Still here, still alive. I've had people around me or been around people for most of the hours that C has been at work. That was our safety plan. It worked, too. The people made me laugh, even those that I didn't expect to or had no idea what inner turmoil I was in and that I was with them to keep my mind busy. When I think about the future at all, the immediate future of running out of meds, I start panicking and I get depressed and suicidal. So... no thinking about that. It will come, if it comes, and I will deal with it then.

That's pretty much it. Yesterday I spent a lot of time sleeping. The day before I spent several hours with C's family, which was actually a blast. Last night C and I went grocery shopping and picked up some additional foods that I will eat while flying back home this week. Can't believe it came so fast! Now that I'm staring it in the face, I almost don't want to go... I feel so empty myself. I don't have much, if anything, to give them. I'm so drained from fighting my own big battles. The most I can do is sit with them and cheer them on... which I think is exactly what they want. Go figure. I'm just so used to being the "savior", the caretaker... but maybe that's not what my family needs or wants.

Ten miles from town and I just broke down
Spittin' out smoke on the side of the road
I'm out here alone just tryin' to get home
To tell you I was wrong but you already know
Believe me I won't stop at nothin'
To see you so I've started runnin'

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
As long as I'm laughing with you
I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we've been through
'Cause I know there's no life after you

Last time we talked, the night that I walked
Burns like an iron in the back of my mind
I must've been high to say you and I
Weren't meant to be and just wasting my time
Oh, why did I ever doubt you?
You know I would die here without you

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
As long as I'm laughing with you
I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we've been through
'Cause I know there's no life after you

You and I, right or wrong, there's no other one
After this time I spent alone
It's hard to believe that a man with sight could be so blind
Thinkin' 'bout the better times, must've been outta my mind
So I'm runnin' back to tell you

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
Without you God knows what I'd do

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
As long as I'm laughing with you
I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we've been through
'Cause I know there's no life after you

This is for C. He's keeping me alive right now.
C stayed home from work today to keep me from killing myself.

I wish I were making that up.

It was unexpected... When I woke up from my nap, he was still at home. I thought something was wrong, but he just called in and said that he had something to take care of at home. (Hint: It's me.)

I've been getting progressively and increasingly overwhelmed with problems (other people's, mostly) and life (mine) and health (have none)... I had an emotional breakdown about a week ago, but I chalked that up to hormones and was over it. But stuff just keeps happening... seems like friends and family just can't keep their shit together, and their inability to make their lives work is affecting me.

There are a lot of feels and thought processes that go into all this, and a lot of details, and frankly I just don't have the emotional energy for that right now. "Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up..." (Princess Bride reference, btw.)

-Mom has spiraled down into a severe depression and is totally overwhelmed and basically breaking down.
-My brother is still the freeloading lazypants, from what I understand, and won't pitch in to help take some of the pressure off of mom.
-Youngest sister just freakin' disclosed about being molested, and the people around here that are supposed to be there as a support system are totally falling down on the job.
-E can't seem to go a week without a crisis of some sort.
-I'm still getting sicker and am less able to participate in daily life than I've ever been.
-I got an appt with the new neurologist (yippee!), but the only date available between now and April means that I had to cancel my plans to fly out and see J for Christmas... you know, like we've been planning for months.
-Group last night sucked, it totally wasn't my fault, and E unintentionally put me on blast in front of a crowded room of people. Ugh.

There has been much anger of late. So much anger. Anger at my mom for not holding it together. (You've got people depending on you. You can't just check out like that! I'm sorry. This is what being an adult is about. I know you're damaged, I know you're hurting, and I know what hell depression can be... but if I can suck it up and make life work despite depression and excruciating pain, then you sure as hell better find a way to do it and take care of my siblings, got it? Your decisions brought these people into the world, and your decisions put you in the place where you're at now, so do your job and deal with it.)

Anger at E for making everything so hard and dramatic. For being so scattered, unorganized, and emotional. There's times when it's fine, it doesn't bother me, that's just who she is and it's cool. But when I'm overloaded with my own stuff it becomes unbearably annoying. Anger at her not holding up her end of our discussion and purchasing the supplies for the activity we had planned for group, for completely destroying any group mood by having that potluck and insisting that we have group during it (wtf is that?!), and for not only ruining the activity and having an entire hour of empty space to deal with but then handing it off to me deal with without any heads up.

Anger at missing out on so much because I'm so fucking sick. Anger at having no wiggle room in my pill dosage at all, so if I'm having a day that I'm hurting worse than normal, "Oh well! Sucks for you!". Anger that I hurt so goddamn much that the pain killers don't even really help... even at doses that make physicians and pharmacists raise their eyebrows. Don't you think that if I could get by without them I would? Don't you think that I would choose to function at the optimum level possible?

