Author Archives: violet

December 2nd.

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It has been well-documented, by now, that I have many angry, angsty, unpleasant thoughts about my mother – who died 24 years ago today.

On one hand, her death made it impossible for me to resolve any of those angry, angsty issues directly with her – but, then again, there’s no guarantee we’d ever have gotten to that place, anyway. Hard to say.  On the other hand, her death forced me to figure some shit out at a fairly young age which, in my mind at least, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I got pretty damned independent in a lot of ways.

As a parent, now, I have come to realize that there is no winning at this – at least, not for most of us. All the things I do that are in reaction to my own upbringing are, I assume, the exact opposite of what the children in my house want/need and, as a result, will necessitate many angsty therapy sessions in their adult years to undo. Not that they’ll tell me this.

Perhaps you would like an example.

Growing up, I absolutely hated that my mother had very strong feelings about my appearance. One such example was when she forbid me to cut my hair and, when I did it anyway, endlessly reminded me that it was unflattering and then did a lot of dramatic sighing about how it hung in my face weirdly.

When I started dating Coffee, and he was all, “Hey, if you want pink hair let’s give you pink hair!” I was like, WTF, is this real? You love me AND you’re okay with me doing whatever the hell I want with the hair that I have worked hard to grow out of my own head and that I will have to wear around and that ultimately has nothing to do with you? FOR REAL?

It has taken me a lot of effort to figure out what I want to look like vs what my mother told me about how people should look.

As a result of this, I have been very determined to never, ever tell my children how they ‘should’ look. The only clothing rule I have ever implemented was that I did not want to see anyone’s underwear hanging out of their pants – and that applied only to circumstances where I was present. And, I suppose, my rule that clothing needs to be washed once in a while.

Want to shave your head / dye your hair / get your ear pierced / wear a tank top in the winter / shave parts of your eyebrows off / dress all in black / buy glasses in a weird shape? Go ahead. I will always ask, “Are you sure?” for any big decision that will take a while to grow back, and I will always suggest that you dress nicely for things like job interviews and graduations, but, well, it’s ultimately your choice how you’re presenting yourself in the world.

This means my kids will eventually be in a therapist’s office saying things like, “I wanted to shave my head and my mom said I could and then I hated it and my mother KNEW I would hate it but she didn’t stop me and that’s why I can’t trust anyone.”

This appearance thing is a tiny example. There are about 900 more issues that .. well, yeah.

Listen, I know that after 24 years without my mother, I should be ‘over’ some of the shit that I’m clinging to – but I’m still mad. I’m still mad AND there’s nowhere for me to direct that anger. I can’t seem to untangle some of the bullshit in my head and, goddammit, TWENTY FOUR YEARS HAVE PASSED.

Progress has been made, I promise.  Progress will continue to be made.

I would like to very charitably forgive my mother and presume that she was doing the best she could, under the circumstances. I mean, I knew her mother pretty well and I know that wasn’t always a picnic of a relationship, either, and that shit has an impact.  And I know that holding on to this shit isn’t helping anyone because someday I’ll be dead and that’ll be that. (Bleeeeeak!) Being mad at my mother doesn’t impact her at all. It doesn’t help me at all. And yet..

Is this my memorial tribute to my mom? Yeah, I guess. I didn’t know her as a person, a human, outside of her role as my mother – and even those bits are hazy and distorted through the lens of my childhood. I don’t know. I didn’t know her.  I remember most of her mistakes, a few of her good traits, and.. what do I do with that? A big hole where she should have been, throughout my life, and no idea what would have been in that space if she had lived longer.

Ah Yes.

Published / by violet / 1 Comment on Ah Yes.

Apparently I am definitely not participating in NaBloPoMo this year. Or, y’know, any of the previous few years.

I always swear that I won’t start blog posts with, “Gosh, it’s been a while since I wrote – and here are all the reasons..” but.. umm.. yeah.  Life has been busy, across the board, and I’ve been spending a decent chunk of my time writing random facebook updates (because they’re quick and easy and don’t require much effort.)

So. What’s new. Whaaaaaat’s new?

Nahmuch.

Let’s talk work first and then move on to other things. Feel free to skip the work part if you’re tired of reading/hearing about it.

Work takes up all of my daylight hours and half of my evenings and, usually, a decent chunk of my weekends. I’m pretty sure I wrote something about finding balance and, honestly, I’m doing much better than I was – but all that I’ve really accomplished is an inbox full of emails that I haven’t replied to and a case of anxiety about it.  A calendar full of so many commitments that i’m already booking into February. About 90 different projects.

I am trying – so hard – to take time off. I am failing at this, for the most part. There will be some semi-forced time off in December, at least.

Imposter Syndrome is looming large lately. I keep finding myself added to various committees, ‘strategies’, coordinating groups, and other things that seem to be staffed by people far, far more qualified than I am. Maybe? I recently sat on a conference call where, for a solid hour, the discussion was about how to properly declare conflicts of interest, how to complete and sign governmental agreements, and various other procedural things.  Listen, I have no conflicts of interest other than my desire to Do All The Things vs Sleep All The Time. But I’ll sign your form anyway. I have no idea how I got to be a part of this whole deal but I’ll show up anyway – at least until someone tells me that a mistake was made… ha.

Completely unrelated – I absolutely love the ‘dark’ theme on youtube these days. Most of my youtube video watching/music listening happens at night and this is just the perfect way for me to fall asleep with my head on my desk.

Middle kid just bought his first vehicle. I am completely impressed that he managed to save up the money, find the vehicle, and make this happen. I am completely horrified by the cost of his insurance on a nearly 12 year old vehicle.  While he’s had the benefit of working and living at home (without rent or any bills beyond his own cellphone plan)  the reality is that he’s also made the decision to not buy random things or spend money on a lot of things that I suspect I would have used the money on when I was his age.  He set this goal and has focused on it since he started working – and, well, now it’s happening. So, that’s super cool.

Youngest kid is well over six feet tall. He was always a big, tall kid – I remember people thinking he was 7 when he was actually only 4 (for real) – but the fact that he’s so ridiculous tall, now, still boggles my mind. This is really the only thing I have to say about him for the moment. He’s very, very tall.

Winter weather = the best time to sit in the hot tub and the worst time to try to get out of it afterwards. Last night we sat there with snow falling down on us and it was just beautiful. Also, soaking in hot water still gives me something close to narcolepsy.  I’m trying to remember to brush my teeth ahead of time so I can just crawl under the covers as soon as I come back inside. This is probably the only thing I like about winter – well, that and the opportunity to wear more hoodies, more of the time.

The time shift is fucking with me. I could sleep all day and all night if it weren’t for that aforementioned ‘work’ thing and the fact that my beloved husband keeps waking me up in the morning so I won’t be late.  It’s 7:45pm as I’m writing this, we haven’t had dinner yet, but I could easily crawl into bed and pass out. How long did it take me last year to get my enthusiasm for life back? Anyone remember? Or did it just stay away until spring returned? Wait. Has it returned at all yet?

Ugh, anyway. Ugh.

 

 

Sooooooooooo.. that’s about it for updates unless I’m forgetting something. Life goes on. Deeper thoughts will come later, perhaps.

Don’t Hesitate.

Published / by violet / Leave a Comment

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give into it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

-Mary Oliver

Yes.

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Late Fragment

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.

— Raymond Carver From A New Path to the Waterfall, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989.

Who?

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We Who Are Your Closest Friends
by Phillip Lopate

we who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting
as a group
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
frustration
discontent and
torture
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift

your analyst is
in on it
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us

in announcing our
association
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves
but since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make
unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your
disastrous personality

then for the good of the collective