Monday, January 28, 2008

Arachne--how we began...and ended.

So, let me tell you a little more about my relationship with Arachne.

She was a woman my fiance (now my husband) worked with and lusted after. (He was so funny.) She had everything he likes about women: smart, pretty, fun, big boobs, all of it. They went for smoke rides on his lunch break and got to know each other rather well. Over time, they discussed the possibility of us being together intimately. I met her for the first time knowing my husband petitioned her, and I knew I was going to be evaluated for those purposes, so I was not quite myself. Thankfully, she felt the awkwardness of the moment as wel, and we got a good laugh at the way we were feeling. I found her easy to be with. We talked about everything, shared wine and our lives, and just got to know one another. At this time, I had only one child, two years old, and they even got along well. We made fast friends.

She was at our wedding, though the whole thing is kinda hazy. So much happens at a wedding ii so little time!! After we returned from our honeymoon, we began making plans for the next step. She and Jeremy were together first. That was hard for me, as I am sure you can imagine. Looking back, I think that was the mistake that cost me this relationship in the end. I spent the entire time feeling guilty for feeling jealous that they were together without me. I was afraid he would like her better and not come home to me. It was a long and painful night. I found out later, he was having problems performing because he was feeling guilty as well.

She lived about an hour away, so we weren't together very often at first. She did stay with us on the weekends and slept on the couch sometimes, usually because we would have a few drinks and stay up late. The opportunity for us to be together did not arise until one weekend when my in-laws were keeping the baby. She lived about half-way between our house and my in-laws, so after we dropped off the baby, we went to her house instead of going home.

Eventually, she moved in with us to help save money (and gas!). I went on road trips with her to our "fellowship meetings," and we shared everything about our entire lives with one another. (Six hours in a car can do that to people.)

One day, she came home from a trip to tell us she had a dream and a lot of very coincidental things happened to tell her that a man she used to know who had come back into her life was for her. She broke up with us that day.

I felt destroyed, abandonded, hurt, resentful, and angry. I didn't even know how to begin to deal with this. She moved out several months later, as scheduled by her acceptance into graduate school.

After that, we pretty much lost touch, until recently. I think the only reason we can be friends now is that enough time has passed to numb the hurt and allow us to see past it to all the good memories that were hidden behind it. I am looking forward to seeing her again, though it may be a bittersweet reunion.

You know what they say, "if you love someone, let them go...."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Welcome to the Faith, Sister.

I am not a good christian. Mostly because I am a pseudo-pagan/christian mystic. I don't even know why I am telling you this other than the fact that it gives you a better perspective on where I am. Really, though, I should rewind ten years and tell you about college. That makes all the rest of this seem to make so much more sense....

1996: I graduated from high school in a small, mostly Catholic community. I, myself, joined the Catholic church on Easter Sunday, 1995. I was involved in a very wholesome youth ministry. I had a lot of good, build-you-up, loving and unconditional friendships. When I left for college, I was so sad to leave them all, but sure that I would find more of the same when I went away to school. After a few weeks turned into a few months, I began to get a little worried. My roommate and I were getting along wonderfully. She and I had more in common than you could imagine. We even had all the same classes!

I started going to the big catholic church down the road with one of the nuns from the college to sing in the choir. I was missing music so very much! I met a woman there who set me up with a friend who was starting a christian ministry for the other college in town, and she thought it would be nice for me to be with my peers. I called up this man, and we met for coffee. He was a very nice man. He had a wife and a child. I liked him immediately. He offered to be my ride so I could attend the meetings at the other school.

Over two years' time, I was indoctrinated into the leadership of this ministry. I was systematically cut off from the outside world. I was even moved into a house with members of the national leadership of this ministry. All the while, my old roommate and my friends outside were trying to cling to me. I finally realized that things were not as healthy as they seemed when I allowed myself to drink to oblivion and do the stupidest thing I could ever have done. Luckily for me, no one was physically hurt or diseased after this mess, but there are relationships that have been irreparable.

I left everything. I left the apartment and moved back in with my old roommate. I left the ministry. I still had a lot of healing to do, but I was now in a place where I could do it. I began going down to the catholic church closer to my campus, and I realized that I had learned all I could from this faith. And I left the church, too.

I know, I just lost most of you. It's not Christ's fault!! He didn't do it!

Well, I still feel in my heart that I have a relationship with god. I think that Jesus was a very important religious leader who may well have been the incarnate of god. But I have a hard time with the bible. The bible wants women to be inferior. The bible does not hold information for me that is capable of changing my life any longer. I had to move on.

1998: I got pregnant with my son and moved back home with my parents. I didn't tell them I was pregnant until I was seven months along. I went to church like I was supposed to a few times, but it was all so hollow and empty to me. Everyone seemed to be going through the motions because that was what they were supposed to do. Not because they wanted to do it! It was lonely.

2000: After we moved out of the parents house, finished college and got married, we made some new friends. I found what I was looking for. I found people who loved me for me and did not judge me by some impossible standards up to which I would never be able to live. Here, also, was music. My husband was in a band with some great people. We had parties, went to parties, and lived our lives according to our desires and our hearts.

