Epiphany.

I’ve had an epiphany about the married man I’ve been in love with for a while. It occurred to me several minutes ago while I was lying in bed trying to take a nap. I’ve been drowsy all day, even though I slept twelve hours last night. I needed the sleep, but I’m still recovering from the issues I’ve been working through and could use a nap as well.

I didn’t fall asleep, but that turns out to be positive because of the epiphany. I realized that, as much as I love the married man, he’s not in my life to be my husband. He’s in my life as a guide or teacher to help me master self-worth. And once he helps me get up to a plateau where I love and value myself, I’ll be perfectly positioned to find a husband, someone who’s single and perfect for me. And the universe will deliver him to me, right? Just as the universe has brought me everyone who’s currently in my life. (Shout-out to my friends!)

And that’s the beauty of it. This guy, I’m telling you, I’ve put him through drama after drama, mood swing after mood swing, angry email after angry email, and he hasn’t bailed on me. He should’ve. But he hasn’t. And that’s how I realized that he’s here in my life to lift me up. Not so that I can be with him, but so that I can be ready to find my own Mr. Right. And I’m telling you, he’s truly good-hearted to not reject me, and it’s strengthening me to not reject myself. If he can avoid bailing on me, then I’m sure I can quit bailing on my own sense of self-worth. (He understands the sort of craziness inside my head, and he understands that I try my hardest to fight it off.)

So that’s what I’ve realized. The way he’s been triggering me (and making me feel unworthy) by how he told me who he really is–it’s all meant to force me up to a higher plateau, one that he’s trying to help lift me up to. And the beauty of this is that he and I can be friends forever instead of there needing to be a nasty breakup due to my angry-emailing shenanigans. (Please tell me I didn’t just use the word “shenanigans”. Have I become my parents?)

He’s older than me and is kind of like a father figure. And that might be exactly what I need. He’s worked as a foster father in his life, and he’s very virtuous. So I’ve decided to be virtuous too, and to quit coveting him. Go Meg, go!

 

 

 

When gossip is okay.

TRIGGER WARNING: TALK OF SUICIDE (but it’s not a present issue, and this story has an oddly happy ending)

I thought I’d share my thoughts on when gossip is okay. I’m a believer in talking to people about people, but where do you draw the line?

First of all, I think that if you need help getting along with someone (for whatever reason), then you ought to talk to someone else about it. They can offer an objective viewpoint about the communication breakdown.

Also, I think it’s fine to talk about people in glowing terms. Where’s the harm? You’ve just shared how grateful you are to have someone in your life.

I also think it’s okay to share public information. If someone blogs frequently about their mental illness, then you can mention it as a reference, like, “She’s my friend who blogs about her experiences with bipolar,” or whatever. If, on the other hand, your friend is very hush-hush about the mental illness, then that’s completely different.

Secrets should be respected. I’ve got a huge pile of dirt on my sister. You have no idea. But I’ve never blogged about any of it. Oh, yeah, I’ll blog about what she does to me, but I won’t blog about her stuff that doesn’t affect me. That said, I’m talking about major life secrets here. I’m not talking about little things or random conversations or basic interactions. I’m talking about stuff like, you know… if she was a recovering drug addict (which she isn’t) and didn’t want anyone to know. I’m talking about that level of secrets.

At the same time, though, if someone has a “lesser” secret and wants it to stay private, I’d probably respect that. (It would be different if I thought they were keeping secrets as a means to be manipulative, or something.)

Oh my gosh, that reminds me of the huge car disaster of 2001. [Facepalm.] Picture it. Well, we have to go back in time farther to February, 2000. My then-fourteen-year-old sister went joyriding with our dad’s new car–it was a nice used car that was more than he could afford–to visit her friend at 3:00 in the morning. On the way home, she was coming downhill and turning at the same time on a winding, ice-covered road, when she crashed into the guardrail and totaled the car. She herself was uninjured. The car wasn’t so lucky.

She hitched a ride home from some people who were smoking pot, and she woke up my dad. They returned to the scene and called the cops about the car (if I’m remembering this correctly). The cops didn’t press any charges against my sister, thinking she was properly shaken up over the ordeal. (Uh-huh.) The car got towed to a car burial place. Later, insurance would reimburse my dad for only $4,000 of the $8,000 he’d just spent on the car, and he had to buy a total clunker with it.

I woke up the next morning, and there was a note from my dad saying, “Meg, I can’t drive you to church for your handbell performance. You’ll have to find a ride from someone. ~Dad.” I called the church, and they sent someone over. (If one person’s missing from handbells… it’s bad. Like: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, ___, ___, Ti, Do!)

My dad woke up, though, before my ride showed up, and he told me what had happened. “Don’t tell your mother,” he implored. “She’ll just get mad and yell at your sister.” This was true. She’d be furious and would totally tell Ellen off. And here’s the thing about Ellen: she hates guilt trips. Hates, hates, hates.

So when I got to church and all the gossippy church ladies asked me what happened, I began to weave a lie that would stay woven for over a year: “My dad wrecked his car on the icy roads. No one was harmed, but he’ll have to get a new car.” [I’m shaking my head and rolling my eyes at that now. Ohhh, to go back in time…]

And do what, Meg, tempt fate? Ellen would kill you!! She’d kill you dead! 

