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Five Sixteenths

The fabulous, maybe mundane, but always truthful bloggings of a five-sixteenths something-er-other.

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Location: Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

I am a 28-year-old work at home mom and full time student. I am a member of the Leech Lake band of the Minnesota Chippewa tribe.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Daddy Dearest and Diet Pills

Tonight on Myspace I was conversating with a 24-year-old sister that I haven't seen but one time in my life. We compared notes on my incarcerated deadbeat father. It wasn't pretty. I feel blessed to have found her and like Myspace isn't for total and complete evil. Maybe I should write to Tom and they can do a story on THAT! I also got in touch with my childhood best friend that I haven't talked to in like 10 years!

Anyway, I also started diet pills again in an attempt to be the unattainable and while I have tons of energy (yeah, they are like speed!) and feel better about myself and my situation, more goal oriented, I just feel like I'm messing up my heart and body big time with them. I just gotta take it day by day I guess.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The News

I wish I could write some fascinating commentary on a news story or something with some substance in it but at this point I feel like pure and utter shit and would just as well be happy writing something complainy and bitchy.

Who in the world has had such bullshit luck as me? thats what I would like to know. When it rains, it pours, and it has done nothing but hurricane my entire life. Sometimes I wonder what the hell I did in my past life to make my current life a wrecking ball. It's hard to believe in God or find faith in life when it seems like everywhere I turn, God is spitting in my face. It's a rough existence.

I don't understand men and their penchant for constantly seeking a 'better woman' even if the one that they have is decent. I can't understand why I am supposed to settle for being someone's second choice and not their first choice. Don't I deserve to be the first choice of a good man? Where is the man that wants to be with me first and foremost? It's so hard to fathom that I am sloppy seconds. What am I supposed to say? That I am elated for having the gift and miraculous present of a man by my side, no matter if I am his second choice? I should just settle because I'm not good enough?

I'm sick of not being good enough for people. I'm good enough for my daughter and I'm good enough for myself. I'm not perfect and never claimed to be but I deserve respect as a human being.

Shit like this is enough to make anybody a feminist. Even a man.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Daddy

In the scheme of all of the drama going on, I have found the family I never knew and located the dad I haven't talked to since 1998 or seen since in 15 years. Unfortunately, it's not good news.

My remaining surviving immediate family member is currently doing 5 years in a federal prison.

*sigh* If it wasn't true, it'd be comical.

Goals

It's so hard when you are confronted with the fact that you have lost sight of your goals or what you want for yourself. It's difficult to refocus and connect with that part of you that has dreams to fulfill that you need to pull out of your psyche and put on paper. I spent so much energy and focus trying to take care of everyone else and be everyone else's savior, caretaker, and parent that I haven't really thought about what I want to be about or what I want out of life. It's sad.

Grief and my sister

I know I need to talk about my grief but it's hard to figure out what to say and even more difficult to think anyone wants to hear it. I know I wouldn't want to be depressed by reading about someone else's grief, even if I was in grief myself. But I guess I need to write a few things about my sister that made her her and that I want to remember. I still can't believe she is gone. She was only 24 and had an 8-year-old. I found out a lot about her life I didn't want to know or that I probably knew subconsciously but didn't want to admit I saw. I have a lot of guilt I'm trying not to carry. For one thing I'm the older sister and I'll always wonder why I was given a longer life than she was; what made me so worthy of extra time on earth? Why did I get the gift of growing up with my grandparents and getting a chance at survival and she had to grow up with my mom and be damned? It makes no sense. But on with the show.

The last real funny memory I have of my sister was Halloween 2002. After that we sort of separated ways because I got married, pregnant, and moved out of state. But around Halloween 2002 she was telling me about costume contests at all the local bars that she normally hit and how she wanted to win. So we were trying to figure out what she could be and I took her to a Halloween shop to look around, the night before Halloween I think. It was hilarious beacause she was 5'4" and about 100 pounds and she decided to go as a pimp. She put on a hat and had a cane and huge glasses and a glittery cup and she came out of the bathroom with a real serious look on her face and said, "Pimps up, hos down" and I just started cracking up. It was the most funny thing I had ever seen. I wish I had a photo.

