Monday, May 30, 2005

Mothers, mumbles, and mental illness

My mom and I have always had a weird sort of relationship. In many ways, I'm very like her. Not surprising, since I had to learn most of my bad habits somewhere, eh? But we definitely don't have the kind of mother-daughter relationship that I see in my friends families, or even in between my sisters and my mother.

I think it has a lot to do with me being the oldest child in the family, and with the fact that my father is nearly 16 years older than my mother, and that he used to be a rather extreme functional alcoholic. So I was more partner than child to my mom, especially after my baby sisters were born. And not to put any pressure on me (:cough cough:) my mother likes to tell the story of one night when I was 11 and my father had been on a particular rampage, how I came to her after he'd stomped off to bed and hugged her and told her that I was sorry Daddy was being so mean and that it just wasn't fair. She credits this comment with making her realize that he wasn't treating her fairly and that she didn't just have to sit there and take it just because they were married. To her credit, she was barely 33 at the time and had been married to my dad for 13 years. (Sometimes it blows me away to realize that my mother already had three kids at my age.)

So while my mom was on her path of self-discovery... just another reason I've never been in a rush to get married... and also busy raising young babies, I pretty much got to raise myself. I never had help with school projects because my mom didn't realize that she was supposed to (or perhaps, allowed to) help me. We never talked about girly stuff, because I had already read enough in books and elsewhere to know more than she could tell me when she finally got around to trying.

I don't really know how she feels about this, but I've realized that I carry a certain resentment for my absentee parenting experience. And perhaps I know it isn't fair, but her occasional flares of guilt only make me angrier. I've said before, I don't have much use for guilt. If it's something you'll feel guilty about, either act so as to avoid the guilt or just accept the mistake and move on. I know that she did the best she could with what she had to work with at the time. What is harder to forgive is all the times that I was feeling good about myself and she found cause to remind me that I wasn't as great as I thought. I think she views it as keeping me humble. I view it as Catholic backwash.

I also know, looking back, that I was a very compartmentalized kid. I had my family life, my gymnastics life, and my school life. Later, I lost the gymnastics life after my back injury, and was pretty much off-balance for the next five years or so. Rarely did I allowed any of them to mix. I didn't date in high school, because from my observations, dating made my friends stupid and unreliable. Not to mention emotional and overwrought. I know that most of them considered me cold and unhappy. I probably was.

I like to think that I've worked out most of these lingering neuroses over the last decade. At a wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends in January of 2003 (Hey, Dev!) one of our other friends from high school remarked that he'd never seen me look so happy... or happy at all... "glowing" was the word he used. I think that was when I realized how deeply depressed I had been for so long. And even then I wasn't completely out from under it. Summer 2003 was my rock bottom crash.

Depression runs in the family on both sides, along with bipolar disorder... is it any wonder I've struggled? One of my mother's brothers has gone through many long stretches of dark despair, yet refuses to seek medical help for the problem. He claims that studies have shown that taking those drugs permanently alters the structures in your brain. Well, isn't that the POINT? I clearly had something wrong with me - something that I couldn't fix by "toughing it out". I asked for help - finally - and as a result spent four months taking Wellbutrin SR. The change was amazing and immediate. I could smile, I could think, I had energy and desire again. And after four months when I stopped taking it, I still felt better than I had ever felt, mentally and emotionally. So, yeah, I'll buy that those drugs can alter your brain structure. But I'm not sure that isn't a good thing.

Anyway. I have a short story to write for the Writing Monkey's current contest.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

It's not that I have a lot to say. I just don't have much to do.

Mellow day today. Tutoring center cancelled because all the kids called in... or rather, their parents did. So sad... this means I get a three day weekend just like all the bozos who work for the government. Heh.

For the record, I would like to state that I did go for a nice walk this afternoon. And this morning I bought groceries that we needed. And I wasn't completely wasting my time on line between those two spurts of productivity. Only mostly. Heh. I also would have taken a longer walk this afternoon, except someone asked me if I wanted to go to the Real (Ray-al) Salt Lake game tonight and I said yes... but said someone has not returned home and said game has just begun. So.

Also, oddly, in the last few days I have become convinced that the private school job is not happening for me. And I'm okay with that. Granted, if it did happen, I would be okay with that, too. But it would be a huge time commitment and I think maybe I don't mind treating this like a chance to explore something new instead of the crushing of my current career path.

Maybe I could even focus more time on my creative stuff if I went back to having a job that was just a job. If that makes sense. Maybe take a class or two, even. Though, where I would do that, I'm not really sure.

