Its always so hard and emotionally sensitive, saying goodbye to my only biological child. It has made many things that were easily taken for granted grow too difficult to deal with. The simplest of Life’s treasures and everyday, “little things” now seem decadent and wrong to enjoy. When your grown-up daughter has seemingly CHOSEN homelessness and the chaos that unfailingly attaches to such a lifestyle, the colors of the pages telling the story that’s your life dulls down a few shades. After getting married, I went back to get Boo and bring her with me to Arizona. She came willingly, at first. But, convincing her that she wasn’t leaving anything or ANYONE noteworthy behind was a different story; and proved too be impossible in the end. Boo ended up breaking every agreement we had in terms of house rules etc. She eventually got hotwired my car and attempted to steal it. Luckily, it wouldn’t go anywhere after being hotwired, so I got to keep my car, unharmed for the most part. She stole my purse, credit cards, emptied out my change jar in secret, and basically brought nothing remotely positive to the table. She wound up going back to San Jose to live in poverty and poor health. It hurt me deeply but I had to let her go. I’ve been with her for 2 weeks and am heading back to AZ today. It is very hard leaving her behind in the conditions she’s living in. Its difficult not to be eaten alive by guilt for having a warm bed to sleep in at night, to be honest.
I’ve written in the past of my professionally given label of “a medical anomaly” when it comes to my physiology/immunology/genetics. This handle was given to me via a Stanford University medical conference luncheon, in which one of my former doctors highlighted my case in his widely received presentation on ‘reconstructive maxiofacial tissue surgery and uncommon obstacles’. Since that moment in time, most, if not all, of my loosely interwoven healthcare team have adopted the name for my reference. In fact, the nickname seems to be a kind of industry-driven joke from which all humor is lost on me, completely…but what the fuck do I know?
But, I digress.
One of the elements rendering me as such is something known as “Raynaud’s Phenomenon” – a multitude of micro-vascular spasms occurring simultaneously in the digits (and the nose for some people, as well –though I am not one of those thank the Gods…) affecting gangrene and, oftentimes, the loss of one or more dead fingers or toes. You’ll note the word “phenomenon” in the title of the ailment that I foster; this is because there are TWO forms of this thing: one, the most common type, being called “Raynaud’s Disease”, is a chronic and life-altering disease that appears in exceptionally cold environments and/or in the users of regular operation of machinery such as… let’s say – a jackhammer, or the likes. Some doctors even say that this condition is exacerbated by “stress” (in which case, I’m fucked!!!).
I am a beach bum in California with no prior jackhammer experience; so when I was first (and finally, after many initial months of painfully spreading gangrene in all ten of my shriveled toes) diagnosed in 2003, I was defined as having the more difficult type of the ailment known as a “phenomenon”, based solely on the elusive cause and randomly occurring symptoms. The archaic doctor who was on call at the ER where I was FINALLY properly diagnosed and treated called every physician and support staff into the pocket room where I sat with bare feet on an exam table and said to the group of about twenty young med-school graduates,
“This is something you may never see again, so I want to make sure to share this…this Raynaud’s phenomenon; do you all see the skin blanching that happens when the tissue is prompted?”
He pinched and prodded my raisin-esque toes to reveal an odd renewal of color immediately beneath my skin there: they began to oddly shift from black – to dark blue – to a deep, angry red – to a yellowing, white-ish color wherever they were pressed.
“Oooooh ahhhhh.” the young students all cooed.
Very riveting; just give me some pills so my toes don’t fall off, please. Anyway, thankfully the old quack knew his shit and I was finally given the gift of balance and mobility back – not to mention, I was able to keep every toe in its original form.
I have been stricken three times by this “phenomenon” thus far in life; the second time was upon my landing at the Oahu International Airport on the most recent real vacation I took in 2005. The key is in Angina treatment, typically a vasodilator to thin the blood and break up the tiny spasms so far away from my heart. I am currently to the point not being to balance myself or walk normally due to loss of feeling in my feet, especially the right one. My toes have already shriveled quite totally and are shedding entire layers of epidermis as a snake sheds scales – fully intact toe-sized chunks that are being held to my feet with bandages and lots of salve. Warmth only creates a swelling that becomes so uncomfortably shiny and plump that heat offers no help at this point, either. I finally sucked it up and went back to get a script for some good ol’ Nifedipin.
