The Immediate Transfer Of Power-The One Thing That Is Never Revealed To First-Time Parents

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”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s The Guilt, Not Depression, That Is Going To Be The End Of Me

I have pretty much accepted that I will be chronically depressed until the day I die, but recently I’ve noticed that my racing thoughts have been more about how to alleviate my guilt than what I can do about my depression. I suppose that since I’ve become apathetic about the idea that I could ever be free of depression, my ravaged, very pissed off gray matter refuses to stop torturing me and so now has turned to plaguing me with crippling thoughts of guilt for all my transgressions throughout my life. So as I drift off to sleep each night and slowly awaken each morning, guilt plagues me.

So what am I guilty of? Or about? And why? I. Do. Not. Know. But I’m beating myself up about everything, every single minute of every single day. I don’t have any specific acts of horribleness in my past or present. I don’t have a cache of any regrettable misdeeds. I don’t have any skeletons in any of my closets. There’s nothing nefarious going on behind my closed doors. But I am tortured by unanswered questions as to why I feel so damn guilty.

For the past several years, my mental health has deteriorated tremendously. People think negatively of me. I’m too needy, I’m over the top. I’m Too Much. My astonishing record of being ghosted by family and friends increases daily. I’ve lost my mojo, apparently, and I don’t know how or why or when that happened. And since I don’t have any definitive answers, I naturally cannot help but question myself constantly and carry around this burden of guilt. What have I done? What did I do? What is so bad about me?

Here are some possibilities:

Because I’m chronically depressed, I have not been a good and worthy person in the areas of wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, in-law, friend, employee.

I didn’t attend many of my kids’ sporting events because it was excruciatingly boring and always too cold, too hot, too far away.

I stopped cooking dinner somewhere along the way when my kids’ schedules became an obstacle to my trying to pull together a meal that everyone would be present for and also like what I was serving.

I don’t clean my house. I have a cleaning service who does everything, from vacuuming to laundry and everything in between.

My kids mostly took the bus to school over the years; I didn’t drive them unless I had to, depending on what various magnet schools they were attending. Speaking of which, I made my kids go to magnet schools, thereby forcing them to be separated from their neighborhood friends.

It appears that I was one lazy-ass wife and mother.

I wasn’t the dutiful daughter. I fought with my mom and still do to this very day.

I stopped sending cards and gifts to my myriad of stepmothers, stepfathers, half-siblings, step-siblings, long lost biological father; there were just too many.

I left my job of 15 years because I wanted to spend more time with my children. (Oh, and also, the constant sexual harassment from my boss just became untenable. I did not want to have sex with him, ever, and therefore he made my work life a living hell.) As it turned out I continued working for that boss, from home for ten more years, and I was never forgiven for disallowing him the daily pleasure of ogling my live-and-in-person-self any longer. But he paid me well, and I needed the income so one could argue that I prostituted myself for 25 years even though I never, ever, went along with what he wanted and apparently thought he deserved.

Bottom line: no matter what I do and did, it’s just not ever going to be good enough. I did so many things wrong. Now I could conclude this missive with a perfectly good and acceptable list of reasons for why I was such a miserable bitch who did all those terrible things, but that wouldn’t be any fun would it? Why ruin a perfectly good essay about a useless, unworthy, lazy woman who is getting exactly what she deserves? Karma’s a bitch, right?

You’re probably wondering how I can live with myself, having done such a shitty job of being a human being who lured people into my life only to treat them like shit, allowing myself to have them tend to my every need whilst I lay in my bed, unable to get up due to the black of the blackest monster living in my brain, my closest ally, Depression. Yes, I am guilty of all these things, and many others. Yes, I indeed do have to live with myself, accompanied by Guilt, residing cozily alongside Depression, and also, let’s throw in some PTSD (due to traumatic events in my life, not the least of which is the hideous sexual harassment during my career), to the mix, resulting in a recipe gone terribly wrong, in my gray-but-ever-darkening-matter, the massive mess of miswired milieu inside my head.

I respectfully thank you, reader, for indulging me, and helping me to make some sense out of this wretched guilt. It’s much clearer to me now. I deserve to be judged, convicted and found guilty, and it has earned me a life sentence. I would have rather gotten a death sentence.

In Response To Those Who Just Don’t, Won’t, Can’t Get It

I have been throwing shitballs at the walls for over three years hoping to see if anything sticks. I’ve suffered from severe clinical depression for 40 years and was well managed with diligent attention to therapy and medications. Now, nothing works. Medication-resistant. I’ve tried everything, truly, from the very latest meds, independent psychiatric assessments from respected hospitals, meditation, yoga and all related types of treatment, more exercise, better diet, new therapists, ECT, a suicide attempt, several hospitalizations and on and on. The pain never stops. The tears never stop. I can’t work. I’ve left my family in order to save them; no one begged me to stay. I’ve lost virtually every friend I’ve ever had. I’ve turned to God. He’s ignoring me like everyone else. There’s nothing left, except my lonely, isolated self sitting in a pile of shit that has fallen from the walls.

Continue reading “In Response To Those Who Just Don’t, Won’t, Can’t Get It”

Random Thoughts: My Six Word Stories-Volume Three

Taxes, Diet. My least favorite words.

Saw my groom, made my exit.

Lou, too blue. Who knew? Few.

Does Mother Nature need some Xanax?

Stockpile “happy pills”. Chaos is inevitable.

Sometimes, it’s not who, but when.

Tomorrow is day after tomorrow’s yesterday.