So the lie took hold, and it was believed by my mother for over a year. Now, jump forward in time to April of 2001. My sister was now 15, almost 16, years old. My brother was 22, and I was almost 24. The three of us siblings were all living here together, mostly to avoid living with our crazy mother. For some random reason, my brother jokingly told our mom the truth on the phone. And then all hell broke loose.

Downstairs, my brother, my sister, and I were home, but our dad was out. Ellen and Philip were about to kill each other. Ellen had fire in her eyes, and my brother was doing that thing where he’ll point and laugh at you. [Eyeroll.] But then she got him mad, too, and I was afraid it was about two seconds from becoming physical. And both of my siblings are muscular and built (unlike me). It would’ve been really ugly and possibly murderous.

I called 911. The cops showed up and got my brother to leave the house for a while by running an errand or just going someplace. My sister stormed into her bedroom and refused to talk to anyone. Whew. One crisis averted.

And then there was the inevitable phone call between my sister and our mom. “You did WHAT to your father’s car?!?! Oh no, I can’t cope; our lives are ruined. Ruined!” I’d probably say my sister had that coming.

But in retrospect, something weird came of it. In circa October of 2001, I tried to commit suicide in my dad’s clunker via carbon monoxide. Nothing happened. I later learned that not all cars have carbon monoxide. What if Ellen had never gone joyriding? What if I’d tried to kill myself with the original car? She may have saved my life. I sat there in the car, breathing fumes, for over an hour. I can’t even imagine.

But, you know, my sister’s such a brat. I don’t think we should tell her about that! 😀

 

 

I’m lost.

TRIGGER WARNING: PHYSICAL ABUSE

So, I’m halfway through my memory book, and it’s a real sleeper. Oh my gosh. I’ve never read anything so dry and boring. SEND HELP!!

It’s basically a collection of research studies, all of whom are properly referenced, but I just skip past the long references. Like, “In 1999, Stolgen, Oswald, and Smith ran an experiment at the University of Oregon in which they wanted to determine whether the ganglia in the brain can remember other ganglia via the cerebral cortex.”

Just shoot me. (And for those science aficionados out there, yes, I made that up because I left the book downstairs. I have no clue what the ganglia and the cerebral cortex can do.)

I understand that it would be wrong to write this book without referencing every researcher and his/her college. But I wish she could just get to the heart of the paragraph! I start skimming, and then I miss the important parts. In other bad news, when she explains what the study means, she doesn’t put it into clear enough English for me. She almost does, but not quite. So I’m missing part of the bigger picture here.

Worst, nothing in the book so far suggests to me that my bad memory is a false memory. Maybe I haven’t read far enough in the book. That was my dad’s two-word response when I told him: “Keep reading.” [Eyeroll.] As awful as this sounds, I’m still 100% convinced of his guilt against me (not that that makes me happy–quite the opposite) so I’m glad I’m getting EMDR, if nothing else.

She’s talked about suggestibility, people with freakishly amazing memories, baby’s functioning brains, and ways to trip someone up from remembering what matters.

There was one interesting thing so far. She mentioned that people with PTSD are more likely to remember things that are irrelevant. If I’m reciting this correctly, there was a study in which people with and without PTSD were shown images of, like a bicycle, a tree, a fire station, etc. After half the images, they were told not to remember those images, that they wouldn’t be on the test. Later, they were asked to list all the items they were supposed to remember. The PTSD group remembered more and listed more of the items that they were supposed to have forgotten, and they listed less of the items marked to remember.

Being that the trial wasn’t randomized (you can’t randomly assign some people to have PTSD and some people to not have it), the researchers don’t know if the PTSD rewired their brains, or if their brains were already like that, thus causing them to acquire PTSD (from a trauma that, in theory, might not have traumatized someone else).

Based on my own personal experience, I’d eliminate the latter notion (that I acquired PTSD because I’m “easily traumatized”) because for those of you who know what my dad did (or didn’t) do to me, you know it would traumatize anyone.

So what about the theory that PTSD rewires your brain such that you start remembering things of little relevance?

I have no clue. I had an “irrelevant” memory earlier while I was downstairs doing some woodworking. (As usual, right now, I’m waiting for the paint to dry.) I suddenly remembered how, in first or second grade, my teachers decided I was an advanced reader, so they gave me a very challenging book to read. I tried my hardest to both read it and to comprehend the story. I was in over my head, but I kept trying. The teachers were nice and would’ve understood if I’d said the book was too hard (it was my third grade teacher who was the tyrant), but I firmly believed in my ability to master the book, and so I tried as hard as possible.

I often remember such irrelevant things, but I always figured that was normal. Isn’t it? Shrug. Well, I doubt it matters. I mean, if the memory’s neutral, there’s no harm in remembering it.

I’ve also learned from the book so far that if your memory’s wrong, it might be because someone told you something after the fact, or you learned something after the fact. Like, if you remember being at a certain place, but then you learn that the place didn’t exist until twenty years later, your faulty memory occurred at the point when you reexamined the memory and added in the wrong place. But what you’re remembering still happened. You’ve just got the facts wrong. And I find that very damning to my cause.

I’ve drawn that conclusion myself from the book. The author doesn’t directly state it. In fact, she discusses how memories can be made from nothing, like if you tell your kid he went to a wedding party, he might start to imagine it and think it was fact. It’s just that I can’t imagine that applying to my situation. Not at all.

