Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fake It Till You Make It

(Photo stolen from The Doifter on Flickr)

by Ginger

I love Christmas, usually. This year I'm having trouble getting into that jolly yuletide spirit. I don't know why... Maybe because my family are a bunch of manic depressives and drug addicts, and I get to spend the holidays pretending they aren't?!

See, one of my brothers is eight years older than me. My first memory of him was when I was six and I caught him stealing my birthday money out of my purse. He was already doing drugs by then and ran away from home not long after. My next clear memory of him was when my brother and I had to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go with my dad and bail him out of jail. Now he's a full fledged crack head and is currently on parole from the state prison. He has disappeared. No one has heard from him in two months, so we don't know if he is even alive at this point. The good news is that since he isn't here, he can't rob us all blind as soon as we bring our gifts home.

Then there's my dad. He is a prescription drug junkie from way back. Sleeping pills, pain pills, anti-depressants, and whiskey. That's his daily combo. Since all his drugs (aside from the whiskey) are scripts, he will never listen when we try to talk to him about his drug use. He needs them all, you see. Depending on the amount and combination of these that he's taken on a given day, you get the most fun guy in the world, or you want to kill him within minutes of hearing his voice.
Of course, you can't really blame Mom for being bummed on Christmas, with her son strung out and missing and her husband in a stumbling stupor. But still, the aura of sadness around her is so thick you can almost feel it when you walk in the room.

So, for my family's sake I will continue to fake the Christmas Spirit. It gets a little more real every day that I do so, and maybe by the big day, I will be able to smile genuinely through all our festivities. I refuse to bring them down the way my family does me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

An Offer I Did Refuse

(Original photo stolen from ritzichick85 on Flickr)

by Honey

She was the friend that I told everything to. When I was having all sorts of problems at home, she was the person who knew all the nitty gritty details. And they were nitty AND gritty. Believe me. I knew that I could tell her anything and she would not judge me. She listened, and that was all I needed. I didn’t ask for her opinion, and she didn't give one. I just needed an ear.

Because, the truth be told, I went a little crazy. I look back at those times and am completely shocked at how crazy the things I’d done were. And if I’m going to be honest; and I may as well, I’ll never see you at my PTA meetings (or will I?). I did a few things I was ashamed of. One of which was a three-some. Which I’m not going to describe except to say, I had one, and I told my friend about it. My friend, whose husband I hate. Because I told her everything.

A few months later, a few of us girls decided to go to Las Vegas for a girls’ weekend in Las Vegas. All of us needed to get away, and what could be better than a place that invites you to forget about your troubles and have some fun? I was still in my own personal hell at home, and she, well…she and her husband were on the outs AGAIN. She said he had his knickers in a knot about who-knows-what, and so was not speaking to her. I said well, come to Vegas and we can all hang out and gamble and drink and maybe even go to the spa. They had a really nice one in our hotel.

We go over to the spa to book our massages. They tell us, can’t squeeze you in until later in the day. So we make our appointments, and go down for some gambling. We drink a little too much. We were on the tables where you drink for free. I wasn’t drinking quite as much as the rest of the ladies because I was beginning to worry that I was using it as an escape hatch to do ridiculous things. So when my friend asked me to take her to the bathroom, I took her. I knew that she had been drinking way more than I, and I thought really she needed help. She was pretty drunk, and babbling about how much she loved me, and I was her best friend. And then she kissed me. Not like a “I love my best friend” kiss. Really laid it on me. I was COMPLETELY in shock. I didn’t know what to say. But she was so drunk that I don’t think she noticed, because she went on to say that her husband hasn’t touched her in so long, and she really wanted to be with somebody…and I just stood there. Mute. I was saved because somebody else came in looking for us because we’d been gone for a while.

There were 5 of us on that girls trip. She and I had reserved a double massage, so that we could talk alone about what was going on with our respective relationships in private. I had hoped that she would be too drunk to remember that she’d hit on me when we went back up for our massages. She wasn’t. She went on to say that it would be perfect because they would never guess, and if one or both of them got out of line, we had somebody to turn to. Somebody safe, somebody I already know. We’re both women, we know what we like… She’d been watching "The L Word," she could show me some things. (I’m STILL not sure what that meant…I’ve never seen that show, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with being lesbian, except you know…I’m not one. Nothing wrong with that, either)

I hurt her feelings. She said she came to me because she knows I am a curious kind, and thought that maybe I would be interested since I was in such a state of upheaval. I told her that I loved her AS MY FRIEND, and I was unwilling to complicate that with sex. (Why couldn’t I have said that in the OTHER situations?) Not to mention, it would change my friendship with her AND the way I thought of her. The three-some I had earlier? Never looked at him the same way, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t think of me the same as well. Sad, because we had been friends since we were young, but a lesson learned.

