let’s review, shall we? How shall I respond to such a painfully dense query? …
Maybe by throwing myself beneath oncoming freeway traffic…
Or peeling the fucking skin from my face with a smile…
Would spontaneous combustion count as a reply to your stupid-ass question?
‘Am I okay?’…
fuck no, I’m not okay…come here and I’ll show you.
I’ve NEVER been okay, and, as my blood-mother – has it ever occurred to you that you should know these things better than anyone? It hurts me so deeply that you take such little interest in knowing me – never have much cared about WHO I AM.
The irony here Mom, is that I am everything I am because of you, essentially, despite your ongoing carelessness and cruelty throughout my entire life. You will never understand me because you don’t care to; you will never hear me because you don’t listen to my words, and never could be still long enough to…do you know how much that hurts me? Even now after all this time I’ve had to accept who you are, it still just doesn’t sit well with me to know that your only daughter is wasted on you, and always was. You’re ignorance has always wounded me deeply, Mom.
Please keep trying, I will too.
Papa always told me that if you are crossing a bridge and become tired, you have only two options:
1) To sit down in the middle of the crossing and die;
2) To go back or forward until you get to one side or the other…
but you don’t just sit down and die, you keep going.
After what felt like hours of listening to Willow (my Mother) talk about what seemed to nothing but gibberish regarding her past experiences with “Satan’s Angels” (this is what she calls doctors and/or nurses), she finally started to get on a page that I could somewhat begin to read with clarity.
“Remember when you lived down south and I got the Shingles that weekend when I came down to visit you?”
“Yes, how could I ever forget that? That was awful – forever…”
And it was awful forever:
Willow came down with the Shingles Virus in her left eye while she was staying with me down south, over ten years ago. In her case, she had a delayed reactivation of the anti-bodies or something and basically in a nutshell: continues to live in chronic and severe optic nerve pain (which is supposedly horrific pain) from day to day.
“Well….at first, the docs had me on Vicodin for the pain; but when I went in for a checkup with my regular doctor when I came back up home, he said they had me on the wrong meds – and he put me on something for actual nerve pain instead, which worked like a charm…”
It was an interesting story, but my tooth was killing me and I could hardly concentrate on anything but my own chronic pain at the moment. Finally, she turned up the lamp that she keeps on the table to the left of her recliner and stared digging around for something.
“Well, that’s great Mom, that they figured out the issue – I had forgotten about all that but yeah – I remember how miserable you were that weekend…and I didn’t see you for a while after that, did I?”
It is occurring to me as speak these words that the weekend she came down with the Shingles was the last time I saw her before my traumatic injury and near-fatal experience that left me hospitalized for a year plus; she left with my daughter that day, and she and I had planned on her keeping Boo for a few weeks – she knew something was very wrong with my situation. She finally stops the shuffling and hands me a bottle of pills.
“These are the same a s what the y gave me for the nerve pain in my eye, honey…it’ll probably at least ease some of that nerve pain in your mouth…try it out, here”
She shoves the bottle into my hand and turns down the light again, sitting back in her chair as if her work is done.
And let me tell you: the stuff worked like a charm…
Based on the fact that she is my Mother, and wasn’t present in any way, shape or form throughout my youngest days, she has been glorified in my heart and my mind somehow; in my mind over time, she has morphed into some painted-faced Goddess with great power and control over my actions and sense of self; she continues to have the carrot to dangle before me, and I continue to focus on it and follow her lead.
She is my Mother, yes – but she is not right in the head, and never was – so I’m told…she never had any business having babies of her own with a head as twisted as hers – never had the stuff it takes to be somebody’s Mama. My Mother doesn’t really know how to care about other people; she is just hard-wired that way…some people call it sociopathy, others call narcissism; she’s a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic – she has the history of getting way out there at times, if not medicated and monitored regularly by a “specialist”. She is aggressive and violently explosive in her mental instability; this is the trait about her that she has most impressed upon me throughout my lifetime in observation of her behaviors; she is ruthless when it suits her needs – I have bared witness to this many times, as well as played the role of her “victim” during such instances also.
