Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Picking at Scabs

It would be so nice to feel sleepy around 10 pm, before even taking any medication, then just lay down in bed and fall asleep. I'm told that's what normal people do and what I will eventually do when I'm healthy. I think it's all bullshit. Tonight I started feeling sleepy, drop dead tired at around 10:30, after eating, but I made the mistake of playing around on my phone, then journalling my day, which led to me thinking about what day it was by that time, since it was by then after midnight, and, well, I fell apart.

I sent this email to Moneypenny, typed on my phone, so sorry about the really poor grammar.

There's an episode of House in which House & his friend Wilon are on the outs but Wilson & their boss conspire to, basically, drug & kidnap Houe to make him attend his father's funeral, at the request of his mother, who knows House has much anomysity towards his father that he won't go on his own. During the ride to the funeral, House tells Wilson that part of his feelings are that the man wasn't really his biological father, which he figured out at 13 because of recessive genetic traits and that the man was a marine, shipped out at the crucial time, but House felt that it was himself who was decieved. At the funeral, House even goes so far as to get a tissue sample by pretending to kiss the deceased, so he can prove it later. Wilson ends up fighting with him and getting so angry that he throws a bottle of booze, at what he assumes is the wall but is really a stained glass window, which he breaks.

In the last scene, Wilson brings House the results of the dna test,which he'd intercepted before they got to House. Wilson also came to tell House that he'd been right about something he'd said earlier, that for all the insanity House had gotten him into that day, it was the mostfun he'd had in a long time, since what paused their friendship. Of course, the test results confirm House's lifelong hypothesis about hi parentage. Wilson tells him that this must make him feel a bit better, because it proved he was that smart and right at 13. House doesn't look more pleased. "Wilson, [beat] my dad is dead." Wilson looks genuinely sad for him. "My condolencses. Let me buy you dinner." He opens the door and waits for his friend.

Being the Wilson to my House doesn't mean you get the shitty character.

My grandpa died today. Around 6 am. I'm so sad.

I started crying and decided I'd rather watch the episode of House, if I owned it, than lay in bed and cry. Somehow I don't have season 4, but I do have season 5, and this episode is the fourth episode of season 5. I'm not sure if I'm lucky or not.

Around 6 am, December 28th, 2007, so about four years less five hours from right about now, I watched my grandfather die.

As I stood in the kitchen, crying, trying to find something to drink that didn't have caffeine to go with my pistachio pudding, things started flooding back to me. You know, it's strange how things run together. All the deaths. All the regrets. All the things you didn't do. All the things you did do. Four years is the blink of an eye when you're watching your child grow up, when you're pushing your way through high school, when it's the last four years you get with someone. Four years is forever when you're watching people die. Four minutes is forever when you're lost and alone and can't figure out where you're going.

I drive Moneypenny crazy with late night phone calls and text messages. The text messages he, rightly, ignores. When it used to be phone calls, he'd feint interest and try to get me off the phone as soon as he could so he could go back to sleep. I don't fault him for this feeling. But, even before this recent extended dance with the Reaper, I've had this fear that I wouldn't say what needed to be said before someone was gone from my life. Maybe it was because I didn't know that the last time I saw my biological father would be the last time I saw my biological father. The anxiety most people felt when they wanted to tell someone that they had a crush on them was doubled by my own worry that this might be my last chance that I ever got to tell them that I had a crush on them, because they might move the next day or get hit by a bus. There was so much I told my uncle, about my life, about my feelings, about my crushes, about my friendships, on our long drives. But there were also times I'd sit outside his door while he was asleep, when I couldn't sleep, when I fought the urge to wake him up and tell him how bad it hurt, inside, all the time. When he was still living with my grandparents and my parents and I would visit from the Very Large Midwestern City, he'd give up his bedroom to my parents. He and I would have to share a bedroom, which was wonderfully awkward for a 9 year old girl and a 20 year old young man, though I slept on a day bed and he slept on a pull-out bed which only sometimes stayed propped up through the whole night. (That was funny, in a Three Stooges kinda way.) I'd lay in my bed, listening to him sleep, wishing I had the balls to wake him up and tell him that I was sad and desperate and maybe even suicidal, though I had no way to express that except reading all the horror novels I could get my hands on. I wish I had told him and yet I'm glad I didn't. It's hard enough dealing with my mental illness as an adult, when the doctors and pharmacists have a sort of kind of solid hold on what the illnesses look like and how the medications probably effect a person, much less children when it's all fucked up and topsy turvy. If my family is worried about me now, I can't even imagine the eggshells they would have felt they needed to walk on then. But I don't think I've ever told this to anyone. Not even Moneypenny. I wonder if my uncle knew. Even more than my mother, he seemed to know everything. While he didn't get to punish me for things I had no idea how he knew, he did get the burden of whether or not to share it with my mother, so she could decide what to do with it. On the other hand, it seems unimaginably cruel to let me sit outside his door for hours and cry and not do anything about it. If there's one thing he wasn't to me, it was cruel.

And why am I talking about my uncle when it's the anniversary of my grandfather's death? Because they all run together. Because I wasn't as close to my grandfather. Because it was easier to accept my grandfather's death. Because it's been longer. Because I could justify it by saying that my grandfather had done all, or almost all, of what he was going to do with his life. And why am I telling you? Putting all these personal issues on blast? Maybe just so I don't feel the need to wake up my poor good friend who is probably sleeping peacefully next to his lovely girlfriend and who definitely has to be at work at 8 in the morning tomorrow (or today.) Sigh.

But I still miss my grandfather. MGD and fritos. Steel guitars and lottery tickets. Ashes and strong coffee. Those steaks my grandmother made for him that I never could figure out how he could chew through without his dentures. A man who never said "I love you," but who never did anything to make me doubt that he did. I care him with me wherever I go and try to let his example lead me, try to be as good of a man and a person as he was. I miss you Grandpa.

[Oh, but I got the details of the episode wrong. Wilson goes to see House because House's patient pulls through. House is drinking in celebration of the test results which proved him right, but he's still depressed because he feels nothing at all at the news. But their final exchange is still the same. Your real friends are the ones who understand, or maybe just accept, that you can be righteous while being pissed off that you're right while still being sad that this person that you had such a strange and complex relationship with is dead. And while they might not show the textbook perfect response, their response is still... well, it's still something. Sometimes, something is all you really need. Your friends will never have the perfect response for you and you'll never have the perfect response for them. But being there is a big step in the right direction.]

[And I'm still the same person. I'm just blogging under an account that's tied to my Google. When I started the blog, google didn't own blogger and/or I didn't have a google account, so I used the email I'd been using for years. Now I rely on google for tons of stuff and I'm too lazy to log out of all my google stuff just so I can blog. So there's two of me blogging on here: Ava and AvaAlso. I think my gentle readers are intelligent enough for this not to cause a large problem.]

