Hey sweet family. I realized after a lot of warm fuzzy thoughts about our wonderful holiday time together that the most meaningful experience for me personally was how generous you kids were to each other. You picked thoughtful, kind, fun gifts for each other and you played silly made up games and puzzles with graceful rivalry and all of that was extraordinarily special.
I realized how much we truly love each other as a family and that all of our years together have meant more than you three just growing up from infancy to adulthood. Each of you is such a unique, gifted, loving person in your own right and you should be really proud of yourselves for being just really good and decent people.
I couldn’t be more proud and even though I can’t and wouldn’t try to take credit, the fact is you are my greatest legacy and obviously the primary reason God put me on this Earth. I love all of you so much, and I thank God for Daddy, for being my life partner in bringing you all into this world. Nothing will ever come between us, our special family, and I’m eternally grateful for that.
The darkness has plagued me for so long and these questions are constantly bouncing around in my damaged brain. I thought it was time to put pen to paper and try to sort them out. Primarily speaking, they are and will remain rhetorical.
Who knows the depth of my suffering?
Who truly understands their part and responsibility in it?
Who can accurately describe what their mistakes did to my psyche?
Who has been there for me from the beginning?
Who has comprehended my losses throughout my life and taken any ownership?
Who can differentiate between the inherited mental illness vs. the things that happened to me that exacerbated the detrimental effects?
Who intellectually knows that if I’d not experienced so much trauma in my youth that the clinical depression could have been much better managed, perhaps even eradicated?
Who chooses to blame others to assuage their own guilt?
Who understands that these traumas will never go away?
Who realizes that their behavior today only makes things worse?
Who realizes that saying you love me is insulting?
Who accepts that I’m never going to be good enough for you?
Who knows that I did my best and it was all for nothing?
Who believes me when I say I have tried everything to help myself?
Why do you get to be happy and content while I suffer?
Why was I born?
Who thinks my husband and children treat me as a worthy wife and mother?
Who thinks there is any chance for me?
Who has convinced themself that I am my own worst enemy?
Who is my “Person”?
Who is just plain sick and tired of my self-pity? Besides myself?
Who thinks they know what’s best for me if I would just listen and take their advice?
Who would choose to live like this?
Who would choose to live with me like this?
When will you stop judging me?
When, exactly, did you give up on me?
Who wishes I would just go away unless I conform to your standards of who you think I should be?
Who knows the definition of compassion? Who practices it in its purest way?
Who has ever made me a priority?
Who has ever genuinely tried to help me? Who even knows how?
Why did I spend my whole life and untold amounts of time and money simultaneously trying to be the best daughter, sister, niece, wife, mother, employee, volunteer, friend, while also trying to heal myself through every avenue available to me?
Why did I fail?
Who thinks they know any of the answers? I know I do.
I need to tell you what I’ve been feeling in recent weeks: All day yesterday, hunkered down after 10 inches of snow blanketed my town, I felt really true to myself for a change. I relaxed, read an entire book, ate what I wanted, enjoyed the peaceful company of my daughter and my dog hanging out, and just felt good about myself. When I’m trying to do everything “right” and constantly taking the high road while I’m being beaten down by my family and my ex-friends (and it feels like no one stands up for me or stands by me or chooses me), it doesn’t seem to matter or make any difference to anyone how hard I try to do the “acceptable” thing. I’m tired of trying and I feel like no one is trying as hard as I am because they believe they are not at fault for anything and take no ownership. It’s just so easy to blame me for everything. I’m just going to stop working so hard to please everyone else and just be myself instead-be comfortable in my own skin instead of beating myself up for never being good enough.
When I was good enough for everyone else I wasn’t being good to myself and that’s how I got to this desolate place and then everyone failed me and judged me and gave up on me. I did my job superbly in my career and my marriage and raising our children and running our household and being a good and loyal friend and family member, but that’s all been completed now and in my loss and pain I’m not comforted or treated compassionately but rather I’ve fallen from grace in everyone’s eyes because I’m no longer relevant or needed and when that caused me pain and deterioration all of you gave up on me and deserted me. I’m just ready to give up on this exhausting facade; it’s too much and I’m not ever going to be good enough again.