If I wind up concluding that my dad’s guilty, it’s going to break my heart all over again. I really don’t want that. But honestly, I think he did it. It would just be colossally bad judgment. He was supposed to be the “good” parent, and aside from that, he was. But that was so horrific that I lost all respect and admiration for him from that moment forward. I felt like I no longer had a “good” parent. That I suffered so much because he made an error in judgment is heartbreaking, because it leaves me perpetually vulnerable to the cold, hard fact that anyone–no matter how well-intentioned–can destroy you at any time. There’s no coming to terms with that. None.

I mean, I get that my mom abused me. She’s an abusive person. It makes sense. But my dad was never otherwise abusive.

Should I blame Granny Smith? When my dad was around four years old, he hit his older sister on the head with a brick. The way I picture it, he didn’t hit her very hard, but Granny Smith was a major drama queen. She told my grandfather (who died before I was born) about it, and she ordered my grandfather to make my dad pay for it.

So my grandfather beat my dad with a paddle, because Granny Smith wouldn’t let him use a belt. The horror of it upset Granny Smith so much, apparently, that she overcame her drama-queen ways (in that regard) right away and told her husband never to spank the kids again.

And it was as senseless to do that to my nice dad as it was for him to do something similar to me. Just senseless. My dad and I, as children, were both eager to please adults with good behavior.

To this day, my dad hates himself (!!!) for hitting his sister on the head with a brick, and he remembers the punishment. And I’ve asked him, “Couldn’t that experience have warped your brain somehow such that you did the same to me and then blocked it out?” But he insists not, and says that if he still feels guilty for hitting his sister on the head, then he’d also remember and feel guilty about beating me.

Nice going, Granny Smith.

I hit my brother on the back once, really hard. We were in the car. My mom said, “Hey, don’t hit your brother like that! He doesn’t like it,” and I realized she was right, so I never hit him again. Parenting basics, people, it’s not hard. 

I just don’t want to have to accept what he did to me all over again, especially since it doesn’t make sense, and it had no “lesson”. What’s the lesson, that people make really major errors in judgment? That’s not even valid. I mean, of course we do. But it shouldn’t end in tragedy and trauma, or you’ve just had a really bad day. Or maybe the lesson is to love myself even though I was flagrantly humiliated and disrespected, and then left alone in the room like a child prostitute after he had his way with me? It’s just so senseless.

It’s why I always want to “blame the victim”; because I can’t accept that sometimes life just goes badly awry. If I can blame someone for getting themselves mugged because they were walking down the street with a designer purse, then I can pretend that life is secure and stable if you use sense. (Random example, and not a good one.) But life isn’t secure and stable. There’s no protection from random acts of horrific abuse. And there’s no way for me to accept that. Even if/when we trust someone, that person could viciously turn on us at any time and for any reason. Human nature has no predictability. Trust is so fragile. He was supposed to be the “good” parent. Damn him.

Oh, God, he did it. There’s no running from it. But there’s no living with it either. Where the hell does that leave me? Perpetually trapped and suspended? Perfect. Happiness is overrated anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

Where is self-worth?

I took a walk with my dad just now. For the past several days, I’ve been catatonic and lost in thought and deep reflection. Today, I’ve been doing some woodworking, and right now I’m waiting for paint to dry before recoating.

I was talking to my dad about my issue with self-worth, and how I don’t understand why I devalue myself. I have high self-esteem, check; I’m proud of my accomplishments, check; I feel inherently unworthy, no check.

There’s a lot of history with this issue. I have a past life in which I mastered the virtue of gratitude. (I’d agree that I’ve mastered it. I’m a very grateful person.) The medium who told me of the past life said that in this life, I’m trying to master valuing myself.

So let’s start with my past life. I was born into a family in France several hundred years ago, and my parents were heavily involved in government. We were quite well off. However, they fobbed me off on nannies and governesses instead of spending any quality time with me. I may as well have not been there.

As I grew up, I was very bright and eager to learn. My teachers had to keep finding new information to teach me. Whenever I had a problem, I turned to my nanny, who was a mentor.

When I came of age, my parents insisted that I get married to someone they’d chosen for me. I threw a royal hissy. I wanted to do my own things with life. They insisted, though.

This is where things get… comical. From day one, I was a hellion to be married to. But on our wedding night, I was maybe scared and curious and uncertain about things, you know? However, nothing happened, and I do mean nothing. Turns out my new husband was gay.

Add in the fact that I hadn’t wanted to get married in the first place, and now I felt rejected. (I’m not sure when I found out that he was gay. At the time, I may have felt unlovable or not worthy of being made love to. Hard to know.) I became even harder to live with, and it was still our honeymoon period.

I spent a while making his life a living hell with my sharp tongue. (We can all see me doing that, can’t we?) Time passed. The joke was on my parents, because we gave them no grandchildren to carry on the family line, and they couldn’t do a thing about it. Not a thing. Ha!

So after having been rejected by my parents during my whole childhood, I was now sexually rejected by my husband. I can see how that would’ve affected my level of self-worth.

However, as time passed, my husband and I grew quite close. We became very good friends who supported each other and helped each other accomplish things. He had no issue with me teaching the local village children, and I taught for years, passing on what I knew to them and treating them like they were my own children.