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Moneypenny, the Repseudonyming of Sir

Even though almost all people who read this blog are my personal friends who probably have some idea as to who the pseudonyms correspond to, I still like using the pseudonyms in my blog. This post, from 3 years ago, is the last post in which I updated the pseudonyms I use and my current relationship to those people: In it, I wrote this:

Sir- Sir is my most recent ex-boyfriend. We were together 5 years. His
pseudonym of Sir is one that he came up with because, whenever he is out with
male friends at restaurants, the waitresses always call his friends "sweetie"
and "honey" but they always call him "Sir." We broke up February 2005 and have
remained good friends since. **Update: I sabotaged that friendship by revealing
what I felt was his hypocrisy on my blog. But I also revealed a secret that I
shouldn't have, largely out of spite and anger that I felt towards any and all
men who cheat.

Now, when I started this blog, when the above person and I were both in our mid-20s, it was pretty humorous that everyone treated him like a much older man. It was also particularly humorous to me because I felt like he was a stick in the mud who never did anything fun (read: crazy, risky) and I've never tired of pointing that out. In fact, I still don't tire of pointing it out, but I guess it now seems cruel to poke fun at his old-ness, now that he's starting to get laugh lines around his eyes, though few people see them because they only show up when he smiles and he doesn't really smile all that much.

As last year turned into the current one, I wrote a post on my lingering regrets about the ending of our relationship, which managed to reel him back into my life. Though it's been a rocky road back, I think we're finally managing to get on steady ground in our friendship. Which means, of course, that, if I'm writing, he's going to show up in it, even though he probably hates that. And "Sir" just didn't seem to fit anymore, so I started thinking about repseudonyming him.

At the time I was contemplating the repseudonyming, I was watching a BBC show called The Hour, about a fictionalized newsmagazine starting up in 1956. The reckless and headstrong reporter Freddy Lyon often jokingly refers to his bestfriend, and now boss, Bel Rowley as Moneypenny, after the levelheaded secretary to James Bond's boss M. Bel usually then points out that it is she who is the boss now, but, throughout the show, the stubborn reporter often makes the tail wag the dog. Now, though the gender is switched, I thought this a great comparison for Sir and I. In a me-centered world, he's the girl-friday in my crazy, wacky adventures, the strictly logical reasonable has-it-all-together homebody to my emotional living-on-the-edge wanderer. He's the Moneypenny to my James, at least relatively speaking.

So there's your newest pseudonym. Sir has been rechristened Moneypenny.

Bitter, Sad, or Funny Christmas Songs

Well, gentle readers, it's that time of year again. Though it probably isn't true, I remember hearing on tv shows and movies the whole time I was growing up that suicide rates are noticeably higher than the rest of the year. If you're alone, you feel lonely. Even if you have friends or family, but are the kind of person who often feels lonely around people, you're probably going to feel even lonelier around even more people. And though it's supposed to be the celebration of a birth, since it coincides with the beginning of winter and the end of the calendar year, it seems to make people dwell on those that have died, instead of those born or living.

I'm no different, on all those fronts. They say that the first holidays without a loved one are the hardest, especially when that loved one played a large role in that holiday. One of the reasons that the first Christmas without Grandpa was particularly hard was because he loved the holiday so much. Recent Facebook posts from my uncle's friends have highlighted the ways in which their holiday season is much different without him. I'd tried to just push it away, but today it came crashing down. For the past few years, I've done the shopping for the gifts that my family donates to a local charity. I really do like doing it. But I didn't make it past getting my shower. I started crying while in there and couldn't stop. My uncle is what made Christmas special for me at a time when I really needed to reconnect with my family. Even before that, he was what made it all come alive for me.

While I remember bits and pieces of my early Christmases, it's sometimes difficult to tell what is memory and what is from pictures. The first holidays I really remember started after I moved with my mom and my step-dad to Really Big Midwestern City from Medium Sized But Larger than where I currently live Midwestern City, where my grandparents and my uncle resided, where I was born and raised until then. Moving was a huge culture shock for me and I was severely homesick, as I always considered my grandparents' house HOME. With that move started the tradition of me spending my school breaks with my grandparents at their home. Though we celebrated Christmas in Really Big Midwestern City, my maternal grandparents and my uncle always came up and spent it with us and the rest of the family on my step-father's side. Then, I'd go back home with them. My parents would fetch me after the New Year. As I wasn't much of a kid as a kid, when with the extended family, I felt more comfortable with the adults than I did with my cousins, who were 2 and 4 years younger than me. My uncle, who was smack dab in between my mom's generation of people and my generation of people, was my closest ally. He was also amazing at defusing our family spats, which inevitably rose as we all spent more time together. He was amazing at picking gifts. Always knew just the right thing to get a person. He really liked putting gifts in those shirt boxes. My family has a ton of them that we've reused throughout the years, some with old Famous Barr and Dillard logos. But he wanted to make sure they stayed closed and together, so he'd put strips of tape on all four sides and it was a bitch to get them open. My grandpa would bring his pocket knife out to open his presents.

In an effort to exorcise, or at least air out, my current demons, I wanted to write about all the stuff that I remembered about spending time with my uncle around Christmas. It's fragmented and not really in any order, but I'm hoping it helps me.

Crystal Pepsi. My family has a soda obsession and my uncle was the main driver of this obsession. For as long as I can remember, he loved Diet Coke. His favorite excuse to get out of my grandparents' house, go for a drive, was that he was going to fill up his soda cup. While he always stuck with Diet Coke, I liked trying most new and different beverages. One year, because of the way the Christmas and New Year's holidays fell, my school break started almost a week before Christmas Eve, so I got to go out to my grandparents' house for several days before. I rode back to Really Big Midwest City with my uncle. It was more fun to make the 6 hour trip with him than with my grandparents, who flooded the car with cigarette smoke, stopped every half hour to use the restroom and get a cup of coffee, drove the 55 mph speed limit on the highway, and only listened to 60s and 70s country classics, most of which I didn't know the words to so I couldn't sing along. My uncle always had really cool cars, listened to really cool music, didn't care that I sung at the top of my lungs off-key, would talk with me, and only needed to stop once to go pee on the trip. I believe that trip was also the same year that Crystal Pepsi came out. Like any good American consumer, I had seen all the commercials and I was frothing at the mouth to taste this new sensation. It wasn't yet in the stores in my grandparents' hometown and it wasn't in the gas station we'd stopped at on the way back to Really Big Midwest City. The car was pretty low on gas by the time we reached the house of my step-dad's parents, where the rest of the family had already gathered, but my uncle didn't stop on the way to the house. I wonder if that wasn't intentional, so he'd have an excuse for him or us to go for a drive when he got tired of being there. Either way, several hours later, we were driving around the snowy, small suburb, looking for any gas station that was open on Christmas Eve and trying to find any radio station that wasn't playing Christmas songs. Both were quite a challenge, but the gas station that was open had Crystal Pepsi. I was so happy and, of course, my uncle bought me a bottle. At the time, I loved it. I wish it was still on the market, though I'm obviously a minority. But, yeah, I remember Crystal Pepsi.

