Don’t say I’m out of touch//with this rampant chaos

So instead I hid in the kitchen.

Not a better use of my time, just easier than connecting. Easier than being vulnerable, as my therapist would say. God I fucking hate that word so much. It makes my goddamn skin crawl.

I’ve got my husband asking me why I can’t be vulnerable with him.

Fucking can of worms… just kicked the hell over.

I. Don’t. Know.

I thought being honest and open and talking about feelings was enough. Apparently I’m supposed to open myself from stem to stern and let all my creepy crawly feelings and thoughts seep out everywhere.

Gross. No.

Anyone else struggle with this?

Because I can’t keep doing dishes and making my lunch instead of spending alone time with my significant other. Especially when I want to spend time with him, I just don’t know how to the way I think he wants me to. He wants intimacy and right now I’m terrified of that. I don’t know why. I want to spend every waking moment of every day with him and preferably nowhere else, but the idea of intimacy makes me anxious. I know he wants that. I know he craves and needs that but I don’t know what happened to the Alice that used to be able to provide that. I used to not think so much of myself and just nosedive right into it. Now I just pray the cat is in the middle of the bed or he’s tired or… anything.

…Anything but asking me to be vulnerable.

[Goddamn fucking therapy bullshit.]

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Though I’d die to know you love me/I’m all alone

I can’t do it. I fucking can’t.

I was set on a task by my therapist to talk to my father about my feelings and I just cannot do it.

It’s not that I don’t want to try to make my relationship work with my dad, it’s that I truly know my dad and I know that I’d be setting myself up for humiliation and pain.

As much as I understand the concept of vulnerability, some things are just too much. Some things I’ve fought too hard for. I’ve fought too hard for him to see me at all. I feel like asking him to acknowledge my pain would set me back into being his tiny little girl again. The little girl he cast aside and had no interest in raising. While he has little interest in getting to know the woman I’ve become, it’s more than the girl I was.

He called yesterday, out of the fucking blue. He called asking for my advice on some family matters. He typically only calls when he wants something, even if it’s just to pick my brain because of my eXpErTiSe in the field.

…Or to speak to my husband.

I want a better relationship but I just can’t splay my feelings out on the floor for him to tap dance on.

Because he will.

Because he has.

So here I stay, stuck in the corner, watching time go by. Watching him age faster and me become more resentful of the choices he’s made that have affected our lives.

Why can’t I just let it all fucking go?

I’m so lost without you

I’m genuinely concerned about something here.
Maybe I’m out of line.
Maybe I’m wrong. It happens occasionally.

All I know is that I’m fucking irritated and as much as I don’t have a right to be I feel like I have a right to be.

My brother in law. I don’t know how to handle my brother in law. I don’t know why I get so monumentally annoyed by him. He does stupid shit and we’re supposed to co-sign on it. We’re supposed to turn a blind eye to it. Nicest kid you’ll ever meet. Since he’ll eventually be my child, I’m glad to know he’ll be a polite one.

He’s 30 fucking years old. He’s never held a job. He’s never driven a car. He’s never finished school. Why? He’s his daddy’s little boy! Can’t use the good china – it might chip. The other china, however – my husband – fuck it: set it out for the guests or use it as frisbees. He wouldn’t give two shits, until he ran out of shit to eat off of.

When he needs dependability, he runs for the husband. Because he coddled the ever-loving shit out of China Boy and when his appendix almost burst 5 years ago, China Boy called my husband first instead of 911.

Because that’s what you do in emergencies: call family that can’t do shit in the moment instead of trained fucking paramedics. No goddamn sense about himself, that boy. Has tons of opinions about how the world works – sponsored by fucking YouTube and Wikipedia.

I’m convinced I’m going to raise this boy as my own child when the man dies. As much as I absolutely dislike the man, I don’t wish that on him. However, considering his penchant for alcohol, I can imagine his insides are either rotting away or pickling themselves. I’m not a doctor, but that shit isn’t known to prolong one’s life.

…China Boy gets a motherfucking allowance, y’all.

No bills to pay. No job. No responsibilities. Free money. No student loans. Free food. Chauffeured everywhere.

Thirty. Years. Of. Age.

And then I feel like a dick when I want to change the password on the free Netflix and Hulu Live with Showtime that he has access to. Because he seems so overly active with that job hunt.

Because I pay the Netflix. With my fucking job.

