A daughter’s relationship with her mother can be one of the most confusing relationships that she will ever have. A mother who is without the tools to fully nurture her daughter will inevitably expose that daughter to pains that she won’t find anywhere else. Ever in pursuit of her mother’s love; yet she must fight not to lose herself to her mother. She, deep down, always feels that she owes her mother for her life… but sometimes she resents her mother for allowing her to be born in the first place. The daughter knows how she came to be who she is, and she is fearful for the girls who would be born after her. She fights tirelessly to protect those girls from those ways of the mother that shaped her, but it only feels like a losing battle. The mother knows her power as a mother, and she wields it with abandon. Mothers? No matter how dysfunctional you may be, please remember that you make or break the life that you put out into the world. Most likely someone didn’t do right by you, but you can learn to do right by your children.
So I currently have some things that are boiling beneath the surface. I’ve been on leave due to an injury, and for that time I’ve been staying with my mother. When I was working, I lived in a different city than she does. I happened to be “luxuriously homeless”; I was fortunate to have a friend who let me stay with her for a while, and I lived in my car before that. Being put out on leave from work came at a perfect time, because my stay at my friend’s house was about to end. We’d agreed upon a certain time, and I didn’t have a place of my own yet, so it was only right that I had to go. I had been falling apart for the last year and a half. Many nights after work (and sometimes during breaks) I would go out to my car and just sob. I’ve cried plenty in my life, but I’d never wept as I did when I was faced with the fact that I was “home” once I’d sat in my car. Everything else was pretty shitty as it were, but that put me over the edge.
We had been dealing with my teenaged niece getting involved with a guy who’d end up pimping her out, and her eventually disappearing. The bright side is that she checks in every once in a while to let someone know she’s alive. My sister (her mother) and I had a falling out, partially because she’s always been a toxic and domineering force in my life. My dad lived in the same city, but I couldn’t live with him. It was easier not to try and get help from him. I didn’t grow up with him, so I’ve not felt that sense of support from him. The only place that I knew I’d feel at home was with my mother; she lived about a hundred miles away. I was planning to suck it up and make the hundred mile commute back and forth to work from her house, when I was told that I’d be taking a leave of absence from work. That threw me for about a week, because I’d just made a plan that might work. It felt like life had thrown yet another wrench in my machine.
The haze that I’d usually walked through life in had grown so much thicker. I’d started sleeping in my car again, because I didn’t want to burden my friend anymore with putting me up. Whatever shit that I’m in is on me, whether it’s due to my mental health or not. I’m not even sure if my mental health caused my problems or vice versa. During the last week of May, I was done. Suicidal thoughts are nothing new to me; I’d made peace with the fact that I was finished. I had some prescription Ultracet for my work injury, some prescription acetaminophen, some ibuprofen, Benadryl, some other pills I’d read up on, and I’d done enough research to know what otc drugs I could add to the mix to make sure it worked. I told my friend I’d be back in about an hour, because I didn’t want her to worry. I drove someplace that would take someone a while to find me; I wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t be found soon enough to be revived. I sat there for hours. I looked at the bottles, I’d imagined and rationalized the pain that would occur, I wrote a letter… not a goodbye letter, just a letter that would explain to the police that there was no foul play. I didn’t want anyone incriminated for a clear suicide. I don’t know why I didn’t do it; I think that part of me hoped that someone would sense that something was wrong and save me. I think that part of my self to self conversation was “Life isn’t clean like it is in the movies. People don’t always pop up at just the “right” moment with just the “right” words. Sure if you cultivate an environment where you can be saved, there’s a good chance for someone to stop/rescue you. But I wanted to be alone; I’ve always been that way. So if you’re the only person you’re reaching out to, and you’re not going to save you, what are you going to do?” Then my mind starts firing away: Okay, I can do A, B, and C. If that doesn’t work, then there’s this. I can push through this. I can make something else happen. I was anxious as hell; all I knew was that I needed more than anything to get home. I needed to be safe, so I left for my mom’s house. I prayed and begged that the car wouldn’t stall as it had the week before. I didn’t tell anyone I was leaving until days after I’d already left. When I’d gotten to her house all I could do was lie down. My body didn’t know what to do with a sense of safety and unconditional acceptance. I could sleep until noon without feeling like it might get me put out; my friend never implied that I was a problem, and they were absolutely amazing, but my fear stemmed from my personal anxieties. They’ll never know how much I truly appreciate them.
