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A New Day

Hey guys! I am coming back to this blog, sorry for the long silence. ❤ I am going to try to update at least once a week to start, but I make no promises, as always. ;D

I will have a real post for y’all soon, and some new pics too.

This is morning hair. Spectacular, isn't it?

Had to start off with a goofy pic today, because this is going to be a pretty heavy blog post.

Today is the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th, 2001. And instead of becoming stronger as a nation, pulling together and choosing to not allow terrorists to divide us with hatred and fear, we are spending our time flogging ourselves and reliving the memory over and over again, directing vitriol at people who don’t deserve it, and refusing to let the good people who died that day really die.

Anyone who was alive and more than a few years old on that date probably remembers where they were and what they thought. I do. I’m certain that I will for a long time. But I’m not going to tell you about it, because it’s not important. I am angry about this date now, because people refuse to let us go forward, instead insisting we stay mired in the past. We are stuck like a pig in a bog, and instead of struggling to get out, we’re wallowing further down into it. And that makes me angry.

Now, let me say this. Grief is not a bad thing, when something bad happens. Grief is a natural coping mechanism that allows us to deal with overwhelming events, to process them and continue on with our lives. However, where grief becomes a bad thing is when you give yourself over to it so completely that it’s impossible to break free. When you won’t allow yourself to continue living your life, because the grief is more important. When the grief becomes guilt, and you become trapped in the endless cycle of the two, not allowing yourself to move on from the event that you’re grieving.

I know something about the cycle of guilt. Not to say that I’m any kind of expert, far from it. But I have spent a long time learning how to cope with overwhelming guilt over things that happens long, long ago. My example happened when I was in elementary school, around 7 or 8 years old. We had a cage full of mice that we were allowed to play with, under supervision. I was very good with animals, even back then, so I was allowed to take one of the mice out to play with, for a few minutes, without much supervision. I let it run around inside the circle of my arms, petted it, and otherwise enjoyed its little furry self. Then I discovered that I had a rubber band in my pocket, and I decided to see if I could get the mouse to jump through it. When this failed, I decided to hold the rubber band in the air, perhaps an inch from the ground, and suspend the mouse with it. The poor little mouse struggled, but I didn’t think it was really being hurt, so I wouldn’t relent until it squeaked at me. Then I put the rubber band away, and went to a teacher to return the mouse to its cage. An hour or so later, one of the teachers noticed the mouse I’d been playing with was acting strangely. It was lethargic, could hardly move, had trouble opening its eyes. I was questioned, but I felt afraid of punishment and thus lied about nothing happening. The mouse died not long after, I can only assume from internal injuries, and I knew it had to be my fault. That mouse lived for perhaps a year and a half, but I could not let it die. I spent ten years remembering my actions, and feeling absolutely awful for them. I had killed a defenseless little creature, and not even by accident, just by doing something I thought was play that had injured it so badly that it died. There would be months when I wouldn’t think about it, and then one day it would just surge into my mind, making me weep in helpless guilt and grief for what I had done. It wasn’t until I was almost 17 years old that I finally forgave myself for what I’d done. I still remember, vividly, but I do not grieve or feel guilt anymore. I treat all animals with a little more care, and I remember that what might be play to me could be painful to them, and I value the lesson that mouse taught me. But I don’t grieve anymore.

Keeping grief and guilt alive for so long is not healthy. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized it was anxiety that caused me to replay that and lesser memories over and over again, feeling awful guilt over my actions (sometimes for situations as innocuous as asking for a ride to the grocery store from a friend). It gave me pain, and while I eventually learned to cope with my feelings and later break the cycle of guilt, I remember what it was like.

It isn’t healthy for us, as a nation, to grieve over this event. We are dishonoring the memories of those who died ten years ago, by spending our time weeping and reliving the horror, instead of honoring their bravery, and celebrating our combined strength as a nation. We bar progress and keep ourselves from moving forward, from moving on. We create a grave marker over the site itself, instead of rebuilding and showing that one loss is not enough to break us.

We have to move on. We have to let the dead lie in peace, and instead of flogging ourselves repeatedly for an event that was not our fault and not in our control, we have to show the world that we are not that weak. It makes me angry, to see this day made into a living corpse of our bad feelings, when it could be a celebration of life, of honor, of bravery and our standing together as a nation.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Hello, world.