My husband pays the Hulu Live plus Showtime. With his job. And China Boy contributes nothing.

My husband frequently covers his meals and drinks when we go out and I scream internally “That’s my fucking mortgage! What the fuck are you doing?!” He has a savings account. This is not someone that needs your assistance in purchasing a goddamn taco and beer, OK?

Did the husband ever get any money from the man? Nope. Not one red cent. Written out of the will, because of me. (I only care because of how it must have hurt the husband to hear that. I don’t care about the money part. I have my own; I make my own. Fuck that man and all that he stands for. He was never good to the husband and he’s shooting China Boy in the foot. He can ride his pride train all the way to hell.)

I feel bad. I feel bad for not wanting to be around China Boy too much (remember? He’s a really nice kid – wouldn’t hurt a soul). I see someone who is emotionally… stunted (and knows it – see: Asperger’s) but does absolutely fuck all about it. I think that’s what pisses me off so much.

And the man just lays in the cut doing nothing, twiddling his goddamned thumbs.

Worse than my father. And that’s saying something considering he is in the same fucking house watching this shitshow.

Perfect by nature

I’m unsure how to keep functioning in a 9-5 setting with the overwhelming emotions I have. I’m working in the setting I’ve always imagined myself, but even after several months, the pressure is becoming too intense. I don’t know if it’s my perfectionism or that the expectations are truly insurmountable. When I try my best, I still forgot to dot an “I” or cross a “T.” I’m not used to being micromanaged – I’m used to being either my own boss or being left to my own devices, figuring it out on my own and having it all come together in the 11th hour. Having extreme anxiety like I do makes it very difficult for me to be micromanaged. With someone looking over my shoulder, I make more mistakes.

I’ve never been reprimanded at work before. Ever. By anyone. Before today.

I was reprimanded twice.

This doesn’t happen to me.

I was following a directive and was later reprimanded for not following another directive because I was following the first one given to me. My boss gave less than 2 shits about my apology, no matter how honest and sincere it truly was.

I was reprimanded in a group email by a higher ranking team member. Instead of talking to me privately because of a very simple computer error, they felt it necessary to correct and reprimand me via email and send it out to our entire team.

It’s only Monday. A shitty, shitty Monday and it’s not a dream. I had to take 1.25mg of Xanax to get through the whole day – just to keep me from crying and walking out the door with my middle finger in the air. So my pdoc is going to have to up this prescription; back in 2012-2018 I used to take 0.5mg – not this 0.25mg baby shit.

Because I cannot. I kept trying to think of water rolling off a duck’s back, but it wasn’t working. I just felt dejected, pathetic, stupid and livid. I took a nap when I got home but forced myself to go to dinner with Mom and the husband.

Still feel like shit. Still want to call off tomorrow but it won’t help anything, plus I can’t afford to lose the hours.

So I ate some chocolate. I’ll take more Xanax because my nerves are shot and nothing is working to calm me down. I feel like fucking crying.

…Ok, now I am crying. What the friggety fuck.

I’m done with today.

Oh, to feel nothing again. What a blessing that was. If I can’t be manic, Goddess please, let me feel nothing. Everything in between is either annoying or torture and I’m not in the fucking mood anymore.

It never was and never will be

A “doorknob confession” is an industry term used when a client drops a bomb on you right before the end of a session – often as a means of avoidance. Usually I hear things like, “I’m divorcing my wife,” or “I relapsed and did 3 lines of coke over the weekend” 43 minutes into a 45 minute session. It gives us zero time to address the issue until next time and they know it. They’d been sitting on it for the whole session and didn’t want to address the elephant only they could see. My attitude is typically, fine – you’re the one that has to live with that elephant sitting on your chest all week. See you next time.

I detest doorknob confessions. They deter progress. I especially hate what I now call doorknob confrontations.

Doorknob confrontations are something my husband uses. I’m getting ready for work, getting ready to leave for something and as I’m making my lunch or putting on my shoes to walk out the door I’m confronted with an issue that’s been plaguing him – usually some unsavory behavior of mine that’s being called on the carpet.

