What defines me?

Cancer , A Dozen Kids , Life, Struggle

For awhile I thought that I had gotten out of the mindset that I swear I’ve been in since a toddler. Thinking that I was past just surviving and out of the survival mode. Truth is I now believe that is my way of life. In a sense it’s also my super power. Everything falling apart and I’m driven to figure out this solution and foresee the next worst case scenario. It’s powerful though to react and problem solve so quickly. To be so expectant of it that you can thrive even in those moments.

Definitely have made huge strides in life. Calling this chapter my uphill survival. Proudly working on myself still in therapy. I mean honestly loads and loads of work on my mental health have been done. Overcoming, speaking my truth, reliving and moving through so much pain. It’s been tough but good.

Making myself a better person I am in the process of wiping my record clean from that horrible misdemeanor that controls so much of my life. Once that is gone so many more doors open and so many mountains will be moved. I think I can provide better with that gone.

Hailey’s graduation date is quickly approaching and boy have I pulled off a lot there. Her cap and gown is absolutely perfection. Planning pictures and parties and knowing I get to watch my baby walk that stage is just so overwhelming for me. It’s thrilling and exciting and I so look forward to what she will accomplish.

Recently helped add to Allen’s set up so he can find the work from home gig that makes him happy. Haven’t pushed him back into the workforce just knowing emotionally life is so hard right now. Thinking maybe if he finds something he loves to do that life will not be so 9 to 5 for him.

Malachi works so much he is saving and has all these goals. Changing them with the wind of course but who cares. Pride is all I have for how far he has come. Just one more year and he too will walk the stage.

I strive to open a family business soon. Something that can thrive with the times and that my kids can carry on and thrive with. Something to fall back on. For the kids like paytyn who may need extra patience. Or allen who will need something less social. I want to make sure I provide long after my days on earth since who knows how many of those I am entitled. I leave behind this legacy of troops who braved the world together as a family and I want to make sure I leave something to keep bringing them back together when they need that. I’ve thought about a property big enough for them all to build on if they so choose. I know it’s not realistic that they all want to stay close together but honestly I sure hope they do. The numbers are in my favor after all that some will stick around together. If I provide the way for that. They will always come home I think.

I’ve been just racking my brain as to what business where to buy property and be the spot for the rest of my days. Definitely want to go warmer. No snow to deal with when I am old and grey. Although I’ll miss that too.

I begun writing letters to my children emailing them to myself and saving them in folders. For the day I am gone. I want them to have new memories with me even when I am not here to make them with them. Them knowing they are my reason for life is so important to me. That each and every one of them was completely perfect!

So much of my time has been spent dodging the grieving process lately. Not allowing myself to process any of the deaths surrounding me. Honestly just felt so guilty like it was not even my right to hurt as much as I am.

I never felt as though I fit into the mold of what I needed to be to fit in a family. Not just mine but any. So I spent all of life moving from one family to the next to find my fit. Even inside of my own. Grandma’s, aunt’s, Aunt’s coming into play by marriages, they all played the role of mother at some point. The men I attached myself to over the years. They all had families I built bonds with. Sometimes I’m not sure if I seen the relationship with those men in that light…. I was truly longing for family. If you asked me now what I feel towards Chuck and I wasn’t trying to make sure Marc wasn’t hurt by my words I would hands down call him family. Not an ex. or the kids dad…. all of the things he most certainly is. But in my head he is just family.

So now that my life has this settled and loving family. Those little pieces of family I built along the way I feel guilty for. I mean when your ex’s mother passes away but your in a strong healthy relationship now with a new “mother in law” per say. How do you even cry and not feel bad for doing so. That isn’t your family anymore…….. So I missed a funeral that with all of me I wanted to be at.

Step mothers are sick dying…. But those divorces have been long buried and they are not any title to me. The relationships went down in such a ball of flames how can I now be at those womens sides. To say bye…. to hold their hands. That would make me a traitor right? So I swallow that pain too.

