Mother/Daughter Date

I should be at the Hyrum, Utah, cemetery right now. My mom, grandma, and I had plans to visit the graves of our ancestors, Sarah Ann Haigh and Louis Frederick Miller. Sarah Ann survived the crossing of the Martin Handcart Company.

We had tickets tonight to the Utah Opera Festival’s performance of Pirates of Penzance, one of my favorite musicals. They’re going without me.

This time last year was grandma’s 90th birthday. I drove all the way to Idaho, only to have a nervous breakdown and leave the campground in the middle of the night.

I’ve ruined everything. What’s the point of living a life like this?

All I’m hearing about these days is the total eclipse of the sun passing over my hometown, Rexburg, Idaho. It will be a 91% eclipse here in Salt Lake, but I wanted to go home. I mean, what are the odds? 100%!

I’m so sad.

The thing is, I didn’t ruin it. I had a breakdown, but it was ruined already. I can’t live the lie when my defenses are down. I tell myself they love me. I tell myself they care how I feel, how I’m treated. But when I’m depressed, when I need anything from them, they tell me what I’ve always known. I do not matter to them. Shut up, Christie. Shut up.

On the other hand, my grandmother has nothing to do with this. Am I really just going to let her life play out and never see her again? I was so excited to share this day with her, especially after I ruined last year. And I did ruin it, for myself. They still had a wonderful party, but I’m sure it was painful for her to see me and then have me disappear in the night after being rude and irritable.

I shouldn’t have gone. I almost didn’t. I was so filled with regret, and I thought the drive would be cathartic, windows down, singing at the top of my lungs. I pictured myself joyful for having taken action, feeling immediately better for not depriving myself of the celebration. I’d organized a family outing on the zip line over Heise Canyon. I knew my mood would lift if I just got there. “Go, Christie! You’re punishing yourself because you’re depressed. Just go! You’ll be so glad you did.”

I thought I was doing the right thing, but it absolutely backfired. It was awful.

They forgave me. That’s something. That’s the thing, though. I’m sorry when I screw up. I take responsibility for my mistakes. No one ever apologizes when I’m done wrong, when I hurt. When I ask them to, they double down on the blame. It’s my fault. I caused it or I aggravated it, so it doesn’t matter. I deserve it.

Get over it, Christie. Shut up.

It’s maddening. It’s crazy-making. I really can’t survive there.

I’m so sad.

Down The Rabbit Hole

I’m swirling down the drain over here. It’s a new me and I don’t really recognize her. The old me would be in bed, unable to function. This one’s at work.

I’m actually better at my job in the midst of existential ennui. I’m nice.

I’m having the strangest feeling of having left the matrix, seeing things for what they really are, and returning to the mundane world. I feel like I have intel that few eyes have seen. I certainly never saw it before. It’s a cinematic moment.

Useless information, really. I learned that I’m a fucking idiot.

So, yeah. I’m creating a whole new persona over here. I don’t know what it’ll be.

I think life is about finding out what you’re afraid of. At least that’s what I’ve been doing. To restate, life is about nothing. What I’ve been doing is creating meaning.

I no longer think life is about finding any sort of answer or solution. It’s just what you look for. I’ve been looking for fear. I found it. My whole life has been a process of finding the scariest thing I can possibly imagine. The next thing to happen is I live it! Lucky me! What am I afraid of and what will it do to me? What won’t kill you.

That’s the end of that sentence. I have no cute platitudes for you.

Once upon a time – 5 years ago when I created this blog – I thought the meaning of life was to forgive. Why else would I have landed in such a shithole of a family? I was born to people who would abandon and abuse me before I could form memories, and never stop. Later, the abuse would become a uniquely mental form of torture called gaslighting. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. (Or look to the behavior of our prezident and figure it out from context.)

I’m afraid of pain, I know that. Now my only goal in life is to get out of it. I’ve conquered emotional pain, inasmuch as I’m in it. It won’t kill me. I have no expectations of relieving it, so I’m not trying anymore. I don’t need to. I know how to live with it.

I need nothing. I don’t need love. I don’t need money. I don’t need family. I have none of those things and I’m still here.

I need a roof. For now. I mean, if the apocalypse comes, well, on that day I’ll figure out how to live without a roof. We’re not there yet.

I feel like this blog has served its function. Five years ago, I moved here and created an address. At wildwesterngirl.wordpress.com, I intended to learn to forgive. I failed.

