Mom

I am bitter and I am angry.

The wind howling outside reflects the storm inside me, biting, twisting, gnawing to get out. Pure blind fury.

My mom is in the hospital battling Crohn’s disease, as she has been for at least the past 10 years of her life. She is dehydrated. She is pale. She smells of dried vomit. She is weak in body. It pains her to speak or sit upright. She is dying. She is hurting. And all I can think about is how this woman deserves so much more in her life.

She’s a physical therapist, yet all the RNs speak to her as if she is stupid. She’s been through the ringer – she knows what she’s talking about, how she reacts to certain medicines, what she’s comfortable with.

Her parents, my ungrateful grandparents that live with us and mooch off our home, off my mother’s strength. They have not given her the time of day since she was born. Everything is all about THEM. They are the parents, they are the elders, they are the ones that require all the attention because they’re old, they’re falling apart. They are the ones that can kiss my ass with that bullshit. I’ve never heard them say they are proud of my mother. I’ve never heard them say that they love her. I’ve never heard them thank her for every fucking thing she does for them, from trying to help grandma figure out grandpa’s caretakers, to taking them into our fucking home because she thought it was the right thing to do. Honor thy father and mother.

I can’t help but be reminded as to why I turned my back on God. I watched for years as my mom suffered through new restricting diets, new daily routines, horrible doctors, the stress of being lost in a disease that no one with money cares about. I have watched her suffer, in the most inhumane sense of the word. I have watched my mother suffer. For years. Begging God, praying to Him every chance I could that she would be okay, that things would be better for her, that she wouldn’t be in pain, that she would have a good day at work, that she would have a doctor that knew what they hell he was doing. And I have never seen those prayers answered. And it’s so frustrating and hurtful. I just want my mom to be okay, to not be in pain, and to enjoy what she has left in her life.

I want her to walk down the aisle at my and my sister’s weddings. I want her to hold whatever children we may have because she has been waiting for that moment since the day we were born. I want her to enjoy retirement with my dad after working her fingers to the bone for so long. I want her to have ONE easy part of her life. Something she can enjoy. And I can’t help but be angry with God that he hasn’t given that to her, the woman in my life who deserves it most.

I can’t help but be angry with my grandparents for neglecting her, for not loving her the way she needed to be loved. For invading our home and throwing more stress on her plate. For expecting to be taken care of when they never cared for my mother. For not doing anything for her in her childhood, and for not doing anything for her now. Grandma sleeps soundly, having said her nightly prayers, thinking that will do the trick, that she has done all she can do. To hell with her. And my grandfather. The stupid xanax-addicted asshole of a man, who wouldn’t even have put us in this state if he didn’t OD on all the drugs he was prescribing others for years.

Lauren and I hope that we can love our mom the way that she has loved us our entire lives – endlessly. We can only hope that we can show our own children the love that our mom has showed us since the moment we were born. She deserves to be loved, she deserves to be happy, and she deserves to not be in pain.

I do not apologize for this rant, because they are feelings I have bottled for a very long time. I fear losing my mother to this illness. I am terrified. I am crying. I am bitter. I am angry. Nothing could bring out those feelings but family.

End the battle with Crohn’s. Someone find funding for this shit. No one should have to endure that pain.

Tonight is one of those nights you walk around the house with all the lights off, because the light feels too exhausting and the darkness doesn’t scare you anymore.

I love you, Mom.

PSA for All The Brokenhearted

I’m not typically one for country music all year long, but it’s been one of those years. Everything is happy and light and lovely, and I think that’s why I haven’t had the same hankering for alternative music this fall. Can’t complain!

Lately, one of my friends has been going through a rough time. Her boyfriend treats her pretty horribly. Long story short, he is very disrespectful, doesn’t give her any positive attention, just wants to sweep their problems (a lot of which HE has caused) under the rug. And it was just one of those painfully obvious moments of “I’ve been on the other end of this conversation before.”

I think we’ve all been there. We want to try, we want to make things work, we want things to be as simple and picture perfect as they were in the beginning. And unfortunately sometimes that’s just not the case. Sometimes you can’t work out the kinks – especially if the kinks aren’t your fault. But you think anyways that you can change the person, that things will go back to how they were.

