Living with chronic illness; be it physical or mental takes a ridiculously gross toll on everything in your life. There’s no “quick fix,” to being empty of even the energy to wash your own face in the morning, let alone clean your home like “normal” people do. (Please imagine my hugely sarcastic, eye rolling finger quotes being made in the air as I say normal. ) Cleaning during depression can be like climbing a mountain naked armed with a pencil and a pack of stickers. Medication is great, but it’s never an end all, be all, cure all. There will be days where your shit will simply not get together, personal hygiene becomes an afterthought, dishes pile in the sink, never or barely rinsed, and you’re pretty sure the clothes on the floor in your room have become sentient. It’s overwhelming to look around you and see your home reflect the state of your mental, emotional and physical shambles—and knowing you should care, and you should do something; but you just can’t drum up enough feeling to do anything than feel miserable and not caring. And then that sends you on a lovely guilt spiral that makes you want to do anything even less. And the cleaning never happens.
Protip kid: nobody fucking knows what they’re doing either so they either wing it or hire someone to wing it for them
It is almost a new year and as tradition in this household dictates, it is a time of trying to pick up shit you haven’t done in seventy five thousand years in an attempt to better yourself. Maybe. A little better. Pick up some things. I guess? Anyway, what I mean is, Hello WordPress.
As you may have guessed, there was a hiccup a few months ago. We installed a new theme (that wasn’t Divi) and that theme pretty much turned all of our posts over the entirety of this blog’s internet life as unpublished/drafts….as well as posting 292931232 garbage? sample? posts of Lor Ipsapoop and pictures of women flashing butts in bathing suits.
I have nothing against women or men or gender fluid people in bathing suits, nor their butts. But that isn’t exactly what 2phatgeeks is all about. It’s not always about butts. Sometimes.
So after spending months trying to figure out WTF to do to fix it, given the super internet genius I am very much not, coupled with the announcement late 2018 that Google has decided to shove the middle finger at G+ users right in their eyes, I said fuck it. I’ll use a new theme. And I remembered my first theme love, Elegant Themes and how much I loved them .I thought I’d go by to see how they were doing. Too long; didn’t read: they were doing just fine and I love them and so I got Divi theme plus Divi builder, made this hot mess that is the new 2phatgeeks site and…
Promptly forgot how to write anything interesting. As you can see (and read) currently. I made a lot of drafts. One of them ironically about how to do stuff when you aren’t motivated to do stuff that never got finished. So there’s a great representation I guess of what reading this blog in 2019 will be like.
I’d like to go back to doing long winded articles about the games I end up playing this year, but I also did this thing that adults do–usually a lot sooner in their adult life than 40–and got a part time retail job. Which has been sucking my will to write like any good will sucking vampire would do. So I’m not sure where I will go with 2phatgeeks in 2019. Should I stick to what kinda worked? Which was just showcasing how much of a hyper active 3 year old trapped in a middle aged woman’s body I am? As well as my husband’s responses in dealing with this? Should I write about more truthful things? I don’t know.
Maybe that’s the secret with good blogs that no one is sharing too. Protip kid: nobody fucking knows what they’re doing either so they either wing it or hire someone to wing it for them, I imagine someone saying in a cheesey 1920’s info reel voice.
Either way. Hello there, it’s me again. What are we supposed adults going to be hoping for in 2019? And how have all of you been?
Picture it–(Sicily, 1947)–just kidding, it was probably around 1980-1981. I was roughly three or four years old. I lived in a tiny place in the frozen tundras of Alberta, a province in the great forested wilds of a country named Canada. The town was called Tin Town. Continue reading →
All of my life has been a silent war.
This battle was not a grand thing. There were no towering men and women in shimmering suits of armor; silver, gold or painted rainbows on a field of honor. There were no trumpets or galloping, no glory or majestic verses sung of my bravery as I fought because the battle sometimes happened between me and the bed. You don’t get stirring ballads when you struggle to put clothes on every morning. When you think: I don’t want to wake up, I want to go back to sleep and dream. I want to pull the blankets over my head and lay in the dark. I would battle to open my eyes and stare at my ceiling, listening to the sound of cats chasing each other through the house or the birds jabbering away at one another. Five minutes, ten minutes, sometimes an hour or three would pass as I drifted between a skittery sleep that skimmed the surface of deeper rest.
