Archive for the ‘ Life and Life Things ’ Category

In Case You Forget

Dear Amber,

It’s okay to not have all the answers. No one expects you to be perfect, so neither should you. And while it’s okay to not have all the answers, if you do have one–say it. Don’t dumb yourself down, sell yourself short, or forget who you are. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in. You’ve got the forum, you’ve got the words. Don’t waste them.

Amber, it really is okay to be yourself. You don’t have to prove yourself to the mini van driving soccer moms. There’s nothing wrong with going against the grain sometimes. People may judge you at times, but that’s their problem. You’re kind, compassionate, intelligent, and nurturing…the music you like and the cut of your jeans don’t affect who you are underneath them. You’d be the same woman and the same mother if you had blonde hair and wore matching sweater sets. Don’t let the harsh words of passersby break your spirit. You are a good mom.

Also Amber, please let yourself breathe. You’re a single mom with a job and school. Self-care is important, taking care of your daughter’s mama is important. Don’t burn out now, ’cause you are SO close to being done with school. After that, this is all going to get so much easier. The dishes don’t have to be washed the minute they’re dirtied. The only thing you need to be worried about above all else is Eden. She needs to be cuddled and sung to and you need the happiness that comes from doing so. You’re the real life Lorelai and Rory – embrace it.

Amber, you’ve got to let go of the dream of having a real mother-daughter relationship with your mom. It’s not going to happen and you don’t need to be sad about that anymore. Focus on the mother-daughter relationship that REALLY matters – the one you have with your daughter. You can break this cycle.

You are so much more awesome than you give yourself credit for. Losing weight won’t change you. You’re beautiful just how you are. You’re a good mother, a good girlfriend and a good nurse. You have a big, bright future ahead of you, girl.

❤ Me

In Retrospect

A few days ago, I wrote a post for Band Back Together about my struggle with self-injury. It was hard to write, more difficult than I’d expected it to be and for several reasons at that. One of the reasons: Remembering the beginning. Remembering the reasons, remembering how confused and scared I was. Most of all, remembering my mother’s role in it all.

I started hurting myself when I was 10 years old. My injuring increased in severity and frequency over the years and at 13 I threw in an eating disorder for good measure. When I was 16, I put myself into therapy and at the first appointment we were going over my history and when I mentioned the age I started cutting, my mother turned to the therapist and said “Yeah, I knew she was doing that.”

She knew.

She knew that her 5th grader was cutting herself with x-acto knives and she didn’t. say. a. word. Not one word. Not to me, not to a doctor, not even to my dad. She washed the blood stains out of my clothes and silently watch me kill myself. Years later when I finally attempted suicide, putting myself into a coma, Mom didn’t visit. Not one time in the weeks I was in intensive care. Not so much as a phone call or a card sent with my father. No word for a month.

My mother let me stick with my self-destructive mission and didn’t bat an eye when it nearly killed me. My mother belittled me and insulted me for everything from my grades to my weight. My mother told me one day while driving me to a doctor’s appointment, “Sometimes I just want to drive this car off the road and kill both of us…put us both out of our misery.” She threatened to commit me to a state mental health institution. She forced medications on me and played the victim in therapy sessions. My mother was too self-centered to put on her big girl panties and deal with the problem in front of her. Her 10 year old child was screaming out for help and she ignored her.

She ignored me and I can never forgive her.

Metalways and Napcations

it’s no secret that I love music. I love the fire, the passion, the crushing emotion. I name drop Vital Remains so often you’d think I’m Pulling a John C. Mayer. Music is my heart, my lifeline. I’ve sang opera for a decade, my Partner In Crime a guitarist for close to the same. My daughter will soon put fingers to keys. Music punctuates my life, but being a single mama-college student hybrid makes getting to shows kind of difficult. That’s why I’m so excited for the METALWAY!
Jeffers and I are planning on packing up the combat boots and heading to Des Moines in November. A trip that will include Cannibal Corpse, Devourment, Dying Fetus and Vital Remains. Our getaway. Our metal getaway. Our metalway.
While going to a concert may not mean much to some of you out there, to me it’s huge. Music is my heartbeat and I haven’t had it in awhile. It’s one thing to plug in the iPod and rock out in the living room, but it’s quite another to be in the crowd. You can FEEL the music. You can see the emotion in the eyes of the band members, the sweat on their brows. You watch the venue explode with the bass line, the pit devolving into the rhythmic passion the sound intended.
It’s religious. It’s everything.
To some people, it’s sound. It’s chromatic notes and a time signature. To me, it’s a reason to wake up in the morning. It’s the thing I share with the other thing I wake up for in the morning– my family. My sweet little alternafamily, with our zebra print rugs and death metal soundtrack.