Anger that things I look forward to in anticipation keep getting wrecked... especially by my being sick, or something to do with it.

Angry... and so very tired. I'm done. Just so done. I don't want to hurt anymore. I don't want to look down the line a few weeks from now and know that every day is going to feel like this, and probably worse. I don't want to have to choose between showering and making myself food as my one activity for the day. (God, I wish I were exaggerating.) I don't want to be bitter when I see people going about their non-painful, energy ridden lives... taking so much for granted.

I came home from my rheum appointment and trying to fill my pain killer prescription today (can't; too early. I wasn't able to beat the system after all.) and I just fell into bed with C. I tried to keep quiet, but even when he's asleep he seems to be able to tell when I'm crying. Finally the words came out.

"I can't do this anymore. I can't. I'm done. I just want out. I want to end it."

He, of course, replied, "No."

The next half hour-ish was basically all that on repeat. Cry, beg him to let me kill myself, cry some more... He just held me. Eventually I fell asleep, and when I woke up it was an hour past the time he usually is at work. I thought I had missed saying goodbye to him until he came into the room when he heard me stirring around. There's no one he could call to come over and keep an eye on me, so he decided to stay home and do it himself. I did promise, before I fell asleep, that I wouldn't kill myself while he was at work... but I guess that he felt my despair was deep enough that it wasn't worth the risk. It may have something to do with my tearful confession that I was afraid that I would actually try it while he was at work.

I'm still not in a good place. If he weren't here... I can't say what would happen. I had planned on calling a suicide hotline or something after he went to work. Maybe one of my peeps, but probably not. I feel like this is too heavy to lay on them.

I can't decide if I'm guilty or grateful that C is home with me. An even mix of both, I guess.

If I don't end up killing myself... I may kill the neighbor's dog. That thing is so fucking annoying. Especially when my nerves are already grated raw from my own internal battles.


There. You see? Not in a good place. I think I'm going to go nap now.
Don't worry, I'm better now.

C came home, and I spilled my guts to him. He sat on the couch with me, my legs across his lap, and rubbed my aching knees while I cried and blathered on about what was going on with me. He listened attentively, gave me wonderful long hugs and cuddles, and then sent me to the tub for a soak to ease some of my pain and help me unwind further. Oh, how can I forget the awesome words of affirmation he gave me as well? I'll get to that, though. It makes more sense in context.

While talking to C, I was able to kind of pinpoint some of the factors that brought me to the sad place I was in last night. First of all, I did some research yesterday morning on alternate names for soy and gluten hidden in foods. It was... discouraging. The list is incredibly long, especially for soy, and I've been unknowingly ingesting soy in some of the foods I had previously thought were safe. I'm not as concerned about the gluten, and the list is shorter for that one, but I am definitely sensitive to soy and want to stay away from it. I guess I was just frustrated by the thought of having to refine my diet even further, and this means that I am going to have to do more cooking. That thought is daunting, because I often am so tired and ill and in pain that cooking is difficult. Now I have to cook, because I can't just get stuff from the store. I mean, can't I catch a break?!

So there was that. And then I went to work, even though I really didn't feel like it. At the end of the work day, we stopped by the store to buy turkeys for the turkey boxes we're giving away to several families. The lifting of the turkeys in and out of the cart, the walking around, and the waiting at the register for 15-ish minutes while the clerk messed things up several times took a toll on me. By the time I got home I was aching fiercely. I had decided earlier that I would not be able to participate in the bar tending fund raiser that's coming up for the HJ which discouraged me some, because I feel like I'm always letting the agency down and it was just another indicator of how much things have changed for me, how much I can't do anymore. The trip to the store validated my decision, but that didn't encourage me any.

On the way home I stopped by the store to pick up my pain killer prescription, which I had to buy without insurance this time for slightly complex reasons. I had expected it to be forty, fifty dollars maybe, as it was several months ago when I had to do the same thing. Because I am taking a different sort of med, though, it came out to over one hundred dollars. All that for less than a month's worth of semi-functioning capability. If that wasn't depressing enough, that also means that my credit card is now maxed out. It's not like I've used it for frivolous things, but having to live off of it for a while last year, various medical expenses, groceries from time to time, and household items when we first bought the house have all added up. I pay on it regularly, but I don't have much in the way of disposable income so it doesn't make much of a dent. The sicker I get, the harder it gets to pay on it... and the more I end up having to use it. It's a vicious cycle.

