The Day Christmas Turned GOOD!

I don’t have words to convey just HOW excited I am!! Seriously, I don’t! No fucking way in hell could any word be awesome enough, I’m so happy!!

So what happened?! First of all, we waved the family goodbye! They are good people and I love them. Really, I do. But loving all of them at once is a bit much. I’m better at loving them from a distance or one at a time, so I’m really, really, really relieved that they finally all hopped back into the cars they came in, and quite early in the day, too.

That made for a great start into the day! Seriously, once everyone was gone, I just sat down and listened to the silence and the familiar sound of mom doing the dishes everyone left her with after breakfast and it felt like finally, FINALLY after way too many days that stretched out like a mini eternity things are back the way they are supposed to be. So that alone was a top-notch start into the day.

It also meant Christmas was technically over. Good riddance and all that.

But THEN the mailwoman came. See, I’m curious and even when I never really get any mail, I always want to know what mail we do get. But instead of letting me take the mail with her, mom sent me away. She turned all “no, you stay in the living room today” and when I took offense and demanded she stopped this injustice, she just said “because I say so” with her ‘don’t you dare talk back now’ voice. Which almost ruined this perfect morning, because I got quite pissed at her over it.

So when she and dad came into the living room after the mailwoman was gone, I was sulking by myself in the armchair. I did my best to markedly ignore them, with mom having been so mean. But they came over and wished me a merry Christmas all over again. That was so weird and out of place that I forgot to keep sulking, because checking whether they had gone nuts took priority. Crazy family or what?!

Yet they were smiling and looked like they were serious, and produced from behind their backs a fairly big package. Not wrapped or anything, just a cardboard box.

Remember how I was disappointed because I was not getting the one thing I had ended up hoping to get for Christmas? How I had stupidly not even told mom (or anyone else, for that matter) that I was hoping to get that? The stupid disappointment that had sort of ruined Christmas before it even began, because nobody had known I was hoping to get that thing, and therefore ended up not getting it?

The thing was a doll that might have ended up at our house because a lady from the neighborhood had asked mom whether she had any use for it. I had caught a glimpse of the picture of the doll the lady had shown mom, more out of curiosity than because I care for dolls. But when I had seen the doll I had been caught by surprise, because hands down, the doll looks like little a plastic version of me. I kid you not. So when mom had told the neighbor lady she’d consider whether she wanted the doll, I had kind of started hoping that she’d say yes. And then I had started to really, dearly hope she’d say yes, because in my mind I had started picturing how cool it would be to make the doll, like, mini-clothes that are just the same as I would wear, and maybe put a pink strand in her hair like I have . . .

But of course I never told mom about any of it. That’s BPD for you. Surely everyone should be able to read my mind, right?! So when I had casually asked mom before Christmas whether she had decided what to do about the doll yet, and she said she had told the neighbor lady to rather make some child somewhere happy than have the doll gather dust with us, I was gravely, utterly, terribly disappointed. Devastated, really, because my little dear fantasy about turning the doll into a tiny version of myself just vanished into nothingness and I hated mom for not having thought of me.

Yeah. So guess what was in the box mom and dad produced from behind their backs.

ChristmasPressie1

Have I mentioned that I really, really love them? And not because they ended up spending all that money on the doll for me. That’s the part that makes me feel guilty, because I think for having been so stupid not to even tell mom, I shouldn’t be getting anything at all now. No, why I love them is that they noticed how disappointed I was and took it seriously. Instead of teaching me a lesson by saying “see, that’s what comes from not sharing your thoughts” they got me the doll and said “see, that’s what comes from sharing your thoughts”. I love them.

And I love the doll. Yes, that probably makes me a big kid, but I still love the doll. She looks like a mini-Lola. Her hair is the same color and length as mine, it slides over her eyes just like mine does and she has blue eyes, just like I do. Even the shape of her face looks similar to mine.