…And, while I shuffled myself down an endless corridor to the pharmacy hidden in a basement of the hospital in the middle of the night – last night – guess who I spied in a bed, unconscious from an attempted suicide by means of drug overdose?
You called it; there was the one and only Boo, my only child.
It’s Sunday; and sometime in early December…I hate the holidays.
I have been in a notably embittered state of being as of late; I wake up in a shit mood and spend my day feeling either numb or way too much emotion, shuffle my feet around and paint makeup on my face, do my normal routine of being a pissed-off and resentful human being for x amount of hours – before I will eventually (and still angrily) find my way to bed and fitfully fall asleep (Gods willing).
I am at home; I am surrounded by cheering men; men who honestly have very little concern in life outside of Fantasy Football rankings and Christmas shopping for the so-called “difficult” women with whom each has settled down with.
I am somewhere I did not really anticipate being, somehow; despite the situation I have been held hostage inside of (in the context of Boo) for all of these painful and dehumanizing years… I somehow never genuinely considered the possibility of such a circumstance as that which I now find myself: a place where motherhood does not live; a place where years of invested time, love, energy and hope can be found strangled into lifelessness and shriveling up in the unforgiving heat, a place where the thought of my only child makes my stomach feel sick in the most literal sense.
When I look at Boo’s face, I now see only her father’s there; his features stand out so strongly against the muted ones I contributed…there is actually very, very little of me anywhere in here at all. I keep finding myself thinking about abstract and unimportant trivia when it comes to the unhappy ending of this story; things like:
- How the abusive, violent, backstabbing, murderous and psychopathic piece of trash of a father was able to imprint so many horrible characteristics and traits upon her without hardly ever knowing her;
- How chillingly similar everything about the two of them has turned out to be, despite EVERYTHING I tried in order to make sure that couldn’t happen;
The thought that seems to be stuck like a piece of chewed up gum to the forefront of my exhausted mind is constantly buzzing inside my ear, asking me
“How is any of this even possible?”
There comes no response of course, just the same query over and over until my head hurts.
I have a seething and roiling hatred growing inside of me that feels bad, and is shocking in its severity. I feel disgust over so many things in the world, especially in my own little corner of it; I am lost and aimless, emotionally numb and going through motion after motion. I am turned off. I am tuned out. I am shut down. It comes to this crazy thought every time, the one in which I have sold everything I own worth anything and just POOF! disappeared into the masses of the urban jungles somewhere, where? I don’t know or care. I have been gradually been ridding myself of all the boxes full of hope that I have lugged around with me for the years Boo was gone: craft supplies, old drawings and school papers of hers, clear tubs of pens and pencils and crayons and scrap-booking shit for days. I won’t ever need or use any of it; that time has passed for me now.
The freedom attached to suddenly not being anyone’s Mom feels alien, even as it feels okay on some days, almost tolerable. Other days, I wake up with both middle fingers locked straight upwards; other times, I just want to die.
I know that I do not get the same consideration from my own daughter when it comes to “cause and effect” that my mother continues to be shown, and somehow always has been shown, in spite of our tattered history. When my little brother killed himself, my mom’s way to cope with the blow was to try and erase him from her memory altogether: an element between she and I that hung bitterly in the stale air between us for years. She never speaks of him; she never lets me talk about him in any context in her presence without either full-blown freaking out, or changing the subject with blatancy sharp enough to leave a mark.
I have come to accept and understand over time that this has been the only way she has been able to continue on with her own existence after losing a child to suicide in the way that she did; and am only now beginning to see that this response was initially not one of choice for her. It was the effect attached to specific causes: those of profound emptiness, loss and failure. One of the most difficult things about coming to grips with acceptance surrounding my own child – and my own loss, emptiness and failure – has always been the absence of so many points of reference for me. I don’t know what a mother “should” look like or act like to her child; I have only ever winged it and did what felt right when it came to Boo.
Now, it has become unarguable that most (if not all) of those things were not right; no denying that I was an inadequate mom or else she would never have grown up to become what she did. But, I also think of a lot of other facts and truths that surround us such as how I also had an inadequate mom. I had a mom who was a violent and unstable drunk during my childhood; she was always high on drugs also, and kept like-minded company. My father fought tooth and nail to keep us protected from her unpredictable nature; she was painted very differently than I could possibly come close to being depicted by my daughter. Or was she?