I believe everything is fine with my youngest daughter still living at home until she leaves for college next August. I hope she doesn’t end up disappointed with me and judging me like everyone else but I’m not giving up on her. I’ve never given up on any of my children. They have always been my top priority and they know it. I believe I still have some value to my youngest daughter and her choices while she’s still under our care but once she leaves, I just want to go away and never come back. I want to start a completely new life. I know you’ll never understand that but the woman you think you know or thought you knew just doesn’t exist anymore-too much damage has happened, too much pain.
Sadly I don’t feel confident that any of you are ever going to be able to move forward with me as I am today so I have to move on without you because I can’t keep up this pretense that I’m ever going to be who you want and need and expect me to be and therefore you will not be able to love me like you once did. No fault of yours but I wish you had it in you to accept me and love me like you used to. It’s my opinion that you don’t possess the emotional capacity to broaden your horizons beyond your original life plan and I just don’t fit into it anymore. Any love we had for each other is based on the past, (if it ever existed at all), not the future and I’ll never be fully convinced that you loved me like you claimed to or that you can accept me as I am.
My life has been full of pain and it’s not going away. It’s only exacerbated by the constant loss that I feel and will continue to experience for the rest of my life. I’ve really tried so hard to save my family but I need to save myself and be who I am and live in that comfort zone alone instead of walking on eggshells and feeling judged and betrayed. Losing the respect of so many of you including my children is just more than I’m willing to live out my days with.
I hope it’s not too late for you all to remember me when you truly loved and respected me instead of seeing me as an ultimate failure and passing judgement on me. I need to be with people who are flawed like I am, not seemingly perfect people like you. (And how ironic that a lot of my influence played a big role into making some of you better people than I am myself.) Many of you have disappointed me by letting your disdain overshadow your appreciation and gratefulness simply because I’ve gone through some overwhelmingly difficult years for very valid reasons, but no one could be bothered to give some deep thought as to why that was happening; it was just convenient and easier and frankly cowardly to blame it on my “condition”. Shame on you for putting me through this and making it worse instead of genuinely trying to help me. Disrespecting me, judging me, blaming me, and believing all the answers lie in medication or hospitalization or clinical trials has been one big cop-out and your influence on others has been very damaging. Stop defining me in that way. Stop it now, once and for all. It’s clouding your vision and disallowing you to see me in so many other real ways and accepting what good I have to offer. I won’t tolerate it any longer. If you simply cannot do that then please untether me and let me go. Please.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and process it and I know some of you will be dismissive and just roll your eyes at what you firmly believe is my distorted attitude but maybe you should dig a little deeper into yourself and search for your ownership in all of this. I’m a lot stronger than you may remember, since I’ve been kicked while I’m down and I’ve experienced a lot of clarity over these past months and as hard as I try, and want to hope for our future, it just keeps fading away as I become more self-aware, especially with intense and frequent therapy. I genuinely miss the wonderful, fulfilling and happy years we had and wish I could magically have all that positivity back. I gave so much to make a happy life for all of us and it all made me very content and full of confidence. Having to deal with watching all that end and not matter anymore is so incredibly sad for me. My whole life has been a roller coaster of self-confidence built on my own personal success with no help or support from anyone, followed by disappointment in eventually not being good enough for anyone to keep me around once I’ve outlived my usefulness, and I generally see it coming before anyone else does so I fall into self-sabotage, making it easier for others to push me out of their lives, blaming me for everything. I just have to look forward and make my own way, alone as always, and I will succeed because I always do.
Black Friday traditionally death by stampede.
Working retail in December causes PTSD.
Did Jesus ever have birthday parties?
Sitting on Santa’s lap is disturbing.