Marc’s family now experiencing the pain of loss. I barely have a relationship there as it’s not been much time. Things still feel fresh and covid hindered the time I was able to spend. But I am literally aching at the loss. Even more so when I am able to be there for marc’s family and wasn’t for all the others. It’s not just sorrow or grief it’s guilt. Guilt that I can give more of me at the loss when it’s Marc’s family. Guilt that I didn’t say bye to those I wanted to.

You put all that guilt with the grieving and then add in social anxiety and I begin to wonder if I was really even there for Marc’s family. Remembering looking at him and saying so many times I just don’t know how to speak. I can’t speak no words.

I will soon face a loss that I already know will be one I don’t know how to face. Holding anger at the secrets that stain. Thinking that I would have got to speak my truth beforehand but it’s already too late. The words I speak couldn’t be heard now. Waited to long to get out what I need and now the ears are deaf. The sickness has overcome and I will never get the peace I longed for there.

Fuck depression. Like seriously. Fuck being blue. Fuck being sad. Just fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkk I want so desperately to forget all the pain.

Oh the words are just not here, everything I want to say at the tip of my tongue. Typed and deleted line after line with nothing on the screen now. I desperately have been trying to break the chains of my past that are weighing me down. Moving through the trauma is the toughest thing I’ve ever put myself through. There isn’t anyone at my side for this part of my journey. No one has any clue what battles I’m in.

I’m fighting for my life. Every breath seems so difficult. It’s not the first time I’ve been here. This dark low place im festering in. So I know there is a way out.

Sometimes I wonder if I left here, this state, this environment, if I could break free and really forget it all. Forget everyone before I found freedom. Wipe the slate clean.

So remember a while ago writing about all the death thoughts creeping in at all the wrong times. Honestly being a pretty constant presence in my life for some time. I had initially thought it was a medication problem. Only to be convinced it wasn’t after adjusting them. Turns out it was the wrong adjustment.

Headaches began to define me about a month in a half ago. Being in the dark as much as possible. Being irritable over the smallest inconvenience. That triggers a med check and change. It did nothing for my headaches at all however completely changed my life! My head is pounding still to the beat of a drum but it’s so clear!

Those feelings of death and dying are completely gone. I can force those thoughts and not be caught up in them which I couldn’t before. Anything about death or dying was triggering such blues and ugly negative thoughts. Now it’s just more of a normal thought. Live life to fullest and one day it’s over and that’s completely okay.

The meds have had such a positive impact for the last month. It feels like I am more capable than I have ever been. Often I would feel like I was outside of myself watching as I would completely lose control of my emotions and there was nothing at all I could do. I felt so helpless. Now it’s not like that at all. I feel like I process more before I react. It’s such a blessing.

In an emotional state I often couldn’t even remember what I said or did. Mania wasn’t controllable even when I could see it. Sometimes I would even plea with marc to help me. Because I couldn’t get back out of it. That isn’t the case now. I’m completely in control. I have more understanding of myself than I ever have. Far from perfect. Still a bit of a roller coaster to be me. However it’s such progress and I’m learning more and more every therapy session how to help myself be a better me. I’m so committed to being the best version of me I can produce.

I wish that I could go back and lead a better example. Never understanding how to pick friends myself I passed those traits to my children. Clinging to toxic needing friendships was my motive. There was a clear need for me to be needed. Finding comfort in being the nurturer in the friendship. Maybe even the mother, the clear responsible one.

I’ve since learned how to better chose who I have in my life and the boundaries I put in place. But a day too late because my kids were watching my failures at building those healthy friendships. They too now sit often in pain from choosing unhealthy friendships. So badly do I wish I could go back and be a better example. Catching on sooner than I did.

Sadly I instilled in my children the same fears I had of being alone. Clingy to those unhealthy relationships as if they are a need. The fear of that lonely feeling. It often lead me to succumb to being someone I was not.

