Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Letter to Mom of choice

This past Sunday was hard. I didn’t realize how hard until later, after I had the chance to really think about it.

When I was lying in bed for the hours I couldn’t sleep I came some realizations why this was worse than other times. First was when I realized that you cared more for the feelings of someone you barely knew who was actively manipulating you than you did for mine. Second was when I acknowledged you were aware that you were in the “cutting comments” emotional state because I had called you on it earlier but you did nothing to modify your behavior, so the statement of “it just came out” has less to back it up because you knew you were in that space.

The hurt hit a peak when one of my coworkers cheered that I got the starter changed in my truck. This was what I was expecting you to do. Just a simple, good job or congratulations or something like that. I got instead that critical laughter that feels like razorblades cutting down my back. I usually ignore it (or try) and just go on. “That’s just the way she is” I usually say.

Not today.

“How can I miss you if you won’t go away” and other little or big insults depending on the day. We usually call them “cutting remarks” today I will call them what they are, insults. In previous times when the insults came I would chalk it up to you “just being you” or that I was intruding on your space, or something I may have done.

Not today.

I look back over our relationship focusing on the last 8 months or so and I am seeing a disturbing pattern. I am seeing signs of abuse where I chose to ignore it before. Perhaps abuse is a strong word to use in this situation, however, I feel it is accurate. I feel that intentional tearing of someone down (no matter what the motivation or explanation) is abuse. More so if there is consistency in the behavior with no perceived effort to change the behavior.

Basically all of the logic above is a great way to defend myself against the full onslaught of the hurt I feel right now. Hurt at being betrayed, hurt at being treated far worse than someone you barely knew and who was actively manipulating you, hurt at the realization that I have repeatedly used convenient rationalizations to justify being treated like shit. Hurt at the realization that I won’t let it continue and that I can’t trust you to stop.

Hurt that I am losing another mom.

You said on Sunday night, after the insult, that you hoped you had helped me on the path of healing. You have, more than you know. You gave me space to heal and guidance along the way. Held me when I came apart and told me that it would be ok. That is what makes this so hard and hurt so much.

This just sucks.

The reason I am not coming tomorrow is that you will do this again. Tomorrow sometime you will send another insulting dart my way and it will hurt even more than Sunday’s. I can’t handle that so I am protecting myself from it.

I do miss you.

A lot.

This just fucking sucks.

I was hoping that over time this week I would feel better, that the wound would begin to close and heal. What I am finding instead is that it is much wider and deeper than I knew. This isn’t going to heal in a day or two. It might not even heal in a month or two. I just don’t know. Even if it does heal I don’t know if I will ever trust opening up to you. I don’t know if I will ever trust talking with you in person again because I was closed to you Sunday night (because I knew the space you were in) and you were still able to get to me.

I will leave you with unsolicited advice.

1. look at your motivation for saying things.
2. breathe before you speak.
3. step into the shoes of the other before saying anything to them other than pleasantries.
4. know yourself and your limits. Back away when you feel yourself getting into that space.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I am in a spectacularly shitty mood so I am trying to limit the amount of time I am around people right now. Even in electronic form where I can edit.

I got a shitty review at work last week. It wasn’t that getting a “meets expectations” (ME) is that bad. It is the fact that I overwhelmingly exceeded expectations, they know it, and they gave me the ME simply for bullshit political reasons.

I own the fact that I like to poke people. Doesn’t matter who you are, I will ask you to prove the bullshit you are spouting and asking me to follow. This is bad when you want to succeed in a division run by people with egos larger than their brains. I know that I will never get advancement in this place because I do like to poke people. I also know that it is unlikely that I will ever get a great review here. Last year the VP of the division joined with the CTO of the company to override my boss’ recommendation for an “exceeds expectations” on that review. I was ok with that because my boss was able to put in good examples and so while the overall rating was an ME you could see where I did a good job.

However, to get slammed by the shitty examples used on this review is beyond what even I can accept.

While going over the review with my boss, I challenged him on one of the examples he sighted to bring my score down. The example he used was clearly out of my control and proven such in the records of the ticket. When I showed him this he said that he could not change it but that he would note it in my review that I objected to it. That was but one of the many times in my review where the score was brought down for bullshit.

Added to this was the lovely lecture yesterday from the VP of my division while going over my salary increase. He explained to me how I missed out on a higher raise because I "need to work harder" and "work on my goals with my supervisor to try and get a promotion". When I asked him "Promotion to where?" he sputtered for about 45 seconds then said "well, a promotion". To which I asked him again "To where?". He didn't have an answer.