ChristmasPressie2

I adore her shoes and pair of jeans. The rest of her outfit I probably wouldn’t wear, but hey, I’m gonna change that! I’m gonna give her a pink strand of hair like I have and I’m gonna get her clothes I would wear. And then, I don’t know.

I’m so happy. Christmas turned GOOD. And I have awesome parents. I love, love, love, love, love them! Bring on the rest of the year and the start of the new one! 🙂

Zentangles for Sanity

It’s the 27th and still our house is bursting with people. Minus two, okay, because the sister who’s as old as me and her husband left early today, but seriously, when there are still four additional people around it doesn’t make that much of a difference.

But . . . please add a mental drum roll . . . I’m doing okay. I realize it’s due to a joint effort, because mom makes sure she gets a hold on me before I veer off any edge, my siblings are fairly indulgent and dad puts up with grandma a lot, so mom has some time only for me every now and then – BUT, I’m actually contributing something too. It’s not ALL because of them.

I have discovered that the zentangles are only an angel’s hair short of heaven sent. All those small annoyances that have always added up and made me lose it – mom not answering me because she’s still talking to someone else, different routines, everyone’s voices in my ear, lengthy conversations about topics that make watching paint dry seem exciting – I am doing my best ignoring all those by drawing zentangles.

It gives me something neutral to focus my thoughts on, which is better than mulling over how fed up with having everyone there I am. It makes people leave me alone when they see I’m drawing. It kills quite some time, which makes waiting for more nicer parts of the day more tolerable. And it actually IS kind of relaxing and calming, of sorts.

So go figure, I’m holding myself together. Still SO much looking forward to everyone who doesn’t live here leaving tomorrow morning, but I think thanks to the zentangles and sitting down to draw more when I get annoyed, I might just be able to hold onto my sanity until then.

And here you go, today’s zentangles so far:

Zentangle3

Zentangle2

The Big Christmas Fail, aka: “Did I hope I’d do better this year?!”

Hello from the abyss. Or not anymore the abyss, I suppose, but I spent enough time hanging around there that I still recall it quite well. And maybe the most terrible part is that nothing even happened. Everyone was good, the atmosphere was mostly relaxed, nobody except grandma gave me stupid looks or remarks, and mom let me get away with a little more attention-seeking than usual. Just what I had hoped for.

I am what happened. I, and the whole gift giving, niceness and appreciation thing.

Since I already knew that the one thing I had secretly hoped to be getting was not going to be there, the according disappointment of that was already dealt with and I really hoped this might make the whole gifts ordeal a bit easier this time around. So much for the plan. Unfortunately the one thing I hadn’t taken into account is that I am perfectly capable of creating calamity all on my own, even when nothing untoward whatsoever happens.

Because technically all went well. I managed to cope with the stuff I got. I managed to cope with the stuff everyone else got. I managed nicely. Not all on my own, okay, but with a little help by mom who kept assuring me with smiles and cuddles that everything was alright, I managed.

Until it was my mom’s turn to get her presents. I wanted to go first to give her my present, because she was the only person I had a present for. I had gotten her a little black bracelet with colored skulls and stars on it and had made her a card (if one true to my kind of Christmas spirit. See below.). So far so good. She opened her present and was pleased with it, thanked me with a hug and kiss and said she liked it and I could see that she meant it. So for a moment I was feeling really good there.

ChristmasCardWithSkull

Until it was everyone else’s turn to give mom their presents. Especially my siblings’. My brother gave her a gift certificate for a spa treatment. My one sister, who’s about as old as me, gave her a stunning glass globe for the tree and a photo book full of amazing black and white photographs she had taken herself. And my oldest sister gave her a gold necklace with the prettiest golden pendant. Yeah, like real gold.

And as bad as I know comparisons are, it really hit me bad that they had all given her those wonderful, thoughtful things that she really loved – whereas I had given her a bracelet with skulls worth about a fiver, and as a matter of fact, it’s a bracelet I would love to wear, but not so much she.

Mortification, humiliation, embarrassment, self-hatred, contempt for myself, inferiority, wretchedness . . . you name it, I felt it. In overwhelming intensity. And I was convinced everyone must feel the same about me.