Whatever’s next, it doesn’t belong here. I won’t move until I have an idea what I want from my new experience. Til then, you can watch the transition, if you like, though I think that sounds unfathomably boring. For me, it takes the form of lists. Endless lists. Have at it.

I suspect my next goal in life might be to find out if I can get out of this new-ish physical pain. Interestingly, it entered my life 5 and a half years ago, just after the first divorce from my family of origin.

I might fail. I’ve done it before. I’m going to try.

My next blog will probably end up being an insufferable fitness journey. I don’t about you, but I’d rather indulge a stranger’s circuitous voyage through mental anguish than read online about how some bitch lost 30 lbs.

But I think that’s where I’m headed. I hate that girl already.

Hey! I know how to do that! Halfway there!

  • TASK ONE: Fucking downsize. I have too much shit.

It is nice that I work at an organization that takes donated items and does good with them. Or means to. I like that.

Oh, no. Intention does matter. My family means well.

Good for them. I’ll perch them above Hitler, Drumph and other despots on the spectrum of assholes populating or once populating the planet.

  • INSIGHT ONE: I’m still a fucking Pollyanna.
    Fuck.
  • INSIGHT TWO: I’m a nihilist. I believe in nothing. Even my angels are a lie. They seem to exist only to demonstrate what a fucking idiot I am.

My family killed Fun Christie.
End of transmission.

Fun With Numbers

Today, my odometer passed 144,444 when the trip meter read 22.22.

Last week, I saw license plates with double ones, twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes, and sevens. “Alright, angels,” I issued the challenge. “If you show me eights and nines, I’ll be impressed.” I found eights, nines, and zeros! (I watch the road, too.)

On Sunday, I saw a plate that said Y73 9LV, which I took to mean 1973 9 lives. I saw a reminder to hang on. I don’t really want to anymore, but that’s what I read. Maybe it meant, “You’re almost done.” I like that better.

I’ve been crying since Friday. I finally told my father what my sister’s husband did to me 5 1/2 years ago. Naturally, I thought he’d be disappointed in his son-in-law and feel for me, but he dismissed the whole thing as my “perspective,” which clearly deserves no credence or compassion. I told him to ask my brother, who overheard it (and didn’t even come out of the room). (There was time.) I told him to ask my sister, who held her husband off of me, though she still denies it came to that.

My dad told me that if someone crossed the line in his house, he’d make sure they left, too. “You’d tell them to leave,” I said. “You’d be firm. You might even be angry, but you wouldn’t scream and curse at them. If they refused to leave or became combative, you’d remain calm and involve the police. They’d understand you were serious about protecting your home.”

“That’s what I would do,” he agreed.

“You would never physically threaten, menace, and terrorize a woman, run at her from upstairs, with your chest puffed out, purple-faced, fists clenched, veins popping, in your holy garments!”

“No,” he conceded, “I wouldn’t.”

How had I crossed the line? I was talking to my sister. It’s true we disagreed, but our voices never raised. We would quickly have come to understand each other, I imagine. If her husband hadn’t attacked me, I’m certain that my nieces, who witnessed the whole thing, wouldn’t have noticed the discussion at all. It wasn’t extraordinary.

He crossed the line! Even if we had been fighting, nothing can justify what he did. It was disgusting. It was violence intended to make me very aware of my vulnerability. I was meant to be terrified. And he didn’t tell me to leave the house. He just screamed, “Shut up, you bitch!” over and over and over. (I left.)

I told my dad that all these years I’ve dreamed that if he knew, he’d tell my sister’s husband he didn’t appreciate how he treated his daughter.

He defended him.

“Maybe you don’t consider me your daughter anymore.” He didn’t say otherwise. I really thought he’d find Dan’s behavior inappropriate. I would, even if I hated the person he did it to. It was wrong.

I don’t think I appreciated what that daddy rescue fantasy meant to me. It was ridiculous. My mother beat me for 19 years. He was there for 9 of them, and did nothing. When I finally punched her back… Well, she had me on the ground again, kicking the shit out of me. I finally stood up. Dad’s the one who kicked me out, and that was that. No one’s ever apologized.

(Incidentally, she had ripped my pajama top off. My father saw my naked breasts. In fact, he kicked me out while I standing there topless, still catching my breath.)

