Just Cats

Just Cats


I managed to get home, but it was already too late. I had known my mother was drinking again, but there was this hope inside that it wasn’t that bad… but it was.  She had fallen and broken her nose, her eyes ringed in bruises, her face looking even more foreign to me than it had before.  How can you look at someone you’ve known your entire life, your own mother, and barely recognize them?  Even her eyes… her green eyes, the ones I loved and wished that I had all my life, they’re not green anymore… they’re just… dark.

After that, I was enraged.  Of course, I would find anger the quickest.  How could she have fallen, broken her nose, avoided the ER, and no one knew anything?  I was so mad, but I eventually let it go.  My grandparents are old and they have their own worries.  Besides, this isn’t terribly out of character for them.

The visit itself wasn’t bad.  Maybe when I’m feeling a little less like this, I’ll be able to put it here so I can remember all of it.  Right now, all I need is release.  I have to try, try to put what I feel somewhere so that it’s real and I can feel it.  The pain I feel right now… I can’t put it into words, I can’t speak of it.  It just hurts.

I’ve spent so long being angry.  It’s the only emotion I’ve ever been able to grasp fully.  I’ve known anger since I was little, I’ll probably always have issues with it… but now?  I don’t feel angry at all.  It’s the first time in my life… I don’t feel angry.  I just want to cry.  I want to cry until I can’t possibly cry any longer.  I’m not someone who cries, it makes me uncomfortable.  I’m not vulnerable, I’m not a victim, I’m a rock.  When everyone else falls down, I pick them back up.  Even when I was little, I was doing it without realizing it.  It’s who I’ve shaped myself to be–I’m a rock.  Everyone relies on me to be the one who stands tall in the face of whatever comes my way and to my merit, I’m strong.  I’m damn strong.

Even the strong feel weak at times and right now, I am at my weakest.  I feel like a brittle branch in the face of a storm.  I feel like I’m going to snap if there’s anymore pressure thrown my way.  I hate it.  It’s unfamiliar to me.  I know, that in the end, I’ll manage, I’ll persevere.  It’s what I was made to do–but it doesn’t make it any easier when this happens.

It’s hard when you have no one to turn to.  I’ve done it to myself and I’ll face this problem for the rest of my life, I realize that.  I love my husband, but when it comes to this, he doesn’t understand.  He just sees me as this person who has overcome so much, how can this bother me?  It’s just my mother, she’s just an alcoholic… but this is something I’ve battled with for a long time.  No one understands, no one.  I spent so much time being outwardly angry that it’s all anyone ever saw.  Even my husband doesn’t understand now, he’s painted a picture in his mind and it’s the only one he knows.

No one understands that I had to grow up very early and that despite that, anger is my core emotion.  It’s the one I show readily and easily.  It’s the only one I fully understand within myself.  But, I’m an adult now and anger isn’t acceptable.  Everyone feels angry, that’s fine, but throwing it out and just being blatantly enraged is no longer acceptable.  My vision is clearer now and I see where I’ve messed up.

I know my mother better than anyone and that’s what hurts me the most.  I understand her.  I see the pleas for help.  She’s no longer spitting venom, she’s admitting she’s had a problem, she even went into detox after being rushed to the ER.  She fell down the stairs and nearly killed herself.  But her environment, her mental state… they’re not helping her get better.

It’s my own fault for being so angry and for keeping all my other emotions hidden.  I don’t share them.  Oftentimes, it’s because I can’t.  Words fail me when it comes to my true emotion and I’m left with no ability to communicate.  The only thing I can say is look at the picture above, as it says everything that I cannot…

Unfortunately, all anyone will see are cats… just cats.

Another Year, Another Relay

We went to the Relay for Life on Friday.  Truth be told, I had been looking forward to it for months.  Unfortunately, things did not go smoothly at all.  First of all, we got stuck in traffic on the way there because of an accident.  We ended up falling forty-five minutes behind, which meant we arrived at the Relay without eating.  During this time, my mother-in-law was constantly phoning, asking where we were.  She said she wanted to use my husband in the opening ceremonies.  So, that’s why we didn’t eat.

Once we arrived, we realized she wasn’t using my husband, she was using a smaller child who was a recent survivor of the same cancer he had as a child.  This whole situation further perturbed my husband, but he went along with it and everything was settled… for a moment.  We arrived back at our car, where my mother-in-law had told us to park only to be yelled at by a random ‘volunteer’.  She was downright rude and even when I explained the situation to her, she continued to harass us until my husband got in the car and drove off.  My mother-in-law had left us to finish the opening ceremonies, so she wasn’t there to save us.  My husband ended up missing his first suvivor lap since his mother started with the ACS… because he had to park all the way out in one of the fields.

