katiebear's blog

Huge yet small hairball.
Posted on Dec 18, 2021 12:59 PM

For all his talk about wanting to be a good father more than anything my father's greatest pleasure came from ruining anything that was going well for any of us. Took pride in ruining holidays and - I still think this is funny - died on a Thanksgiving.

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Seriously weird reflection
Posted on Dec 14, 2021 4:12 PM

As I expand my Christmas recovery program I find myself actually enjoying the process. I cannot begin to express how weird it was to have my highly successful father giving me lectures about my failures which had nothing to do with what my situation was. Like he was a robot programmed to inflict depression and guilt wherever. My niece and I just exchanged "I can do whatever I want!!" messages. I'm very fortunate to have two helpers who are totally accepting of whatever I have going on. I take responsibility for not blaming either of them if I'm having a hard time. They appreciate this and we can all do what we can. I'm having a happy childhood - finally.

I have a Christmas hairball from when I was about fourteen. I got on a kick of making red flannel nightgowns or pj's for everyone on my Christmas list. Being in a small town in Upper Michigan this involved searching out any source of red flannel yardage and trims to give things a proper Christmas feel. While this was going on I made several visits to my grandmother (father's mother) and told her several times what fun I was having with my project. She repeated said, "No one will appreciate it." I repeated said I'm not doing it so they will appreciate it; I'm doing it because I'm having fun. "No one will appreciate it" she said over and over. It was as if I had not spoken. (Hhhmmm... there seems to be a pattern here.))

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Assholes or Fucking Crazy?
Posted on Dec 13, 2021 3:52 PM

This occurred to me several years ago when I was talking to my niece about her husband's problems with his family. I finally observed "the thing is that they are just assholes; out family was fucking crazy. What is the difference you may ask and here is my response: I'd been out of college for about a year; I had a job in Washington, D.C.; I had an apartment which I paid for with furniture I had paid for and a car which I had paid for. My parents were not giving me anything, nor was I asking them for anything. Again at my own expense I drove home to Michigan for a family visit. At the first opportunity, My father sat me down and gave me a long lecture on how poorly I was managing my money. (By the way, in addition to the things mentioned above, I had a savings account with money in it.) I did not protest; it did not even occur to me to protest. As usual I sat and took the abuse without a word in my own defense. What really stuns me now - since we are talking about "fucking crazy" as opposed to abuse is that it did not even cross my mind to point out the facts of my financial situation. Dad was determined to make me feel worthless and I obliged. The circumstances had nothing to do with his agenda of endless criticism.

Maybe later I'll tell about my college graduation present. It's kind of convoluted and depressing. Another case where I adapted to what was expected of me while ignoring what was happening. For now I'm cooking chicken for my neighbor's dog who is slowly crossing the Rainbow bridge. I will have a visit with her and maybe she will eat a little.

No more weed feeding for the moment. But if anyone reads this and gasps in recognition it's worth talking about. (unlike my grandfather's suicide which I felt responsible for for many years but was never discussed because we wouldn't want to upset Dad.)

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Posted on Nov 14, 2021 1:16 PM

The crazier they are the more they will try to insist that you are the one with the problem. (Think of the Emporer's New Clothes. If that had really happened the kid who said the emporer's naked would probably have been stoned to death and subjects would still be insisting the clothes are beautiful.) More on this another time if I get to trying to write about my sisters, especially Susan.

But for now I promised a more cheerful story or two.

The first happened many years ago at Kaiser in Oakland but the story is timeless. It was early evening and the hall was almost deserted. Coming towards me were tow females, obviously mother and daughter, both black. The mother, who was closer to me, was looking put upon; the daughter was pouting and stomping up a storm. As I passed the mother, almost shoulder to shoulder I siad, without looking at her, just loud enough for her to hear, "I can pout better than anybody." As I continued without looking back I could hear her whoop of laughter I hope she is still laughing, thinking of the crazy middle-aged white woman who understood the situation perfectly.

The second, similar adventure happened at a Dollar store. The clerk was Hispanic and her Asian supervisor was standing behind her. I was buying a bunch of stuff, including bags of rice and the clerk aws having trouble getting them to register. The supervisor was not hassling her but the clerk was getting harried, I said there's obviously a trick to getting them to register and you just have to figure it out. Take you time; I'm not in a hurry. I turned to the woman behind me, who was black and said you're not in a hurry are you. She started to say "well I.." as I scuttled back to her and whispered (It's her second day." The woman immediately said loudly, "No, I'm not in any hurry at all." So I was able to reassure the clerk that we were all good. In minute or so she held the bag so it registered and proceeded with the rest of my order. When she handed me my receipt she gave my hand an extra squeeze. I can still feel it.

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Another Hairball - or two
Posted on Nov 13, 2021 8:18 PM

I first saw a psychiatrist when I was in college, about 19 years old. When I began to tell him about a traumatic experience, he immediately jumped to a description of what happened (in his mind). It was nowhere near what I had experienced but I just mumbled "Yeah" and that was that. With my niece a few years ago I was finally able to choke out the whole story and got the "Oh My God, that's awful" response that I needed. I'm still not ready to write about it here, Or about my marriage. Maybe about when I kicked my grandmother.

For now, I'll mention that after I'd been sober about a year I was lucky enough be spend a couple of months in a secluded cabin in Northern California. No electricity so no TV, etc. (Pre-internet.) This was over 30 years ago. I've said sometimes that consciousness is the booby prize of sobriety. Most people don't seem to have a clue what I mean.

Thirty some years ago, at the quiet cabin, I got a notebook and a pen and I would sit and ask myself "what do you NOT want to write about?" and that would be my topic. While a lot of stuff came out I was not able to write about a lot of this even though I was aware of much of it. My mind would not bring it up far enough to even consider "spilling the beans" about the family.

I watch "The Biggest Loser" quite often and I've been thinking a lot about their "Last Chance Workout." I think that's what this blog is for me. I'm eighty years old (Janis screams, "It just can't be") and may not have much more time to puke this stuff out, On the other hand, if I puke out enough I may get to have a happy childhood yet. (Ever the optimist.)

I have two happy stories I want to tell but later. One took place at Kaiser, the other at a dollar store You know the saying "What would Jesus do"? My stories are what would no one in my family do.

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