What should I have expected from the man who, when I confessed on my 17th birthday  that I wanted to kill myself, explained paternal responsibility to me? He thought of himself.

My father said that when he married my mother, he had made a commitment to God that he would protect and provide for our family.

“I’m the head of this family,” he explained. My heart was pounding so hard I could hear it. I thought he was about to say, “And without you, it wouldn’t be this family.” I thought he was going to tell me I mattered.

Here it was! He was going to tell me he loved me. I was special to him. To someone.

“Until you’re 18,” he continue. “I’m responsible for what happens to you.”

“Kill yourself next year,” is what I heard.

He was afraid of getting in trouble with God! He didn’t care about me at all. He should have wrapped me in his arms. He should have cared that I was in pain.

Not one person in my family has apologized for what Dan did to me. Not to take responsibility; Only he can do that and he’s not sorry. But I want someone to see me in here, to see that I’m hurting, that 5 1/2 years later this hasn’t gone away for me. Not one person has hugged me, held me while I cried, or told me they were sorry to see me in pain. Not one person has said, “I’m sorry that happened to you.” No one cares.

I should have protected the dream, I think, and never asked them to.

I was stunned to learn how truly unloved I am. I really didn’t understand how complete their disregard was. As far they’re concerned, I don’t deserve their concern. I’ve chosen a life of sin; I don’t matter. They absolutely do not care.

My heart is breaking.

I don’t know that I’ve ever felt loved. I don’t know that I could at this point.

I didn’t expect to be so upset. I just didn’t get it. I was living in a fantasy world. Well, yeah. The angels speak to me through numbers, but I believed this one. I needed it.

I don’t think they’re awful. I know they mean well. That’s different from saying they did their best. They didn’t, but it’s still true that they’re decent folk. They mean to do good, but they’re profoundly misguided. They’re sick. I mean, I’m sick. There’s a reason.

It’s best to divorce them for good. I’ve tried everything. I can’t keep doing this to myself. They literally make me sick. I need to recover at last and let these wounds become well-healed scars. I know that others have survived worse things. Some have gone on to live fulfilling, joyful lives, so certainly I can at least get by without this searing pain.

I have 9 lives. I have to be close to the end of those. Surely, I’ve saved the best for last.
chosen family

Oh God, this just keeps getting worse. I just asked my brother Aaron why he never stepped up for me, and he said I’ve rewritten history. He said he doesn’t remember Dan ever saying, “Fuck you, you bitch.” Neither do I. I’ve never said that.

Aaron just told me basically what my dad believes. So they’ve talked about this before. HE’S REWRITTEN HISTORY, TO DEFEND DAN! He told me he doesn’t remember any cursing or profanity, and that Dan never raised his voice! He did! He screamed, “Shut up, you bitch!” over and over and over. I know, because I was screaming back the whole time, “All I’ve ever said to you is thank you! Thank you for being a good provider! Thank you for being a good father,” which is easier than the truth, that my nieces know their daddy loves them, so long as they don’t deviate from his very narrow command on what they must be and act like. Over and over and over and over, until my sister screamed his name and I ran upstairs.

A couple of times he said, “Don’t you ever stop talking!?” Hahahahahaa! and “You ARE a bitch!”  (That’s my favorite. He actually thinks I didn’t know his opinion of me. God, he’s stupid. All strong women are called bitch.)

“Shut up, you BITCH!” (I was playing nice for 20 years! I coulda made him miserable! “You call me bitch? Watch out! You’ve never met my bitch!”)

I didn’t say that. I just said thank you. Over and over and over until Mel yelled his name and I ran upstairs. IT HAPPENED.

I can’t believe this. I can hardly breathe. I was counting on Aaron. At this point, I don’t think he’s lying, but he is wrong. He was my only witness. I thought he’d step up for me, but he forgot the truth and sold himself and the whole damn klan a lie. He lied! To protect him! I’m losing it! They care so little they’ve rewritten a history that completely and utterly vilifies me. It nullifies me! It erases me.

Aaron, the one ally I thought I had left, has rewritten a history that protects that man.

That’s it. That’s all I can handle. That’s it. I’ve found it. I cannot handle any more than this. It happened. I’ll tell you what it is: It happened to me. That’s why it doesn’t matter.

And I’ll tell you who remembers: Dan. He knows what he did.

