Archives For Past and Present Collide

DEATH OF A BLOG

January 19, 2014 — 110 Comments

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I can’t write anymore.

I have 12 drafts sitting here. Mocking me.

Tick. Tock.

He commented on my first post:

“There’s a huge world between “black” and “white” (avoid the beige, the fucking Gap khaki beige),

so write truthfully what you’re feeling, wherever you are.

Make this blog at your image(S).

Keep this blog about the real you.”

 

But I’m afraid.

Can I say that?

I’m never good enough.

Is that what you all come here to read?

If I comment, she screams at me.

I haven’t washed my hair in a week.

Tick. Tock.

 

 

I came here

After another blogger decimated me.

Destroyed my family.

Destroyed my child.

Out of the blue

reached into my life, took hold, played with me for a few days.

Got bored.

Threw me in the garbage.

 

 

Didn’t know I’d had a childhood in which nothing I ever did was good enough.

Didn’t know it was the first time in 20 years I’d written after a horrible fall from grace.

And I was broken.

 

Don’t go pushing yourself into my life and disappear.

Because I damn near died when it happened before.

“Sweet Samara, I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”

So where ARE you?

Again.

Tick. Tock.

.

I love my child so much I sometimes look at him and can’t breathe.

Just looking at his eyelashes against his cheek when he sleeps takes my breath away.

“Mama, you’re wearing the same clothes again today.

It’s like, the third day.”

Tick. Tock.

 

 

I want him to be the person in his blog.

I want him to be the way he was when he first emailed me.

So. I go back.

Hoping.

Never finding what was never there in the first place.

“All writing is betrayal.”

Jen once wrote, “the more you want closure with someone, the less likely you are to get it.”

Tick. Tock.

 

 

I’m sitting here waiting.

I can’t walk home with all this poster board and the mechanism I constructed to illustrate

Kepler’s Third Law of Planetary Motion.

The square of the orbital period of a body orbiting around a larger body is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of the body’s orbit, which is basically the body’s distance from the larger body.

Which made sense to me in the 6th grade, but I can’t even process that sentence.

And I can’t carry it all home

And the first place trophy.

You said you’d pick me up

You forgot the science fair was today.

Again.

fuck.

TICK. TOCK.

Really loud, that one was,

cause it’s cold out.

 

 

“Here – here’s my world. Please handle with care. ”

He never even looked.

You said, in that considerate and polite way you have,

I’ll read and comment appropriately, if you’ll let me.

That would be good. That would be healing.

It never happened.

Just carefully constructed words

To hide a painful lack of interest.

Again.

Tick. Tock.

 

 

“Mama, can we have dinner together, please?”

“Baby, I made a great dinner for us.”

“I meant – will you EAT. Not just sit there.

You’re doing that thing where you push the food around your plate.

but i can tell you’re not eating. Give me a break.”

 

 

Pain.

So tired of recycling it.

I want the bliss I was put on earth for. That I’m certain we were put here for.

Not this recycled pain.

From 1974. 1979. 1994. 2013.

 

We were put here for something different.

I know because I wrote it in my comment section.

Three days of making it through 200 comments.

Yes, I know there are 40 more in my queue.

Tick. Tock.

 

And when she wrote,

“I can’t take it anymore! Why are my child and I even HERE?”

I responded, “because YOU are worthy of love. You deserve bliss.”

So it must be true, since I wrote it. I must have believed it.

 

 

I’m right back where I started last fall.

Only

 

There will be no one to pick me up this time.

No one to champion me on.

I can’t write.

 

My blog was on life support.

It’s unplugged now, and dying.

 

 

I put my son to sleep a while ago.

We cuddled for sads and glads.

He said, “mama, where ARE you?”

“I’m right here, baby.”

“no you’re not.”

I’m failing him.

Again.

 

Freshly Pressed. 209 new followers.

nothing to say.

I’m failing you.

Again.

 

 

I have an old grandfather clock in my foyer.

It was my uncle’s.

My cousins gave it to me when he died.