I guess I found some way to come to terms with the fact that my husband and I were never lovers. Honestly, my love life in this lifetime hasn’t been much more exciting. [Eyeroll.] Anyway, I think that life left me feeling devalued because of how my parents treated me and how my husband never loved me as he should’ve. I’m not certain, but I think he should’ve made his sexuality clearer to me, but I was probably acting like an angry newlywed, so there was no way for him to clarify; and then I just felt more rejected.

So that brings us into this lifetime, in which I have abusive parents, and I can’t feel my own worth. I think this is why The Neverending Story has always been my favorite movie. To reach the Southern Oracle, you have to pass two sphinxes. Their eyes stay closed until someone who doesn’t feel his own worth tries to pass them.

And then, if they start to open…

… they shoot laser beams of fire at you, as this knight who went before Atreyu found out.

The knight thought he could fool the sphinxes by acting confident and cocky. He was wrong. The sphinxes can see straight into your heart.

So, Atreyu needs information, and in order to reach the Southern Oracle, he braves it.

The Neverending Story (1984) - Atreyu reaches the Sphinx Gate ...

While he’s almost level with them, their eyes start to open.

He panics and then starts running as fast as he can, and he just barely leaps past their laser beams. He hits the ground with relief.

The movie has always spoken to me on a deep level, and I’m so grateful that it was a part of my childhood. There’s something about the sphinxes and how intimidating they are. It’s easy to think, “I’m not worthy of the sphinxes. They’re so much mightier than I am.” But you have to not only power through it, but overcome it.

But how? What’s the secret? In the movie, Atreyu doesn’t feel his own worth. We know this because the sphinxes’ eyes open. So, what’s the secret? To stare it in the face instead of fleeing it? To be determined to stare it down until you’re no longer intimidated? I’ve never fully known.

But thinking about it, Atreyu probably started to doubt his own worth because the sphinxes are intimidating. They’re majestic and powerful. They seem omniscient. They can see straight into your heart. What if a higher being were to look straight into my heart and find me wanting?

That wouldn’t happen, Meg. 

Intuitively, I feel nothing but love coming toward me from higher beings. Love, and even some pride, and loads of support and faith in me. Even some assurances of a happy future. (Although I’m pretty happy here in the present, too. I don’t mean to imply otherwise.) So, how can I fix this irrational belief of mine that I’m unworthy?

I was thrust into a situation like with the sphinxes recently. I found out that a very good friend of mine, whom I look up to and think the world of, is actually amazingly successful and accomplished and well-respected. It rocked my world. It “triggered” my feelings of inferiority and left me feeling miserable. I mean, some of it was hormonal, and I’m feeling better now; and I also no longer feel unworthy of his friendship. But that opportunity–finding out he’s so amazing, but then losing my grip on my confidence–is gone. I mean, unless I suffer amnesia and then relearn who he is, that chance I had to overcome my low self-worth and respond differently within myself is gone.

What would the “winning” response be? Hmm… I guess it would have been for me to think, he’s amazing! Just like I am, but in different ways. And even as I type this, my inner self is resisting. I’ve tapped into the criticism just now. Meg, you’re nowhere near as amazing as he is, it’s saying. Look at what he’s accomplished, and now look at yourself! Worlds apart. 

There has to be a way past this mental error of mine. Let me try it again! Wow, he’s amazing! Just like I am, but in different ways. He’s accomplished big things because he has a huge heart, and so do I. For the true accomplishments aren’t the accolades we receive but how much we touch people, and I’ve loved as deeply in my life as he has. And therefore, I am fully honored and worthy to know him. He’s been sent to me to show me that I deserve to be surrounded by good people. 

Hmm. Getting there. It’s creating a reaction in my chest, like a heaviness.

Show me an obstacle, and I want to overcome it. I can totally do this.

 

 

 

Rambling thoughts on abuse and healing.

I feel like I’ve been healing and purging myself of the past lately. And by “the past”, I mean the child abuse I experienced. My friend Ash pointed out to me earlier today that I’m too hard on myself, and that I don’t think I’m a good person. This is odd, yet true. I mean, on the surface–even to myself!!–I seem so confident. But on some hidden level, I don’t believe it.

I still remember when I was around eight years old, my mom would find me in the house, have some sort of mental collapse, and blame me. As she’d sob on her hands and knees in front of me, begging me to help her, she’d say, “You’re manipulative and sadistic. You enjoy upsetting me. You’re doing this to me on purpose. You’re playing the ‘let’s upset Mommy today’ game and winning.” I guess I never stood a chance at having any self-worth.

That’s the issue–self-worth. My self-esteem is fine. It’s my self-worth that’s shot to hell.

How do I overcome that? I know rationally (as anyone would) that that’s no way to talk to a kid, and that it’s not even true. I wasn’t manipulative (any more than any kid, maybe even less so) and I certainly wasn’t sadistic. But she convinced me that I was. I had a good vocabulary, if nothing else. I knew what she was saying.

It’s the curse of the narcissist (her). She wasn’t looking to be lifted up or cheered. She acted like she was, but she wasn’t. She wanted to be miserable and to pull me down with her. Then when I’d resist her by whining, or by insisting she was wrong about me, or by trying to get away, she’d spank me.

It’s amazing I don’t hold any grudges against her, but it’s hard to hold grudges against your parents. They’re flawed but loving (at least in my case) and do the best they can (not that that’s any sort of excuse).

