Fuckin’ Perfect

Brave.

I’ve been hearing that a lot lately in regards to both my professional life and my private, personal life.

Yet I sit here and my eyes overfill and pain spills down my face. I listen to this and I tell myself I am not what they say I am.

Pink “Fuckin Perfect”on Vimeo.

I can ignore it for a long time. I can give second chances. I can forgive, I have forgiven, I will forgive again. again. again.

But what I will not do is submit myself to the abuse that others dish out with no regard.

I don’t know how it happened. How it all came to blows on the same day, the same moment.

I was making a professional resignation from an organization I’ve been a member of for nearly a decade.  Y’know what. Wait. Let’s be clear here. The people  in that organization have become family to me. We’ve fought, argued, debated, grown, and always–always we’ve loved.  It is not those people I walked away from, those people joined arms in support and walked away as well. It’s really two of the officers of the now disbanded Indiana Horror Writers that I took a stand against. A couple of the officers made some poor choices with sexist language and after trying to deal with it as a group, without resolution, six of us gave our resignations and ended our affiliation with the Indiana Horror Writers. One of us has control over the digital assets of the organization and we’ll see what happens next.  The two men we had problems with are forming another group, people are taking sides. More than that though, I’m accused of being unprofessional, a liar, unreasonable. My posts were deleted, I was removed from the organization’s forums, blocked from one of the officer’s Facebook friends list, was told I couldn’t resign because I wasn’t an officer, talked about in a private forum I was removed from, but all the while told that the doors are open and it’s a safe and comfortable place to discuss the issues. I was told it’s my fault. The message is clear: Shut up.

Safe does not equal degrading me, attempting to shut me up, or trying to control me.

At the very moment I hit submit, and I’m really not kidding, the very moment, I received a phone call from my dad, who proceeded to tear me to shreds verbally. I was called names, accused of stealing money, threatened, and made to feel guilty because it’s my fault. I was hung up on more times than I care to count. And then, one time, the phone didn’t disconnect and I heard what dad was saying to my sister about me. I heard the names they were calling me. The message is clear: Shut up.

If I listen to these people I’m a liar, a thief, a bitchy broad, a hard head, I’m unprofessional, disrespectful, lazy, jobless, and nothing is enough. I’m not enough, I didn’t do enough, I don’t do enough, I’ll never be enough. Never.

{like when I was a child, I was a slut, a bitch, a whore, a liar, a thief, worthless, told that I should have never been born, told that I was brought into the world and can be taken out of it. I used to pretend I was adopted because that made more sense to me.}

I listen this the song again. again. again. Fuckin’ Perfect…

to drown them out.

because they think they’re the victims.
they cry about injustice and how they’re being wronged by me.

Months ago, they were all told how to fix the issues that came to a head on Monday. Resolutions were spoken. Ignored. Because they won’t own up to their parts, I am the punching bag.

{brave i am not}

After the dual meltdowns Monday morning, so much adrenaline ran through me I thought I’d puke. I was shaking so much for so long and I couldn’t make it stop. I cried more that day than I cried when my uncle hung himself and when my mom died.

I stood up and said, Fuck this. This is why my body is in adrenal failure. Because people who say they love me haven’t the first fucking clue of what it means. I will not submit myself to this for one more second. And if you hate me, it will eat you alive, not me.

You don’t like my attitude, my words, my language, my song? Leave. Yes. These are my true colors they have always been my true colors and one thing I have never, ever done is hid this side of me. So you go ahead and blame me so you don’t have to look in the mirror. So you don’t have to change. So you don’t have to own up to what you did. You go ahead and post about me and talk about me and call me names. Tell stories so people take your side.

I do not care if another soul on this earth believes me or thinks I’m a horrible. Turn the whole world against me if you must. I am ok with that. I thought I couldn’t live with these decisions, but I found out I can.

This is not brave. This is survival. This is the last straw in a long line of straws that I have allowed to decimate my physical, mental, and emotional health. If you think this is about just one little incident, think again. It’s about a lifetime of people treating me like shit and I’m not doing it any longer. So if that means leaving organizations I love and walking away from people I love, so be it. Go tell someone else what I horrible bitch I am. I’m not going to shower myself in insults and bathe in lies. I’m not going to eat your hurtful words nor drink your warped version of love.

2 years.

4 years ago today I created my first Visual Prayer.

2 years ago today, I sang Amazing Grace to my mom as she took her last breath on this earth.

today is difficult. this whole week has been challenging.  we almost lost dad. it was so close, i couldn’t think of anything except how are we (my brother and sister and I) going to hold it together if we have to bury dad the same week we lost mom?