After working my ass off this whole year I got a whopping 3% raise. Considering that inflation was 5.5% I actually lost money this year.

I did not tell him to eat shit and die. It took every ounce of self control not to. I did however walk away today when he was in mid-sentence about how the second highest person in the company complimented me on the excellent job I did. He was left standing in the hallway with nothing to do or say other than "ok, uh, well then."

Yesterday before the salary talk, I stared blankly at my boss when during a meeting we were having going over my tickets he complimented me on how well I handled the last two weeks with a project that would have derailed without my help. All I said to him was a very flat “Ok. Next.”

Ditto on the blank stare when another person complimented my work to the VP last week when I was in a meeting with him. I looked right at him with the blank stare and after a pause said in a voice that was cold as ice "shall we continue?" Watching the look on his face would have been funny if I had been in the mood to laugh instead of resisting the urge to tell him off.

Seems like ever since my shitty ass review I have been swimming in complements from these ass holes. Fancy that. I haven’t changed a damn thing about how I do my job but all the-fucking-sudden I am spectacular and *insert arm pump here* “doing a great job!”

The next compliment I get from the fuckwads I don't know if I will be able to continue to resist the urge to say what I think each and every time they compliment me.

To my boss: "I am quite confident you will make sure to forget all of this by the time my review comes again, just like you do every year."

To the VP: "I don't have time to listen to empty words from you."

Neither statement is good for continued employment.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

For you Mother and Father

Mother, This one is for you.

Dad, This one is for you.


I am sitting here in Waffle House trying to become human again. No, that isn’t really accurate. I am trying to wrap my head around my daughter not seeing me. I don’t know what has her so afraid of seeing or talking to me.

Go back in time to three weeks ago. My parents lawyer called my lawyer at 9:55 am on a Thursday in August when I was in StL, visiting with my spouse, and asked if we were on our way over to the meeting that started at 10:00. My lawyer answered with a “No, we didn’t know about this meeting”. She went over as soon as she could and met with my parents, my daughter and their lawyer. She didn’t even get the chance to call me before this meeting took place.

She did well acting on my behalf and also got the chance to talk with my daughter alone. During the alone conversation my daughter expressed a strong desire to see me. She also expressed that she would like for me to come to some plays she is in and other activities. Later the same thing was expressed when all were in the same room. During the alone interview my lawyer asked why she stopped calling me or answering my calls. My daughter told my lawyer that my parents had said that they would take the car away from her if she talked to me. They worked out that my daughter and I would have the second weekend of every month for visitation.

After this meeting I called my daughter that same day. She sounded distracted so I asked her if this was a good time. She said that she was tired and asked if she could call me back later. I didn’t hear from her for three weeks.

Last weekend was to have been the visitation weekend. My daughter said it was not a good time when my lawyer tracked her down when I couldn’t get in contact with her.

It was rescheduled to this weekend.

I was supposed to have visited with her this weekend but that isn’t happening. I stopped by to see her this morning and no one was home. I called and left a message on her cell phone and the house phone. I then went to McDonalds around the corner and ate breakfast and waited a little while. After an hour I was headed back over to her house to leave a note and she passed me going the other way. I pulled over and sat there for a minute or two deciding what to do. I then turned around and went back the way I came. I got to the light where I turn to go home and saw her sitting there. After thinking about it for a few seconds I pulled in behind her and tried to get her attention. She looked in the rear view mirror and then pulled away when the turn light changed.

I don’t know what to think.

I know how I feel though. Hurt, crushed, devastated. Gulf Coast after Katrina kind of devastated.

I tried for ten years to have a relationship with her. My parents actively interfered with that. I would call my mother and almost always hear “it’s not a good time” or some bullshit like that. Finally I started calling my daughter directly and checking with her first. She would say ok, then I would call my mother and would still hear “it’s not a good time”. Finally my mother asked me to stop checking with my daughter first because she got tired of my daughter blowing up when my mother would say no to seeing me. This was May of last year. My daughter and I couldn’t see each other much but we could talk on the phone and text message. At least we could up till this July when I got tired of not seeing her and started this part of the journey.

Only to end up here, in Waffle House, trying to become human again when frankly, I can’t feel anything but pain contrasted with waves of numb with the occasional spark of life when I can distract myself from the pain and numb.