Then I became a shrieking monster. I’d throw these shrieking tantrums whenever she’d come near me. As best as I remember this started when she was trying to put a shawl on my head for a school report, and the shawl was fuzzying up my braids. She was in hysterics over it, concerned that I’d get a bad grade, and it would destroy our lives. (For third grade? You really can’t make this stuff up.) And she was on her hands and knees in front of me, trying to situate the shawl, with tears streaming down her face. She was in total hysterics. I reached a boiling point. I couldn’t keep her energy inside of myself, so I started shrieking like a maniac. And I kept shrieking for many, many years. Aside from occasional ugly crying, I don’t do that anymore and haven’t in ages… decades? But it reinforced the belief that I was evil. I felt angry all the time, and that anger and the rage within me convinced me that I was dark and evil as a child. But I wasn’t. I was so pure and holy, only I couldn’t see it. I screamed to purify myself and purge myself of her energy, which I couldn’t contain for her. And I had to learn to master my temper, which never would’ve been a problem if not for her. Done! No more temper.

I’d watch The Incredible Hulk as a child, and I could relate to his temper. I felt like I was the title character. Anyway, this is all old news. But I grew up and didn’t realize I was a good person until near the end of college. My campus counselor had her hands full with me. My mother, ladies and gentlemen, sought to destroy my inner purity, and she came close, but she didn’t ultimately succeed. I think this is why I’m so childlike at my age, with my love of rainbows and unicorns and colorful things. I’m still at the age where I don’t want to have my purity of spirit taken away from me or corrupted, so in that sense, I’m still and forever eight years old. Nothing wrong with that. It might be how I held onto the purity I had before it was beaten out of me. I’m not sure. I mean, my life up to age seven/eight was idyllic, and then it wasn’t. Overnight, it became nightmarish and destructive to me.

Anyway, healing, right. I had no therapy this past week, but I was dealing with other stuff, so it worked out. I’m going back this upcoming week, and we might start the EMDR. My dad’s paying for it, which is nice. And I’m almost on chapter 5 of my memory book.

I’ve been happy to have my mom out of my life since my birthday. I feel like a period of healing is overtaking me, and maybe even more and better things than just that, and my mom–God bless her–has no place in my life right now. The woman can’t stay on her best good behavior to save herself. She darned well knows it, too. She didn’t create any drama when I wrote her off after my birthday. She just sort of knew she’d become too toxic to tolerate, and that was that. (Does she actually deserve credit for that? Not sure.)

Her energy was all wrong for me as a child–technically, at any age, her energy is wrong for me. It’s intense and dire, like, if this one little thing goes wrong, our lives will be ruined. My brother and I tasted Comet once, as in we put a tiny drop of it on our fingers and tasted it. My mom found out and hugged us close and told us not to be afraid of death. [Facepalm.] She said there would be angels there to greet us. And then the sobbing started. My brother and I glanced at each other and rolled our eyes. Lesson learned. Don’t taste the Comet.

Another time, when I was around eight also, she feared I had intestinal parasites, so she shoved folded tape up my butt and made me fall asleep that way. You know, to catch the worms and verify their presence. She took every parenting thing too far and made it traumatic. What you’re supposed to do (I think) is check your kid’s underwear for worm eggs. But as with all things, she had to make it as traumatic as possible. That was always her style. Like, “Hmm, how can I use this opportunity to traumatize my kids?”

I’m not sure what the overriding spiritual message is. I should love myself despite her shenanigans? That’s fine, but how do I accept that she’s a deranged, broken fiend? I’m not sure what the point is. But I do know that I came into this particular lifetime to master self-worth. So there it is. Had my childhood been lovely, I might not have this setup to be able to overcome and show mastery of self-worth.

Also at the age of eight, I had to overcome horrific nightmares about fire, and also bedwetting. I blame my parents for both. I’d dream I’d woken up and was in my room but there were flames all around me, and I knew I was about to burn alive. And then my parents attached some sort of alarm to me that went off whenever I’d wet myself. It was downright medieval, but it worked. So there’s that.

I don’t think the lesson is to set boundaries with my mother. Just take my word for this: with her, it’s impossible. It’s just impossible. [Shaking my head.] I don’t even expect that of myself, even though I do fully want to master self-worth.

I mean, remember when I kept dodging her digs on a road trip back in 2015, and she got so frustrated that she held me hostage? And I had to call my dad to come and save me? Yeah. See, boundaries don’t work with her. She has an underlying vicious, cruel streak. There was this other time around then when I was mean to my sister, so she left my mom’s gathering. I felt guilty about it. Then my mom came out on the porch, where I was hanging out with my stepsister (who I love) and my stepsister’s mom (who’s no longer with us), and she gave me this huge guilt trip over it. I tried to apologize, but she was in high form.

After she stomped back inside, ever the martyred victim, my stepsister and her mom exchanged a glance. Prior to then, I’d tried to warn my stepsister about my mom, but my stepsister had been like, “Oh, your mom seems nice! You must be mistaken,” blah, blah, blah. Well, that was one problem solved. And then my stepsister’s mom looked at me and said something riotous like, “All families have their drama,” cluck, cluck, cluck. And I found it oddly comforting, as if she was saying, “Honey, your mother’s batshit crazy, and I’m sorry I just witnessed that.”

Who knows? Maybe that’s exactly what she was saying. My stepsister might know. But after my mom went back inside, they both had expressions on their faces like, what the freakin’ hell did we just witness here?! And they were just staring at me, agape.