I cannot trust her word – it is mud in my book; despite what she says, her actions always speak horribly louder than what she tells me. Anyway, our relationship is the epitome of awkward and edgy, because it newborn for the most part – I am only barely getting to know her, I’ve never made the effort in the past. She is a nut job, no doubt – and oftentimes, when I have a conversation with her, I find myself hardly able to control myself from just bursting out:
“The fuck are you talking about, Man?!!!”
I just can’t relate to any of the things that define the daily existence of my Mother, Willow…she is seriously on another planet in my opinion…all I can do is just shake my fucking head over it, I suppose.
I guess I just have it in my blood to trust the wrong people throughout my time on Earth amongst other human beings –or whatever you’d call those carbon-based, sets of bones with a thin layer of skin stretched tightly (or loosely) around each one, with seemingly emptied out, bobbling heads attached – I sure as Hell hate to call those things “people”.
I have mastered the unrewarding, often self-masochistic, pseudo-“art” of choosing the most shallow and self-absorbed individuals on whom to place importance and on whom to martyr my dwindling ability to trust. At some point in my life, I got to where I can no longer blame the vernacular beasts that I choose to surround myself with for such miserable incompatibility; sooner or later, I had to swallow the realities that I find consistently staring back at me through the eyes of my own reflection.
I eventually began to accept the fact that if I am incompatible with so “very, very many” of my own species, the likelihood of that incompatibility being born of the “shortcomings” of that group of “very many people” is low, if even in existence. I have truly realized and began to accept that I am the faulty common denominator in the countless equations of social arithmetic that I pathetically fail to wrap my thick head around – the continual negative sum in the mathematics of human behaviors and relationships – worthy or otherwise, I am the common denominator. PERIOD.
Naturally, the majority of “relationships” that I can stake any claim to throughout my scarce and, undoubtedly warped experiences within the realm of human intimacy have each been notably unhealthy in at least one major aspect. I do not know what it looks or feels like to be in a healthy relationship with anyone in a romantic context. In spite of the insatiable hunger and longstanding desire I remember always harboring to have this elusive, healthy thing. At the end of the day when all’s said and done – I wouldn’t recognize a healthy relationship if it came up and bit me in the face…how could I recognize something I’ve never seen before? I have only misidentified the chances that I might have had in the past at healthiness in a committed relationship with someone; I have only mistreated the good standings I’ve had with men who may have been exceptional if I had given them a fighting chance. I just can’t trust the words that people choose to waste on me anymore, at all – not women, not men – not anyone – ever, in any circumstance. My issues behind the inability to foster commitment run so deeply entrenched at this stage of “the game” that I have truly started to question whether or not any amount of therapy, strenuous physical exercise, or exhausting mental stimulation by the opposite sex could ever actually change my perceptions back to what I think that they once must have been.
I do not know if I find this revelation a good one or a horribly life-altering one, either. I have been behaving so ambiguously the past few years in general, in all honesty. It’s been very strange to feel so indifferently over everything – another HUGE shift from the person that I used always like to think I was; Life’s formerly Technicolor scenery has been replaced by a drabber, grey-scale version of it. The white noise of my existence resembles the constant, bellowing rolls of thunder that accompany the bolts of constant lightning that crack like live wires of energy gone awry: a chaotic soundtrack that perfectly mirrors my psyche and syncs naturally with my soul. During nighttime the soundtrack only shifts into the noise of a low-volume baseball game’s announcers and noise.
I have not lived a perfect life by any means; I don’t claim to have, and I am also much too self-aware to dare try. I know that I have let many people down along the way to where I stand now in life, and death. I know that my combative spirit is NOT the ONLY reason why I have survived as long as I have; I realize that I hold no special title to the world’s shallow, robotic inhabitants, nor would I like to if given the chance to hold one:
…a bunch of fuck-heads…
People disgust me with their’ all-consuming need to rise in rank – to “ever-aim-higher” – to continuously yearn for what ISN’T in a given existence…bigger, stronger, faster – better and worth more money…
Me: I don’t have this parasitic social handicap I suppose; because I could honestly care less about having bullshit possessions that I can carry around and flaunt – to show off to my heartless “friends”. I do not count the monetary value of my possessions against my own cha-cha in the Universe; I don’t ever let my head fill entirely up with the environmentally poisonous, bullshit hot air.
MMMM MMMMM MMMMM.
