Depression and Hope

I’ve been in a deep depression, mourning my marriage. It was especially bad a couple of days ago. My therapist called and said my husband had called him. He wanted to know if I would give permission to speak to him. Well, this was news to me, so when he got home I of course asked him why he wanted to speak to my therapist.
We then actually talked more than we have in a very long time, which is sad. I don’t feel like I can cry in front of him, and I’m not good at keeping that shit under control, so if it starts spilling over too much I’ve been shutting myself away somewhere out of sight. (bathroom, porch, etc) Well I’m not as quiet as I try to be so he was hearing me cry. Honestly I thought he had his headphones on anyway. Between that and my attempt to talk to him through sobs a few weeks ago I had him thinking I might try something foolish. I do have a history of it, so it was not an unreasonable worry. I told him my heart is broken. He reiterated that I could stay here. I brought up that I asked him to help me improve the relationship and he said no. I brought up feeling like he was not interested in me and did not respect me and if he believed the horrible things he had said it was a problem. So yeah I guess we just sort of rehashed things, but it was still the most actual back and forth conversation we’ve had in ages.
My cats are wonderful but I do need intellectual stimulation as well. I love to learn, read, and then discuss these things. I’m interested in literature, art, travel, philosophy, mythology, movies, botany, archaeology, space, etc. (I also have a very dark streak, which is the goth in me I suppose.) I like talking about these things. I like getting new perspectives. I like the speculation. I suppose I could go find some discussions online but it’s not really the same. I did go to lunch with my friend over the weekend and we talked about travel a little. I had never told her about any of the places I’ve been before. Right before we got together I was planning a trip to Oaxaca for The Day of the Dead. He came with me, which was awesome. I love travel so very much. The logistics of it has become difficult since I became disabled, the long trip there and back, how am I going to get my suitcase in the room, that sort of thing. In the past I have always traveled alone or met up with a tour group where I did not know anyone. I would have preferred to have someone with me, but I was ok with doing it by myself, as long as I got to go. I talked to my soon to be husband about how important travel was to me, and that I needed someone to go with me. He had said we could go anywhere I wanted. I doubt if he remembers that, but I do. The Oaxaca trip was wonderful, but it was three weeks, which was long for him. We had agreed to do a shorter trip the next time, but there was not a next time. He got a cruise to Alaska as a bonus one year and we went to that, but I get motion sick. Cruises never had appeal to me in the past but he had it and I was happy to be going somewhere with him. We spent a couple of days in Washington state (where we were boarding) and we spent a couple of days wandering around looking at the West coast beach, the rainforest, and a cheesy little town called Forks that was all about Twilight. (yes that Twilight) I overdid it and could barely move when we boarded the ship, but I had fun those days in spite of the pain.

Anyway… yeah I’m rambling but that’s ok. I’m writing. It took so very long for me to get to the point where I was going to go. Years. But I didn’t feel like I have much choice. Talking to him, even though it was relatively short, made me question myself all over again and it makes hope flare up again. That’s the thing I can’t seem to kill. Hope. I think because I wanted so very badly for this to work. I wanted so very badly to have what we had when we got married for the rest of our lives. It’s not something I want to give up, even when given every indication that there is no cause for it.

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Siblings

Excuse my mini rant yesterday. I was hurting quite a bit and it was the end of a long, terrible day. I’m still hurting but it’s the beginning of a new one and I’m going to try to keep it together a bit better.