Last Night watching my daughter do just as I spent most of my life doing my heart wrenched. There isn’t anything I can do about the example I gave now. Only thing there is to do is move forward doing better. Longing for them to find everlasting healthy friendships and relationships.

I truly thought it was painful to go through it all but it’s far worse to watch your children repeat your mistakes. Moving forward I will do better.

February 7, 2021

So many negative post in a row. Needs a change up. I’ve been seriously making so much growth within myself it’s unreal. Striving to be the best me and perfect that image I will leave behind of myself.

Taking the time to decide what I wanted in life. As cheesy as it may sound I truly never wanted more than being a wife and mom. The very best of both. To give my all at being the Mom my children need and the wife my husband needs not the one I believe is best for them. That is the real challenge right? Spending the real time investing in knowing what they need from you to be the best them? That’s my goal that’s the shit that just gives me life.

The emotions running through my family is absolutely what is my driving factor to my day. If even one of them is struggling I am. My expectations of what I wanted them to become may never fit to what they want. I’m spending time adjusting now to that. Making sure I’m supportive of their journey not defining it. It’s so important for me that I allow them to be them.

For me I think that my biggest super power is forgiveness. I really believe that if you can see from the others view point you can find forgiveness for anything. My family isn’t ever going to be perfect. It’s mine and I will work hard to see through their eyes in my most angered moments. Love them when they may feel unloveable. I’ve worked harder recently that when a mistake is made inside my home by someone I offer my love and acceptance quickly. Reminding them that they are imperfectly perfect and I love them even when they may not feel they are.

Spending time pointing out flaws and imperfections seems so trivial now. Being hurt over mistakes or flaws because I felt less loved somehow. Therapy has showed me that I am able to trust in the love from my children and my future husband. Linking love and bad choices was my prior thought process. Now I know those in my life do not fake loving me. They do and they are simply as imperfect as I. I’ve got security in knowing I no longer have anyone in my life that doesn’t belong there. No one who doesn’t love me is around so I can be at ease with mistakes.

I’m speaking more to my children of mental health and forgiveness themselves. We have forgiven those who could not love us in the healthy way we needed and no longer have in our lives. We discussed if we may ever open the door for them again. I myself probably would not ever reach out or allow them in but the kids may be able to start fresh some day. They know I would and do support that.

I’ve been up working for hours this morning before something triggered this writing. Alone in the dark room the entire house still asleep. Feeling so fulfilled and blessed to have my family.

My bedroom in my home is an addition to the rest of the house. Built on later before I purchased therefore not heated the same as the rest. We supplement the heat with a little electric fireplace. Even with the fireplace the bedroom as well as bathroom addition are noticeably colder than the rest of the home. For me it’s simply freezing.

Having four blankets on my side of the bed keeps me content and warm. Snug as a bug to be honest and I sleep very well. Except when I get triggered. Last Night was one of those nights. The blankets pulled up to my chin and took me right back.

I was back in my parent’s shower curled up into the bottom corner. My Aunt had picked me up homeless and returned to me to my parents. They had just revealed they would keep me. However my brain would not believe them. So at just 15 I am in the bottom of the shower prepping myself for homelessness again.

Yea, you heard right prepping. How do you prep to be homeless one might ask. Well if your 15 alone and confused to all hell you may take a large towel into the shower. Making a cape of it. Hiding under the towel while turning the water from as hot as I could stand to as cold as I could. Thinking I was prepping for the elements of outdoors again.

When that blanket touched my shoulder before bed last night I was instantly in the bottom of that shower again. Tears flowing and body shaking. Never believing my home would be mine for long. I was right. Homelessness would find me again later in life.

Many other weird strange things I did when coming back from decatur to prep for what I knew was coming. Often going without food thinking I was conditioning my body to be ready for it. If only someone had gotten me the help I needed then. Begging cps most of my life for it never got me anywhere. It was like I slipped through the cracks in every way.