You might or might not be able to imagine the emotional drama that arose from that. It lasted about three hours, during which I not only demonstrated my perfect inability to cope with my own emotions, but also my effectiveness in spoiling things not only for myself, but also for everyone around me by occupying mom with my screaming and crying and wailing, bringing everything celebratory to a standstill. And over what? Over nothing, really, except my deplorable frame of mind.

I suppose the good news is that everyone (save me and grandma, probably) took it in relative stride, and also that I did not swallow my feelings to later silently wander off, seeking to get myself fucked for punishment by the next best guy I found, like my sister’s husband. That is progress, of sorts. Kind of pathetic progress, but I guess I can’t afford to be picky when it comes to progress and need to take what I can get.

I just seriously hope that was all the drama this Christmas. I’m exhausted now. Everything is back in relative order, and I really, really want to stay it that way please. Bring on the fairy dust and magic sparkles.

And the Christmas Challenge begins

I was bored yesterday evening and drew this picture. It’s how Christmas feels to me. It has got its nice moments, things that I like, but right at the center of it is the Big Abyss Of Christmas Dreadfulness and when I misstep or get a push in the wrong direction, I’m headed downwards. Unfortunately everything Christmas takes place really close to the edge of the abyss.

Challenging Christmas

And the “fun” is already starting, it’s not even Christmas yet and already I fell into the abyss. I had very, very cautiously wished for something this Christmas. Something that I could have gotten, something the odds weren’t even too bad for getting, so I had foolishly allowed myself to picture in my head the nicety of getting it. I told nobody that I actually wanted this thing, because, well, deep down I don’t really feel like I deserve to ask for things and don’t want to make myself vulnerable by telling someone what I want.

Anyway, I had foolishly allowed myself to hope for it. Well, turns out today already that I even when the odds had been good, fortune was not on my side and because I had dared to hope, I was terribly disappointed when it turned out so differently than I had hoped. Now I hate myself for having hoped in the first place, for having been so stupid to set my heart on it, despite knowing better and disappointed that what I had already pictured in my mind is now not going to come true. So I’m disappointed and sad for not getting what I had stupidly hoped to get, angry at myself for not keeping from hoping and to make matters worse, mom said I could have just told her beforehand and that would have been it, but now it’s too late, which means I’m doubly angry at myself, and doubly disappointed and ready to be done with the holidays.

Familiar feelings of being the one who misses out while everyone else is happy. A painful, sad and abandoned feeling, yet it’s oddly comforting. Maybe because of the familiarity.

What a start into the holidays, head-first into abyss. I’m halfway out again by now, but even so, Christmas feels like disaster waiting to happen. I won’t get as much time to post, so if I’m not around, I’m probably dealing with the abyss in one way or another, whether it be near it, in it, or whatever.

Merry Christmas.

Childhood Sexual Abuse – a picture poem

The upcoming holidays are triggering for me. I know it and in recent years I tried to hide from it. That didn’t work so well. So this year I have decided to look it in the face and get ahead of it, maybe. Who knows, it might steal some of the thunder. And if not, at least my therapist is going to be proud of me.

That’s a childhood picture of me – one of the few G-rated ones in existence, and the only one where I didn’t know I got my picture taken. The look on my face is 100% genuine and mirrors the way I felt better than words could.  I scanned the photo, edited the background out and put it along with a little poem I wrote to go with it. (It reads top, bottom, left, right.)

 

Child Sexual Abuse 3

Ideas for Coping With the Holidays Despite Mental Health Issues

Making Christmas Fun

Since I’m already struggling with the looming calamity that’s called Christmas, my mom suggested I write down my ideas for making it a better experience than in previous years. So here we go, my ideas.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Idea 1: Let’s keep it simple.

I have an (adopted) grandmother who would love to make any new Christmas the biggest and most glamorous family Christmas that the history of Christmases has ever seen. Yup, the same grandmother who still calls me “that girl”. But the more fuss, the more I am afraid of messing up and spoiling it for everyone. So let’s keep it simple, please.