After the war to wake up then get out of bed came the fight to take care of myself. Putting one foot in front of the other felt like walking on the bottom of the ocean being crushed by the waves. My feet were in lead boots keeping me below the waves, too far where no sunlight reached.
Then came the skirmish on my apartment, the messes of every day life. A kitchen that needed sweeping. Clothes to be put away. Dishes to be done. Carpets to be vacuumed, bird cages cleaned, garden to weed, wash to be done, shower–day in day out the little things which everyone does was a knock-down-dragged-out-bloodless battle to perform. Inside my head I had to bark at myself. I had to yell and cajole and bribe. I would roll out of bed every day as tired as the next, whether I slept fifteen hours or eight. Tired when I woke up, tired when I went to sleep. Tired of being tired.
And when I made myself do the things people do day in and day out, it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t perfect enough. Something in my head would crouch down low and whisper like old scratchy mix-tapes that had been used over and over again until static hissing could be heard behind everything–never good enough, The Thing would say. It would back itself into a corner high above every achievement I would ever do: a painting, a clean house, a piece of sculpted clay, a bite from a bird, a mess that needed cleaning, a piece of writing–awful–The Thing hissed. It’s horrible, just like you. It would begin. And I’d do my best not to pay attention to it but there’s no running from your own head, there’s no safety on the battlefield when it’s inside your body with a part of you that never goes away.
You’re disgusting looking, fat and ugly, The Thing would cackle at me when I tried on new clothes or dress up a little and put some make up one.
This is garbage, it would announce when I was finished with drawing a picture. No matter what anyone says or tells you, you’ll never be good enough whenever someone complimented me.
You can’t it would say when I tried to convince myself I could.
You won’t when I fought to tell people I would. And when I didn’t, it would laugh gleefully and point out that I didn’t–just like it said I would.
You are completely worthless, it would tell me day in and day out. Until I lost any arrows to fire back at it to silence it.
All of your mistakes all of your life–every one of them we can remember–let us play them in your head every night on loop, dissect them, point out your flaws and your imperfections until you cannot sleep and you cannot stand yourself–The Thing would do, every night when I tried to go to bed. And it did. And I would watch the things I did in the past with growing shame until I tore myself up inside.
I lived with this thing for so many years that it became part of me.
Cut an onion incorrectly: you’re an idiot it would hiss.
Accidentally drop and break something: See how worthless you are? You can’t keep anything.
I tormented myself over things that should never have tormented me. I lost sleep over the things we all do, the mistakes me make as children and adults. I agonized over my weight and sabotaged every single thing in my life that I had to be happy about. I started listening and believing to that Thing in my head until it did begin to ruin everything I did.
I stopped drawing.
I stopped making things out of clay.
I stopped writing.
I stopped playing the games I loved to play.
I stopped reading the books I loved to read.
I stopped doing things around the house until it piled up and took hours to do them instead of a few minutes.
I stopped caring about myself and, I stopped caring about it.
I argued and said things to Shawn over things that were so ridiculously stupid I am ashamed I argued over them.
And then my mother died.
I lost something so important to me that I could not put into words what had happened. A part of my life that had always been there (and a part that you know some day will go–but you never want to admit it, because she’s your mother. And she’s forever. Always.) was no longer. I was thousands of miles away and I hadn’t the chance to say good bye.
The Thing in my head reared up from its corner and spilled as ink across my mind. It took over everything inside of me. The words and the things that it said to me bombarded me day in and day out. I did nothing. I wanted nothing. I grieved but I hated myself. I let my mind rip myself apart as it never had before. I could do nothing to stop it. Over the decades I used to be able to fight back: This will pass, I would tell The Thing when it hissed. Tomorrow all will be better. You’ll see. I am a good person. I really am. I have nothing to be sad or angry about. Everything’s okay and I will be fine, I always am. But this time I couldn’t reach for those words. I couldn’t convince myself that things would be all right anymore. I couldn’t find it in myself to believe and I couldn’t stop crying. I felt as if I were always on the bottom of the ocean and that I hadn’t seen the surface in years.