The meaning of life? Define life.

Kids’ student loans will outlive me.

You need space? See ya never.

Need ideas for my gratitude journal.

Don’t have kids til they’re thirty.

Red flags? Bad vibes? Extricate yourself.

My least favorite child? “Not Me”.

This is it? There’s nothing more?

Mom was wrong always and never.

Path of least resistance is lazy.

The low road is terribly overcrowded.

You’ve lost yourself; who has you?

Being invisable, unavailable, is powerfully peaceful.

I am governed by despotic teenagers.

Just tell the truth. I’ll live.

Lost power due to internal storm.

I said I’m fine. I lied.

Being Ghosted: It Was All A Lie

From the prompt posted on Thecreative.cafe
“Half of the people lie with their lips; the other half with their tears”― Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“Ghosted” is a new-ish term to me. I don’t know, maybe it’s been around for a while and I just didn’t know how popular it had become in our current lexicon. When I look up the word in my trusty online dictionary app, the definition I’m referring to in this story is 23rd on the list of definitions applicable to the word, as follows: 

to suddenly end all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship: They dated for a month and then she ghosted.”

“to leave a social event or gathering suddenly without saying goodbye: I’m getting tired so I think I might just ghost.”

Well there ya go. Now I have a word for what has happened. I’ve been “ghosted”. In my case it didn’t happen in a romantic relationship but rather a BFF relationship (Best Friends Forever, for anyone who is way out of the loop).

I’ve accepted that I am the common denominator; I know I haven’t had the most pleasing personality lately, or the most cheerful heart, as my therapist used to say. I am acutely aware that I’ve become quite unlikeable. But what I don’t know is why? What did I do that was so beyond the pale that someone who had been a very close friend for some 30 years, someone with whom I’ve shared many experiences, talked with every day at least once or twenty times, told each other every single bit of minutiae about our lives because it truly mattered, vacationed together, were in attendance at each other’s weddings, childbirth, divorces, etc.-you get the picture. We were each others’ “person”, our go-to gal for all and sundry.

And then one day, just seemingly out of fucking nowhere, ghosted. Never heard from again. Not answering any calls, texts, letters. Mutual friends don’t know anything, don’t want to get involved. Just……..nothing. Never again.

Come on people! Seriously? She didn’t  have the balls just even acknowledge that a friendship even existed? I’m losing my mind here. The not knowing why part is truly excruciating. Years go by and I still can’t figure it out. I’m still tortured. My husband pinpoints that first ghosting as the beginning of my mental and emotional deterioration.

There was absolutely nothing that I did, consciously, to cause this behavior on her part. I am only left with assuming something had been building up and she just couldn’t take it anymore. And I can accept that, even own it, but she can’t have the simplest decency to just tell me why, then goodbye? She is negating every single thing we’ve ever meant to each other. Her actions, or rather lack thereof, make every day of our decades of friendship one big soul-sucking lie. Really?

I can’t begin to explain the heartache being ghosted causes. It’s sad and hard enough to lose what feels like everything in one moment, but to spend the rest of my life not knowing why, or what, exactly happened the moment my friend decided, “Nope! No more! I’m done with her! She has only herself to blame! I don’t owe her anything!”

Uhhhhh, yes you do, bitch. Who are you, anyway? What a mockery you’ve made of everything. How can you live with yourself? And what kind of loser am I to have loved you and cherished our friendship all these years? And yet you say nothing. You are a ghost, an apparition, a daydream turned nightmare. Did you even exist?

This is not the same as friends drifting apart and eventually just not being in touch again. That’s normal, common, acceptable. People change, their lives evolve, they move on in a different direction. But the friendship did exist. And you can even send a Christmas card each year and feel sure it will be received warmly. But this ghosting business? This is unacceptable behavior, this is wrong on every level, this is war! You just don’t do this to a person.

But she did. It’s quite simply the most gutless, spineless, cowardly, and yes, even stunningly perverse, way to nullify another human being’s existence. I feel so betrayed. So misunderstood. So perplexed. So incredibly hurt. I feel just plain stupid. It was all a lie. I’m nobody to her and I never was.  I cannot and will not ever trust anyone again.

So I’m nobody. It’s all been just one big fucking whopper of a lie. I guess it’s fair to say that I really only exist in my own tortured mind.

I’m invisible. I don’t exist. I’m a ghost.

Random Thoughts: My Six Word Stories-Volume Two

Why bother to try? Never resolved.

Loneliness is underrated. I embrace it.

Never made a mistake? You’re mistaken.

A dropped nail is never found.

Becoming a parent means goodbye, you.

Children leave, never come back. Yay!

Children don’t leave; when’s it over?

Children leave or don’t. Never over.

Downsize. It’s all just junk now.

Children born. Children frolic. Children leave.

Work sucks. Retirement never soon enough.

Plan. Accept nothing goes as planned.

Don’t ask? Then answer always No.

Being bullied? So is your bully.

High road is best, but lonely.

Every moment is a teaching moment.

Time: No pause, FF, rewind. Wait.

Opposite of love? Hate? No, apathy.

Choosing to ghost someone is cowardly.

Children change everything….for the best.

Women: periods, pregnancy, menopause. Men: sex.

I dare you to define fairness.

We’re living in the Twilight Zone.

When is too much, too much?

Born, educated, married, parented, abandoned, died.

Overthinking is torture. Puerility much preferred.

Be naive; be obtuse; be happy.

Be complicated; be circumspect; be miserable.

If you could redo, would you?