Wisdom of an Ancient, If I Could Revise the Past, and Hyperlexic Hazards

parenthood--z

This can’t be real. She has lipstick on. And mascara. I was in maternity clothes for the following 4 months after my son was born because of my poorly done C-section incision….and looked like a complete train wreck for months after that!

Sometimes I read the garbage on various newsfeeds when I’m bored. I shouldn’t do that for many reasons. Hyperlexic people like me speed read, and are compelled to read anything and everything that’s in print (even though I have become more discerning in later years) which means I still take in a lot more unsavory stuff than most people.

I’m pretty good most of the time at scrolling past fake news and garden variety bullshit that I find offensive, or assorted drivel that just pushes the wrong buttons.

Media consumption is much like food consumption. Some stuff is good for you, but difficult to wade through. Some stuff just plain tastes nasty and will make you sick. Other stuff is ok in moderation. Then there is just plain poison.

Normally I don’t read mushy tales of devoted spouses (mostly because I am pissed at myself for tolerating 20+ years of drunk-n-stupid abusive bullshit from mine) or stories involving joyful motherhood. The birth of my only child was many things, none of them pleasant, with the exception of the fact that somehow by some miracle he came out of it healthy, in one piece and blissfully unscathed. Otherwise my “birth experience” was an exemplary display of Murphy’s law in childbirth, a harrowingly narrow avoidance of maternal mortality due to medical ineptitude, and being brought to the realization that my then husband and male genetic contributor of said offspring is a worthless, contemptuous ass.

Being reminded of that experience is painful.  I should have been able to enjoy my son when he was first born, but instead I was sick, browbeaten and powerless.  It was a horrible feeling. Especially wondering why I survived all the medical errors when technically I should have died- and I survived for what?

For many years I wondered why I didn’t die- my parents would have gotten the son they wanted but never got. One can question God and wonder about His decisions and ponder the moral question of why expendable and broken people with deep scars and missing pieces who still linger about suffering and dying a little more every day, suffering slowly while children and young people with lives worth living just die.  I’m still sucking up valuable oxygen for what it’s worth. I really wonder why.

These things disturb me.

Hindsight is 20/20, and with this in mind, I realize that after all these years it shouldn’t bother me. But it does.

I will freely admit I am jealous of women who have men who support them, men who actually love them and their children.

It pisses me off that when I had the one child I could have that his entire birth and infancy was made a nightmare first by my own health complications and the poor medical care I received, then by my worthless ex and his selfishness and hostility.

I’m sorry but I can’t forget being completely at the end of my strength, barely able to stand, being held together with way too many stitches, crying endlessly, holding my newborn while my ex rages, “How dare you bring that thing in MY house…what the hell are you going to do with it…” and so on.

All I could do was sob uncontrollably, helpless and mired in the deepest despair I’ve ever known. It’s hard to find words to describe this even now after a lifetime of space and time in between. Forgiveness, yes, but healing from such a vicious wound, probably not this side of eternity.

And it still took me two years after that to leave the son of a bitch. He would put up a good front in front of my family. He played the game when people were looking, but behind closed doors I was afraid. And he was downright hostile.

There’s something about being hit when you’re down that sticks with you. There’s also something about reading about perfect husbands who love their wives and kids and actually help with the nightmare during and after childbirth that fans the flames of that resentment, sharpens the sting of that pain, and even stirs up my jealousy toward the “perfect people,” even after almost 30 years.

I have a thick skin and am not easily rattled over most things at my age, but I still should not read those kinds of sickeningly sweet stories. Maybe there are guys like that, and more power to the women who find such gems. I just never personally experienced such bliss.

I should have held out for one of those even had that meant I would have lived alone as a “mother” of only dogs and cats. Then again, the axiom: “hindsight is 20/20” applies.

cat lady.jpg

Cats don’t drink beer, smoke cigarettes, or yank me out of bed by the hair at 11PM so I can prepare food for an ungrateful sot who will pass out before he can eat it, just sayin.

I don’t regret my son’s existence or my granddaughter’s for that matter, but if I had things to do over I would have followed my gut on that hot, hot, stinkingly humid hot day in August of 1990 and said hell no, a million times NO to my ex.  Something in the back of my head was telling me I was insane to marry such a self-absorbed basket case mommy’s boy, and Something was right.

Should have said the same thing to Jerry five years later too, but that is another story.

The wisdom I have to pass along on this front is that it’s probably better to hold out for the highly improbable than to settle for the unacceptable.

Some young women- me included, long ago- fall for a man just because he’s vertical and breathing. That’s not enough. It’s not worth it if he has nothing to bring to the table.

Indifferent_Ren

Granted, I have my sensory, emotional and relational issues, and I am not physically beautiful by any standard, but I still deserve better than moochers, drunks and narcissistic ne’er-do-wells.

And I am better off to hold my standards high, even though it’s too late for me to have a positive experience becoming a mother and raising a child.  Said child is 28 years old with a child of his own.

I have no tolerance for drunk-n-stupid, or of being berated, devalued and used. It took me over 25 years to figure that out, or more accurately, to decide they were wrong and I deserved better.

If anything mine is a cautionary tale. I can’t change the past but I can move forward.

And I can stop reading cheesy clickbait pieces especially when someone is gushing about their perfect man, children, family, etc.

Humor and sarcasm are more appropriate domains for me when I have a hankering for the trite or mundane.

I should try to keep my reading confined to higher pursuits such as Scripture (always timeless,) scientific and historical non-fiction, and selected classics. I gave up the bodice rippers and various other sleazy tomes that would be porn if they were illustrated in high school.

bodice ripper

Sadly, I had quite a collection of said bawdy literature during my freshman year of high school.

