book sharing at its finest

Last week, I read a little book called Daisy Jones & The Six.

I will say that I absolutely adored this book. I truly felt as though I was part of this story. I couldn’t put it down. I devoured it in one day.
I mean, sure, it’s written as a series of interviews so it reads easily, like a play, but that’s not what I’m talking about. These characters hooked me from the word go!
This story is my childhood! I was learning about music from my dad during this time, and so much of Daisy Jones, and The Six, and even Daisy’s disco queen friend Simone reminds me of him and the music he shared with me. Especially when Daisy sings Janis Joplin. She was a favorite of my dad’s and mine.

The whole while I was deeply enmeshed in this story, I kept thinking how much Thing 2 would love it.
She’s got a very late 70s vibe about her. While she’s currently committed to Folk Punk music, she’s always been curious about music and loved exploring “old music”. That girl has an old soul, and music from another time somehow just gets to her. Thing 2 is actually a teeny bit Daisy Jones, I think.

When I finished reading, I closed the book and immediately ordered one for Thing 2.

It arrived Tuesday.
She took this pic as she began reading Friday morning.

I was so hopeful it would land with her the way I suspected. That she’d love it as much as I felt she would. I believe this book was written specifically for my second daughter.
Well, I didn’t have to wait too long to find out.

My work here is done.

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Categories: music | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

y’all gotta watch Crashing

Crashing
2016
6 episodes
BBC Channel 4

I binged this show on Netflix Wednesday in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep.
I absolutely adored it!
It’s an early work of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Fleabag and writer of Killing Eve.

Crashing seems to be Fleabag’s slightly more appropriate older sister. (Fair warning, you’ll experience the C word on this show too.)
In some ways, I actually liked it more than Fleabag, I found myself laughing out loud more. I also found myself enjoying the other characters more than I did on Fleabag. (With the exception of Andrew Scott, of course.)
The ensemble cast made the show for me. I absolutely adored how these strangers all living in a disused hospital (disused may be my new favorite descriptive word) ended up becoming a weird little dysfunctional family. And the moment you’re completely committed to them, and their story, BOOM! It’s over. But that’s actually the way it should be. We don’t really need to know what happens to these people. We’re just amused by a glimpse into their lives for a moment.

It was an inappropriately playful romp and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Thanks, Netflix!

Adi Tantimedh writing for Bleeding Cool had this to say about the show and it’s creator.

Crashing can be seen as an apprentice work. The media and PR agents like to present the myth of a unique genius who just shows up out of the blue and fully formed – but that usually isn’t true. Everyone has to start somewhere and make their “mistakes” before they create the good stuff. Crashing feels like the show where Waller-Bridge learned the rules of TV writing before she could bend and break them to unleash the innovation of Fleabag.
Crashing does not lessen the impact or brilliance of Fleabag. It shows the missing stepping stone in Waller-Bridge’s evolution as a comedy storyteller – and viewers are all the better for it.

If you liked Fleabag, do yourself a favor and check out Crashing, I promise you it won’t disappoint!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

be honest and unmerciful

The other day when I was writing about covert incest, I sent Thing 2 a message letting her know I was writing about that subject matter. That I was keeping her personal work private but that I was discussing her and I wanted to make sure that she was OK with it.

Her response?

One of my most beloved scenes from Almost Famous is a late night phone call between William and Lester Bangs in which the latter says, “Be honest and unmerciful.”

Thing 2 is a also fan of this movie, and that particular line.
I love that about her.

Honest and unmerciful.
I feel like that’s my current state of being.
Perhaps it’s Thing 2’s state of being as she does the hard work of self?

Recently, I attacked a situation that’s given me great grief, with an honest and unmerciful look at myself. I came up with an (equally) honest and unmerciful plan on how to proceed.

Y’all might be questioning the whole ‘unmerciful’ bit.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t blame you.
Unmerciful sounds a bit…what?
Cruel? Harsh?
Sans mercy.

