Friday, February 4, 2011

Not Dead

I recently received an email from a reader asking if I were still alive. "Alive" being a relative term, in my opinion, I'm not really sure how to answer that. In any case, I'm not dead. Which is probably good, depending on who you ask.

I just wanted all my readers (those that are still left anyway) to know that I'm contemplating starting a private blog. Anyone who is interested in having access to it please send me an email.

For now I will leave you with some pictures of the neediest creatures on earth, also known as "the only things keeping me alive". Enjoy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

If You Lived Here, You'd Be Dead Now

The babies lay sprawled on the ottoman as I go back and forth between them, kissing their bellies, trying to elicit laughter. Bronwyn's buying what I'm selling but Brody is having none of it. Big, liquid eyes full of confusion gaze up at me. "What the fuck are you doing, ma?" I can almost hear the words coming out of his mouth. I have no idea.

Todd comes in from his cigarette with a goofy smile. "Haaaappyyyy Birthday" he sing-songs and I'm a little thrown. Holy shit, it's my birthday and I didn't remember. I mean, I knew it was coming for days because people saw fit to remind me of it by way of Starbucks gift cards, wine, and sweet, sweet cold hard cash. But it's like I don't care at all about it. I'm 35. I am a year older than my big sister. I've got diapers to change, mouths to feed, wash to fold, and a dress rehearsal to attend where I will witness my daughter perform a rousing tap dance to the tune of "Hounddog". I'm going through the motions of my life, the way I have for the past 35 years. Trust me when I tell you that merely participating in my life is not the same thing as joyfully living it.

Lately, I've been doing strange things to my fingernails and toenails. I'm not biting or grooming my nails, I'm like attacking them systematically. It started out as nervous picking at the base and has now graduated to active and purposeful infliction of injury. This is my fucking spare time project. I even have tools for this activity. My thumbs in particular are raw and bleeding. And my toes are so bad that it's painful to walk.

I have a familiar feeling bubbling up again: revulsion. The desire to crawl out of my own skin. I am a snake shedding an old, scaly coat. A skinned rabbit hanging from a tree.

Am I unhappy? Decidedly not. I've said on this blog quite sincerely that my mind is amazingly empty of negative, depressive or suicidal thoughts. But that's just it - my mind is amazingly empty. There is a vapid numbness to my thought processes. I'm devoid of humor - even that dark and vicious humor that sustained me all those years in that virtual hell of my own making. The absence of sadness is not the same thing as being happy. It's like the way you're so grateful for the numbness that novacaine brings to avoid unspeakable agony, but when that numbness lingers and lingers and lingers - well that...that's just a different kind of pain.

Last year at this time, I was sinking into quicksands of madness and despair. When insanity knocked, I answered the door. I invited him in for coffee. And then I hit him over the head with a vase and stole his identity. It's easier to say, "I'm crazy" than to take responsibility for my failures as a human being, to admit that my 35 years have been a series of mistakes and wrong turns and, mostly, of standing still. When you look in the mirror and still don't know who you are looking at and you haven't the foggiest idea of what you believe in, throwing on a cloak of crazy can be pretty appealing. The problem is that once you do that, once you try that thing on and like how it fits you have to really commit. It's a cause you have to be willing to die for.

I'm not saying it's always a choice. But to a certain extent, for people like me, it is. Once I have the tools to combat irrational thoughts and ridiculous feelings, I can choose to use those tools or I can put them away and pretend that they don't exist. I can wallow in the perpetual grief I experience for the loss of my sister. I can feel sorry for myself that I had to sacrifice my breasts for a life I'm not even sure that I want to live. I can be angry for losing my childhood and young adulthood to a cult, a belief system that tortured and controlled me. Or I can try to feel...something else. Maybe it's merely a delusion that there are other options for someone like me, a person so very paralyzed by fear and possibility that I build a wall all around me and then despair that I am lonely.