And the SNL Christmas special that used to air over and over again on Comedy Central. Which that year included a Crystal Gravy parody commercial. That year, my parents and I were living in a house with a third bedroom and we set up a camping cot in that room for my uncle to sleep on. My grandparents got my bedroom and I got the couch. The year before, without the cot, my uncle had to sleep in my step-dad's armchair, which kept un-reclining throughout the night. My parents have never believed in having televisions in the bedroom so our household's second tv was in the third bedroom. My uncle and I used the cot like a couch to watch the SNL Christmas special and any other Christmas specials that weren't all happy-happy-joy-joy. I was kinda a cynical pessimistic depressed kid. But that was our time together and it saved me from getting into even more arguments with my step-dad, who is unbelievably grumpy around Christmas time for no discernible reason.

As I became a teenager, I fought more with my step-dad, and everyone else, all year round, though Christmas was especially bad. Despite the fact that my step-dad doesn't like the holiday and isn't a particularly social person, it seems like most of our fights during the holidays revolved around me not being social enough with our whole family. Oddly enough, the fighting didn't motivate me to be more social, but made me withdraw more. Finally, one year in my late teens, I pessimistically asserted to my uncle that I thought the holidays were all bullshit and just something to suffer through as best you could. My uncle tried to refute this, but I was so stubborn. Finally, he walked out. Not just of the room, but the house. Got in his vehicle and drove off. This was shocking to me. Though he and I had picked on each other and fought when I was really young, and I'd seen him argue with my grandmother/his mother, he was one of the most level-headed, best able to debate another person and/or defuse tense situations, people I'd ever known. I don't think I'd ever seen him walk out of a room angry from an argument in progress, much less a whole house. He came back about a half hour later and calmly told me that he valued the holidays so much because they gave him a chance to spend extended amounts of time with people he loved but might not get to see this much all year long. He was very sad for me that I couldn't see it like that and worried that he hadn't done a good enough job of showing me what the holidays should really be about. That conversation really stuck with me. I can't say I've always been successful at avoiding the melancholy of the season, but I try to be thankful for the loved ones I have and enjoy their company. For as long as I can possibly stand it at least.

My uncle was my partner in crime and comedy from the time I was young. We were always getting in trouble with our respective parents for laughing, giggling, and making jokes at inopportune times, like dinner prayers and graduation ceremonies. Though I'm now aware that comedic holiday songs are nothing new, the year that "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" came out, my uncle and I had it memorized. I think it was by far our favorite Christmas song of all time. My mom couldn't find it in cassette format, but did manage to find the album. That might have been how I learned to move the needle to certain songs, because we only cared about that one song and listened to it endlessly. Though my mom has a massive collection of Christmas music on vinyl, cassette, and CD, that song, along with the Muppets and John Denver's Christmas Together, will always be my childhood Christmas soundtrack. Our shared love of that song has fueled my love of slightly less than classic Christmas songs, or classic Christmas songs in a less than classic or classy style. Some of my favorites are Merry Christmas from the Family, which has been done by Toby Keith as well as Jill Sobule; I'll Be Hating You for Christmas by Everclear; Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kristy MacCollum; and the Ben Fold's song about Santa getting stuck in the chimney and Mrs. Clause suing his ass, which my grandfather also thought was hilarious. Please feel free to share your favorite bitter, sad, or funny Christmas songs in the comments. One of my recent faves is at the end of this post.

That isn't all my memories of holidays with my uncle, but that's what sticks in my head right now. In contrast to my pessimistic, cynical childhood and teenage days, in my advancing age, I find that, more and more, I want warm loving holidays. I think my younger self would be much better at this Christmas, as it would give me a good excuse to be a Scrooge. But this year is made harder by the fact that I don't want to be that, but it's really hard to be happy when half of your family has died in the last four years and you're one of the few un-coupled people you know. I want to be happy this holiday so badly, for my grandpa who loved the holiday, for my grandma who made it all come together, for my uncle who taught me how to love it too, and for my mom who's lost just as much, if not more, than I have. I just don't know how to do that.

Huh. You know, for the past week or so, since right after Thanksgiving, this song has been in my head and I had associated it with someone else, a former love if you will. But now I think maybe it is for my mom and I. Enjoy.

Heartache Can Wait - Brandi Carlile

You're talking about leaving
It's right about Christmas time
Thinking about moving on
I think I might die inside
I'm thinking about years gone by
I'm thinking about church at midnight
I'm thinking about letting go
I think that might finally be alright
But this is where we shine

Silver bells and open fire
And songs we used to sing
One more chance to be inspired
Is what I'm offering, if love is not enough
Then stay with me because
The heartache can wait

It's not about hanging on
It's making my deal with God
If I could call one last truce
We've given it all we've got
Then I'm gonna catch my breath
And make it a long December
If we've got nothing left
This could be worth remembering
With a smile upon my face

Silver bells and open fire
And songs we used to sing
One more chance to be inspired
Is what I'm offering, if love is not enough
Then stay with me because

Silver bells and open fire
And songs we used to sing
One more chance to be inspired
Is what I'm offering, if love is not enough
Then stay with me because
The heartache can wait

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sexual Semantics

For those of you just joining this program already in progress, your humble narrator, while often anti-social, very much enjoys intimacy with those she cares about. She has also enjoyed intimacy with those she didn't know quite so well, by and large without regret. But as a bisexual woman who's also had relationships with men who did not prefer penis in vagina (PIV) sex, I've often been in a situation to ponder what I think is or isn't sex. If it's PIV sex, then lesbian couples, gay male couples, couples who only engage in BDSM or fetish play, and male-female couples who can't or don't have PIV sex, no matter how intimate they are or how long they've been together, have not had sex. If you draw the line at penetration, so we'll say adding anal sex and sex involving dildos or objects, well then you still have some couples of all stripes who decide not to have penetrative sex. Also, there are some hetrosexual people who have anal intercourse, but still consider themselves virgins because they have not had PIV sex, so penetration seems to be a bad place to try to draw any lines. I think that there are many people who would say that things you call sex are sex so oral sex, PIV sex, anal sex are "what counts." But even if you dismiss post-Clinton ideas of oral sex not really being sex, I can't count the number of conversations I've had where I said that I haven't really had sex with a man because we haven't had PIV sex and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who has relationships with men who's said the same thing. Back to my first hand though, I know I wouldn't say I've never had sex with a woman, though I've never had pentrative or, obviously, PIV sex with a woman.

So why the hell does it matter anyway? Well, I think it matters because we make it matter. In discussions of fidelity, it's asked if the suspect partner has had sex with another person. So what counts? Just like with sex, people draw the line in different places and even different members of the same couple might not exactly agree on what matters.