I’m not kidding, I can hardly breathe. Aaron was the one person I thought had my back. He was the one person I trusted. And he’s been telling them the whole time it never happened! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.

I’m such an ass. Of course they’ve discussed this before. That’s what they do. They get together and judge me. Then they find ways to make it all my fault, so they never have to take responsibility for the things they do to me. Then they tell themselves they’re good people, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Oh my god, I’m so stupid. I don’t want to wait another 5-10 years for my cats to die. I want to kill myself today. Oh my god.

(Aaron took me to the bus station the next morning. “I don’t want to put words in your mouth,” I said to him, “but I wouldn’t mind if you told Dan you didn’t appreciate how he treated your sister.”

He said nothing. Now I know why. It happened to me, so it didn’t matter. And now he’s rewritten history. Worse, he’s forgotten. Dan first screamed, “Shut up, you bitch,” from the top of the stairs. He was right next to the room Aaron occupied with his brand new bride. What followed is not just my perspective. It happened. My brother heard it. Dan yelled again and again, “Shut up, you bitch!” until I ran upstairs and hid, crying, not sleeping until I could get online in the morning and find a bus. It happened. And, like them, Aaron doesn’t care. It happened to me, so he said nothing. He did nothing. He lies like all of them. And he believes it. They all do! I don’t matter. Period.)

I’d love to know what Ali thinks. I’m afraid to assume – now that I have a picture of how the incident has shifted, at least in Aaron’s view, and what he’s has shared with our father – that she, too, has forgotten the hatred of women and seething, violent rage Dan betrayed that night. I just can’t imagine it, though! She’s such a strong, self-assured person. I just can’t fathom it. However, I also can’t imagine Aaron and Ali not discussing it thoroughly. They’re such a strong couple, with strong opinions, each, and respect and love for one another. I have to believe that she shares his memory of the event?

I’ll tell you, the only eye-witnesses other than my sister, who denied it completely right after it happened, only to come around when faced with evidence and EXCUSE HIM, because I “didn’t act afraid”: My nieces. (I was perfectly groomed after a life of violence to never show fear, duh. I’d die first before giving him that. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t positively terrified, and it certainly doesn’t mean he didn’t do it simply because he seemed to fail to achieve the desired frightened effect in me.)

They were very young, but I just can’t imagine they don’t clearly remember the night Daddy’s thinly-veiled hatred for Aunt Christie finally boiled over into dangerous, violent rage, the night Mom yelled at Dad for the first time ever, probably the last. Melanie is gentle, but she was scared, too. I can’t imagine the moment Daddy called Fun Aunt Christie a bitch, over and over again at top volume, isn’t seared on their brains.

They don’t have challenging personalities and they are all decidedly, devotedly Mormon, and they love do him. He’s their Daddy, their hero, as a papa should be. I want that for them. That’s why I thanked him that night. I had been for years.

It’s true I’ve never liked him, or what he’s done to my family. He’s a shameless racist, homophobe, misogynist bigot. We didn’t spend every meal denigrating Others and explaining and rehearsing our hatred of difference until Dan joined our family. I’m endlessly disappointed my dad didn’t notice the shift in conversation, but instead joined and emboldened it.

Years ago, I consciously chose to focus on the positive. My sister was happy. Dan had succeeded in ways my biological father hadn’t. And he had a talent with animals, which says a lot about a person. So I started pointing out his strengths and successes. I even gave him a church magazine I found about Daddy/Daughter dates as the oldest, Rachael, was entering her teens. He didn’t know what to do with kindness from me, so after a brief experiment to reach out, I decided to live side-by-side in the same family, with no personal involvement together. I would always speak up against prejudice. It was never a secret where I stood or when I disagreed. It’s wrong not to speak out against wrong. And my nieces needed to understand that they were never alone, no matter who they were or would become.

There’s the slimmest chance Rachael would remember accurately. She’s the oldest, and she’s an artist. She’s had the most challenging relationship with her father, but that is still cohesive compared to anything I’ve ever known of relationships.

Finally, I could never ask one of those horrified innocents to recall or report on when they witnessed. But having lost my one ally, I’m sorta dying here. My mind clamors for anyone else that was there, anyone to remember me. Anyone to see. Anyone to care.

Solstice Sunday

It sucks to be depressed on the most beautiful day of the year. We’re smack dab in the middle of the longest days, with a small cold front from the north. It’s only supposed to be 85 degrees today, in late June! I don’t want to go to the drum circle. I don’t want to go to Earth Jam. I don’t want to get out of bed.