I've always had difficulties relating with money, but not in the sense that I have a hard time managing it. I'm good with money, when I'm able to make it lol.  No, the difficulties I have are that I don't feel worth it being spent on me. The high price of my pain meds was a blow to me, because C will be the one that gives me the money to pay that off, and I question deeply whether I'm worth it or not. I don't feel that I am. I hate being in debt for any reason, and I'm in the largest non-tuition related debt I've ever been in. I feel like I'm failing at life (for so many reasons) and I'm just dragging C down with me.

I think the money thing, the high price and the maxed out credit card, was the deeply insecure straw that broke the neurotic camel's back. The blow to my already wavering self-worth and self-confidence was fierce, and then I came home to a messy house that I hadn't had the energy or  good enough health to clean in several days. I was hurting, discouraged, and found myself thinking, "What's the point? Why should I even keep trying? I can't seem to make this work. I'm failing at life, and I'm taking C down with me. Am I worth this effort?"

Well, C's love, listening, and words of affirmation really did a lot to boost my spirits. When I was exploring my feelings about money and self-worth, he told me, "You are worth more than money." He also laid out his financial plan for the next few months, which put my heart at rest some. We're going to be okay. I am not breaking him financially. We're going to get through this. It's going to be okay.

Most importantly of all, the look of pure, overwhelming love in his eyes as he stroked my face, held me close, and kissed me deeply buoyed me up like nothing else could have. Even after I had just spent the better part of half an hour rambling and crying and being sad all over him, he still had nothing but love and support for me. I knew I knew what I was doing when I married the guy. Sometimes all it takes is just for someone to listen, affirm, support, and accept to really turn things around. I went to bed happy and fell asleep quite quickly, which was a relief.

Tomorrow is his day off, and I'm looking forward to spending the day together. (Well, if I ever get back to bed. I spent most of yesterday and last night sleeping, but I woke up a few hours ago from pain so I've just been watching movies while waiting for it to die down enough to sleep again.)
I am... depressed.

It came out of nowhere.

Could be entirely situational. Could be that I'm so very tired and worn down and hurting and just sick of it all.

Could be that it's that time of the month here in a day or two.

Could be any number of things.

Doesn't change what it is.

I want C to come home and cuddle me.

I want to sleep, and I want to cry, but neither of those are forthcoming.

Nothing but the pain. The never ending, always shifting, eternally pulsing pain.

If my pain killers weren't so precious, I'd take them all.
Stay At Home Moms = Angels

I saw this video today, and it awoke an ache in my heart.

I want to be a mom. People tell me I'll make a great mom. I came close a couple of times, but lost the babies very early on.

Now, however, I watch this video and I'm terrified.

Terrified of wanting something that badly.

Terrified of the awful risk of loving someone else that much, because life is not certain but pain is inevitable. I already deal with the fear of losing my husband. I'm not sure I can handle the fear of losing a child... especially after it is born and I have known it for months and months and become attached.

Terrified that I'll never be well enough to be a mother. I saw all the moving, bending, twisting, talking, bathing, lifting, carrying, etc. that these moms are doing just as a matter of course. I know that I cannot exert that kind of energy throughout the day, much less day after day. It's just not a physical possibility for me right now. And so I have this ache in my heart... this fear that I will never be well enough to be the mother that my child would need. Is it fair to them to bring them into the world knowing full well that I can't care for them like a "normal" person would, just because I want a family? I don't know...

On the other hand, who's to say that I wouldn't still be a spectacular mom? I mean, we could bring in a nanny or something to help me with the physical side of things. It doesn't have to be conventional.

I dunno. There's just so much fear and trepidation and hope and longing wrapped up in the idea of having children... and it seems like so many of my peers are popping out babies right now. It brings the thought to the forefront of my mind.

We're not ready for kids yet; not right now. In a few years, yes. Maybe by then I'll be better.

Honestly... I'm not even sure I really want to be a mom. Not 100%, anyway. The idea is appealing, but can I really handle the reality? I'm afraid I'll regret it... and that would be the worst, for all of us.
What better way to get a sense of what's going on in someone's life than to see what they're thankful for?

26. Vanilla coke. It works so well at stopping a migraine in process, or taking it down a couple of notches if its already full-swing.

27. My skin is so pretty, smooth, and acne free. I spent a long time being very self conscious about my body acne so this is more than fantastic. Not just that, but I've finally found a natural remedy that actually works for me-- colloidal silver gel-- to keep my skin clear. (Natural remedies tend not to work for me. I've pretty much lost faith in them.)

28. Raspberries.

29. A doctor that takes me seriously, does all in her power to help me, totally believes I'm not exaggerating, and insists right along with me that I'm not a drug seeker or drug addict. So refreshing.

