This shelf isn’t blue.

My mom kept a lot of her mental health issues from me. Probably to protect me for the most part. And in the interest of fairness, I doubt I was equipped for and open to it.

As far as I knew, she kept herself wound together tight so that she could take care of me and once I was out of the house she let go of her tight hold. And slowly she was unbound and unwound and eventually began to unravel.

Not completely. She was never someone who couldn’t pay her bills and keep her house and property up. She was fine in the practical ways. But she wasn’t fine inside the privacy of her mind. She had delusions and paranoia and other “fun” symptoms to deal with.

A few years ago I saw the documentary Running From Crazy about The Hemingway family from the perspective of Mariel Hemingway who is Earnest Hemingway’s granddaughter and famous in her own right as an actor. She talks about having plenty of people in the family who were alcoholics or depressed or both, some of whom succumbed to the depression and committed suicide. She said she spent her earlier years afraid that it was just a matter of time before she “went crazy” too.

Eventually she realized that she could live healthier and not drink and potentially treat any symptoms she might develop instead of drinking and wallowing and not treating them as much of her family had done. And that she couldn’t live in a fear state all her life.

I do relate to that feeling of wondering if it’s going to happen to you.

So I’ve had it in my head that my mom had a blue bookshelf in her living room. And I went over there the other day to continue (finally) and finish up getting mom’s things out. And the shelf I thought was blue is white.

And I can’t figure out why. I assume I’m just incorrect about the color of the shelf before. But my brain also gives me the helpful suggestion that somebody could have broken in and switched out the white shelf for the blue one. (And put everything back how it was, too.)

After I go round in circles for a bit trying to think of why the heck a person would ever want to do that, I stop. It occurs to me that that is very similar to the paranoid stories my mom was always telling me about someone, usually a neighbor but sometimes the government, listening in on her and/or messing with her tv channels.

I’m still sometimes nervous that things might get away from me like they did for her. But, if I have anything on my side, it’s that I don’t think I’m holding things together nearly as tightly. So I don’t think I’m as prone to uncoiling in quite the same way.

For now I just know there is a white shelf.

Not blue.

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Grief: To Infinity and Beyond!

I’ve read a lot of articles about grief since Mom and Al and folks died.

A lot of them seem to be angry/hurt responses to people telling them they should be over it already. Or moved on by now.

Uh.

Eff that noise.

I guess I’ve been fortunate in my selection of friends and family because nobody has ever said such a thing to me.

Honestly, what an ignorant thing to say. I’ve lost people that I love when I was much younger and I’m still not “over it.” I don’t think I ever will be. Because they are gone. Even if it doesn’t hurt as badly as it did when it first happened, it doesn’t mean it’s “all better now.”

I appreciate being in a place in the healing where it’s not as intense and continuously painful. But everyone takes their own journey at their own pace to get to the next spot.

It’s a bit like that thing in math where if you measure the space from you to a wall and then move half that distance to the wall. If you keep doing that, theoretically you’ll never get to the wall because there will still always be another half of the remaining distance to go.

And even if it can’t be seen with the naked eye, there is still an infinity left to go.

Anyway, I guess I’d just say that if someone is grieving, stfu unless you have something actually nice to say. It’ll mean a lot.

Dramatic Flair

Sometimes books are just so…

turned up to 11…

for no good reason. I can’t really deal with that level of intensity throughout.

Just take a breath.

I did read one that felt that way, but the plot and the situation warranted it, so it wasn’t bad. And I wanted to know what came next, unlike when you’re just dramatically flailing because you can.

Most of the time it’s better to have differing levels of intensity and drama throughout the book to help the story. And to keep the reader engaged.

Fisticuffs With Felines

Yesterday my cat tried to fight me. Not like a cat would if she hated you. Which I’m pretty sure would suck. More like I was doing something she didn’t like so she “bumped me” with her “fist” so I’d stop.

She came running up to me and meowed as if she wanted my attention. I reached down to pet her on her head.

She dodged that and went to smack my hand away. So, obviously I did it again. So did she. So we did this weird slo-mo fistfight.

I told her that she needed to remove herself from the situation if she didn’t want to be petted like I’d originally thought. But fighting with me is not okay.

So she sauntered off to eat some food.

I had another idea!

It’s just a face

It’s not Resting Bitch Face. I’m not bitchy just because I’m not laughing or smiling.  I don’t need to earn your approval and/or affection with fake facial expressions when I don’t feel like it. 

Don’t tell me to smile. Say something worth smiling about. 

And yes, I have leftover childhood issues that make me a little trigger happy over this. 
My mom used to pester me about my relaxed face. 

“Are you mad at me?” 

No just reading. 

“Are you sure you aren’t mad at me?” 

Nope, just sitting here. 

“Are you sure you aren’t mad?”

I’m mad now, thanks. Are you happy now?
I learned recently that people who have been in abusive relationships with people who get mad and attack out of nowhere associate neutral face with uncertainty and unpredictable anger bursts. So neutral to them feels really scary and they’d rather you were just mad. So they set that in motion because it’s predictable and not as scary. 

Wish I knew that a long time ago. 

I don’t just obey every stranger on the street when they tell me to do something. So say something funny or cool if you want me to smile or laugh. It’ll work better. 

#metoo #ibelieveyou

I am lucky enough to get to skip saying #metoo to these sexual assault and harassment posts. But I like to think that I can’t be an agent for change even for things that I haven’t personally experienced. 

If someone trusts you enough to tell you about an assault don’t say anything which conveys “what was there about the situation or your actions which makes this less true and therefore more palatable to me.” 

Just listen. Believe them. Hold them if appropriate. Love them through it. It’s not your job to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s your job as a friend or loved to be a friend or loved one. 

http://www.thehotline.org/ 

If you are experiencing abuse, please get help and make a plan to get out. 

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