Where the hell did I park?
Dads wearing Santa costumes are fruitcakes.
Siblings secretly count gifts ensuring fairness.
Who can rationalize the fruitcake concept?
Christmas birthdays are cruel; blame parents.
Christmas card photos reveal disastrous effort.
Office parties+alcohol+mistletoe: inevitably regrettable.
High-limit credit cards are evil.
Amazon boxes collapsed my front porch.
Yes I really need more stuff.
Why wait until December for eggnog?
Christmas: chaos, clutter, confusion, complications, complaining.
Christmas: calm, contentment, cheer, cozy, comfort.
Give. Then give more. Keep giving.
It’s OK to spend Christmas alone.
Why Caroling in below zero temperatures?
Just make the best of it.
Be merry, be mindful, be mellow.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
1 The Annunciation to The World of the Birth of Amazon.com.
2 In the seventh month of 1994, an Entrepreneur was sent from Wall St. to a city in Washington State named Bellevue,
3 to a rented garage whereby he became betrothed to a computer commerce website, of the house of The Internet;
4 and the commerce website was named Amazon.com.
5 And the Entrepreneur came to the website and said,
6 “Hail, I am full of start-up money, your future online shopping service is with you!”
7 But the world was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in its mind what sort of greeting this might be.
8 And the Entrepreneur said to the world, “Do not be afraid, my Consumers, for you have found favor with my Investors.
9 And behold, you will realize in your minds that you must go online and you shall call up the name Amazon.com in your search bar.
10 Amazon.com will be great, and will be called the The Largest Internet Retailer of the Most High; and the Entrepreneur will give to all the world’s Consumers the ability to purchase anything imaginable,
11 and it will reign over the house of Planet Earth forever; and of his online website, the Mighty Amazon.com, there will be no end.”
12 And the Consumers said to the Entrepreneur , “How shall this be, since I have no money?”
13 And the Entrepreneur said to them, “The impossibly low prices and ease of purchasing will come upon you, and cloud your senses, and the power of the Most High Bank and Credit card accounts will overshadow you;
14 therefore the website to be born will be called Amazon.com, the Son of Entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos.
15 And behold, your kinsman, Walmart, Barnes and Noble, in their archaic age, will also conceive online shopping websites; for with greedy consumers nothing will be impossible.”
16 And the Consumers said, “Behold, although we are the poorest of the Land, let it be to us according to your word, to purchase everything we ever wanted from Amazon.com.”
17 And the Entrepreneur departed from his Consumers to count his money.
1 The Birth of Amazon.com
2 In those days a decree went out from the Entrepreneur that all the world should be enrolled with an account on Amazon.com. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
3 And the Entrepreneur went to the larger city of Seattle, which is nearby Bellevue, because he was to be enrolled with The Internet, his betrothed, who was with overwhelmed with the success of Amazon.com.
4 And while they were there, the time came for Amazon.com to begin its first deliveries.
5 And the first delivery was a book entitled Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies by author Douglas Hofstadter and it was wrapped in a plain cardboard box and was laid on the front porch of the Consumer, because there was no other place for the package to go; it had reached its destination.
6 And in that region there were other Consumers out in the streets keeping watch over the delivery that day.
7 And an apparition of the Entrepreneur appeared to them, and the glory of the Amazon.com logo shone around them, and they were filled with no fear, but amazement and awe.
8 And the apparition of the Entrepreneur said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;
9 for to you is born this day in the city of Seattle, the almighty Amazon.com.
10 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a package wrapped for each of you on all of your front porches”.
11 And suddenly there was with the apparition of the Entrepreneur a multitude of the Worldly and Wealthiest Consumers praising and saying,
12 “Glory to Jeff Bezos in the highest, and on Earth, bring swift and sudden bankruptcy among Consumers with whom he is pleased to allow them to purchase all the tangible things ever made!”