I stood there, telling her everything my mom had once told me. “You don’t deserve it” “you’ll find somebody better who treats you right” “do you really want to raise children with a guy who treats you like this?” “trust what your family has to say about him – they’ll see what you don’t” all of that.

And oh my gosh once you’re on the other side of that conversation, you realize how RIGHT they are! And it suddenly blows your mind that anyone would settle for being treated like shit!

So I’m gonna go on a little rant:

YOU are the only person to blame for someone treating you like shit. Because YOU are allowing that person to treat you that way.

You need to know your worth. And no, no one deserves to be ignored, bullied, manipulated, emotionally or physically abused. Just because you think you love someone or vice versa.

I was in the same boat. I dated guys who didn’t want to talk to me, I wouldn’t hear from them for weeks because, rather than having a “I’m not feeling this anymore” conversation, they just figured if they stopped I’d go away. I dated guys who used me, from the bedroom to running errands for them. I tried to make things work for another year with someone who CHEATED on me. I tried convincing myself that I didn’t want a relationship just to appease these guys who couldn’t handle a commitment. I thought it was too much drama. It gave me anxiety to even think about being in a relationship again, because all I knew was heartache, jealousy, and disappointment.

And then I met Andrew, and in the first few months I wanted to cry at how well he treated me. He has never said a bad thing about me, to me or his coworkers. He is always willing to communicate with me if we have any issues. He is a selfless boyfriend and lover, and I’ve never felt closer to anyone in my life. We joke that I am the female version of him. He’s met my entire family and they all love him, I’ve met most of his family and they all love me. He is everything I could’ve ever asked for in a relationship, and he loves every little thing about me, and he tells me that every day. For christ’s sake, I’ve written enough blogs about the man!

Please for the love of God, take my advice: Don’t fucking do it. You are worth more than you think. You will meet someone who will love every goddamn thing about you if you are just patient enough to wait for them. Love yourself, be kind to yourself, and be patient. And maybe then you’ll be on the other side of the conversation, wondering how any of your friends could ever settle for garbage. Learn to let go gracefully. If they don’t fight for you, fuck them, they don’t deserve you anyway. You will be treated like the queen/king you are. And you will forever be grateful to that person for loving you every day and showing you how much you should have loved yourself in the first place.

 

Drink Your Poison

Noise overstimulation has become a big problem lately. I’m not sure if I had would have more patience if I wasn’t surrounded by blaring sirens and the honking horns of pissed off drivers, but I can hope. It’s gotten so bad that sometimes it’s unbearable to listen to my roommates’ mundane and polite conversations.

Yoga usually helps clear my head. Alex and I chuckle side by side as we pick apart our yoga videos online. It’s probably the brighter side of most of my days, just social enough while also allowing me to retreat into my mind shortly afterward. Plus, when you feel limber you feel good.

Today we watched Boyhood, a movie that follows a boy and his family over approximately 12-13 years of his life, from age 5ish to his first day at college. We all kind of criticized it; the mother for her horrible choice in men, the father for his immature parenting style, the daughter for her boring and sassy attitude, the boy for his gloomy speeches about existential crises.

As much as we criticized, it was interesting to watch, and in ways it was very relatable. You grew to connect to certain characters and their fucked up life stories. I definitely related to Mason on not wanting everyone breathing down my neck about what to do with my life, something I’m sure many people our age experience. Even following the petty high school break up experience. There was something so quietly entertaining about watching these events unfold, partially because there wasn’t really any action – kind of like real life. There weren’t many dramatic scenes, no thickening movie plot. Just life and how it moves, changes, unfolds. How people develop, for better or worse. How life just goes on.

It’s an incredible juxtaposition to the other show I (and the rest of America) have been watching: 13 Reasons Why. That is quite the dramatic show. With some terrible acting and cheesy one-liners, but that’s what sold in middle school, when I first read the book that the series is based off of.

It seems to glorify suicide in a vengeful way, something that I can’t get behind showing to the vulnerable young-adult public viewers. It makes me mad. This girl is so dramatic. The things she faces in life are by no means easy to go through, but I think they are things she could get over without taking her own life. Granted, I didn’t have the mental stability I like to claim I have now when I was back in high school, so she probably doesn’t either. Hindsight, I guess.