I knew when my husband stormed off that he was pissed.  There’s something I learned very quickly about him–if his sugar is low, look out.  I’m not even kidding, he turns into his father yelling at a telemarketer or an inept food service employee (given that he was a damn good regional manager of the food service industry for a decade or more, he’s earned this right)… it’s bad.  So, I was left alone and in a crowd.  My anxieties are nowhere near as bad as they used to be, but I could feel it creeping up on me.  I tried to keep my shoulders straight and my eyes forward.  I ended up bumping into our two friends we meet up with at every relay.  I was so relieved.

I hung out with them and tried to called my husband, but he never answered.  He never hits ignore when I call, so I knew he had moved beyond ‘pissed off’ and skipped to ‘enraged’.  Sure enough, I got a call from my mother-in-law telling me that she’d called him and gotten screamed at.  I explained what happened to her and I kept trying to call him, but he wouldn’t pick up.  Finally, he came storming through the crowd and saw that I was standing with our friends.  He calmed down a little, but not much.

In the end, he ended up screaming at his mother… which is not in his behavior at all.  So, I knew he was beyond the point of exhaustion and hungry.  I skillfully suggested he get me a drink and it resulted in him getting food.  Once he had food in him, he apologized to his mother and everything calmed down.  I guess my mother-in-law read that volunteer the riot act sometime later, too.  Just as well, that woman was a downright bitch.  I would have screamed her down to a pulp, but I was trying to placate my husband.  I may have rage issues, but the husband almost always comes before them… not even almost, pretty much always.

Despite all the chaos, it turned out to be a fun evening.  We got to spend time walking and talking with our friends.  I was pretty much exhausted from trying to keep my husband in check.  I also hadn’t eaten very much, so my sugar was low… luckily, I can monitor it with adequate amounts of soda.  Yum.  All in all, it was a good–if a little frustrating–night.  We didn’t get home until almost midnight, though.

These little disasters just remind me of my inner-strength and the abilities I tried to hide.  My determination and my will aren’t something everyone is prepared to deal with, and I’m okay with that now.  I’m not going to hide it.  The more I embrace it, the closer I get to really, truly picking up the pieces of the person I was always meant to be.

Another year, another relay…

A Good Weekend

This weekend was mostly low-key for being a holiday weekend.  I remember a few years ago, when Memorial Day was a big deal.  It was the kick-off the camping season and so it was always one of our longest weekend spent camping and boating.  I remember getting excited for it when I was young and in school and even when I was past the days of school.  This time of a year is kind of a downer for me because of that.  Those days are over, forever.

We were originally just going to hang out at the in-laws’ house on Sunday and Monday.  They’ve had the pool opened for a week or so now, but it had to warm up before we could use it.  We got to their house, got some lunch, and were just relaxing when we saw a child on their porch.  They live kind of out in the country, so random children showing up on the porch isn’t something that happens a lot.  My mother-in-law calmly went out onto the porch.

It was my husband’s aunt, uncle, and his two cousins.  They came by two years ago for Memorial Day.  That was the last time we saw them, I think.  They live two hours away with the rest of his family.  Anyway, they were coming to celebrate the holiday.  Some prior warning would have been nice!  I tried on all my swimsuits and they’re all ill-fitting.  My boobs are just a bit too big to have no support.  So, I put on the one I have that covers the most and still manages to fit okay (if we tie it really, really tightly, which hurts; I had a red mark on my neck afterwards) and we headed out to the pool with the kids.

To be honest, my husband did most of the playing.  I’m past the years of my hair getting wet.  There used to be a day when you couldn’t keep me from going underwater and doing wicked jumps off the deck, but those days are over.  So, I let him play with the kids while I took pictures.  When I did eventually get in with them… my hair got wet.  Sigh.

There was plenty of beating one another with fun noodles and chasing around.  Unfortunately, these are the cousins that aren’t very well disciplined at all, so there was also plenty of screaming and crying.  The girl has a tendency to antagonize the boy and then he puts her into a choke hold and she gets angry.  Fun times!

It’s mystifying to me how little my husband sees his cousins.  I grew up with my cousins, they were a part of not just every summer, but every season ever.  My youngest cousin was always my constant companion, but the other ones were in the background, too.  They were just a little older than us.  Still, my husband rarely ever sees these two cousins at all.  It’s weird to me.  They love him, though.