Then one day, The Thing in my head in a voice as clear as ringing metal: You would be better off dead.
The cacophony inside my head fell to silence and even I felt myself stop moving and go still. What The Thing had said had frightened me so much that all the little voices that toss about in my head–leaves in a pile stirred by the wind–dropped out of the air. I felt afraid. The Thing had said something that it had never said before and I knew with a clarity and a sharpness that it wasn’t just grief for my mother. It wasn’t just the loss of someone I had loved. That the years of The Thing living in my head, ruining everything I had taken joy from was not how it was supposed to be.
I knew that I could no longer do it alone. I knew that I needed to stop waging a silent war and tell someone. I needed help. So I told my husband–I told him everything I had never told him over the years. I talked and I talked and I made myself say things that The Thing in my head fought with me tooth and nail not to say. I talked, and then I spoke to a doctor and spoke with friends. Anyone who would listen.
The Thing? The Thing was depression.
April 2nd, huh. You missed out on the really fun shenanigans that often happen during April fools by only a day. That means that, depending on how you felt and how dad felt, April fools jokes were still going to be played whether you wanted them or not. I don’t remember all the April’s Fools the two of you played with me and with each other. Continue reading →
You are my little planet, my earth. Hard packed from the way my feet pace back and forth in your heart–worrying about the things you’d never think of. Because really, they aren’t things that were meant to be worried about. Do you think I will die first? What will happen if you do? You know, I cannot live without you. I would have to go right after. You watch as I say these things and wring my hands as old women in markets haggling over the price of life. Your earth is soft and cool; never too hot or baked from Floridian sunrises. I like to bury my toes deep into you, because I know that through you…I will grow.
You are not a rock. I hope you will never be a rock. Rocks are too hard, too tough. They feel stress fractures and before you know it they’ve split and grown harsh edges to cut with.
You are the grass covered hill waiting in the shadow of a sunny day to cool me. So I can lay down in long plants, watch the clouds of your mind take the shapes and forms of love for me. And I feel nothing but peace. If it rains, I’ll just roll down the hill a little bit, until the worst of it hits the side.
I would have marked you a Knight. But there are problems with Knights, too. So bound up in rigid codes or behaviors. So wrapped up in their armor that sometimes they forget there’s more to see of the world outside the slit of a visor.
You are my little planet. My cool grass. My soft hill. My reason. My husband.
I love you.
There’s a little sand-golden house down a quiet road. Across from it, the wilds of Florida spike palm-shaped toward the sky, cardinals and their mates wheel over light gray shingled roof and perhaps three, four times a day a car will bumble along the road. Mostly mini-vans that remind the onlooker of chubby honey bees.
The front yard is small but not-too small. There are tall trees with the essence of willow in the way they grow and bow, but decorated with bright red flowers. The lawn is just grass. The drive way is just a drive way. There is a large window in the front beside a screened in door that has flowering honey suckle nested well grown beneath it. Here, real fat-honey bees trundle along; flower to flower searching. The Florida sun is forgiving rarely, harsh often. Stucco, stuffing, wood and air conditioning keep it livable inside.
In the living room there is a cat sprawled out on the back of a brown micro-fiber couch recently cleaned, in the den near a slumbering computer is a black cat resting comfortably. In the dark of the living room with her bare feet on cold tile is a girl inside a woman who walks this new house with the eyes of a child. This is her castle. This is her castle which her knight-turned-King made her, all for her. (And the cats too. But still….mostly here.)
The King sleeps while she travels through her home-castle, a whisper of skin on tile, checking and re-checking every room as if afraid tomorrow it will all disappear and become but a dream. She touched the back of a couch, the ears of her cat, trails her fingertips along a counter top and stops to watch the glow from the microwave light on her glass-top stove surface. The fridge hums and she swears it’s a happy tune. She cannot sleep, but it is the good kind of cannot-sleep. The kind where the excitement for tomorrow and the next day and the next keep your eyes awake.
Then, she sees it.
First, it is a portrait of a woman that looks just like here. She is thinner in face, thinner in hair, but her smile is the same and her eyes are blue.
Then, she sees another thing.
A sweater several sizes too big for even the girl, that used to belong to the woman smiling in the picture.