Idea 2: Let’s keep some familiar routines.

Our routines mean a lot to me. I like to know what happens when. I know many of our routines don’t go well with the holidays, but losing the routines is really hard for me, and if we could maybe keep some of them at least, it would probably help.

Idea 3: Let’s have breaks from the family / alone time with my attachment person.

Having everyone there is stressful. I fret that my mom will like everyone else better than me. That I won’t get what I need. I’d like to have breaks from that, breaks that I can spend alone with my mom, so I don’t get too overwhelmed.

Idea 4: Let me know that you know it’s hard for me.

Okay, I don’t really need to suggest that to my mom, as she’s already doing that, but I want to say that I appreciate it a lot. It really IS hard, even to prepare for Christmas, and it’s giving me all kinds of stress. Having my mom acknowledge that even when I’m functioning on a level way below what would be expected of someone my age, I could be doing much worse and am actually working hard to keep up even this low level of functioning.

Idea 5: Let’s gently watch out for nice moments together.

I tend to get preoccupied with everything that does not work out, goes not as planned, with what I’m not good enough at, and with negative feelings that arise. While I hate it when someone tries to shove all that’s good in my face and tells me to appreciate that instead, I think I could use some gentle prompts to find out what things I do like, what I am doing well, and what feels good about the whole Christmas deal.

Idea 6: Let me know I’m not alone, but have a go-to place for all that’s sad, too.

Again, that’s something I don’t really need to suggest to my mom, but as it’s important for me, I write it down anyway. I tend to keep my struggles and sadness to myself for too long, because I don’t want to spoil the holiday for anyone. Which works until I can’t cope anymore and stop caring about everyone else. So it’s really helpful that my mom is sensitive to how I feel and gives my sad and troubled feelings space, too.

Idea 7: Let me know that if I can’t take any more of it, that’s okay, too, and help me with a face-saving escape plan.

Just what it says, really. I’m very worried I’m going to look like a baby or like I’m totally incapable or retarded or something in front of everyone. That’s horrible. Knowing that if I absolutely can’t take it anymore, I can get away from it all in a way that feels safe and does not make me look terribly inept, would help enormously.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That’s what I came up with. Do you have ideas that help you cope with the holiday season?

Riches – a lighthearted poem on a little everyday insanity

Riches,Riches poem1

It’s a poem I wrote in response to a show I saw on TV about how people go Christmas shopping. It’s meant in a fun and lighthearted way, but I think it’s got a little truth at the core.  Since the picture turned out a bit small to read it well (and I also made some spelling mistakes), here is what it reads:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Riches
by Lola

Riches, riches people gather
spoon of gold and couch of leather
expensive car’s no luxury
tinsel in the treasury
who has got the biggest jewel?
is the question that is fuel
to the common man’s desire
which makes him withstand hell and fire
on his eternal quest for more
losing sight of solid shore.

The sea of riches will fulfill
man’s addicted strive until
the grass next door seems greener still.

By the way, it doesn’t matter
what kind of riches people gather
as long as they collect with greed
stuff that they don’t really need
just to show off their possession
or – respective – their profession.
The thing itself is not of value
(Of course that’s not what they would tell you!)
It’s other people’s praise they seek
– what other people about them speak.

Which in itself does not give credit
to self esteem (well, if they had it).
A content life? They can forget it.

This is the truth you must endure:
Gather riches and stay poor!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In my approach to see the good things about Christmas, I wish for everyone to keep in mind and to appreciate the things that really matter in life and to remember that those are rarely found under a tree! 😉

Have a Merry Scary Christmas

ChristmasTreeLightning

Christmastime is a bittersweet and challenging time for me.

On the one hand I like stuff like Christmas lights, and how pretty and sparkly and festive everything looks. I like that mom makes Christmas cookies and that there are stockings and we make gingerbread houses and in a way I also like that I see my siblings and that everyone comes home for Christmas.