I realize that either my daughter was lying about wanting to see me or she is lying now about not wanting to see me.


There is nothing I can do about any of this.

Interesting that the server here just put Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” on the jukebox. Most of this song is about right with how I feel. Everything except the line “we both know that I’m not what you need”, that line does not fit.

Now it is Bob Marley’s I wan I love ya. Is this love that I’m feelin. This is a weird trip to Waffle House. Not the weirdest click here for that one.

The next one is Bob Marley’s “No woman no cry”.

I gotta say I like the server’s choice in music.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Visitation or the lack there of

A little over a month ago I contacted a lawyer to find out what my rights are as far as filing for visitation to see my 16 year old daughter.

I lost custody of her to my parents 10 years ago when I had a severe BiPolar episode. While I was in the hospital they threatened to sue for custody. Knowing they would file in Virginia and that being gay combined with being in a mental hospital gave me no chance at all of winning I gave in and signed a temporary custody agreement so that it would not go before a judge and I would not risk having my parental rights terminated. I was not well enough at the time to retain my own attorney or to think to stipulate regular visitation in the paperwork. Since then my parents have made it very difficult to see my daughter. At one point they did not let me see her for three years. I had believed that things were improving up till these last 6 months when my parents, once again, were making it impossible to see her.

I contacted an attorney in Virginia to see what I needed to do to file for visitation rights. The lawyer asked me to go to the court house to find out exactly what paperwork had been filed. I went to the courthouse the morning of Tuesday July 29th. After I got there the lady behind the counter pulled the file. As she is rustling through the papers of the file I point to a stapled bunch and ask “Is that the temporary custody agreement?”

“It doesn’t say temporary on it”

My heart stopped at that moment.


“It doesn’t say ‘temporary’ on it. Hmmm. This is weird though.”

She then flips through all the pages in the file. Pages that are stapled together, pages that have sticky notes attached, single pieces of paper, all representing the worst time of my life. The time that I lost custody of my beautiful, sweet daughter.

I remember back to that time. The phone call to me when I was in the hospital, where my dad tells me that because I will not come back to live with he and my mom that they are going to file for custody of her. The moments later when I hung up the phone, went to the smoking room, and started punching the steel door (nearly destroying my hand) because the pain in my hand was better than the pain in my heart, mind, and soul.

The moment a few weeks later, when I was sitting in a law office in Virginia, across the table from my mother and the attorney signing the papers giving custody to my parents. The worst part being that my mother had brought my daughter along. I had to sign these papers, then look into my daughters eyes that were filled with questions, knowing that there was nothing I could do to stop this. Nor did I want to poison her relationship with them by telling her what had happened.

The memories of the next few months of setting up visits with my daughter, coordinating it with my mother, then getting there to find that my mother had sent her to a friends house to play. For hours I waited, while my mother chit-chatted with me about how I was going to hell, how I was a horrible influence on my daughter, how I was “leading her down an evil path”. When I could no longer take it I left to go home. Once home, I would get a call from my daughter, asking why I didn’t come. I didn’t want to tell her that I was there waiting for her while my mother tormented me. I didn’t want her to hate the person she was now living with, my mother. I didn’t want her to feel like she couldn’t go over to a friend’s house to play. So, I told her that I couldn’t make it. By the 5th or 6th time of this happening I gave up trying to see my daughter. I couldn’t take lying to her like that anymore and I couldn’t take my mother tormenting me like that.

I remember the next time I saw my daughter after giving up. It was December 2001 around Christmas time. Three long years of not seeing my daughter. No contact, no information, nothing, for three years. She had gotten so big during that time. By this point my mother had her start calling them “Mom” and “Dad” instead of “Nani” and “Popi”. My mother had also taught her call me by my given name, instead of Mommy.

Many other daggers like this over the years. So many hoops to jump through, ass kissing sessions, placating, making sure I don’t rock the boat, to an extent hiding who I am, all to be allowed to see my daughter. Usually only for a couple of hours every 4 to 6 months. The years of drinking to escape the pain and the hopeless worthless feeling I had about myself. This was not the only reason for drinking, but looking back I see where this added to the downslide.

So many events that I missed. So many memories that I don’t have with my daughter. So many times to share that will never be. So many things with her that I never saw or experienced. My daughter grew up without knowing me, and without me knowing her. We are just now beginning to come together and know each other again. It was time to limit the amount that my mother could interfere with this knowing process.