The occupational hazards of the hyperlexic…

Maybe I should go and read some Stephen King.  His politics may be dreadful, but his stories are great this time of year.

Squirrels in the Family Tree, the Cat Lady, and Everyone Has an Uncle Bob

Every family has its skeletons in the closet.  This is an encouragement to me, knowing I have ancestors who were crazier than I am.  Then again, heredity explains a lot.

Part of the fun in genealogy research is finding all the squirrels in the family tree, and I’m discovering I have more than my fair share in mine.  It’s been a bit of an adventure finding out which family members had issues with mental illness and to what degree.  Let’s see, for starters, Mom is bi-polar.  Her biological father was certifiably crazy- most likely he was bi-polar (with an emphasis on bizarre manic episodes) also as well as being an incorrigible alcoholic.  He died at age 53 of cirrhosis of the liver.  Thankfully Mom never had a taste for liquor.   Mom didn’t need alcohol to go off in a frenzy.  Her manic episodes were bad enough without it.

Mom and her biological father are not the only ones by a long shot though.  One of my great-uncles was institutionalized most of his adult life, after he had a severe head injury while working for the railroad. It was really quite tragic.  Oddly enough on his death certificate the cause of death was listed as pneumonia resulting from “Huntington’s Chorea,” or Huntington’s Disease, which is (99% of the time) a genetic disease.  In almost all instances, one of your parents has to have it in order for you to get it.  He was 46  when he died, but neither of his parents had it.  However, the tremors, violent outbursts and general insanity this poor guy suffered from was more than likely connected with brain damage.  I would be curious to find out, but I would guess that rather than Huntington’s Disease, he probably had damage to the frontal lobe of his brain. That wasn’t inherited- which is sort of a relief, but still sad.

Alcoholism is a big character flaw on both sides of my family.  My great-grandfather and another great uncle were notorious for boozing.  Being a drunk isn’t necessarily what I would call mental illness, but way too many drunks drink to drown their depression and despair.  I was enough of a binge drinker in my youth, but thank God the whole binge drinking thing lost its charm for me.  Dad for all practical purposes is a tee-totaler (he likes a very occasional beer) and Mom is a complete tee-totaler, so we never really had to deal with alcohol at home except when my oldest sister came home wasted from time to time in high school.   I was smart enough to crash where I partied when I got wasted.  She is still somewhat of a casual drinker but not a real boozehound.  Of course Mom thinks drinking a social beer now and then will turn you into a lush, but it really depends on the person.  If you’re drinking every night or downright getting stupid with the binge drinking then you need to evaluate your relationship with booze.  I don’t have much use for it other than a very occasional glass of wine.

Then there are the relatives you just don’t want to claim because their behavior makes you really wonder how much DNA you share with them.  I had some really interesting ones.  Aunt Frances, for instance, was a 400# cat lady with a deep disdain for all things foreign (especially my old Subaru,) a loathing of ear piercings and earrings (thankfully she never got to see Steve-0’s 7/8 gauged earrings, or the SS helmet for that matter) and a general distrust of females who insist upon wearing makeup.   I have nothing against cats- I have three of them- but having thirty five of them wandering in and out of your house, eating you out of house and home and breeding uncontrollably is not the proper way to keep cats.  Sending half of your Social Security checks to Jimmy Swaggart probably wasn’t the best decision either, but she just couldn’t resist the televangelists when they appealed for cash.

Uncle Jack was actually one of my great-uncles.  He was a tiny dude, about 5’5″ and slightly built.  He had a withered hand, a taste for whiskey and he chain smoked unfiltered Pall Malls.  Every time I saw him, he always seemed to be either getting ready to go to jail for something or had just got out of jail for something.  He had some really hideous tattoos,  and used language that would make a trucker blush.

I had twin great-aunts- Glenna and Gwendolyn.  I don’t know for sure if they were identical twins or not, but they had the identical horrible bleach-blonde hair do.  I remember when Great-Grandma died (their mother) they got in a fist fight over her stuff, none of it worth a whole lot.  Gwendolyn was married to Uncle Bob- the one with the nudie pics all over his garage- who gave my sister a Budweiser when she was six or seven, and who would look up girls’ dresses if he got the chance.  They had a miniature poodle named Jacques who liked to hump people’s legs and piss on everyone’s hub caps.  Jacques went to the groomer, had his nails painted blue, and always smelled like girly perfume.  Dad always wondered why anyone would prissify a male dog like that, but they were kind of strange.

Everyone has an Uncle Bob- the family pervert.  Thankfully I only got to experience Uncle Bob once a year or less (Dad didn’t want us kids to be around alcohol, especially after the Budweiser Incident) but that was enough.  Everyone wondered why I would not run up and give him a hug.  First of all I am not a hugger by nature.  I am very selective about who I want to hug even today.  As a child I tried to avoid physical contact as much as possible.  So be happy with a handshake- and I was that way with most people I encountered.  I’m not being rude, but I don’t want you looking up my dress or trying to slip me the tongue.  Something about the nudies on the garage walls creeped me out.

This is NOT the Subaru DL I had, but it is the same model.  This one is a 1978, mine was a ’79.  Mine was also red -or at least it was painted red at the factory, before it oxidized, rusted, and ended up covered in fiberglass body filler, primer, duct tape and bumper stickers.  Either not many of them were built, or they just couldn’t handle Rust Belt winters.  It took a lot of duct tape to hold those marker lights in the fenders.