My brother has been on my mind a lot lately. He’s been great, He tried to call me yesterday, the only person who did, but I missed his call. We texted and he’s going to call today. When we were kids I always knew it was my responsibility to take care of him. Mom left when I was eight and I had to start taking care of him. He was two. For a while we were supposed to switch off between mom and dad but that didn’t last.  Our father was an abusive asshole so it’s always been the two of us, and I was the older sister. There are probably more incidents than I’ll ever remember. We visited an aunt years ago and she reminded me of one I had forgotten. Our mother had gotten a trailer in the same park as our aunt, probably four or five streets away. I have no idea where our mother was but I was watching my brother. I was nine and baby brother was three. He was hungry and there was absolutely nothing to eat there. This may have been right after she got the place, I really don’t remember. I remember he kept telling me he was hungry. I was trying to distract him but he kept coming back to “hungry”. I don’t know how long this went on for but I remember the helplessness and anger I felt.
I was nine and not stupid, and I overheard my father’s family talking crap about my mother. And I did not like it. At all. Our aunt was my father’s sister. However, my baby brother was hungry and I had no food. Finally, I bundled him up in my pink sweater because it was cold outside. Again, I have no idea where his coat was. So, I bundled him up in my pink sweater, took his hand, and walked him over to our aunt’s house. I knocked on the door and she answered.  I asked her for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my brother but would not come in the house. When my aunt was recalling this she said she tried to get me to come in and get something to eat but I refused. I told her it was because I was embarrassed. Recalling this, I remember the shame and anger that filled me on having to ask her for a sandwich for my brother. I may have been nine but I knew they would see this as proof of our mom being a bad mother, which I did NOT want to hear. It pissed me off, to put it plainly. I remember the anger I had when our mother finally returned to the trailer and I told her what I had done.

Our dad was the abusive asshole that I feared all my life. Our mother was never anything but loving and understanding with us. She certainly did not get upset with me for taking him to our aunt’s house, although looking back I’m sure she knew that would give the family more ammunition to use against her. It never occurred to nine year old me that it might get her in trouble. I was just trying to get my brother fed. He was always my responsibility.
Our mother died two weeks before I turned eleven, and my brother was four.  He doesn’t remember her or much of what we went through, but I think he has to still have it in his subconscious. Sometimes I think he remembers more than he lets on. He hears snippets of what it was like for us but I don’t think he remembers screaming while I was being beaten. I don’t think he remembers our father’s systematic destruction of our sense of self worth and confidence.
Our father remarried when I was 13-14 and my brother was seven. I have photos of his seventh birthday. I was thirteen and had recruited a friend to help me throw a birthday party for him, if you can imagine two thirteen year old girls trying to handle a house full of seven year olds. Our stepmother is in the photo, and if I remember correctly, she brought me the decorations. After they married our father chilled out some and the abuse lessened. It didn’t stop, but I was grateful for the better atmosphere and also because she started taking care of my brother.  For the first time, I didn’t have to be solely responsible for him. I moved out when I was seventeen, but felt badly about leaving my brother. I told him to call me if he needed me, and that when he got old enough he could come stay with me.

There is so much more, but this is it for now. The sandwich incident was on my mind for some reason. They tell you to write what you know. I think about writing a book about our experiences, but to what point? It doesn’t really have a happy ending. It’s not inspirational. Who wants to read that sort of thing? So I don’t. I could work my experiences into a fictional character, but then I have a hard time thinking of what sort of story to tell. I think if I were to just write maybe something will come, so that’s what I’m trying to do. So, if I have the occasional post ranting about some painful incident, like yesterday, maybe it’s worth it to push through. I kept trying to write over the past year but would cry every time. So I would put it away so I could get myself under control again. But I was doing it for him, so he wouldn’t hear me crying. I think it’s time I started doing things for myself again.

Eulogy

I’m still struggling with the depression but I’m trying. I wrote this a couple of weeks ago but never got around to posting it. I received word that a lifelong friend of mine died.

