For when The Happy just isn’t enough. Here are my favorites from my Things Which Amuse Me set on Flickr.
And the #1 Thing Which Amuses Me……
For when The Happy just isn’t enough. Here are my favorites from my Things Which Amuse Me set on Flickr.
And the #1 Thing Which Amuses Me……
And there’s some pictures on the actual camera, too (not just the phone, I mean) but I haven’t the energy to deal with those yet.
Most of you know my mother and I were estranged. She was funny and loving and smart and creative and wise. I never once ever wondered if she loved me. But she was sick. Mentally ill. She’s always been sick, but she completely fell apart when I was about eight years old – lost her job, started drinking, the house became like one you might see on Hoarders. And while she loved me, she was also a master manipulator and having a relationship with her was confusing at best, but more realistically described as psychologically destructive. She had moments where she lost connection with reality that, while not her most common problem, made me afraid for my very safety. She had hated herself her whole life and used her destructive behaviors to commit a very slow suicide.
And now she is gone.
For the last six months or so, I’ve had these little nagging thoughts or small signs from The Universe making me wonder if it was time to contact my mom again. I wondered if I was strong enough to handle anything she might throw at me. I had a very strong urge to send her a birthday card in June, but a stronger fear that I might open a door that would be damaging to me or my children somehow. I am sad about the fact that I never got to tell her that I loved her no matter what, because I don’t honestly know if she knew that in her sick, muddled mind, but I can’t say I think I made the wrong decision. My instincts weren’t pushing me hard enough for me to know what the right answer was, and it was such a big decision I simply didn’t have the time to come to a good answer. I am at peace with this aspect of things. I don’t know what my beliefs are right now about what happens after death, but I would like to believe her mind is clear and that she knows I loved her and missed her always.
Two Thursdays ago I got suddenly sick. It was completely random, but left me weak for about three days. The same day, my aunt (my mom’s sister) fell in the shower. This was also the last day my mom refreshed her email. We feel certain she fell this day. Her weekly medication organizer also reflects this theory. She was on my mind a lot for the following week, without knowing why.
The next bit is awful. At least to me. Feel free to skip to the following paragraph if you have to.
It was not until the following Wednesday that she was found in the hallway of her home. The medical examiner said she’d been dead for 2-3 days. Which… Leaves a lot of days unaccounted for. Four at best estimate. And this horrifies me. That she may have lay there, alone, scared. For four days. The night after I found out I hardly slept for all the horrible visions, and at that time we didn’t even know she may have been there for days, still alive. I think it’s possible she was drugged on her meds and asleep for a lot of it – I am fairly certain she was taking too much of her meds or maybe the wrong combinations since she told her neighbor she’d sleep for two days straight on them. But I also think, once she knew death was coming, that she was relieved. I feel that she waited patiently for the peace that would come with The End. I came to this realization in the car on the way home tonight and I could hear her telling me about it, how relieved she was, and how surprised she was by that, and how comforted she was by the fact that she’d be at peace soon. That she was okay with laying and waiting because she knew it was coming.
I hope that’s not just me trying to make myself feel better.
We’ve been sorting out things in her home. Which is a disaster. Although not nearly as bad as it was when I was a kid. And, strangely enough, it feels good to invite my friends into this Shit. As a child I was forced to keep it a secret. Not forced by threat of punishment, but forced by threat of shame (and also of the very real fear of child protective services being called). I felt alone, dirty, hated, disgusting. My mother was a master of projection, but in this case she actually physically projected it onto me by quite literally forcing me to be as dirty and disgusting as she felt inside. If a show like Hoarders had existed back then, I’d have been saved a hell of a lot of grief. So, while I am sorry to have asked my friends to have to spend time in The Shit, it felt good to no longer be alone. To no longer be disgusting because of it. To share, and in sharing, to be freed. And for the record, my friends are amazing. They not only willingly came over and helped, but they really fucking helped. The house is unrecognizable from its state this morning. Unrecognizable.
(All these photos are from yesterday, before today’s transformation.)