13 When the apparition of the Entrepreneur went away from them back to Seattle, the Consumers said to one another, “Let us go over to our neighbor’s homes and see this thing that has happened, which the apparition of the Entrepreneur has made known to us.”
14 And they went with haste, and found packages among packages, of all sizes lying on all the front porches of the land.
15 And when they saw them they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this phenomena;
16 and all who heard it wondered at what the Consumers told them.
17 And Consumers kept all these things, pondering them in their hearts.
18 And the Consumers returned, glorifying and praising Amazon.com for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO AMAZON.COM
And the Consumers said, “Amen.”
Vomitilicious: eating too much yummy food.
Abyssmas: anything related to Christmas season.
Re–doodoo: dog poops immediately after walk.
Irregretless: having no regrets at all.
Momsknoweverything: speaks for itself, trust me.
Sangover: too much drinking and karaoke.
Beerling: darling bring a beer, now.
Teeeiny: sadly describing a man’s genitalia.
Iphobia: fear of all things Apple.
Omititus: failure to fully disclose truth.
Muncholicious: anything edible after smoking marijuana.
OrganicNo: normal processed food we crave.
Apafetish: the closeted predilection of apathy.
Mindlessness: totally over being mindfully mindful.
Ridiculousness: the current political pity party.
Misunderstandable: incapable of ability to comprehend.
ToughGlove: gently but firmly removing glove.
Because I hate myself. I am loathesome and worthless. I’m more trouble than I’m worth. I am irrelevant and have nothing in my life that validates my existence.
Because my soon to be 23 year old daughter is having a birthday next week and due to the fact that she “needs space and a break“ from me, I am not included in her birthday celebration. Ironic, however, that she would not be having a birthday if I hadn’t given her a Birth Day 23 years ago.
Because I am paralyzed from this emotional pain and cannot get out bed.
Because the three people that do reach out to me, my mother my dad and my birth father, are of no help to me because the PTSD diagnosis/ label I carry is because of my childhood trauma that these three parents were a party to.
Because I have no “person”. I have no one left to turn to in this while living in this pain that has not already been over burdened by me.
Because I used to be somebody. I was a hard worker. I was a good wife. I’m was a good mother. I was a good friend. Eventually I even became a good daughter. But now I am none of those things any longer.
I am finished with what good I can do in this life for myself and for anyone else. There is nothing left to do. I am no longer relevant.
I am old and tired and unattractive and unappealing. I hate who I have become. And how I feel about myself
I have lost so much in the last five or so years. My children moved out to go to college (as they should) but I can’t bear my life without them in it. My youngest child will be gone within a year once she graduates and goes away to college. The time I have left with her is not of any quality time for her because I am such a wretched miserable human being. I will eventually ruin her life too, and be excised and ignored.
All the “love” I have received in my entire life has been conditional. This I know because I have always loved my children unconditionally and fiercely and completely. I know the difference.
I don’t want to go to the hospital because I know what that experience is like and it’s just not helpful and it is a whole lot of trouble. I can’t fathom the the idea of getting out of bed to go to the hospital today.
My therapist that I see three days a week is a wonderful and caring person. However I think that I am too far gone too benefit from this attempt at rebuilding my self worth and self-esteem at this point in my life. It just doesn’t seem to be working, obviously.
Also, in these last five or so years not only have I lost my family, I have a lost so many friends that I used to be so close with and trusted them and loved them yet most of them have “ghosted“ me; that is to say that for no reason that I can discern and no matter how much I try to reach out, these people have completely, without any explanation, removed me from their lives as though I never even existed. I know that I am the common denominator so I know that it’s my fault because I have deteriorated so much and have become so negative and they are in self-preservation mode and needing to remove the toxic person that is me from their lives. But it is excruciating to be ghosted with nary an explanation or just a simple “I can’t do this anymore” statement. If I were to try to name all of these people that have piled up like a mass grave in my backyard I would say it started with B back in 2013, then L, G, K, T, K, L; and then there was my yoga instructor who disappeared with no explanation and to top it all off, I was rejected as a potential volunteer in a child advocate program for reasons unknown. (It doesn’t get more demoralizing than to be rejected for a volunteer position). The not knowing what I did wrong is extremely painful in all of these situations as it all remains unresolved to this day.