I’ve been at my mother’s house for approximately a month and a half, and I intend to stay with her and my younger niece. This is a different niece than the one I’d mentioned earlier. This niece is my daughter by law, because my mom and I adopted her after my brother (her father) took off. I want to be more a part of her and my mother’s lives. I’m planning to make the commute to and from work, and I have a plan that I think will work.
Here is what this post is all about: I’m scared. I don’t want to end up back where I was. I’ve made some positive strides since I’ve had some time to regroup. I’m looking for a job that’s closer, but I’m also looking for a job that I actually like and affords me consistent meals that aren’t in a plastic wrapper. My car is making a weird noise, my car note is past due, my credit is shit, and I’m not so sure where to start (or how to start). I’ve seen firsthand that things ALWAYS work for the best, but a lifetime of having to be hyper vigilant and lack of safety has ingrained itself in my body as trauma. I’m doing everything that I can do to make things work (maybe I’ll have some Reiki done). I’ll keep making any necessary adjustments. I’m pretty sure that I’m ready to learn life in more pleasant ways. On some level I trust the process, but on another level I need help beyond me to really feel okay in it. I’ve been alright, and I’ll be alright, but I needed to express my fears.
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to have a terrible life, as I understand that many people have it so much worse. This is simply how my particular circumstances have affected me.
“Who is one human being to assume possession over another? Every one of us is born an individual, and my love for another does not negate that fact. Who am I to assert myself over the actions of another? I own no one, just as no one owns me. We may share in love and mutual agreements, but never shall we own one another. Side by side we exist, not one above the other. I am open with you about my opinions, feelings, and concerns, as I expect nothing less in return. I respect and value your right to be as you are.”
As a younger young woman, relationships constituted ownership. If I was to be with someone, then they would have to be mine. It was something that I’d never verbalized, but I was constantly on edge with every friendship and intimate relationship. Over the years I’ve felt more at ease in relationships. I’m no longer guarded, but I do have boundaries. I believe that love can be so mutually beautiful that it can leave you without eyes for another. I also believe that the world doesn’t end just because a connection has. There should be freedom in love; freedom in love is to go where that love takes you. If love takes you deeper with an individual, then go deeper. If love takes you away from an individual, then go away. If love confuses the hell out of you, search for the message that love has for you there. I think that our nature is to explore until we find our unique voice; love should support that.
It has been said that you shouldn’t point out your shortcomings to others. They say that only you really notice them, and to a degree I adhere to this ideal. However, I strongly believe that the written word lives outside of that ideal. While I may be the only one to notice a tiny zit on my chin, my bad writing is painfully obvious to most people. As a reader it frustrates me when a comma forces me to pause in a weird place. As a writer I don’t know where the hell the comma goes! I know how to separate items in a list, but where do I pause? WHY COMMA SPLICE?! WHY? “Hey girl? Why don’t you just take a class or ask the internet?” asked Ryan Gosling. Well, Ryan Gosling, I’ve taken a class and asked the Internet, and it mostly made my head pulsate and my eyes all squinty. I’ve been more successful at picking up basic Japanese language structure than English grammar and punctuation! Domo arigato gozaimasu!
So, in honor of my incessant need as a 90s child to self deprecate (thanks Ross Geller)
I will gladly share with you the banes of my writing life; as I’m sure you’ve already figured out what they are by suffering through my linguistic ineptitude.
1. The Comma
Where exactly do you go? In my thoughts this sentence needs a comma. Where would I put it based on the way it sounds in my head? After “thoughts”; that feels wrong, but it feels right. Do you represent “and”? What the hell, man?! It’s too bad that I spent my school years making sure I answered review questions correctly; if only I’d focused on actually learning something.
2. Quotation Marks
I know you saw them in that last paragraph. Sure the name of the device implies its proper use, but English does make shit up as it goes… or maybe that would be me. Do I use them to quote Nixon’s, “I am not a crook.”? Do I use them to tell you about “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”? Do I use them to doubt the validity of a “thing”?