Then when she admitted that when my niece wasn't home, she used her karaoke machine to get up on her bed and sing Christina Aguilera's "Dirty" song at the top of her lungs and I laughed so hard at the idea of her doing that. She's always been a ham, wanted to be in the spotlight. I remember going to a nightclub with her and her friend Melissa and she spilled a drink on a girls face. I was so freaked out that we were all gonna brawl that night but we laughed about it afterward.

there were the little things I couldn't stand. She would take the toothpaste on her toothbrush and smear it with her index finger, all over the sides of the toothbrush. It made no sense and it just was messy and pissed me off since I was such a perfectionist. The way she liked her cream of chicken soup lumpy so it was like warm milk with big chunks in it and I liked it smooth and creamy. We argued all the time about that. The way she hated turtlenecks so much because she swore they choked her.

She hated cleaning, couldn't cook, and loved amusement parks and rollercosters. She loved tubing down the Apple River in Wisconsin and barbecuing, laying out at the pool, and watching music videos. She loved to dance and sing and draw and was a really good artist. She wanted to be an archeologist and loved nature. She was scared of bugs and would scream bloody murder if she saw one. After she got bit by a dog a few years back, she was never the same about dogs and even if she saw a little poodle or toy Pomeranian, she'd scream and run. She was a cat person. Definitely. She had hamsters and gerbils and cats and fish and loved animals.

I was there when she went into labor with Aiyana, her daughter, and she was so nervous about it. She kept asking me, "am I in labor? I don't know. I don't want to go to the hospital and not be in labor. I'll feel dumb." So she writhed in pain for awhile until I convinced her it was ok and that if it was false labor, they'd understand but we needed to go. A few hours later, Aiyana was born and I'd never heard anyone scream so loud when they had a baby. You could hear her down the hallway. She refused to get an epidural or any anesthesia because she was paranoid that the needle would paralyze her. She was 15 and she said "I don't know how my friends DO this... how can they have babies? It hurts so bad!" She banished me from her room after awhile out of uncomfortable pain and rage and I giggled. GET OUT! She told me. I was one of the first to hold Aiyana. She loved being a mom, even when she lost custody of her, her goal was always to get her baby back.

She was so skinny and could eat like a horse and I never understood it. she could easily down steak and eggs for breakfast and eat a half a pizza for lunch. She loved salt and V8 juice and Mountain Dew. She loved Party Pizzas and Ramen noodles.

We used the same color makeup, ate the same toppings on our pizza, and shared the same confusion about our mom. We had different dads and when her dad died, it broke my heart just as much as it broke hers because I had to see her in pain too. Then when our mom died, I knew she'd never be the same. And she wasn't.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

My sister

My sister is in the hospital now, dealing with liver failure, possibly getting on the list for a liver transplant and being transferred to the U of M for it. She is only 23. I laid my heart out on the line for her today. I really told her everything I've wanted to say for a long time. I told her I loved her, I wanted her to change, I was worried about the way she lived her life and that she was all I had in the world - that I couldn't bury her too. I hope it worked. She kept changing the subject. I think she was worried about crying. She also seemed to be out of it on pain meds. I hope she is ok. I hope she will be alright. I really can't do this anymore. It's becoming so hard just to exist.

I start counseling on Monday. I hope she's a miracle worker.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Changes

I think I've come to the realization that life is changing dramatically and there is nothing I can do about it. I read somewhere that when your alcoholic parent dies, you are left standing in an empty room that echoes and there is just nothingness. You are alone and left with no direction, no one to coerce or argue with, no one to convince anything to anymore, especially not to go into treatment. You are left with emptiness because what was once your complete and utter goal in life - to get your parent to stop drinking - suddenly isn't a problem anymore and does not exist. The 'elephant in the living room' has exited and there is nothing more to hide or be ashamed of. This is how I feel.
The shock of my mom being gone hasn't hit me yet. At her funeral, I had to have 3 people help me up to the coffin and I just stood there, shaking, sobbing, crying out to her... I told everyone, "why did she do this? I tried to make her stop! I tried to get her to stop! Why did she do this to us? I don't understand! I don't understand!" It was the most devastating moment of my life. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had finally failed - I hadn't been able to do the one thing in life that I tried so desperately to succeed at since I was a child - to heal my alcoholic parent.