It’s really loud.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Tick.

Tock.

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PART 2

The Real Me sent Pretend Me on a mission: go through the motions of my life. Phone it in.

The Real Me was back in time, drifting through
“The Land Of Horrible Ways I’d Fucked Up My Life”

Welcome back. So good to see you again.

Would you like some drugs?

—-

College BFF got the pathology report back from the surgery.

“What do you mean, Stage 3 aggressive? You said Stage 1!”

I argued like a petulant child.

She stayed calm, like I was the sick one.

“Yes. But there was another lump in the lump they removed.”

“What does that even MEAN?”

It just meant she was much, much sicker than we thought.

—-

The Ex is professionally unemployed. He watches our son while I work, but not for too often or too long. He lacks patience.

One day I came home to find Little Dude crying bitterly. The Ex had kicked him.

My son’s favorite hobby is torturing us. BUT. DON’T. HIT. MY. CHILD. 

EVER.

Two days later, we sat opposite my son’s absurdly overpriced ADHD therapist.

He’s the best in the state – particularly with keeping his eagle eyes trained on the clock. Your time is up. So sorry if you’re caught with your life down around your ankles.

I said, “You need to learn how to deal with him without putting your foot up his ass.”

Dr. Interloper says, “You kicked your son?”

“Yes.”

“I’m going to have to report you to Child Protection Services.”

The Ex handled it well.

Called me a cunt, threw my car keys at me and stormed out of the room like a maniac.

I begged Dr. Interloper not to call CPS. I just knew the fallout would be epic.

I waited for the inevitable, walking around with a bruise on my left cheek from where the keys had landed.

Just like old times.

—-

The next night two social workers appeared in my driveway, out of the dark.

They rematerialized, like from a Star Trek transporter.

They were wearing government pins that resembled United Federation of Planets Badges that read,

We look harmless but we’re here to destroy your life.”

They spoke with my son alone, and he charmed and reassured them. They looked at every room in the house.

They inspected my refrigerator.

I’m guessing they didn’t mind that there was only heroin and tequila; no food.

We passed inspection.

Have a good night, and don’t let the door hit you on your cloaking device on the way out.

—-

A few days later, the call came.

I was under investigation.

They had asked me if there had ever been any domestic abuse in our home.

I lied.

I said there hadn’t been.  I was floating somewhere back in my failed past.

I didn’t realize they would check this out so thoroughly.

The local police department had records of domestic violence.

Two emergency room visits.

I’d had a restraining order against The Ex five years ago.

I had lied. What else had I lied about?

I was now under investigation.

They informed me that, for the time being, he could stay in my custody.

I stopped breathing when they said “stay in my custody.”

This isn’t happening.

Please tell me this isn’t happening.

They arranged to interview his teacher.

The guidance counselor.

His pediatrician.

His dentist.

His mother fucking dentist.

 

I wondered how far back they would investigate; what would they find?

Oh my God, the things they could find if they poked around enough.

I had stabbing panic attacks constantly; unexpectedly, vicious ones.

 

I called the case worker. I groveled.

Where my kid is concerned, I’m not above groveling.

I dialed her office. “I was the class mom 2 years in a row.”

Called again. “Did they tell you I run the PTO Trunk or Treat bake sale every year?”

I stayed up all night, searching through photos and keepsakes.  

Tears streamed down my face as I looked for evidence that I was a worthy mom.

I found pictures of the party I threw when my son started kindergarten.

We had invited 24 complete strangers, and their parents, to our home for a “Welcome to Kindergarten Party.”

I’d enlisted students for face painting, tumbling lessons, toy fencing lessons, quad rides around my backyard.

Little Dude and I had painted a banner that read:

WELCOME CLASS OF 2022!

welcome 2022

At 2 am I texted the case worker the picture.

It didn’t go through. It was an office number.

I texted it over. And over. And over, all night, anyway.

—-

I had constant pain in my chest.

It was my heart breaking.

One night, my student said, “Um, Samara? You’e not making any sense.”