I've also found that it matters because it's how many people often judge the pinnacle of their intimacy. Because for a hetro couple, PIV sex is supposed to be the ultimate goal post for how far along your relationship is, since it facilitates your ultimate goal of a couple - procreation. Oh, what? That's not why you're having PIV sex? Heathen! I think all couples have to deal with a certain amount of presumption about what they have or have not deal on that rather simple sexual spectrum, especially if they've been together for any significant period of time, but that spectrum is based on hetronormative, penetration-focused, procreation-directed ideas. But I've realized recently that this puts undue pressure on...well, everyone, to push towards sexual acts they might not be ready for or push partners for the same. And, much to my shame, I've been guilty of this for a very long time. I got away with it because I am a woman and this particular partner is male. If the genders were reversed or if the genders were the same and I heard of one partner pressuring the other to do sexual acts that they had drawn a strict line through, even if I thought the refusing partner's reasons were less than reasonable, I would argue that the pressurer was being an ass.

Thus, while I know I'm probably in the (small) minority, I've decided to work on not putting goalposts or specific definitions of what counts. And if you have to ask if something is cheating, than it probably is. Or, in a openly open relationship, something that needs to be disclosed. More than that, I'm finding myself very happy with the current levels of physical intimacy, whether or not I'm going "all the way."

In a nice bit of coincidence, right after I'd thought out this post, I read this Savage Love Letter of the Day, "I'm putting "sex" in quotes here because your boyfriend defines sex as "vaginal intercourse." I don't. In fact, I think oral, handjobs, and visuals-with-a-partner also count as sex," in his response to a woman who's boyfriend thought four PIV sex encounters a week, plus oral, handjobs, and getting naked so he could get himself off, was deprivation. See, if my ideas mesh with Dan Savages, especially in the area of sex and relationships, I think I'm probably on the right track.

So what counts as sex to you?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sometimes I Feel Cold As Steel, Broken Like I'm Never Gonna Heal

Ok dear readers, no bitching about this being a country song. It's very pop and orchestral inspiring. Right now I'm only half way there. I'm at the broken part, still working on seeing the world again. That's part of why I haven't written much at all. I just don't have it in me. But maybe you'll be able to understand this. Thanks for everyone who's stuck by me. I'll try to have more to read soon. Love-Ava

Hello World

Traffic crawls, cell phone calls
Talk radio screams at me
Through my tinted window I see
A little girl, rust red minivan
She's got chocolate on her face
Got little hands, and she waves at me
Yeah, she smiles at me

Hello world
How've you been?
Good to see you, my old friend
Sometimes I feel cold as steel
Broken like I'm never gonna heal
I see a light, a little hope
In a little girl
Hello world

Every day I drive by
A little white church
It's got these little white crosses
Like angels in the yard
Maybe I should stop on in
Say a prayer
Maybe talk to God
Like he is there
Oh I know he is there
Yeah, I know he's there

Hello world
How've you been?
Good to see you, my old friend
Sometimes I feel as cold as steel
And broken like I'm never going to heal
I see a light
A little grace, a little faith unfurled
Hello world

Sometimes I forget what living's for
And I hear my life through my front door
And I'll be there
Oh I'm home again
I see my wife, my little boy, little girl
Hello world
Hello world

All the empty disappears
I remember why I'm here
Just surrender and believe
I fall down on my knees
Oh hello world
Hello world
Hello world

Friday, July 22, 2011


Just don't look myself in the eyes. I just have to put this one cream on my face and then I don't have to look in the mirror until I do my hair. I just have to keep it together to put on this one cream. Because if I see myself start to cry, if I even just see my face right now, I'm done for. It's all over. I'll be a blubbering mess. Thank the gods today is not a day where I have any reason to wear makeup.

A friend suggested I watch this amazing short film, Slow, directed by Darius Clark Monroe. To whittle it down would be to do it an injustice, but, as with anything that has to do with black sexuality or gay sexuality or sexually tense situations, I couldn't help but think of you. I watched all of Mr. Monroe's short films that were available on vimeo and I had to fight back thinking about you because I knew I'd lose it if I let myself think about how I couldn't share this with you, that I couldn't share anything with you again.

I wonder what you'd think of the new cover of "99 Problems." Tribute or rip-off or somewhere in the middle?

One of the blogs I read, Racialicious, is doing an online book club of Octavia Butler books. I don't know if you ever read any of her books and I know you were never really a scifi fan, but I'd give anything to buy double copies of everything, one for me and one for you, so we could read along with these other men and women all over the world.

I want to watch Game of Thrones or True Blood with you and talk for hours about race, sexuality, class, ownership, and anything else that comes up.

I know you'd understand better than many how it feels to worry about living up to potential, pressure to make good on the hard work that others did for you to be where you are, even if it's only pressure from yourself, when you feel like you're running in quicksand. I wish I could talk to you. Wish I could hear you tell me that I don't have to live up to anything. That I don't have to live a certain way because they can't anymore, those people I've lost, because you can't. I should live up to what I can do at any given moment because I owe it to myself. Hell, you'd probably offer me a toke and tell me to just chill, worry about it tomorrow, not to stress about it right now. But I wish I could hear that from you. Girl, you have no idea how much I miss you. Today and everyday.

I was changed for good and for the better by knowing you. If I wasn't an incredible pain in the ass on equality issues before, I definitely am now, which I think is better. Being around you made me realize how incomplete my education was and you made me want to keep filling in the gaps. You have probably been the only female who's helped me feel more alright with being turned on by "the wrong" thing. You knew I was totally in love with you but, thankfully, you never made a big deal out of it.

I'm sure this isn't the last time I'll write to you here, but it's the first time I've written in a long while and that's something. Even if my face is all red and puffy, my nose is dripping and I'm completely unsuitable looking to leave the house. Thank you, Miss Kee. I miss you terribly.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Drug Experimentation