Here’s the thing though, when I say ‘honest and unmerciful’ I’m using it the way I feel Lester Bangs did.

I believe it’s my job to be honest about who I am and what I’m doing in my life.
I’m no longer trying to be what other people want or expect.
I’m being honest to myself, and unmerciful with both the beauty and ugliness of my truth.

I am viewing everything I was, am, and shall be through this honest and unmerciful lens.
It makes me a more real me.
It helps me bring my truth to the world without feeling guilty, or fearful, or shameful.

Not like, ‘This is me. Like it or lump it.’
More like, ‘This is me. I see me. I present myself to be seen.”

If I am honest and unmerciful with myself, I become a better human, because what I bring to the world is as true and real as possible.
Yes. That’s it.
I will be honest and unmerciful as I look at myself. At my life.
For that is the mark of a true (and uncool) friend.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

a tune for Tuesday vol 43

I love this Black Keys song!
Check out Go.

Please listen responsibly.

Categories: music | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

covert narcissism and emotional incest syndrome

I learned the term emotional incest syndrome last week. It is sometimes referred to as covert incest.
I know the word incest is a trigger. Reading it makes me anxious and shaky. That word is icky.
What’s even more icky is that parents actually do this to their children.
What’s even more icky is that the other parent of my children did, and continues to do this.

The Things father is a classic covert narcissist, and there’s no two ways about it. He is masterful at manipulating situations to shift the blame, embracing the rage, and twisting words in such as way as to seemingly impact reality.
Nothing is ever his fault, and he buys his own delusions to the point of borderline insanity. It’s only gotten worse as he’s aged, so much so that he is trapped in this fantasy of his own design without any real ability to see the world as it actually is.

When Thing 1 was about twelve years old, I would ‘tuck her in’ at night with a quick, loving conversation and a hug or kiss. Her dad started following me in the night time ritual so he could ‘talk with her’.

To be abundantly clear: I was truly never concerned with him being physically inappropriate with her, he is the least sexual human with whom I’ve ever come in contact.

Their bed time talks became longer and she became more sullen and withdrawn. I mean, she was a tweenager and all, but this seemed different to me. When I encouraged her to talk with me about how she was feeling, she shared that her daddy was telling her things that made her uncomfortable.
He talked with her about his grief after the death of his mother. About his dissatisfaction in his personal and professional life. Even about his marriage to me.
I reassured her that her discomfort was appropriate, that his behavior was not. I promised her I would handle the situation. I encouraged her to tell him that she didn’t like when he talked with her about these things, gave her some tools and encouraged her to build healthy boundaries.
I had many conversations with him about the inappropriateness of him oversharing to a child.
I remember saying these exact words, “She’s a little girl and you cannot talk to her that way. Get a therapist. Get some friends. Please stop using her as your confidant.”
Like any good narcissist, he twisted the truth and manipulated us all, but never acknowledged or changed the behavior. I began to find excuses not to leave them alone at bedtime.
Nothing I did made a difference and the only way it slowed and then stopped was when she left home for college.
His current relationship with her is strained because she’s married another man and he can’t control her anymore.
Neither does he like that she and I are close, he actually told Thing 2 that Thing 1 is ‘drinking the Robyn koolaid’ and that’s why she didn’t love him anymore.

Thing 2 is his current child-wife. He sucked her into his emotional incest hook line and sinker. And she bought into it for quite some time.
She’s said, Poor daddy, nobody should have to die alone.
Um…your daddy actively chooses to be alone.

But of late, Thing 2 is empowering herself. She is actively in a healthy pattern of growth for her emotional and physical life. She’s begun dealing with her childhood trauma. Her emotional baggage. Unraveling her own augmented reality.

I don’t feel like what she is doing, or how she’s going about this is my story to tell, but when she shares her efforts and progress with me, I am truly awed by the difficult and serious work she is doing.