At the same time, every year anew Christmas brings a merry bunch of challenges. I can name those more easily than the nice things, in fact. The most important ones for me are:

1. Painful feelings. Ever since I can remember Christmas gave me a feeling of want and need and missing out. On TV, at school, at stores, everywhere are pictures of what could be and should be. Suffice it to say that Christmas never even came close to living up to that at my childhood home and that I always felt abandoned at Christmas. I can still feel it today and it’s a weird, painful feeling.

2. Missing my birth mother. Well, okay, maybe not missing HER, as in her real self. More like missing what could have been. Mourning that I don’t even know if she’s still alive. That I lost her for good. I guess a piece of my heart still belongs to her, for what I always wished we would have had, and Christmastime reinforces that she’s not there for me and never was. That hurts.

3. Flashbacks. I can only guess that Christmastime must not have been all that merry for me in my childhood home, because random Christmassy things give me flashbacks of the real scary, threatening kind that give me physical sensations and feel like I’m about to get killed. I absolutely DREAD those flashbacks. If I could get rid of only one thing, this would be it.

4. The house bustling with people. I kind of like that everyone comes together and that everyone enjoys seeing each other and being with the family. I like that there are proper family dinners and that things are quite like I always figured they were supposed to be. But having all those people around stresses me and the Borderline part of me wishes they’d never show up in the first place, because for sure everyone will like everyone else better than me and mom will forget I’m even there when she can also be with them.

5. Family traditions. It makes me sad that my family has so many of their own, that I am not a part of, because they have a much longer history together than with me. It’s not so painful in everyday life, but on special occasions like Christmas I can feel it clearly. It makes me feel like I’m not really a part of the family in the same way as they are, even when mom assures me that they all started out the same way when they were born into the family. I guess having been “born” into the family only three years ago, I still have a lot of catching up to do.

6. Gift giving. I really wish we could skip that part. I have a persistent voice inside my head that tells me I deserve nothing, can give nothing that would be of value to anyone and that whatever people give me, they don’t mean it, and that if they act like they like what I give them, they lie. With my conscious, rational mind I know that’s not true, that it is just what I was trained to think when I was little, but shaking the feeling off is a whole different matter!

What makes Christmastime scary on top of the unpleasant moments is that any of those things can pop up anytime, with no or little warning. Right in the middle of something nice or fun, any of those nasty crap things can strike like lightning. (Get my picture up there? 😉 ) There might be a brief rumble in the skies that makes me aware it’s coming, then it strikes. That makes me reluctant to enjoy myself and Christmas in the first place, because all the time I run the risk that something crappy spoils it all – for me and then for others as well when I act like the crazy person or become bitchy or make a scene.

But I am determined to try really, really hard this Christmas to make the best of it. I even feel like I am reasonably well prepared for the crap parts. That is new. And also I really, really want to get to a point where I can be aware of the crap and feel the crap, yet not get thrown off track completely, so that I can still see good things as well. Who knows. Maybe this Christmas.

A Letter to My Birth Mother

Dear Mother

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Mother,

you would probably be bewildered or feel bothered if you got this letter for real, plus I don’t know if you even still live where we used to live of if you’ve moved . . . so I’ll just put my words out there at nobody in particular. But they are meant for you.

In case you are wondering who this even is: it’s me, Lola, who you gave birth to 26 years ago this December. The girl you were “stuck with”, as you never neglected to point out, for 15 years. But believe me, I chose this even less than you did. I didn’t choose you to be my mother. I did not choose a sick pervert to be your husband. I did not choose to be conceived. Ending up with you and in the crap life you’ve made for yourself was just what I got dealt and have to live with somehow. So this is not really about you, but about me.

Every holiday season I think of you. Not because I choose to, either (trust me, I’d rather think of good stuff) but because I can’t help it. It’s been that way ever since I got removed from your life. I’ve been in a mental health institution of one sort or another year for year after that, watching pretty much everyone be released home for Christmas, even if it was only for a few hours, or if they were too unwell to leave, they at least got visits by their families.