When I was fourteen I met my friend George. I first saw him staring at me at the carnival. I had just moved to the town and was alone, walking the carnival circuit. I saw a big biker guy working one of the rides. He had this intensity to him even then that drew me to him. When I first noticed him, I froze for a moment. I remember I was wearing a Harley Davidson shirt with the neck ripped out so it hung off one shoulder, “Flashdance” style. (I’m dating myself but yes, this was the 80s.) It’s funny the things you remember. We didn’t speak. He just stared, and I was shy so I didn’t approach him either. Then I saw him in town and a few other places, always stopping to stare at me but not speaking. Finally I saw him at the County Fair. I was there with my brother and stepmother and we were about to leave. I was heading in one direction of the fair and he was heading in the other when we passed. He turned and came up behind me and said “I see you everywhere I go but I still don’t know your name.” Fourteen year old me thought this was romantic. He was three years older than me, a big biker/teddy bear of a guy. He was good looking but a little heavy, with dimples, biker boots, a leather jacket, a great smile and a shitty attitude. I think I may have written about him before. If so, bear with me. I had a crush for a while, as did he, but we didn’t get together. We became friends and sort of dated a little, but more friends than anything. I used to run around with him and another mutual friend named Scott. There were nights spent drinking and nights spent running and days spent hanging around.

George stayed a friend. When I broke up with my first serious boyfriend and fiancée at 22, George cut the engagement ring off my finger. I remember him asking “Do you wanna keep the finger?” while laughing with this demented expression. George was always funny. That was probably his best attribute. He briefly got a gig doing stand up comedy in Baltimore. I’m not sure what happened but it didn’t work out and he never tried again. George helped me move into my first apartment after breaking up with David and while moving I remember him in the bathroom singing “Roxanne”. It had gotten to be somewhat of a running joke between us and I got the giggles so bad I couldn’t breathe. He lived with his grandmother and I picked him up from there many nights. We fought once in a while, but always made up. Sometimes he would crash on my couch, or other times he would come wake me up to go do something ridiculous

He came to think he loved me, and was charming and persistent in trying to get me to be with him, but it wasn’t working. I don’t know if he actually did love me, but he thought he did. I remember him singing various songs to me, riding motorcycles, and being in a riot in Pennsylvania with him. I remember being angry with him one night and screaming at him from my balcony. My apartment was on the second floor and I remember flinging everything I had of his off the balcony and then throwing two liter soda bottles at him. He could do that to me… make me so angry that I would see red and lose my temper completely. I had quite the temper back then too. I beat up a girl at the carnival one night. We had history that’s not really relevant, but I had been after her and she had been hiding from me instead of facing me. George was with me that night. We were hanging around a little before I had to go into work. When I saw her at the carnival I laid into her and I really beat the crap out of this girl. The carnival workers jumped on me and two of them pulled me off her. They had me on the ground with my arms pulled back when this girl’s husband came after me. He had his fist drawn back and dropped down on his knees to hit me as I was pinned, when George stepped in and told him to back the fuck off. (Yeah that guy was a giant pussy, trying to punch a girl who was pinned down.) Then we ran before the police showed up, with me high on adrenaline and victory, and George trying to get me out of the carnival without getting into another fight with some friend of this woman who thought she might try to avenge her. It was not my finest moment, I admit. I was young, wild and pissed off.

I remember being at the apartment I lived in after that one and George showed up one night. He was drunk and was at the foot of my stairs proclaiming his love for me –loudly and at length. He had someone drop him off at my place specifically so he could do this. I had to drive him home again because I would not let him stay the night. I remember being scared for him and hunting for him in the graveyard late one night. He had left his truck on blasting Ozzy’s “No More Tears” and had wandered off into the graveyard. I was so worried. I remember him trying to get in my pants at the gravel pit, standing in the moonlight with his pants pulled down. I turned on the car and drove away, leaving him there like that, and giggling like a banshee. I remember taking him to his friend’s house and being absolutely furious with him when I realized what was going on (activities I wanted no part of). I remember spending time with his son, who had developmental problems. I have so many memories of him. I could go on like this for a few pages telling George stories. My best friend used to say that we’d be in our rocking chairs and he would still be after me.