When my anxiety was at its worst, I’d envision a woman coming to save Child-Me from my mother’s house. She was dressed in white and she took me to a white room and bathed me until I was clean and tucked me into bed. She would leave the room to allow me privacy but was only just outside the door and would come back to rub my back or to run a warm bath for me any time the anxiety came back. She was not afraid of my dirty. She loved me anyway.
And so we’ve been working in the house. Sorting, organizing, remembering, preparing. And looking for her purse. While the house is a pretty massive disaster, we are feeling very uncomfortable with the fact that it is nowhere. Neighbors have also told us she mentioned having a new laptop, but that is also MIA. We did call the police today, but were told that since we have really no information other than that we can’t find it (in a hoarder’s house, particularly) they really can’t do anything for us. I understand. But it still feels unnerving.
My aunt and I have been in the house daily since Thursday looking for those vital items, important papers, and maybe even clues. We’ve found a lot of letters and notes she’d written to and about us, in her emo habit of feeling the entire world was against her. Naturally, we acted them out for each other. I don’t think either of us has been surprised by what we’ve read, so adding the humor element really helped with the yuckiness of the letters and the pain of the grief. In fact, despite the sadness I feel I’m conveying in this entry, we’ve done an awful lot of laughing in the last few days as well. Which is how it is, isn’t it? Life? And therefore Death, since they are the opposite elements and thus reflect each other as mirrors. The lines blurred between sad and happy, so often overlapping each other.
It is surreal to think she is dead. In all honesty, I’ve known this day would come. For months now I’ve listened closely when they’ve found a body in a trailer fire, knowing her habit of smoking and drinking together. Although that is not how she ended. And as the moment of her death arrives and becomes real, it feels pretend. I keep thinking she’ll show up at the door and find us going through her stuff and getting very angry (in fact one of the aforementioned notes begged me not to let my aunt and uncle in the house – I imagine so they wouldn’t find out how much she’d stolen from them. Too late, anyway, it was my aunt who found the note! Heh). Possibly related (although I don’t feel her anger surrounding it): Last night I put some items from her home in plastic bins and stored them in my closet, neatly stacked on top of each other. I left to take out some smelly old cardboard and when I came back I found the bins all over the floor, outside the closet, contents spilled. No one was home but me.
Unrelated (mostly): A few weeks ago I was driving past my high school (as I sometimes do living in the same town), and I was overcome by a strong memory of Erizen (as I rarely am despite living in the same town). Later I saw that someone had found my blog by Googling his name and when I mentioned this to Summer she said she’d been talking about him only that day and asked what he might be trying to say. Turns out there is a canned foods drive in his name right now at his law school. And now I have lots of canned food to donate, from one talkative ghost to another.
The worst part of all this is the judgement. Some of the neighbors have given me dirty looks for abandoning her. And I completely understand. They didn’t know me. They never even saw me. They had no reason not to believe everything she said. That doesn’t make it hurt less. I was no longer angry with my mother. I no longer harbored any ill feelings toward her. That didn’t make her a safe person to be around. All the goodness simply could not balance the emotional and possible physical danger of having her in my life.
As if to prove this, we found a pamphlet for a handgun certification class (we don’t know if she completed it) and a silhouette target paper. I’m terrified we’ll find a gun, unsafely stored somewhere. God willing we won’t.
She was too young to die, but far too old to have lived so unhappily. I feel sad for her loss. Sad for the loss I suffered from the very beginning, being born to an ill woman. Sad that her smile, which was so beautiful, was always so false. Sad that she never lived. I feel relief that she’s at peace now. Relief that I’m safe for sure now. Relief that she can move on and find health for her mind, her soul. I feel happy that she’s free. Finally, finally free. I miss her.
One thing that strikes me is that she hoarded her stuff, I think, because she thought it would bring her happiness. But she never enjoyed it. It was locked away in storage, or covered in piles of stained clothing topped with dust and cat fur. And she doesn’t have it now. It was worthless to her in her life, and even more so in her death. I am struck by the fact that she never lived. Not really. She just passed each day to the best of her ability, just holding on until the next one.
I think part of what granted me sanity, among all the sickness of our family, is the love she cast over me all Lily Potter-style. Her love for me gave me self worth that was able, ultimately, to overcome the abuses and the insanity.
Thank you, Mom. I promise to live. To always live. I love you.