The girl feels her eyebrows bunch together in swift emotion. Her eyes wrinkle and a pain ticks behind them that begins a wavering in her sight. The air in her lungs pushes forcefully out as the tears well and she fights them. She touches the sweater. It’s white and it is soft and warm and it was once hers. But it will never be like touching her ever again.
“Mom,” she says quietly in her house. The King snores, a cat meows, a fridge hums. “Mom–can you see? Can you see what’s happened and where I am? Do you know how loved I am? Did you know that everything was going to be all right and okay?” She needs a moment as she looks up to her ceiling fan. It’s turned off for the night. “Mom…I wish you’d made it. I wish you were here. I wish you could see how I truly ended up. How proud you would have been of me and of Shawn. And I wish you could have seen my friends. The love in my life right now.
She picks up the sweater and folds it neatly. Reverently. A garment of memories from a little child’s legend long past. She lays it against the side-corner of the couch in a way that seems as if the owner of the sweater just set it down on her way through. That perhaps she forgot it and would come back for it.
“Mom,” the little girl says. “I miss you.”
Once upon a time there were two phat geeks. They met and fell in love in a magical way over a series of ensorcelled tubes before meeting face to face. Their life was filled with cats, birds and the Land of Internet. They lived humbly for a long time with their parents and dreamed simple dreams. When they were able to, they rented a small space away from their parents in a hot and treacherous jungle named BugLandia, occasionally called Florida. The space was fine at first, but then they found three little green and blue feathered souls that needed rescuing and then the space wasn’t so much space as it was living in a giant bird cage with bird cages within it.
They dreamed of a place of their own with just a little more space. Not much. Just a bit. They never ever in their wildest dreams thought they could afford anything really nice, like some of the other castles and fortresses in BugLandia, so when they began looking the looked at rustic little cottages that needed much roof-thatching and rebuilding.
They had an awfully hard time of it. Every choice was either too much expense to fix or missing important things like…toilets…entire kitchens. Walls.
It was a long journey on Sundays Untold for what seemed like forever–three–months and they kept saying, “Maybe,” to the magical lady who showed them these places but ultimately it turned into no.
And then one day the planets aligned an a unicorn came down from the misty heavens leaving a trail of sparkles and those little marshmallows from that cereal with the leprechaun that has a lot of issues with his charms. The sun parted and harps played and they found The One.
They found a place to call home. Something far beyond their wildest dreams and perfect for them.
With the enchantment of their own pudgy feet they moved from their tiny place to the castle.
And they called this land, “The Phat Cave.” There were no sudden or inevitable betrayals.
They lived weirdly and phatly ever after.
[box type=”info”] On April 25th 2013 we finalized an offer on a home and moved out of our apartment. I am so happy and tired and tirappy I could explode into glitter bombs. [/box]
Do you remember how many times you had to tell me to shut up? To be quiet? To shhhh? Do you remember the nights which you’d put me to bed as soon as the sunset and you’d tell me in your mommy-is-serious-voice, “No singing, no
talking, no getting out of bed, all right?” And you would tuck me in, kiss my brow and leave the door half shut. (Because I was afraid of the dark.) But your words never made it through my head as I lay down in the half-dark and began dreaming of things from other worlds and other places, or playing out scenes in my head of things I’d wished I’d said or had happened. I’d talk and tell a story with my hands barely seen before my face in the glow of the half open door and see magic, see ghosts, see lands–I would see stories.
I always had words. I had too many words. When I grew up to me a teen I learned the wrong words, too. I learned the hurting, the angering and the cutting words that broke a parent’s heart and scarred a fellow child for life with their cruelty and heartlessness. I learned bigger words and newer words to hand-write into a drawer full of plastic binders packed with stories that (thankfully) would never see the light. And, I had a lot of yelling words. Between us, there was a lot of crying words.
It wasn’t until I grew older that our words softened and we began to speak–if not the same words–words that pretty much meant the same. We spoke gently, with smiles on our lips and apologies in our eyes. We learned to use these words to know one another. Years later, there were no more cutting or yelling or hurting words. They were just noises meant for mother and daughter.
And then you died.