Along the way, we made friends with a girl. No, not a girl. A woman. A woman of beautiful heart and soul and depth. She is a goddess. We'll call her Arachne.

Arachne is a pagan...more specifically a Wiccan. She is open-hearted and peaceful. She is fun and full of love. She is also beautiful, but we'll get to that.She is not flighty like a lot of those weirdo pagans you meet doing it for the clothes and stigma. I was taken by surprise by the amount of belief and spiritual truths we had in common. I had not had an encounter with anyone who felt they way I did about things until I met Arachne. We had many talks and many glasses of wine and games of cards and music and movies and laughter. Many things passed between us.

One night in November of 2001, I had a dream. Not a scary or happy dream. But a dream that changed my life forever. It was black. There was a fire. I was standing in front of it. A woman in a flowing white dress and cape with a crown upon her head seemed to form out of the smoke and stand in the flames before me. She spoke to me of many things...of why I was unhappy, why my life was unfolding the way it was. She smile and welcomed me home. I didn't know what any of this was about, but when I told Arachne of my dream, she said, "Welcome to the Faith, Sister."

I spent some time with her and her circle as she gave me the space to find the path that is right for me. She never pushed anything on me. She answered all of my questions, or at least told me where to look to find them. I owe her a great deal of gratitude for teaching me how to respect myself enough to take the time to research my decisions and learn to follow my heart by way of my head. (You have both a head and a heart so they will balance one another out. Following your heart all the time can get you into trouble, and following your head all the time causes you to miss out on some great opportunities.)

Over time, our paths took us in different directions, but she is coming back for a visit soon. I guess this is why she is on the forefront of my mind right now. We spent quite a bit if time apart as we evolved in our own lives, five years, but we are coming together again for a meeting of the minds and souls.

Arachne, Sister, I await your visit with joy in my heart and peace in my soul...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

And your mother?

My mother and I were always close when I was younger, mostly because we are kindred spirits. We laugh at the same jokes, we like the same kinds of food, movies, music, you name it. I love my mother dearly.

Lately we have been estranged, and I think this is mostly because of the death of my father. It is just too painful for her to be around me. Not that we were spending a lot of time together anyway. Like I said in my last post, we have had, at most, a strained relationship over the past few years to say the least.

You see, my mother is extremely codependent. She is good at giving herself completely to a relationship, but she never holds anything back to keep her independence, and I don't think she wants to, anyway. One of the reasons her marriage to my father worked was because my mom almost always did whatever he wanted. She was very self-sacrificing. I would not say she was a martyr, because all of her actions were rooted in love for him. She really didn't complain much. Sometimes it would all be too much for her, and they would fight. But then, my dad would actually pull his weight for a while and she would feel better.

Oh, but they were in love. my parents had the kind of love I aspired to as a young adult. Now, the relationship I have with my husband is a reflection of the things I admired about my parents blended with the lessons I learned from watching their marriage evolve. I owe them a lot for the gift of unconditional love. It is a difficult thing to get and give, but it is so rewarding.

I miss the long talks we used to have on the phone, but we are both adults and have our own lives to live. I know that someday she will be ready to begin moving closer to me again, and my hope for the future is that she doesn't take so much time that she doesn't know who I am anymore by then.

There is a lot of my life she has missed out on: my children, my own evolution as an adult, and my evolution as a musician, among others. I know I could have made more of an effort to keep in touch with her, but the drugs and alcohol have had a very poor effect on my desire to call her. She doesn't work, and I have called and talked to her in any state of mind at every different time of the day. It is hard to say when she is sober and when she is not...or hungover, or has a migraine, or whatever. Honestly, sometimes I am just not feeling it. Also, she has moved in with a new guy since my dad passed, and I am not comfortable calling there. If he answers the phone... I just don't think I am ready for that.

Anyway, I love my mom, and I would love to rebuild my relationship with her, but until she is prepared to change a little, I am not ready to put as much energy as would be required into it. It is not a pretty truth, but it is what it is.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Let's start with your father...

This has been a very Happy New Year for me so far simply because 2007 is over!

The bad luck really started Thanksgiving, 2006. We went to my cousin's home for Thanksgiving--the first year since I moved away from home that I did not prepare dinner. We all ended up vomiting for the next few days. I knew we were in trouble when the cook was found sitting on the toilet with a bucket on her lat just after we had all finished eating. Yummy. We also found out that day that my Uncle, my only Uncle, was in the end stages of liver cancer. See, we thought he had diabetes for over ten years before he found out he had pancreatic cancer that metastasized to his liver. He died just before Christmas in 2006.

In January my father chased a bottle of Xanax with a bottle of southern comfort and tried to shoot my mom with a rifle. He blew holes in all the doors of the house before he was arrested and went to jail for discharging a firearm in city limits. No one, thankfully, was physically hurt in this situation. There had been a lot of drama in my life involving my parents. My Father is bipolar/manic depressive/schizophrenic--almost none of which I have inherited since his problems are most likely drug-induced. Anyway, they carted him away, and it was almost definitely necessary that he remain in jail at least until he detoxed. The problem with that is that he was being treated for several underlying medical conditions, including the recently added myelodysplastic syndrome (preleukemia).