I use them for all of the above. Am I wrong? Most likely.
3. The Semicolon
The love child of the devilish comma and the (alright in my book) colon. I mostly use the semicolon so that I don’t forget about it. Am I doing it right? I doubt it, but I see you semicolon. I C U.
5. Thigh gap?
The rule on parentheses is to use them after I’ve used too many commas.
6. Syntax. Period.
I know that I have an odd language pattern; I’m just waiting for a linguistics professor to pluck me off a street corner and teach me the ways of word artistry.
As a “mature” adult I can no longer blame everyone else for my inability to be easily understood. I think hard about how to word things in ways that won’t sound like cryptic messages from an dying Sith Lord; and then the words just come out like the sentence that preceded that last semicolon. See what I mean? My name could easily be, “The things that come out of your mouth.”, or “Who even uses words like that?” It all makes perfect sense when I’m talking to myself.
In summary? WRITING! Writing is my biggest problem with writing. Grammar, syntax, punctuation, content, and everything that relates to sharing language gives me the willies… Perhaps that is why I love is as I do.
To date, I’ve only been on one medication for anxiety. I felt well enough while on it, but I was worried about the side effects associated with the drug. I’m also stubborn when it comes to my health, so I wasn’t going to give the drug the opportunity to give me more problems to treat. I was fortunate to have stopped the medication in a way that didn’t cause the awful withdrawal symptoms I had read about. I got those crazy brain zaps, but I’m fairly accustomed to weird sensations in my brainal region (you know what I mean), so withdrawal wasn’t so bad.
I tend to search for things that will actually help my body to produce the chemicals/neurotransmitters that will genuinely improve my state of being. I’ve been lucky to have spent the last ten years working in the health food industry; I’ve been able to try different supplements to find what works for me. It’s been hit or miss, so I’ll share some of the “hits” with you in hopes that you might find something that helps.
1. Irwin Naturals: Brain Awake
Serving Size: 3 Liquid Soft-Gels
Servings per Container: 20
Amount per Serving % Daily Value
Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride) 10 mg 500%
Folate (as Quatrefolic (5-MTHF) [6S]-5-Methyltetrahydrofolic acid, glucosamine salt) 200 mcg 50%
Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin) 500 mcg 8333%
MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil 1000 mg †
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (as Acetyl-L-Carnitine Hydrochloride) 500 mg †
Bacopa extract (50% bacosides) (whole plant) 300 mg †
Holy Basil (Tulsi) extract (2% ursolic acid) (leaf) 200 mg †
AlphaWave L-Theanine 100 mg †
InnovaTea Natural Tea Extract (standardized to 95% Caffeine) 52 mg †
Lemon Balm extract (10:1) (aerial) 30 mg †
Rosemary extract (3% rosmarinic acid) (herb) 30 mg †
BioPerine Black Pepper extract (95% Piperine) (fruit), Ginger extract (5% gingerols) (rhizome) 6 mg †
†Daily Value not established
I’ve personally had success with many “Irwin Naturals” products, but I purchased this one yesterday and loved it. I’ve been wanting to punch everything in the face lately, and while we were out and about I was absolutely seething with anger. I decided to stop at a vitamin store for an anti-stress drink. I wanted more than a one off deal, so I ended up finding the “Brain Awake”. It isn’t labeled as a mood enhancing supplement, but most of the ingredients will do just that. It didn’t hurt that it says “…works fast” on the bottle; my experience with the company is that the product typically backs up that claim. As soon as I paid for it I’d practically inhaled three of them before we’d walked out of the store. We made our way to the movies and I still wanted to punch everything, but I could feel the edge coming off. Once the lights went out and the movie started, I was feeling quite calm. Instead of wanting to shove the child who had on light-up sneakers in a purposefully dark movie theater, I thought “I want a pair of light-up sneakers!” That felt like an accomplishment. By the end of the day I was more willing to try and understand where people were coming from, rather than be annoyed at seemingly careless and inconsiderate behavior. I also felt a general clarity and peace. So far I’m pretty impressed by this supplement.
When I had to talk about supplements on a daily basis, my go to recommendation was to take a “B-complex”.
