Monday, July 29, 2013

I hate boxes, part two

As I sat there and listened to everyone's stories, I silently judged them. ME, Michelle Goodman, the person who takes ten years getting to know a person and still keeps an open mind about them... I was judge, jury and executioner to the others in The Room.

  • To the grandmother who was there straight from the hospital via her suicide attempt, I judged. How could she do that? What about her granddaughter? I conveniently overlooked that I very nearly came to them the same way, by drugging myself to sleep and never waking up.

  • To the schizophrenic teen with Aspberger's who regularly mutilated himself, I had no sympathy. Grow up, I thought to myself, conveniently overlooking that when I was his age, my arms were covered with scars on top of scars, all self-inflicted. Twenty years ago, I don't think 'cutting' was something I had ever heard of, but I was doing it.

  • To the two people who were in there by court order and had monitors strapped to their ankles, I was merciless. Hitting your wife?! Drinking and driving?! I conveniently overlooked all of the terrible things I'd done and decisions I ever made in my was too easy to focus on someone else's.

I was content to sit there in silence, listen to everyone else, and silently judge; and then the tables were turned and it was my turn to speak.

And then I remembered how I got there. And all of the judgment that I'd been using to hide how I really felt drained out of me. And I started talking.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I hate boxes, part one

She said, "So, as the adult child of an alcoholic, you probably don't have any close friends."

Wow. You go through life thinking you're unique, that no one can understand your pain, and then you're pigeonholed in one sentence.

There's lots of other things I learned at The Place:

  • A LOT of the people who ended up there grew up with an alcoholic parent.

  • I wasn't the only one who no longer handled my own money.

  • Self-harm was not just for young teens.

  • Auditory hallucinations were not uncommon among the mentally ill.

  • Alcohol and drug abuse, along with other addictions, went hand in hand with mental illness - the addiction temporarily masked the pain.
The most important thing I learned is that I was never alone. Not only were there others out there with similar issues, there were also others out there who wanted to help.

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

LOVE: How has poor Dwayne put up with Michelle for so long?

So, Dwayne picks me up from work today, and on the way home...

Did you remember to call about your medicine?
Noooo. Hey, did you hear Jay and Silent Bob are coming to town?

Don't you need to stop by your mom's and pick up that book?
Not todaaaaay. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we could go to Fandomfest?

Poor Dwayne. He's always trying to lasso me into doing what I'm supposed to do. He doesn't understand procrastination, which IS ME.

We've been together 17 years now. No, not married. He's perfect. Well, perfect for me. Well, he does drive kind of slow. But he's never been in a wreck, which balances me out nicely. :)

He's my best friend. I definitely got the better end of the deal.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Straight Talk: The Fight Against Depression

I AM getting better. Every day. But there are still some things I'm working towards.

I don't drive anymore. At all. I've lost my confidence.

I don't play any of my instruments anymore. I just can't. I've lost my music.

I don't handle my money anymore. It goes to my mother, who pays my bills for me. I've basically lost my adulthood.

Just putting these things down on paper make it seem a little overwhelming. I really put myself in a deep dark hole to climb out of, right? And these are just the highlights.

But still. I am getting better. I really am. I'm getting up every day. I'm going to work. (mostly.) I'm doing something besides sleeping.

I won't be dragged back down. I am getting better.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Take it in but don't look down

Family portrait, 1993

See that cute little baby in that picture up there?

That's MY baby.  I don't care how old she gets, or how sappy this sounds, she will always be my baby.

Even if she is 21 years old today.


That is all.

oh, wait...

To the most beautiful, wonderful, awesome daughter in the world:

Happy Birthday, Chelsea.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Now this happens...

The summer of 2001 I was vacationing in Myrtle Beach and I picked up a `beach book` to read from the local Wal-Mart. It was by a sci-fi author I'd heard of, but I'd never read anything of his. The book was called `Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus'.

Well, the book was great, and my obsessive self wanted more. I looked up the author's list of books and the most recommended by far was a book called 'Ender's Game'. I ran to the bookstore, bought it, read it in one sitting, and the rest is history.

It immediately shot up to the top of my list of favorite books. Not only was it my new Favorite Book Ever, but I became insufferable about it. I made my mom, my brother and my daughter read it. My brother agreed with me. Mom and daughter thought it was very good. I made Dwayne read it too, and my friend Mark from work. Both of these guys are of the 'haven't read a book since high school' variety, and they both loved it!

I started giving the book away as Christmas presents...and then I started buying extra copies, so that I could say, "Have you read Ender's Game? No? Oh, well then here's a copy."...

And it has umpteen sequels, those are all wonderful, too.

So finally, the movie they've been talking about making for YEARS is coming out, and I'm soooo excited. But wait...there's a controversy...what's that...

It turns out that the author of all my favorite books ever is a raging homophobe. Not only that,  but the kind of raging homophobe who says things like, he'll destroy and bring down any government that supports gay marriage.

(sigh) His name is Orson Scott Card. He has every right to think this doesn't affect the books. It will, however, cause certain people not to read his books, and that makes me sad.

The saddest thing is that the first sequel to 'Ender's Game', 'Speaker for the Dead', is a book I've talked about before in this journal.  It's a beautifully written book, and is the start of its own trilogy, about acceptance and peace between all the living things in the universe.

It's hard to believe that the author could write something so beautiful about the concept of acceptance between all living things, yet he couldn't include gays in with them.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I need another story...