I went home and took my temperature. 104. The pain in my chest was bronchitis.

The doctor gave me antibiotics. But my body refused to get well.

What if they took my son away? He’d never survive a group home. I was such a piece of shit.

 

The investigation continued.

I was reliving the past, only the more intense version.

The one where you lose your child, instead of your dignity and self respect.

 

One night my heart ached so badly, it shot through my rib cage to my back.

I couldn’t breathe without terrible pain.

I thought, “This is what Kurt Cobain must have felt like right before he shot himself. Utter heart break.”

And then I fainted outside the supermarket, and the shopping cart kid called an ambulance.

 

The stabbing pain was pneumonia.

I must have looked BAD.

If the hospital got my insurance to approve a 4-day stay, I must have looked like Samara from “The Ring.”

 

My other dearest friend came to me. My New York BFF.

She’s a writing professor. And a gifted playwright.

She left her family, and her classes, for 4 days and watched my son because we have no family nearby.

She is extraordinary.

So is my son. He’s asleep upstairs.

As soon as I’m done writing this, I’m gonna go smell his little sleepy head.

CPS decided I was an okay mom after all.

—-

People often do what feels good in the moment. A fleeting connection – it’s all good, right?

But: what if that brief encounter jams something horribly loose in the other person, and rolls around inside them like a stray bullet?

And damages a vital organ?

Their heart, maybe?

And they bleed out?

 

I live in an area where I don’t particularly fit in.

And I SO want to connect with others.

But. I cannot be someone’s entertainment for the week.

I’ve felt unsafe most of my life – and I suppose, I’ve always searched for that safe haven.

Sometimes my search has taken me to all the wrong places.

 

There’s a light in my eyes that’s gone now.  Little Dude says, “Mama, sometimes, you look so sad.”

I lost something last fall that I’ll never get back.

I keep going back to find it, and it’s not there. Because it never really was.

I’m going to get a new light.

 

I’m a survivor.

I’ve survived addiction. Sept 11. A horrible childhood. Domestic abuse. Rape.

I’m a single mom to a soulful, brilliant child with a fuck load of issues.

The Ex has done damage to me; divorce does that to the best of us.

And right now, I’m fighting to keep my best friend of 27 years alive.

—–

I’ve made mistakes with my son, but I’m still the best mother I know.

No one can take that from me, no matter what 4 out 5 dentists say.

I am not just someone’s favorite new person.

I am not the number of followers I have.

In homage to myself, as a writer, I will never again let anyone quantify my talent.

I can’t look back at squandered opportunities anymore.

I HAVE TO BELIEVE,

I MUST BELIEVE,

THAT MY BEST WORK IS AHEAD OF ME. 

What other choice do I have?

 

This is “All Apologies,” Nirvana, Live at Leads.

Considered to be one of their top 10 all time best shows.

I loved Nirvana live. This is classic Nirvana; Kurt Cobain is so high he completely forgets the lyrics to the second verse.

I love this video.

Look at the closeups of Kurt Cobain’s face. His eyes.

Despite his fame, he looks like a lost, frightened child.

There are worse things than blowing your career after going on a tour, like I did.

Like blowing your brains out before you even make it on that very same tour.

Which is what Kurt did.

 
And I’m still here.

 
I’M STILL HERE. 

 

 

Do you know what it’s like to  rebuild your life after a fall from grace?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

 

Part One Click here

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Part 1

“I PUT YOUR FROG ON THE BIRD’S DESK!”

“WHAT?”

Jess stood in the doorway, calling out to me on the front lawn. I was practicing The One Handed Vortex on her hula hoop.

Little Dude took pictures that day. Jess had borrowed my favorite tee

Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe.”

She was my ex- student turned summer intern. Social media guru.

“I put your blog on WordPress!”

There was no “blog.” I had written an “about” page on my company’s website. Whatever.

She took the hoop. Performed an expert Twin Revolving Door. Little Dude came out and snapped the pictures. She chased him, both of them laughing.