Granted, I was not the type of mom who hit – I never even spanked Boo besides to SWAT at her backside with gentle care when she was a toddler; our experiences with a mother in the big, bad world were most certainly very different in almost every way. I am nurturing because my mom was the opposite; I was attentive because my mom seemingly forgot all about me and my brothers after we were born; I was protective and overbearing because of those reasons, too. I was so involved with her life as much as possible: a yard duty at her elementary school, the PTA, class mom, field trips, etc. I exhausted myself at all times with her IEP and the constant red tape around getting her through school because of her behavioral issues. I admit that she overwhelmed me at times, but I always wanted best for her, I never got any satisfaction from her struggles or tears like my mom did with me. We had very different mothers, indeed.
Now comes my point:
I had a father.
Not just any father, either – I was blessed with an exceptionally special Dad (and a long line of older brothers).
Boo had…well, we all know what she had, don’t we? Boo had the Ripper for a father in the slice of time that she had one in her life at all, before he tried to murder her mother and then was gone to prison before dying on the inside of those walls…Boo never had a Dad, hardly a father. I have concluded that it is this (very often overlooked) factor in the comparisons people (including myself) make between me and my daughter’s characteristic traits that defines the essences of those differences down to the nano-fiber. When I think of what my own existence could have and likely would have been like in the absence of my Dad, my knees often feel weakened by the thought alone. Now, I imagine actually living that reality from one day to the next like Boo must…and yes, I see.
I know that in many ways, I haven’t failed as Boo’s mother in the years I was allowed to be her mom; but in this one major and unfixable way, I failed her immeasurably.
The drill never changes, if looked at from a very broad perspective:
my parents give in and allow themselves to be further abused and mistreated while I desperately try to distance myself from the situation (because I will ALWAYS eventually be defeated by the helplessness attached to it), before the proverbial explosion takes place once again.
My daughter knows the drill all too well, also; which is the only reason why it works out to her own benefit over and over, without fail; she knows that when she has created a rift and I withdraw from her obnoxious bullshit (while my parents do not), it is at that time that she must strike and strike hard in order to keep the distance in place between then and I. She is well aware of the plethora of ways to manipulate people; she is already a seasoned veteran at doing this as a means of survival. She has honestly been manipulating adult professionals from various backgrounds and specialties in the system since she began counseling at age 6, so the puppeteering of her own grandparents must feel like something she could do with her eyes closed if she wanted to.
I know when she is busy digging down the trench between me and my parents; I know because she holds them hostage through her behaviors (just like she used to do to me in the months leading up to her placement in a “treatment facility” for those very characteristics. I know because I stop hearing from my mom at all – due to the fact that my daughter will have by now painted my mom into a psychological corner, and in turn my mom has been enabling too many things to make excuses for. I know because of a sudden but sharp slice through the fabric of my own meager reality: the silence replacing my mother’s voice in the background of things that creeps its way back into my daily routine in the absence of her constant play by play updates. All of the things that I always wish would cease to exist about my relationship with my mom seemingly CEASE TO EXIST when my daughter is in the picture – and up to no good.
So…over this past couple of months, I have been swallowing the unwelcome and unhappy ending to the story of ‘Me and Boo’.
Nothing about this process has been comfortable for me by any means, but I guess it has proven to be the natural order of my own existence; and so…I am trying my best to endure. It is a “one moment at time” gig so far…
Stupid and blindly faithful belief in the notion that somehow and some way, Boo would miraculously recover from so many fucked up circumstances, and find her way back to sanity and a desire for normalcy…I have been feeding myself bullshit like this forever – since she was first sent away…and it is almost comical now to think back on the things that I denied myself of accepting for so long.
But, now, here I am…and nothing makes sense to me – for me – in terms of the future ahead and what I am supposed to do with it. It’s like someone finally found the restart button now after all this time and pushed it when I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was to start over again. In truth, I’ve wished for a fresh start with EVERYTHING for so long that I am stuck on stupid in the face of its arrival. Life doesn’t wait on anybody…and I have no choice but to pick that bitch up and run, right?