The thing with me and my dad is this: he used more and more drugs (Oxycontin) after I graduated and moved out. They put an increasing distance between us. We had been close for many years. I was the daughter of whom he was proud. I actually got out of the small town we grew up in and made something better of myself. As he took more and more of this pills, he began to judge me as uppity and snobbish and materialistic. The things he offered as proof of his opinion were lists of items and situations that most people have: I own my own home, I bought two cars, I go out to dinner, I shop for things that are not specifically related to the care of my household, and things like that. We had quite a few arguments, and he let me down many times.
The biggest fights we had were on the night before my rehearsal for my wedding and the night before my (paternal) grandfather's funeral. (Let's suffice it to say that my father never did handle stress without lashing out at someone as a release.) He came to my home for Thanksgiving 2004, and I prepared for him an entirely poultry/egg free dinner because of his allergies. He and my mom took all his pills the first couple days they were here and detoxed hard. He didn't even join us for dinner on Thanksgiving because he couldn't get himself out of bed.

Anyway, in October of 2003 we lost my grandfather, and things between him and everyone else grew increasingly hostile. I had decided that I was not going to make any more effort to draw them into my life if all they were going to do was cause me pain. I was fully prepared to be estranged from my parents, because that was almost where we were anyway. He and my sister had several physical altercations, most involving ownership of some kind of pill or another. After my Uncle died, a man my father was very close to for a long time, my dad just snapped. He still hadn't dealt with the death of him own father and now all of the emotions he had suppressed were coming back to him in full force.

He drank, he snorted, and he swallowed, but none of it removed the pain in his heart.
He was a broken man.

While he was in jail, we began corresponding through the mail. He was taken to the EMR during his detox, and when he returned they had him in a single cell for the safety of the other prisoners. He was not allowed to receive any messages until February, and by then he was ready for some outside contact. He was not completely hallelujah healed or anything, but he was beginning to realize that he needed help. In March, he went to court, and they told him he had to serve 120 days. We counted down together, and we began talking on the phone. He also was sending letters to my children, which they loved!

On Monday, April 16th, he walked out of jail, a free man. We talked on the phone and made plans for them to come to my son's birthday party on May 2nd. I spoke with him on Wednesday to confirm plans and decide what to cook. On Friday, April 20th, I came home from work, and they told me my father had passed overnight in his sleep.

God works in mysterious ways. You see, had my father not been sent to jail, we might never have made up. Had my father not been sent to jail, he may never have detoxed, which is probably what killed him. Had my father not went to jail, he probably would have killed my sister and her entire family. Had my father not went to jail, I would not have the peace of the last thing he said to me: "Baby, I am proud of you, and I love you."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

About me, for once.

Hello fellow members of the blog world! I am new here, and I hope you will be gentle.

It has been a long road to thirty. Yep, I am thirty and proud of it. At thirty I finally feel as though I am an adult. I am not a kid playing grown-up any more. I don't need to consult anyone before I make a fact, there is a list of people who now consult me for advice. I have my own home, three kids, a husband, a job, and a lot of responsibility. But I have arrived in adulthood and all that goes with it.

There is a lot about who I used to be that will explain why I am where I am today, but we'll get to that. For now, I want you to know a bit about what brought me here.

I am here for a peaceful place to vent and call me own, a place where I can speak my mind and not worry about what other people think about me. I am still searching for that place inside myself that makes me impenetrable to judgement from the outside world. I know there are many of you who will not agree with my lifestyle, my views, or even my taste in food, but all of these differences are the things which make us special.

I have three children, eigh,t four and three. Eight has a learning disability, and three has autism. It has been rough these past few months--really this whole year, as new developments unfold. They told me having kids would change my life, but I didn't realize they would keep doing it over and over and over again. I definitely feel my life is richer and fuller than I had ever anticipated, and having children has made all the difference. They are my shining light and my heart.

My husband and I have been married for six years (yeah, go ahead and do the math). It has been mostly happy, with all the normal vicissitudes. I love him dearly, and I hope we both live forever (hey, a girl can dream).

I have been working for five and one half years now as a medical laboratory technician at the children's hospital here. I absolutely love my job. I feel like what I do makes a difference. I must say that I have great respect for the nurses, doctors and even the families of sick children. It takes a lot of strength to do what they do every day. I have been in enough of the inpatient rooms to know that I am not emotionally strong enough to be in health care at that level at this juncture in my life. I have no doubt that I could do it, but a part of me would have to change much more than I am comfortable with to be able to stop weeping long enough to do my job. I have a pretty strong empathy gene, especially when the affected patient is a child.

All in all, my life is full and rewarding. I hope this was a good introduction, and my next series of blogs will deal with the past and how I have ended up where I am...