Imagine you're standing next to Vincent on that starry night...he's setting up to paint the valley before him, his eyes alight with wonder. You say, 'Vincent, this is the same valley that we see every day, what's so special about it?'

Well, nothing has changed with the valley, it's as special as it ever was.  It's Vincent who has changed. He has to get his vision on the canvas, NOW. 

The stars are great glowing yellow orbs of light in sky, The Milky Way is the dominant part of the sky as it sweeps and swoops around the other beings in the sky.  The Moon is a brilliant yellow crescent in the sky, also, refusing to be ignored.

There is a grove of fir trees to Vincent's left that obscures his view of the night sky. There are also mountains in the distance that don't get a second thought from him.

Van Gogh's `Starry Night` is a look at Vincent's reality.

What my point is, is that what one person sees and what another sees won't ever be exactly the same.

I look at the mall and my anxiety levels spike as I imagine the crowds of people inside staring at me and crowding me and small talking with me.  Whereas my daughter sees the mall as the happy place where she says, oooh, my mom and Dwayne and Mamaw have given me money let`s go buy stuff yay!

Sooooo....I felt like I really did have a point...I'm Ambien blogging so who knows what that might have been.  I THINK it's something like - none of us are coming from the same place. We all see something different with our different eyes and minds and experiences and hearts. It's a miracle that we get along in this world, but we do.

We successfully live and learn and grow and love.  And there is no reason why we can't continue to do that even in the wake of bad things going on around us.  We MUST continue to love each other, in spite of our differences.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Go Wherever You Wanna Go

In the few days before my grandma died, she slipped into a coma and never woke up.

I had trouble understanding the concept. In the back of my mind, I always thought she would get better.

We spent all of our time at my grandparent's house. I would sit in Moma's room and hold her hand, while her favorite band, Dailey & Vincent, played softly in the background.

At Dwayne's insistence, I called my dad. I honestly hadn't even thought about it. My grandma had always thought of my dad like a son, and my dad loved my grandma.

My dad came to see her and admonished me for not calling sooner. I hadn't talked to him in over a year. And I was still in denial...thinking my grandma was going to wake up.

That same night, the night before she died, I was talking to my grandpa about her terrible breathing. She seemed to be struggling... My grandpa said that was the 'death rattle'.

The next day I sat with Moma some more...I held her hand, and told her I loved her, and begged her to wake up, but she never did. I finally kissed her goodbye, and Dwayne, Chelsea and I left.

We weren't gone five minutes before my mom called me and said just two words, "Come back."

We went back and I ran in the house and my grandpa said, "She's gone."


After everything was over, after the wild grief that I hope to never ever have to go through again, my mom told us,

She was sitting with Moma and holding her hand, and suddenly Moma's breathing eased up, and she was breathing so easily. My mom called out for everyone to come. Moma was lying there, so peaceful, breathing so easily, and while Mom was still holding her hand, Moma just slipped away.


That was two years ago. I was in no shape to write about this until now. I'm still writing it with tears running down my face, but it's really okay.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Oh, boy...

My BA is in Philosophy. This means that 1) people invariably give me a blank look when they hear this, and 2) I have no hope of ever finding work in my field. There's not a lot of job opportunities out there for 'philosophers'.

My schooling doesn't go to waste, however - I use it every day. I'm the epitome of absent-minded because of the debates I've got going in my head. I'll think an issue to death...argue both sides of it, examine all angles, dig under rocks, until I'm satisfied.

In the meantime, the real world has passed me by, and I've missed conversations, knocked stuff over, dropped a few things, and have been completely oblivious to the chaos around me.

I love when Dwayne or Chelsea says something like, 'Don't you think...' I can't help myself. Even if I agree, I will NEVER admit it - I always have to play devil's advocate and disagree, so I can get a debate going. So that I can win.

Because obviously, I'm a terrible person. Poor Chelsea gets so upset. Wow.

I have to stop writing now and go apologize to my daughter.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Two years ago, we celebrated Fourth of July at my grandparents house. My grandma was in the last weeks of her two-year struggle with ovarian cancer, and we were all aware that this was likely the last holiday we would all be together.

As I sat and gazed at my beautiful grandmother, I thought about Thornton Wilder's "Our Town". I felt like the young female protagonist who died and visited her life as a ghost, and implored everyone to appreciate their life and loved ones while they could.

I struggled to take in every moment of the day: my family laughing as we cooked out in the backyard; sitting in the family room with my grandma and my daughter; setting off fireworks in the street while my grandma watched from the porch. She had to be so exhausted, but she stayed up and with us every moment of the day.

Eight days later, my grandmother slipped into a coma. She died on July 16, 2011.

We didn't celebrate Independence Day at all the next year.

This year we did get together for our family thing. The pain is still there but time has eased it, and now we can smile and laugh and remember without our heart always breaking in two.

This holiday, though, is no longer just a holiday. It's the last holiday I spent with my grandmother, and will always be the most precious to me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

I'm always dragging that horse around...

It's hard to keep your spirits up when your head hurts all. the. time.

I fondly remember back when I didn't have a headache. I think it was last year sometime?

Things are bad right now. I know I have it within me to make a positive change, but I can't seem to move because of the paralyzing pain.

I hope I still have a job when I go back to work.  And I hope my family is still talking to me.

I wish I could just be me.