30. Coraline. Her cute and funny antics continually endear her to me, and she is getting so much braver!

31. Pink Macbook cases and keyboard covers.

32. Grocery store trips with friends that turn into a super fun excursion.

33. Movie night with C and said friends, followed up by some good ol' Studio C videos.

34. A better understanding of the dynamics of the family I married into, courtesy of Story Time.

35. Hearing from our friend stationed in Germany last night, and kicking off the plans for a visit.

36. Not being so horribly sick anymore.

37. Cooking "real" food for lunch two days in a row!

38. Teen group and all my girls.

39. Less than two weeks until I see my family!

40. Coraline's obsessive quest for the satiation of her oatmeal addiction.

Funny story to wrap things up: At the end of group, we usually read The Survivor's Prayer together. (It's like the Serenity Prayer, but we wrote it just for us.) We didn't have copies in the teen room last night, so I asked the other (trainee) facilitator to say a quick prayer/blessing for us to wrap things up. She stumbled and fumbled, and I realized that she didn't pray or didn't know how to pray aloud or something, so I said I would do it. As we sat there for a brief, silent moment, I suddenly realized that I don't pray anymore either! I didn't want to lie, but I didn't know how to address the prayer other than, "Dear God...", which I'm not comfortable with right now. So the silent moment stretched out longer and longer, until I finally said, "Oh, crap..." The girls burst out laughing, and then one of them volunteered to do the prayer, much to my relief. It was just a funny/awkward little thing, but it really kinda shook me up to realize the difference between a year ago and now. It's not that the way I live my life is any different, necessarily, for I still hold the same beliefs and values... but what I ascribe to as the origin of those beliefs and values and how I announce to the world my adherence to them has changed quite dramatically.
Recently on her blog my sister discussed the book One Thousand Gifts and the personal challenge she has undertaken to find and record one thousand gifts, or things worth giving thanks for, in her life. She asked if anyone else wanted to join her and I said that I might.

This morning I was thinking about some of the wonderful things that appear in my life-- blips on the radar screen to some, but indicative of a life rich with meaning and love. So, yes. I will join in that challenge. It will probably be nowhere as intentional and consistent as others' recordings of their gifts, but that's fine. This is my personal journey, and I'll take it at my own pace.

1. My husband, who is the yin to my yang in so many, many ways. He's a steady rock that keeps me anchored, and he's a warm, tender carer for my many infirmities.

2. Yesterday a stranger looked at me in surprise and said, "You're a pretty girl!"

3. Warm morning sunlight to bask in. It is better than a warm bath to soothe away my aches and pains.

4. Juneaux and his consistent need for cuddles.

5. Juneaux's 6th sense for when I'm not feeling well (or worse than usual) emotionally or physically, and his remedy of cuddles.

6. Coraline. She's such a cute goof. Follows me everywhere, but not in a needy way. She follows discreetly, from a distance... unless I have oatmeal or lunch meat.

7. The flexibility of my job and how accommodating my boss is.

8. Working with abuse survivors like myself.

9. Medication.

10. The ability to afford said medication.

11. A house of my very own, with a yard and everything!!

12. A running vehicle that gives me little trouble, despite the minimal or nonexistent maintenance I give it..

13. Eyesight. Whether it be reading or watching movies to distract myself/for enjoyment, watching birds and clouds through the window, gazing upon my beloved's face, skimming Facebook, watching the kitties' antics, or just making my way to the bathroom, my eyesight gives me access to so much meaning and convenience. I remember what it's like to be blind, and it's terrifying. (Especially the prospect of not being able to read anymore.)

14. Safe food, and the fact that we can afford it.

15. The computer I'm typing on. I thought that I was going to have to go a long time without a laptop of my own, but not only am I getting an insane discount, it's a Mac. My favorite. And better than the Mac I had before, the one that died.

16. Health and safety of my loved ones.

17. My husband finding me attractive, despite weight gain.

18. Improved self-talk, finding myself attractive despite weight gain!

19. C filled up my gas tank the other day, all the way to full! I can't remember the last time my tank was full.

20. That I was able to afford Christmas presents for my family, however small they are.

21. I'll be home for Christmas ^_^ (Sorta.)

22. I'll be with my bestie J for the real Christmas. Haven't seen that woman in a year and a half.

23. J's family is paying for my plane ticket to come out and spend Christmas with them. They decided to do this because they know how hard driving is on me (and it's dangerous these days, what with the twitch attacks and almost passing out and all) and wanted to spare me that.

24. Now 100% detached from financial dependency on anyone other than my husband. Switching car insurances Friday was the last thing.