I should have smiled and said, “Welcome to the family.” Damn! A missed golden opportunity. I do love my stepsister. Even though her dad, my mom’s husband, is dead, she’s always my family.

My favorite anecdote from the abuse files is the time I was in the mental hospital, and Mother called me on the phone. Those of you who know this one can skip ahead to the sinister laughter. A nurse approached me and asked if I’d like to talk to my mom on the phone, and I said, “Sure!” I was in twelfth grade at the time, I believe.

The nurse stretched the phone out of the nurses’ desk and handed it to me.

“Hello?”

And we had screaming through the phone. The nurse had been walking back to her station, but she turned and stared at me. I pulled the phone away from my ear. More screaming. “How dare you ruin your family like this, you ungrateful brat!!” See, my mom was always on her best behavior whenever anyone was watching. She had no clue she had an audience other than me.

“Uhuh,” I agreed. “Uhuh, right, okay…. sure… bye.” I handed the receiver back to the nurse.

Not fifteen minutes later, the nurse pulled me aside and said, “We were going to recommend that you go home tomorrow, because you’ve worked so hard and have been doing such a good job; but if you want,” and she winked at me and lowered her voice, “we can say you’re still having problems and keep you here another week.”

Hell, yes, that place was POSH. Are you kidding me?! The cafeteria food was divine, there was a game room, snacks, an upper-class hotel vibe, a huge-screen TV, and arts and crafts. Freakin’ nature hikes! Helpful videos about being assertive and checking regularly for breast cancer! Other kids my age who understood exactly where I was coming from! We had instant rapport with each other! I was all over the nurse’s offer. And my unsuspecting mother had to foot the bill for it.

[Sinister laughter.]

[More sinister laughter.]

To this day, I don’t think my mom knows that she was overheard, or that I got to stay in that heaven for an extra week because of her bad behavior. But I could be wrong. After all, I put it in my novel, Unraveled, which she’s read. (“Why do all of your novels have mean mommies? These characters aren’t based on me, are they?” “No, Mother, of course not. Where would you get an idea like that?” [Innocent face.])

Anyway, I’m fully ready to heal and move forward with my life. That sounds good, right? And I will find a way to do so. I’m very determined. And I’ll find the love that I want, too. I truly believe that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goals for August!

I’ve decided to try to make August a blitz-attack month for weight loss. My eating habits have become horrible. A few basic daily changes would go far.

I’ve been struggling with brunch, first of all. I wake up and go to the local pastry shop. Why, God, why? I’m sure that starting the day with a bagel, a croissant, and a cookie is a recipe for disaster, and yet I do it anyway. In my defense, July’s cookie of the month was M&M, and August’s is peanut butter. I have no will power.

Solution: I used to try eating either a salad with chicken or brown rice with chicken as a dinner, but it was never enough of a meal for dinner. Why not eat one of those two options for brunch each day? They have 500 or 600 calories, respectively, but all of them are healthy calories. (And I’d guesstimate the pastry-shop meal at around 1,100 calories.)

Dinnertime: make Kodiak waffles. I’ve been doing that, but in isolation, my diet’s still crap.

Late night snack: I can buy some Luna protein bars, I guess. And/or make popcorn.

When this will begin: ideally sometime tomorrow. I need to go grocery shopping, and I’ve already blown my diet in myriad ways today. [I just made a face and shook my head at myself.]

Other plans: hit the gym twice a day. That sounds major, but it’s a mile up the road, and I have a 10-minute treadmill routine where I go around 3 MPH at a 15° incline. I could do that twice a day, right?

I mean, I’d lose weight if I were to stick to that this month, right? I’d have to.

I haven’t lost weight since March, and now I may have gained some. (I’m too afraid to weigh myself and find out… Maybe I can weigh myself next month if August’s plan goes well.)

I mean, I know I can do better. One thing that throws me is the lack of healthy groceries. But I think another thing was that they weren’t helping me when I’d try to eat the salad or rice meal for dinner. I’d just get hungry soon thereafter. I think shifting them to brunch will be a stroke of genius. Maybe I can even add a piece of fresh fruit! (Whoa, Meg, let’s not get carried away.)

There’s a funny line in a story I wrote recently that involves fruit:

The strawberry exploded. 

Out of context…? Not too funny. (I’m laughing riotously anyway.)

Oh, hey, I have amazing news. I’ve entered the new 3-day novella contest. (It’s a spinoff of the original 3-day novel contest.) The 3-day novella contest posted a few days ago that only seven people (not counting me yet at that point) had registered. And the top three get published, so, wow. The event is held over Labor Day weekend, Sept 5-7.

So I took to the forum and got, like, a handful of other people to enter it. Seriously, the new contest ought to put me on the payroll. I was impressed, because I’m not often that influential in life. Among others, I got Jeopardy Jennifer and also Sonya (who doesn’t hang out on the forum) to enter. Sonya did it last year with me (the original contest), so I’m glad she’ll be in it again this year! It’ll be a three-day shared insanity fest, like, “Are you still cogent, or are you talking to yourself yet?” or, “Help! My kitty crashed my keyboard! AAAAUGH!!” or, “What am I going to do? I’ve only written 10,000 words so far,” etc., etc. In other words, it should be a total blast.

Also, there will be candy. This will be my deserved reward if I really do make August a blitz-attack weight loss month. Go Team Meg!

