Krissie: Progress

Photo on 2013-02-19 at 09.46 Okay, I’d count yesterday as … well, pretty amazing. I’ll get to the amazing stuff in a minute.
I put everything into NettieD. I went 300 calories over, possibly (depends whether I used the right turkey meatball listing or not) but 1500 calories for day is a definite improvement. I went swimming. I did my writing. I got to play with Alex (for some reason I started to type Alastair – Lani gets to play with Alastair, not me). Anyway, got to play with my grandson and had a wonderful time with him. Had dinner waiting for Richie when he came in (he’s working outside, heavy carpentry work, in the bitter cold, and he’s 64 and had a heart attack already. He needs to work, but having dinner waiting really lifts his spirits).
The only thing I didn’t do is put in the time on my office, and I’m not sure what I should do. Try to add it in today, as well as my planned room. Bump each room plan ahead? I think I could throw a 15 minute into this as well as the next room (can’t remember if it’s kitchen or bedroom).
But here’s the amazing thing. Continue reading

Krissie: Guilt

Photo on 2013-02-15 at 10.35 Behind me is a throw I made for my mother out of Mary Engelbreit tea fabrics. I need to find a place to put it or a place to gift it.
Anyway, guilt. I’ve insisted I don’t feel guilt, and really, I don’t very often. Mainly because I really try to do things for other people, understand if I annoy them, don’t ask for much.
And I know the last couple of days I was feeling guilty about Sally, and pissed that I was.
I adore Sally. We’ve known each other since we were eight years old, and believe it or not she had a much more horrifying childhood than I had. (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is pure fact — Sally and I both came from academic families in Princeton). Anyway, we’ve had our ups and downs, including a long period, close to 20 years, when we didn’t speak. Well, she wouldn’t speak to me. She’s had a really rough life, and I understood. I can have a toxic effect on people, and she needed to protect herself. She blames herself now for it, but I always understood. I just missed her in my life.
But we’ve been bff (literally) and sisters for the last ten years, and we won’t have a falling apart like that. But maybe a small part of me is always afraid she’s going to walk away again.
She’s also very needy. I don’t mind — I was there, a witness to her childhood, and I understand. And she takes care of me when I give her a mental shake and say I’m a mess, but mostly I tend to be … reserved, I guess. I hadn’t realized this until I started typing this morning, but I guess I hold something back, despite how close we are, because I’m afraid she’ll turn her back on me again.
Anyway, I climb mountains for her. And when I got sick it was decided I shouldn’t come in, because her grandson has got low platelets or something and is very susceptible to bugs. But I’d sent a suitcase with my meds into the city with them, and I was going to run out at Jenny’s. So Sally said she’d have her husband send them (Tony was arriving on Thursday). Phew! I’d do without them for a weekend and then be fine.
But I couldn’t get home on Monday (icy roads) and then Richie called to say Tony (Sally’s husband) didn’t know anything about sending the pills. They were still sitting in my suitcase in Manhattan. I couldn’t go up to the apartment because I’d bring cooties (which I understand — we were sooo sick) but I thought maybe Tony could meet me at the bus stop. No, that was too complicated. So they sent them out on Tuesday afternoon, express, and they got here on Thursday, which made it a week without my meds.
And I was angry. Angry that she’d spaced it, angry that I had to make such a fuss, emailing and texting and calling. But mostly guilty that I had to insist someone do something for me, and guilty for feeling angry about it.
She emailed me, all cheerful etc., and the anger disappeared. I think it came from fear that she’d be angry with me for making her do this. Which I guess brings me back to the trust issue. I never realized that I can’t completely trust her.
As for Crusie and me, we got along fine. No grumps or blow-ups (because I don’t survive blow-ups). We managed to sort of camp in the house as she pulled it together (with my minimal help — I think I screwed in a switchplate). But I had good ideas (like move the bed, etc). So basically I’m pretty sure I helped more than I hindered (I could remember where I’d last seen things, etc. and I helped clean up the rental). It was too long a visit given that we were basically camping out, but we didn’t have any say in the matter. The Bubonic Plague and the northeast storm (and then the ice) made it impossible to leave sooner.
No, my vague issues were all about Sally. We’ll talk about it when she gets back — we’re so close that we can. I need to figure out how to let go guilt and anger when I have to ask for something.