Psychiatrists can never say with certainty that an particular drug or any particular combination will work, or that their side effects won't outweigh the good that they'd do you. This means that months of drug and dosage recombinations until you and your doctor finds what the two of you think is best. As your doctor has much more experience at this than you, it's usually more their call when you've reached that point. I've been on lithium since November 2008. I know I'm probably a broken record on the shitty side effects, but here it goes again. I have much less affect, my memory is fried, I can't concentrate like I used to, and my sex drive is nonexistant. Late last year, I got my doctor to agree to mess with my medicine a little bit to help increase my sex drive, but not by taking me off the lithium, but by putting me on a different anti-depressant. Yeah, that didn't work so well, because that drug made me physically ill all that time. No time to worry about if I'm horny if I'm puking my guts out, right? After that debacle, I had things other than sex to worry about and I knew that it'd be be awhile after those things got sorted out before I'd really be looking to get laid, so I just let it go. So, while this might be common sense, or at least something that is easily deduced, when a person who is supposed to take a specific combination of meds two times every day, "when they wake up" and "before they go to bed," but this person often sleeps odd and long hours and barely remembers to eat or get a shower, well, it's probably not a long shot that they won't remember to take their medicines like they are supposed to. (Yeah, I admitted this to my doc. I'm trying not to have to say it outright to my folks, as I'm attempting to take the meds, it just doesn't always work out that way.) The best, and pretty much only side effect I've noticed, has been the return of my sex drive!!! A bit of this sexual playfulness has popped up in emails, sometimes surprising even me. Then, last night, as I was flipping through premium cable channels late at night, like Skinamax Extreme and I felt a foreign tingle south of my waistline. Hmmm. What was that? So tonight I decided to take advantage of a bit of free time, renew my friendship with my rabbit. What can I say?!? I feel like a new woman. A new nymphomanic woman. A new nymphomanic woman who wants to start exercising regularly so she can be better, leaner, stronger, more flexible in and out of bed. Unfortunately, I think this will disappear once I'm on the "proper" dose of medication again. Ugh. What's a woman to do?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Today was the second meeting the grief support group that my mom and I are going to. Last Sunday, the third, was the one month anniversary of my uncle's death. I know that just the time in between, if nothing else that I contributed, because, honestly, I haven't contributed much to pushing through this or moving on, has made it a little better. I don't have that deep, physical, painful hurt all of the time like I used to. I can sleep without the extreme use of alcohol or anti-anxioty drugs, though I'm still having sleeping issues, which I might talk about later. But just the time, in and of itself, has helped and I've realized that I no longer feel that horrible all the time. And that's a start. I'm also slowly but surely moving towards seeking other help. My mom and I are going to a greif support group and I'm going to explore my options of getting back with a therapist soon. While I still cry too much, too often, and too unpredictably to be rushing into the job market right now, I did look at job listing for the first time since getting back. I'm thinking about buying a book to help with the resume building (or should I just do it online?) before I actually start sending anything out. Until then, I have tons of little things I can do around my own house until then.

A part of me feels completely disappointed in myself right now. Before my uncle passed, when I would talk to people, visitors wondering what I felt was next for me, I would tell them that I was going to continue to help my folks as much as possible but I wanted to try to find a job just for the money so I could start saving and start paying down my loans. I thought by now I would either have a job or be completely disheartened by all the job-rejection I was facing. But I haven't even be able to get out there and try to be rejected. I just know that I want to take a job that I won't plan on having more than two years, one that pays enough and gives me enough hours that I can save up for a car emergency fund, a first & last months rent & security deposit fund, and a general emergency fund, while also trying to pay down my student loans. I want to be out in two years. And that time period is quickly ticking away.

The grief support group is really nice. Our leader, a Chaplain at the local hospitcal focuses on us having a safe place to discuss our feelings about our loss(es) in that room and encourages us to have both a/a few good friends who understand and will accompny us on our journey of reliving our memories and acknowledging the pain that might come, as well as individual journalling. One of his slogans is that the sooner and more intensely you grieve and stay with the pain, the quicker you will find yourself on the other side, your new normal. I try not to let that give me a free access pass to do nothing but cry all day, but I think it provides a controlled model of how to deal with the pain and work through it. I can't move on and truly give myself to a situation, to a new job, to a new friend, to a new lover, or even to those friends and family and lovers in my current life, if I don't work through this grief.

But, on the other hand, I still have quite a bit of a lost feeling. That's why I wanted to share this new-ish song. The video is kinda cute, all the lip-synching. And I know Sara Bareilles is a bit too pop from some of my readers, but what the hell. This song really captures how I feel and I wanted to share. I hope you enjoy. And I hope all my friends out there know that I care about them, I haven't forgotten about them, and that I'll make me way back around to them when times here aren't so tight. Thank you to all my friends and family who have stuck around and continue to stick around.

Lyrics - Uncharted - by Sara Bareilles
No Words
My years won't make any room for them, oh.
And it don't hurt
Like anything I've ever felt before

This is no broken heart
No familiar scars
This territory goes uncharted

Just me
In a room sunk down in a house in a town
And I don't breathe
Though I never meant to let it get away from me

Now I have too much to hold
Everybody has to get their hands on gold
And I want... uncharted

Stuck under the ceiling I made.
I can't help the feeling I'm going down
Follow if you want. I won't hang around
Like you'll show me where to go
I'm already out of foolproof ideas
So don't ask me how
To get started
It's all uncharted

Each day
I'm countin' up the minutes til I get alone
Cause I can't stay
In the middle of it all.
It's nobody's fault

But I'm so low
Never knew how much I didn't know
Oh, everything is uncharted

I know I'm gettting nowhere
When I only sit and stare like...
I'm going down
Follow if you want. I won't just hang around
Like you'll show me where to go.
I'm already out of foolproof ideas so don't ask me how
To get started
It's all uncharted.

Jump start my kaleidoscope heart
I love to watch the colors fade
They may not make sense
But they sure as hell made me

I won't go as a passenger, no
Waiting for the road to be laid
Though I may be going down
I'll take in flame over burning out

Compare where you are to where you wanna be
And you'll get nowhere

I"m going down
Follow if you want. I won't hang aruond.
Like you'll show me where to go.
I'm already out of foolproof ideas so don't ask me how to get started
It's all uncharted.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'd Tell You But You're Dead

I think one of the hardest phenomenon to get over when you lose someone, whether it's a break-up or a death, is that you are so used to talking to them, telling them things, sharing things with them that you think they would like to know or like to hear about.

Monday I called my mom, who isn't going back to work until next week, just to see what she was up to, as she wasn't at home when I woke up. She said that she had went to the bank to cash in the last of my grandparents' savings bonds and she felt....kinda lost, I guess, though that's not what she said, because usually she would call my uncle and tell him about how much money it came out to be (as the money was supposed to be evenly divided), etc. But now there's no one to call.

One of the blogs I follow, Racialicious posted about this independent black film that is getting a good deal of GREAT early press, called I Will Follow. The post had embedded a trailer, but, as I tend to read blog posts through google reader, either on my phone or on computers with VERY slow internet connections or while watching something else on television, so I usually have to go back at a later date to watch videos and it took me awhile to get to this trailer. But it made me want to see the movie even more, even though I think I'll have to bring a box of tissues. From both the trailer and the website's description, it's the day in the life of a woman who has just lost her aunt, who she was very close to, and the twelve people that day who help her find her way amid the mourning and grief. In the little blurb on his front page, Roger Ebert writes: " "I Will Follow" doesn't tell a story so much as try to understand a woman. Through her, we can find insights into the ways we deal with death. In one way or another, every emotion in this wonderful independent film is one I've experienced myself. Grief, of course. But also anger, loneliness, confusion and a sense of lost direction. Above all, urgent conversations you have in your own mind with someone who is no longer alive. How many people, now dead, have you wanted to ask questions you should have asked when they were alive?"

