Mommy Dearest

15 years old.

The blood from my nose runs into my mouth as I stand talking to the police officer while in handcuffs. I spit blood as I yell, “I didn’t do anything!!!” It’s no use. I’m headed back to jail. I turn and look back at my mom and yell, “Fuck you, you controlling bitch!” I’m the one standing with a bloody nose and injuries and I’m the one going to jail. The intake officer said her hello’s and leads me back to my cell. Her conversation with me outside the door was meant to be an eye opener. “I’ve seen you too often. Ya know, you only get one mom. If something happens to her, you’re going to have a handful of regret.” I roll my eyes and walk into my cell. I lie down and begin to think about the night. Perhaps I was in the wrong. I shouldn’t have called her names. But wait a minute! She punched me! She pushed me after I told her she gave me permission to go out the night before. I threw my fit, as all teens do. But to be punched? Who the hell does that? I knew from that point forward, I was going to make her life hell.

Upon release, I’m sent to a group home. I hadn’t talked to my mom in months and my emotions for her were still running high. One day, I was told I had a phone call. “Hello?” The familiar voice replies, “Hey. It’s mom.” My blood starts to rise to my face. I feel my body start to shake. I reply, “Why are you calling?!” Her reply, “I just wanted to see how you were doing. I haven’t talked to you in months.” Her tone is accusatory. Like it’s my fault we haven’t spoken. The anger starts to rise to my mouth and out spews, “I don’t want you calling me! You have done nothing but control and ruin my life! You have done NOTHING to help me achieve in my life! By the way, MOM, what are my goals? Do you even know or care? Don’t call me again.” Telling her off gave me the satisfaction I needed.

1992

Back in jail. This place is my second home. I guess stealing a car and going on a beer run is not legal. *insert sarcasm* I’m just so tired of being caged. I’m so tired of being told what to do. I’m so…….tired. I think the judge is sick of seeing me too. My mom is in the court room. As I leave, she tries to hug me and I turn my back to her. I am so angry! In public she tries to reach out but behind closed doors she’s an angry, controlling, lying human being. Later in life I learned from her friends that she would come to work and tell everyone how bad I abused her and how out of control I was. Let me make it clear, now, I’ve never physically abused my mom. Even while she was punching me, I never threw a hit. Ever. I will admit, I was verbally abusive to her during fights and arguments. I guess I learned well.

Life has moved on. We’ve somehow managed to sweep our issues under the rug and today….she is my best friend. Hard to believe, right? It’s as if silently we’ve told one another we’re sorry. There are still moments I see her dark side slip out and I’m able to confront her about it without a fight. Her face changes and I almost see her snap out of it. I will never forget the things we went through together. Years later I’m still working through our issues, trying to heal from my past. One day, I hope to come to a satisfied ending. For now, I’ll let go.

Losing Weight Is More Than Being Healthy

First and foremost, let me apologize to you, my readers. I took a last-minute trip out-of-town and didn’t prepare to stay as long, thus missing a blog. So let’s get this started shall we? 

 

“Tonia. Are you paying attention?” I snap to. I look at my doctor blankly. “Could I really lose my feet?” He looks at me seriously, “Yeah. You could lose toes, feet, legs. Your life. This is your life. Do you want to live it?” I sigh and start to think about what he just said. He leaves me to type out my release paperwork and I take that opportunity to reflect back to a few words my ears picked up on. “Your life. Losing limbs. Heart disease. Life. Living. Death.” My anxiety starts to rise and I can feel panic settling in.

If I don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist right? I live with the, “It won’t be me. It happens to others,” mentality. Not to mention only my health but also the way I feel. It’s almost normal for me to feel like crap. I don’t know what it feels like to be healthy. Let’s talk about the emotional toll it takes when you go shopping or out to eat or anywhere in public for that matter! When you sit down do you pull your shirt out from your belly area? Do you pray that the cheap plastic chair you’re about to sit in, doesn’t break? Does it raise your anxiety a bit to find out that the restaurant you are going to may only have tables you can’t fit into? And clothing! I haven’t shopped in forever. It’s sort of hard to when nothing fits right. What I do have, I try to squeeze into as much as possible. Here’s an example:

My jeans are just about too tight. I know this because instead of jumping up and down to get them on and zipped, I now have to lay on the bed and zip them. Getting up requires some assistance but the job is successful! There’s no way I can sit because my body won’t fold that way but my jeans are on!! I head out to my meeting. At the conference center I’m having serious apparel malfunction. My zipper won’t stay up! What if my button goes flying across the room, hitting someone in the eye, causing them to go permanently blind and me on their mind for the rest of their lives as, “the fat girl who wore the tight jeans made me go blind.” I realize I may be over thinking but this is embarrassing. This thought sends my mind racing and I have to get out! I have to get out of this room. I finally rise and all eyes are now on me. “Excuse me for a few moments, please.” I dart out of the room, catching my breath outside the door. FAT!!  Think I’ll skip the rest of the meeting and head to the store and see if their donuts are still fresh. Screw it. After buying my shame, I get into the car, unzip my pants and breathe. The best taste of freedom and donut….ever!!

