Oprah Does It Again

So. I’m in my pit of despair today. Just feeling really shitty and worried and morose and wallowing in it. If I had been at home alone, I swear I would have put on an old Cure album and cried into my pillow. I am completely at a loss with what to do with the current family situation. Again. I swear. If she weren’t my mom, I’d be like, “This chick is nothing but drama, and I don’t need it.” And I’d be out. But she’s my mom. And there are different rules for moms. Frustrating.

A friend of mine, DP, from Fitzgerald was in town recently and she has known my mom for years. I was going through the saga and she said, “You know. I always felt that there was just something not right with her.” I’ve had another old friend tell me the same thing. Honestly, it makes me feel better — like I’m not crazy. When DP told me what she thought, I started squealing. “Right? Right? It’s not just me!”

Now my sister and I are getting a lot closer and of course I am addicted to my niece so I can never get fully away. Though, it just occurred to me that maybe this is what Mom and Amy need. I’ve always been in the middle of their bullshit one way or another. Either Mom was telling Amy to be more like me, which made Amy hate me. Or, Mom was telling me what a piece of shit Amy was, making me hate Amy. And I am pretty sure that Mom’s conversations with Amy were very similar to the ones she had with me. So, Amy has really never had much of a leg to stand on. It’s like Mom’s been gaslighting her into believing she’s incapable of any amount of success or happiness for that matter and Amy has just been beaten into submission. The family was really just the three of us, so it was kind of two to one. Not that I wasn’t being duped as well.

Now that I’m out of the picture, they have to deal with each other. Mom is very aware of my stance on all issues at hand, and therefore unless she meets my conditions (a recovery program) she and I have nothing more to say to each other. I still speak with Amy frequently, and do my best to support her. It’s nice being on her side. She’s nothing like what Mom said.

Sorry. I tend to go on tangents. And that one seemed like a good one — a breakthrough for me in a way. Thanks for sharing the moment.

Back to Oprah. This is what I wanted to tell you about and it does relate in a way. So, I’m watching Oprah and it’s a rerun of the Cris Karr interview — the woman who did the Crazy, Sexy, Cancer documentary. Cris is talking about how she’s learned to live in the moment and she says, “Isn’t worrying praying for what you don’t want?”

And a lightbulb went off. Bells started to ring. Whatever cheesy metaphor you choose … the point is, I had a breakthrough. Worrying is praying for what you don’t want. I swear it’s so brilliant, I’m going to put it on a T-shirt.

Smoking Baby Dammit.

I believe all of you have been introduced to my HP (Higher Power), Smoking Baby. He is a miracle worker. I like him because he’s sweet and benevolent, but he’s got that edge. I’m sure as soon as he’s of age, he will get a bad ass tattoo and a motorcycle. He advocates peace and love but isn’t opposed to some good old toilet humor.

Erica and I have started using him in conversations where we both feel we need to be heard. No SB in your hand, no words out of your mouth. We used it for the first time last week when we were having an argument and just kept going around and around because we both tend to interrupt as if we already know what the other one is going to say. Very unproductive. I got the SB idea and it worked like a charm. I love SB.

Unfortunately, SB has taken a day off. I just got a call from my sister. This is never good news.Mom, who is not talking to me because she has taken possession over the breakup. You know how in high school you break up with someone and then you find out they’re all over the place telling people they broke up with you? Yeah.

Well today, I find out through my sister that today Mom is starting radiation again. There’s a what they’re referring to as a “spot” on her lung. I’m guessing “spot” is a Southern euphemism for tumor. I don’t know. Poor Amy is absolutely tortured right now. She has been trying to move on with her own life, taking care of her daughter and now she’s re-immersed in Mom guilt because of her latest illness. I’m trying to help Amy see that Mom’s new cancer doesn’t get her off the hook for endangering her granddaughter with her pill issues, but it’s hard for her. Especially being there in the same town.

Arrgh.

I, of course, am taking it all in stride and counting on my HP SB to take care of everything. Remember, I’m the one going to meetings.

Man. Is She on a Roll …

The following blog post was originally posted on www.HRHandthePrincess.blogspot.com.
Written by The Princess

So. I’m on the phone with Mom and we’re talking about her dying.

I’ve been talking with my mother about her death for my entire life. She and my grandmother were both completely obsessed with death. Especially death by cancer. Basically, they both threatened me and my sister with my mother’s imminent demise from cancer (probably lung since she was a smoker, but definitely exacerbated by the undue stress A and I put on Mom and Grandma.)

This conversation, (Mom on the cell driving somewhere, me on cell at home) was based on a talk she apparently had with V, my niece. Somehow my mother and my 11 year old niece had a talk about who V would want to live with should Mom die. (By the way — this is a conversation I, as an 11 year old Princess, had with the very same mother. I chose my Aunt G — but only because I knew that was the right answer to please Mom. I actually hated the thought of living with Aunt G and her husband H who was a minister. I couldn’t bear the thought of going to church every week.)

V chooses to live with me in Brooklyn. So Mom adds a twist … What about A? (A, my sister, V’s biological mother)
V: She can come too.
M: No she can’t. We tried that once before and it was awful.
[My sister came to live with me in New York years and years ago. It didn’t work out. Everyone has moved past this … except my mother.]