I left my home of 25 years to move back into the city and take a sabbatical in the effort to try to get well with therapy thrice weekly (basically my full time job). And by the way, it’s no pleasant experience to be judged by my oldest daughter for “leaving Dad” when in fact, good ol Dad didn’t try to stop me and I haven’t heard anyone asking me to come back. I believe that it’s going to end my marriage and I will be completely alone once my youngest daughter leaves for college. So essentially the last 25 years of my life have been all for nothing.
Since I was alone for many years before my marriage I am quite capable of taking care of myself, I just don’t want to. I’m sick and tired of living like this. Just let me go. I’ve paid more than the average amount of dues and look at me now. There is no point. If I were to die today I don’t know when anyone would even realize it.
A particularly harsh reality is that I am also labeled medication-resistant and my long time psychiatrist has given up on me. And everyone that knows me knows that I have tried everything to get well. But nothing is working anymore. I see no light at the end of the tunnel.
Even though I understand that suicide is “selfish”, and it is a “permanent solution to a temporary problem”, neither one of those reasons of applies to me. People die. Parents die. Friends die. Relatives die. It’s just a matter of when and how. But we are all going to die. And I think it’s selfish of the people who try to tell me not to do it because in reality they are just don’t want to feel guilty that they failed me. Which they didn’t -fail me, that is. I have a severe chronic disease that can sometimes be fatal in spite of all the efforts made.
Suicide is by definition the easiest and quickest way to ease the pain that I am in. I can open a drawer within my reach and be done with it. Mental health issues are just now becoming relevant and the suicide rate is higher than ever. If I die what will I miss out on? My daughter’s high school graduation, my son‘s college graduation, my children’s marriages, grandchildren….but none of that means enough to get me through today and my experience tells me that it’s never going to be enough to get me through another day. They aren’t doing these things for me. They are living their lives, as they should. And it’s painfully clear that they do not need me anymore. Or even want me anymore. I’m a burden, a ball and chain that’s ruining their otherwise delightful lives. (And by the way, you’re welcome.)
I was never meant to be. I was not supposed to be born, I was abandoned and passed around to numerous variations of parents, stepparents, adopted parents, grandparents, etc. By the age of seventeen I was on my own without any resources -no one even knew I was gone- whatsoever except my own tenacity, and I made a life for myself. And through medication and therapy I managed my depression superbly. During my career I worked very hard for a gross, inappropriate, old man boss who constantly wanted me to hav sex with him. (That’s the second wave of PTSD that I deal with). I still have nightmares every night about that job and can’t seem to get past it. But the validating part was that I was a really good, smart, asset to his business and I made a lot of money and I just thought that I could take it until the end. But I was wrong.
The few friends that I have left including D, R, M, L, M, V, and C are very good to me but they can’t fix me or help me. And I know that I will eventually lose them as well because I am completely toxic. And on any given decent day I can take it and be the good friend, the good daughter, the good wife, the good mother, but today I am too tired. I just want it all to end because the longer I stay around the more damage I will do to the people that I care about and who care about me. This is a proven fact.
And finally, I no longer believe in God or heaven so once I’m gone I’m just gone. I won’t be watching over the people I love and I won’t be watching what I’ve done ruin their lives. I just won’t Be.
Unconditional: not limited by conditions; absolute.
Love: a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
Unconditional Love: An absolute profoundly tender passionate affection for another person, not limited by conditions.
Is that really a thing?
Is that possible?
Are you born with it?
How do you know if you feel it?
How do you know if you’re receiving it?
Does it come and go?
Do you have to earn it?
Can you keep it forever if you receive it?
Do you have to reciprocate?