I think back to last year and I realize that my desire to die was very real. I reached a crossroads and pretended to make a choice. I said, "Gwen, either you will go into that wall at full speed or you will embrace life." What better way to embrace life then to have a baby? But put in that perspective those choices became one and the same. For me, I think that having a baby was just a very clever way to die. What is more life murdering than this - this thing that I am doing here? All day long, a zombie performing rote tasks in the service of others. Two babies and a toddler- a perfect excuse for getting out of doing anything real at all. I am a ghost of a person, a skinned corpse hanging on a meat hook in an industrial freezer. It's sad, really, because I know that something living once hummed inside of me, this huddled wraith who doesn't even bother to crouch in dark corners. But that little heartbeat is gone now, a distant thud. There is only the shell, a person all hollowed out and sleep deprived. I love my children with all my heart - blue eyed, smile faced cherubs - but they have killed me., I did that. That's the thing with suicide. You have to do it yourself.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mi Hijo en el Sombrero

So Liv made this at school today:

And I couldn't resist doing this:

Happy Cinco de Mayo to all those who celebrate it and to all those who just use it as an excuse to overindulge in tacos and get shit-faced drinking Tequila!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Death of a Blog

My blog didn't just die. I think it was murdered. I was there, in the moment, composing in my head, scribbling ideas on restaurant napkins, looking at the world through a twisty lens, crossing my fingers for strange events and other blog fodder. I was a blogger, not big time, but I had readers - really awesome readers who thought about what I wrote and cared about what happened to me, what upset me, what woke me up in the night.

But something stabbed the heart of me. I found myself abandoning this thing, this glorious thing that had become so precious to me. Something broke inside of me and I could not go on.

Wait. That's kind of a lie. Presently, I'm more fixed than I've ever been. My emotions and thought processes are all spackled and glued and scotch taped up. It not a neat result but a functional one. If my life were a movie and I rewound it a year, I would be standing on the balcony of a tall building looking longingly at the pavement below. I would be holding a bottle of painkillers in my hand and wondering how they would feel going into my belly all at once. I would be driving my car, staring down at my hands and waiting expectantly for the hard turn into oncoming traffic. I wanted to die something awful. It was all my little brain could think about. The end of Gwen. The end of me.

There is a vicious pattern to my mind. It takes me to really gross places at intervals. Like this bubbling up of self-hatred. It makes me want to hurt myself in the sickest ways. I've given up on trying to figure out why it comes. I only know that it does.

But not lately. Not today.

This is the problem. It seems I only have the ability to write beautifully when my soul is in a hideous condition. There exists in me a strange mating of creativity and misery.

I wonder if I have anything worthwhile to say while I am well. If anyone would care to know that part of me.

I know the sickness will return. It is a very reliable visitor and arrives in many forms. But for now I am all OK and boring as hell.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Float like a Butterly, Sting like a Bee

This is what happens when you misbehave in the Jackson house:

Ok, not really. But what you see over my daughter's eye is not purple eyeshadow applied in a game of "Let's pretend I'm an Atlantic City hooker." It's a genuine, bona fide shiner. Some child didn't bother to look before coming down the slide and slamming her fucking foot into my daughter's beautiful eye. A playground is a dangerous place and apparently rife with miniature assholes. If anyone tries to mess with my girl again, they'll have this to contend with:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Devil in a Blue Onesie

This life is a whirl of soiled diapers, milk stained bottles in the sink, Desitin smeared on tiny asses that are too cute for words. But mostly this life is swollen with desperation born of post partum misery and exhaustion.

Behold the face of a torturer -

This photo was taken at 3 am. Gaze into his magnetic eyes - but not for too long. He is a wolf in cute baby's clothing, a charlatan selling torment and crippling lethargy in the guise of coos and helplessness. Here is his accomplice:

Cute bow? Check. Precious baby pout? Yep. Beady, piercing eyes? You betcha. Bronwyn is the biggest bitch to ever don footed pajamas. She plots and schemes from her lair, otherwise known as the comfy swing. My babies chain-suck binkies instead of Parliaments and wail like banshees when they don't get their way. I am a prisoner of war. Their plaintive wails at 1:02 am, 2 am, 2:15 am, 2:45 am, 3:07 am, 3:55 am, 4:00 am, 4:10 am, 4:32 am, 4:40 am, and 5:15 am surely violate the Geneva Convention.

I think Brody actually wrote "I will break you" on the nursery wall with his urine the other night. He will.

Yesterday, I held Bronwyn up, pulled the waist of her red stretchy pants up to the chest of her blue onesie and made her dance like a marionette to the tune of "I can go, go, go in my Hover-round, this way, that way, all over town". This made me laugh maniacally, hysterically like a person driven mad by a peculiar brand of torment. The only way I can exact revenge is to make them look ridiculous.