Anyway... I'm feeling much more zen about the whole enterprise.
Look at Me!Me! (or what I thought a meme was before I stood corrected)

According to Emerald/Matt, I am "it". So here it be. Apologies for any mistakes in author names or titles. I am just too damn indifferent to search my shelves/floor/tables/backpack for the accurate info.


No idea. After multiple moves in recent years, currently living in a city with a kickass public library, and being mostly broke for several years, my book buying/owning/transporting fetish has subsided. I'll buy it if I want to travel with it (aka: airplane reading), or if the waiting list at the library is over 100 and I don't feel like being patient, or if the library doesn't have it at all.

That said, I know there are easily 500 books in the house. Not looking forward to packing those. Might donate some of the paperbacks that I will never read again to the library - that's where most of their paperback collection has come from.


- Laurell K. Hamilton - A Stroke of Midnight... (yeah, so I enjoy kinky porn disguised as contemporary fantasy, sue me.)

- Lian Hearn - Grass for his Pillow (book 2 of the Otori series)

- Kelly Armstrong - Bitten, Taken, Dime Store Magic, and Industrial Magic. (The Library has not discovered her books yet and I didn't feel like waiting.)


- None. Though I will probably pick up Holly Lisle's new books when they come out, as well as Tamara Siler Jones's, Wen Spencer's, and Kelly Armstrong's.


- Age of Unreason trilogy by J. Gregory Keyes.
- The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
- Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
- Rough Justice by Lisa Scottoline


- Uh... I'm actually not sure how to fill this category. Everything I read has influenced me to some extent, but I've never been one to have idols or heroes, or even to think that if something worked for another writer that it would necessarily work for me, too. So the most honest answer I could give would either be: "every book I have ever read" or "no book in particular"

However, these three things immediately sprang to mind...

- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Generally, I think OSC's an ass, but I love this book and have reread it dozens of times. Influential because... well, despite its flaws, I love the story and the problems and the brilliant quotable one-liners.

- Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books because they pretty much prove that if you tell a good story with interesting characters, you can break any other "rule" you want.

- The course listings at my alma mater. I had fun learning shtuff there... so many possibilities.


Since I'm not sure if I know anyone (who actually READS) who has not already done this, I will open it to my (small, but beloved) audience. Give it a go if you've got nothing else to write about. :grin:

Friday, May 27, 2005

Survival Tips

1. Why, yes, that red light does apply to you, Mr. SUV driver.

2. Crossing a busy street when many cars are waiting to make a turn is not the best time to stop and point out local landmarks to your visiting friends. Wait until you reach the sidewalk, or don't leave the safety of the first one. You have been warned.

3. Don't pretend that your visit is solely to help me out and then bring my hyperactive half-niece with you. If you want a few days away, great. But let's be realistic.

4. When I say not to hit me in the morning - no, not even with your version of a love tap - then fucking cut it out. The correct response is not to ask what died up my ass and tell me that you hope I shit it out soon. The correct response would be: Sorry, I won't do it again. Even if we know that you will, in fact, do it again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

This 'n' That

So, I'm still waiting. La dee da dee da. Sigh.

My surgery (septorhinoplasty with turbinate reduction) is coming up quickly - just 16 more days. I'm a little weirded out by that, since I've never had surgery of any kind before, unless you count stitches in my gashed up arm when I was 8... and I don't count that. But hopefully, after the misery of healing is done, I will be able to breathe through my nose in ways I have only dreamed of before now. That and it will be straighter, I guess.

I haven't been writing jack since March though... somehow trying to imagine what my life is going to be like next year is much more interesting than leading characters through twists and turns on the page. Been doing a little painting - finished up the bookshelf and made a nice big mirror. But I don't want to keep going, because anything I make, we are going to have to transport to Vermont. Better to wait until we are there. Mostly just been doing a lot of escapist reading.

Two of my Utah Writing Monkey crew happen to own/operate a POD (print on demand) publisher and further more happen to be the ones who handles Daniel Keys Moran's work. I discovered his writing when I was still in high school and have managed to collect several of his early books - the ones printed before he broke his contract with Big Publishing House. I like his characters and think he view of the future is interesting, if unlikely. He's the author of some of my favorite quotes.

But my friends have told me that he's a wee bit eccentric, and seeing the book they just gave me as a going away present, I believe them. He did everything himself - would not even let them supply the basic proofreading for typos - including choosing the cover... blue background, blue writing... While clearly talented, I think he's one of the authors that I've always been warned not to be. I haven't read the book yet - The Long Run - but we shall see what egomania has wrought.