We did finally have a serious falling out. It was about ten years ago and we lost touch after that. He got involved with someone and I got married and moved out of state. But if I had run into him again, I think we would have greeted each other as the old friends that we were. So now he’s dead. I don’t know what the cause was. A friend of mine that was unaware of my history with George let me know and it hit me pretty hard. I let Tara know, and that was even more pain. God I miss her. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. RIP George. I’ll always remember you fondly.

depression

I’m really struggling with depression lately, which is why I haven’t updated. I’m trying very hard to not let myself sink to the bottom, but it’s hard to try to swim while fighting it when you’re on your own. I miss my mom, I miss Wendy, I miss Tara. I miss lots of things. I try so hard to give myself goals and to work on achieving them, and I was making some headway. But now I’m sunk again, and it’s pretty bad. I struggle with the urge to self harm, but I am not at that point. It is discouraging that the urge is back though. I haven’t done that in a lot of years.
I guess this is a bit of a release valve. Nothing literary, or even well written for that matter, but it helps with the pressure.
just a bit.

Alone

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

~Edgar Allan Poe

 

 

Revival

“Revival” was written after my grandmother told me about going to a snake-handling church when she was younger. This was probably in the 1930s, and the church was in the Appalachian mountains. She wanted me to write her life story, but I don’t think she gets what that entails. Still, I should have done it, and should still try to do it. I loved to listen to her talk to me about her life and the hardships she had endured, and I always wished I had recorded it but I never did. She’s very old now and I know she doesn’t have much time. When she goes it will tear me apart. My mother has been dead for a very long time, and my father is probably dead (and good riddance). Anyway, this poem was published in a magazine called “Penumbra” and collected in my chapbook “Psychoentropy”. I hope you enjoy it.

Revival

They share the taste of strychnine,

liquid faith like crystal purity,

bottled in a mason jar

scented with the ghost

of last year’s peaches.

 

Dusty boots thump,

and patterned skirts swirl,

keeping time with the choir

of shivering tambourines,

as they cry with broken voices

of the rapturous divine.

 

The Reverend handles serpents,

armed with shining words of God,

and preaches fervent sermons

with the cadence of

the hissing snakes,

sliding coils through grasping fingers

scarred with memory of sin.

 

He sways,

moves with strange conviction,

and teaches salvation

to the undulating devout,

singing in blind ecstasy

in obsolete tongues.

 

They dance,

caught in serpentine embrace,

anointed by the Spirit

with sacred revelations,

as the congregation burns,

wrapped in spiraling religion.

 

~Julie Shiel

Fireflies and Twilight

I’m feeling quite melancholy tonight. I try not to think about these things but sometimes I get overwhelmed. I mean other than my normal depression. Sometimes I just get filled with such sadness that it takes my breath away. I keep hoping to see lightning bugs, or fireflies, depending on your part of the county. I haven’t seen them in years. I remember chasing them when I was little, and it’s something every child should be able to do. I remember being maybe five, and having a firefly in a jar. I smeared the phosphorescence on my fingers so that I would glow too. I showed my mother and she told me that I shouldn’t do that. I asked why, and she explained that it hurt the insect. Of course I cried, but I never did it again. I don’t think I even caught them any more after that because I felt so bad and was afraid of hurting another one. Five year old me wanted to glow like the fireflies and I never thought about the insects being harmed.

Earlier tonight I thought I saw a light flashing on the edge of my garden, but no. It was just someone’s house light flickering through. Everyone knows that bees are in serious trouble, or they should. It’s still not being taken seriously enough here in the US, but people are at least aware of it. This year there are hardly any. People are aware of the plight of the bees because we rely on them to eat. What people may not know is that fireflies are in trouble as well. There’s no big money being made from fireflies, and we don’t rely on them to eat so they are relegated to backpage news. However, while bees help us to sustain our bodies, fireflies do the same for our souls. Seeing the flash of fireflies in the night with the sound of frogs and insects singing is a peaceful experience. It’s quiet, but beautiful and it will move you if you have a heart.