So regarding goals for August, what I need to do is come up with a plot outline. (That’s allowed so that you’re not trying to dream up the novel during the three days, on top of writing it.) If I can estimate the word count of each scene and have a lot of scenes, then I can create a three-day plan of attack. I mean, basically, it’s going to be write-write-write, sob hysterically, write-write-write, toilet-paper my dad’s bedroom, write-write-write, eat candy, write-write-write, bathroom break, write-write-write, shriek like a deranged banshee, write-write-write, race through the house naked, write-write-write, give myself an impromptu haircut, write-write-write, sleep for twelve hours, repeat. (In other words, it’ll be like any other weekend, but with more writing.)

For anyone who’s curious, I’ve decided to write a romantic comedy.

Other goals for August: hmm. I know I’m doing the flash fiction competition round 2 in late August. (Round 1 is nonelimination, so everyone’s still in it.) Those might be all of my goals for now, but they’re good ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling sad!!

I received some energetic healing work earlier this evening from Maria, and it was really interesting. We were on the phone for an hour, and she worked remotely (I’m in Louisville, Kentucky; and she’s in Florida) to untie my energetic knots (or something like that). I could feel her doing it, and it fatigued me and triggered my ataxia, which acts up ever so often. She said she could sense something wrong with me neurologically. I told her I’ve always been fatigued, and that I’ve wondered if I have multiple sclerosis; because without my alertness aid, I require 11 to 13 hours of sleep per night. And it’s not a matter of waking up. You can wake me (if you try really, really hard), but it won’t “take”. I’ll just go back to bed. And I’ll try to stay up! I really will. It used to make me miserable when my sleeping cycle would get off due to it. Like, if I’d sleep until 3:00 in the afternoon, I’d be unable to fall asleep again until around 7:00 in the morning. Pure misery. And I’ve been told my whole life, “Try harder. Don’t be so lazy. Just go to bed earlier,” and other idiotic comments from the know-it-alls in my family. I’ve never been happier now that I’m taking an alertness aid, and I also have sedatives to knock myself out with every night. So my days of being up until 7:00 in the morning are over, and thank God!

It felt great for her to acknowledge that and to validate that I’m not lazy. I wasn’t even expecting it to come up, but she sensed it. I strongly suspect it’s multiple sclerosis. That’s what I’ve always intuited. It’s a different experience for everyone who has it. For me, the fatigue is constant. It might go away if I were to become unmedicated and manic, but trust Meg on this: mania is not the right treatment for fatigue. Just no.

I stumbled upon my alertness aid online by researching multiple sclerosis. That’s what the drug’s for: people with MS-related fatigue. I’ve been diagnosed as having fatigue, but that’s the end of the diagnostic trail. The doctors gave up after that.

I don’t worry about it, the multiple sclerosis. It’s just something about me, like how I’d get exhausted from exercise at the age of fourteen, when I was in the best shape of my life; and I couldn’t do deep knee bends at that age, either. I was in ballet, but I remember seeing some classmates shimmy down and then come back up while rehearsing for Little Shop of Horrors (I played the freaked-out patient in Orin Scrivello’s office, which was odd foreshadowing of how my life would turn out), and I knew I couldn’t do it like that without holding onto something.

I’m inherently weak. This is fact. I can’t run. Anwyay, to hear Maria say that it’s something neurological gave me a lot of validation. And it’s no huge deal. I didn’t come into this life to express myself athletically. I’m more emotionally, mentally, creatively, interactively, and spiritually oriented. Can’t be everything!

Actually, that’s not true. My first boyfriend, a real loser, was a genius thrice over. I’m not exaggerating. (Would I want to talk him up for any reason?) He was a genius musically, artistically, and intellectually. I’ve never encountered the like before or since, and I don’t expect to. He composed beautiful music that I wish I still had on file. (It was on an old computer that got tossed.) He painted beautiful artwork that touched me deeply and had strong spiritual undertones. He knew about intellectual topics I’ve never heard of and was incredibly intelligent.

He had the worst attitude, though. He’d dropped out of school at fourteen to work full-time and help support his family. Sounds like a nice thing to do, right? He told me, maybe ten years later (I guess we were around 24 when we dated) that he wanted to go back to school.

I said, “Great! Get your GED, and you can enroll in art college. You’re so talented.”

“No!” he yelled. “I don’t deserve to succeed, not ever, because I’ve made such horrible decisions with my life.”

“Oh, nonsense,” I said. “Sure you do!”

But he pouted and wouldn’t budge. In fact, he got mad at me for being supportive. You can’t make this stuff up. He truly wanted to wallow in self-pity over something stupid than move on with his life. I wound up wondering why God gave all those talents to someone who didn’t appreciate them and would likely squander them. Indeed, I haven’t heard from him in around twenty years, and he’s not famous yet. With his levels of ability, he should be famous. I can’t even find him on social media. Maybe he died tragically…? (No clue.)

He used to be visited by the shadow people. I don’t know much about the shadow people, but he did. They haunted him on the astral plane because of his overblown ego, from how he explained it to me. (Although how he managed to explain that without dissing his own ego is lost in my memory.) Apparently, that’s what the shadow people do–they pester people who puff themselves up too much. He’d fall asleep for a nap, and immediately, he’d start twitching and tossing about. Then he’d sit up, terrified, and say they’d come again. I know that sounds like a professional performance, but I believed him. I don’t think he was faking it. He couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t leave him alone. Uh, gee, maybe because he was so stuck on himself? His ego was enormous. He was a lot like a male version of Oprah Winfrey, only without the success. This probably goes without saying, but I’m glad we broke up. [Eyeroll.]