I felt bad that she was embarrassed and hurt, but I knew at that point, I had turned a corner. I was no longer thinking with my genitals or my bruised heart. I had come to realize there were consequences to my actions, even if they weren’t the ones I thought they’d be. And even though she said she’d never judge me, she did. She tried to take advantage of my vulnerability. Also sad, because it did ultimately change my view of her anyway.

We’re still friends, though not as close. I don’t really discuss my relationship with my husband with her anymore. I leave any nitty gritty details, and how I feel about them, to a therapist to deal with. And if she needs me to listen to her, I listen – even if I can’t always hear her because I’m screaming on the inside. But I try to keep those judgments to myself, because I know that when I was hurting, that was what I needed. I doubt we’ll ever be the same as we were, but that’s okay, because I’m actually a little bit grateful. I don’t know that I would have snapped back as quickly to who I really am if I hadn’t seen who SHE thought I was. And the thought of that person being the REAL me was too scary to consider.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dear Step-son's Girlfriend


(Photo stolen from these guys)

Dear Step-son's Girlfriend:

I have tried to like you. I have given it my best, really. When I first met you, you wouldn't get out of the car to come inside and meet me. I thought this was strange, but he said you were extremely shy. No problem, I came outside to meet you. But then I had to knock on the window to get you to roll it down, as if you couldn't see me standing there through the tinted glass. You said "hi" and looked away, bashfully. Later I found out you did the same thing when meeting his sister. We both thought this was strange, but he seemed awfully taken with you, so I let it slide.

Then he told us that your roommate was moving out, leaving you in a lurch -- you had quit your job and could you come live with us and stay with SS in his room until you both saved some money and got your own place. We said yes, because your own family was in another state and you truly seemed to have nowhere else to go. So I helped you move in when SS was out of town for a couple of weeks for work. We even had AAA tow your broken down car to our house so it wouldn't be towed away. I then took you shopping and bought you appropriate clothes and shoes so you could go job hunting. We even loaned you a car and gave you gas money so you could find a job. Yet, you never came out of your room, except when we were asleep. I had to check on you after days went by of not seeing you, to see if you were still alive in there.

Again, SS explained that you had a rough childhood and you were just extremely shy. Sure, he's naive enough to believe that. I was beginning to think you had some serious issues. Then SS asked if you two could just live with us and pay rent. Our home is big enough, you two had your own bedroom, bathroom and a large bonus room where you began collecting furnishings for your own place someday. You had your own TV area, computer area, refrigerator, and microwave in there. It seemed this would probably work okay, the only stipulations were that rent had to be paid, you had to keep your belongings picked up, and you had to find a job. If SS wanted to support you, he would have to do it in his own place, not ours. You both agreed.

Then SS's grandfather passed away. His whole family was there. You could have met all of them, but instead you sat in the car. Not once did you leave his car. Not when we were gathering before the funeral, not at the funeral home, not at the cemetery and not afterwards when we had a luncheon together. You even had SS drive you to a gas station so you could use the bathroom instead of getting out of the car and meeting his family. He explained to everyone that you were extremely shy. But to me, it was downright disrespectful, selfish and rude. I began really not liking you then.

Months went by and you didn't look for a job. You said you were putting in on-line applications, but the phone never rang for an interview and you never left the house -- ONCE. We pressured SS that you really did need to find a job -- it had been FIVE months. You said you wanted a job where you didn't have to work with people. Good luck with that one, honey. Perhaps you should go into the funeral home business. You finally found a job at Kohl's. I was ecstatic. For the first time, you were actually keeping normal hours, dressing, and showering and leaving the house to go to work.