I come back to the present time, with the courthouse worker checking the database to verify something she found. She looks at me and says “the judge never signed this.”

“What?” I ask.

She tells me that 10 years ago, the judge reviewed the custody paperwork my parent's attorney filed and had a question about it. The judge asked the court to contact the attorney's office to get clarification. The attorney's office never got back to the court or to the judge, so, the judge never signed the paperwork.

My breath has completely stopped by this point. I don’t dare hope that this means what I think it means, so I slowly ask:

“What, exactly, does this mean?”

The woman behind the counter says “What this means is that your daughter has just been living with your mother these last 10 years.”

My head exploded at this point. I took the copy of the not valid order and left the court house. The first phone call I made was to my partner. She burst into tears of joy that I could now see my daughter whenever she and I wanted.

My next call was to my attorney.

The call after that was to my mom of choice. (I just call her mom these days but for clarity in this article I will call her mom of choice.) Her head exploded too. She just kept saying “I don’t believe it” over and over again. :-)

Other phone calls followed. More tears, more joy.

My daughter was out of town when I got the news so I had to wait till I was fairly sure she knew about this before posting.

I say fairly sure because my parents have once again cut off all contact. My lawyer is working on it though.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Distracted (but not a med thing)

I can’t seem to write this entry. I am distracted (quit laughing) tonight and I understand why. I have not been able to talk to my daughter. It is driving me nuts. More so than even the three years when I was not allowed to see her. Perhaps it is because I am so close to having a semi-normal relationship with her. Closer than I have been in ten long ass motherfucking years.

And yet,

I still cannot see or speak to her.


Godamnmotherfuckersonofabitch why the hell do they have to make this so god damn hard??? What kind of sick fucking joy do they get from this? Huh? Could someone please answer that fucking question? Jeeeebus H. Chrust on a damn cracker.

All I want to do is speak to my daughter, give her a hug, find out what she would like to do, talk with her about what is possible and what is realistic. Tell her that I am willing to do whatever she would like. If that means she wants to live with me but stay in the same school, ok. I can move out there, I can get a new job out there so that it will be closer to her and to her school. If she wants to stay with my parents, also ok. I can sign the paperwork and stipulate visitation weekends and the holiday or two. Either one is fine with me. Honestly I want her living with me but she has been with my parents for so long now…

*Big ass sigh*

You know. I need sleep now. I need a lot of sleep and then a lot more blogging.

Funny, I just figured out what I need to be doing in my spare time till Friday. Interesting… No wonder I have been running. Who the hell wants to do this kind of intense work. Yeah, I do. I want to be better and keep on movin on up.

Time for bed now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ADHD or How I learned to get things done.

For years I have had the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Click on the link here if you don’t know what that is.

When I got the diagnosis at the ripe age of about 7 years old they started me on Ritalin. This was not a bad thing however this was just as they were trying to figure out how to dose us kids back in 1980. This was also decades before I figured out that I hyper-react to medication. In other words I was severely overdosed.

I called the pills my “downers” and later learned to describe the effects as a pharmacological lobotomy. It killed most of my emotions and responses to things that were happening around me. It made me flat and a zombie. I told a doctor years later that “sure I could focus, but it took me four times longer to get anything done.”

I was on Ritalin from the age of 7 to age 11 (the point where I flat out refused to take it anymore). I vowed at that point to never take anything like that again. For years I self medicated (coffee and smoking) and denied that I needed any meds or if I admitted I needed meds that it wasn’t bad enough to merit trying anything like that again.

Till this past Monday.

This past Monday was the culmination of weeks of a downhill slide, which in turn had followed decades of struggling with trying to make and keep appointments, balance my budget, make it to work on time, keep up with work and get my life organized.

The start of the downhill slide was quitting smoking. I quit smoking June 5, 2008. Six weeks after removing a large stimulant from my system I was in the doctors office nearly begging to be put on something, anything, so that I could function. I had hit the point of not being able to do anything, not even the things I looked forward to. I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t follow a conversation, I couldn’t figure out where to begin with something, I couldn’t stay on task. I was losing my mind.

I was also driving those around me crazy.

My partner had to put up with me not being able to talk on the phone with her for more than 10 minutes before I had to go. My Mom (of choice) would watch me sit down, stand up, move around, jump from one topic to another in a conversation, and watched me be impulsive financially. Mom knew what this was because her daughter has ADD too and so she understood because she had been down this road before. (She had been encouraging me to go back on the meds for a long time.) My coworkers watched as I got more and more behind in my work.