I took Benedryl over 24 hours ago and I’m pretty sure I am still high (facts are not important here, kindly let the butler take them for you). And if it’s not the Benedryl itself, it’s the fact that I watched Twin Peaks right after I took one. Which I either recommend or don’t recommend depending on what exactly you are looking to experience or avoid. (Also spell check says “Benedryl” isn’t a word so it’s possible I’m SO high I’m making it up.)
Anyway, on my way to bed I read this post by The Bloggess wherein she states that the plural of octopus is not, in fact, octopi. My first reaction was volatile anger (if that’s redundant blame the Benedryl) because you cannot change a SOLID FACT like that on me. But then I felt relief because years ago I saw a book on a shelf at the library clearly titled “Octopuses” and I was SO OFFENDED over it – now I can let that offense go and feel relief in the fact that it is I who am ignorant, not some author/editor/publisher/book seller/librarian (hell, at this point, just blame everything on the Benedryl). But then! I Googled it! And learned that the word “octopus” is totally a shapeshifting alien. I mean, it has three plural forms which include the aforementioned two and also “octopodes”. So from now on octopodes they are. Who’s with me?
In related news, the same Wikipedia article discusses the plural of the word “anus” which makes me wonder the only logical thing one could possibly wonder: Why would you EVER need a plural version of the word “anus”? WHY?
You know what? Don’t answer that. In any case, I am off to bed now with an image of an anal lineup in my mind.
Anal lineup. Here come the Googles. Sorry to disappoint you, internet.
Also: What do you mean Benedryl doesn’t make you high?
About a year ago Summer and I went to a Cake Wrecks books signing and met Jen and John. Yesterday we went to the beach and danced with Matt. We’ve decided that our new goal is to meet every internet celebrity, one by one. Which, now that I type it out, sounds really unlikely. But fun!
Quick digression: As we were walking all the damn way across Coronado (because the Fourth of July weekend + a hot day + the beach = no parking anywhere anywhere) and trying to corral two kids and also me across busy streets we naturally got to talking about Paris. It is a little scary to try to cross Parisian streets, and Summer recently accomplished this feat with 20 8th graders and survived (and so did the 8th graders). This conversation naturally led me to comment (again) on one of the things I was most struck by while watching Sherlock – I mean besides the fact that Sherlock Holmes and I totally have the same pillow. There is a scene (more than one, actually) in which someone hops in a cab that’s parked on the right side of the road and the cab darts between traffic all crazy-like onto the left side where it belongs and drives off like nothing unusual happened at all. I remember Douglas Adams writing about this once, and how he was shocked to get a ticket in the US for parking on the wrong side of the road. So I was relaying this to Summer with exaggerated emoting for humorous effect when a lady next to us piped up in an English accent and asked, “And what’s wrong with that?” My feet? Are DELICIOUS. She went on to accuse us Americans of crazy shit like making right turns on red lights so I guess we’re even, but note to self: never mock other cultures in public again. I mean, except for this paragraph. And a quick note to my English reader
s, I do not actually judge your culture for your parking habits. In truth, I merely poke affectionate fun at you. Feel free to return the gesture if that floats your boat.
So! Matt. We trudged across the sand to a giant crowd of people who’d gathered in the designated spot and who were murmuring things like “Matt” and “dance” and who were also wearing random strange headgear (presumably to spot themselves in the video easier). Matt was not there. But! He had kindly shared some notes with us regarding this gathering:
When you get to the spot, look for the guy who looks like the guy in the dancing video. Just come on over, say hello, and ask if I am Matt. If I’m not Matt, I will let you know.
Wearing distinctive clothing will make it easier to spot yourself in the video, but please do not dress as a licensed character (Mario, Spider-Man, Sarah Palin) or I will have to blur you and that will make everyone think you showed up naked or something. Also, please do not show up naked.
I did not notice anyone there naked, so this was clearly a group who followed directions very well. After a short wait, a dark-haired guy in sunglasses ran up to the crowd to a large round of applause. Speaking of mob mentality (because Summer was, actually), all it takes is for a few people to assume that every dark-haired guy in sunglasses is Matt for the rest of us to assume the first people know what they are talking about. They didn’t. But, true to his word, Matt informed us that he was not Matt. Only a moment later, another dark-haired guy in sunglasses, struggling with a large cooler, walked up to the crowd to very little applause. I guess we were jaded and suspicious by that point. Poor Matt.