What if you can’t?
What if you don’t want it?
Can you refuse it?
Can you withhold it?
Can you force it?
Can you believe it?
Can you live without it?
Can you prove it?
Can you undo it?
Can you lose it?
Can you trust it?
Is there a catch?
What’s in the fine print?
What are the rules?
Are there strings attached?
Can you give me some examples?
What is this concept you call unconditional love?
It seems to be complicated;
Thanks but I think I’ll pass for now. It sounds a bit dangerous.
I’m not old enough to remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963, but history books teach us one specific point: when the President of the United States is dead or otherwise incapacitated, there is an immediate transfer of power to the sitting Vice-President, thereby ensuring that there is not a single moment in which the United States is without Presidential power.
This historical tidbit is not related to this story except to the extent of how quickly the complete and total power can be taken away from one person and handed over to someone else with nary a blink of an eye, leaving the one person formerly in charge, to now be under total control of the other newly minted “Person With All The Power”.
So! Picture yourself in the delivery room preparing to give birth to your first child. You are excited, scared, unprepared and have no idea what to expect. You’ve read all the books and attended all the classes and now this baby is coming and you couldn’t stop it if you tried. No do-overs, no let’s wait until we’re more prepared, no ooops, I’ve changed my mind. No, no, no, no. This is IT, girlfriend.
But it’s all good; you’ve been waiting for this special moment, your partner is present and in total awe of you, and OMG we’re having a baby! Minutes, hours or even days later, your baby is out of your womb, untethered from you by virtue of the ceremonial snipping of the umbilical cord, which is a strange thing actually; your baby, that your womb cultivated for 9 long months, is now literally detached from you. Kind of a relief, no?
“No”, (hell no!) is right on point, brand new parents. Because immediately yet ever so subtlety, rather slyly even, there has been a Major Transfer Of Power. While you and your parenting partner were sobbing, cradling, praying, staring, photographing, rocking, nursing, nuzzling, hugging, snuggling……your precious newborn has begun his 18+ year reign as The Most Powerful In All The Land As Far As One Can See role in all of your lives. That’s right, the immediate transfer of power has taken place. You, parents, are no longer in charge. You no longer have any kind of flexibility in your life. You’ve been virtually stripped of all your former control and power over your own life. No indeed. There’s a new kid in town, to paraphrase the great Eagles song circa 1976, and he is Powerful!
No one told you about this, did they? Who is this fabled new Christ-like person? Where did he come from? How is he going to affect me? Can I return him if necessary, if things just don’t work out? Why does this tiny despot have total control over my life 24/7? Will I ever get my power back? Some modicum of authority and governance of my own?
No you will not. At least not for a long, long, very long time and maybe never. Oh, one day he might leave for a few years upon reaching adulthood (which, by the way, you, the powerless ones, are in charge of making sure he’s properly prepared and ready to go, should he choose to, which he may not, ever), but he may leave and then come back and stay forever, or he may leave with nary a glance back, no waving his hand goodbye, no “thanks, parents, for all you did for me. See ya never!”
If you’re lucky, if you did everything exactly right every minute that this dictator led your kingdom, then maybe, possibly, hopefully you will reclaim, earn, and salvage some of the long lost, long forgotten heady power that you once possessed. Good luck with that. Meanwhile, be a decent person and let your currently childless friends in on this scary secret that no one ever talks about. Warn them; show them; let them see how the life you had before has been totally sucked out of you.
I leave you with a quote from the book, A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, as follows:
” Their world is governed by children, little despots who’s needs-school and camp and activities and tutors-dictate every decision, and will for the next ten, fifteen, eighteen years. Having children has provided their adulthood with an instant and nonnegotiable sense of purpose and direction: they decide the length and location of that year’s vacation, they determine if there will be any leftover money, and if so, how it might be spent; they give shape to a day, a week, a year, a life. Children are kind of cartography, and all one has to do is obey the map they present to you on the day they are born”.