Saturday, January 03, 2015

Season 2, Episode 2: Matriarchy

I've been avoiding writing about my mother basically my entire life.

Weirdly, I'm much more comfortable confronting all the fucked up shit my dad did like pick me up by the hair and trying to strangle my mother with a telephone cord (this is a memory, I have found, neither my mother or brother seem to remember - sometimes I wonder if we've blocked different parts of living with Lloyd since they also recall things I do not). 

Maybe it's because comparatively, that situation is pretty simple. My father is an alcoholic, likely with another coexisting disorder like borderline or simple depression/anxiety. To be honest, at least 90% of what I remember of him is him being drunk so I don't really know him as a person. Only as a disappointment.

My mother on the other hand... I don't even really know where to begin. I'm very guarded with her because I realize that her life is really fucking hard without me making it any more difficult for her. I guess that's a basis of my issue, at least right now. She calls me "mom" sometimes; jokingly, yes, but if the fugly-ass shoes fit, well....

I clean the house, I cook the meals, I go to work and then I come home, go to sleep and do it all again. Since my mother returned from North Carolina, she's officially unable to work not just mentally but physically as well after the abuse Whitehall laid upon her body. That was why she left Michigan in the first place. The agreement, as unrealistic as it was for me to hope for, was that Tyler would take my mother for eight years since I had done the previous eight and he had done close enough to eight before that.

Of course that didn't work. I was reminded yet again that apparently I am the beacon for all lost, crazy, broke and broken souls simply because everyone else knows how to say "no," (though, actually, I have finally begun to learn how to stand up for myself and not be guilted or pressured into agreeing to shit that is only detrimental to me. It's very fucking hard and goes against my people pleasing nature entirely.)

The truth is that, on her bad days, my mother is really difficult to handle. Honestly, if I were a totally well person who wasn't constantly struggling with health issues of my own, I think I could take care of my mother without issue. However, the reality is that some days, I wake up and realize I don't give a shit about anything and go back to sleep until I've been unconscious for sixteen hours. Eventually, I force myself to get up because I suppose I should pee and maybe eat a granola bar but otherwise why bother? Other days, my back and feet are so sore from work that when my mother asks me what I'm making for dinner, I want to scream. Scream and scream and scream until I can't scream any more. I used to throw things, throw terrible tantrums, slam doors, say the cruelest, most cutting thing I could think of without hesitation. After my fists landed their hard impact on soft skin, I'd screech, "You listen better when I hit you!"

That Carly has never left. Never. You might remember, that manic side that would turn on at the flip of a switch, I called her Charade. She crawls through my veins, creeping up and down my spine with each crack and hiss of fluid. In my darkest moments, the sting of her nails tearing against my skull is almost unbearable. How desperately I want to hurt, to choke those around me because for so long all I knew was pain and asphyxiation. Charade was my cloak of rage and violence, preventing me from ever really feeling the wet gouges left in my heart from years of neglect and abuse. When I'm too frightened to confront these emotions, too illogical to remember that that isn't my life anymore, she rushes inside of me, beating against the inside of my skin to get out and get even.

Keeping Charade in her place, remembering that I can control her - control that impulse, that sprinting state of mind - takes a lot of effort some days. It's through no fault of my mother or even the others who trigger her, usually. Chemicals and stress and only beginning to learn productive coping mechanisms late in life all attribute to her existence. At this point, the blame I used to lay on my father is generally softened by my pity for him. Not that I don't still harbor enough bitterness inside of me that I want to call him a fuckwad; despite this, remembering that his life has been mostly wasted by getting wasted makes me realize I still have a chance despite his utter failure to teach me anything in life but fear and sadness. This opportunity at life, though difficult, is because of my mother.

Could I possibly blame her for not leaving Lloyd sooner? I've considered this thoroughly. My mother, when she met Lloyd, was meeting a completely different person than the one I grew up with. Working three jobs, intelligent, giving - my mother fell in love quickly afterward. He was completely different from her own fucked up father so she had no reason to suspect he would ever be twisted and deformed into a similar monster years down the road. His family was entirely normal, why would one think he'd have this sickness laying latent deep inside of him?

Imagine your spouse, significant other, parent, sister, brother - whomever it is that you love most in this world. This person has probably saved your life at least once, maybe not from a car or a train but from a monster eating at your soul or from a terrible choice you were about to make. This person that salvaged your soul, taught you how to love and laugh and forget all the awful things that you've seen becomes sick. You know they're more than this, better than this disease yet hope narrows as time goes on. At what point do you give up on this love? When do you decide to leave, knowing that their only hope of recovering their life lies with you?

Add in my mother's own mental health problems, her trepidation and lack of money, skills or even the ability to drive a car. Now throw two children into the picture. What would you do?

The few stories my mother does remember from her childhood are terrifying. The things I witnessed while growing up filled my head with nightmares. Her entire life has been a whole lot of shit, sparingly peppered with bright moments. Now imagine that she's coming near the end of that life and can no longer take care of herself. Would you stay and take care of the only person who lifted you up out of the shit for the first half of your life or would you abandon them?

Taking care of my mother is hard. Not just because I'm crazy but because I have such enormous dreams inside of me, just crushing my organs as they try to escape somehow. This town brings me nothing but apathy. The clock is ticking constantly and each moment I spend here takes me a little further and further away from being the ideal age to begin my desired career. The older I become, the less attractive I become, the less of a draw to big ticket target demographics I become... the more my dreams slip out of my reach.

Yet I can't walk away. Not without her in tow. I can't leave this stupid fucking house I talked her into buying because I "needed more space". As much as I know I'd be so happy if only I could run away from all this, I also know that I couldn't truly enjoy my freedom if I knew she was living alone with her dying cat, never leaving her house.

If only I could somehow make enough to leave here, to take her with me. Hell, at this point, I'd be happy just to keep this goddamn house. But that's a story for another day. Probably not, since it's a pretty short one I'd entitle "it's impossible to afford 1k a month between two people working despite both of us doing a minimum of 30 hours a week and i have no idea how i'm going to prevent this house from being foreclosed on and us becoming homeless again". That about sums up the whole issue.

As usual, I'm bad at endings but today I don't really care. No one's really been reading this lately and I really just needed to vent a bit. Yeah, everything's fucked up. Isn't it always? The difference now is that I accept it and realize the only real option I have is to somehow try and solve what seems to be an impossible puzzle. As always, I can feel the pressure of this solution sitting on my shoulders and I know that should I choose to give up, this whole delicate, chemically imbalanced ecosystem will collapse. Not only do I have to figure this problem out for myself, for my mother and for the time being but I have to keep moving forward so I can reach a position of being able to provide answers to other people following this hard path after me.

So why wait and despair? May as well soldier on for yet another day.

1 comment:

  1. It all worked out. Not at all the way you thought it would but it really did work out eventually. Oh, I wish I could go back in time and tell you this! I really did think I was going to be trapped in Ludington, living with my mother, for the rest of my life.

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