So, I have wiped the picture clean of the drama and unhealthy bullshit that has sadly come to define everything about my own, personal adult life – as an affect of such an emotionally unstable and unhealthy offspring; I have not wavered in my choice to do so, either – and I will not waver ever again in this context…I am sucked dry of the forces needed to interact with it anymore at all.
At first, it was just like it’s been any other time I tried to make a clean break from the living Hell surrounding my only child and her ongoing destruction: I felt weakened by the very aspect of her existence, I felt controlled and dominated by the constant lack of any input or influence on her lifestyle choices…I have felt that way since she was old enough to talk, in essence; and somewhere along the way, I lost sight of what is important in MY OWN passage through this world. I allowed myself to become so entangled with such a negative element (in this case, my own daughter), that I lost track of the things that I personally stand to represent in this fucked up world.
In reality, at the end of the day, everyday – I am quite different in nature from my child, in every possible way; and, as long as I am ending my own days under the spell of the lifestyle and code that SHE lives by, each one of those days has been spent in absolute vain and wastefulness. I’m over it. I am over the confusion and guilt and self-loathing and tears…I am over the shock and surprise of the despicable things my own child has come to stand for…
I realize that the stark contrast between Boo and I has been weighing like an anchor around my ankle for so fucking long now that I have gradually failed to even see it there or feel it’s drag.
It’s finally sinking into my thick skull that there’s NOTHING I can do for her, besides to enable her – which, I refuse to do any longer now…so the math is done and the answer is apparent and comprehensive; I need to just move on with myself.
Which, is a notion that I have struggled mightily with all along when it comes to Boo…a factor that is only becoming more obvious to me with each layer of its removal. But, as the light gets brighter down there somewhere at the end of whatever tunnel I am inside of, I can see the scars stitched up in my own heart and mind; and I feel something akin to “HOPE” again for my own emotional status.
Not hope for Boo…not hope for my long-evaporated, little family…not hope that balances atop of any unrealistic or unreasonable goals or motivations…just hope that I can and will get through the initial discomfort of suddenly NOT being anyone’s Mom anymore…
I have hope that I can hang up the bullshit and revive my true self, and my true motivations in my own existence…I have hope that I can surprise everyone, including myself, with my own strength and perseverance through this darkness…to fight.
I will be honest and admit that I have been inside of the darkest place I know of, mentally, as of late…I have struggled to get out of bed in the morning and cried myself to sleep at night…I randomly quit my long-time job and stopped returning phone calls…I have been resigned to sadness and loss…I have eaten myself with guilt and self-doubt…I have wished for death in a very serious tongue…I have cursed each and every God I know.
But in the end, I am still just ME…no amount of pain or discouragement can break my spirit, even when I want that to be the outcome; I am simply built that way, and I accept that much now. I guess right now is a time for me to figure out what comes next for ME and ONLY ME. I have recognized the fact that there will be NOTHING to come next unless I am selfish for a while and say “Fuck You” to the unnecessary drama and unhealthy bullshit.
So this is how it ends for you…after all you have managed to survive against all odds; you are going to be your own demise in the end. You have missed today’s surgery, because you disappeared into the night last weekend with the promise of returning on time to take care of your own physical needs…once again, you have highlighted for the world: your complete and total lack of any self-respect or desire to take control of your issues. I can’t say that I was honestly expecting you to show up for something that only a responsible individual would have the nerve to do; I recognize that despite your fearlessness, you have a very low-functioning ability to actually handle yourself in the Real World. Perhaps, that is why I had already thought ahead and cancelled your time in the O.R. today; because I knew deep down that you not only lack the care or concern for your own health – but for anyone else’s also; and so I made sure that whomever was in line got to go in your place this morning for their’ surgery. I wonder if you ever consider anything outside of yourself in any context at all…like, do you think about what you are psychologically doing to your grandparents? Or me? Or anyone who has had the humanity to give you another PASS since the most recent Return from the Dead? How many times might your peanut sized brain expect to be forgiven and allowed to return for more destruction to be left in your undoubtedly impending wake? You obviously harbor a completely unreasonable idea of who you are, nor have you a fairly accurate perception of anyone who has been fixed in your life, thus far; while you have been blessed with a family that has been patient and understanding to the best of its ability, you have done nothing but shame yourself and everyone attached to you.
