Month: September 2018

Goodbye Dad, again…

Goodbye Dad, again…

my father has been leaving voicemails for a few months now. we had a falling out last year when he called me at 4am my time making accusations that were not only hurtful but also incorrect.

i’ve been blamed for everything when it comes to my father. i was never enough for him. me the person was never enough for their own father…and yes it hurts.

all of the numbers i have for him are blocked so they do go to a blocked folder on my phone. (i don’t have a landline and haven’t for well over 10 years.) new vm’s started showing up a few months ago and i ignored them. he never says anything other than “this is your dad…just trying to reach you…okay. <click>”

he finally left a vm that briefly mentioned something about having an operation and that he couldn’t walk for awhile but beyond that i didn’t much more so i called and chose to forego the fake talk and just stick to the facts. this was a few weeks ago, not today.

what should have been a perfect opportunity to say he was sorry for his horrible phone call a year ago, he chose to act as if things are just rosy and fine as they’ve always been. he’s done that his entire life. he’s not at fault. there’s never a need to apologize or take responsibility for his own actions. it’s always the other persons fault and when he doesn’t like someone telling him the truth he lashes out.

after our last call i left him a vm that said “i’m sorry you have to hear this over voicemail but please don’t call me anymore. there’s nothing i can do for you any longer. i have a new life. i live 3000 miles away in boston and i haven’t seen you in over 25 years. i wish you the best in whatever manner that means but please please please. if you respect me as a son, do not ever call me again.”

i thought that would have been enough but it wasn’t. more vm’s showed up. 5-10 second snippets of “just me, trying to reach you, again.” as if that’s my fault? i called the home phone to leave a vm that i had hoped his wife would hear. in that vm i said to her “do not allow my father to call me again. i don’t know what his health his like and if it’s failing there’s nothing i can do for him. so please. i know this will sound harsh but forget i ever existed and please leave me alone.”

i thought that was the end of it and i could finally breathe easy…until today.

today started as a good day so i was feeling pretty positive even though i had seen another vm that had come in late last night. another 12 sec version, more guilt and a sense of urgency. i tried to put it out of mind and focus on the other tasks i needed to get done today. and then i caved…

i figured if i was in a solid place and in a positive mood how could anything go wrong right? wrong.

as usual the phone call turned into him calling me names no child should ever have to hear from a parent. more blame and more name calling is not part of my daily life any longer and it was time i told him the truth in a calm and direct manner.

the statement i made to him wasn’t about the past. it wasn’t about childhood. it was about who he is today and his actions of who is today. he’s never learned that he’s the one who’s chased every person away from him in his life and now at 78 the truth is coming home to roost.

it must be scary to be 78 and not know where you failing health will take you. it’s a fate that many many people face on a daily basis so i don’t have any sympathy there. heck. he’s been kicking me to the curb since i was 2 years old and at my age now you think i’m still going to allow you to tear me down because your a selfish self centered old man?

i owe you nothing…

after he fired off all of the below the belt insults i simply told him “you don’t get to turn my life upside down because you think you’re entitled to call me your son. i’m not your son and i haven’t been for quite a long time. you’ve never liked it when people tell you the truth to your face but there it is. don’t ever call me again. pretend i never existed and i’ll do the same.”

he was still yelling hateful things when i turned off my phone. hateful to the end…

yes today hurts, things like this always do. the difference for me today is it won’t paralyze me any longer. there are no more emotional rubber bands to snap me back to those horrible years. those emotional times that zing you right back to being some submissive boy desperate for his father’s love that he’d let him call him any derogatory name in the book and cry alone behind closed doors so he’d never see the pain he caused.

i may hurt and that’s okay. the fact that i can push past the hurt and see that my life is still unfolding ahead of me is a huge huge step. just one of many but progress nonetheless.

goodbye dad. the mental health field has tried to make me conform to societies norms of “but he’s your father” and that’s not always a healthy viewpoint. sometimes the only way to survive is by letting go of childhood wishes and longings that will never materialize for you. in my case i’ll never know what it’s like to hear and feel what it’s like to have a parent acknowledge they’ve wronged you and show a genuine interest in rebuilding that trust. the trust they themselves broke which has impacted your entire life.

