Manure Occureth

Nearly two weeks since my best friend, Scott, took his own life. I haven’t broken down since the funeral. I feel that’s an accomplishment. I guess the funeral gave me the closure I needed—final knowledge that this wasn’t some kind of sick joke. And now, life goes on. It’s too short to waste grieving.

Sad as it is, I’m sure this did happen for a reason. Now, I have some tangible, first-hand experience with the grief of losing someone close to me. The experience of having a friend so lost in life that he felt he had no other way out. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. I just wish he could have found some help, like I did. But, too late. For Scott, the great test of life was turned in early, and the rest of us still have to struggle through all the joys and sorrows that come with it, constantly hoping we finish before our time is up.

And this is a test I intend to ace.

Scott’s death has grounded me, given me some more traction to make it through my own life, and maybe be better prepared to help others make it through theirs. This isn’t an experience I’d want anyone to go through, but at the same time—even while I’m grieving—I recognize that it’s enabled me to be a better person. Just like my sister’s abuse helped balance out my mother’s constant praise, keeping me from turning into a narcissist like her.

Whoever may be out there, going through hard times and wondering just what it’s all for, I hope you can take a step back and realize that even though it hurts—sometimes so much you can barely stand it—it’s helping you become better, in some way. You’re strong enough to make it through, and when you do, the sun will shine out all the clearer.

So, here I am, sitting in front of my computer, being oddly optimistic. Don’t worry. I already know I’m crazy. And cheesy. I get all my best lines off Hallmark cards, and I have a ridiculous flair for the dramatic. That’s okay, though. Life goes on.

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To My Sister

Beloved big sister,

We’ve been through hell together. Childhood? What childhood? We were too busy trying to cope with an insane mother. Trying to figure out why everything was our fault. What we were doing wrong. Of course, I was the golden child. I saw Mom’s good side. She was a better mother to me.

You tried to mother me. Heck, I needed it sometimes. You didn’t understand that Mom was better toward me. So, that led you, a child, to unintentionally be an abusive sibling. You led me into depression. But you know what? Most golden children grow up to be narcissists, themselves. So I’m grateful that you were there to balance me out. In all honesty.

I’ve always looked up to you, no matter how much I tried to deny it. You were strong and sassy and smart and pretty, and I wanted to be just like you. How times have changed. I’m happy being me.

You hurt me. I won’t ever deny that. A lot of my depression issues come from innocent comments you don’t even remember making. That’s okay. You helped me develop a spine. I can take insults, spit them right back, and shrug them off. I stopped caring whether or not I’m Mom’s good child. I’m an adult. She can’t punish me anymore—not that she’d have the guts to do it anyway. I’m stronger than she is.

Sis, I love you. I’m so grateful to you, being there for me through my discoveries with depression and especially with this problem with Scott. I’m glad you’re letting me make you watch anime. I’m glad you’re taking me climbing, and offering to hang out with me. I can’t live with you anymore, of course, but I love having you around. You’re so caring and now, that you’ve grown up, you’re the kind of mom figure I wish I had. Definitely the closest thing to a surrogate mother I have.

Thank you for everything you’ve done. I forgive you.

With love,

Mac

Life on Anti-Depressants

Well, WordPress, I’ve been taking it easy since being put on drugs. Lazing around. Writing. Feeling a lot less moody than I normally do. Let me tell you guys, that’s been great. It’s a weight off my shoulders.

I’ve also talked to my sister. Actually sorted things out.

My sister, who admits she abused me, now. My sister, who was also diagnosed with depression. My sister, who’s found so much through counseling and fiction that I never would have thought of. It’s amazing. Things are actually working out between us. We can talk our problems over rationally.

And so many of the paranoias my mother imposed are crashing around my ears.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Arizona, where I’ve been visiting my mother’s parents with the rest of my family since Sunday. My mother told me she was abused by her own mom. That my grandma was a horrible, terrifying, abusive woman. I was shocked, of course, to discover that’s not the case, at all. Grandma just happens to get that my mother is a narcissistic, compulsively lying hoarder. My mother’s parents are fantastic people, who completely understand the problems of dealing with my mother and my aunt. I thought I didn’t have grandparents who loved me, honestly. This realization is shocking. And wonderful.

