The Enabler

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At the dentist, they regard me in a way I am not accustomed. Because of my pre-disposed fear and anxiety, coupled with the aversion to pain, the methods necessary for me to endure the necessary procedures put me in an uncomfortable position. It is one I have had plenty of exposure to, but rarely the chance to experience.

I grew up as the enabler to an addict, my alcoholic mother barked loud and often for me to fill her wine glass each night after dinner until she could no longer stand. Soon, she would splay across the couch, camped in front of the television, puffing away on Misti ultra light cigarettes until she faded into unconsciousness. When I no longer needed to fill the green dimpled glass with ice and cheap jug wine, I would linger to make sure the lit cigarettes found their way into the ashtray, and not smolder into the couch cushions. When she began to snore, I would shake her and send her off to bed. Sometimes she would go, sometimes she wouldn’t. The times she wouldn’t were filled with drunken rants, awkward cornering, and uncomfortable glaring silences.

Being the sober person in an addicted relationship is damaging in so many ways. Without benefit of blackouts, I could easily recall my mother’s behavior the next morning, while she had the luxury not to. I learned early on that I couldn’t count on her the way my friends could rely on their mothers. I always had to find rides home, since my mother would be shit-faced by 7:00. I couldn’t talk about the bullies at school, the boys that I liked, or the callous teachers, because she would only slur her words and call them “maggots” or “small town hicks.” Instead, I would tend to her emotional wounds, the men who disrespected her, the women who gossiped about her, the failings of our small town, as I filled the glass again and again.

At the dentist, I see the glimmer of my childhood self in the pitiful smiles as they ask if I would like to be numbed, if I wanted nitrous oxide, if I needed my Xanax. The same cautious, care taking tones I used to speak myself fill my heart with shame as I sheepishly accept. I lay back, plug into my headphones and try to relax. I feel weak for needing it, but know deep down the necessity of it all.

“It’s for your benefit, too,” I try to explain, but the words have no meaning. They just nod politely, and tell me to “float away” as I breathe in the careful mixture of oxygen and laughing gas. And, I try, but the nagging remains, that I need this, my crutch is part of my programming. I do not know how else to cope. And in that sad, sulking moment, I understand her. Though her crutch was needed to cope with the pain felt throughout the entirety of her existence, mine is only needed because I’m scared of the pain at the dentist. Mine ends when the novacaine wears off, but hers is everything. I pity her, but am not able to forgive it.

It is my damage, too. My distorted understanding of human needs, the inability to put my own needs first, the default switch to self sacrifice by obligation, the constant draw to self-destructive tendencies and people. And, because I was the conscious one, and she was not, my estrangement, my complaints of abuse, neglect, and disparity will never be recognized. Now, she fills her own glass, and mutters about my ingratitude under her breath, tendrils of smoke escaping her snarled lips.

Foto Friday – Abandoned Office

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Happy Foto Friday everyone! Today, we continue our new series. I took these photos when I first started my current job. We used to be housed in a very old building, which is where unpopular departments go to die. Eventually, the old building was to be torn down. Only our half was being maintained at that point. Before the demolition crew was to arrive, my boss gave me the okay to go into the unmaintained half to see what was over there. I brought my camera and got this photo (among the rest of the series). Enjoy!

Aerials (no, not the Little Mermaid kind)

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Since I’ve had my son, I’ve been trying to be more adventurous. Partly because I need to find ways to keep myself active, but I’ve come to realize that I can be incredibly boring, and who wants that? Nobody. That’s who. So, I’ve been doing fun stuff with my free time, mostly activities I’ve found on Living Social and other daily deal sites. We did pretty well with some family stuff, tickets to an ice cream festival and a children’s museum. I also saw a deal for an introductory “aerials” class.

What are “aerials?” you may ask? Well, it’s exactly not dressing up as the little mermaid, as I would come to find out. It is, instead, an introduction to the “circus arts,” believe it or not. For $12, I was able to score an hour-long introduction to the trapeze, hoop and silks, the kind of stuff you see in Cirque de Soleil and the like.

I arrived a bit early, watching another class finish up and changed from my work clothes into my workout gear. The website was pretty specific on no baggy clothes, so I was a bit intimidated by being around what I imagined would be lithe, super fit gymnast types. However, as the other people for my class arrived, there was a general trepidation we all shared, and my friend who I’d conned into joining me arrived, and all was right with the universe.

The class broke into three groups, and my friend and I started out on the trapeze. The skills were not unlike those you’d use on the playground when you were a kid, pulling myself up onto the bar, steadying myself, and doing the poses the instructor showed us. It was challenging, but fun, and before long I was sweating and breathing hard, but also laughing. This is why we were so skinny as kids, I remembered.