Yesterday, I ruined the first drum I couldn’t recover. It sucks, too, because it was my first PERFECT piece, and then…

I’ve never made a mistake that I couldn’t modify or mask or turn into a surprise success. I told Jax, “There’s something I hate about every drum I’ve made, but she’s perfect! I love her so much. She’s perfect!”

I couldn’t leave well enough alone. One thing too far.

I gave her weeks of detached consideration. There were several small attempts at a fix that didn’t work, so I put her away quickly and thoughtfully, certain the answer would come. Finally, I found the solution, which I applied yesterday, to her destruction. There was no taking it back, no coming back, no way forward.

Many years ago, an artist friend told me the secret. “You just have to accept that you will hate 29 out of 30 things you do.” And I had, I thought, but I just can’t let go of how much I loved her. To lose her is killing me.

After the week of tolerating this awful user who just won’t leave, I crumbled. (SO much more to the story of the unwelcome couch-surfer.) I fell deep, deep, deep in the hole. At first I tried to watch the self-talk, but that only made me more abusive. Just be honest about the useless, talentless idiot you are. Stop killing yourself with that insufferable silver lining, and those unbearable lessons in the loss. Shut UP!

There’s nothing to my future but the last of my desperately clinging looks and a body that doesn’t belong to me. I fucking HURT! I have nothing and will die with less.

I’m so sick with this goddamn depression. At the worst time. It’s far worse to shut the door and draw the blinds when the weather is so lovely. I can’t get out of bed.

wind in her hair

If only I’d photographed her after finishing her body and limbs, and outlining her curves and edges. Something to remember her by before ruining everything.

Facebook Flashback

This popped up in my newsfeed today and sparked a fun memory from 2010 that I shared on Facebook, that I wanted to jot down here real quick to sort of bookmark my feelings right now, that I don’t have time to right about. (Phew!) I’ll try to get right on it so I don’t lose the mojo, but for now suffice to say… FESTIVAL MAGIC!!!!!

Oh my gosh, I’m buzzing! I haven’t been to a festival in 2 years and Building Man was a new one for me. It was one of the best, most magical festivals I have ever been to! More on that later (hopefully).

Til ‘then, here’s a happy little nugget from my history with Marko, my magic festival man that I met 10 years ago at Burning Man, the artist who changed my life and continues to prove himself as one of my very favorite people, ever, for my whole life, period. 😉

marko and me

Mexico with My Man Marko!

“Marko,” I scolded him over beers on the beach. “How am I supposed to find my Sugar Daddy when everyone looking at us thinks I already have?”

“Just tell them I’m your spiritual adviser,” he answered. “And tell him you have to have me by your side at all times, so I can get in on the travel, too.”

(That was a good idea. Maybe he is my spiritual adviser!)

I had just finished compiling the stories and content for “Notes from 1969” with Marko, so I took it a step further. (I always do.)

“You’re my spiritual adviser and I’m your personal biographer!”

That was a great trip. I love that man!

****
(In the photo, I have no eyebrows. I had just had a bad bout of trichotillomania. I don’t remember it, but through my life I can see a picture and tell you, “Oh. I had trichotillomania right around that time.” This was a bad one, above. I probably had big, missing chunks of eyelashes, too. Trichotillomania is so weird. I have a friend who has it so bad she creates enormous bald spots on her scalp and has to wear wigs! I’ve only ever pulled out my eyelashes and eyebrows, but that’s weird enough. It’s a nervous condition/ impulse control disorder kind of thing. It’s on a spectrum – My case is pretty mild compared to my friend, for example – and there’s a lot of shame associated with it. There are some celebrities that are open about it. Google it.)

****

Viva Mexico!

Spring is Born

And so was I!

I always feel like spring is my birthday present. My roommate and the neighbor both gave me perfect spring bouquets. My container plants (5 in one weekend!) are already shooting out new blooms, and my wildflowers are sprouting nicely.
bday flowerscontainer plants

The number 4 is solid and built-to-last, and doubled in its endurance at 44. Also, 44 is 2×22, and I like anything that hints at 222. Happy birthday to me!
222 texaswildflowerssave the bees(Honey Nut Cheerios will send you a free packet of 500 seeds! #savethebees)