25. I saved (not quite) hundreds of dollars on car insurance by switching to Geico. No, really.

I have continually maintained that I have a great life. I really do. Certain aspects of it may get me down, but overall I'm livin' the dream. I would change very few things.

Stay tuned for more "gifts"... whenever they come along.
I've been real sick with pain and the accompanying body backlash from the severe pain levels. Taking my pain meds responsibly, trying to stretch them out as much as possible, but it's really just living in hell. I'm bed bound, essentially, but I have a couple of hours in the afternoon that I'm functional-ish. I managed to work both days this week, though it was hell after I got home.

I've discovered that otc pain meds just don't work for me. Either they don't affect the pain and dull my hearing or they actually increase my pain levels. It's weird. Either way, I'm done with them.

C has a two-day weekend this week, so I'm enjoying his company as much as I can. He's going to take me to the Date Festival later today, which I'm excited about. It's some local thing that's basically a street fair. I LOVE stuff like that.

I made a new, gorgeous friend. We met online, but our interests are so similar that I can't believe our paths never crossed before now. I haven't met her in person yet as she's currently living out of town, but she'll be moving here soon. I intend to take her to the antique car show in spring as well as the two Renaissance festivals because she's a Rennie too!!

Yeah. There she is. Gorgeous, right? Maybe she'll teach me some makeup tricks ;)

I woke up at an odd hour again today because of pain, and when I did I saw that Snake was awake as well and all stretched out in mid-air, like a cobra being charmed. It was funny! The cats, of course, were intrigued.

So that's my life right now. Just trying to make it through the days and taking happiness where I can find it. I sincerely hope we can figure this junk out soon. I don't know how long I can maintain without going all suicidal just from a desperation for relief of some kind.
I've been turning this around and around in my head and heart for the past few days, and I need to just get it out on "paper" so I can think through it... or at least feel it less... or maybe feel it fully. I dunno.

Saturday night, my youngest (bio) sister J called me in tears. She said that she was breaking down and that she couldn't stop crying and she didn't know who to call 'cause Mom wasn't answering her phone so she called me. I was honored, but concerned. As it turns out, she was having a PTSD flashback attack, being assaulted by memories that she had previously been repressing, and she didn't know how to deal with it or how to stop the memories. I talked with her through it and managed to get her calmed down, and we talked for about 2 hours. She didn't want to talk specifics at all, which I totally understand, but she said that she had memories of bad things happening to her. I guess that I just couldn't absorb what she was telling me, so I assumed she was talking about physical abuse and went with that for the rest of the conversation.

R called me in a panic an hour or two later (well, as panicked as he gets, anyway) saying that J had texted him in the course of a text convo they were having that the same thing that happened to me had happened to her. After our conversation and my piecing together the big picture from context clues in our conversation, I fb messaged her and asked outright, "Those memories that are troubling you... are they sexual in nature?" She responded that they were.

Dear god.

Here's the kicker... we share the same molester.

He's her father. Her biological father. I mean, how sick is that?! One thing that I've clung to all these years is that, "Well, at least he was only my step dad." 

She's been disclosing to family members and calling people involved the past few days... trying to make sense of the whole thing, I think, and also to validate her memories. She doesn't trust herself fully, so she needs someone to confirm that she was, in fact, abused and that she's not making it up. We've been in close contact since that night, whether it be through phone call, text, or Facebook chat. I am so glad that I followed the impulse I had recently to reach out to her and establish a deeper bond and to make myself available to her via regular phone calls. When she needed a support and someone to turn to, she had someone who was there for her.

Although I hate the situation with a passion, it did help to boost my professional confidence that I handled her crisis so well. I had no idea that I knew so much! I'm pretty much terrified of dealing with my girls when they're in crisis mode, and I have avoided giving out my phone number for that very reason. Besides my own trepidation, fear of somehow bungling it and damaging them further, and feelings of inadequacy, I know that it takes a lot of energy to deal with someone in an emotional crisis and I don't always have anything to give. I am selfish, I'll admit it. When I'm home, I don't want to be bothered with someone else's problems most of the time. Now, though... my perspective has changed. I realize how much I know, that I can help someone through a crisis... and I feel like my heart has been opened towards my girls a little more now. I have more love for them. It's hard to explain. But I'll be handing out my card with my phone number on it tonight to all of the girls, and I started a Facebook group last week just for them. I'm glad that I am involved in the teen/tween group again. It's not like it was last time when I was drowning, untrained and casting about on my own while battling my own demons without any weapons. I'm in a much stronger place emotionally, the turmoil of my romantic life has died down, and I've gotten some good counseling and experience under my belt. I've also gone through the program myself for a while, and that was worth more than anything in terms of training and learning.