Seeing now that my mental state has always been this state of survival. Doing whatever I may have felt necessary to survive the life I was dealt. Previously my thinking lead me to believe I have beat that survival cycle. I’m not sure though. As yesterday when part of my income collapsed and I had no way to gain my half of the mortgage. It was natural for me to hustle, sell, flip whatever I had to make the money. Never speaking a word of it. Just surviving through what was dealt and moving on. Within hours I had figured out what I needed.

Trying to train my brain to see that these triggers are reminders of what I survived made me who I am. A survivor. Maybe I can’t break out of that cycle. Always being self dependant and quiet when in need. It’s just who I became I guess.

Parted with all of my keychain and straw topper molds yesterday. Some of my favorite crafts just let go for my family. If I told Marc what I had done to stay on top of what I promised him 3 years ago. That I could hold down my own half no worries. I would have put a weight of guilt on him. He would have thought of the 1000 he put into the stock market ( he has been not doing well with stocks since starting) that morning while I sold my things again to make ends meet. He would have felt like he let me down or didn’t provide. Giving my word on his bed that day when he told me he was concerned about my income and my share of the weight that what I thought of yesterday morning.

That kicked me straight into that survival mode it never even crossed my mind to say anything to Marc. It was my burden to bare alone. My word broken. My income messed up. Seems like its me who puts it all on me when I can’t get out of that survival. Replaying that conversation that is old and sincerely wouldn’t apply now on that bed is silly. However that’s what happened.

That trigger taking me back to the shower and prepping for homeless. I did that same with money all the time. Hiding my money in the ceiling of my basement bedroom. Pretending that I didn’t have any when I had a stack. So I would have to figure it out and prepare for it. Once even skipping a night out with the four of hearts (my best friend group at the time) because I had put up my money and wanted to figure it out and failed to do so. I wanted to show me what it would be like when I failed. When there was only me to count on and I let myself down. At 15 years old I am punishing myself for failing to survive.

January 30, 2021

Having Hailey so close to graduation is just more joy than I can even explain. The first to walk across that stage! Remembering back to how many times my grandparents told me I would have a grandchild by now. How many assumptions they had made to her and to my parenting. Thing was I talked to my child. ALWAYS! So I knew she was going to achieve exactly what she set out too.

Here she is now. About to walk the stage. More pregnant friends than I can count and even more so already moms. My girl though she been too busy working and making moves for herself.

Seeing the moves she has made in life for herself makes me beam with pride. Seems like just yesterday Keith was at my door talking about this four year old is so defiant I can’t even handle her. She was and is her momma’s child. Strong willed is an understatement.

Knowing she will achieve everything she sets out to gives me a sense of peace. Her life is less than perfect of course. I have watched my princess really struggle with friendships and relationships both but her sense of self is so strong. My worry is just very little that she won’t always come out on top.

Throwing the biggest and best party ever is heavy on my mind. It’s so important to shout from the rooftops all her achievements and show her how proud I am of her. Hoping that this virus can get wrapped up soon so that it doesn’t throw any damper on anything. Can’t imagine having to work around restrictions still this summer. Mask are horrible!

Do you ever wonder who will be the one filling in the details of your story when your not there to do so? I watch this serious this is us. It’s had me reflecting as I watch them seek the story to their parents who have passed on. Who will be telling mine.

Will my children seek out to find out who I was in my lifetime? Before their existence and before they were old enough to remember? Maybe the things that have faded that they want to reignite in their minds.

I hope they see how they brought me from the sadness. My drive was always them. Wondering what the impression I have left on those I have come into contact with was. If it will be told to them one day.

Even from my grandmother I never heard a positive story. Remembering back to my grandma saying that I was just a baby at my parents feet the whole home reeking of the smoke she hated so. She spoke of her anger that day and the rage she projected to my parents. Hearing this story so often as a child and teen it’s set in stone in my brain.