B-vitamins are essential to good overall health. Depression, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, skin problems, PMS, cardiovascular disease, and a whole host of other ailments can be helped by your B-vitamins. This article will give you more information on why they do what they do: http://m.med-health.net/B-Complex-Benefits.html. Ideally you’ll get the bulk of your micronutrients from your diet. The body knows real unprocessed food better than anything else, so you’ll want to feed it with that in mind. The article above gives a list of foods that contain B-vitamins. Start with food unless you know for a fact that you have a B-vitamin deficiency; then you may want to supplement. Take them with enough food so that they don’t cause stomach upset; and your pee will probably be bright. Drink more water.
L-Theanine is sort of an amino acid that can help reduce anxiety by putting the brain in an alpha state. The alpha state is basically where you feel relaxed but not drowsy. You can use the following links for more information on L-Theanine, brainwaves, and anxiety:
4. Holy Basil
These two brands are my favorites!
A good Holy Basil can make the world alright. Holy Basil is an adaptogen, so rather than temporarily masking symptoms, it helps your body to function the way that it’s supposed to. (See: http://www.medicinehunter.com/holy-basil.)
I love the pairing of Holy Basil with L-Theanine! In fact, you can find a bit of L-Theanine in green tea. There’s nothing like a cup of hot “Organic India: Cinnamon Rose Tulsi” tea paired with any good green tea, and some “Sons of Anarchy” on the tube.
5. Ridgecrest Herbals: Anxiety Free
Serving Size: 2 capsules
Servings Per Container: 30
Amount per serving % Daily Value
Thiamin (B1) 25 mg 1667%
Riboflavin (B2) 8 mg 441%
Niacin (B3) 25 mg 125%
Vitamin B6 25 mg 1250%
Folate,Folic Acid,Folacin 400 mcg 100%
Vitamin B12 25 mcg 417%
Biotin 400 mcg 133%
Pantothenic acid 25 mg 250%
Choline 25 mg*
Inositol 25 mg*
GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) 250 mg*
L Theanine 50 mg*
Tonic Herbal Stress Release Complex 293 mg*
Ayurvedic Herbal Stress Complex 163 mg*
This stuff was a Godsend for me. You know how I said that I tend to want to punch everything in the face? That primarily comes from my current job. With my particular wiring, my job frustrates me to no end. I’m well aware of the fact that I’ve made a poor career choice; I’m getting that worked out. An upside of work are the random sample packets of “Anxiety Free” sometimes lying around. I pop those things like candy because they make me love everything. They’ve reliably produced positive results for me. The only problem has been the difficulty of finding the full sized product in a brick and mortar store. I’m sure they’re out there though. I ordered a bottle from Amazon.com once, but I never received it. I’m assuming it simply got lost in the mail. I would definitely try to order again from a different vendor.
There you have it! These are basically different combinations of the same herbs and nutrients, but these products seem to combine them in ways that work well for me. I do these things in addition to eating well for my body, and I work out five or six days a week. I’m clearly not a doctor or health professional, so don’t take my word for it. Every body is different and you should do what works for you. I don’t know your allergies or current dietary habits. Do your research, and speak with a professional about any questions or concerns that you may have. My battle has been a long one, but it has been nice to make some notable progress. These supplements have been of great help to me. I hope that someone else can find at least a bit of relief through them.
I find myself wondering if my feelings of hopelessness are valid. Is it alright for me to be afraid that my life can never be lived for myself? When I think in one direction or the other, I just want to rip my own heart out to stop it from beating. I want to ask it why it continues to beat. Is it not tired? On that thought I see something: If my heart sees fit to continue, then maybe it can tutor my mind on the whys of pressing on. It is said that with the mind, one can rule the body. What if the heart has greater control than the mind? With my mind I’ve permitted my body to stop, I’ve tried to destroy any hope of a better life, and I’ve tried to err solely on the side of hate. In spite of it all my heart still beats. I’ve not been able to rid myself of hope. I’ve certainly been tempered, but I’m not all lost. I’ve never felt at home in hate, and hating the world has only made me hate myself for being so pompous. Could my heart possibly have the answers that have alluded my mind? Can my introspection come from my heart?