So back to J. R called me while I was traveling the other day, and we urgently hammered out some of the details for me to fly back and be there with the folks for a few weeks next month. Mom will be having a hysterectomy and will be physically out of commission for a while and J needs a good support system more than ever right now. (She was hospitalized for suicidal ideations again last week.) She and I have really, really clicked and connected, and being a survivor of the same kind of abuse from the same abuser puts me in a unique position to minister to her. She sees that my life is good, that I have not only survived but thrived (HJ mission statement plug, lol), and I think that will give her hope. The beginning is hard, but the healing is even harder, and she's got a lot to work through. K was very abusive to her while they were growing up and it has affected her in dramatic ways. I'm trying to convince her to move here to Y with me for a year or two at the least after she graduates high school this year. I think that going through the HJ program with girls her age that are also wonderful, strong, empathetic survivors would hep her avoid a lot of heartache, pain, and dysfunction in the future.

Those are the facts. But the feelings? I guess I'm just numb still. I'm shocked, disgusted, sorrowful... but it's all kind of muted, far-off, tamped down. It'll probably be really intense while I'm there with her. I had restless sleep last night and woke up feeling all gross inside and I know it's because of this. I guess I've just written G off to such a degree that I can't feel anything about him right now, not yet. But I guess the biggest thing I feel is relief. I am relieved that I can do what I've been doing my whole life and rush in to take care of my family and help make things better, make them run smoother. I don't feel so helpless because I was there for J in her hour of need, I had the experience and training necessary to help her through the critical juncture, and I'll be there physically to be a support for her. I'll be there physically to help take care of my family's physical needs while Mom is out of commission (and even while she's not-- I've had reports that she's overwhelmed right now and not doing so well). I can do something, I already have, and that relief trumps everything else. I can't fix it; I know that. But I can help set the bone and make sure the fracture heals clean while the healing takes place.

I guess that I just never thought he would hurt his own kids, you know? Me, obviously. K, maybe. But his kids? They were obviously his favorites. I can't believe that even after all he did to me I still accorded him some measure of decency. Guess I was wrong. I would do a lot of things to make sure he never sees the light of day again... not for me, but for my baby girl, my sweet little sister. God. I can't even assimilate this. How could he? I don't have english words strong enough for my sense of outrage and repulsion. He is her father. I just... I just... I don't know. My heart is broken and inflamed all at once. My baby... he hurt my baby.

When it was just about me, it was excusable. (I know, I know, logic says it's not, but this is what the inner voices say, ok? I'm working on it. Give me a break.) I took the hit so the other kids would be safe. I took care of them, you know? But then when we were all taken away, when they were out of my care, he hurt her. He did bad things to her. There's nothing I could have done to stop it; I know that. But I spent all of these years believing that I had somehow saved the rest of them... that I had done my job as Second Mommy and taken care of my family to the best of my ability. But now I realize that I never could. I was just a kid, and he was a sick adult bent on draining the life and livelihood of those around him for his own selfish purposes. He never cared about us. It was always about him, only about him. This is proof.

There is no "I should have been there", because there is no way I could have been. The situation was out of my hands. I was too busy trying to take care of K and myself, and then Mom when we got back to her. The kids were with their Gramma and Grampa, so of course they were safe! They were taken care of. I didn't have to worry. Because, I mean, of course he singled me out... I was the oldest. The blonde one. The one that looked different. They were his. He doted on them. He'd take care of them, even if he despised K and I.

I was wrong.

But I can take care of her now. I can help. I can't change what happened, but I can change what happens from here on out... and I'm going to take care of my baby.

Hell hath no fury like that of a woman whose loved ones have been hurt.
Well, today we're off to see the wizard... if the wizard were a neurologist in a specialty clinic at a hospital several hours away. We (another couple plus C and I) will be driving up tonight and spending the night with a friend of mine from childhood so we can make our appointments with ease. I'm looking forward to seeing her again, since it's been at least 10 years, plus it will be nice to not have to leave my city of origin at 3 am to make my appointment on time.

I'll be packing light, but even when I take very few personal belongings I end up with a whole pile of baggage simply due to the illness accessories I must cart around with me, particularly food. Where other people can plan to simply grab food on the way, I have to plan for every. single. meal. and bring all of the necessary boxes, bags, tupperware containers, and extra ingredients. Not to mention that I also have to lug along a cooler for whatever needs to be kept refrigerated. It's kind of annoying, because I always feel like "that girl" who brings a full 3 piece set of luggage for an overnight trip, but it is what it is. It's not like I can just choose not to bring the stuff. Did I mention that I have problems with being self-conscious about silly stuff?