All in all, it was a fun day.  We had a grilled lunch, my husband got to see his uncle (who he was incredibly close to before his uncle got married), and I got to see family spending time together on a holiday.

On Monday, we headed back to the in-laws’ again.  This time, it was definitely more low-key.  We got plenty of sun and floating in.  My hair still managed to get wet, though.  I wanted to test out the new camera and I was throwing water around.  At one point, I slipped and nearly went completely under.  The husband missed catching that on the camera, thankfully.

We got some really cool photos, though.  I love the patterns that the water makes.  There’s also one picture where I’m jumping up and the water is surrounding me like a cool movie effect.  I love this camera, it’s amazing!

It was definitely a good start to the summer.  It’s hard to believe that in little over a month, we’ll be off to Key West and then, at the end of July… it’s off to Maui!  I still need to get my new State ID for that, sigh.  So much to do, so little time…

Call it Aftermath, She’s Turning Blue

We had more snow hit us on Tuesday.  It was a bit of a surprise.  The snow came and went like a teenager’s rampant emotions and the degree of it changed just as quickly.  One moment we’d have big, fluffy flakes and the next the wind would pick them up and whip them around.  During one of the more peaceful falls, I let Loki out onto the balcony to explore.

I really wanted a chance to use the camera and mess with it a bit more.  All of this dreary, cold weather isn’t really conductive to learning how to use it.  I really can’t wait until I go home in March.  I’ll probably make the husband stop along the road once we hit Pennsylvania.  We drive this really scenic back road before hitting the turnpike.  It’s just rolling hills, mountains, and long, sweeping grasslands spotted with forests.

Loki was a trooper, he’s always happy to explore, but even he can only take so much of the cold.  He came in covered with snowflakes and it was just adorable.  The camera does a great job of capturing his coloring, there’s no editing necessary!

I’ve been trying to keep myself busy and distracted, but it’s hard.  This month is speeding by and while I’m happy about it, I’m also getting more anxious.  My main job ends March 16th and while it’s been a heavy burden, it’s also allowed us to actually live instead of struggle.  I’ll continue to get a check through April, because of how the state pay works, but after that… I’m not sure what we’re going to do.  We survived before, but that’s only because we knew I had a job lined up.  My job pays our rent, which has recently gone up.

I had this silly hope that, by now, the husband would have heard back from at least one of the places he applied for… but no such luck.  I’ve talked with him about it, but he just feels like I’m being “too negative” and I try to explain to him that I can’t be like him; I can’t just live day to day.  One of us has to think ahead, to make plans, and that person is me because that’s how my brain works.  I wasn’t afforded all the innocence ignorance of most children, I’ve been planning ahead since I can remember.

In my heart, I know it’ll work out.  I don’t mean that I’m going to hang out and wait for things to happen, I don’t do that, but I mean in the sense that the world won’t end because I’ve lost a job.  I just need to be able to be anxious and I have to be able to worry–I can’t just bottle it up and pretend everything is okay.  This is why I want to visit my family after my job is over, I need to unwind and just relax.  I need to be able to forget about things so that I can have a fresh point of view when I come back to it.  It’s selfish, but I need it.

We spoke about one of the things handicapping us with the secondary employment situation.  I can’t really look for jobs because I can’t drive and that means any job I have has to fit the husband’s schedule/etc.  I had to explain, again, that I was set to get my freaking license when I had the accident with my leg and fell through the deck.  After that, I could barely walk, much less drive.  My parents never took me to the hospital and it eventually healed–whatever it was that happened to my leg–and now it doesn’t work like it should.  I even tried to resume driving, but my foot kept twitching the gas and it scared the shit out of my dad.  To make matters worse, my ankle has started locking up bad and making it hard for me to walk.  The numbness is also getting progressively worse.  The husband wants me to go to the doctor, but our insurance is shit and with my job ending soon… well, I’d really rather not.  I know it’s going to be costly.

I’ll go to the doctor as soon as he gets another job and our insurance isn’t awful.  Until then, I’ll just have to deal and there will be no driving or anything of the sort.  I’m not killing myself or anyone else because of something stupid like that.  It’s just not worth it.

In other news, my grandpa’s birthday is on Monday.  Yes, he was born on Valentine’s Day.  A more unromantic person I’m not sure you’d find, so it’s pretty amusing.  I wanted to do something cool for him, but I’ve run out of time.  I didn’t even realize it was going to be freaking Valentine’s Day already.  Gah.  I had originally wanted to get pictures of things that interested him, but I work all weekend, so that’s no longer a viable option.  At least I can send him a card.