Too much rambling, I know. But hey, it helped me work it out what was going on, and that’s one of the things I wanted Refab for. To work out what’s holding me back from my true fabulousness.

Anyway, I’m damned lucky to have Sally (and Jenny and Lani) even if I’m a little nutzoid sometimes.

Krissie: Anger

Had a GREAT time with Alex. Tim took him home at the end of the day when the kitchen filled with water, but we had fun decorating, and then I found a box of old toys (god knows why they were here) and brought them down and Alex was entranced and then, heh heh, he took them home with him! One box less, and one happy grandson. I have no idea why we saved them — it’s one thing to save Legos and Playmobil and wood trains. But plastic army stuff?
I gotta not clean and decorate today because my back is really protesting after two days of heavy lifting. Ooooh, it’s Hannukah? Potato pancakes!!!
So today some sewing, some wrapping, a little food shopping (gotta buy the liquid plumber). Just a day for fun.

Ah, but let’s talk about anger. My anger issues are all shaped by my mother. Well, no, maybe shaped by my family.

But first my mother. I think she had an addiction to rage. In fact, she was proud of it. She called it part of her Viking heritage, the berserker rages. She thought being berserker (a Danish term) was something to be proud of. I remember when I was seven my sister and I tried to see if she’d get through one day without a rage. (She didn’t). My father had an inappropriate sense of humor, and he called her “Hurricane Virginia” or “Old Yeller.” (He was pretty funny). She would turn red in the face and scream, she’d smash dishes, throw things, she went after me with a fire poker (tried to break down the bathroom door I was locked behind) went after my sister with a knife as she ran into a neighbor’s kitchen. I don’t know what would have happened if she’d caught either of us. She wasn’t warm and fuzzy when she wasn’t angry. What we did together, the fun, warm times we had that I can remember, was when we went into Philadelphia to shop. We’d go by train, and go to the department stores and eat at places like the Crystal Tea Room at Wanamakers. It’s no wonder that I connect shopping with happiness.
She always felt ill-used, though in fact she wasn’t. She did disappear into mental hospitals a couple of times, and then finally ended up spending weeks (months?) in the local hospital having shock treatments. Didn’t cure the rages though it knocked her out of her depression. As a child she was very sickly, and she was also the baby, and apparently she had amazing tantrums and screamed a lot. I’m surprised my tough grandmother put up with it, but since my mother nearly died, maybe that was why. I also suspect my grandfather may have molested her and my aunt (it’s a long story). We’ll never know, but my cousin and I put some things together.
But I can’t go smash things because the sound of smashing dishes (even one dropped accidentally) sends adrenaline shooting through my system. Even slightly crashy-sounding cleaning noises freak me out (she could never do any cleaning without slamming things around). Even though she adored me for the last twenty or so years of her life and the rages were mostly gone, I still react. (I think her chronic panic attacks were simply a form of her rage issues).
As for my father, he was funny and charming and bipolar and an alcoholic and pill-popper. But when he was okay be was so much fun. He was a musician (as well as an editor) and we shared that (I was the musical one). But when he was drunk he broke things (including the record player, which, trust me, was like tearing my heart out back then). He slapped me across the face a couple of time too (which as a parent you don’t do).
My sister had a temper. She’d break things too. I remember her shaking her babies’ cribs in a rage when they woke her up crying, though in general she was an excellent mother. What she lacked in day to day stuff she made up for in love. No matter what, her children knew she loved them, and that got them through a lot.
And my baby brother was brilliant, with a sly, wicked sense of humor and alcoholism and addictions like my father. My father died at 58 (fell down the stairs and broke his neck) and Dougal died at 40 (alcohol poisoning) and both were bipolar (the drugs and alcohol were self-medicating).
So no wonder anger terrifies me. The sound of a broken dish or glass makes me panic. It’s either someone in an uncontrollable rage or someone’s drunk again.
I remember when I was a lot younger (teens or twenties) thinking that if I lost my temper I would become catatonic and never come back. Seriously, I believed that. (I must have known there was incredible rage hidden inside me).
So … the one person I could fight with, at least a little bit, was my sister. The last fight I had with her was right before Kaim (Tim’s sibling) arrived, 29 years ago, and it was very calm (at least on my part). Calm, biting anger. And that only came out with Taffy. With Richie I sulk or even snap a little bit (and then apologize).
That’s probably one reason Richie and I are so happy together. He’ll yell occasionally, he’ll get angry in a healthy way (at Tim, sometimes at Kaim, at his sister etc). But he’s basically calm and steady and oh, maybe a little bit passive.