Also, I never realized just how far my mom went into making my sister the scapegoat. But, just recently, my sister told me a story. How, at the age of fourteen (when it typically happens at age twelve), she finally dared to apply for a temple recommend (need to follow specific Mormon rules to be eligible). She didn’t get one before because she thought she was such a horrible person. Because she believed what my mother told her. And when she brought that brand new recommend home, she showed it to Mom, trying to show her that she wasn’t worthless. You know what Mom did? Shoved her up against the wall and told her she’d lied to get that recommend. A fourteen-year-old. A kid.

I’ve heard things no little kid should ever have to hear. Mom and my sister, fighting. Or so I thought. But my sister was always just a kid. Only two years older than me. How could those noises I heard coming from her room ever be a real fight? Her screams? How could she possibly fight back, when my mother was the one with the power? I was only about six. I wanted to go solve the problem, but I was too scared to see. And when my mother came in to talk to me, her golden child, I believed what she told me. After all, Mother is God in the eyes of a child.

She lied to me. And I believed her.

Now, my sister is no saint. She was trying to protect me in her own way, but as a kid, she resented me for being the golden child, and went about protecting me all wrong. She’s a parentified child who thought that I needed looking after. But let’s face it. My mom was a much better mother to me, because I was her golden child. I didn’t see the dark side until I was older, really. But in my life, there were always those two opposing female forces, neither one of them completely trustworthy. Always telling me different stories. Thanks to all that, I’m a huge fence-sitter. Apathetic, for the most part. Peacemaker might as well be my middle name, because I will always see both sides of the issue, and trust no one completely.

Well, that’s the serious part of what I had to say. The rest of it? I could regale you with the fascinating tale of the dam we visited on our way to Arizona, and the storm of dam jokes that didn’t stop (and I was the queen—even after we left, I was on a dam roll!), but that might get tedious and repetitive. Or how about my sister’s dramatized impressions of my mom’s passive aggressiveness? Making jokes with grandma behind Mom’s back? Mom mispronouncing the word anise (“Oh. Anus!”), or any other number of little amusing things (an adventure at the Hard Rock Cafe!). But, once again, repetitive and boring, quite probably. Humor and light stuff is not the point of this blog, you know. We want darkness. Doom, death, dying, and depression. Not necessarily in that order.

So I’ll leave it at that for now.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be here all night, pretending I’m funny.

Pent-Up Anger Isn’t A Sleeping Aid

An insomniac night. Sleepless. Left to stand the watches of the night alone with my thoughts, as they roll through my mind in wave after wave of restlessness.

A good part of this insomnia is due to working a late shift. But there’s more to it than that. Always is.

Sister, oh Sister, wherefore art thou, Sister? Deny thy victimhood and refuse thy childishness. For what is in a child? That which we call thou by any other word may make me want to punch your teeth out just as much. And so Sister would were she not Sister called.

Sissy Darling is living with her ex-boyfriend’s family, free of charge, and seemingly treated like a princess. Me, I work full time, and pay all of my expenses myself. But I’m still supposed to safeguard my darling sister’s things that she left at the apartment we used to share. Which, apparently, is why she’s dodging the issue of giving her key back, no matter how much the landlord says he’s going to replace the lock and charge my dad for it.

My dad. Who got forced into retirement (though still basically supporting my sister and I) a few months ago. But Sissy doesn’t have a job. So she can’t pay for it herself. Poor little princess, lost in the big, cruel world! I think my heart just might break for her!

Well, maybe it would bleed a little, if she wasn’t blaming everything on me. How stupid of me for standing up to her. How could I possibly be so inconsiderate as to make her attack me with scissors? How dare I call the police and tell them lies to get her arrested? Why, is there anything in the world lower than this humble slave to her older sister?

Then she’s accusing me of stealing things. Breaking her DVD player. So, what does she do? Use her key to get in while I’m gone, and steal some of my things. Though the kindhearted princess was considerate enough to inform our parents of this.

I want her stuff out of my apartment. I want her gone. I don’t want to see her or have to put up with her anymore. Let her be someone else’s headache, for cryin’ out loud! And my landlord has been a saint about the entire thing—not pushing. But I want that key back, too. Maybe she wants to keep it for her own twisted security reasons, since she left so much of her crap here, but I have my own security problems. Somewhere in the distant back of my mind is an irrational fear that I’m going to have my throat slit by a pair of scissors in the middle of the night. Or that she’s going to feel free to keep playing klepto.

I know that if she doesn’t respond the next time I ask her about the key—or if she tells me to chill out and deal with it one more time—I’ll pay for the damn lock change myself, as well as the new keys to be cut, and earn that money back when I get rid of all the stuff she left.