At this point I’m thinking, here she goes again. I can’t believe she said these things to V. Maybe she’s exaggerating and she didn’t actually say this to her 11 year old granddaughter. Then, I hear someone in the background.

Not only was my mother re-counting her awful comments she made to V. She was doing it with V in the car next to her.

Mom Strikes again

So I sit down to write and I forget. I had a specific topic in mind and I forgot. Within 35 seconds. I sat. I opened my file. All the while I knew what I wanted to write about. The email opens and I type, “So I sit down to write”.

And thanks to $150 per session therapy, I know that what I’m doing is called avoidance. What I’m going through is apparently too much for me and I can’t mentally handle it.

It’s obviously, about my mother.And as I write more comes back. Like the part about how when I talked to my sister I was discussing how I thought Mom had actually started this whole thing with a Google on what breast cancer metastasizes to. She found pancreas. Then she found the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Then she imitated those symptoms and took herself in for testing.

She starves herself so that she has the “losing weight” symptom.

She hurts her back lifting a concrete birdbath, but makes sure everyone knows that back pain is a symptom of pancreatic cancer.

She called me to say that she was having a PET scan to look for pancreatic or liver cancer and that she called only because I requested to be informed of all health-related occurrences.

“I hate to ruin your day, but you said you wanted to know.”

I thanked her for keeping me in the loop and asked when she’d get results.

“December 10.”

“Okay. Call me when you find out.”

So, at 8 PM on December 10, I call her to find out what’s going on since I haven’t heard from her all day.
Mom’s not there. She’s at work.
My sister A is picking up pizza.
V – who answered the phone – is on IM with her friend.

I ask V to have A call when she gets home.
An hour passes. (My hometown is 1 mile square in area.) So, I call back.
V answers again.
Me: Did you forget to tell A?
Her: No. She’s getting out of the shower.

I end up on the phone with A and find out that they got the results in the morning and that everything was fine.

I got off the phone and drank until I threw up.

Shout out to Mary

The following blog post was transferred from www.HRHandthePrincess.blogspot.com.

Written by The Princess

Holy shit people. Your Princess is shot.

This time it’s so bad that I had to have an emergency phone therapy session with HRH on my walk to the train this morning.

Here’s what happened:

Yesterday I left work and went to the gym where I unceremoniously recovered my blue gym bag from the then vacated locker. (That poor alleged pot head. What must she have thought?) So cardio then home. On the walk to the bus, HRH and I stop to buy wine. (This plays a big part in the rest of my story.)

At home I reunite with my current obsession … Wii. Just as I finish up with my daily “Strength, Stamina & Balance” test, I get a text from my sister A.

Mama is going to call u on my phone after 9, so b ready! I asked her
2 please call u and fill u in. I will call u later.

Crap.

Now I spend 30 minutes playing Wii, drinking the aforementioned wine, and anxiously watching the clock tick closer and closer to 9:00.

Item 1 — I’ve been terrified of my mother my whole life. Irrationally so as will be evidenced by a future HRH posting.

Item 2 — I’ve been in therapy for almost two years and virtually every conversation Mary and I have had has been about my mother.

Item 3 — My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago and went through extensive chemotherapy and radiation. Mary and I have identified this fact as being, among many other things, an inconvenient hindrance to my emotional healing process.

Lately I’ve been having these intense dreams about confronting my mother. We have a lot of issues, Mommy and I, and the confrontation conversation has been a long time coming. Well, dear people, it finally happened last night.

I drilled her on which drugs she’s currently taking, what is going on with her doctors and her health, I told her I thought she was clinically depressed and needed professional help. I brought up her issues with my sister and how she blames her for all of her troubles. Mom says her life can’t get better until she deals with A who is 32 and living at home with Mom and her daughter V (11) who is legally her sister because Mom adopted her years ago in a huge dramatic story that will surely be posted sometime in the future.

I tell my mother that she is in control of her life and that her current situation is the result of decisions she made for her life. I discuss my life openly regarding my domestic partner, Erica, the new home we’re buying, the fact that my family is so separate from my life because Mom doesn’t want me to be out to them.

I mean, this goes on and on for over an hour. I used the word “fuck.”

By the time we lose the connection due to a dead cell battery on her end, I am exhausted and drunk. So, when she calls back, I just don’t answer.

Flash forward to this morning. I am panic-stricken. I listen to her message — “Thanks for the conversation. I love you. Don’t worry abut calling me back.” Phew. Then I start remembering the things I said to her. The way I said them. The fact that I called her out about her smoking, which she vehemently denied. The fact that A is going to be furious with me because I am sure I started several fights between her and Mom. And, you know what people?

I don’t fucking care. The longer the day goes on and the more I think about everything, I realize that this is huge for me. I can’t wait to get to Mary on Tuesday and tell her the good news. I have never been more open or honest or genuine with my mother in my life. Therapy works. I am growing. I had my first adult conversation with my mother … at 36.

So yes, therapy works. Know what else works? Wine.