So, bottom line, anger has terrible connotations for me. I don’t know to use it. The few times I let a little anger loose with Kaim when she was little she would say that I scared her. (And I very seldom got angry with her). Mainly if something made me angry it first made me feel sick and then made me cry.

And despite everything we’ve gone through with Tim (I first typed “Tim has put me through” but that’s my mother talking. I believe in taking responsibility for my own reactions because I can’t change other people). Anyway, despite some really awful things and real emotional abuse I’ve never even snapped at him. In fact, one time when we visited him in a therapeutic school I asked him if I could get angry at him. (He was always really mean to me when we visited). He said no.

So the total spazz-out was a long time coming. My voice is still raspy five days later (this happened on Monday). I can’t believe I could have done permanent harm. I hope not, because I love to sing, and my soprano was getting very strong after Sound of Music (I couldn’t believe how powerful it was at the Christmas luncheon last Saturday). If I’ve lost it …

I probably haven’t. My voice just needs time to recover.

So I need to learn how to embrace anger in a healthy way, not to bottle it up until I go nuts. I’ve been dealing with suppressed anger toward Richie over a number of things, when I’m never mad at Richie. And I was never angry in a healthy way at my parents. Or at my brother and sister for dying of their fucking addictions and leaving me …

Enough. Don’t want to start the day in tears. It’s another day of nesting and sewing and having fun. And my therapist and I will talk about anger next week.

Krissie: I’m baaaack

this is what I looked like last time you saw me, wearing the Disney sweatshirt and trying to finish the book. Finished the book, all hell broke loose and I went into a total meltdown. Such a total meltdown of screaming (mostly on my own) that my voice is still husky. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything permanent — it almost felt like it was bleeding.
Here I am this morning, after I went to take today’s picture and saw the last one. Sally cut my bangs and I’m not sure what I think but what the hell. She was taking care of me, so I let her do what she wanted. She put makeup on me and fed me and comforted me.

So here’s the story and there are many parts to it. Maybe I’ll skip over the rough parts. The scoop is, as you know, I’m fighting off a really deep depression. Plus, when you’re working on finishing a book it’s called Deadline Dementia and you’re a physical and emotional mess.
Unfortunately my son chose that moment to not only freak about about the reality of his testing report (he has severe learning issues. He scores very high on verbal skills, reasoning, and something else — I forget. So his LD is mostly invisible unless he tries to write or do math. He’s got ADHD and is severely dyslexic but lots of other stuff as well. And he was facing it. Which god knows is hard, because we’ve always tried to pump him up and shield him from hurtful stuff. To make him feel he could do anything, not tell him all the things he can never do. He’d been to vocational rehab and he was freaking.
But he started attacking. No excuse for it. It was verbal and emotional abuse. And he has to stop it. But he couldn’t, the more I asked him to stop the more he went on, and I finally snapped and started screaming at him. First to get out of the room, and then I just kept screaming, and then I ran out of the house in my socks and drove to where Richie was.

Lots of drama. Lots of tears. Lots of apologies. Tentative re-ordering of things. Plans are being made.

The thing is, I’ve been so protective that in his entire life I’ve never even snapped at him. Definitely never yelled, and no one’s seen me freak out like that. It’s happened twice in my entire life. When I was in my mid-thirties, fighting with infertility, going through intense treatments, my toxic cousin got pregnant and decided to do a number on me. So I drove to a quiet place and screamed (because people told me it would release tension). It didn’t — it made me sick.

The second time I was in the car, parked in the driveway, and my sister had asked me to read my nephew’s autopsy report before she did. I did, and started screaming. You don’t need to know.