I’ve been listening to sad music lately and feeling sad.

Anyway, when Maria started working with my energy, I could feel my whole system being assaulted. That sounds bad, but it was helpful. I feel fine now, but I crashed afterward. It literally fatigued me to the point that my hands started closing themselves again. Ataxia is the term for that. It’s a neurological symptom. (Speaking of neurological issues, in the absense of any sort of helpful diagnosis, I once worked the theory that I have gluten ataxia. I spent a whole year off the gluten, but my health and fatigue didn’t improve. I’m fairly certain that bread isn’t good for me, and I’m sensitive to the effects of it, but at the heart of the matter, cutting out bread didn’t help.) (And oh my gosh, the bread withdrawal! It would probably be just as hard to come off heroin. Pure physical pain. I was having Lhermitte’s sign every two seconds. That’s when your head flashes like lightning. It doesn’t feel good.)

Anyway, yeah, I’m sad lately. But I’m sure I’ll be happy again to write more happytimes rainbow poetry.

 

 

 

Fun nomination time!

Guess what? I’ve been nominated for a Liebster award from Maria!! YAY!! Here are her questions for me!

Share 5 words that best describe you and why.

I have five such words on my facebook page! Here’s what it says: Hi! In five descriptive words, I’m hostile, irreverent, insane, gorgeous, and compassionate.

What’s the best place you’ve ever lived?

I was fortunate to grow up in huge, gothic mansions!! We weren’t rich! Louisville just has a lot of huge old houses. Like, the first one I lived in until age seven, my parents bought it for $20,000. They put a lot of work into it and sold it for $120,000, and now it’s worth, like, $750,000. Don’t get me started!! Tragic. But anyway, the mansions were magical.

What’s the best place you’ve ever visited?

Prague!! I love visiting Sonya!! She’s my favorite person ever! I love my Sonya!! I want to go back this year, but it’s not looking good due to the coronavirus.

What’s your favorite meal?

I like some barbecued boneless ribs with fried potatoes and cornbread, with some sort of cake for dessert.

What quality do you admire most in others?

I seek out people with the almost indefinable quality of compassion or awareness. It’s hard to describe, but when I find that quality, whatever it is, in someone, I try to keep that person in my life forever. To lose such a person is heartbreaking to me, because relationships are everything in the world to me. To become disillusioned and realize the person never had that quality is easier to take. And that happens a lot, because I’m not always the best judge of character. But I’d say the longer someone’s in my life, the more likely that they have that quality. I value people who fight for relationships and struggle not to let conflict become an undoing. People who are committed and loyal and reliable. (Not in the sense that we don’t all have bad days–bad days happen–but in the grander scheme that I can trust them to care about me and to know I care about them.) But for seriousness, when I find someone who has that quality, I want to know them for the long haul. While it’s great to seek out our actual soul mates, we can also make new ones!! Why not?

What gets you out of bed everyday? Thought or feeling

My dog! She weighs ninety pounds, and she wakes me up by leaping onto my face. I know that’s not a thought or feeling, though… 😀 Well, my first thought, after, oh, geez, get off my face! is today will be a great day!! So much potential to be creative and productive. 

What’s the one thing you’ve learned about yourself that sets you apart or makes you feel special?

Well, apparently I’ve been through hell in life, and I never really knew that before. I assumed growing up that my peers had all suffered as much as I had. I made excuses for self-absorbed friends of mine, thinking, he must be suffering from the sort of things I’ve suffered from, and I wound up realizing that not everyone has suffered horrifically; that many people have had… gasp… easy lives. I assumed that the hell I went through as a child and a teenager and a young adult was normal. I had no clue that it was above and beyond horrible. And I feel special for overcoming it and coming to realize that people I wanted to like were self-absorbed flakes. I don’t seek out people who’ve suffered as much as I have (or more, or less), but I seek out people with an intuitive understanding of suffering. People who aren’t, like, hung up on that one time in Kindergarten when they scraped their knee. You know the type–shallow and easily devastated over minutiae.

What’s the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Probably my belief in Evil Spirits. I spent six years of my life terrified of them. I had to take a drug called Geodon, or else the sun would set and I’d be scared shitless all night. I wasn’t able to go off that drug until I realized that it was delusional, but during that time, the drug took away my creativity (as a side effect or direct effect), and I did nothing. I spent the entire six-and-a-half years watching television and occasionally reading something. In a way, it was for the best. If I’d been a writer then, I’d have written horrible graphic abuse stuff all the time, and nothing else. And then I would’ve self-published it! That would be bad.

What’s your favorite movie?

The Neverending Story, because I’d always watch it as a kid; and as a young adult in college and thereabouts, whenever I’d lose confidence and be afraid, I’d watch it again. It always convinced me that we can overcome anything.

What type of music do like to listen to and what type gets you to get up and dance?

The classics: Hall & Oates, Seal, Motownphilly, stuff like that!!

******

Time for nominations! I hereby nominate Ashley Leia and Emilia!! You’ve won the Liebster! You can answer the same questions or just brag about having been nominated!! YAY!!

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