Anger flows through me and that was my first reaction. Why would someone be so selfish? Why isn't the alcohol industry regulated more? Why did my mom's boyfriend feel utterly irresponsible for her demise when he was the one who enabled her to do what she did? I'm still angry. Angry at myself for not spending more time with her. Angry at myself for not forcing involuntary treatment. And we are all angry for not seeing the eating disorders that needed desperate attention - we were all focused on the alcohol and paid no attention to the eating.

I have my own problems with eating. I binge eat. I haven't been able to admit it but it has been in the back of my mind. I eat until I am painfully full. I eat when I'm not hungry. I hoard and hide food. Why do I do this? What causes me to feel the need to stuff my face? Does it really ease the pain? Am I doing it to ease the pain? The pain of what? I know it's an addiction. Look at my family history. My mother and sister are both addicts with eating disorders. Obviously I'm not unscathed. Just because I don't drink or smoke, or do any drugs, doesn't mean I was left out of the mix - I am still genetically in there with them folks. So obviously it's the food - my only downfall - that is a huge problem for me. It's one I have to conquer.

I have so many unresolved issues with my mom. Questions I don't understand. Words left unsaid. I still can't believe she is gone and being 1000 miles away is the only thing that is keeping me sane right now.

Well that's it for now. It feels good to get it off my chest.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I found this online...

This story was something I found when searching online about information of the death of an alcoholic parent. It really spoke to me and was profound and this is what it said - in parts:

Blueberries for Mom

by Meagan Francis

Mom buckles me into the backseat of our 1979 station wagon, fastening the seatbelt snugly. She is thirty-seven, young-looking, pretty. She wears a belted sweater in a rusty shade of orange -- just slightly outdated and out-of-season for a July morning in 1982.

We are going blueberry picking.

My mother died when my son Isaac, was six weeks old. By that time her face was prematurely aged from years of drinking. Her hair, like her personality, tended to be unpredictable, frizzled, choppy. Though it was 1999, Mom still wore the circa-1979 belted-orange sweater, still drove old cars, and still earned a 1979 living wage. It was as though at some point Mom’s connection to the outside world just stopped.

I sat nursing my new baby at the memorial service, listening numbly as the pastor spoke, then a few of her friends. Gee, isn't it nice that they're all saying such good things about Mom, I thought to myself as I casually adjusted Isaac's latch on my nipple. Out of the corner of my eye I saw others -- more distant relatives, acquaintances of Mom's -- watching me. "How brave she is," I imagined them murmuring to each other. In truth, I just wanted to get home and get back to life.

When your mother is an alcoholic, you learn how to detach.

The next day, we made the three-hour car trip to Cheboygan, where Mom's ashes were buried in the plot next to my would-have-been big brother, Patrick, who'd died suddenly, in 1970, at six weeks old -- the same age as the fat baby I held football-like under my arm as I stood next to her grave. His death was when Mom's drinking began, so my older sister tells me.

It was a mild November day and I felt uncomfortable, like I wasn't doing the grieving-daughter-thing quite right. Her death felt, to me, less like a loss and more like a release -- a reprieve from that sinking feeling that somebody you love is going downhill, and there's nothing you can do but try to keep yourself from going down with them.

Later, on the car ride home, I glimpsed at the death certificate and saw the cause of death: cirrhosis of the liver due to alcoholism. I felt a momentary surge of anger at the faceless coroner for his diagnosis.

When your mother is an alcoholic, it's hard to get past the impulse to cover up.

It wasn't until later, much later, when I was able to remember not just Mom-last-month but also the Mom I knew when I was five, eight, ten, that I began to grieve. Easier to cry for the loss of the mother who made Christmas ornaments with you every year than the mother who showed up drunk to your wedding and attempted to dance Latin-style with your new husband's crazy uncle. Her death made everybody's job easier. Now we could just remember Mom the way we all wished she'd always been.