The emotional dumping continues as I’m trying to mentally prepare for the hell that is my job, the anxiety-inducing traffic or sifting through the fridge to locate something suitable to eat. I end up providing half-thought out answers or disregarding the conversation altogether out of frustration and anger. He likely ends up feeling neglected, brushed aside and defeated because his feelings, in that moment, appear not to matter and his requests and concerns fall on deaf ears. I leave and carry his emotional baggage with me to work (or wherever), making me effectively useless at my job (or whatever) because the situation is unresolved – leaving me seething because this could have been remedied by discussing it the night before or when I came home. He gets to air his grievances and go off to work (or wherever), having emptied his bag of shitastic emotions all over me. I’m glad he feels better but now I get to wear his shit like a cloak plus my depression, anxiety and what my therapist has deemed “imposter syndrome” to work and try not to collapse under all that pressure. To add to this, I’m expected to greet him with smile like Mary goddamn Sunshine when he comes home from work.

…Covered in emotional baggage and excrement.

Uh-huh.

So… I’m supposed to look like this?

When I feel like this:

Oh, OK. I’ll be sure to self-edit for everyone’s comfort. Fabulous.

I know I’m not supposed to mind read, but if I were to air my grievances – these particular ones, the response would likely be: “Nevermind, forget I said anything. Let’s just forget about it. Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine.” This completely shoves the problem under the rug, further stuffing his feelings inside until he brings it up again in a few weeks/months and I’m wearing the cloak again. It’s cyclical.

Slowly learning that life is okay

I’m back in therapy and it’s rough af. We’re talking about shit I don’t want to deal with. We’ve been talking about my grandfather and the damage he did.

He was my rock, he was my cheerleader. He supported me when I had no one. He died and left me with no one. He left me with the task of taking care of my mother when I was 16, so I did. She says she didn’t need my help and that I never helped her but I didn’t see it that way. I remember planning his funeral because the only parent in her life that meant anything to her was gone; she broke.

Vulnerability is weakness.

He was an Army man, a Captain. He survived WWII, a Black man in power. He treated me like his little baby, his little girl. But he trained me to be a soldier.

Emotions are for the weak. Humanity is weakness. Show none to survive. The only useful emotion is anger: instilling fear into others will motivate them to do what you want.

He told me so many reasons to be angry. My mother couldn’t afford to care for me despite working 12 hours a day and was effectively useless, having let her love for my father cause her depression since their divorce. He said she was weak. He said my father was a deadbeat: he didn’t want to be a father but had no problem fathering other children during the tenure of his marriage to my mother. Grandpa said Dad didn’t know how to be a good father to me, didn’t want to and couldn’t be a good man for my mother.

I. Was. Six. Years. Old.

He fed me this shit for years, spoon-feeding me until I was full of anger.

Y’know. When I really think about it, the most human I ever saw him was a few years before he died. He was in kidney failure and on dialysis; he had dementia. A man who lived through the war, segregation, Civil Rights Movement, earned a Master’s Degree in Mathematics became so frail. I watched his mind turn against him as the amyloid plaques grew in size inside his brain. I was terrified. I saw my savior dying while he was still alive. He remembered me – sometimes. And sometimes he told me he hated me; he could be so cruel and mean. Mom came to see him everyday to change his clothes, diapers and visit. I stopped visiting regularly after 6 months. I would go after he’d apologized for cussing at me; I was 13 or 14 years old without a stable parent. I was lost in the shuffle.

I remember the day he died. I was 15 by then; he’d been sick for 4 years. I’d seen him the night before and he was hollering in pain. He was a shell of his former self. My mom and i just held a hand of his and cried. We already knew it was coming. Our family is big into omens, psychics, folk medicine and the like. I just had a sticky feeling all that night. I cried and cried. I woke up and went to our family albums and started pulling his picture out of all of them after my Mom went to work. I stored all of his pictures in my room. I didn’t know why I did it – I figured she just wouldn’t be able to look at them for a long time. I got a call from my aunt later in the day telling me she was coming to pick me up; Grandpa was rushed to the hospital and Mom was already there and they needed me there.

To say goodbye, I thought. This is it. Get your shit together, Alice. You’ve gotta be strong. This is what he wanted – for you to be strong.

My aunt picked me up with my cousins in tow. We arrived at the hospital and my Mom and Grandpa were in the trauma bay. He was stable, but with tubes every which way I knew it wasn’t a good scene. My Mother was sobbing, leaking from every hole in her face – the ugliest cry I’d seen in a while, understandable since the only true parent she’d ever known was actively dying. I leaned over to Grandpa and said into his ear, fighting back every tear in my body:

Hey. It’s Alice. Don’t worry about Mom, I’ll take care of her like you taught me to, remember? I love you so much. It’s OK for you to go now. You don’t have to hold on because of me. I’ll be OK. I’ll see you later, alligator.”

