Tag Archives: family

Selfish

My greatest desires are for solitude and anonymity. Neither of which are possible especially now that I am bringing a new life into this overwhelmingly intrusive world.

I am a selfish ass bitch, always have been, mostly with my self. I am an only child which automatically gives a person the right to be selfish but I have taken selfishness to an entirely new level. I am not talking about the kind of “no, you can’t have a cookie, they are mine” kind of selfishness but the much more destructive kind that causes a person to withdraw from reality without any consideration for those who still reside in a world where people say “hello”.

I am secretive and sneaky as shit when I need to be. I became an amazing liar, mostly to myself. I faked a life and almost succeeded at death before I realized I was so full of shit that I could barely breathe. Terrible way to die, suffocating on your own stinking shit.

Opening myself up, airing out my rotting cavities, hanging my bloody panties out on the fence, staring into my own asshole just to see what’s in there. Offending my senses, arousing my curiosities, I peered further and found that I am not just a selfish alcoholic on the verge of collapse, that I am flesh and blood, that I am real.

Now that I am pregnant and feeling more “real” than I ever could have imagined, I would hope that I would lose some of my selfish ways and see shit from some entirely new plane of Motherhood consciousness that I should somehow have gained access to. No such luck. I am feeling even more selfish, more reserved and less communicative than ever. But I am remaining positive that the destructive nature of these emotions are being put to good use and with all hopes of a positive outcome for the kid. I am positive because now the basis of my selfishness is founded solely on love. Love and a huge amount of “get the fuck away from my kid or I will kill you” sort of emotions.

Fuck, all I do is contradict myself. In one afternoon I address and mail about 100 invitations to a baby shower that I am halfheartedly committed to and then suddenly and belligerently swear off all human contact simply because I couldn’t fit into my fluorescent Hawaiian gown.

As I resign myself to black stretchy yoga pants I realize what I am really feeling (besides the kids knees pounding into my ribs). I am afraid. Afraid of the moment when the kid is no longer just “mine”. He is going to come out and be a part of the world. He will be held by other people, cuddled by family and friends, stared and cooed at by strangers and licked by my dogs. His toes which once tickled my insides will soon be kissed by lips that are not mine. My selfish ass bitch self is fucking angry about this. I want to scream out, “He is mine motherfuckers, back the fuck off!”

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Filed under Alcoholism and other Assholes, Fashionably Unreasonable, I am Pregnant, Something that happened

The two quilts

Shortly after my Father died, my Mother in law asked if she could have some of his shirts for a quilt. I was busy feeling about a million different emotions and my brain was seriously fried from dealing with all the finances, the funeral plans and my giant burden of a Mother. So, I didn’t give the statement much thought, I simply led her into his closet and said, “take whatever you want.”

About a year later she presented me with a beautiful quilt made from my Father’s clothing. It was not only an amazing work of art but a touching tribute to his memory and a perfect portrayal of his spirit. It included many of the Hawaiian prints he often wore, as many large men do, as well as many of his drab work shirts and at home t-shirts. Every side of him was represented.

At first I couldn’t look at the quilt out in the open and I simply folded it up and put in the closet. It sat there quietly while I dealt with my grief. It waited there patiently while I figured out what I was going to do with all these emotions I was left with. Was I going to ignore them forever, drink them away, vomit them into the toilet, cut them out with a knife and discard of them or was I going to feel them as deeply as possible and know that as much as it hurts I can stand it and learn to live with it in a tolerable fashion.

One night as I swam in the oblivion of drunken exhaustion I stumbled into the hallway, opened the closet and pulled out the quilt. I crawled back to the couch, the quilt dragging along behind me and curled up with my bottle of wine. Contentment followed comfort and then deep dreamless sleep. I still snuggle with the quilt every night only now I cradle a cup of tea instead of a bottle of wine.

This morning I awoke to my dogs barking hysterically and the sound of a car pulling out of my driveway. On the front porch I found a huge blue and yellow gift bag, an early baby shower gift apparently from either an early rising shy family member or a kindhearted stalker. The card attached informed me that the gift was from a distant Aunt, a shy early rising Aunt.

I pulled the contents from the bag and found an adorable handmade quilt, blue and white with Hawaiian flowers. I couldn’t quite comprehend what I was looking at. There were shirts, little Hawaiian print shirts sewn into the squares. They had tiny collars and buttons, it was really quite realistically detailed.

It was just too crazy a coincidence. I now had two quilts that had been hand-made specifically for me, one was made from my late Fathers Hawaiian shirts and one was made to look like miniature Hawaiian shirts. One a tribute and one a welcoming gift. One filled with memories both good and bad and one brand new, open to the opportunities of life.