And so we gathered into a big mob. There was a girl there with the most awesome bright orange hair I’d ever seen, two guys who Matt dubbed “Shirtless Guys”, and a bunch of goofy kids who bossed Matt around a lot. Well, and a bunch of other people, too. Matt set up the shot, made us give thumbs-up to the disclaimer, squeezed in to join us and we danced.
First we did Matt’s dance, and then we did a bunch of others. Turns out I fail at dancing. I mean, this really shouldn’t be a surprise to me, but it turns out even simple dances like The Swim are beyond me when you are supposed to do it in some kind of rhythm. I predict being fully embarrassed when this video is finished. Or possibly that the entire San Diego sequence will be cut because of me and I will become Hated.
The kids in the front row all took turns making up dances for us to do. Matt was seriously so awesome with all the kids. At one point a tiny two year old ran up and grabbed onto his leg and just held there – that’s pretty much how all the kids felt, I think. Elliott showed Matt how do do a “dance contest” which ended, unexpectedly, with falling down rather than a prize. But then most things Elliott does end with falling down. He is a big fan of the physical comedy.
It was such an awesome afternoon, as are most when you meet internet-famous people. But the sun was shiny and we were within view of the Hotel Del and we were dancing and we were with a group of people who were just awesome (as you’d have to be to show up to dance for the internet). And the traffic off the “island” (because Coronado likes to call themselves an island but it is clearly a peninsula) wasn’t nearly as scary as it looked. Win!
So. Who should we meet next?
UPDATE! We didn’t make it into the actual video because we were upstaged by a stupid sea lion (and maybe because I danced so terribly that we got upstaged by a stupid sea lion), but you can catch bits and pieces of us in the outtakes.
Elliott, after hitting Margie: I’m not going to apology girls!
I just got an email saying I “deserved 8-inch penis”. This makes me wonder both why I no longer deserve it and what I did to earn it in the first place.
Elliott: “Mommy? If you could drink blood, I’d get you blood juice.” Um. Sweet?
My electric toothbrush died so now I have to brush… with my… ARMS. Just like in olden times ten years ago.
Elliott wants to know if Dr. Horrible is a bad guy or a good guy. I don’t know how to answer this.
Elliott: Will you quietly shut your noise?
Elliott has just informed me that he will make a Lego Doctor on “Dictember 10th”.
I’ve got pimples in all my wrinkles this week. Dear Universe: Not amused by your little joke. Ok. A little amused.
Elliott, upon calling his dad on the phone and hearing it ring: “It’s loading!” #Childrenof2011
ZOMG HE-MAN IS ON NETFLIX INSTANT. MY LIFE IS COMPLETE.
Dude. Skeletor just called Evil-Lyn a boob. He’s so hardcore.
Sometimes it’s heavenly to eat alone because then I can lick the plate without worrying about “manners” or “being a good example” ‘n shit.
Giant scary spider is giant and scary. And following me.
OMG Elvis just stepped out of the RV behind us in the parking lot.
Why yes I am ripping up the carpet in my bedroom while on a spider hunt. That’s normal, right? I’ll never sleep again.
Margie checked out her first Nancy Drew book today. And then she finished it.
The kids are running in circles trying to find each other. In the soundtrack of my life the Benny Hill theme is playing right now.
WHAT DO THEY MEAN A TIME LORD ONLY HAS 13 LIVES? *panics*
Something evil bit my foot and it itches violently and I’m trying not to panic that I might be dying.
I am given the distinct impression that my vacuum cleaner is considering dying. Asshole.
OMG you guys, I see a hipster!!
No matter how much I prepare myself, the customer service at Michael’s never fails to disappoint me.
But how can I take a shower if that spider doesn’t climb out of the tub?
I love the smell of proofing yeast.
A new sitcom with Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence playing… grownups? Way to make me feel OLD, ABC Family channel.
Elliott is confusing the word “torture” with “Torchwood”. As in: “Is he going to get Torchwood?” It’s cute as hell.