My state of mind was subconsciously demonstrated the night before I called the doctor when I was fixing something for mom and was holding a drill talking with her about something. She looked at me and said something about it isn’t that bad or something. I looked over and realized that I had it pointed at my head like I was going to drill a hole in it. Yeah, that was about how I felt. I didn’t have the heart to look at mom for a minute after I put the drill down. It was a bit too revealing how accurate that pose was.

So, on Tuesday morning I called my doctor and got an appointment for that day. Mom wrote up talking points for the doctor since I could no longer pull things together in my head nor could I explain things coherently. Armed with my list I went to the doctor.

First thing the doctor said after looking up my records (no official mention of the ADHD there) and reading my list was “I guess you should be taking some medication for the ADD huh?” I said “that is why I am here” with a bit of a groan.

I went on to explain that yes, I did hold out too long but with what I went through the first time on meds combined with the chance that these meds may spark a Manic episode and the fact that up till I quit smoking it was manageable, why would I take the risk? She was more understanding after that. She prescribed Adderall for me in a light starting dose to see how it goes. I am to return in 30 days for a check-in, how you doing type of thing, and another 30 day prescription. (I call it being on a short leash. It works for me.)

I took the first dose way late in the day knowing that it would screw up my sleep. Hell, I wasn’t sleeping anyway so I figured at least it may make staying awake more interesting. :-) The first dose was a miracle! It was like Holy Shit I can sit still, I can focus, I can actually do my job! Woo Hooo!

The doc had told me that I would notice the difference right away but I didn’t really believe her too much. I hoped but I didn’t really believe. Each day has gotten a bit better. Till today where I feel like I am beginning to get my life together. This really is much like when I went on meds for the first time for the BiPolar. Its like “Wow, so this is what life is like for everyone else?” Later my thoughts were, “yeah, I should have been on this a while ago.”

There have been some interesting learning experiences this past week.

Adderall, if you don’t know, is an amphetamine. Essentially it is speed. (Speed kills man! Yeah, couldn’t resist.) This drug, in ADD or ADHD folks has the opposite effect than in folks without ADD/ADHD. Basically it slows us down and helps us focus.

I wondered about drinking caffeinated coffee with this amphetamine. So, Wednesday morning last week I tried a bit. Ooooo that was not a good idea. I drove to work that day looking like Tweeek from South Park. My eyes felt like they were really biiiiig. When I turned my head it didn’t feel like my usual slow turn to the side, it was like “whaPAH” and I was suddenly looking left. I don’t think I blinked for like three hours. Yeah, I quickly decided that it would be decaf coffee for me.

Then a few days later I couldn’t stay awake. That was ok for the weekend where I can take afternoon naps but not so good for weekdays where I have to work. I put just the teensiest bit of caffeine back in and that was ok. So now, it is about ½ and ½ for the first two cups then decaf for the rest. I will be asking the doc about the can’t stay awake thing. Perhaps the dose is a bit high? Donno, will find out when I ask her. I learned long ago with the BiPolar not to fuck with my meds. Don’t go off them without approval (read supervision) of the doc and support from family. Don’t change the dose, don’t! do! anything! without the doc and family knowing and supporting. It is a short road to crazy and I have a more direct route than most.

In writing this post I did a bit of research and found a lot of stuff that is making me say “oooooh, that’s why” a lot. It is hard looking at this stuff and at the same time, it is comforting. Hard cause I have to face what a mess my life is in, literally with my room, my truck, my desk at work, financially with lots of stuff that piled up cause I couldn’t deal with it. Comforting cause what I am reading and learning are steps to combat the usual stuff that goes on with ADHD folks. I read this and its like, wow, I’m not alone or lazy or stupid or crazy (all the things I have secretly said to myself over the years). I really do, as much as I hate to admit it, have a disability that makes some things a lot harder for me than for other folks.

There is a part of me that is looking forward to the adventure of succeeding with this. After so many years of struggle and failure it is neat to begin to see what I really am capable of now that I don’t have one arm and one leg tied behind my back.