So it was bad. But the next day Sally took excellent care of me, Lani and Jenny took care of Refab, and my son apologized, which is amazing. But this isn’t about my son. We can talk about that another time — in the meantime let’s talk about me.
So the next day (yesterday) I rearranged my living room (shoved the piano, the couch around). When I finish I’ll take a photo so you can see. But it made me feel wonderful. Today I’m going to finish the cleaning in the living room (figure that’s the place I’ll be spending most of my time in), do a little in my bedroom and do some sewing (before seeing my shrink).
I’m finally realizing that the book was gone, and it was good. I’m still feeling depression drag at me — so many things I’m supposed to do that I don’t want to do (career stuff), such severe money problems. But one massive source of stress is gone. (Of course, because it was so late, I knew the next deadline would need to be adjusted. I asked, and the book is due on December 15th. I laughed).

But I’m getting to do all the things I refused to let myself do. Nest. Fix up my house. Decorate for Christmas (Alex is coming to help tomorrow).

So we’ve got a lot to talk about in the days. I still want to talk about Depression Lies and everything people talked about that day.
And I need to talk about anger, which frightens me (clearly). So that when I freak it’s way out of proportion and I don’t know how to deal with it.
I want to talk about children, in particular wounded children and how we deal with them, what helps and what doesn’t.

And most of all I want to talk about Christmas because I gotta tell you, I love it and always have. Don’t know why because we had our share of Christmas horrors. But I just freaking love Christmas. And I’m finding “found” presents and ones I can make and I really don’t have to work unless I want to until Christmas is over, because I have had A Hard Time. Officially.

So, lots to talk about. Crusie’s feeling better, Lani’s cat came home, things are falling into place. Maybe they’re falling into place for me too.

Once can only hope.

Krissie: So Much Better

That’s a look of relief on my face. Coming up with a plan worked, plus my shrink reminded me of church, which has a couple of comfortable spots, and then a refabber reminded me of Claire’s (the restaurant, not the store). And I cuddled up to Richie and we talked about how mad I’ve been, and my shrink reminded me I had a helluva week, including an 800 miles drive by myself (well, I had SEP with me, telling me stories).
And Richie agreed with me about no more money talk, and we’re going to make it through this. A couple of days ago and it didn’t feel like it. Unfortunately I don’t have the option of going easy on myself. Gotta get the book done. Want to get the book done.
So I’ve got a plan. Which includes writing approximately 3500 words a day, but that can be done. And since I always write the end in a white hot finish, I can do a little less. I just have to be focused and not let all the other shit around me distract me, including the misery of those I love best. Unfortunately.
But I feel so much better now. Getting past my simmering anger at Richie really helps. We really don’t tend to fight, and for a while there it felt as if I was losing everything, including Richie.
But it’s better now.
And in the beginning of November the book will be done, we’ll have our Come to Goddess time and then I’ll stay down with Crusie for a week or so, and we’ll write and talk and try not to shop (well, neither of us can shop) and it will be wonderful. It always is. Crusie and Lani are filling dumpsters and trash bags and goodwill boxes, I’m getting the book done, and everything’s going to work out.
I think having Alex also helped my mood. We made Halloween cookies, we carved a pumpkin, played with Legos. He told me he loved me (he’s good with that) and that my home-made bread was the best.
What more can you ask?
Cold and rainy today, but that doesn’t matter. Bird by bird.
You know, I think I need an “everything’s gonna be all right” soundtrack. Starting with “No woman No Cry” by Bob Marley. Any suggestions?

Krissie: Anger

That’s my disgusted look. Not that I’m disgusted. That’s just the look I felt like practicing.
Great session with my shrink. I’ve been seeing her for … god, maybe 12 years. Since before my son got into drugs. She knows me well, knows what I do and what I need help with.
I told her I was afraid the only thing I could do, to force the situation, was to resort to a screaming, crying, hysterical fit. Which not only makes me physically sick, but leads to depression, which could lead to a clinical depression. I don’t want that if I can help it.
But I digress.

Let me talk about anger. Continue reading

Krissie: What doesn’t kill us

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, which makes most women the powerhouses they are. It’s been such a disastrous week, but I was able to hold on to what was important, what I could do something about, and Jenny’s like the maidens of St. Trinians:
“Maidens of St Trinian’s, gird your armour on.
Grab the nearest weapon; never mind which one.
The battle’s to the strongest; might is always right.
Trample on the weakest; glory in their plight”

Even if we didn’t actually go to that cross between an English girls’ school and a reformatory, we have the fighting spirit. And most of us, though more honorable than some of our male counterparts, are willing to fight dirty in defense of our lives and those we love. Continue reading