I'm looking forward to the trip, if only because I like to travel and take road trips, but I really am looking forward to seeing this neurologist. I hope that (s)he can provide me with some clues at least, if not full-blown answers.

Wake Me Up

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start
They tell me I'm too young to understand
They say I'm caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes
Well that's fine by me

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
Didn't know I was lost

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
Didn't know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
Hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don't have any plans
Wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes
Life's a game made for everyone
And love is a prize

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
Didn't know I was lost
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
I didn't know I was lost

I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know


I had quite the social, busy weekend (comparatively). C's rigorous run of scheduled overtime is over for now, so he's back to having two whole days off in a row, which means I get double the amount of time with him that I've had of late. It felt so luxurious! Anyway, I already wrote about our fabulous Normal Day on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday were good days, too.

Saturday we didn't do much of anything except grocery shop and then hang out around the house doing our own various things. C played Guild Wars 2, I read book 2 of the Demon Cycle series again, and then our friends came over for the Pathfinder session M is running. C is still pleased that I finally joined him in playing DnD (I know, I know, Pathfinder isn't technically DnD, but whatever, ok purists?), so even during the times when I am tired and don't really feel like playing I do anyway, if just to make him happy. I usually find that I end up enjoying myself after all, so it's a pretty win-win situation.

This weekend, though, our friends brought a new girl with them, A. She and non-DM M and I had a hard time shutting up and actually playing, much to the annoyance of the guys. Ah well. They can suck it. Now they know how it feels when they are gabbering incessantly about DnD stuff when we just want to have normal conversations. We played for a few hours, then I ran off to get ready for my "date" with a girlfriend of mine. There was an after-Halloween costume party at a couple of bars in Old Town, so we suited up and headed out. I'd never been to a bar with a friend before, and guess what? It's totally boring. Neither of us drink, and I don't dance, so we just kind of explored the building, watched other people dance and drink for a few minutes, then decided to go somewhere and have tea. We ended up at this cool little 50's style diner that's been around forever, yet I've never been inside until that night. She had tea, but I fell hard for their vanilla cola, which is basically regular Coke with a few squirts of their vanilla syrup thrown in. It was much sweeter than store bought Vanilla Coke, and I loved it. We sat and talked for probably about 3 hours, discussing our lives, telling funny stories, learning about one another and how we both intimidated each other at first (sound familiar, J?) and didn't think that the other wanted to be our friend (again, sound familiar?)... we also told stories on the two guys, C and D, 'cause she and D have been friends since pre-school and even dated at one point. Needless to say, she knows him well and hilariously. He and C are pretty similar, so I'm almost surprised that they get along as well as they do. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that. It was a good, fun time, and I feel that we made a big step forward in our friendship.

The next day, I wasn't near as sick or drained as I thought that I would be after the activities of the previous two days which was excellent. A came over and brought both sets of Batman series movies, and we watched the only one I hadn't seen yet, The Dark Knight. C and I watched about half of The Dark Knight Rises when he got home, and a lot of stuff made so much more sense after seeing The Dark Knight! Anyway, while we were watching the movie A was struck with a craving for steak, so she zipped to the store and then cooked up some steak for the both of us, leaving a tidy little portion in the fridge for C who was pleasantly surprised when he came home from work. I ended up taking two couple-hour naps yesterday, but I was able to do some yoga, stretching, and brief (very) light exercises last night, even after socializing for several hours. I did feel it later, though, when I was unable to do as many of the dishes as I wanted because I was in too much pain to stand.

Today I cleaned the kitchen, though I'm definitely feeling the backlash from that and need to be careful not to overdo it. The nausea that I had been so overwhelmed with has eased up the past few days, and I'm so grateful for the good days that I had. I don't want to overcompensate and make myself sick, but neither do I want to fritter away the days that I can step up and maybe do a little more. I want to push myself, to refuse to give up, but yet to be wise and a good steward of my health. It's all a fine balancing act... and the rules seem to change day by day. Good thing I'm resilient and adaptable.
Today, I felt like a normal person.

Not that I didn't feel sick; that's just silly. But the activities of the day had me reminiscing of a time when I thought nothing of going out for an evening with C, whereas now it's become a special treat.

It started this morning/afternoon, when I opened the door to let Juneaux into the bedroom to wake up C, and he rolled over and gestured to me while mumbling, "Come here, woman." I lay down with him and cuddled up close, and we dozed comfortably for a time. Then the dozing turned to nuzzling and kissing, which of course led to other more "adult" activities. (I love being married with a house of our own. It's nice to just jump each other whenever we want.) C jumped on the computer to finish the daily missions for Guild Wars 2 and I ate lunch while reading through a favorite book. C was still working on his dailies when I was done eating, so I went down for a nap.