More later…

Friday, July 18, 2008

Where do I begin

Where do I begin to get all of these things out of my mind? So much is in there. The trip to Ohio. The seeing my daughter after six months of waiting. Losing my grandmother. Contacting an attorney to get visitation rights spelled out. Reconnecting with lost family. Thanking my mom of choice in a deeply open hearted way for all the love and support she has given me. Starting a new medication to help with the severe ADHD that I had denied for years. That med allowing me to drop a few more of my emotional walls.

All of this was just in this past week.

Where do I begin to empty my head a bit so I can sleep better?

Stream of consciousness seems to be the key. Not thinking and just typing. Whatever comes to mind in whatever form.

This week, I thanked my mom (of choice) for all that she is to me. I put it in the form of all that she has done for me but that is not what I meant. Nice thing is, she knew that.

I have to add the descriptor after her “title” so to speak because I am interacting more with my Biomom as I am calling her. That would be my mother of origin, birth mother would be another term. She is…

ohhhh. I think I hit close to why I am not sleeping.

My biomom (short for biological mom) is in large part the reason I did not see my father’s family for 10 years. (See the July 16th entry in this blog) I am very angry with her right now. She separated me from half of my family and instead gave me her family as the only option. This family consistently treated me as less than because I asked questions, couldn’t sit still, wasn’t the pretty little girl in a cute dress and didn’t play with dolls. A family that looked good from the outside but were not what they tried to present themselves as. A family that, to me, is more interested in “winning souls for JESUS” than they are with talking to/with people and getting to know who they are trying to “save”. The family that when I came out as gay, chose to believe what they heard in church from their pastors rather than read the bible and turned me away. My Aunt even went as far as to tell me that “satan has written his lies all over your face”, after I had opened myself up to her and told her my story. My story of knowing in my deepest being I was born gay and my years of struggle to stifle and kill that part of me. Imagine being that vulnerable, just months after coming out to yourself, only to be met with being told by someone you loved that it was a lie. (I have been trying for years to forgive her that. I just can’t seem to let it go.)

My mother had good reason to limit my contact with my grandfather (Fathers father). He had problems that I don’t want to get into here. Perhaps another time. I understand her wanting to protect me.

But, I don’t understand her wanting to protect me.

This is the same woman who told me that she hates me. This was not when I was an adult that she did this. All through growing up I heard this. I got chills one time when I did the math about Roe v. Wade and my birthday. Had I been a little bit later I probably wouldn’t be here. This woman that I owe my birth to… it is a shame. I try sometimes to be compassionate toward her. Not tonight. Tonight I am pissed. Shit, not just tonight. I have been this way an entire week since I was in Ohio and realized that the stories that she told me about my father’s family were only one sided. They were told to me to accentuate the negative about them. They were told to me to control me.

ooooooooh…. another moment of understanding.

Is this what I am angry about? Am I angry that my birth mother still had this control over me 10 years after I started to remove myself from her suffocating grasp?

Or am I angry that I allowed her to manipulate me like that for so long. That for so long after I became “an adult” that I still let her run my thoughts and actions and beliefs. And that this “training” had continued even after I thought I was done letting her.

Or, is it just the fact that I am angry at missing the last 10 years of my grandmothers life. That, when I sat across the hospital bed from my Aunt, I had to ask my aunt questions about my grandmother that I should have known. I didn’t know what her birthday was till I read it on the hospital wrist band… last week… a few days before she died. Her birthday was in the same month as mine. I never knew that before last week. I didn’t know that she has two brothers living that she didn’t have any sisters. I learned last week that the Cherokee heritage comes down through her. I learned more but I don’t want to put it here yet.

I got the chance to tell her that I am doing well. That I am studying to become a Shamanic Practitioner. When she asked me what that was I told her that I was studying to become an Indian Medicine Woman. I was floored when her eyes got really big and she got a huge smile and said “that’s good”. She was proud of me. It was wonderful seeing that look, even though it was behind an oxygen mask.

I was accepted and loved for who I am. No hiding what I thought or felt or who I am. I was just loved.

I helped care for her for a bit before I had to tear myself away to return home to go back to work. I wasn’t afraid to touch this frail woman. In fact, it was hard not to keep stroking her hair, even when she was sleeping. I held her hand for as long as I could when I visited her.

Then, too soon I had to come back home. I knew I would not see her again in this life. I was right. She dropped the robe this past Monday.

My biological mother let me know of Grandma’s passing via a text message to my cellphone.

Yeah, my biomom really is that heartless.

