make friends with your monsters


It’s lonely here tonight. Beyond my window, it’s vantablack, nothing even resembles light. I’m unable to sleep…restless. Worried. An appointment at week’s end is bringing up things I’d rather leave to the graveyard, well kept and orderly in the back of my mind.

I fancy myself as an open book. I so despise secrets. However, my closet door will barely close for all the skeletons inside. Some haunt, others taunt. Others simply linger about in the shadows. Now and again, I’ve had occasion to pull them all out, like old dolls from childhood. They’ve been dusted off, polished, played with, and put away, until the next time they are needed to bear witness. 

This Friday, their time will come ’round again, as I look into the face of a psychiatrist and explain away prior diagnoses and current behavior. I’ll minimize the fact that I cannot even shop for myself, or explain away why I, sometimes, don’t leave the house for weeks at a time. 

I know that, no matter what I say, it’s going to be the same diagnosis. I have been untreated for thirteen years now. Except for the panic, I’m fine. You learn to live with what you must. That’s life for everyone. I’m no exception. 

Psych drugs don’t work on me. They say the state of the art treatment for a drug resistant patient, once you’ve tried them on different combos of magic beans, is electro shock therapy. The lil shocker looks like something you’d plug into an iPod. I’m sure it’s a much kinder, gentler way of fixing damaged goods. However, I won’t be a participant in the snake oil carnival. I’m only going in order to satisfy a legal matter. 

I don’t like labels that cause others to look at you with an awkward eye. Particularly if you’ve handled most of the requisite aspects of life in exactly the way you should. I also find labels terrifying. When I look at my brother, I can’t help but wonder if that will be me, one day. I couldn’t bear it. Lost in my own head, keeping company with only those who live inside it. I’d never let that happen. I simply could not. I hate that there are words to define it.

I think I’ll try and get some sleep. Surely, it can’t be too far off. I pray for dreamless slumber tonight. I’m exhausted from these nights of constant interruption, punctuated by the sound of those old skeletons, clammering about like broken wind chimes. 

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Mother’s Day

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When I think of Mother’s Day, so many things come to mind. Being abandoned by my own mother is something that still weighs heavily on my heart, even after the many long years since we reconciled. But, it’s not on my account that it burdens me. It’s because my mother still feels an overwhelming sense of guilt…and that just kills me inside.

I’m not the sort to hold grudges. I’m also not blind to the fact that I carry traits that I wouldn’t, had my parents kept me. But things went south so quickly, and the tidal wave of pain that nearly took my mother’s life back then changed both of our lives forever. It couldn’t be stopped and, once the ink was dry on the adoption papers, nothing could save either one of us from what was to come. My father is the only one unscathed, and that was only because he loved his secret more than he loved my mother and me.

Every Mother’s Day, I write a poem or an essay for Mom. I try to help her understand that I have nothing against her and that all was forgiven many years ago. It just never quite sinks in. She’s spent my entire adult life trying to make it up to me. I cannot say how much I hate that she thinks she has to. I also hate how she thinks I’d have been a better person, had she raised me. But, she reassures me that she loves me like I am, and I leave it at that. 

This day also reminds me of when things were good between Ben and I. I think of how he’d rush home, covered in oil after a long day’s work, and still make it to every game the boys had. I remember how much he loved our sons, and how they looked at him like he was a God when they were young. I never minded not being the favorite parent. I was more like a great baby sitter when they grew old enough that homemade cookies couldn’t fix their troubles. I never really had a clue how to be a mother, I only knew what not to do. Thankfully, it worked out in the end, because of their father.

On Mother’s Day, I always remember how the boys would pick those little weeds that look like tiny lilys, and bring them to me by the dozens. Dirty lil hands holding them just so…a kiss on the cheek when I bent down to receive the lovely gift. They smelled so good. They’re still my favorite flowers. Weeds, or not. I’d always put them in this beautifully hand cut sherry glass that I found at an antique shop. It was the perfect vase for the most precious flowers I’ve ever received, before or since.

Mother called me this morning. She was taking Dad to my grandmother’s grave today. She said,”Can’t you just feel her with you sometimes? She feels so close to me today.” I told her that the only time I feel her presence is when I’m waking from a night terror, as they have followed me through adulthood and, now, into old age. I don’t have room in head, nor heart, for that beast of a woman, nor do I intend to make room. Sometimes, the dead need to be left to themselves. 

I’m going to go enjoy the rest of the evening. I look forward to tomorrow. Monday. Just plain Monday.