Time to go back to cleaning the kitchen… it’s a mess.  The fluorescent light went out on Tuesday and we still haven’t called to have it fixed because it’s a total disaster!  Stupid light.  It’s really hard to clean in the dark…

A Day of Rest

This was taken with the old camera's macro mode.

Sundays have become our ‘day of rest.’  I’m usually working Saturdays, which means so is the husband.  Having a second job isn’t bad and it’s even better when you get to decide your hours.  I was so relieved when they finally, finally took me off seasonal and put me back on flex.  Working seasonal meant long hours, all weekend.  It’s nice to have those moments of rest back.  I’ll begrudge it once the first job ends, but for now, I’m going to enjoy it.

All of the hard work is worth it–I finally got my camera.  It seems kind of surreal.  I never really thought that I’d have it.  It was like this unobtainable thing I could consistently strive for.  I do that a lot, I pick out things that I have almost zero chance of getting and then put them in my sights.  It gives me something to keep me going, even when things get really, really tough.  Living with the issues I have is never easy, for anyone, so it’s my own way of setting a goal.  I have others to replace this one, but I’m still kind of caught off-guard by it.

The thing that gets me the most is that while I saved up the majority, the last two hundred dollars came from my grandparents.  I spoke to my grandma the week before last (I call her every week) and she asked me how my camera fund was going.  I told her how much I had and how I was a little short because my dad never gave me my Christmas present (money) and neither did my mother-in-law (money again.)  Which is fine, I learned a long time ago to not rely on my dad for much and my mother-in-law is forgetful, not malicious.  I just figured I’d keep putting tiny bits of my paycheck and eventually, it would all add up.  My grandma asked if I wanted her to send me the money I had left.  I said absolutely not and that if she did, I’d go up there and kick her butt.  She relented after that and I thought that would be the end of it.  We continued talking awhile and eventually, she had to go.

Fast forward to last week and it’s Tuesday.  I had called my grandma earlier in the day, before the husband came home, and everything was fine and normal.  My husband brings up the mail as he comes through the door and asks me what this tiny card is, it’s from my grandma.  I sighed, long and hard.  I knew exactly what it was.  It was a little card filled with love and money; not the kind of money intended to buy the reciprocation of love, but the kind that is just there because there is love shared.  I could have cried when I opened it.  I probably would have, had my husband not been staring at me the entire time.  I can’t even find the words to describe what I felt at that moment.

I wanted to give it back, I desperately wanted them to have it.  I didn’t need it, I could eventually save the money up and I had never intended for them to send the money.  But they did and I know that they would never take it back, that arguing with them would only hurt them.  I waited a bit until I could get my emotions under control before I called my grandma.  I jokingly yelled at her and told her I was going to come up there and kick her butt.  She laughed and told me that it was my pap’s idea, so I’d better go after him.

After we had ended our conversation the other week, my pap had walked out into the kitchen.  He only overheard bits and asked if I needed money.  My grandma said no, just that I was short for my camera and still working towards it.  They didn’t mention it again until well after dinner, when my pap said, out of nowhere, ‘do you want to send her the money?’

So, I have my camera, thanks to my grandparents.  It’s so strange.  The situation is one that I can’t really explain, it was something you’d have to watch unfold.  My parents were present and they tried, they really tried, but even then, my grandparents were who I went to.  They are the ones I lean on.  Both of my parents realize this, to varying degrees.  When something bad happens to me, I want them.  Nothing erases terrible things like hugging my grandma.  I feel bad about it, but I had no choice as a child.  It’s difficult to explain without painting my parents badly and I don’t want to do that, they weren’t bad.  They didn’t neglect or abuse me, I love them unconditionally… they were just kids… and kids can’t raise kids.  In our society, at least,  it just doesn’t work.

This was taken with the new camera, Canon EOS Rebel T2i.

When I can’t put things to proper word, I ramble.  So, instead, I’ll just end by saying that I cannot wait to go home in March and share this gift with my grandparents.  I love that my grandma’s reasoning for the money was that ‘I like to take pictures.’  I do like to take pictures and I love that they know it’s a hobby of mine, one that I am intensely passionate about.  I still remember arguing with my grandpa over the merits of a well-taken photo.  I prefer more obscure, artistic methods while he is more point-blank and conventional with his approaches.  I love that we share this and I love that someone in my family recognizes one of my true hobbies without me throwing it in their faces and making it obvious.

Why can’t it be March yet?