Losing weight is not just about feeling good in your own skin. It’s about being able to enjoy life around you. The simple things like walking to the park, not worrying about fitting into booths and chairs. The freedom to buy clothing that LOOKS good and not just buying it because it fits. It’s also about being healthy. My doctor is right. Bad things can happen to anyone if the problem is not taken care of. Maybe one day I will listen. Hopefully before it’s too late.

 

Preparing To Die

GR

 

I wake up from a restless sleep struggling to breathe. I get up to use the restroom and decide that I should take a shower. You know, just in case the paramedics have to come. I want to be sure I’m clean before they have to revive me. I put pills on my night stand so they know what I’ve taken before I went to bed. I have a sticky note on my phone that shows all medications and allergies as well as emergency contacts. I lotion up and head back to bed, making sure there are no obstacles in the way of the door so that people have easy access to me in a hurry.

Weak hearts run in my family. That extra pound in my chest could be a stroke coming on. Is that tingling in my left hand neuropathy or am I getting ready to stroke out? When I feel dizzy or anxious I think, “Is this it? Is this what’s going to kill me?” Living like this takes away life outside of preparing to die. As sick as it is, I’m ready because I’ve prepared.

What breaks my heart the most is that my kids will check in on me if I’m sleeping too long. Especially my oldest. She comes peeking in the room and I hear, “Mom. You up?” I answer back, “Yes. Just tired.” I hear her exhale heavily and I know that my response put her at ease. Why do I put them through that? How scary their lives must be worrying about their mom’s health. It makes me angry that I’m so selfish.

And the question I have been asking since starting this blog is, “Is that enough to change?” Is it enough that my kids and family worry? Is it enough that my health is declining? That answer…no. It’s this crazy mind fuck game that continues to rule over my life. When I see food that I shouldn’t have and I walk away, I feel as though I’ve lost my best friend. I have literally sat and cried over it. Food is something that will always be there, in my face, tempting me with smells and sights. It’s my devil. It lingers over me like death. My grim reaper.

 

Past Life

In the search for myself, I often wonder what I was like in a past life. Do you believe that your past life shapes the life you have now? Enter: Soul Searching.

I’d like to think that I was a descendant of Alice Ivers. A poker playin’,  cigar smokin’, witty old woman. Yeah. That sounds like me. Although I know NOTHING about poker. Go Fish is more my style. So back to what I was saying. Past life. Where am I going with it? I’m not so sure. Would you believe me if I told you I don’t know me? Strange as it sounds… I mean you are you so you should know you. Right?

Where to begin? Hell. I have no idea. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been told to leave the past in the past but I’d rather not. I really don’t think that packing up and moving on is what’s better for my future. I have a hard time letting go of anything really. Resentment, anger, trust issues, judgments…you get the point. I wish I could just. Let. It. Go. *Insert Frozen movie soundtrack* C’mon. You knew that was coming.

So did my past life self have hobbies? My hobbies don’t last long enough for me call them hobbies. Was I male or female? Every time I think about it I picture the old west, say late 1820s to 1880s, and I’m female. Perhaps between the ages of 25-40. The hem at the bottom of my long dress stained muddy from years of walking through the dirt road town and not having proper equipment to clean it. No Oxi Clean here ladies! My house was small and consisted of a small cast iron stove, a fireplace, and a wooden table. The home smelled of butter and campfire. I see people come and go from the house but I don’t really see a family. Which is odd, most females in my age range, were married and had children then.

The next question is, how does that relate to who I am today? I’m not entirely sure. That’s where the soul searching comes in. I think your soul gets recycled, for whatever reason, when you pass. I can see God up there now, in Heaven, standing on a cloud, pushing people out of the Pearly Gates. “Next stop, 1876. Tonia? Is there a Tonia here? Ah yes. You. Off you go!” I’m really hoping He has a plan. What if my past life self was mean and crazy? Well, I guess that would explain many things now.

So if past lives really do exist, can you imagine what our future generation is going to think? Two words. One name. Dennis Rodman.

The Devil Made Me Do It

The demons are coming out of the bag and I couldn’t be happier.

Opening my crusty eyes, my head pounds. I try to lift my head from the pillow but it’s been replaced with what feels like a cinder block. I look to my left and there lies a handsome man. I’m not sure of his name but I know that we shared a night together. I get up and walk to the bathroom. A shower has to take away this heavy, painful feeling. I stand in the hot waterfall, both hands against the wall, and let the water run down my body, washing away the handsome stranger, smell of cigarettes, and alcohol.