Do you know how it feels to have nobody? To get a cheap card by a case worker, maybe, and that’s it? For me that put a razor sharp edge on every holiday light, on every decorated tree, on everything nice that Christmas could be so that instead of joy it gave me pain. It was nothing but a reminder that I was unwanted, unloved. Locked away and forgotten. Being the reason why poor staff who have to work on Christmas can’t go home to be with their families. One year it was only me and two staff. I took an overdose of pills on that day, only so I would get admitted to the hospital, where people worked anyway. So the staff could go home, because I couldn’t stand watching them be miserable at work only because of me. Because I had nowhere else to go.

But that’s not really what I want to tell you. That’s just to explain why I have been thinking of you every single December. Why I am thinking of you now.

What I really want to tell you is that it is not that way anymore. For once in my life I got lucky. I was offered a chance to participate in a pilot project for a study that aimed to compare the effects of home care in a host family in addition to therapy to a control group who remained within their usual environment. It may not come as much of a surprise to you that I got kicked out of that study for not sticking to the therapy rules, mother, as the one thing I remember you telling me the most was that I was a waste of time and a failure at anything I did.

What probably comes as a surprise for you, though, is that despite having gotten kicked out of the study, my family kept me. For no pay, nothing. They kept me because they wanted to. And you know what? They adopted me. Did you know it was possible to adopt adult people? See, I didn’t. But it is. I am officially theirs now. They wanted me.

I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like my family. They are everything you despise and look down on. You’d call them square suburbians who have no idea about anything but rich-people whims and woes, out of touch with what “real life” is like. But you know what? They have something you never had, as long as I knew you. They have hearts that they know how to use. They are kind and compassionate and probably way too good for me, but even so they want me. They give me a second chance to grow up. And who knows, maybe I will.

I am not spending Christmas alone anymore. I am with my family, who love me. And I love them back, more than I can say. You don’t know how scary that can be, truly loving someone and being desperately afraid of losing them. Feeling like anything I could possibly give them back is worthless, because years spent with you made me think it is.

What I am giving my family now – my love, my heart, my best shots at stuff, my everything – I wanted to give to you. You have no idea how much. I loved you and wanted to make you happy and proud of me and I wanted nothing more than for you to love me back. Part of me still wants that, even after all the hurt. But you didn’t want it. I gave you the ticket to my heart, time and again, stuffed it in your pockets when you weren’t looking and put it in your hands when you were too drunk to notice. All you did was tear it apart. I fixed it as many times as I could to give it to you again, hoping this time you’d want it, but you never did. And after a while I understood you. The ticket to my heart had turned into such a miserable, crumpled thing from all the tearing apart, throwing away and fixing, how could you possibly want it?

Ticket To My Heart

What I did not understand was that even a mangy ticket to a heart covered in scratches and scars could be worth wanting. My mom wanted it. My dad wanted it.

I am in a good place now, mother. Maybe not yet emotionally, but physically. And I am recovering. I am determined to use this chance and prove your words wrong.

I still think of you often and even when sometimes it’s really hard to live with the imprint you left on my mind and my heart, I think part of me still loves you, too. Other parts of me hate you and feel sad and lots of other things and there is certainly no room in my life for you, but from a distance, I love you. Still. If there is any part of you, no matter how small, that can think like a mother would, maybe that part will be happy to know that I am okay.

I wish you no ill. There were times when I did, but I don’t anymore. I am incredibly sad for everything we lost and can never again have, and the pain of your abandonment still sears like a fresh wound on some days, but I am coping. I have a life to live now. And even when the holidays are still difficult, I am learning to enjoy them now, too. I hope the good starts to outweigh the bad eventually.

May the same be true for you, too.

Farewell from a distance,
Lola

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Related entries:
– some memries of my mother
– on what my mother suffered from
– on my family
– on why my mom is a “good enough” parent, and why my mother wasn’t

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