Beautiful Jess. Champion Babysitter of the Universe. Little Dude adored her. Everyone does.

 

She was nursing a killer broken heart this summer. While TA’ing, interning, busting her ass at school, she still found time to write her boyfriend Brian’s papers. Do his take-home tests.

While he screwed some girl from community college.

Some days, her eyes were swollen from crying.

 

“Hey, Samara, after we finish LinkedIn, wanna go get Fro Yo?”

I had a better idea.

“No. Let’s go to Moore’s and key Brian’s car. That asshole.”

She started laughing.

“Are you serious?”

“Nobody fucks with my girl and gets away with it.”

“Oh my God, it’ll kill him! He just got a new paint job!”

Even better.

—-

I didn’t actually blog on WordPress. I made snarky comments. Me and writing – we don’t mix.

When I write, bad things happen. I get addicted to heroin. Stuff like that.

I started getting emails from bloggers.

How the hell did they get my email address?  I’d made some provocative comments. Some of the emails were creepy.

“Dear Samara,

Would you mind masturbating and mailing me your panties?”

Sincerely,
Franklin Horshucer, Serial Killer

I could hear his heavy breathing. He sounded like Darth Vader with a sinus infection.

This is what happens when you behave like Slut Bags McFuck Stick on WordPress. I ignored them.

Wait. What’s this?

“Dear Samara,

May I email you privately? Only if you don’t mind, M’am. If you do, I promise never to bother you again. But I am a Nice Guy and I do not breathe like Darth Vadar.”

Signed,
Sweet Midwestern Boy

I liked him. He was a good writer. And he was very sweet; the antithesis to my terrible year. Like balm to my battered soul. And he called me “M’am.”

Is it weird that turned me on?

Don’t answer.

 

Midwest Boy had urged me to hit “Publish” for 2 weeks, in his comment section.

I was terrified.

But on WordPress, I wasn’t a Had Been Ex-Junkie Never Was.

I took a deep breath.

Hit Publish.

Midwest Boy read it. Commented. “I loved this.”

 

My heart lifted. After years of bad creative mojo, I had another chance.

His email I answered.

We emailed constantly for several days. I had a new friend.

He said I was a kindred spirit.

And I met someone who also made his child his top priority.

Someone who considered me a WRITER.

My entire life changed.

The Ex’s constant haranguing, his ongoing battle for alimony. Whatever.

My bankruptcy. The financial damage to my company by a former employee. Who cared?

My best friend of 27 years, my college roommate, diagnosed with cancer? We could beat this.

My son’s draining special needs; his 23-year-old horror of a teacher who demoralized him daily. I could handle it.

After a 2-DECADE HIATUS.

Barring the birth of my son, it was the happiest I’d been in 10 years.

My feet never touched the ground.

UNTIL

I came plummeting down. Hard. Because what goes up. must come down, right?

Abruptly, silence. No more emails.

I panicked. What had I done wrong?

—-

In 3 days I was headed to Boston to take care of my college BFF post mastectomy. She was vacillating between depression and anger.

Most nights, I stayed up all night with her on the phone, watching the sky turn to milky dawn.

Friday became Saturday. Saturday I was teaching.

The sun shone brightly into my Saturday classroom, reflecting off the glittery purple case of my buzzing IPhone.

My cousin’s number came up.

My ice-cold reaction was as involuntary as a sneeze. “Oh my God, my cousin.”

My students chirped, “Answer it! He’s just calling to say hi!”

They’re so impossibly young.

When you have an 80 year old uncle, and your cousin calls you on Saturday at 7am, California time, it’s NOT for a casual chit chat.

 

After class, I played the message. My uncle had fallen, was in a coma on life support. He was no longer a person. He was biomedical engineering.

My cousin asked, did I want to fly to Florida and say my goodbyes before they let him go?

I couldn’t. I was Boston bound. I would not even be able to attend my uncle’s funeral in New York.

 

My uncle. My father’s brother. The only connection I ever had to my father.