I am sleepy again. Perhaps this was what needed to come out of my head. More tomorrow after I buy some tissues. I thought I had some around here but I don’t. So, I have to make due with fast food napkins that I scrounged up. Not too soft those…

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Letter to My Family of Choice Back Home

I am in Ohio. Location of my family since just before the Trail of Tears in 1836. I find myself looking around and merging with any number of times, 1980, 1974, 1995, all of them. I see things that have been here for nearly 30 years (the sign outside a Baptist Church) and things that are new (The Panera Bread place I am at now). Makes me wonder what year it is sometimes. (I will splaine more sometime but not now...)

As you all know (if ya didn't I apologize) my Grandmother (Father's Mother) was not doing so well. Tuesday evening they weren't expecting her to make it through the night. She did make it and is now doing a bit better. She ate something this morning for the first time in a week. She woke up for a bit when I was just there a little while ago and we talked a bit. She has an oxygen mask on so it is a bit hard to understand her. She lost a LOT of weight so she is not the large, loud, wonderful woman that I remember. She is thin, and frail, and looks like if you looked at her too hard she would break. Still one tough bitch though! :-) I can see it in her spirit even if I can't see it in her body.

I have spent time with my grandfather as well. He has changed so much in the last 10 years. Perhaps the throat cancer has him thinking about his mortality and what went on in the past, I don't know. I do know that he is MUCH quieter (not just verbally, but emotionally as well). Less demanding and less needing of being the center of attention. Perhaps it is just the fact that as tumultious as his marrage has been to Grandma, this is his wife of more than 60 years who may be transitioning, and he does love her. This is the first time I have ever seen it.

I have spent a good amount of time with one of my dad's sisters (Nancy) and ran into one of his brothers (Brucie) at the hospital. I am still wanting to see his other brothers (Terry and Eddie) and sisters (Connie and Cathy). Those reunions should be interesting... They are all pissed at my dad (Teddy) for not coming up and as his "unofficial representative" I am getting a lot of the "Why didn't your dad come up?" kinda thing. What do I say? I just say that he isn't doing so good these days cause he is drinking too much and try to leave it at that. What the hell, why not tell them that his drinking is out of control. Interesting thing is everyones's drinking up here is pretty much out of control too. Irony is my middle name these days....

At last count I had 26 first cousins. This is a bit of an advantage given that I cannot remember people's names. There are too fucking many of us to keep track of so it is ok for me to ask what someone's name is. I am trying to start the trend of introducing ourselves to each other by saying something like "I'm Aimee. I belong to Teddy." just to give an idea where we come from. LOL I mentioned that to my dad this morning when I was giving him an update on Grandma and my Aunt Nancy about shot her coffee all over the place cause she was laughing. Good to keep the sense of humor when ya are completely overwhelmed. She by losing her mom (dad too soon cause of the cancer), me cause I haven't seen these people in 10 years and the mental/emotional whiplash is...

On my way up, I was very nervious about coming here. I am sure that I have told stories about some of my experiences with this side of the family. Spirit and I had a good conversation while I was driving. Spirit asked me to take everything from the past and set it aside and approach my grandparents, aunts and uncles from the perspective of today. I agreed to do that with a little caviat. Just as long as it did not compromise my safety or sobriety. I did this and wow. I can't wrap my head around some of this... I can't wrap my head around the fact that I feel like I have come home. That I am welcome, that I am family. I have never had that feeling with my Mother's side. I arrived here, after not speaking to anyone here for 10 years and I am welcomed with open arms. Not one person asked me why I haven't been back in 10 years. They just keep saying come back again sooner than ten years from now. Fucking wierd not to be judged or critisized in any way.

One of my Cousins (Cathy's daughter Alicia) was at the hospital last night. I remember when her mom got married (back in 1980 I think) I kept looking at her and saying in my head "I remember your mom's wedding... Damn that was a while ago wasn't it" considering this person I was hanging out with is like in her early 20's. She and I had good, honest and frank conversations. Talking about the family, ourselves, how we are doing, where we are headed type of thing. It was neat. None of the hiding information that I am accustomed to from my Mothers side of the family.

So, I am in Canton, Ohio, visiting with relatives that I haven't spoken to in 10 years. my mind is blown and I find myself asking a lot of questions about belonging, judgement, redemption, acceptance and forgiveness.

I find myself asking another question over and over.... Where are all the Black people????? Since I got here I have seen three. What the fuck?? :-) (Yeah I do keep asking myself that but I also needed the humor too....)

More soon. Love to all of you.