She shared with me that someone recommended a book about this phenomenon and she told me “I’m very curious about it, I want to research on it but I think it’s going to be really helpful with dealing with (her father’s given name) using me as his therapist.”
I shared with her a quick version of how it played with her sister, how I tried and failed to protect either of of them.
She said to me, “You have to remember that I chose this, you didn’t put me here. I did.”
Talk about owning your stuff.
But I’m her momma, I will always have a desire to protect her. Especially from her father.

I once overheard my girls sharing that their father told them (independently) that if he had been more willing to have sex, I would never have left him.
I literally stopped in my tracks.
I went back to where they sat, and told them I couldn’t help but overhear them and asked them to verify if what I thought I heard was correct. They confirmed.
I sighed and said, “First of all, I’m so sorry that happened to you. You didn’t need to hear that. And secondly, that’s not why I left your dad.”
What the actual fuck, yo?

When Baby K was born, Thing 2 and I left the hospital in Savannah and went home to Thing 1’s house. We cleaned the house top to bottom. Did all the laundry. Grocery shopped. We wanted everything to be ready to rock when Thing 1 and Husband N brought Baby K home.
Their dad actually told Thing 2 that he was jealous that she was spending time with me alone, he was worried she would drink the same koolaid as her sister and love me and not him.
He even told her before she left, “Now, I know you’re taking care of your sister, but make sure you take care of yourself too. I need you to come back to me. You’re my rock.”

So. Fucking. Icky.

I get so frustrated!
You’re her parent, you emotional fucking cripple! You’re supposed to be her rock!

I know I am guilty of sometimes saying, “I wish you could be my mommy”, and perhaps that means I’m just as guilty as him.
Is there a difference?
I mean, I hope so. I don’t actually expect my twenty-two year old daughter to be my mommy.

I love that we have an open and nurturing relationship based upon love and respect and genetics. And it feels nice sometimes to be loved by a female who doesn’t want anything from me, who isn’t going to shame me for wanting to be loved. But I am her momma and she is my daughter and that means it’s my job to nurture and provide help and do a bit of protecting even though she’s a grown ass person.

My daughters and I have had our own share of chaos in our relationships.
Good. Bad. Ugly. And indifference.
I have worked to create and maintain healthy boundaries, and if ever I overstepped, I corrected and made every attempt to discuss and apologize where appropriate.
We have been to hell and back, my daughters and I. And from my point of view, this strengthens our love, our bonds, and our boundaries.
And though we talk about any and every thing, and they’re as engaged and (for the most part) supportive of me, and my decisions, and my life as I am of theirs, I can’t fathom using them as ‘sounding board’ (one of their father’s favorite words) for inappropriate things.
I can think of one specific time I did that to Thing 2. She claims to find it humorous, especially because I was inebriated, but I am wracked with guilt and have apologized with every fiber of my being.

This covert incest thing has eaten at the very heart of me since that quick conversation with Thing 2 on Monday last.
Knowing it exists.
Knowing the only other person in this world who is meant to protect them is the perpetrator of this abuse.
It makes me sick. Truly and deeply sick.

I can’t protect them from him.
I never have, I never will.
That cuts my momma heart to a depth that may never heal.
Only I’m not worried about healing my heart. I worry about them healing theirs.
I can’t protect them.
I can’t take away their pain.
All I can do is listen. Offer guidance and support. But above all, love.
And sweet baby Jesus, do I love them.
I love them as they learn more about themselves, the world, and their place in it.
I love them as they struggle and fight the good fight.
I love them as they call me out on my failings.
I love them as they accept and forgive.

I am awed by their resilience as they do the hard self work to discover, and heal, and become whole.
I know I made them and raised them, but this is not selfish pride of ownership, this is the awe of faith, and pride for them, and their ability to continue to learn and grow and love.
I am overwhelmed by their capacity to love.
I cherish being a part of their lives.