He flatlined.

My world was crushed.

My life was over.

Because I lied. I didn’t know what to do without him. I shut Mom out, I continued to shut my Dad out. I’ve shut everyone out. Because what soldier do you know that lets others in? A soldier protects others and self, right?

I believe that children are the future

Sigh. I don’t think anyone understands or will understand how I feel. The sheer anxiety and anger that I feel when the topic of children comes up is almost uncontrollable.

Some days I don’t want them at all. Some days I want them so bad it’s all I think about. Some days I’m completely ambivalent.

Today, I don’t want any. Tomorrow may be different.

Everyday is the same however – the anger and anxiety. That hasn’t changed since the abortion. I’ve been angry and anxious since. I now know what lies ahead when the time comes to have children.

Y’see, there’s never been a doubt: I’m going to have children, regardless of whether or not I’m having a “no” day, “ambivalent” day or “yes” day. I’ve been told that changing my mind about wanting children was a dealbreaker. I’m not ending my marriage. So the kid is my future.

I’m not sure I’ll ever not be angry. I doubt I’ll ever get rid of this anxiety – it exists in several forms. What I do know is that I’m getting older and the longer I wait, the narrower my chances are to have kids.

Today is still not that day. Neither is tomorrow.

I was on a lot of medications when I first got pregnant. I was excited to be a mom – surprised, but excited. Broke, but excited. Terrified, but excited.

I remember hearing about the time my mom told my father she was pregnant with me. She told me she was so happy. She’d had a miscarriage the year before so she was excited to have another chance at motherhood. She ran up to him and gave him a big hug; he never hugged back. He was completely stoic. He never wanted children. Kinda set the tone for our relationship for a few decades.

I made my husband come with me to a random gyno appointment one year. I wanted him to visualize the pain and anguish of the duck lips. Hearing about how scary a prostate exam was was beginning to wear on me (it’s one finger – are you fucking kidding me?!). I told the gyno I’d been having some weird symptoms – lack of appetite (weird for me at that time), nausea, no period for 2 months (which was not uncommon for me), but nothing too extraordinary. She wanted to do an ultrasound just to be sure.

There it was. I was a mom. She said I had been a mom for 6 weeks by that time. Goddamn home pregnancy tests are for shit. Blood test came back positive. Imagine little Alice: a mom. Seemingly everyone can, except Alice.

But I remember that day and all the days leading up to that day. I saw my husband’s face in that chair when my gyno said we were going to be parents. It was the face I’d always imagined my father had when my mom said she was pregnant with me. A face that said, “Great. What do I do now?” That was not the face I wanted my child’s father to have when they heard he was coming into the world. That’s what I’ve always feared – since I was young. I wanted him to be happy, not afraid of how we would afford to feed him. I knew in that moment this wasn’t going to happen.

It dawned on me in the days following that my body had been pumped full of medications for years, non-stop. Just like any other drugs, there are side effects that cause damage to the fetus so I started doing some research. Even the most benign of side effects wasn’t benign enough to allow myself to go through with it. I’d been on one specific, life-saving medication for almost 7 years and read where it caused severe birth defects.

So I made the toughest decision I’ve ever made in my life. Because that day, was a “yes” day. And I had to do it anyway. Because I didn’t want my child growing up with numerous birth defects that I didn’t have the money to fix – that not even God would be guaranteed to fix. My psychiatrist told me given my medications and risk of defects, I made the right decision. The child would have likely been deformed.

So the idea of having children now sends me to a dark place. I think of my lost child. He (I always felt it was a boy) would have been 8 in July. I think of having to ween myself off all my medications before trying to get pregnant, then actually trying to get pregnant, staying off all my medications during pregnancy, enduring childbirth, staying off my medications to breastfeed, and enduring postpartum depression and think to myself: why is it the people asking me to do this aren’t the ones paying for this? Either paying for my medical bills when I completely lose my shit, my mortgage when I lose my job after I lose my shit, gaining stretch marks, gaining weight, or taking time off work? I’m the one that has a lot to lose here – my sanity, my job, my body (that I just got back) – but hey, I’m just the vessel. I’m just here to deliver the goods.

Hell, talking about this makes this a “no” lifetime and makes me want to lose my shit.