the requirement has never been some grand gesture or pubic flogging by any means. just that one simple phrase and look in their eyes that lets you know they finally get it.

as a photographer it’ll be hard to put away pictures of my childhood. photos of him and me before everything went off the rails. before i ended up living with my grandmother because he made home life so horrible my mother ended up in a mental institution. (the short version, my grandmother and the catholic church did the rest.)

anywho…i’m just letting all of this flow out as it happens and so i don’t implode keeping it all bottled up inside.

i dunno. this october will mark 13 years sober and after everything i’ve been through setting up an entirely new life here in a small town i knew nothing about, and my mother’s passing during all of this as well. i’d say i’m holding up pretty well.

today i had firewood delivered which is a PERFECT mindfulness exercise for focusing on the task at hand rather than all of this other ugly stuff. i don’t care how wet i get. i don’t care if it sucks. i don’t care if i get eaten alive by mosquitos.

school psychologists would always as me about home life or family life and i’d always say the same thing. “we’re like dandelions.” “in what way?” “well, you know how when you blow on them they scatter all over?” “yes” “we’re like that. as soon as you’re old enough to fend for yourself, we all scatter as far away from each other as we can get.”

during the summer i’ll have my coffee on the deck and when it’s dandelion season i’ll hand pick every last one of those suckers until they’re all gone. my inner dialog going…

“nope…nope…nope…not in my yard you don’t”

get rid of the weeds in your life. they suck the energy out of you and they leave nothing beneficial behind. ~R

Winner Takes All…

Winner Takes All…

From one of my favorite stories of the Big Book of A.A. Winner takes all is about a young woman born legally blind but keenly aware she was the lesser wanted child of her siblings. This is the last chapter of the story and it was the one that gave me my Aha moment. Regardless of how things do or don’t turn out with my Father. None of that is relevant. Today is relevant. What I choose to think and feel is relevant. How my actions reflect those thoughts and feelings are relevant.

It’s hard when you have to say goodbye to a parent, especially one who’s still living. I don’t hate my Father but I don’t like him either and that’s a very valid feeling. I wish him the best in whatever capacity that might mean for him today. For myself? I’m moving forward to continue my healing process.

Hope for me are the positive things I can see on the horizon. Those in the front window of my imaginary car. The rear view mirror serves me no purpose any longer. It’s utility is reserved only for short and subtle reminders of where I’ve been and where I never want to return.

Although my Father may have been the primary cause for stuffing and swallowing my feelings of guilt and shame all these years. That doesn’t mean it’s a permanent state of being. The choice is mine, on a daily basis.

Today. Today I choose to be happy and I hope you’ll do the same. ~R

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Enough…

Enough…

For anyone new to the site I’d like to offer some insight to my Twitter and #SurvivorCulture tweet. My site needs work so you’re probably seeing a happy post about getting back to my previous therapist. Which definitely is good news…especially given the current circumstances.

My father and I tried to forge or repair some sort of relationship last year and it blew up in my face pretty badly. That’s always been the history when it comes to my father and me. When in doubt, blame the kid.

My father has an anger and mental abuse problem and he’s never owned it. I owned it for him by swallowing every single form of abuse he chose to dish out. Verbal, physical and the worst of all. Complete shut out and denial. If he didn’t want to hear something he made sure he got his way and never ever had to live with consequences.

Well. Here we are today. Him leaving me voicemail after voicemail playing the aging old man and I’m sick card. Uh uh. That’s not how life works.

The last time I saw my father was over 25 years ago. We’ve had sporadic phone contact over the years and always at my reaching out to him rather than the other way around.

My usual role as the hurt little boy wanting the love of his father has been a hard role to live through and it’s come at a great great cost. No regrets though. Truly. Because that life is no more…

The #MeToo movement came along at a time in my life when I was already trying to unravel and make sense of my childhood. What I had planned on was it accelerating my having to deal with my own childhood sexual abuse. Not only was my childhood traumatic and painful, he’s still coming from this utterly disgusting catholic altar boy silence and denial upbringing.