At least, that’s what I tell myself I’m going to do.

On the Sibling Front, Egocentrism and Hypocrisy

So, I saw my sister on Sunday. The abusive one who was arrested. Only one I got. She came to my apartment to move some stuff out. And she was talking and laughing with our parents and my friend who was visiting, just like nothing had ever happened. And I was right back in the same place, hating and feeling inadequate. Second best. Back to being the whiny, sensitive drama queen. Forget how much I’ve grown these last few months. When she’s around, it doesn’t matter. I’m just the stupid little emo kid she has to put up with again.

And other whinings. Story of my life.

My guy friend, Scott, is driving me crazy, too. My abrasive sense of humor has been offending him lately. He’s been glaring at me and telling me to quit being such a bitch. I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling him to stop being so whiny and develop a backbone.

Hypocritical? You bet! But just because I recognize it doesn’t mean I can bring myself around to think differently. Because, of course, I’m the most important thing in the world. Didn’t you know that? Heck, I’ve probably got enough egocentrism for five people.

Anyway, he asked me to cut down on the insults, just as I asked him to stop making sex jokes all the time. I didn’t, though. I just put on a serious act, didn’t joke or smile at all, and avoided him for the rest of the week. Even after he apologized. I made no apology, and I don’t plan to. I am who I am, and I’m not changing for him. I’m not the one who claims to be in love with him. I have little emotion vested in this relationship except annoyance, anymore. Every little thing he does pisses me off. And I don’t want him around me. At all.

How I treat Scott flies in the face of so many things I believe. But, of course, it doesn’t mean he’ll stop pissing me off or whining to me about all his little problems I don’t care about. I couldn’t stop being mean if I tried. There’s just something about his face that makes me want to punch it in.

I’m no saint, even if my religion has it in the name.

Just A Little Sibling Rivalry—Nothing to Worry About

Due to our charming legal system, I haven’t spoken to my sister in almost six months. We’re not allowed any contact with each other.

For some of you, six months may be nothin’. But, seriously, we were practically best friends before this situation got out of control. And after such an emotional thing, there are a lot of feelings we haven’t been allowed to talk out. So, bitterness has developed. And boy, do I make use of it. I complain about her to almost anyone that’ll listen. Precious little of this six months has been spent missing her. I guess that’s why they say never go to bed angry, huh?

It drives me crazy, this whole thing. When I hear her talking to my parents, she sounds so happy. What friggin’ right does she have to be happy? She messed everything up! She got arrested!

Oh, but she blames herself for everything. I forgot. Friend of hers told me that.

Well, look at the precious little victim. What a drama queen.

We’ve always had a rocky relationship, being so close. The fights we got in became rarer as years went by, but also more violent. After her first summer working at a scout camp (she was eighteen and I was sixteen), she came back and started telling me how much I’d changed. How immature and selfish I was, etc, etc. And she started playing mommy, which led to deeper problems over the next year and a half. We got in more arguments, and I’d always apologize because I hated it when she was mad at me, but never once did I get an apology back.

When I was seventeen, I got so fed up with it that I wrote her a note (because writing is my preferred medium, and I feel that I can express myself better in it) trying to explain my side, hoping she would see it, and hoping that, in return, she’d help me see hers.

Nope.

The next morning, the note was crumpled up in the garbage, and she was being more hostile and passive-aggressive than ever. Of course, she wouldn’t tell me what had offended her about it. All I got, five months later, was an, “I’ll never forgive you.”

Right. Did I ask to be forgiven? Nope. Because I didn’t know what I did.

Then came our first big fight, which involved violence and even a punch or two. I won. And, as always, I apologized first. Her response? “No, you’re not.” After which she ignored me for a week. We were still living in the same house, and the family went places together. But she refused to address me about anything. That’s right. I got the silent treatment.

After the first couple days, I found it amusingly immature of her, and was perfectly ready to tell her to grow up.

Then she started speaking to me again.

About a week later—two weeks to the day after the last fight—we got in another fight when she grabbed an electric skillet lid and started beating me with it. Being the awesome, action-movie-loving chick that I am, I couldn’t find a suitable weapon, so I used a side-kick in her stomach to get her out of my room, and somehow I managed to wrestle her to the ground. When she got up, she ran to her room, and I went to my parents, who I told my side. They went to talk to my sister, who dared to claim she’d picked up the skillet lid (which was aluminum—hardly lethal—and now severely mangled) in self-defense.