There is something about twilight that has always sang to me. The fireflies are part of it, but it’s more than that. It’s a period of “in between”, a time of no time at all really. It’s not day and it’s not night. It is the transition, the shifting of universes, the curtain fluttering between acts. Everything has a blue tint that muffles the world, but it can also accentuate things. It’s like if you’re with someone, that person is a bright cut out against a cloudy sky. Maybe if I ever experience it again I’ll find the words. It sharpens my senses but smoothes my soul, providing me with a clarity that is hard to find otherwise. It makes me hyper-sensitive to magic and things that don’t exist under the blaring sun and that are hidden under the darkness of night. The natural world takes a deep breath

and exhales.

 

 

 

I should be writing a book but battling demons is messy work. Goodnight.

 

“I slept under the moonlight and set my soul free, caged within jars like fireflies”.”
― Prajakta Mhadnak

Missing t

T has been on my mind a lot. I miss her badly and wish I could talk to her. I’m also seriously pissed off at her. She was the closest person in the world to me, including family. She was my family as far as that goes, and I would have done absolutely anything to help her. From the time we met I was looking out for her, whether she knew it or not. I have no idea how many times I had to stand up for her when we were teens-20s. When I was still scrappy, I suppose. Any time she needed anything I did it for her. I’m the one she called in the middle of the night when something was bothering her. I’m the one who would drop everything and come over if she needed me to. She always had two best friends, me and the other J, but I’m the one she talked to more, saw more, and who was always there. I was the only one at her first wedding, and I did everything I could to make her second special. That’s not putting down J in any way… she lived further away and had kids to deal with. But it remains that it was me that was always there. So when she said I had never done anything for her, I was stunned. I know she’s parroting some bullshit someone must be feeding her, but she should have given it some fucking thought before she repeated that shit. Besides being a damn good friend, I got her a job when she needed it, a place to stay when she needed it, lent her money when she needed it, brought her things she needed, and on and on…. And for her to forget or to dismiss all that I’ve done for her is just appalling.
I hate what alcohol turned her into. It broke my heart. When she started putting the kids in danger, enough was enough. Driving drunk with the kids in the car, leaving them to fend for themselves, leaving them at sleazy motels while she went chasing after her ex… Just not acceptable. When she decided she was going to try to get Jason back after what he did to R, I could not be a party to that in any way.
Still, I thought eventually we would work it out. I thought she’d sober up and realize how she had been behaving. That’s what other people thought too. I was the fourth person to call about the kids. I hated to do it. I cried for two weeks before I gave in and did it. That was after talking repeatedly about it to various people who encouraged me to do so. I know it was the right thing to do but I still felt bad about it. Still, we had been friends a lifetime. I didn’t think anything could break that.
Then damn if she didn’t move in with my ex, of all people. I know she has a problem being alone and God forbid she actually has to work or something, but that was really fucking low. He let her drink so she stayed, and in doing so, made it clear that she did not think we would reconcile. I was already pissed at her, but she still threw away our friendship for a place to drink.

Then to find out that she somehow thinks her fucked up life is somehow my fault, is just too much. She’s the one that ruined her relationship with her kids when she chose her child’s molester over her child. She’s the one that ruined her relationships with her friends over drink. Then her drunken ranting on facebook about how “I’m evil” and to “give her back her daughter” like Raven was a thing I had stolen. She did apologize for that and her excuse was that she was drunk. But I am sick of being blamed.

I was so angry over this the other day I started to log on just to say “fuck you, Tara, you broke my heart”. I managed to control myself, but I tell you, it took both hands to grab hold of myself. I’m so lonely I could die sometimes, and I miss talking to my friend. So many things remind me of her. The memories of 25+ years are wrapped up with her. When she messaged me recently I laid into her. I was still furious. I am still furious. But underneath that I’m just really hurt and I miss my sister. I keep telling myself that she has shown that her friendship is no longer worth having. She has shown how easily she will turn on someone if it is to her advantage. It makes me wonder if she was always such a shitty person or if it’s just the booze. I want to believe it’s the booze, but I honestly don’t know if there is any of her left in there.
I just wish I could go back in time and stop all of this.