I’d trade anything I own in a nano-second in exchange for some sort of true comfort that Boo could eternally call hers – that nobody and nothing could ever steal from her. The rest of the world and the bullshit happening in it just seem so insignificant and muted to me – while my daughter spirals downward into what should have been her future. Her eighteenth birthday quickly approaches now – in May…and I carry so much fear and dread as well as excitement and relief over her coming of age and being set free. I’ve only recently opened my fucking eyes and seen the striking similarities between Boo and I in regard to commitment issues, somehow…not sure what the fuck I have been paying attention to, but it’s like a metric fuck-ton of bricks from the top of the Empire Reality Building have crumbled and landed on my head, in terms of Boo’s shiftiness.
Basically, somehow I have managed to totally overlook the FACT that despite my painstaking efforts when she was a baby and her father and I were together still – to protect her from seeing things that he’d done to me, in a wide and creative array of ways, trust me – she still KNEW. She always knew. Even before she knew that she knew, or what it was that she knew – she knew. I’ve always known this deep down in my heart, for obvious reasons…but as with my former drug addiction during the same era of her life, there’s nothing I can do un-do any of it, so other than to simply try and persevere onward and upward from those past mistakes of mine – there’s little I’ve ever been able to process surrounding any of it. Of course, she and I have always had issues over her father’s sudden and permanent absence from her toddler-hood; she remembers him being there always and then one day just not ever being there again. In her perceptions however, she does not recollect the FACT that I also disappeared from her life at the same exact time as he did – only temporarily. All these years later as a full grown woman, I see the unacknowledged trauma that must have created for Boo, in itself. She doesn’t deal with it properly because she has somehow warped her perceptions into something other than what they actually were. She would tell you that her father “just up and left me and my mom one day…”, which anyone who knows anything about our story knows wasn’t even close to how shit went down. She hardly ever even talks about my absence/injury/hospitalization period at all – never has.
These thoughts of mine have me wondering things about why it seems to be so much more difficult to really get through to her about ANYTHING. I’m realizing that her entire perception of all things shared between our life experiences, together or separately, is contrasting to my own.
…which brings me back to my original point with this:
Who then, in these instances between Boo and me, is the common denominator?
I saw Renee today; all grown up and covered in dark make-up, hair twisting down to her ass in shiny, sleek braids and tresses; she looked beautiful – sixteen and a half years old already and driving her father’s beat up old blue pick-up truck…
Renee and Boo used to be best friends for like – EVER, in the ‘hood. They went to different schools but played every day after homework was done, took each other on family trips and so on. By the time that Boo had to leave home in exchange for a “residential treatment facility” because of her increasingly unruly behavior, the girls had grown apart for the same reason: Renee is a tried and true “angel”, without a mean bone in her body; Boo is natural-born and rightful Hellraiser.
Seeing Renee today, so happy and full of life and promise and bright futures wide open to her, I have to confess I was stricken by some sort of jealousy or envy – CORRECTION – I was nearly consumed by it.
I spoke to her for a few minutes about her dad and dogs and whatever other things I could think up to say as I watched her eyes dart everywhere around us, looking for Boo – searching for Boo with so much hope and excitement barely contained behind her eyes. It always goes this way when I see one of Boo’s friends, or better yet: a parent of one her friends – someone who knows very little about me and my daughter’s trials and tribulations – someone ready to spit venomous and projected judgments at me,
I finally shot out my hand and grabbed Renee’s arm, surprising myself with my own sudden decision, and said,
“Renee, you and Boo might be totally different and worlds apart these days, but she’s been MIA on the run for almost 2 months and just found out that her father died; yeah – her father died, yeah, the one that’s been in prison – he died; she just returned from AWOL yesterday morning to hear that news, and…well, you know how she is…she could probably use a friend, a real friend right now…”
My eyes stared down at the concrete where we stood in front of the donut shop, my grasp still tight on her arm. Her response was almost immediate, and painfully sincere; she said,
“I love Boo and always will, but I guess it’s because of that, well that’s why it’s too hard to be friends with her…you know?…because she hates herself so much…”
I choked up, but covered it beautifully behind my dark sunglasses; I smiled down at her, my grip loosening slowly and gently, so as not to imply any offense or resentment towards her. “I know, Kiddo…” I said, “I understand…”