BULL.

Anyway, somehow, we straightened that whole mess out, and sorted out our differences (though she never once apologized) well enough. She finally went off to college, and then eventually invited me to join her in renting a house with our mutual best friend. I had misgivings, but agreed.

Feel free to start calling me stupid, now.

But it wasn’t that bad until around November, when my sister, who had been up all night, overheard me half-jokingly asking my dad for a car over the phone. She went ballistic, saying I was so selfish and ungrateful and she couldn’t believe I’d done that.

Even though on the other end of the line my dad had already agreed, I backtracked, telling him never mind, that I was just joking, etc, etc, etc, before hanging up. But I’d already snapped the twig, and my sister was yelling at me for being ungrateful, etc, selfish, childish, and so on. I asked what she wanted me to f***ing do about it, since I’d already told Dad it was a f***ing joke.

That was when she got up from her chair, stood directly over me where I sat in mine, and said, “Don’t you swear at me,” then using my full name, which I hate. (You have to understand that Sister Darling is a hypocritical, holier-than-thou Molly Mormon. Swearing is a sin in her eyes, and she snaps every time I s-a-y the “damn” word. It can be kind of funny. Funny like being trapped underground with a bomb that could explode at any second.)

I knew violence was close at hand. I knew she was trying so hard to intimidate me, which always came before her sissy hits. And I’m a smartass. So, I said, “I already did.”

So, she threw my chair back, with me still in it. Broke the chair. Started yelling at me again, told me to get out, because she didn’t want to deal with me, etc. Long story short, I left, situation diffused.

But she did apologize for that one. After a few minutes, she came into my room, where I was getting ready to leave, and said, “I’m sorry, I’m out of control.” Or something along those lines.

So I said, “Yeah, you are.”

Didn’t help matters, but I gotta admit it was fun.

On our last day together (aka the day she was arrested), I thought I was home alone, so I was cleaning my room while listening to music on my laptop (the night before, we’d had a large text-argument), singing along with the rock gods of the eighties as I went.

Suddenly, who should bust in but Sister! You know what she did? Told me to turn my music down and criticized my singing, saying I was off-key (quite possibly), and that I could never hope to be a singer because my voice was terrible.

(OOH, ouch! How could I ever recover from a zinger like that? That was too harsh, man! I mean, everyone knows how it’s my secret dream to be the next American Idol. Like, for reals! How could she crush my dreams like that?)

Then she told me to turn the music down, and slammed my door.

So I did. A bit.

She came back. With scissors. Yelling at me to turn it down, etc. I shoved her out and closed the door. There was a loud pound, then silence.

I remained in my room for a few minutes, knowing I’d broken more than one twig, this time. Possibly cut down the whole forest. So, I readied myself. I grabbed my pocket knife and the pepper spray that she’d loaned me earlier (didn’t plan to use them—just wanted to be prepared, because she was armed). Only then did I dare open my door, mainly to make sure my two cats weren’t anywhere near her. There was a hole in my door from where the scissors had penetrated, but the scissors weren’t there.

(Now, keep in mind that this house was rented from a couple that my sister admired and looked up to like no other. And she put a hole in their door. Just sayin’.)

At this point, I don’t recall if the music was still playing or not. I don’t remember what happened, but The Beast emerged again, with its talons.

Argument ensued. She tried to break my laptop, still wielding the scissors, though not forcefully. Intimidation, mainly, because she thinks she’s scary. I pulled out knife and pepper spray, more argument, I took laptop back to my room.

Sister came, demanding pepper spray back.

Put yourself in my shoes. Pepper spray is the most dangerous weapon of the three. I knew I was in control—thinking somewhat rationally, just as I always was in these situations. I knew she wasn’t. I couldn’t be sure she wasn’t going to use the stuff on me! So, I refused. She tried to take it by force, still wielding the scissors. We wrestled.

I had fifteen pounds at least on her. I had more muscle. I’d seen more action movies. I was thinking pretty clearly. So, of course, I won. I put her in a choke hold, thinking to knock her unconscious, therefore eliminating the threat. She started gasping and wheezing. I said, “I’m sorry I have to do this.” She was clawing at my arm, saying I was killing her. So, I relaxed the grip enough so she could breathe, but not letting go. She kept on saying I was killing her, coughing and hyperventilating.

“If I let you go, will you stop trying to hurt me?” I asked.

“You’re killing me! Let go!”