Which is funny, in a weird, sad way, because the first thing I wanted to do once I watched the trailer was to call or text Ms. Kee and tell her about it, because I know she would love this movie, because I know it would speak to her in so many ways, just as it speaks to me, but even more than that because it is directly rooted in the black community and how black families deal with loss. But I can't tell call or text her. Because she's dead.

Then I wanted to call my uncle to talk about how hard it is to want to share something that someone else would love so much, how hard it is to want to share something with someone you were so close to in so many ways. But I can't call him either. Because he's dead too.

Though I haven't seen the movie, I feel much like its main character must feel.

I miss you all so much. So so so much.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

He's Gone

It's been almost two weeks and I still don't really know how to write about his passing or my own grief. I wrote something for his funeral but it was more a comedic tribute to the man I grew up with than anything that dealt with how I feel about him or about losing him. I'm writing this in the bright light of day because I lose all comprehension at night when I even think about writing. I think I'd end up with a stream-of-consciousness piece that maybe even I couldn't understand. But during the day, though I'll still cry (am crying), I know I'll push through it to do something, anything. I have an easier time convincing myself that the crying jag, brought on by some little thought connected by 100 degrees of separation from my uncle, will end. As everythig does.

I think I don't want to write because I don't want to feel what I know I do feel and I don't want to know those things that I'm avoiding feeling so hard that I can't even touch them or name them. You know, I've always thought that those pain questionaires that doctors and nurses ask you about were so arbitrary as to be useless. "Is the pain stabby or shooting? Aching or cramping?" I don't know, motherfucker. It just fucking hurts! Are you feeling sad? Lonely? Bitter? Angry? Guilty? Confused? Useless? Lost? Afraid? YES and then tons of other things that I don't even know the words for.

And what feels like it's equally as bad as all the expected grief is that I just want to move on. I just want everything to finally be like a normal life for just a little bit. I want to be done with estates and storage units. I want to just get a stupid, pain in the ass job, working 40 hours a week like a good little American zombie, at least for a little while. Not have to think. Just be pushed along with the flow of things. Set up a 2 year plan for getting out of debt and out of town, before my parents' health fails and I'm back in this same spot again. Use most dollars from my zombie job to do this. But I just want things to be normal. For the first time in my whole goddamn life, I want things to be normal. I want to be normal. I want to have not spent the last four years losing so much of what I love, watching them slowly die. I don't want to be wiser, deeper, more experienced. I want to go back to the day before my uncle was diagnosed with cancer and live a life where that never happens. Which leads to a great deal of guilt, of course. I mean, what a selfish little bitch, right?

But narcistic, exhibitionistic writers are still who they are and I still had to write something when a major life event occurs. Thanks for bearing with me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

End of Life Care

No matter how long life is or how long it seems, there will still never be enough time.

I can't count the number of times I've chastised a friend, telling them that, for most of us, life is so much longer than we give it credit for when we are 24 (their current age). Not only will you meet so many people you can't even imagine now but you'll be offered so many opportunities that you can't even imagine at this point, if you just leave yourself open to it. On the other hand, you can never imagine how long 50 years can seem until you're brushing your teeth next to someone you've grown to hate and loath over those fifty years (hell, even 50 minutes.) And 50 years can't go by quicker than when it's the right person, a person who improves with age in parallel to you. And despite all that is happening now, I know that life is long. So very long. Which means that we have to live with the hurt and suffering just that much longer.

All this medical stuff with my uncle never fully makes sense. I thought that when he came back home this last time, mid-January, I thought that my uncle was classified as "hospice," which was why we were getting all this care. No. See, he was classified as "home health care," on a schedule to show us all how to take care of him, check up on him, etc, but see there was this drug, called a targeted agent, which we talked the insurance into giving to him as a last ditch effort, but my uncle was on the fence about taking it at all, as no one could say that it would actually improve his quality or quantity of life. My uncle kept saying that he'd think about starting it once he felt a bit better but he never really felt better. But if you are on an active treatment regiment, you aren't on hospice. No one really explained this to us until probably Friday, less than a week ago. So we were all thinking about this, what we wanted to do, etc.

But the time for thinking ran out. Yesterday, my uncle started having some really intense pain. The immediate release drugs didn't touch it. My mother was 2.5 hours away, but just about to leave Suburb of Slightly Smaller Midwestern City. My uncle's boyfriend was scrambling to get all the info the hospital might need, to call the right people, to "Where the hell is that ambulance!" (So playing the slightly less dramatic version of my grandmother.) I was just holding my uncle's hand, trying to calm him down, get him to breathe, find out exactly where the pain was. Once at the ER, the doctors, including one we have a previous relationship with, we got the news that you don't really want to hear. My uncle was doing poorly. While my uncle's original living wills, DNRs, etc, said that he did not want extraordinary measures, people can and do change their mind when faced with a very caring but blunt doctor saying, "This is the end. I can do all these things, use the paddles, crack your chest (which will probably completely obliterate your ribs because of the cancer), put in a trach, all that stuff to keep you alive, but you won't be any better than you are right now and we won't be able to treat the cancer at all. OR we can treat your pain, either at home or at a home-y hospice center, though you will probably pass more quickly and be more aware of both the good and the bad of your situation." Though I have a whole other discussion about how much consent you can really get from someone in so much pain, their body wracked with disease, and on a huge amount of narcotics, I am glad that my uncle is making this decision for himself, though with his family, doctors, and social workers. He did not chose the first option. Right now, he is at the hospital, being stabilized, and deciding whether he wants to do hospice at home or at a hospice center.

But there really isn't enough time. One social worker, weeks ago, said that he knew people on hospice for a year or more, that they took trips. Hospice generally covers people who the doctors think might not last for more than 6 months, but that's just an average and people go one way or another. The way things had been going around my uncle's house, I thought we'd have time. We, my mom, my uncle, my uncle's boyfriend, and I, were just getting a rhythm down, moving stuff in so we were comfortable too. But it looks like we don't have that kind of time.

Doctors don't always come out and tell you things. They sneak things into other sentences. The Dr We Like said to my uncle "I wish I could keep you hear in the hospital and watch over you myself but there are more critical patients that could use this bed for the 7-10 days you'd be here."

10 Days. It's never enough.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Forgiving God

[Warning: Possibly offensive to religious, especially Christian, people. I'm not trying to hurt or offend you, just work out my own issues. If your religion is valid for you, helps you, works for you, and doesn't hurt or oppress others, then I sincerely think that is great for you.]

Keep your heart above your head and your eyes wide open
So this world can't find a way to leave you cold
You're not the only ship out on this ocean
Save your strength for things that you can change
Forgive the one's you can't.
You gotta let it go. - "Let It Go," Zac Brown Band

So I was listening to this song on my way out to my uncle's Monday night when I had a sort of epiphany. Or at least it felt like one at the time. If I would have pulled the car over and made my thumbs move fast and furious, maybe I could have gotten across exactly what kind of weight I felt lifted off my shoulders at the time, the new kind of light it shown on me at the time, but I didn't and the farther I get away from the incident, the less it looks at all impressive. But I'm a writer and I don't have many people to talk to about this, so I'm going to try to make some sense of it here.