They say that psychopaths have no shame or fear built into the mechanisms that make most people “human”; they say that there is a total lack in the ability to feel for others, or for the part – themselves even. I can say with certainty at this point that you fit that psychopathic profile to a T, as did your father. Any creature with even half of a brain cell would have learned some very lasting Life Lessons after surviving what you have come through…yet, here you are doing the same old shit and another year older, somehow. I have accepted the loss of you, Boo…I know that I am no longer anyone’s Mom, and to be honest there is something disturbingly refreshing about such a notion for me these days; but you still exist (for now, at least)…and I can’t grasp the concept of your choices in regard to HOW you choose to make your existence be like. I cannot feel sorry for you anymore…not after so many times finding you with your entire hand in the fire before it’s anywhere near healed from the last time(s). To pity you only means that you are the victim…and that is NOT always the case, is it? You have been foolish in every element of your life to the point of disbelief; you have essentially shit away any access to the Trust Fund that I fought tooth and nail to ensure through a Civil Lawsuit – money that would easily get you set up in a “normal” scenario, if you had the sense or maturity to just fall in line long enough to get your ducks in a row…but that’s too much for you, even.
I don’t feel sorry that you live on the street and sell your ass to get by, not when I know that it IS NOT NECESSARY AT ALL and you CHOOSE that lifestyle in the face of normalcy and/or self-sufficiency. I don’t wish for you to return like I used to anymore either…because the bonds have been broken already and I now harbor mostly a complete lack of understanding or tolerance for your behaviors and actions. I will not allow my parents to die in brokenness and sadness, missing money and heirlooms that you stole without a second thought as to THEIR existences. What kind of person steals from their grandparents, anyway… not to mention, brings friends home to steal from their grandparents, also? I think we both KNOW what kind of person does that kind of dirt…and I think we both know that I am NOT that person, and never could be. Can you say the same? I didn’t think so…
None of it is MY loss anymore, you know? You’re an adult now, remember? Mrs. Big Badass whose wanted to be grown for so long now, and for what? Ain’t nothing changed, you still do the same immature and despicable stuff that you did as juvenile delinquent, don’t you? How’s that adult thing looking now, kid?
I am randomly typpling (type babbling), yes, I know this… my personal Microsoft Word screen seriously could fuck me with all the secrets and truths it has seen at my hand, fuck it though…transparency is the new thing isn’t it?
I have given up my appearance altogether, I suppose…couldn’t tell you when the last time I looked in a mirror at myself…hmmmm…the possible causes behind this fact aren’t lost on me, either…
Something is happening inside of me again; although I couldn’t possibly describe any of what those “somethings” may actually be in the big picture of things; and I am not trying to find any way to describe it – there’s just a slew of mental data on upload at present; and my mental data down-link seems to be broken, too. There’s just a fuck-ton of shit coming in, and nothing moving aside to make room for it; if that even makes sense to anyone reading this.
Failure is something has come to define my every moment of each passing day for me; it began slowly when Boo was put into “residential treatment” almost a decade ago and only snowballed from that point on. The many things that have subsequently gone horribly awry since then have accumulated into a vast and freezing cold tomb; each instance of my own perceived failings stacking up against the previous until the room shrinks. Failure has been something that I struggle with regularly, and I often lose the fight with it because of its overwhelming and constant presence. I go to a psychiatrist based on this failure (and its many facets and faces); he repeatedly instructs me to “just let it go”…
Abandonment is another key element that is deeply embedded in my marred psychological profile; this element is born of my inability to “just let it go” when it came to my inter-personal relationships with parents during infancy and childhood (most notably a then ever-absent mother). It has mutated the human being that I was born as into a different version of who I might have been in a “healthy and/or intact family setting”; over time, it has warped my perception of others who I feel any closeness to – a mechanism of the emotionally fearful and unstable. I am extremely insecure inter-personally, and it only becomes an exacerbated symptom when I give two shits about the other person involved. I am afraid of people in general; not in a physically cowed way though…I am terrified of interacting with others because of the emotional traumas that inevitably attach themselves to each and every experience with closeness to another human being (or the socially mutated versions of one).
Truth is another crucial piece of who I am from one moment to the next; it has come to burn in my veins like molten lava these days, and growing increasingly more important to every nano-thought in my head. Acceptance of truth is part of this element; and as painful as this aspect often is for me, in my own experiences, the truth carries weight that is undeniably addictive to my heart, spirit and mind somehow…
Perhaps after all, “the truth shall set me free”.