Heading to the bar, I know tonight is going to be epic. All my girls, a bra full of cash, and my eyes in search of another handsome stranger. Eight beers, a few shots of apple pucker and tequila later, I’m ready to leave with another victim of my one night stands. Yes. Women have them too. He’s not as handsome as the stranger the night before but he kisses well and his body is a ripple of amazing. As long as he can satisfy this demon that’s fighting for release, he will do just fine.

The dark truth about my escapades: I’ve burned many relationships.  I was never satisfied in a relationship. I never cheated because the man I was with wasn’t good enough. Believe me. I’ve wrecked a marriage and some great relationships all on my own. I cheated because I think I needed to feel sexually needed. It was a luscious feel-good that I desperately craved. The female devil in red high heels and long, pointed horns made me do it.

I won’t take full credit for my train wreckage of a marriage. It was a 50/50 deal. What I will take full credit for, however, is being the home-wrecker myself. I’ve split up 2 marriages. I’m not proud. At the time, it didn’t matter because I was selfish. I hated women like me yet I was able to put on the shoes and tight dress to play house with another woman’s man. You may even hate me after the blog is through and that’s OK. I hated the woman who took my husband too. After I found out, I ran to his best friend finding solace in his body, touch, and sexual desire. The devil made me do it.

 

Living With Anxiety

I get in my car and drive to the store. As I open the car door, my heart starts to pound heavily. I look at the people walking in and out and I start to slowly skip breaths.  I dart my eyes around the parking lot as I head in and see several people sitting in their cars, no doubt waiting for a spouse or friend to do their shopping but staring at me as I walk in. The double doors slide open bringing a smell of deli food and bread.

Is that person staring at me?
Did those girls just laugh?
I swear everyone is judging me.
Did that person just look at me twice?
Oh God. I gotta get out of here.

I divert my attention to my phone. If I can’t see anyone, then I can’t see them staring. I grab my items and quickly leave. I get to the car out of breath and nearly in tears. Panic is setting in. I can’t breathe. My finger tips are tingling. There is a huge weight on my chest that is stopping me from breathing.  I’m going to have a heart attack and die right here. Everyone will see it. Will the paramedics know to call my family? People are staring.  My vision starts to blur. I’m dying.

After 20 minutes, the Clonidine taken earlier, kicks in. I start to relax and forget those around me. I start the car and drive home. I feel angry at myself for losing control emotionally and for not holding it together. Even if I  did make it home alive with my groceries.

Anxiety and panic is real. It’s debilitating. It can be triggered by anything. We can’t ask the world around us to change therefore, it’s up to the person with the disorder to learn how to cope.  I’m still learning and I’ve made huge strides. I wrote this blog in hopes that people know that others do understand what you are going through. I want you to know you’re not alone…even if it seems like the loneliest place in the world.

 

 

The Case of The What Ifs

what if

What if I can’t let go of the what ifs?

I am the poster child of what ifs. I live my life by it. Try to stay with me for a moment while I invite you into my thought process of panic created by what if.

Son: “Mom, I’m going out. Can I take the car?”

Me: “Sure! Be home before midnight.”

Son: “Ok. Thanks! Love you!”

Seems pretty normal, right? Then my mind starts to swirl as soon as I hear the front door close.

What if he gets a flat tire? What if he loses control? What if he wrecks? What if someone hits him? What if I will never know because he’s driving alone?

Then after the what ifs, pictures enter my mind. The car is tipped over. The seat belt is stuck. The engine is running. Gas is spewing. He’s not able to get out!!

Then…he texts me, “Made it! Love you.”

My anxiety runs high. He still has to drive home!

Think about the anxiety’s you have and how much they control the way you live life. Ever feel better with even numbers? How about when pictures on the wall are crooked? Or when books on a bookshelf are out of order alphabetically? Those are a few that drive me nuts. If you were asked to stop paying attention to those, would you? COULD you?

My “what if” keeps me and those around me, prisoner. I feel like my kids and family can’t breathe because I am smothering them with….But! But! WHAT IF?! It’s a way for me to convince myself that I’m in control. If I can predict what MAY happen, I’m better off. In other words, if something happens that’s too much for me to handle, I can tell myself that I was prepared because I what if’d it. My therapist brought up a good question, “what is the difference between being able to deal with things that may or may not happen and managing it?”  To me, dealing with it means I shrug my shoulders as if no big deal and move on. Just thinking about that makes me feel accomplished and peaceful. Managing is a form of attempting to fix it when it happens without being prepared (emotionally much more difficult.). I use the word “it” loosely and what I mean by “it” is the situations, happenings (tragic or joyful) and so on, that happen in everyday life.  Like, what if this blog ends and I haven’t said everything I want to say?  Oh those nasty what ifs.

