When I was young, I had a running joke with my mother. I used to ask why she would have ever considered having children with my father considering how rife their gene pools were– both a chaotic mess of mental disorders that good writers make feature-length films about. I used to jokingly call them the rich and the poor sides, though both were equally dysfunctional. The rich side all went to Harvard and carried important titles professionally…but drank themselves into a stupor regularly and pulled guns on their families for the sake of winning an argument about how the steak was cooked. My father’s side was Native American and upheld every reservation stereotype imaginable up to domestic violence and alcoholism that was worsened by dark liquors.
My first memory of a Christmas was running to tell my mother that my uncle (father’s brother) was hitting his wife in another room (or namely, smashing her head into a headboard) and before I found her encountering my father’s other brother mid-rage kicking over the Christmas tree…and then, to my tiny horror, he then peed on it. Merry effing Christmas. Ho ho ho.
So of course it never made sense to me as a child, a person ruled by logic and rationality and armed with a arsenal of too much crazy for my own few short years, why my mother would take a family history of mental illness and end up with a man that suffered terrible abuse at the hands of his parents, thus causing offspring that gleefully kicked over holiday decorations to relieve themselves. Didn’t she understand that that was like a Molotov cocktail just waiting to be born? Why didn’t she just choose more sensibly, for goodness sakes’? Irresponsible and unacceptable. I would NEVER do that.
It wasn’t until I was much, much older that I figured out that when it comes to human emotions –particularly sex– that logic and reason are the farthest things from the front of your mind. Procreation may be the driving subconscious force behind the act of sexual intercourse, but it is not what attracts two people into falling in love. Sometimes even for a night. That, in all of it’s unfair glory, tends to be shared function or dysfunction between two individuals, whichever the case may be. So, to add insult to irony I ,of course, married a man who has a family full of their own set of “interesting” characterists: substance abuse, anxiety, social issues, and a medical dictionary full of terminology. And I did this because why, or how, could I be attracted to someone who didn’t understand my confused and complicated soul? Where would the common ground lie? Our mutual love of walks on the beach? Hardly.
So I followed my heart over my sensible brain and we had a beautiful handful of a child we call JPeezy. He’s the the light of our overly dramatic lives and the sunshine in my soul. The poor thing, just like his parents, has a plethora of acronyms and diagnosis tacked onto his records and charts even at such a young age. He inherited my ADHD and has a processing disorder called Pragmatic Language Impairment. He is a highly anxious child, especially when it comes to schoolwork, but has a heart the size of Texas so you can’t help but love him…even when he’s being a total spaz and refusing to go to school because he’s “not good enough”. Did I mention that he’s 5? I didn’t know children that young could have inferiority complexes yet. Lucky me.
My husband is Chris. Chris has a BAGFUL of medical conditions including Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, Asthma, and Diabetes as well as psych medications for PTSD, Anxiety, and depression. Our medicine cabinet looks like something from a hospital with padded walls and full of bottles that no lay person could pronounce. It’s insane to look at my husband’s situation and what we go through constantly from an outside perspective and not feel anything but awe. The doctors, the specialists, the fighting with insurance, the misdiagnosis, the drama, the bills, the plethora of psych meds to get him leveled from the antiquated psych med that makes him so erratic that they actually use to treat his violently painful stomach condition…it’s so exhausting. It hurts just to type. It has taken a toll over every portion of our life in such a significant way that it makes my head spin and my heart hurt.
And lastly there is me. Little old me with a family line destined for greatness *snort* and a person that has been battling depression since I lovingly crafted my first suicide letter at twelve. Me. I am the person at the helm of this sinking ship in the middle of a tsunami all of the time. I am not the gorgeous, pillars of strength that typically make up the leading ladies of these types of dramas in the movies. I am not a strong southern bell with a heart of gold that wins an Oscar for her performance in a real-life cinematic masterpiece….
I am just wildly flawed, but trying, me. Trying to pull my own shit together daily to be there for the people I love and failing more often than I succeed. I blame my mom. Her and her bad breeding. It’s easier than blaming myself.
But I keep on, keepin’ on every day, hoping that the old Beatles song is more than a catchy tune. That “Love is All you Need” is actually practical advice over a 60’s hippie mantra. You may be asking yourself, “How can you ever really fail when you love so much and have the best of intentions every day?” (or maybe that is just me?), but the hard truth is that the road that was paved to nowhere was paved with the best of intentions. Because that is where it gets you in the real world of living with a family with more acronyms than zeros in the bank…no-freaking-where. Mostly it just leaves you frusterated, anguished, crying, and doing the only thing an atheist can do in these situations: talking out loud to yourself while you cry and feel copious amounts of self pity.
Everyone needs someone to blame, right? And who is a better scapegoat that your mom? I’m sure everyone that lives here in my house blames me for half of their “stuff” anyway…
I’m just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.