I think it took me a long time to accept that Mom was an alcoholic because her usual behavior didn't fit with my childish definition of "drunk." I'd seen drunk in the glassy eyes of my boisterous uncle as he swung me dangerously over his head, laughing at my delighted squeals as the sober adults in the room nervously watched on, ready to spring up at a moment's notice to rescue a catapulting child from going through the front-room window. I'd seen drunk in the loud but good-natured political debates around the table of my aunt's house: die-hard liberals, right-wing conservatives, political scandals, and a couple bottles of good liquor. That was drunk, not Mom's bitter, angry irrationality that just happened to be combined with a sizeable dose of Ernest and Julio.

And drinking wasn't the entirety of what made Mom difficult -- it was simply the factor that could take her from slightly manic to something more, something harder to explain away. Sober Mom might nag me to do the dishes, but only drunk Mom would add, "You're just like your father, you think only of yourself, and you'll always be selfish." Sober Mom might sternly chastise my friend and me for trying to leave the house wearing too much makeup, but only drunk Mom would tell us we looked like a couple of two-bit floozies, her hands clenched, tears in her eyes: angry, but more than angry -- threatened. Sober Mom welcomed debate, seemed to encourage my spirited side. Drunk, she seemed overwhelmed by the fact that I had opinions of my own, wounded by the force of my preteen will, and unable to cope.

On days like those, my best friend wouldn't commiserate, "Man, your mom's being a bitch," but would instead pretend -- badly -- that she didn't notice, perhaps imagining the conversation her parents would have over the dinner table when she told about what she'd seen: It's sad, isn't it. I wonder if we can do anything?

Sometimes when I've had a glass of wine and I lean in over my children to tuck them into bed and kiss them good-night, I wonder if they smell the wine on my breath and if that memory will be forever etched in their memories, and if they'll one day associate me with that smell the way you associate pine needles with Christmas and melting candle wax with birthday cake. The smell of certain kinds of alcohol -- particularly when covered up by a dose of mouthwash -- jolts me into the past.

When your mother is an alcoholic, it can really take the fun out of drinking.

My challenge becomes determining which of my mother's behaviors were damaging (because, certainly, many were) and which were enriching. How can I separate the good from the bad? How can I take the person I am today and decide which parts Mom helped develop (so to emulate) and which parts she just messed up (so to avoid)?

It would be easier if it was as simple as "alcohol = always bad" and "no alcohol = always good." But it was my mother who, though most likely three sheets to the wind at the time, introduced me to Harry Chapin and the original Broadway recording of Fiddler on the Roof. It was my mother who, while accusing me of doing things that my older brother actually did (thereby causing me to question my own sanity) and handing out irrelevant punishments, also encouraged my writing, praised my singing voice, and cuddled with me on the couch while watching TV.

I have moments with my own children that scare me -- moments of disproportionate rage, violent urges that come and go so quickly and sharply they leave me breathless Sometimes my own (sober) voice seems to morph into the scary tone of drinking Mom -- shaming, irrational, cruel, the sound that can make my children wither before my eyes. Other times, I hear the gentle, low humor of Mom on her good days: clever, quick-witted, fun. I'm not sure which I find more unsettling.

Mothering, for me, isn't just a matter of following what feels right. What feels right, I've been told by therapists, books, and armchair psychologists, is skewed -- based on an upbringing filled with uncertainty, dishonesty, and blurred boundaries. I am not allowed to trust my feelings because they will mislead me. At first, I dealt with this uncertainty by mothering in ways that seemed socially acceptable -- the hope being that using society at large as a mothering litmus test would keep me from screwing up. Yet my ever-present urge to rebel (thanks, Mom) against much of what is considered "good parenting" has led me to make up my own rules as I go. An absence of predictable bedtimes -- neglectful disregard of security-building routine, or that much more quality time to spend with Mom? I'm not supposed to worry my kids with my problems, that much I know -- but how much does a thoughtful parent hold back? What's healthy?

I find myself thinking about my parenting goals not in terms of "most wonderful," but of "least harmful" -- when my kids look back on their childhood, I don't want them to remember a few really great moments amid a bunch of purposely forgotten black X-marks. My hope is not that the once-in-awhile good will be so outstanding that it blots out the bad, but that the bad will be infrequent enough that it fades away naturally. I wonder, sometimes, if I'm succeeding. I also wonder just how screwed up that kind of outlook is.