These women.
These absolute marvels.
They are truly awe inspiring.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

love is not a contest and I don’t have to choose a favorite

These thoughts hatched while I was washing my hair this morning.

I’ve always said parents have a favorite kid even if they don’t admit it. This is of course, if they have more than one kid. Each kid also has a favorite parent. Kids don’t like to admit it either.
The thing is, for the most part, cohabitating humans are not unaware of each other. Sometimes, it’s understood but never spoken. Sometimes it’s understood and spoken. Sometimes no one favors any one else.

The family I made kind of naturally split down the middle.
Thing 1 and her daddy.
Thing 2 and me.

Thing 2 was my favorite.
But not because Thing 1 wasn’t.

Thing 1 was all about her daddy. I mean, those two were like peas and carrots. I never felt left out, but I never felt that level of connection with Thing 1.
I didn’t feel like I was allowed to choose her as my favorite because she and her dad were already each other’s favorite.

Thing 2 came along and our bond was completely different than my bond with her sister. It was powerful and chock full of unwavering love.
We kind of became each other’s favorite by default.
For years that’s simply how our family was.

When the marriage dissolved, that down middle split became a chasm.
It was terrible for all of us.
I’m only now truly realizing how bad it was for the girls.
I humbly ask their forgiveness for my part in that time in our lives.

What’s interesting about this whole favorites thing, (I’m simplifying the hell out of this to get to my point.) is that I’m under the impression the Things think I switched favorites.

From my point of view, it’s not a switch in favorites.
It’s more that for the first time, I feel as though Thing 1 is an option to favorite.

I’ve discussed my relationship with each of my daughters.
This is somehow different.
I mean, partly it is about how we relate to each other, then and now. Partly it’s because we’re each at different places in our lives.
I never expected to feel as close to Thing 1 as I do now. I’m grateful for that. More than I have words for.
I don’t feel any less connected to Thing 2 because of it.
I have the ability to love them both at the same time in two completely different ways.

They can’t each by my favorite.
Yet they actually are.
Each one, my favorite in a different way.
Is that growth?
Is it that we’re no longer under the spell of their dad?

All I know is that I feel differently about favorite kids and parents than I did before.
I feel fortunate that I have the option to favorite either one, or both of my daughters.
Perhaps because I have the option, I don’t have to choose it?

Love isn’t a contest.
Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.
I love my daughters in exactly the same, yet completely different ways, and I don’t really want it any other way.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

let’s keep it to a minimum

Do y’all ever feel like this?
I do. Like, every day of my life.

Nothing is currently ‘bad’. Neither am I annoyed about anything.

I just want to live a less complicated life.
And that starts with me.

So, while there is always dumbfuckery afoot in the world, I’m paying particular attention to my own personal dumbfuckery.
On occasion, I actively engage in my own dumbfuckery while considering it the dumbfuckery of the world at large.
I’m my own worst enemy.
Aren’t we all?

How much of what spins me up each day/week/month, or at random, is my own dumbfuckery letting its freak flag fly?
More than I’d like to admit.
And that’s OK too.
Because I’m more aware now than I’ve been before. Perhaps I can stop the dumbfuckery in its tracks by simply being aware.
I mean, if I can’t vanquish the dumbfuckery, I can at least keep it to a minimum, right?

I’m beginning to wonder if my new mantra should be something along these lines:
Be aware.

I wrote of getting my ducks in a row, and I think a big part of that is shifting my perspective. Paying attention to what I’m putting into the world more than what’s already in the world around me.
I can be the catalyst for change.
Dumbfuckery abounds.
But, by paying a different kind of attention, perhaps I can keep my own dumbfuckery to a minimum.
And wouldn’t that be lovely?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

so far, so good, what’s next?

Now, you know I’m a planner.
I like lists and calendars and color coding by subject.
So, once I recognized what I can and cannot change, I broke it down further.

I ask loads of questions.
I know that.
Y’all know that.
My family and friends know that.
But what’s different about this process is that I answered my own questions.