Maybe I am putting too much thought into the whole thing. Maybe my Aunt had this pattern for a while and was simply waiting to put it to use or maybe she had even begun working on it long before I was even pregnant. But I would like to think that my Dad had a little to do with this. After all, he told me to look out for things, to keep my eyes open for coincidences just like this because he would never be too far away.

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Filed under I am Pregnant, I remember, Memories of Dad, Something that happened

Happy Meals taste like tears

I didn’t eat much fast food as a child. Unlike many of my friends, my family ate dinner together every night. My Mother served the sort of home cooked balanced meals that lack originality but get the job done; meat, vegetables, potatoes and the occasional casserole. Ketchup, salt and pepper helped blend everything together to a palatable consistency. My Dad really loaded up on the salt, leaving a ring of white granules on the table once his plate had been cleared. He never held back on the complaints and I kept my mouth shut. While he loved to spur on the furious wrath of my Mother I lived in constant fear of her tirades.

“Goddamn, could this meat be any tougher?”

“Then you cook the fucking dinner from now on.”

“I wouldn’t make the dog eat this shit.”

“Fuck off and die.”

Between the lines they cared about each other in a strange and volatile way.

When I was about 7 things began to change, most noticeably, the dinner situation. We  weren’t eating together quite as frequently. Some nights I was left to fend for myself, a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. One afternoon my Dad brought home about 30 hot dogs from a gas station. I had never had a hot dog and I was so intrigued I must have eaten at least 5 of them, smothered in mustard and sweet relish squeezed from plastic packets. Our table was a mess of paper hot dog holders and soggy napkins, a crime scene of sorts, a portrayal of our current state as a family in the midst of a meltdown.

As the deterioration of  familial structure became more apparent I grasped blindly for some sense of security and familiarity. Everything was falling apart, crumbling before me and I was helpless to stop it. One night I awoke to find my Mother in the kitchen packing Tupperware into a box. I asked her what was going on and she told me matter of factly that “we’re moving, just us”. The next day my Dad picked me up from a friend’s house after school. He was driving a car I had never seen before and he looked tired, worn out, defeated. He said, “we have to talk”.

We went through a McDonald’s drive-thru and he got me a Happy Meal and a milk shake. Not only had I never had a Happy Meal, I had never even been through a fast food drive-thru. Something was seriously wrong and no amount of processed meat, salt and sugar or the brief delight of a plastic toy could conceal the fact that the shit was about to hit the fan.

We walked to a vacant bench near the playground. Kids squealed with innocent joy, birds chirped in nearby trees and the Autumn sun glared off my Dad’s eyeglasses. He encouraged me to eat my hamburger as he sipped at the chocolate shake. I struggled to swallow the greasy meat and salty fries, each bite another reminder that everything was suddenly different and might not ever be the same again.

“Honey, you know how when you are bad you get sent to time out?”

I nodded my head, eyes cast downward. I had never been sent to “time out” nor had I ever even heard my dad use the term before but I was of course familiar with the phrase and the meaning of the word.

“Well, Daddy was bad and I have to go away for a while, time out for grown ups….prison.”

I stared at my food, carefully spread out on the waxy paper, the colorful box and plastic toy nearby as if for comfort.

“How long?”

“I don’t know for sure, Honey. A year, maybe more. You and Mommy are going to be okay, you just do what she says and be a good girl.”

“Okay.”

I looked at my Dad only briefly, it hurt too much to know that this might be the last time I ever see him. That was how I felt, the final goodbyes, one last chance to make it right kind of moment. But there was nothing left, I was beginning the process of shutting down, a process that would continue for many years to come.

“Can I go play on the swings now?”

“Yeah Honey, go play.”

I walked over to the swings slowly, my head spinning before I even pushed off, feet sinking into the sand and hands tightening around the hard twisted metal of the chains. The cathartic rocking of the swings created a swooshing soundtrack to the spreading numbness inside me.

I felt abandoned and alone even as I slid in to the seat next to my Dad, his arm reaching around my shoulders in an attempt to reassure me that everything was fine. We were both too smart to believe it but neither of us brave enough to say it. He dropped me off at home and I watched him drive away knowing that life had changed, that I had changed, aged years in a matter of moments.

When I walked into the house, my Mother asked me,

“Did you have a good time with Daddy?”

“I had a Happy Meal.”

 

 

 

 

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Filed under I remember, Memories of Dad, Something that happened

I want to feel like this forever

“When was your first drink?”

“God, two years old I guess”

“Two?! Ok, I will rephrase. When was the first time you got good and drunk?”