I’m sorry I didn’t have more faith. I’ve asked God’s forgiveness over and over for that this week. “I believe, help me in my unbelief!”

After we knew dad was making a pretty miraculous recovery, A friend said something about answered prayers. I thought to myself, this hasn’t happened before. This recovery is a new thing for me. The list of very close friends and family members I’ve lost in the last 6 years is staggering. I think I counted 9. Jill, Sara, Uncle Ed, Grandma, Mom, Phil’s  Dad, Grandpa Jack, Grandma Schalk, and Grandma Barnes.  Almost 2 a year. When dad was intubated I’m sorry to admit I didn’t even think recovery was an option.

And so today is…bittersweet.

Grieving my mom in a way I haven’t experienced. Watching my dad reach for my sister’s hand the way he did mom’s was so touching. I’m glad my sister can be his comfort.  He and I haven’t had that kind of relationship.  My mom and I never had that relationship. I distanced myself and pushed away for most of my life. And on top of the grieving, so relieved that dad is ok. Amazed that he didn’t die.  I’m exhausted physically and mentally and truthfully cannot process yet what just happened.

Reading this post again again and trying to remember to count the blessings not dwell in the pain.

They Lied

It doesn’t get easier with time.

I still dread this day.

It’s been 5 years now.

Suicide never, ever, ever gets easier to deal with. The grief is so personal and deep and it fucking never stops hurting.

and it’s not easy to watch what has happened to everyone I love , everyone who loved you, since the suicide. the destruction is unstoppable. the heartache is unbearable. the anger is overwhelming.

Please.

Get help if you need it.

Someone I love(d) so very deeply, someone who had a family to tend to, someone who brought joy and smiles and laughter to everyone around…

is gone.

and i hate it so very much.

i miss you uncle ed.

The Jim Mug

Sometimes, when you meet a girlfriend, you just know.

That was Jill. We met in 1998. She was my labor coach because Phil was on the road. She was the only one with me when Zane was born. We spent New Year’s Eve 1999 together, my son’s first and New Year’s Eve 2007 together, her last.

So I sit here with my tradition, on this third anniversary of her death,

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and I drink my coffee from one of many mugs she gave me and I read the friendship book she gave me

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And the pain is not as searing and the memories are sweeter.

If you visit and want to have coffee, I may not allow you to drink from this cup. I hide it away in the back of my cupboard. Selfishly. And I realized it for what it was. And I said that in 2010 I wanted to make more time for the people that were still here. To pay attention to the details. To bless someone by thinking of them. It wouldn’t be Jill, but I could try to emulate the way she loved. I could pay attention to my friends, my family and give them my time and my heart and things with secret meanings.

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I think I did ok. But I want to do better.

Last year I told you about The Shit Shovel. This year, The Jim Mug.  This is how I want to live.

Jim Mug

2006. Not a stellar year, but one with lots of memories–good and bad.  This one is good. One of my favorites, actually.

I was visiting Jill for a not-so-good reason, but we made the best of it. To take her mind off of her collapsed lung, we talked about the writing conference I was to attend after I visited. My first ever writing conference. A friend had told me that I should have at least one chapter written so I could give it to interested editors and agents (as if!) So I had these characters in mind and maybe an inkling of an idea for a story.  (I didn’t know ANYthing about writing then. I know less now.)

Naming characters is a problem for me.

Jill and I had went round and round with names and I needed an old man name. Nothing seemed right. My friend Kim called to see how things were and conversation turned to the old man name and someone (can’t remember who now) said: Orville.  That was it. Orville was my old man.

Phil called later asking how things in South Carolina were.  I was trying to explain to him how excited I was that Orville found his name. I said, “So Jim and I finally figured out that his name is Orville!!!”

“Jim?”

“No. Not Jim, Orville.”

“You said ‘Jim and I figured out Orville…’ WHO is Jim?”

Oh Lord. I’m hundreds of miles away from my husband talking about another man. Jim. How do I explain this??

If your brain works like mine and gets over excited like mine, then when you’re talking about your story and your characters you start combining names. Like Jill and Kim and you get Jim.

Thank God my husband KNOWS there is no man on this earth for me other than him. We laughed it off and I told Jill about it after and we laughed (for years!) about it.  Then she said, “If you mix it up the other way, Kim and Jill you get Kill. Kill Jim.”

And I vowed that my horror stories would always have scenarios that led to a Kill Jim moment.

Then.

Out of nowhere, Jill, with collapsed lung and all, springs off her couch and enters her “closet” of gifts.  She comes out with the Jim mug.

Jim Mug

She’d bought it at Goodwill because it just called to her and she knew she’d need it someday.