I was unabashedly his favorite niece. He never tired of bragging that I had made it out of a housing project into an Ivy League school. I downplay this in my life.

But I surreptitiously basked in his attention.

My mother, who never went past the 8th grade, worked 70 hours a week feeding six children. She dwelled in survival mode, where the nuances of higher education are lost.

For 40 years, my uncle fed me anecdotes of his beloved older brother.

I never grieved my father’s death. Never knew him. Never spoke of him.

Who cared?

So why was I suddenly shattered by the loss of him?

It was my uncle I had just lost.

But now – for truly and forever, my father.

There would be no more stories of him, ever. All that remained of him was buried under 6 feet of cold earth at Mt. Lebanon cemetery.

At a funeral I wasn’t even able to attend.

—-

While in Boston caring for my college BFF, I emailed Midwest Boy.

Apologized for anything. Everything. I was desperate to have my writing friend back.

A day went by. Two. Three days later, he sent me a brief, dismissive email

I never heard from again.

—-

Home.

Exhausted. Confused. Broken. Scared. Grief stricken.

My life was fragmenting; the different shards juxtaposing irrationally.

I checked in on MB’s blog.

His blog was bleach on an open wound. He’d found new flavors of the week. He called another blogger his “favorite new person.”

That’s exactly what he’d called me. I realized this was his pattern.

Pick a new favorite, and discard the old. But why me?

I knew.

THE TRUTH

had found me out. I was a HACK. I was no writer. I couldn’t even sustain his interest for more than a week.

He never spoke to me after he realized I was a fraud.

It was 1994 all over again.  FAILURE.

I relived the horrible mess I’d made of my life.

I stopped sleeping. Couldn’t eat. Talked to myself. Judged myself brutally.

His realization of my deception and talentlessness opened an incessant screening of home movies in my brain:

Now Playing:

Samara’s Childhood: An Abyss of Feeling Unworthy and Unnoticed.

“Mommy, I won the spelling bee. Mommy, please. I’m begging you. Notice me. I’m working so hard so you’ll love me. I got the lead. I’m Valdictorian. Please, mom, just look at me. Just once. I got a full scholarship. Please tell me you’re proud of me.”

My father my uncle my writing my life midwestern boy my mother my career my sick BFF my opportunities

everything became intertwined.

 

Midwest Boy, during that precious week when I thought I’d been given another chance, called one of my blog posts “brilliant.”

My head hurt. I remembered a review I’d gotten long ago…no.. it was a.. it was.. an interview?

“audacious… provocative…frequently brilliant.”

That was…the The New York Press? No, the Village Voice.

No. I never bothered showing up for that interview.

Even worse. I had.

I spent it nodding; fucked up on potent Hellraiser brand smack. Shit was fire.

 

After 72 hours straight of no sleep I had an epiphany.

This whole thing happened:

To punish me for past mistakes.

To remind me that I was a failure.

Before this, I wasn’t writing. But I lived life as contentedly as possible.

Now I was a ghost.

 

Tomorrow: Part 2

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The Tenses of Forgiveness

December 21, 2013 — 69 Comments
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Daily Prompt: Forgive and Forget?
Share a story where it was very difficult for you to forgive the perpetrator for wronging you, but you did it — you forgave them.

At five I walked myself to school.

I was a “latch key” kid.  Came home after school.  Made myself a snack.  Did my homework amidst the cacophony of five brothers. Horseplay. Arguments. Guitar. Swearing.  Piano.  Fist Fights.

My mother stopped in between jobs. Rushing, rushing, always rushing. The clock ticked 60 brief minutes while she hastened to put a meal on the table before leaving for her night job at 7.

“Mommy, look, look, I got 100 on my math test!” was lost in, “Michael, go to the store – now. I forgot to get rolls for the hamburgers.” By the time I was 13, I was the one putting the dinner on the table, so she could just sit down and eat.  Take a breath.

I was 5th in a family of incredibly bright overachievers.  Everything I did had been done before. Huge successes were not celebrated – they were expected.