Regardless, the thought of vengeful suicide angers me. It’s such a final, definitive move. But in the same vein, it’s not final. Hannah commits suicide and supposedly her pain is over. Except her pain lives on through other people. It’s not a final move, just the next one. A transfer of that energy. A selfish act. It hurts me most when they show the parents as they struggle to find out what went wrong, why their daughter was capable, why she felt this was her only option. This girl had a support system – two loving parents. They weren’t drug addicts, she wasn’t neglected. They cared about her. I can’t imagine doing that to my mother. I can’t imagine someone doing that to me.

It really struck a nerve because my friend’s dad committed suicide in December, and that was its own transfer of pain. But the cases were different. Scott had a mental illness that he couldn’t beat, and it took him. It took him from his wife. It took him from his three kids, the youngest of whom is only about ten. It took him from his friends, his church, his community. It left a scar so deep we don’t talk about it. People ask me how my friend is doing and all I can say is “good” because how am I supposed to delve into that kind of pain with my friend? How am I supposed to ask him how he’s holding up since the man he looked up to from day one decided he couldn’t take it anymore? It’s created a barrier between him and his friends, the wound we never touch, and one that will never heal.

But no, Hannah Baker gets groped by some jerk, nasty rumors spread around her, a stalker taking her pictures. And that’s all it takes to push her over the edge. (I’m not finished with the series. Maybe it gets worse and makes more sense, but for now I’m just angry). And the show seems to glorify suicide as the final, vengeful act, this girl only caring about how to end her pain than think about who her death with destroy. At the very least, the number to the suicide hotline should accompany each episode.

*   *   *

One episode brought me plummeting right back to you. You know how indie shows now use indie songs by unheard of artists just to seem cool? Yeah, well, I recognized Lord Huron in there. A beautiful song shared between Hannah and Clay. But I couldn’t pay attention to the show once that song came on. I just thought of you.

I had all and then most of you, some and now none of you.

A heaviness hit my chest. I don’t think that song was even out by the time we ended things. Maybe it was. Did you listen to it? The summer that Lord Huron was your muse? The medicine that also broke your heart, that album on repeat as I danced my cares away with a boyfriend that shouldn’t have been more than a rebound? Did you torture yourself with one of my favorite bands as a way to expel your thoughts, your sins? You deserved this, you thought, to wallow in pity and despair. You did that whenever you messed up.

I broke away from you, turned my back and ran. That was when you finally listened to all the songs I had been suggesting for months, the movies I’d wanted you to watch for years. I just wanted to share them with you, appreciate them and analyze them with you. We were insightful, emotional.

My favorite memories with you aren’t even memories. We would lay in your bed, ready for sleep, wrapped around each other, talking. Just talking. We would have those insightful conversations, ones that I wouldn’t remember in the morning. We would talk until we couldn’t move our lips anymore, couldn’t form the sounds. Sometimes we talked about how much we loved each other. When things got bad, we talked about what we were sorry for. How we could work on things. And sometimes we just talked about our thoughts. The world. The universe. We were in love. We were present in that moment, our energies floating through the universe, anchored by a warm blanket and each other’s presence.

I think back, and I miss those moments. Will you always be one step ahead of me? Would I feel the same as I did back then? Or would I be afraid, as I am so often now. Of letting you in, of being hurt, of committing to loving so wholly again. I know it is brave to love. But it is also tiring.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that you are my first love. If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know if I’d believe romantic love existed at all. I’d think romance was all just a game. That connections were impossible to keep for more than two months. That boys were all liars that just wanted to fuck. Thankfully you showed me that that isn’t the case. You showed me love, intelligence, emotional and intellectual intimacy, and I am truly lucky to have found that in my first boyfriend. And this time it’s me who fucked up. But it’s all about how gracefully you let go, right? You were water.

Thank you.

Clustered Tulips

It’s late night dance parties in your studio,

Early morning kisses in your attic,

Getting locked outside in your clothes,

Talking to your mom as if I were here every morning.

Every little bit makes it harder to let go.

*   *   *

You found out she got married this weekend. In a little black dress at the county courthouse, with the brightest smile you hadn’t seen in years. My heart broke for you as I felt your last thread of hope peeling away. It was so subtle, with the impact of a guillotine. What could you do about it? She is not yours. You’re not sure she ever was, but maybe that’s what kept you on your toes.