When he was done, he came and got me and I pulled my supplies together for our evening errands and planned fun. We went to see Ender's Game! We've both read the book and love sci-fi, so we've been eager to see the movie adaptation... as wary as I am of movie adaptations of books. I was pleasantly surprised, though. I think they did a good job. We both wished that they had more time, though, because it just felt very abbreviated in many places. It was good, but I don't think it does the book justice. Not like The Hunger Games did. Anyway, we watched the movie and then went for a walk around the mall afterward. The air was surprisingly warm, yet with a hint of coolness that reminded me that fall is upon us. We stopped in a game store and an electronics store to browse a bit, then swung by the pharmacy on the way home to pick up one of my scripts, fill up my water jugs, and grab some more lavender bath salts for me. There is a bookstore just down the row from my pharmacy, so C suggested we go in and look around, and I readily agreed. I popped into the coffee shop and got a caramel macchiato, and it turned out to be happy hour so I got another coffee drink for free! I picked out a cafe latte with a shot of hazelnut syrup, meaning to save it for tomorrow, but I ended up drinking them both while we browsed together.

I had been thinking lately about a particular person that I worked with at the beginning of my judicial process after disclosing my sexual abuse, Detective M. I thought I might see her at the Vigil, and I did see someone that looked similar to her, but she did not show. Imagine my surprise when I turned into an aisle of the bookstore and found her standing there! We had a nice little chat, and we met each other's husbands. She is really happy that I'm working with E and that the HJ is doing so well. She explained that she deals with enough of the darkness of abuse without dealing with the aftermath of the emotions, which is why she avoids the vigils and extracurricular stuff, which I totally understand. I was happy to have run into her. She's a very pleasant person, and I like her.

After leaving the bookstore, we stopped by the library on the way home so that I could return a few books and movies, then headed home. C was playing one of my favorite cd's on the radio and I was singing along. We held hands while he drove, as we are wont to do. I thanked him for the evening several times, because it was just so... normal. I felt like a "real" person again, out for a low-key evening of enjoyment with my husband. It was like the kind of dates that we used to go on, and it was even sort of spur of the moment, a rarity these days.

Tomorrow I have plans as well. We're going to be continuing our Pathfinder campaign, of course, but then another of my friends and I are going to dress up in costume and visit a local bar that's having a post-Halloween fling. Neither of us drink, really, but we're looking forward to dressing up and going out. (Actually, I can't drink, 'cause of the meds.) We won't be out long, I'm sure, but it'll be a fun experience. I've never gone out to a bar with friends before, so this'll be a new experience. I plan to go as a beauty pageant queen, especially because the dress I have for that requires no bra! That's a major win in my book.

I've had some disappointments lately in trying to make new friends, and I've been quite lonely. I don't want to hang out with everyone that I know, as some people are just not good company or they're energy drainers or I just don't want to be around them for a length of time for one reason or another. My efforts to make new friends, though, have been falling flat on their faces. I was flat out called offensive and told goodbye by a girl that I was trying to set up a first meeting with. Another girl and I connected really well and talked practically nonstop via email and text for a week before meeting up for dinner, which went well, I thought. After that, though, she just stopped responding to my texts and emails, and I don't know what the heck happened. Another girl that I was supposed to meet up with stopped returning my emails, as well as one who was just looking for an email buddy. All this within a few weeks, and to be honest... it was hurtful and bewildering. I felt so rejected and unlikeable... so I said as much on facebook. I got an overwhelming show of confidence from friends near and far, and some of my friends/acquaintances here in Y are trying to help alleviate my loneliness. Hence the bar tomorrow night. Unfortunately, some of those people that are taking it upon themselves to alleviate my loneliness are people that I don't actually want to hang out with for the reasons stated above... but I really see no way out of it, since I stated my loneliness quite clearly and publicly. I can't just turn around and say, "Yeah, well, I don't really want to hang out with you!", can I? It feels extremely rude to turn them down. So... yeah. Got myself into a little of a pickle there.

Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed today's activities, and I'm savoring the fact that I actually have plans with a friend tomorrow! It just feels so... normal. So blessedly, blissfully normal.

Yeah, I know I'm going to pay for this weekend in no small way (I'm already really feeling it from our outing this evening), but in my mind it's totally worth it. Totally. I wish I didn't have to pay a price to engage in the semblance of a social life, but it is what it is. I'll embrace the joy and survive the fallout, as always.