We moved on to the hoop, learning moves called “Delilah” and “The Man in the Moon.” The hoop was more challenging, but also really fun, and soon my hands were red and shaking from all the heavy lifting. The instructors were kind, supportive and really laid back. The encouragement was great and they were very patient as we tried to take photos of ourselves in ridiculous poses.

The last stage was the silks, long strands of fabric fixed to the ceiling. The tricks were even harder, and by then I was exhausted. I wasn’t able to do them as well as the others, so I’m hoping to get another opportunity when they open up for workshop series later this summer. The photographic evidence wasn’t as lovely as I’d hoped, so much awkwardness crammed into one frame. The images show me laughing, in spite of the awkward poses, not quite getting it down, but still pretty cool for a first timer.

All the feels

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I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. The inherent manifestation of my looming deadlines and commitments has culminated in a controlled chaos, barely contained by the societal expectations of pleasantries and basic grooming. Mostly, I’m brooding over the myriad things I have to do, but don’t want to.

Today, we’re battling some technical support issues that have brought our workflow to a standstill. My colleagues, left without anything to keep them busy, have taken to engaging in conversations that I could really have done without. One spent a good 30 minutes describing her ongoing foot fungus issues in great detail. Another regaled me with extensive discussions of potty training her grandchild. Finally, I think I was the subject of a prank in receiving one of the dumbest questions I’ve encountered, one that must have been asked in jest, because if this is what people are really doing out there, I’m just gonna clock out now and go home forever.

What I’d rather be focusing on, instead, is getting prepared for our upcoming travel plans, making preparations for the care of my son while we’re overseas, and planning all the fun things we’ll do. But, the chaos and general idiocy of the universe is paralyzing, being pulled into the depths with zero fucks given to remedy the situation, watching my world collapse on itself like a dying star.

Star meets black hole. Black hole wins. The quintessential beautiful disaster. All my feels today, in one gif.

Foto Friday – Abandoned Office

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Happy Foto Friday everyone! Today, we continue our new series. I took these photos when I first started my current job. We used to be housed in a very old building, which is where unpopular departments go to die. Eventually, the old building was to be torn down. Only our half was being maintained at that point. Before the demolition crew was to arrive, my boss gave me the okay to go into the unmaintained half to see what was over there. I brought my camera and got this photo (among the rest of the series). Enjoy!

Surprise! Root Canal!

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It’s not a secret that I have a lot of dental issues. Although I have what the hygienist calls “excellent hygiene,” I’m plagued by cavities and have spent ridiculous amounts of money in attempting to counter the damage done. On top of that, I’ve also got a lot of dental anxiety, and I tend to metabolize the numbing agents more quickly than most people, so it’s a recipe for disaster.

I’ve been to a few dentists but the one before the one I see currently was the worst. He had no interest in dealing with my pain issues, resorting to yelling, and physically restraining me during dental work, rather than giving me the medication needed. As a result, I avoided the dentist for years, and when I finally got a new one, I needed to have work done on all quadrants, including two root canals. I also needed a mouth guard to sleep because I clench my jaw when I sleep, and learned that the hard way when one of my crowns cracked in half from the pressure. But that was years ago, and I had a few minor issues since, but nothing major.

At my last checkup, I got the bad news. I needed another crown. Reluctantly, I scheduled the appointment, queued up my iPod playlist and headphones, and grabbed a few xanax to get me through. Luckily, my dentist also uses nitrous oxide to help me deal, and this time I was able to take the right amount to actually fall asleep in the chair. I woke up about two hours in, and the procedure was nearly completed. The dental assistants were incredibly kind, but mentioned how I was snoring. Awesome. If I wasn’t already mildly sedated, I would have been more embarrassed. But I didn’t really care, and the simple fact is, if I’m out for the procedure, everyone wins. The dental team gets to do their work, and I’m not aware of what’s happening. Only after the fact did they tell me that instead of the original crown, they needed to do a root canal. So, I get to wear a yucky tasting bandage in my mouth for the next week, but hopefully the rest of the transition goes well.

Paralysis

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I’m sorry to keep wallowing back on this subject again, friends. My last post about my family situation has shaken me harder than I’d like to admit. The long holiday weekend passed with much time for introspection, since my boys came down with a cold and we cancelled our plans. I had a lot of time to roll this nonsense around in my brain.

Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and cry. Woe is me, another betrayal, wahburgers and french cries! But the time for pity parties has long passed in my life. Sure, every once in a while I can go for a hit of the classics, but I think it’s a strong indication of my healing by how little interest I have in self pity.