“Yeah, two. But I know what you mean. I was 13 the first time I willingly got drunk”

Ok, here are explanations of both….

Booze was never taboo in my family, it flowed freely at parties and my parents never kept track of what was in the house. In fact my first official drunk was when I was just a toddler. I obviously don’t remember this but I have heard my Mom tell the story over and over, laughing every time. I apparently stumbled over to the coffee table, grabbed a glass of red wine and downed the entire thing, a professional drinker at two! She told me that I screamed all night long, eyes rolling around in my head (I must have hated the spins as badly then as I did years later). She was too afraid to take me to the hospital for fear of persecution from Child Protective Services. I toughed it out that night, I survived to drink again one day. There is no stopping a determined toddler with DNA mapped out perfectly for addiction and substance abuse.

My next good drunk, New Years Eve, 1993. I swallowed my first glass quickly, my mood as sour as the champagne. I was struggling with bulimia, and by struggling I mean not having enough time to vomit between meals or enough hours in the day to obsessively run mile after mile. I hated school and everyone there. The only solace in my life was my new-found love affair with smoking.

My second glass, enjoyed a little more than the first but still gulped with purposeful intent. I feel the bubbles in my nose and this makes me gag a little as I am reminded of the sensation of vomit spraying out of my nostrils which unfortunately is a daily occurrence.

My third glass marks the end of the first bottle. I sneak out the back door for a smoke. I hold my glass of champagne in one hand and my Marlboro Light in the other. I feel like a fucking supermodel for about half a second. I am in love with that fleeting sensation of power, sex and maturity. I am no longer a child, if I ever was one at all. I stare at the night sky inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly, luxuriantly.

The second bottle of champagne disappears in no time at all. My Mom is asleep in front of the television, Dick Clark counting the year down like pennies thrown in a fountain, meaningless wishes and a waste of time. I stumble into my room and collapse onto my bed. I have one loud continuous thought reverberating through my head, “I want to feel like this forever, I want to feel like this forever….”

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Filed under Alcoholism and other Assholes, I remember, Something that happened

The yard sale

She was a nervous child, she acted out to express her anxiety. Unease and discomfort followed her around like a heavy blanket wrapped around her ankles.

Her parents fought constantly, mostly about money as most adults ill-prepared for parenthood tend to do. She began to worry about the bills, the rent and groceries. This was on top of the already monumental tower of worries that the child carried around with her; the behavioral difficulties of her puppy who refused to be house broken, the daunting organizational predicament she encountered with her book bag that resulted in hours of preparation each school night, the nightly dinner dilemma of a full plate of food that in some unimaginable way was to be consumed fully and enjoyed and most of all was the constant and unyielding worry of the safety of her family and her home.

She felt as though her life and the lives of her family were held in some precarious position, ready to disintegrate at any moment. Somehow she had to protect them and herself from the unknown threat that lingered at the edges of every moment.

After an especially violent fight over the nonexistent rent money the child decided the time had come, she would do something to help. She had seen yard sales in the neighborhood and it seemed like a perfectly reasonable way to make some quick money and money was what her family needed.

The next morning was a Sunday and she woke up before sunrise, in fact she had not slept at all that night. She walked into the front yard and felt good about the task before her, she knew for sure that this was the right thing to be doing. She gathered most of her toys and old clothes from her bedroom, glad to be rid of the offending clutter. Arranging her belongings on a blanket beneath a tree she felt like a shop girl, humming a pleasant tune of self-satisfaction. She brought out dishes from the kitchen, knickknacks from the living room, records and books from the shelves, a clothes hamper, a step stool and a spare set of silverware that her Mother kept in a drawer.

Her first customer arrived soon after she had perfectly arranged every item on the front lawn just perfectly. The girl watched nervously as the woman rummaged amidst her family’s house wares. She wasn’t nervous about any possible repercussions of what she was doing, she simply hated seeing the items being fussed with in such a careless fashion. She was proud, possibly the first time she had felt such an emotion, of the work she had done and wished she had a few minutes alone to enjoy the moment. However more customers were filing onto the lawn and she resumed her duty as shop girl. She sold the step stool for $1 and the books for a quarter a piece. People pretty much made their own price as she held open her beaded coin purse, the heft of which pleased her deeply. Within an hour the lawn was a shambles of rumpled blankets and a few unwanted articles of clothing. The books had been carried off by an overweight housewife in a stained bathrobe, the clothes hamper drug away by kids on their way to a grassy hill, the records snatched up by an awkward young man with a bad complexion and the set of rarely used silverware was hesitantly purchased by an older woman with a cranky disposition and a guilty smile.