What would I say I’ve learned thus far? Well I can’t say that I’ve learned anything particularly helpful when I take an actual look at my current standing in life. If you’re looking for a fruit bearing tree, I’d suggest you leave this orchard; for these trees seem to be pretty fucking ornamental at the moment. I’m in this netherworld where I feel that my only cause for carrying on is to serve as a big fucking no-no for up and coming generations. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t see this in those fantasies I used to have about the future.
I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time carrying around a little extra pudge because I can’t seem to convince myself of a good enough reason to stop. How lousy is that! I wish there were a reason, but I really don’t have one. I’ve experimented with enough information on the subject to know what genuinely works for me. I’ve fucked around in my mind enough to identify the barriers; I’ve even broken through the barriers before! Yet, I’m holding on to a reason to preach self acceptance to myself. I’m all for self love, but I’ve thus far used it as a cop out.
All of that aside, I’ll give a quick look into what my life has been so far. I made my way into the world by way of tied tubes. While I’d like to take some credit for this, I have to chalk it up to… well, not me. There were already four kids with stakes in this pre-established family, so I feel like I was an “Oh shit, what’s that? I don’t know, but put a Velcro strip on it and attach it to the back.” addition. I guess I would liken my arrival to that unnecessary part your diy IKEA bookshelf. I wasn’t necessarily made to feel that way by the lovely woman who gave birth to me, but there were more than enough things to internalize as just that message. My parents divorced when I was three years old and too young to care. After a while, I began receiving certain types of abuse from a couple of people who were close to me (the particulars are between my therapist and I). Having your nonexistent self esteem shattered is always great when trying to figure out the world around you, right? Hopefully you learn something from it. I had big dreams but drowned them in fear, anxiety, depression, and no structure or discipline. Do you know what that made me? Fucking amazing at sleep. I, much like many of my peer age group, could’ve been an Olympian of sleep. I’ll tell you later how far that will take you in life. I did cultivate a love of reading, but I’d later develop an inability to concentrate long enough to finish most books. I CAN sit through hours of TV in order to avoid life. I’ve mastered that! Over the course of my life (just like most every being on the planet) I’ve been introduced to new friends and family, and I’ve watched them leave, fall apart, or both. I’ve essentially watched my own family crumble, and I’ve broken down completely. I’ve lived out of a car that wasn’t my own, while holding down a full time job. I’ve obviously been shitty with money, horrible at time utilization, dealing with depression, suspicious that I may be bipolar (mostly depressive), learned to place suicide above other viable means of coping, and I’ve managed to acquire a professional life and love life that I don’t want. Okay I don’t have a love life, but the men who’ve come my way are not what I’d have put myself through if I’d been a healthy and well rounded individual. I’ve managed to keep all of my dreams in my head as things I’m “working toward”, and all I have to show for it is passionate conversation about what I’ll do when I get there. Twenty-eight years, and would I say that I’m happy? Absolutely not. I love the wonderful people in my life, but I can’t say that I’m terribly pleased with what I’ve made out of my existence. I’m quite the failure; that’s more factual than anything.
I used to dream of being a dancer, actor, writer, counselor, nutritionist, neuroscientist, fitness trainer, fitness model, singer, philanthropist, genius, super bad ass, and all around amazing woman. I was going to be brilliant by this age (that I’d honestly never considered turning). Let us look at what I’ve done so far to achieve any of that:
-I’ve taken a baby’s handful of acting classes.
-I’ve taken/quit numerous dance classes.
-I’ve stationed myself in close proximity to the fitness nutrition industry, by way of the two paying jobs that I’ve had.
-I’ve taken a psych class or two; and I dropped out of a psych program.
-I’ve had ONE photo shoot, and that was by accident. I looked like shit.
-I still read and watch educational shit, and that makes me a fraction of a fraction of a genius… right?
-I’ve had a fiction writing class. I still couldn’t get the grammar thing pinned down.
-I’ve taken a couple of film courses.
-I recently gave a woman some money, and then offered her my sun visor.
-I’m pretty sure that my certifiable ownership of an expired Groupon for a Krav Maga lesson (or two), makes me super bad ass adjacent.