Also, I usually don't bring cookies and shtuff like that home... usually I'll take it to school and leave it in my filing cabinet for when I want a snack... but this time, I figured maybe Jay learned something from the conversation that we had regarding nagging and eating habits (since it did include charts and graphs and whathaveyou). It appears not. If he calls me "Cookie Monster" one more time, he might be searching his abdominal cavity for the family jewels, of you know what I mean.

Love you, sweetie. (Or should that be "salty"?) Just don't make me have to open a can of WhoopAss on you.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Kill me

This waiting thing is killing me. I put off updating beacuse I was supposed to know about the job in Vermont today. Instead I got an email that they are still discussing the options for next year's faculty and will get back to me very soon. Aaaagh!

Updates on the prom - not a big deal, just chaperoning, didn't even bother to really dress up, just wore black slacks and a black and wine top. Felt strangely guilty after the prom court was announced... I hate to see girls cry over shtuff that doesn't really matter. As I said to Molly, "Didn't we used to make fun of Prom Queens?"

One observation: the people back east are generally much bigger than the people out west. So I felt pretty good about myself in that respect. On my tours of the school campus, I was the only one not gasping for breath going up and down stairs and hills. Of course, I did have the advantage of living at 4500 feet and being down around 1000 ft during the visit.

But seriously, I just don't know if I can be happy in Vermont without a real job to look forward to. I refuse to go back to hospitality type work. My mental health is more important than $8/hour, or whatever the going rate is back there. If I don't get this job, I think I will just sit down and cry. Which really sucks, because this whole Vermont thing is just Jay's dreamlife made real. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Haven't had a good night's sleep since last Tuesday. Too tired to be coherent. I think the school visit went well. Also visited with my friend and got to go to prom! Oooooh. Aaaaaah. Was forced to judge "Grand March" - aka: Prom King Queen and Court.

More update after nap.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Very Sad... but onwards I go

For some reason, I am blocked from three of my most often read sites. I don't know if it's my server being bitchy or if they've had problems with other people on the comcast server or if they've just taken their sites private. In any case, I am very sad.

However, I have lots of other procrastination tools at hand... so perhaps I should just get on with my life, eh?

Other than that.... I leave for Vermont around midnight on Wednesday. Just treading water until I leave. Honestly, I have no idea how this is going to go. But on the bright side, I finally got in touch with my weeneresque former roommate. She hadn't opened the card I sent. She's got her bills on automatic pay and hadn't bothered to check her mail for the last three weeks because she's in the middle of grading term projects. She fully admits to being a weenerhead doodyface - she so is! So I'm probably going to the Windsor High Prom on Saturday with Ms. Prom Advisor. You know you're jealous.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Addressing Inequities

Jay (to friends): Yeah, so after we get married we'll just start popping them out...

Me: Popping them out... What's this "we", white man?

Jay: Um, it does take two people, you know.

Me: No, I believe that you get the "popping in" job while I get stuck with the "popping out". Want to trade?

Jay: : errrrr.

Me: (trying not to laugh) Good thing you're so cute.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

when paranoia takes over

Alternative title: mind games you can play alone.

So lately I've been going around in circles... annoyance to guilt to worry to embarrassment to irritation to guilt to... well anyway. I'm not a person who does the guilt thing very well anyway. Generally, I don't second guess myself very often, thereby avoiding that foolish trip down guilt road.

See, this getting married thing must be messing with my head. That's the only explanation. It doesn't seem to matter that most of the people I've told have been effusive... even frighteningly effusive... in their excitement upon hearing the news. But a few people I considered good friends haven't said a word. Nada. Nothing. Not even an acknowledgement that they received my email or card. Bottom line, that's just kind of rude, neh? How hard is it to reply to an email?

But I can't seem to help thinking: "What did I do to piss you off? Why don't you care enough to say congrats?" And then I come up with a laundry list of things I wish I had done differently with/around them. AND I KNOW this is futile. I know that the problem probably has less to do with me and much more to do with them being busy or lazy about correspondance or whatnot. SO THEN I feel like an egomaniac for thinking that it IS about something that I did. Are you with me? Total head trip. I must stop.

This silly drama is probably exacerbated by the fact that I emailed an old friend from college around New Year's after I noticed that, according to our alumni directory, his address had changed. Just a friendly, hey, how ya doing, noticed that you've moved and how funny because we're thinking about moving back east, too, kind of note. So I had some other addresses to look up the other day, and I plugged in his name out of curiosity and found that he had requested that the college not give out his information anymore. Slap. Well, at least I know he got my email...

Now I get to try a couple possible phone numbers for my former college roommate who I had hoped to see/stay with in Vermont while I'm there over the weekend of the 13th-15th. I'm pretty sure she's still alive because I got a birthday card from her in March...

No wonder I contemplate becoming a hermit somedays. Sigh.