I have come to several understandings over these past few weeks while I have been MIA from my blog; I do not fully comprehend every element of every understanding I have found and tucked into a mental pocket – on the contrary, I have only been collecting these understandings to sort through on another day.
Boo was released from the hospital a week ago pending her next major surgery at Stanford (the one that focuses on the scar tissue building up at the base of her vocal chords and keeping from speaking on her own); she came home to my parents’ house because that’s where she wanted to go. My parents were gracious and forgiving enough to allow it (at the time that the decision was made, everyone was so desperate to keep Boo from returning to the track and many acceptations were made as a result of that desperation); it only took a matter of hours for Boo to begin to fall back into her old routines after being released from the hospital: wanting to go here or there on a whim, spending countless hours on my phone with any one of the stupid people she calls “friends”, being secretive and sneaky, dishonesty, shadiness, and eventually stealing again, too. My parents made her leave and I tried to let her come with me – but she proceeded to steal from Dice, my roommate right away. I can’t allow her to spread her affected instabilities to the realm of my ONLY safe haven; she had to leave my house as well.
She hasn’t changed; despite all of it, there isn’t even a slight shift into a more mature and/or personally responsible creature in regard to who Boo continues to be.
The thing that has driven the biggest and longest standing wedge between my daughter and me in more recent years has been BOO. Boo is 110% incapable of owning her faults, much less her personal actions…it is increasingly more impossible to try and reason with her at any given time because she has this obnoxious entitlement issue that causes her to fly off the handle defensively whenever she fucks up – which is often. As soon as she becomes aware that I’m onto her, or as soon as I call her out on anything shady or dishonest that she does, she blows up and leaves (especially now that she can play her “I’m eighteen” card). It’s always been this way though, even when she was very young – her best defense has always been a good offense. And she makes certain that by the time she’s ready to come back into one of our homes, we are so happy she’s alive and safe that one of us will bend and let her in.
I am sick of it. It is unhealthy. I see what it is doing to my parents again, mentally and spiritually and financially, and I can’t let it continue. The question now is:
How will I clarify myself on this issue for all to understand and perpetually respect? Is that even possible?
I will not allow my child to hold my family hostage through her outrageous behaviors anymore; things have changed for me since she turned eighteen, also, and it is a card that I can now play as well. But where is the line that defines dead and cold from wounded and bleeding out slowly in the snow? All that know for sure is that I will not spend a single year more of my own life in feeling as if my very existence is hinged upon Boo’s behavior and the things that her behaviors create in the lives of those around her. There was a point when it dawned on me: how her father continues to abuse me through her very actions…I escaped her father and have risen above his reach, such abuse cannot continue in any context.
At what point does it become okay to admit how unhealthy my own child has been to my own livelihood and how destructive she continues to be in the midst of the tiny village I have managed to construct and maintain in her absence?
All that is happening now does, indeed, go back to the incident in Arizona. The surgeries that she has already undergone and recovered from have each been in attempt to separate scar tissue that has grown around Boo’s trachea from being cinched by a belt for nearly two days; also – her inability to speak has finally been de-mystified as well. The same thing is happening at the base of her vocal chords, as a result of scar tissue build-up, only the vocal cords have been permanently affected by residues left from the chemicals that Boo had been forced to drink during her captivity. The doctors have done what they can without sending her to a specialist for what is considered as “delicate surgery”; the next step to come.
Within the month, she will be going to Stanford for such things…and I have little doubt behind her strength or ability to deal with it. She remains in care still – a milestone in and of itself; she is bored beyond description, covered in bed sores, and must be feeling pretty low…yet, she hasn’t left again. Her little boyfriend (the one who do not necessarily like so much but cannot deny his humanity in comparison to the other men she has surrounded herself with in the past) comes to visit her now; I know that makes her feel like the world isn’t ending, after all. Anything that helps her to stay put and ride out the road ahead through her physical recovery – I am on board with it.
She has grown up so much…in such a short time…she is so jaded and darkened by her own experiences, that I watch her struggle with simply being cared for by another human being…it’s rough. But she’s letting it happen – as hard as it may be on her.