I lost my words then. I didn’t know where to find them anymore. I lost more than my words, actually, and did not think they were important in the face of losing you. At least, I didn’t think they were important until I tried to tell the wo
rld about you, about us, about the things we said and where we were and what had happened. I realized that I had lost the words when I lost you. They quietly took up their skirts and made a funeral line to the back of my head and sat. They would not move.
You were my words. You were the reason why I wrote them. Yes, I wanted the world to read them–but I wanted the world to read them and understand that my words were for you. For my mother. And I wanted you to be here to read them and love them and be proud of me. I wanted you to open a book and cry happily when you first read the words, “For my mother, for all the stories she told me and all the words we’ve shared.”
But you were gone. And so were the words.
For a very long time, at least.Now I hear them. They are buzzing quietly at the back of my head. They want me to hear them but I do nothing about them. I don’t write the things they say and I don’t capture the imagines I daydream about. What’s the point? I think. You cannot hear them.
At night, I always dream of you. You are always chiding me for something: I didn’t do something–fold the laundry, wake up in time for the bus, clean the floor right–every dream you are chiding me for not doing something and I wonder if these are your words. Your last words to me–to listen. To listen, and to write.
It’s been a year.
I have written that sentence all week more times than I care, staring at a blank wordpress post page and trying to culminate thirty three years of my mother in one post. This is the ultimate task which I feel a real writer can face down and conquer…Writing a life in words and having the world understand.
I can’t seem to do this. No matter how many times I have written it and deleted it and re-written it and stared at a little black line that blinked and blinked and blinked, demanding, I can’t.
There’s so much I want to say but no way for you to hear it.
I have my tree up. I have the tinsel. My apartment is decorated. I miss you and look for you sometimes but don’t even know it until it’s too late. I’ll stand in the middle of my living room and puzzle out the christmas cards, the tree, the lights and wonder what am I missing? And then I remember.
All I am missing is you this year.
I have come so far this year and I wish I could show you. I wish I could tell you and talk to you and have you be even more proud than ever at all the leaps and bounds I have made just in 12 months alone. Sometimes I feel guilty–that I’ve done all this and you can’t see it, can’t experience it with me. You can’t share with me my excitement and hope about getting a new home (and I KNOW you loved house shopping.) You can’t see how much better I am now that I have admitted to my depression and am getting treatment. You don’t and won’t know how much sweeter my life has been thanks to the people I have met and known online; you won’t see how horrible my tree looks with it’s rainbow colored tinsel that seems as if christmas–like a big, over eating cat, came and horked up festiveness all over it. You can’t laugh at how crooked it is from all the times Isis crawled up it, and you can’t see the way I’ve covered my apartment in lights.
I’m always missing you, every day. It doesn’t get better and it doesn’t go away. I just…have learned to cope.
Is this what it’s like when someone loses a limb? I feel like you are here. I should call mom. I should tell mom about…I bet mom would love this…Mom would like to know..And then I remember.
You aren’t here.
You are the puzzle piece that I will be missing for the rest of my life.
You are the first puzzle piece of me that I have lost, too, and the hole that you have left is so wide and so vast some days I don’t know if I can cross it.
Other days, I throw a rope and climb because I have to. I don’t want to, but I do.
I try not to be too sad, though. It’s christmas and you would be so mad at me if I were. There’s lights, there’s tinsel, there’s ornaments, there’s christmas songs and peppermint and we haven’t gotten them yet but hopefully your favorite rainbow-cherry-flavored candy canes. There’s going to be a firepit at my mom in laws for Christmas eve and we’ll have cookies and coffee and drinks. Each hour of this month I have stood in the kitchen, stilled in the bedroom, paused in the shower, circled the living room and frowned at the kitchen– what am I missing?
I cannot believe it’s been a whole year.
I miss you.
April 1st, 1956 ~ December 11th, 2011
If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.
Kind woman, I give you my all, Kind woman, nothing more.
Little drops of rain whisper of the pain, tears of loves lost in the days gone by.
My love is strong, with you there is no wrong,
together we shall go until we die. My, my, my.
An inspiration is what you are to me, inspiration, look… see.
And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles,
Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one.
Happiness, no more be sad, happiness….I’m glad.
If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.