My father’s mother has her story she implanted too. The one of my mom cheating in some hotel next to her work. My grandma playing pi and telling my dad so he could bust in. Beat up everyone and then snatch me back from the floor and run out. Just to leave me behind with someone else later. Her story was to put a bad taste in my mouth about my mom but it always left me feeling more abandoned by him than angry at her.

Will my children be faced with these same stories one day… Someone else’s version of my events. Never was there a longing for me to know the real story. For me to care why they lacked in parents they would have had to one day become parents.

When my mom sat in my yard in her lawn chair hearing of my cancer diagnosis honestly I thought that day she was going to walk into the role of the mother I had always needed. Every word out of her mouth was saying she would. “I want to support you and the decision you make” ” I want to be involved with my grandkids and build on our relationship. Sleepovers and time together.” It was all just words and none came true. In fact I think she let me down more after that than she ever had because I truly believed that day I was going to have a mom.

The last Christmas at my Mom’s home I realized was the very last time I would ever willingly allow her to hurt me. Or watch her hurt my children. When I did that I decided her story as to why she couldn’t be what I needed was not important. Before that I always had this thought that her struggles must have truly been to much for her to be a mom. That Christmas left me knowing that her story was hers and not mine. I didn’t care as it never became part of mine. She isn’t a part of my life.

No longer was I yearning to understand how she could have allowed me to go through so much pain as a child. How she could not have ever gotten me help. Cause there isn’t a thing in the world I wouldn’t do to help mine. I’d die before knowing they were homeless… not eating…. alone… I’d take my last fucking breath before I would know their home was being emptied onto a street. Their children’s belongings being grabbed up by strangers. There is not a mountain I wouldn’t move for my kids on their worst day. I can’t find a flaw in my kids. Not one. I rest assured that I am not her. No matter how my story is told to the kids they will never think they were not loved.

grayscale photo of man sleeping on a bench

At four am I woke with the need to use the restroom something fierce. My bedroom being the addition the the house and by bathroom inside of the bathroom it can get a bit nipply in there. By the time I get back into bed I am just shivering and freezing. I flip the blankets over my head and use my breath for heat. That’s the moment I triggered myself.

That’s all it takes when you have a lifetime of memories you wish you could forget. Instantly I’m taken back in my mind. Having Clare premature and 3 kids at home in the middle of the nastiest divorce of all time. No vehicle, I walked across town to work. My friends watched my kids for me and that is all I had. Single mom. 20 years old. 4 children and one fighting for her life 30 miles from your home.

Everyone says they were there…. yet I called everyone. To watch the kids while I could be with clare. To help bring me groceries so my grocery money could pay someone gas to take me to my child… No one was willing to help me in any way. No one would. There was no family. In fact me asking for their help got them calling cps on me too. Letting the world know I was crumbling with the children they told me to abort or this would happen.

When cps took the kids I was literally on the streets from there. There was not a thing I owned. The clothes on my back was it. A hoodie in 25 degree weather was the extent. Breaking into a basement of a friends home to sleep. I found a mattress in her basement we had used for a party down there. I slept in the basement of the home with cats for days. No food no water. The home itself I was under had no electric! I couldn’t get into the home itself without breaking in so I stayed in the basement that you got in through the open garage too.

That is where I was last night not in my toasty bed with my 5 covers deep but back in that basement. Alone, unloved, feeling like my poor children must have felt abandoned. No one was there for me. Not a soul in the whole world. My journey to regain my children, a home, my life I did it all on my own. At times in ways I would not ever be proud of. But by whatever means necessary I survived.

Why now can’t I focus on that. The fact that I won sole custody of all of my kids more than a decade ago? The house and lifestyle I provide now that is furtherest from my mind. Only seeing all those times I failed them and myself. All the time I reached for the people I thought were suppose to be there instead of finding the ones who truly would.

Couldn’t find peace until just before 6 am. Two hours I thought of that cold dark basement. The cats piled on my body for warmth. How low life can be and was. There has to be a way to forget by now? 16 years ago why is it still so damn vivid!