When your mother is an alcoholic, you learn to doubt yourself.


So much I don't understand.

My mom died on Thanksgiving this year. I went back to Minneapolis to help with the funeral. My sister really didn't give me the opportunity to make any decisions or to help any but it was nice to see my family. I also chose a Thomas Kincaid garden set for her folders and guestbook, which was beautiful. The county basically paid to bury my mom is almost like a cardboard box and it was so depressing that my sister and I didn't have money to bury her. My aunt donated a plot and had a reception afterward.

My mom had cirrhosis, alcohol-induced hepatitis C, and kidney failure in the end. She was 44. What was really the precipitating factor, I later realized, was her anorexia and bulimia, that she fought for so many years. None of us really thought it was that serious but seeing that she could not and would not eat and then would drink alcohol on an empty stomach is really what tore up her liver and made her die prematurely. That is why her boyfriend of 22 years and her drinking buddy is still alive and she isn't. It made me really want to delve into understanding eating disorders, as I probably have a compulsive eating disorder of my own to deal with.

I know I need a lot of counseling now. I have to get it for myself and my mom. I have a lot on my plate. One of my aunts commented that I have too much responsibility and it's true. Work, school, a new stepchild, D's baby mama drama, an unhappy marriage, goals for myself that are slipping away, a toddler to take care of, being far from family, being the breadwinner... it's so hard to keep it all together. I also found out I didn't pass my second try at the NET exam to get into nursing school and have given up on that dream, which is incredibly heartbreaking for me.

A cousin who is a nurse mentioned ultrasound school, so I may try that. We'll see. Otherwise paralegal? Who knows.

I still have my weight to deal with but wonder if it's a good time to make huge decisions.

I spoke at my mom's funeral. It made me feel good to talk in front of everyone and everyone loved my speech. It gave me closure. I also got to put Amaya's picture in with my mom, which made me happy too. Not many people went up to see her. I don't think anyone wanted to see her. My grandma lost it when they closed the casket and when the pastor said the 'ashes to ashes, dust to dust' part during the burial service.

I have to look into life insurance on my sister and make sure I have it for Des and I and a living will. Things that you don't want to think about but need to. I am also going to look into involuntary commitment of my sister as well.

Ok, better run. needed to get this all out. I need a shower!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Not worthy?

Okay the title of this is misleading because I know for a fact that I am worthy of a good relationship. I used to have the confidence of a pissant but now it is higher and I guess I do owe that in part to my marriage. But marriage to me is supposed to be such a sacred fucking thing. Wow... who else says those two words together like that? Deep. Anyway... what could I do to make him happier? What am I not doing right? Is it me? Why does he always go after girls that look phenomenally disgusting just to make me feel 100 times worse because it's like he is rejecting me for a rank-ass looking female? I buy him shoes, clothes, movies, video games, whatever... I pay the bills, the rent, the car payment for a car he drives more than I do. He wants for nothing. I've never denied him any wish or fantasy. What more could a man want? We have deep conversations (or did for awhile then he got shady.) When he lost his job, I picked up the pieces, patted his back, and gave him the pep talk. I wrote his resume and cover letters. I put up with his mom calling me out my name and telling me how lousy I was at life. I put up with it. I moved to Philly when I didn't want to. I gave up everything I had to make him happy. Then he twists it and gets all selfish. I sat here and played devil's advocate in the situation with his son that just now came to light... a situation where we didn't even know it was his or existed.. I swore I'd leave. I didn't when the results came back that it was his. I stood by him. I tried to be a strong woman and be the rock and give him advice with no bias. When he wanted to sign over his rights, I was the one who discouraged it. I looked at the bright side. I told him he should have a relationship with the baby. It was me who did all that. Then he goes and does me like this? Starts talking to people online out of the blue that he don't even know, while all this drama is still churning, and decides to treat me like a doormat?

Why?
What could I have done to prevent it?
What are my options?
I am a good ass woman. I know that. I work hard to BE a good woman. I know it's hard to be in an interracial relationship and I bent over backward to make sure to carefully treat him right, to take care of his needs, because that's the way I do. But it's just bullshit. Pure and simple. I don't know if I can ever love again. Ever.