The end 2

Judging Others

I stand at the kitchen counter staring at the butter, toast and peanut butter before me. I really shouldn’t have this bread. Maybe I can have it with a tiny bit of butter AND peanut butter. Well, maybe just the butter or maybe just the peanut butter. My mind is fluttering a million miles an hour. Seriously? Over TOAST?? Why is it this hard? I’m so tired of having to THINK about it. Ten minutes later..FUCK IT! I’m eating this damn toast with butter AND peanut butter AND jelly!  I eat in satisfaction that I conquered this quest. I am in control. Or am I?

Addiction is defined as “the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.” My substance is food. My thing is habit. My activity is over-eating. It’s a disease. It’s something that you slowly die of eventually if you don’t CHANGE the substance, thing, or activity. It’s not as if I woke up one day and thought, “I think I will eat everything in the kitchen.” It’s a habit in your mind; a routine so to speak. It’s an emotional connection. It’s that satisfaction of doing what you’re not supposed to but do it anyways out of spite and control. I’ve never been addicted to drugs or alcohol. But food….that’s a story in itself. I’ve broken so many chains in my life but this one keeps me rooted. The nasty, dank, stale air that surrounds my everyday life.

There was a time many, many years ago, where I would see someone obese and think, “Ugh! Why would you want to be that big?” I’ll repeat that. Why would you WANT to be that big? If I was faced with my old self, I’d slap that bitch and tell her to stop eating cupcakes at 1 am. I was always the judge of other people. I was quick to assume in my mind why they looked, talked and behaved the way they did without thinking about the derailments in their lives that brought them to where they were at that moment. I never thought about their struggles with addiction.

Can you believe that there are people who hate obese people the same way they would someone’s religion, sexual orientation and/or color?  I just want to reach out to that person and hug them tight. Perhaps I could squeeze into them the unconditional love I have to offer. Help them realize that their judgment of me is partially why I am the way I am today. My insecurities took over and I became aware of every stare, every whisper, every snicker. I think it’s important to remember that people struggle everyday. The next time you go to judge someone, think about your life and what you’ve gone through and remind yourself, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

**I want to apologize to my readers for my absence. The Mother’s Day weekend took me into a 3 day mini-get away and I wasn’t able to post for a few days. I hope all the mothers out there had a great day!**

 

Breaking The Chain of Childhood Abuse

One thing that has always been important to me is giving my kids the life my parents didn’t. Now that I’m an adult and am able to look back to my childhood, I can say that things were much more different for me than my two youngest brothers. I look back at pictures and see them involved in the YMCA, sports, and community activities. Mom put me in Campfire for girls once and that was great! After that, nothing. I’m not sure what changed that. I made sure that my kids were involved in the community as much as possible. Volleyball, wrestling, football, archery, rugby, soccer, and gym memberships just to name a few. I felt if their time and minds were consumed by something positive, they would stay out of trouble. Which they did, thank God.

As some of my readers know, mom was abusive. Physically and mentally. I want to blame my grandfather for that but at the same time it’s almost as if, “Hey! Wait a minute. I was abused by you but I haven’t passed that onto my children.” Don’t get me wrong, I demand that my kids have respect and that they learn to be polite and I don’t give two thoughts to swatting them on the ass when I think it’s deserved. Of course, they are adults and teens now but you get my point. Perhaps why they are pretty darn good people today, in my opinion. Mom was a bit more than just swatting on the ass. She once threw my middle brother across the kitchen floor by his shirt. His young body slammed into the fridge with a great big “thump.” She once had me pinned up against a wall for wearing her shirt without permission when she did indeed give me that permission earlier that morning. If you have all week, I’d be happy to go into every fight we’ve ever had. Perhaps that can be saved for another blog.

One thing’s for sure, I knew there was no way in hell I was going to treat my kids as she did us. I haven’t been the perfect mother but I’ve done the best that I can with the tools that were NOT given to me in life. I’m sure as mom got older, she’s thinking the same thing. BUT! Could she have broken that chain? I mean, can I really expect her to learn the same as I did? Did it mean that much to her to change? Was she so stuck in habit that she didn’t really know what she was doing was wrong? I may not have all the answers and as an adult, I’m OK with that. There are still memories that define a bit of who I am today but again, it’s just a memory. I’ve confronted her numerous times over the years but it’s usually the same response. “I don’t remember that.” “That didn’t happen.” “Oh Tonia, that was long ago.” I think it’s best to sweep everything (as my family does) under the rug.  We are very close as adults today and I’d like to keep it that way.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I want to thank Teri S. for the writing idea. Reminding me that everything I do can and will trickle down to my kids and for teaching me that change is possible.