The legacy of success. Past, present and future tense.  Living in the shadows of brilliant siblings. Simple past tense.

My eldest brother, 10 years my  senior, was our surrogate father. One year, he coached me to follow in his footsteps as Citywide Spelling Bee Champion. But after winning my school spelling bee, and the Regional, and making in into the coveted Citywide,  I did the unthinkable.

I lost.

My mother only said, on the way home, ”I can’t believe I took a day off from work for that.”

I spent five long years after college in therapy ridding myself of corrosive anger. Five years to forgive her and love her, as I do now. Five years to come to the conclusion we all already know:

She did the best she could.  Simple past tense.

Don’t all parents? Don’t I?

I forgive her. She worked 7 days a week at minimum wage jobs.  Her entire life was devoted to making sure we had food, shelter, clothing. Accolades were luxuries she couldn’t afford.

And today, as the parent of only one child, I forgive her even more. I struggle to balance working as a single mom and raising just one child. She somehow raised 6 of us. How is this even possible? Something had to be sacrificed.

It was my self esteem.

I forgive her.

Every day, I tell my son that he is special. That is smart. Funny. Handsome.

That he matters. To me, and to many people.  I am breaking the cycle. Parenthood is breaking the cycle of error and wanting for our children what was not given to us.

But inherent in the process is new error. Will my life narrative limit my present, and mar his future?

The present. The future. The tenses of forgiveness.

Are my early experience fate? Or a road map to forgiveness?

Each day I make mistakes. I hope, when my son is a man, that he is compassionate when he recalls his childhood. I hope he will see that I did the best I could.

I hope he will forgive me, as I did my mother.

But this is not the simple past tense of forgiveness:  “I forgave her.”

It is the future continuous tense of forgiveness: “I will continue to forgive her.”

I forgive her right now, For every time I doubt myself. Right now, I forgive her, right before I hit “Publish.”

Will they like it? Will it be good enough? Am I good enough? I may never be.

I forgave.

I am forgiving her.

I will continue to forgive.

The tenses of forgiveness. Simple past, past not perfect, past perfect continuous,  present, present continuous, present not perfect.

Future. Future continuous.

Constant. Relentless. Persistent.

Forgiveness.

 

Did you forgive someone when it was difficult? Talk to me.  I’m listening. 

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Good_vs_Evil_by_umerr2000

Daily Prompt: A Bird, a Plane, You!

You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice:

 

I think I am two warring souls living within one body.

*other soul nods in agreement*  Yes, we are.

There are two of me. They are in constant conflict.

All my life, I’ve saddled the seesaw of contradiction. It hurts my pussy.

On one side: The Mother. The Teacher. The Professional. The Upstanding Citizen. The Good Girl.

On the other side: The Mother Fucker. The Deviant. The Law Breaker.  The Slut. The Bad Girl.

I’d like to make them agree, once and for all, on who I am.

It makes life really difficult when one person shows up where the other is supposed to be.  They never see eye to eye.

Like when I’m with someone and Bad Girl just wants to fuck him/her six ways til Tuesday, and then Good Girl butts her slut-shaming face in and pussy/cock blocks me.

Reminds me that I’m a mom. That I have a business, and a reputation to uphold. That I have too much self respect to screw someone in the parking lot of a restaurant, regardless of how deliciously hot that scenario is.

Or when Good Girl Mom was teaching her son to ride a two wheeler, and I had to keep squashing down nasty-ass Bad Girl’s remarks: “Get those mother fucking training wheels, off, Pussy Boy! Man up! If you fall, you fall, bitch!”

Good Girl goes shopping, and Bad Girl shop lifts. She shouldn’t do that. If she gets caught, it would not bode well for her. She just can’t help it…she’s really good at it.

Good Girl is tutoring a student, and Bad Girl starts explaining to her how to give a really good blow job. Which is not on the curriculum.

I’m bringing these two to couple’s counseling. If they don’t start agreeing on who I am, I’m ditching both of them and coming up with a completely new, third personality.

Now I just need a really good Superhero name.