“Will you stop?”

“Yes, I’ll stop. Just let me go!”

So, I did. I got up, watching her gasping and hyperventilating on the floor, trying to encourage her to take deep breaths.

“I’ll call the cops on you!” She said between gasps.

“I’ll tell them it was self-defense.”

She hyperventilated a little more. “I need an ambulance!”

Panicking a bit, thinking I’d overdone it, I called 9-1-1.

That calmed her down pretty quickly. As I was on the phone with the dispatcher, my sister started crying, saying she didn’t need an ambulance and she just wanted to talk to one of her friends. She even handed me the scissors. Score for me.

But a car was already on its way to “check up” on us, and I followed instructions and stayed on the line with the dispatcher until they arrived. And it was only when I opened the door for the cops that I started crying.

Interviews, pictures and statements later, our best friend came home, my sister was arrested for domestic violence, and I was stunned. But at the same time, I felt good. My friend and our other roommate were on my side, as was practically everyone else. I’d stood up to my sister, and told her that I was done taking it. Being arrested proved she was in the wrong. I’d proved that I was done being a victim.

She told our other roommate that she was scared to be around me, now, because I’d caused her to go unconscious (except I remember her fighting me every second), and I was violent, etc. Uh-huh. That’s right, sweetheart. When things go south, play the victim. Ploy of the worst kind of women everywhere.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. Apparently, the case is almost over. My sister’s been diagnosed with some mental problems and is getting treatment. I’m bitter as hell about the whole situation. I expect one hell of an apology to make up for all the ones she’s missed, if I ever see her again. I know I wasn’t entirely in the right (I’ve since learned how close I was to crossing the line of self-defense laws), but most of this wasn’t my fault. She can blame me all she wants to.

Our best friend says that once this is over, me and my sister need to patch things up. Go to counseling together. So the three of us can be like we were before—inseparable. She’s probably right. But I’m not sure I can deal with Dearest Sissy anymore. I can’t look up to her as the leader over the other two of us anymore. I’d be more likely to trust an armed bomb. It’s more entertaining—and less of a whiny drama queen!

Family: isn’t it about. . . frustration? A Message from the Dysfunctional side of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sometimes, I just want to scream. And sometimes, I do. Surprising, right?

My dad’s fed up with my mom (can’t say I blame him). After twenty-three years, he’s finally talking about leaving her, and I support him fully. But we’re Mormons, so divorce is anywhere near natural for us, when we’re taught that “Families are Forever.” This isn’t the doctrine for those of us who really don’t want to spend eternity with some of our family members, though. Second, my dad’s already been through one divorce, and he never wants to do it again. Can’t say I blame him.

But on the other hand is my mother, who won’t ever admit there’s anything wrong with her. She’s gone to counseling, but stopped because she didn’t like the counselor. That’s not the type of person you can get to admit they have a problem. We want to get the house cleaned up, but she won’t allow it. To put it mildly, she’s a very difficult person to live with.

And then you have my sister, who was stupid enough to get herself arrested for domestic violence. Ordinary people know that you don’t go after a sibling with scissors! She and I are both still dependents of my dad, but she’s righteous and I’m a leech, apparently. And then, what really annoys me, she has the NERVE to tie my dad up in a phone conversation when I’m trying to talk to him about Mom! Seriously!

Yeah, I know it’s impractical to be mad at her when she doesn’t know what’s going on (because someone was dumb, got herself arrested, and can’t legally be around her ‘victim’ right now). Latent hostility bubbles forth, I guess.

Maybe it’s also because whenever I’m at home and one of my parents is on the phone with my sister, I feel unwelcome. Unwanted, even. Like the un-favorite. Because they’re always so happy when they’re talking to her. Laughing, making plans. Then I (forgive my language) get to deal with all the shit. I wish I could talk to my sister too—I wish I could be laughing and happy and making plans, even though I know the phone won’t get passed to me. I wish I could be the one living with a happy, functional family and having adventures. I wish I could refuse to come home.

But I can’t. I’m the one who’s gotta be the chauffeur when Daddy has surgery. I’m the one who’s gotta help out. I’m the one who’s catching all the flack. The one sleeping on a board, serenaded by a symphony of flies and mice accompanied by the soothing smell of mold, cooking everything in a barely-functioning microwave, and all that fun stuff. Sheesh, why couldn’t I be arrested? Oh, yeah. Because I don’t have any friends who’d take me in.

Damn, that’s depressing.