Then I saw you and SS drive up in his car. He came inside, you didn't. I asked him why you were sitting in the driveway in his car, he said it was because you were afraid to come inside. "Why?" I questioned. He said you thought I would be mad because you didn't show up for work that day. You didn't call them. You didn't give them any notice, you just failed to show up at all. I told him, yes, that does make me mad and in fact, you two had 6 weeks to find another place to live. I took the car keys back from the loaner car you were given to drive. You must've come inside when I was in the bathroom -- then I didn't see your face for days. You're very good at knowing when I'm in my bedroom or have left to run errands. You tried to make it up by getting another job, but sorry, too little -- too late.

You had this job all of 2 weeks when you came home and told me you thought you might be pregnant and that SS doesn't realize this, but women in your family can't work when they're pregnant because they have difficult pregnancies. Alarm bells went off in my head. SS was out of town for work, and you said you would wait until he got home to do a pregnancy test. You called in sick to work. You didn't seem sick, though. You still ate and played games on the computer. You claimed you were throwing up all the time, but I saw no evidence of that -- and yes, I was watching. SS came home and apparently you weren't pregnant -- YET. But I have no doubt in my mind that you are trying your best to get pregnant, so you can trap him. So you can quit your job and have him support you. Lord, I hope he opens his eyes before you get pregnant but since this is the first time he's gotten laid regularly, I doubt that will happen. I know what 21 year old boys are like -- their hormones do their thinking for them and yes, he is wrapped around your little finger. But I'm not.

Then Thanksgiving came. SS had plans on spending it with his sister and his mother's side of the family. Which is why I was surprised to see him eating cereal at noon on Thanksgiving. When I asked him why he was eating, before he went to go eat -- he said it was because he wasn't going, because you didn't feel good. I called bullshit on that -- the first time I had been vocal about your behavior in front of you. I asked you what was wrong with you, and you got all pouty and whiney and said your tummy hurt. You reminded me of a 10 year old trying to stay home from school. Scrunching up your forehead and talking in a baby voice doesn't elicit sympathy from me. I told you that I found it extremely odd that you have gone EVERYWHERE SS has wanted to go, EVERY TIME, except when it involves family. Then, you get sick. I told SS he'd be in a lot of trouble with his sister if he didn't show up and that he should go without you. You agreed and said you were trying to get him to go and just leave you at home. He did and you locked yourself in your room.

Later when I returned from Kansas I found out that I hurt your feelings. Well you know what? Fuck your feelings.

I love my SS dearly and it kills me to see you leading him around by the dick. I regret that we ever let you move in with us -- and the funny thing is, I knew I'd regret it when we made that decision, but if we didn't -- we'd look like the assholes by leaving a young girl with no place to go. I've heard your sob stories about how your family doesn't help you, about how ex-boyfriends have mistreated you, about how friends have ditched you -- and you want to know the truth? You've brought it all on yourself. Your attitude and low self-esteem will leave you a perpetual victim to others. You better get used to it. Maybe someday you'll grow up, I hope to God you do -- because honestly, I've never met someone more pathetic.

SS left for work yesterday. He travels for work and is gone for 2 weeks at a time. Imagine my surprise to wake up and find a note on my computer from you this morning telling me that you have taken his car and have driven to Ohio to see your family (1800 miles away). That you will not be back until SS comes home and that he said this was okay with him. I assume you quit your job -- no, you didn't quit -- you just won't show up. Whatever. I am done trying to like you. It doesn't surprise me now that you didn't have the nerve to at least be respectful enough to tell me of your plans, to pack and leave during normal hours and not have to steal away in the middle of the night while we're all sleeping like some thief.

While you are gone, I would love to pack all of your belongings -- both of yours -- and put it in our garage. I know you have until the end of December to "officially" find a new place to live, but I think this last little maneuver might move the date up some.

Merry Fuckin' Christmas.

* * * * *

Please -- input. How would you handle this situation? Granted, I am just the step-mother here -- so I can't lay down the law with SS. His Dad has tried talking some sense to him, but he is really tied around her finger. But it is my house and I honestly don't want to see her face in it again. Would it be wrong of me to draw a line in the sand? Should I just keep my mouth shut until they move out? I don't want to alienate him -- but God, doesn't he see what we ALL see? It's not just me -- everyone who has met her and sees her selfish, immature ways are pretty shocked.

Suggestions, please?

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Good Person, But...

by Anonymous

(Photo stolen from
sillyishrose on Flickr)

Dear Sweetie Pie,

I love you and this is why this is so hard to say. You are a nice person, but you are a horrible mother. I'm sorry, but it's true. You would give me your last dollar if I asked for it, but for your kids, well, I am less than impressed and sometimes a little alarmed.

