy lately. It hurts. I am constantly in a state of awareness.  And I am learning my feelings are okay. They are valid. And they were valid when I was young even though I hid them so as to not rock any boat in already turbulent waters. And they are valid now. And it hurts to express them to someone I love and support only to have said person shut me out because of their own narcissistic issues.  When I grew up validating that person’s pain even as a child–some pain I shouldn’t have known about in the hopes of trying to pit me against the other parent–even though they were the adult.

I’m learning. I am constantly in a state of awareness.

And having to let go of wanting emotional support from someone I have given emotional support to all of my life…even at the detriment of my own feelings…

I’m learning. I’m constantly in a state of awareness.

And it hurts.

And I am angry.

And I’m thankful for those that allow me to be angry. And I’m in tears to recognize that one of the people I need it most from…grew up giving it to…can’t help me because they are too in their own world.

And I wonder when that will stop being painful.