Music and family.

Diaper pins and combat boots.

This is my Rage Face

So saturday night I was kept awake by my neighbors. My neighbors half a block away and across the street were having a party. A party that raged until 1:00 am, during which nothing but 80s HAIR METAL was played. LOUDLY. I was very angry, and had fantasies of curbstomping people to the sounds of Devourment, but was thwarted by my being extremely, pathetically tired. So instead, I wrote this:

Dear hair metal jackasses,
It is midnight and your music has been blasting ALL NIGHT. I live across the street and down half a block and I can hear the LYRICS to your pathetic music. Neither my 2 year old nor myself appreciate this. If this happens again, I WILL call the cops. Shut the hell up. Maybe you want to feel the noise and rock your boys, but me and the toddler want to SLEEEEEEEP. Please cease your ridiculous crap and be respectful of your neighbors.
Thank you,
A human fucking being.
P.S. Get a better taste in music. Twisted Sister sucks ass. Also, screw you
.

Clearly a masterpiece. I didn’t follow through with the sending of that note, and for that I’m a little bit sad…

Mistake

Today, I binged.

Two liters of mountain dew, a pound of M&Ms, and a bag of potato chips…gone. Thousands of calories consumed in under an hour. It hit me like an electrical storm, throwing me, zombie-like, into the kitchen. I ate and ate, mind numb, until as quickly as it came, it ended. I started to shake as I realized what’d happened. Embarrassed, ashamed, heartbroken, scared. I didn’t purge, not like that makes it any better.

I’m upset with myself, but that won’t help anything. I shouldn’t -can’t- dwell on this misstep, and instead choose to make my next choice a healthy one.

It’s okay to make mistakes, Amber.

Please, stop crying.

1096 days.

For nine years, cutting was the only way I had to ease the pain. Every stress, every feeling was etched into my forearm. A jagged, visceral reminder of the devastation in my heart. It was an elaborate metaphor. The injury was like a vent, the blood, my feelings, spilling out from it. I had no real way to express myself without injuring, as emotions were somewhat scorned in my family. I was expected to be happy and a high-achiever and anything else was a failure, so I was forced to cry in secret and bleed my tears. For nine years, this was my method. Everyday, for every reason, I spilled my blood in desperation. For nine years I could not stop. It was as ingrained in my heart as breathing, but at 19 I knew I couldn’t continue. I had more damaged skin than intact, and had been on several treks to the emergency room. I knew my life was in danger, that one slip and I’d bleed to death on my bathroom floor. On September 9, 2007, I resolved to stop once and for all. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. How many nights I spent crying, my nails bitten to the nubs, my heart screaming out, but I didn’t give up. I fought on and those fretful nights clicked on and on, adding up to weeks, months. Now, three years later, I’m still going strong. I’ve learned REAL coping skills and no longer need to hurt myself. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be sad or angry, that having a negative emotion is not a failure. I’ve got an amazing support system, a literal bag of tricks, and everyday is a little easier.

Self-injury is extremely difficult to overcome, but it CAN be done! No one deserves the pain of self-injury, and there are places and people who can help any of you who may be suffering. I’m passionate about self-injury awareness, and am always available to talk to anyone who needs it. Tweet @ me, I’ll reply. Another amazing resource, one that helped me so much is S.A.F.E. Alternatives.

Nobody should ever suffer in silence. Everyday I beat self-injury.

So can you.

Does Spring Cleaning Have an Autumn Equivalent?

I admit it — I struggle with clutter. Highly organized clutter, but still clutter. Over my 22 years, I’ve adopted many strategies to deal with my anxiety, ranging from severely self-destructive (self-injury) to potentially severely self-destructive (hoarding tendency). To combat my tendency to hoard things, every 3 months I “Deep Clean”. Every room, every drawer, every closet is sorted and unneeded things discarded.
Today’s the day.
Wish me luck as I attempt to avoid being on A&E.