First off, I should probably give a bit of background, for those who don't know:

A. A quick refresher on God/s, religion, and me: Christian parochial school taught me to question things, just not it, plus I felt my sexuality was bumping heads with Paul's lack thereof. Also, I could never find enough to back up my faith in a higher being. So atheism and exploration it was. Since my late teens, I've been drawn to the ideas behind Buddhism as a life and moral philosophy and meditation as a practice, while I'm about as "practicing" as most people born Catholic are practicing Catholicism right now.

On the other hand, I did grow up in a Christian culture and household and those ways, assumptions, and quick-go-to's/ easy answers are still with me. ("God never gives you more than you can handle." "That dead person is in a better place now." etc)

B. My uncle's health is... if not worse than when I last wrote about it, it is significantly different than it was until a few months ago. Within less than a month, he's lost the ability to use his legs or feel normally below the nipple line. We've been told that further spinal surgery is out of the question, by a neurosurgeon with a bedside manner that House would appreciate. Officially, we're kinda in a limbo. I just found out today that he's not classified as hospice or palliative care because my uncle is still on the fence about trying this last ditch 'targeted agent chemo drug', because he's worried it'll just make him sicker without giving him any better quality or quantity of life. Right now, he is at home, being taken care of by my mother and his boyfriend, with a bit of help from me, and a guiding hand, for a few more weeks, from a local home health care provider, though, unless his doctors transfer him to hospice status, the time we will have their help is quickly running out. Mostly, right now, he is confined to an adjustable bed in the living room, which doesn't allow for much privacy, though we are trying to get him up in the wheelchair we have right now, so he can sit up, and we'll get him outside in the wheelchair once the weather isn't too bad. We're talking about converting one of his vehicles so we can drive him around in the wheelchair and we're also talking about getting him a motorized wheelchair that will compensate for his balance issues. But much of our time is taken up with everyday care and, even if we had all the tech in the world, my uncle only has so much energy, so he couldn't be go-go-go all the time. This is a downhill climb and we're mostly just happy when he's not in a great amount of pain, when he's well fed, and when he's clean and can just relax a bit. He requires a great deal of care. One person always has to be here with him, two is preferred for help in moving him, and three is one extra, which can always be useful.

So we're caught up.

Last Sunday and Monday, a part of me wasn't sure I could go back to BFE [short-hand, slang for middle of nowhere, what I'll be calling where my uncle lives very often] from Suburb of Slightly Smaller Midwest City. I really shouldn't have gone on the trip out there anyway. My goals were to pick up my extra prescriptions and to see TyRoy, but Mom could have grabbed my drugs on her trip before mine and first snow and then illness prevented me from seeing TyRoy, so I spent most of the week in a haze of depression and weird sleep patterns and food deprivation. Never shoulda gone in the first place. But that's a different story, I guess.

So I wasn't sure I could go back. Mentally, emotionally. In the beginning, my uncle's health situation just made me mad, not in the "why the fuck is he sick? This is so inconvenient way," but in "This is so fucking unfair. My uncle deserves better. He deserves a long and happy and healthy life. And how dare you people out there be happy and healthy and smiley when my uncle is dying!" Now, sadness has been added to that mix of emotions. But still mostly mad. Like "I wanna beat the living hell out of someone" mad. So I get mad and/or sad, cry, pull myself together and say, "Ok, what can I do about how I feel or about any of this situation that I'm not already doing?" Annnnnddd, I get nothing but more angry. And I'm working on my own version of a volume 2 for Everclear's "Why I Don't Believe In God." Maybe that should be "why I don't believe in God but he's the only one I can be mad at so I'm feeling kinda helpless and fucked." That helplessness just reinforces itself, makes me feel like I'm not only helpless in the larger situation, but helpless in small ways, like I can't actually be useful out here in BFE in my uncle's everyday care, when I know that isn't true, when I know that the opposite is in fact true and that, without me, my mother and my uncle's boyfriend don't get a break unless I'm here to help.

Also, I tend to curl up into the fetal position or turn to martyrdom when faced with immovable objects and complete helplessness. If I do believe in God, that He's omnipotent and the cause of everything, and I believe that He is the cause of this, then I feel pretty goddamn helpless in the face of that. And I feel pretty goddamn mad that anyone would do this to anyone else, much less do this to me and my family.

Then, after I had forced myself into the car and into starting the drive, I was listening to that Zac Brown Band song, so full of 12-step-isms that I am thoroughly familiar with and something hit me about forgiveness.

Several years ago, I watched an Oprah episode where she described forgiveness as something you give to someone else, not because what they did was ok and not because they deserve it, but because you deserve to be out from under the weight of their wrong. Like I can only hope that someday my first real boyfriend, ex-T, can forgive me for cheating on him, not because I deserve it or because I'm sorry, though I am the latter though probably not the former, but because I don't want him to live his whole life bogged down by what I did to him, being wronged twice, carrying that second one throughout your whole life. And someday I hope I can forgive my biological father for abandoning me, not because he's sorry (probably isn't), not because he deserves to be forgiven (probably doesn't), but just because I don't want to carry the weight of what HE did wrong to me. So you forgive for yourself, so you are less burdened.

So, if God exists and he did all this shit, why doesn't he deserve forgiveness too? I'm not helpless against him. He fucked me over. And He should be happy to have my forgiveness.

When I tried to share this with Sir, he brought up "forgiveness=acceptance." I see where he was trying to go, but I'm not sure it's where I was going. I accept what is going on with my uncle. It's a bit hard not to, when you're right there seeing it everyday, when just before his 40th birthday your once vital intelligent uncle can't balance his chest well enough to sit on the edge of a bed much less go drive one of the cars he loves. So I accept, as much as anyone can, and I try not to delude myself about any of his conditions.

No, forgiveness is about having something to push back against. Someone who did something wrong and needs me. Forgiveness is about having power over something.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guests, Not Tenants

I probably shouldn't be writing this, but, I'm a writer, or at least I like to think of myself as a writer so I felt the need to share. Maybe that make me more an exhibitionist than a writer, but I'll split the difference with you, if you'll just read.

The last month, has been a sort of barely controlled chaos. Not the kind of chaos that people like me thrive on, ones were we can make lists and prioritize and work our fingers to the bone until the chaos has been turned into order, sparkling beautiful order. No, this chaos is run by outside forces. Just as you get your mind around one thing and start to plan, start to make those lists, just then you get a new piece of information that blows those old plans out of the water. Sometimes, it is a new bit of information from the doctors, that the doctors looked over the new data and decided on a new course of treatment. Other times, it is a change in "the patient"s condition, which changes all the plans, all the treatment plans.

