Monday, June 21, 2010

Warning: Rant

Rant #1:   
I have soooooo... many fucking writing projects I want to work on for this blog!
  • But working at my high school's graduation...
  • and then there was my birthday...when I had one of the most humiliating interviews I've ever had in my life (story for another post)
  • and preparing for weeks for the class at Whittier College I will be teaching TO ACTUAL GROWNUPS!!!!!... 
    I have this one week off to spend with my kids before having to go back to teach summer school and it is not going well.
    Paul took today off since his family is here to visit.
    When I got home from running an errand this morning, the kids had been separated, forbidden to be in the same room.
    They fight over and about everything. We took a walk this evening and the fight was over a weed.
    Eli had picked up a weed off the sidewalk that Savvy said she was just about to grab.
    Yeah. Like that.

    There is this house we walk by where an older gent lives by himself. He sits shirtless in his garage that is plastered with yellowed pictures of hot air balloons, I'm guessing old calendar picture cut-outs. He wears these huge 1970's eyeglasses that magnify his watery eyes and those glasses are always the first thing you notice. He is peering out of his hot-air balloon garage every time we walk by.

    For some reason, it is when we walk by this house that the kids seem to be at their worse. When Eli's whining has reached torture proportions, when Savvy is screaming no!!! and pulling away from me, flaunting to the world her total fucking defiance towards me.

    The man never says anything, just slightly nods at us as we pass by.
    But he doesn't have to say anything, because in his bug-eyes I see reflected who I used to be:
    ...the one who used to wonder why someone didn't just shut the kid up.
    ...the one who used to roll her eyes and recommit herself to never having children when that mom, with those kids were in a long grocery line.
    ...the one who would rush out of the supermarket sighing in relief that she had the freedom to roll her shopping cart as fast as she could away from the screams and snot.

    And yet there I was, the old me: peering out of plastic '70's eyeglass frames, shaking her head at the new (twitchy) me.

    I think of all the progressive bullshit I've read in parenting magazines. What could I have done to prevent their behavior from elevating to such proportions? How about some positive reinforcement, huh?, worker mom?
    But the magazines don't tell you: what do you do if your kids
    are like mice before a trap:
    always manage to grab the cheese and be long gone wayyyyyy before the thing goes snap!?

    Deep breath.

     Rant #2:
    Because I'm a teacher, I get home early from work, but do I really get home early from work?
    It takes so long to emotionally leave my teen mom who has recently become homeless with her infant.
    Or how about my brilliant foster girl who is being treated like fucking Cinderella by a 24-year-old foster mom?
    I have just enough juice left to sit and do homework with my (of course) resistant son.
    I say a silent prayer that Savvy won't want to play her favorite "school day," where I have to be one of the students among her dolls, andget time-out if I yawn.

    I try to forgive myself for being sooooo grateful when bedtime comes. But by the time I am at the bottom of the stairs after putting them to bed, I am riddled with guilt and regret. What could I have done differently to make it a GOOD DAY?!

    Deep breath.

    On a positive note, I am thankful for my molar that broke, oh, about a week ago.
    No, wait, listen! I'm not wallowing.
    I think I've lost one or two pounds because it hurts really bad now to eat, even with Advil.
    But this is good news. Tomorrow I am going to the dentist...and might be able to squeeze into skinny jeans for the occasion.

    OK, I did warn you this would be a rant.

    P.S.: Dewi, if you read this: I haven't been able to send you an error always occurs!
    My email address is:
    I'd love to hear from you!

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    "I'm Coming Out..."

    The end of May marks my two year anniversary on anti-depressants and I thought I'd celebrate with some red wine and a "coming out" post.

    This is what happened:
    Savvy's birthday was coming up, her first in The New House.
    I decided it had to be memorable.

    My sister gave me "that look" when I told her I'd stayed up for several nights making paper flowers.
    "...because there's this place called Michael's where you can buy..." she said in her typical smart-ass, little sister way.
     Nope. They had to be handmade. Memorable, remember? I learned how to make them on the internet.
    along with flower shaped sandwiches
    "worms in dirt" pudding cups
    and even butterflies made out of tissue and construction paper. (Not as easy as YouTube made it sound)
    I ran around decorating, frosting, cooking...floating on a high.
    I can't even tell you if anyone offered to help. I would have said no. When I'm like this I'm shocked someone might think I might need it.
    I heard it went well, the party.
    by the time the party rolled around, I had already started to crash. I'd gotten only a few hours of sleep each night that week, which contributed to the floating down, down, down feeling that marks the  beginning of:
    Going Under.

    By the end of that week all the typical stuff started happening.
    Listening, talking, all started to dull. It's like trying to do all these things through gauze. It looks like something's right there, but when you go to touch it, hear it, listen to it, it ends up it's really layers away...

    And then my gums started going numb. This particular characteristic doesn't always happen when I'm slipping into a deep depression, but when it does, I know it's gonna be bad. No exercising, writing, talking in the world would work. All these things in my "tool box": useless.

    This sequence pretty much sums up the rhythms of my life since college, when the depression began to become debilitating:

    (It still pisses me off when I think of all the things I screwed up because of "it."
    I missed weddings,
    I much rather people think I was self-absorbed than "down")

    • Start feeling more pep than usual
    • Can't believe how much I'm capable of and how great life is


    • I start to teeter-totter from so way up high
    Hold on tight and hope this time won't be that bad
    that I could sleep it off--no matter how long that might take
    and wake up and shake it off
    go on like nothing happened

    This particular time was the first time it had hit me so bad since I had the kids
    It became very clear that I was not going to be able to do this mom thing
    in such a state.
    I no longer had the luxury of self-medicating, sleeping for days, locking myself in a room until I was presentable again.
    Nothing's more frightening than the thought of being unable to be a mom to my kids

    and so here I am two years later
    it's like I finally started living my life
    On Saturday I watched my kids playing in the waves
    digging a hole in the sand to make a fort for protection against the world
    (wouldn't that be cool)
    and I had to turn my head so they wouldn't see me cry
    B.M. (before meds.), an outing like that would have surely hurled me into a deep one.
    My mind would flood with taunts about my inadequacy to compete with all those "real moms."
    who remember suntan lotion
    and snacks.
    Christmas, birthdays, vacations...I feel like I'm actually there now, not watching the Happy Normal People through that gauze I was telling you about.

    Things aren't perfect, of course.
    I still go under, but I could feel the meds. lifting me up long enough to scramble and grab my tool box.
    Many times it pisses me off that I have to be dependent on chemicals to make me "normal."
    like right now I am having a glass of forbidden red wine
    because this is really hard to write. know how people are
    there is still this stigma surrounding depression:
    suck it up, you're just being a baby
    at work if people know you're "medicated", side-long glances at meetings tell you they attribute any mistake, etc. to your...ahemmm..."condition"

    I know because I used to think the same way
    about those high-maintenance "depressives" (eyeroll)
    who can't get it together.

    I like to think of myself as a bad-ass
    and taking happy pills didn't fit with the image.

    A two year anniversary,
    of getting you're life back,
    that's something to celebrate and not be ashamed of
    and so
    I'm coming out...I want the world to know...