I asked and answered questions to come up with a plan.
I used the same system of dividing the page in my big sketch book so I could see it all together.

The first question is:
What frustrates me?

*stagnation
(no real growth, no movement, no real participation in life or household, etc.)
*lack of effort to create growth or movement
*caring about (these things)
*wondering if it will ever change

OK, now what do I do about it?

How to stop being frustrated?

*accept that these are the choices YBW and Thing G are making
*accept that nothing I do will change their choices
*focus on myself and my choices
*accept that this is the situation I’m in…until…?

So far, so good. What’s next?

I know it’s hard to read.

Ways to feel more comfortable.

*let go of wife and ‘mom’ guilt
*stop apologizing for choosing growth
*accept as much as possible
*pay attention to myself and where my power is
*be kind and courageous
*stop judging
*accept limitations (cannot change situation, only how I function in it)

Ways to regroup if I’m triggered.
(frustrated)

*immediately stop and breathe
*quickly assess if it’s something I can change (if not – do my best to accept and let it go, if so – make the appropriate change)
*accept that this is my work and I may not ever be met with the same
*remove myself gently from the situation
*tap into vast support network without engaging in ‘shit talk’

OK, so in the meantime I have a plan.
But…

How to remain sane in the long game?

*accept this is my work
*accept change may never come
*be peaceful in the knowledge I did all I could do the best way I could
*love

I don’t know how or even if the situation will change.
I do know that if I can do these things I will feel better. I will make the relationship with my husband more positive.
Maybe that’s all I can do?
While I know I have magic down deep in me, I only have power over myself.
If these changes I’m making serve only to keep me from being frustrated, angry, and resentful in an unchanging situation, at least I’m content in the knowledge I am going at this in a mindful and loving way.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

a tune for Tuesday vol 42

Here’s something new from Matthew Murphy (of the Wombats)
I absolutely adore My Cheating Heart by Love Fame Tragedy.

Please listen responsibly.

Categories: music | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

accept don’t judge, or the time of ‘if this then that’ is over

When I got to work on my me things, I meant business.
I used my big sketch book so I could see both what I can and cannot change at the same time.
I wrote in pen so it remains as I wrote it. It is unchangeable. (the irony is not lost on me, further proof of my commitment to this process)

What I cannot change:

*the living situation
*YBW’s point of view
*Thing G’s willingness to do or be
*why it frustrates me

This is what I’ve been on about. I want all this stuff to change. I want it to be different.
I can’t do anything about these things.

What I can change:

*how I function in the living situation
*how I choose to behave when I’m frustrated
*the way I go about discussing it
*what I pay attention to
*how I apply myself

This is where I have the power!

These are the things I can do something about. Now to figure out the how.
I think it must start with to what am I paying attention.
The trick with this is to decide what I need/should/desire to pay attention to.
I’m hopeful that by paying attention to the ‘right’ things, I’ll automatically change how I go about functioning, and behave when I’m frustrated. Perhaps not get as frustrated?

Is that how I can facilitate change?
Not that that’s the goal.
I. Cannot. Change. Any. Thing. But. Me.

I have to figure out how to shift my whole ‘it’s the principle of the thing’ point of view.
I mean, is that really getting me anywhere?

Maybe the concept of ignoring that which bothers me isn’t quite right. How can I accept it without it bothering me so much?
This is a conversation to start with my therapist.

I think I need to brainstorm a bit more.
Maybe it’s baby steps, not jumping in up to my ass.

Accept, don’t judge.

May be key.
This is the situation I’m in. What can I do or not do to be comfortable and content in it?

The time of ‘if this, then that’ is over.
I can’t change the situation. I can only change myself within it.

You might find yourself asking:
How much responsibility can one person take in a multi-person situation?
Is it equitable if one person is making changes for the betterment of the group?
What happens when one member of the group achieves their change making goals and the situation remains the same?
I’m asking the same questions.
Stay tuned for the answers…

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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