I’m still working through the dynamics of an older female family member having been my abuser. Not entirely sure where I’m going with this blog but I hope to get back to my photography. All of the images on the site are mine now and I still have a whole other site to convert over.

Thank you for reading and thank you for being here. ~R

 

Thursday’s With Karen Resume…

Thursday’s With Karen Resume…

I decided to reach out to my previous talk therapist and see is she was willing to work me in some how. To my relief and amazement she said yes. Is insurance a fit? Check. What about Video Conference? Check. What a relief… I dunno. It’s such a huge change in service of basic comfort level I guess I’m a bit overwhelmed, in a good way.

This means not having to start from scratch. This means safety on all of the topics I’ve ever needed to discuss in therapy, including the most sensitive of them all. One layer deeper in fact and well, I’m just grateful.

This means having to rely on the commuter rail but that might not be such a bad thing. The ride is scheduled to be an hour give or take so it’s just figuring out the stop to park I guess.

With my discount the rail and subway passes are affordable. I thought it was going to be much more but now park and ride seems like the way to go. Gives me that chance to work on public anxiety both good and bad. (Oh and get that frigging lens fixed jackass!! You want real photos, not just iPhotos!)

I know, I know. Things have been up and down health wise so timing has been an issue. It’ll turn into one of those random first thing I think of one morning and then obsess until it’s done all last minute. Ah yes, thank you ADHD, gotta luv ya…said no one ever.

Tonight I take a deeper breath and rest a little easier knowing I now have a safe place to land.  That’s not only a huge piece of the medical puzzle out of the way it’s also a way to reclaim my identity. I haven’t shot with my Nikon in ages and that’s definitely gotta change.

the lens robert…

yeah i know…

do you want to miss this opportunity? you know, back bay, south end, down town, all of your favorite architecture?

no, no i really don’t actually. i’d like to build a darkroom at some point. i have a story to tell…

then get your ass moving…

Thank you Universe. As usual your timing was impeccable.

 

 

Trying to keep positive…

Trying to keep positive…

these flare ups suck when then take me out of my routine. you know the drill. something triggers that familiar ‘un-happy’ gut feeling. not yet excruciating but you know it’s just a matter of time.

today i was finally able to run errands after being in bed for the past 3 days. the familiar dull painful and mentally distracting headache. more than that actually. eyes, forehead, ears where the psoriasis patches ache 24/7. then the joints kick in and your spine feels achey but can only be soothed temporarily and for unpredictable durations.

however…

i’m blessed to have learned the chef skills i did in my twenties and i’m blessed to have this period ranch style kitchen to spread out and feed myself. with my putting off seeing a PCP appt. at least i’ve gotten better at my diet which removes a huge variable once i do see a dr.

it’s allowed me the space and ability to experiment how to reverse, as much as i can, some of the effects once they begin. bone broth is an amazing gut recovery for instance so now i always keep shelf stable varieties on hand when i need to calm things down a bit.

with the availability of things like flax milk and flax wraps it makes it pretty easy to incorporate those omega-3’s for organic fruit smoothies, add in Garden of Life plant protein and that’s a great way  to start the day.

so… while i still try to work up to going to the dr’s i can at least reduce some anxiety that i’m eating the best i can.

the fear of the dr. thing is proving to be more challenging than i thought. i do have a G.I. dr. appt in Nov. and i know i at least need to get back to regular colonoscopies. with my families history of colon cancer that’s pretty much a non-negotiable. my fear comes with the exposing of my body and the fear and vulnerability of those feelings that trigger memories that are very terrifying for me.

while i’m grateful for the breather i have between now and November to try and prepare myself. it’s tough to find a balance between how much thought you need to give to your symptoms. diet alone isn’t allowing me to manage things now it just buys me recovery time post flare up. it’s the trigger that’s been elusive.

meaning, yes you have to pay attention to IBS but you also have to manage your anxiety and depression. i may not be able to control whatever auto-immune issue or A.S. issue is out of my control and beating me up physically, but i am able to shape how i view my situation.

today was a post flare up recovery day. let’s hope it lasts as long as my last 10 day up time window. fall’s coming and this yard work never ends. lol.

xo ~r

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