Another part of me (the devious part that’s been reading too much Game of Thrones) wants to draft a letter to my aunt as though I knew nothing of the betrayal. I’d write her a note about how sorry I am that things are the way they are, how much I appreciate her keeping my information private and how grateful I am to have real family. But those notes are too sour for me, and I feel like sending something like that out into the universe is begging for bad karma.

But the last part of me screams to do something, anything, because silence will only be more suspicious. My brother and his girlfriend put themselves at risk to inform me of what had happened. To cut off all contact would tip the hand that they were feeding me information. And, I think it goes without saying, that I’m paranoid about them too, simply because I’m learning I can’t fucking trust anyone. I hate to be suspicious. I hate feeling paranoid. I hate dissecting others’ behavior to figure out if they’ve got ulterior motives.

I wish I knew what the answer was. I’m hoping to find the path under the brush, leading to the final quiet, peaceful existence where my family can thrive without intrusion. Maybe that’s a pipe dream too. But it’s all I’ve got left to hope for.

Foto Friday – Abandoned Office

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Happy Foto Friday everyone! Today, we continue our new series. I took these photos when I first started my current job. We used to be housed in a very old building, which is where unpopular departments go to die. Eventually, the old building was to be torn down. Only our half was being maintained at that point. Before the demolition crew was to arrive, my boss gave me the okay to go into the unmaintained half to see what was over there. I brought my camera and got this photo (among the rest of the series). Enjoy!

More of the same

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I put off writing this post because I wasn’t sure how to write in a new way the same scenario that’s played out again. I feel stupid for letting it occur, and I feel even dumber that you, my loyal reader, are faced with another post about the same family drama. But, because this blog is a dedicated space for what’s going on in my life, and this falls into that category, here we are…

To those who may not know, I’m estranged from my family of origin, with the exception of my youngest brother. It was not a decision I made lightly, but one that was necessary for my own mental well-being, and one that protects my own family I’ve created since then. My estrangement was limited at first, but as the enmeshment became more evident, more ties were cut. This is the story of the latest tie.

My father betrayed me last fall, forfeiting his inclusion in my life by providing information to my estranged mother about the existence of my son. I found this out when he bragged to me about rubbing it in his ex-wife’s face, completely oblivious that his behavior was yet another knife in my back. With that, I ended contact with him. But I still maintained a relationship with his sister, my aunt, who I had foolishly also trusted.

I was on my own with my son on Monday, my husband traveling for business. I put the little man to bed, and came downstairs to find my phone had blown up with missed calls from my brother and his girlfriend. Apparently, the photographs I’d given to my father before things went south ended up in my mother’s possession. My brother described them to me, and I knew where they’d come from. However, my father had not been the one to pass them along, it was my aunt.

She had sent me a card for Mother’s Day, filled with family pictures of my cousin’s children, sending a note along with it, wishing me well. I hadn’t had a chance to respond, but had a card with pictures of my son in my purse I’d been meaning to write and send. I realize it was very late in coming, but time was not my friend these days. But now, faced with this betrayal, I am left with the difficult decision of what to do next. I should send the card, because to not would tip my brother’s hand that he informed me. If I do, to not send photographs would be suspicious. But to do so, knowing they will end up in my mother’s possession, is more than I can bear.

I wish my family would be normal (not that the word even means anything), but that’s impossible. Nothing healthy ever happens with them, and this is just another example of how heartbreaking it is to be part of it. I wish I could even muster an emotional response, other than depressed acceptance. But I just feel empty, as if no matter what I do, no one is trustworthy, and I’m left without allies in the one place I should have them.

Super Easy Cheesy Mushroom Soup

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I made this recipe twice now, but both times it came out amazing. I promise you can make this, even if you suck at soup! It’s so easy!

Ingredients:

  • One container of fresh mushrooms (I like portobellos)
  • 2 pats of butter
  • 1 bullion cube (I used chicken because that’s what I had on hand)
  • 3-4 slices white American Cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (may need more or less depending on your preferred consistency of soup)
  • Salt, pepper,
  • Granulated onion
  • Granulated garlic

Equipment:

  • Blender or food processor
  • Saucepan (I used a 3 quart)
  • Spatula

In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat to melt. Dice mushrooms up into evenly sized small pieces and add to pan. Season to taste with salt, pepper, onion and garlic and cover. When mushrooms are cooked through (roughly 5-10 minutes), add bullion and milk. Crumble slices of cheese and add to pot, stirring consistently. The cheese will melt pretty readily, and once it does, reduce heat so the bottom doesn’t scorch. Carefully pour into the blender and cover. Pulse until the soup is creamy. Return to pot, add more milk if desired. Serve immediately, or freeze.

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