So what did we do? We got drunk. I was excited to see my friends, some unusual faces in the crowd. I think you were torn between distraction and numbing. I got you to dance, but that’s the best I could do.

We slumped up the stairs, falling back to our puzzle piece rhythm. And my own misery couldn’t hold it in any longer. I asked you about it. I asked if you were okay.

In those moments, I feel like your friend. One that just wants you to be happy, to be okay. That one that’s empathetic because she’s been hurting too, one that shares your pain because it’s all she knows how to do, how to comfort, how to react. You talked, your voice plain, and I asked more, careful questions. In those moments we know each other. In those moments you find solace of your loneliness with my head on your chest and your arms around me. You find a love that you don’t know how to hang on to, and you’re too tired to try. I am too.

Like probably every other girl that’s tried, I want to fix you. I want to love all your broken pieces back together. Save you from your past, from your loyalty, your first love. And like every other girl that’s tried, I can’t.

*   *   *

I had a really great time visiting home this weekend. Work was hectic and annoying but we made it through as usual. Any motivation for free alcohol right?

I live for the nights that I can connect with people. As someone who has been introverted (and extremely shy) her entire life, relating to people and connecting to people through conversation is very inspiring and fulfilling to me. Some of them were my coworkers, and some my own family members.

I woke up to his kisses Friday morning, somehow made it through the entire day on four hours of sleep.

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Saturday I was well rested (he was gone), so I hiked by myself through Harper’s Ferry. Though the inclines were incredibly steep, especially with a 10lb weight in my backpack to help condition, it was probably my most rewarding hike. I had time for myself, to do and think about what I wanted, not worry about keeping up a conversation (I probably wouldn’t have been able to anyway). The view was spectacular as I watched birds swirl high above me, heard the train rustle below, the river to my right. It was incredibly peaceful, and it made me excited for my trip. It was also the first time my legs had been so sore in a while, and it made me feel so alive, that I was heading in the right direction, that the plateau was over.

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I spent the afternoon sanding a breadbox, of all things. At first it was stressful and annoying, time-consuming. But as usual once I slowed down I really actually enjoyed it. Working with my hands outside. Nothing but me and my thoughts. The more solitude I have, the more I realize I like myself. I’m not a perfect person, but I make myself happy, and I appreciate my own thoughts in a strange, cyclical way. img_0129.png

That night I went out with Kristen, Rosie, and Heather. Kyle owed me some drinks so he gave me a good amount of patron for free (love it). I didn’t get to spend as much time with Heather as I wanted, but I got to spend some time with Rosie that I think she needed. I don’t think she has a great outlet, and she deals with a lot of shit in her life. She’s such a sweet person that just wants love, and she definitely deserves it. She doesn’t get enough from some of the places she should… lots of heart to hearts. Like I said, I love connecting with people.

Sunday was a day with the family. Lauren’s absence was noticeable, and I don’t think I filled the space to its entirety, but I think it was good enough.

Something that I recently admitted to my mom is that I think the Main Cup is the only place in which I have felt truly celebrated, and that was kind of a tough thought to accept. I have always had an immense love for my family, and like I said I’ve always grown up kind of in someone’s shadow without it really bothering me. I don’t need to be center of attention all the time, I just like appreciation.

I shared with mom that I’ve always been in the shadow of my sister, through no one’s fault. I’ve just always been quiet and reserved and she has fit in better with the extroverted side of the family. Most of the time when Lauren’s missing from family events, the first question I get is “where’s your sister?” like I’m not good enough to entertain them in the same way.

I don’t want to paint a woe-is-me story about my life, because I have been blessed in so many ways. I’m just saying it’s not always fun to grow up in someone’s shadow.

But Main Cup has been different for me. I’m a different person. I’m more confident because I’ve learned that people like me for me, that they give me a chance because they want to, not because they know my sister. That they aren’t comparing me to her, let down when I’m not as outgoing. It’s given me a sense of self. Of finding who I am with fewer influences.

I love my sister. But I’m happy to be discovering who I am on my own. Why I love me. Why others do too.

Love