I remember when you asked me a few years ago if I thought you were ready for children. I said NO. Which is not a bad thing, really. Some people shouldn't have kids.

It's not that I own a World's Best Mother award. I don't. I know that sometimes I fail too. I even understand that you have issues related to your childhood that make you somewhat bitter and quite possibly blur your judgement. But I would think those issues would stop you from repeating the same kinds of mistakes. And I would hope that when you enlist help and/or suggestions from other Mothers who've had MORE experience (and I'm not talking about just me), that you would take that advice and make it work for you.

But you don't.

You make excuses. Baby girl is 3 years old and she's not potty trained, not because she's not ready, but because YOU are too lazy to potty train her. She's been bringing you her diapers, wipes and ointment since she started walking at one. She started taking off her wet diapers at 2, and you get mad because the babysitter won't potty train her. It's not her job! That's your fucking job! YOU ARE THE MOM. You hang your head in shame and are embarrassed when you come down here and another younger mother chastises you because she's too smart not to be potty trained, but you still won't do it. What the hell? You tell me she is so stubborn, she won't tell you when she's gotta go; she comes over here, I say "you gotta potty?", she says YES. And she goes!

You tell me you're concerned because you think she's having problems learning. She isn't. How can she learn if her Mother won't teach her? You are a SAHM, you send her to daycare because you can't deal with her. Because you don't want to deal with her. You don't want to take her to the park, the aquarium, for a walk. You don't want to take her ANYWHERE -- now, or in the future. You've already started complaining about extra-curricular classes that she's not even signed up for yet. You don't want to read to her, teach her letters and numbers -- and got mad at me because I bought one of those fridge magnet toys that you put the letter in, and it says the letter. Too noisy. You compare her to another friend whose daughter, of the same age, is learning sign language AND can read/write/spell her name. Because Her Mother teaches her these things. YOU sit baby girl in front of the TV, screaming at her to shut up, until bedtime and then say, "I don't know why she doesn't know more". Because she doesn't have anyone to teach her. That's why.

And now you have baby boy. Who DOESN'T go to a sitter, who is held every waking hour (and most of his sleeping ones), and is the most spoiled child on the face of the earth. And you did it on purpose. Just so you could say he can't live without me. You think it makes you more important than his Daddy that he is hysterical when you are out of his sight. If he DOES stop crying, you rush over and start messing with him, until he goes ballistic trying to get back to you. You flinch when his Daddy plays with him because you don't have control. Well, he's not you. And he's playing with his son the way a Father does, not a Mother. Stop trying to intervene. Stop trying to keep him from having a relationship with his Father. He can love you and him. You both are his parents. It's NATURAL.

You've thrown over your daughter for your son. (You stopped paying attention to her once he was born, although you kind of stopped being attentive once you realized you couldn't make her love you more than she loves her daddy.) I can't believe you would tell me that a ONE year old, who doesn't really do anything but cry is smarter than the 3 year old, who at that same age was walking, bringing you diapers for her wet bottom and trying to speak. Not because baby boy is doing anything spectacular, but because he just LOOKS smarter. Who the hell says that?! You push baby girl away because you're too busy holding him or breastfeeding him every 5 minutes (which really is kinda gross. NOT the breastfeeding, but the doing it all the freaking time. Has no one ever explained to you it should be on some sort of SCHEDULE? Oh wait. I have). But you like it because it gives you an EXCUSE to have him under you all day long. And that's kind of crazy.

I've given you, at your request for help, all sorts of advice. Put them on a schedule. Let him cry. If you're going to spank her, don't pick her up for a cuddle right afterwards, the punishment loses meaning. Don't call her stupid. Their father is perfectly capable of keeping an eye on them. You don't listen. Which is fine, you don't have to take my advice. My words are not golden. But don't come to me complaining about all the things wrong when they begin and end with you. You are teaching them to be neurotic and crazy. I'm not going to say that you are abusive, but sometimes, I do worry that you walk a fine line.

Strangely enough, aside from your parenting, you ARE a really nice person. Which is why I don't understand why you do the things you do to your kids. You tell me that your childhood was horrible, and that you wouldn't wish your years growing up on anyone. You've told me stories about things your parents have said/done that sadden me.

What I want to know is, do you want your kids to be able to tell THOSE kinds of stories about you?