As you can see, I’ve spent most of my precious time developing my ability to play in proverbial revolving doors. I’m also great at this one thing I do where I am a twenty-eight year old/nine year old. I don’t have my own home, I don’t have my own car, my credit is shit, I don’t have a real grocery budget, nor a place to put those groceries. I am nowhere in life. I’ve cultivated such a habit of getting nowhere, that when I am too close to somewhere, my physical body will conspire to get itself back to what it knows. I’ve had panic attacks and depression take me off of work. All of those classes that I didn’t finish? Anxiety and its very real and physical effects! My mental health issues paired with my penchant for doing nothing were a recipe for self sabotage.
I still know how I felt through all those years, but as the woman who has taken ownership of this life, I’m disappointed at all of the ornamental trees in my fucking fruit orchard. What I’ve taught myself by being frivolous with the first twenty-seven years of my life is: Plant fruit bearing trees if you want them to bear fruit! Everything that you do right NOW will have an immense impact on who you are even a month from today. If there is something you want to do, do it. Take it out of your head. There will be a life that you live outside of your head, so you’d better take that one that you like to visit so much and make it as real as possible. Shit will get rough! When it does you can tell those rough patches to go fuck themselves with an umbrella, by immediately gleaning invaluable lessons from them. If you’re anything like me you will want reasons for everything. You’ll want to know why this person doesn’t like you, or why anything is anything. You won’t always know those reasons and half of them don’t even matter. The important thing is that you don’t spin your wheels trying to find a reason, when you could be moving on with your life. Use intuition, facts, and common sense to determine whether or not you’re willing to wait for a reason for anything. Will a reason give you positive movement? That’s what you need to know in order to determine what matters to you.
Not every thought is worth entertaining. Some thoughts are absolute shit words just floating on through. If the truly useful thoughts are accompanied by the useless ones, grab hold of the ones that will make the healthy difference in your life. Abandon stress! You can use the onset of stress as a sort of alert that lets you know that some changes need to be made. Once you’ve figured that out, flip stress the bird. Stress will only turn into a chronic problem on top of the thing that caused it in the first place. Dwelling in such a place can cripple your ability to come to any resolve at all. Deal with the problem and do away with the stress through meditation, introspection, exercise, Netflix, or whatever your preferred non-life destroying poison.
Feel! Pursue a life worth feeling about. What if some of us become numb to emotion because we’ve an intrinsic knowing that we’re not living lives worth the spectrum of human emotion? I’m absolutely addicted to these magnificent things called emotions! I want to spend this wonderfully broad spectrum of feels on things that are as awe-inspiring as the little buggers themselves.
Be free, be spirited, but don’t be wasteful. Every resource that you’re born with is precious to you. You’re born with as much time as you will have and no idea how much that is. Use it in a way that you will love. Make your time here relevant to you.
I suppose that if I were to sum all of this shit up, I’d say: Life has existed since long before you, and will likely continue long after you are gone. Life is not a thing that exists for you. Since you have shown up, you do have a place. Your place doesn’t entitle you to anything other than the choice of what you want out of your existence. Whatever those choices are will require effort, because you never arrive at a place without using the necessary means to get there. You wouldn’t expect a parked car to get you from Texas to Mexico. We’re all born without much say on our existence, but we all reach an age of individual responsibility. With that responsibility comes the pivotal moment of choosing what it is that you want to do with your own existence. We can use the old “…easier said than done.”, but it’s much more difficult to face yourself and realize that the easiest things to do made you into a person that you don’t want to be. You may as well do those things that are easy to say and hard to do. One of the best things that you can do for yourself and everyone else is to consciously exist. Individual responsibility strips away excuses and comfort zones, but it allows you to take the active role in making your life a better one. Give a nod to those old ornamental trees for all that they did do, but plant some damned fruit bearing trees in your orchard, for crying out loud. Exist consciously and get on with it.
It is my hope that some kindred soul might find something useful in all of this. I wish that my fourteen through twenty-six year old self would’ve known the life that she was setting us up for. If I know her at all, I believe that she would have done things a little differently given the information that I now have. I think that I can still pull this whole “life” thing off, so all of my dreams are very much intact. I’ll have to make some adjustments, but I choose to believe that it’s all worthwhile. I want you to believe the same for yourself no matter your age. It isn’t over until you cease to exist. Good luck to us all!