Monday, as I was driving back out to Podunk Town to see my uncle, my mother told me that my uncle's boyfriend had called an ambulance to take him to the local hospital because my uncle had gone from shaky, but able to walk with a walker that afternoon, to not being able to walk at all. Mom was rushing there behind me. We did the hospital merry-go-round because Podunk Hospital's MRI was down so late at night, so we went to Shitty Capital City's Hospital where a neurosurgeon with the bedside manner of a scorpion informed my uncle, his partner, my mother, and I, at 4am, that someone should have told us a long time ago that any and all surgical options were closed to him now and we shouldn't be talking to him but to a radiation specialist.

All the cancer docs talk to each other. My uncle gets moved back to Podunk Hospital, which is closer to his home, his friends, to his oncologist. Snow comes quickly and shows us that "closer" is a relative term, as I'm snowed into the trailer shortly after my uncle's boyfriend and my mom leave to visit the hospital. A Long unplowed driveway and unpaved unplowed roads mean I'm fucked. I so want to re-arrange things, for it to be easier for my uncle to navigate when he gets home, but I don't know where to start and, as he's kinda got that hoarder personality, I worry he'll get upset that I moved his stuff.

My second day of being stuck in the house and I'm getting a little antsy. Should have put in a movie or tv show on dvd but the couch puts me to sleep, though only when I'm not supposed to be sleeping. I took the garbage out. Then I decided to sweep the snow off the cars. It had already started on it's own, but I wanted to help it along. My thought was just to sweep off the car I would drive if I decided to drive anywhere. But then I started thinking about my uncle and my grandpa and how they wouldn't want their cars covered in snow, even if they couldn't go anywhere at all. And then I started crying. Oh, yeah, and then my neighbor showed up.

"Um, so you planning on going anywhere?"

Sniffle. "No, just needed something to do."

"Ok, well, if you don't feel like cooking tonight, you can come on in. I'm sure Candy [his wife] has plenty of leftovers."

Sniffle. Full on snot. "No, I think I'm ok."

Manly pause where he tried to decide what the hell to do with this crying chick. "Um, are you sure you're ok? Cause you can come on inside. Candy's inside."

Through full on tears, "Yep, I'm fine. Thanks alot though. Just gonna finish these cars then I'll go inside." Obviously, work makes me feel better.

Finally all the roads are plowed and I go up to see my uncle. My mom and my uncle's boyfriend are already there. My 'cousin' drives with me to the hospital and my uncle's boyfriend's mother and her bff show up just when we do. Talk about visitor overload, huh? Just before I arrive, my mom has a meeting with a social worker, who tells her that my uncle's insurance might not want to pay for the three day rehabilitation program which would teach my uncle how better get around, in and out of the wheelchair, as, while no one is saying it, is seems obvious that there isn't much hope that he is going to walk again. They may not want to pay because my uncle might not be able to do the rehabilitation, might not have the energy, might not have the ability. (To teach us how to do all this stuff, we'll have the home health care nurse, which is cheaper.) Ok, ok, ok, I'm along so far.

So that my uncle can have a bit of rest before his dinner, we (my mom, my uncle's boyfriend, my 'cousin,' and myself) sit in a waiting area. I wanted to start making plans, when are we gonna move this, where is this gonna go, how long before things are set up for my uncle to come home, how long before those of us who are taking care of him are settled in, can start looking for work. The last two are questions that get skirted around. No one will really look me in the eye when I talk about when I'm moving in, where we'll move the stuff that's currently in the closet so I can use that closet.

"Honey, I think that for right now we should think of ourselves more like guests at his house than tenants." That's when my mom finally met my eyes. I could see what she couldn't say, but I couldn't let it go unsaid.

"Because he won't last long enough for us to move in." She could only nod.

I got up and walked away. I made a few phone calls, but no one picked up. I was a bit relieved. I sent out a text and hir well-intentioned response fell flat. I wanted to talk to everyone but I also felt like no one could or would understand. "Now she's feeling more alone than she ever has before." (BFF) I need to talk but I'm not even sure what I have to say. All I know is that I hope I can stay strong enough, long enough to let this be about my uncle, about our family, not about me. And this was so much easier when I had someone I was physically intimate with. Oh my gods, so much easier.

I'm back at my folks house, in the Suburb of the Smallish Midwestern City. Mom needed to come back, replenish her supplies, as she had packed in a hurry for one night. I'm working on my 6th load of laundry.

I had an envelop with money that I was holding back when an acquaintance of mine finally got her own car, to help with car insurance or what have you. Not a big surprise, but that friendship kinda went kaput and the money is being re-purposed. Now the writing on the outside of the envelop says, "Funeral Outfit."

Sunday, January 09, 2011


For most of my life, I've wanted desperately to be anywhere else, doing anything other than what I was doing. When I was younger, this meant that I rarely got to enjoy what I was doing, as my head was always thinking of the life I'd have once I'd gotten where I wanted to be. In recent years, that's also been combined with wondering how my life might be different, better, "if only," if only I had stuck out that college, that job, that relationship. I always knew intellectually that most people went through this to some extent, but I'd never had someone really confirm it until I talked to a friend tonight.

I fell in love with Buddhism mostly because it was centered on the one thing I found so difficult - being completely present in my everyday life.

It seems to me that sometimes when you really want to be something, fit, intelligent, kind, prestigious, you might start out working really hard but you don't realize that you've made it until well past when you've actually made it, until you realize that the thing you worked so hard but still couldn't get quite right has now become second nature. A big reason I kept wanting to reach out to Sir was because I had started to realize that I had become many of the things he and I had wanted me to become. I didn't really know when it happened or exactly how it happened and I know it hasn't really lead to the life we/I had imagined it would, but, nevertheless, I was molded that way, it seems, when I wasn't paying attention.

This week, I am staying with my uncle, at his place in Podunk Midwest Mapdot. Someone has to give him two large syringes of antibiotics three times a day for six days. Seems silly to stay in a hospital with beds that only torture his weakened back and fractured ribs just to make sure he gets this medication three times a day.

So I'm here this week. And, depending on... well, a great many things, I might be moving out here, to my uncle's or someplace cheap and close. Yes, it's be because it is what is needed an what fits best for my family. But it would also be what I want. For all I might not have followed through on or achieved, getting up at 4am to hook my uncle up to a pump that delivers antibiotics through the chemo port in his chest seems to erase all that loserdom. I could be a bestselling, critically-acclaimed writer of literary novels, but if I didn't do this, I'd be a fucking loser. And, just like that, where I'm needed and where I am are the only place I want to be. And I truly don't care about where else I could be or who with or anything about where my decisions and actions might have led me because, while I wish it wasn't needed and I wouldn't choose why it's needed, there's no place else I want to be, probably for the first time in my life.