With a deep breath of satisfaction at a hard days work the girl held tightly to the bulging coin purse as she walked back into her house. Her Father was coming out of the bathroom and walked past her without a word. He put on a pot of coffee, sat down at the kitchen table and lit a cigarette. The girl placed the coin purse in front of her Father.

what’s this?
money
where’d you get it?
I had a yard sale
a yard sale?
yeah, for rent money
what are you talking about?
for the rent… I, I heard you and Mom yelling about not having enough money, I wanted to help
oh my god, what did you sell?
…um just stuff we didn’t need….Mm..my toys and some books
what else!
…uh….I don’t know,….some, some records and some silverware
some what!
the….the silverware that we never use, it was in that drawer….really, we never use it
oh god, oh no…no no no!
I just wanted to help, I’m sorry, I’m sorry….

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Silence the bullshit

Two different dreams (they might be connected)

SSSHH

I found some videos of my Dad that I had never seen before. It was a video of him video taping a picnic. The camera would occasionally pan around and show him looking towards the camera. In the last scene he looks right at me and puts his finger to his mouth making a silent “sssshhh” and says “Regina, be quiet”.

Privacy?

I was in an awkward bathroom and I could hear a lot of people outside the room having a party or a fight, I couldn’t tell which. I had a bad case of the shits and was super paranoid about someone walking in. I finished and flushed the toilet. The water began to rise, and rise. As the brown reeking water teetered precariously at the rim, the door opened and in came my entire family. They had platters of food, balloons and flowers. However they were also arguing with each other so it was apparently a party and a fight going on. Actually, when family is involved there isn’t much difference between a party and a fight. I was mortified and screamed as the toilet sputtered and the flow of shitty water poured out and over the floor covering everyone’s feet in slimy brown stinking filth. They seemed oblivious to the mess and simply continued the quarreling and consuming of mini sandwiches and spinach dip. My attempts at stopping the flow with towels and such were to no avail and I eventually gave up.

Conclusion? A connection?

I am mortified at the idea of childbirth. I realize that it is obviously inevitable. I even made the huge mistake of watching birth videos on youtube. If you are pregnant DO NOT WATCH these sort of videos! I wish so fucking bad that I had not. It’s not necessary, it’s going to happen whether you are prepared for it or not.

I am also terribly anxious about my family being all up in my business. I don’t want a baby shower, I don’t want anyone asking me how I am and I really don’t want anyone fucking touching me.

My Dad was always so understanding of my quirks and gave me my space when I wanted it and gave the best goddamn hugs when I needed them. So, I think he’s telling me to chill, to shut the fuck up and just try to enjoy this time of my life without getting all caught up in the bullshit.

Thanks Dad, I love you.

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Filed under I am Pregnant, I dreamed..., I remember, Memories of Dad

Last nights dream

      I was at a graveyard having a picnic with a girl that I do not recognize but I seem to be quite familiar with her in the dream. We are having a nice time with our blanket spread out between the graves. I am enjoying the endless landscape of ancient trees, great white clouds, dark green grass-covered hills and tombstones. Then shit gets weird as it always does in my dreams. There is a huge mausoleum next to us with giant smokestacks which are now spewing ash and red glowing embers into the air. The stench is horrific; burning hair with a sort of mustard like aftertaste. The embers land on our picnic blanket and it goes up in flames. The girl is screaming and running around maniacally while I just watch the scene around me like a slow motion movie. Her hair begins burning and as she rolls around on the ground to extinguish the flames she wraps herself up in the flaming blanket and rolls down the hill, a flaming bouncing ball of screams. I just stare and laugh at the situation that surrounds me.

       My Great Grandmother apparently escaped from the mausoleum (she actually is interned at a mausoleum) during the mayhem and we made plans to go on some carnival rides that were set up nearby. She was so spry, like an excited child. And she was dressed like a child as well; white shirt with a  ruffled collar, short pink pleated skirt, knee-high socks and saddle oxfords. I had to hold on to her hand as we walked so she wouldn’t run off and get lost.

     The first ride we get on looks like it might be fun but turns out to be a behind the scenes tour of tropical themed bars. It’s just sticky scenes of leis hanging on alcohol bottles, neon Corona signs, inflatable flamingos hanging from drooping ceiling tiles and tired looking bartenders in Hawaiian shirts serving desperate groups of middle-aged secretaries on a Thursday night. It’s a disappointing way to spend the day with my Great Grandmother and I feel like I have let her down. She is tired and wants to go back. She gets off the ride by herself and leaves. I stay on the ride hoping it will get better.

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