It's a lovely day outside, and I am trying to get things done.

Hello. I am not dead! I have been so busy over the past few months, though. I’ve been spending so much time doing other things that I didn’t have time to blog anywhere, not just here. In other words, I’ve been too busy living my life to write about it!

Today I have a real blog post for you. I’m going to write it based off of an article I read last week, and have been wanting to share my opinions on. I’m busily cleaning my apartment today (real, deep-cleaning, scrubbing the bathtub and the floor and vacuuming and dusting, not just surface cleaning), and doing laundry, so I’ll be writing this in between cleaning bouts, when I need a moment to cool down.

Here is the article I read.

This article is, to me, a perfect example of why I have absolutely no faith in the institution of marriage. Naturally, my inital misgivings came from the extreme backlash of my parents’ divorce, which scarred me enough to make me doubt marriage was good for anyone. But as I grow older, I find more and more evidence that the emotional scar isn’t the only thing that makes me distrust the idea of marriage.

Let’s start from the beginning. Marriage was, originally, a socio-economic construct. It had nothing to do with emotions. Marriage was a status symbol, (multiple wives = rich enough to support them), a political move, a way to make money, and a way to ensure that the children produced by any given woman could be tied to specific man (her husband). For the poor in almost any era, marriage was (and is) something that only sometimes happened. In particularly religious times and places, perhaps peasants could have a quick ceremony in front of the priest so they weren’t “living in sin”, but it wasn’t really the same. Indeed, many poor people couldn’t afford to get married because the landholders required a tithe that they didn’t have.

That isn’t the most auspicious beginning, I don’t think. Now let’s look at marriage in a more modern era, shall we? With the advent of first world economics and the structure of economy, it became necessary for people to get married to gain financial stability, and rights regarding their spouse. However, this almost universally applies to women alone. Men can generally live a financially stable life entirely by themselves. Women (especially in the earlier part of the modern era) usually had limited options, and it became a choice between getting married and taking a low-paying job that they would barely survive on, and in rural areas there wasn’t even that. A man could travel across the country and sell things, or work on farms, but women who traveled were taking their lives into their hands. So, for emotional and financial safety, women got married. And despite the fact that the choices are a hell of a lot better now, this is still a problem.

As always in these types of articles, the only women they are really paying any attention to are upper middle class (and mostly white) women. Most women in any other walk of life don’t have the choice at all. And yet, despite the fact that these women are more capable than ever before of providing for themselves financially, choosing who they spend time with, and otherwise living rich lives independently, it is so engrained in our culture that women need a man that they get married, knowing that the relationship is doomed. They tie themselves financially and emotionally (and with children) to a person they don’t really want to, because the horror of being alone, the idea of the ticking biological clock, they’re just too much.

Despite the title of the article, the idea that most divorced women knew before the wedding that the relationship was doomed is not “shocking”. It’s a natural side effect of a society where women do not value themselves, where a woman alone is ridiculed and treated as a lesser person than a married woman, where the cult of Mother has elevated those with children to a status much higher than their childfree counterparts (regardless of marital status), while simultaneously attempting to force the all-sacred mothers to give over control of their bodies and their children’s lives to the management.

I have felt it myself. I broke up with my ex-boyfriend because I didn’t love him. Honestly, I wasn’t even that attracted to him. I knew when we started dating that it wouldn’t last, but I was so tired of being alone. I wanted to have someone in my life in a romantic way, and there wasn’t anyone else rushing to fill the gap. But once the hassle of the constant upkeep outweighed the good feelings, I broke it off.

There’s still a part of me that whispers that since I don’t have people falling all over themselves to date me, something is very wrong with me. It’s not just low self-esteem, or depression, or anxiety, it’s the programming I’ve had from before I can remember, that a woman without a man is useless, that being single makes one pathetic and lonely. I know, objectively, that I am an amazing person. I value myself highly, and I know that in time, I will find other people who will value me as well, who I will be attracted to and want to spend time with. But sometimes, when my emotional roller coaster is at its lowest, when I feel emotionally drained and worthless, I understand why someone would marry a person they don’t really love. Sometimes, it seems better to be with someone we don’t truly care for, than to be alone.

The unfortunate truth is that it takes a lot more effort to choose to rebel against programming than it does to simply go along with what society dictates is normal and desirable. And women who do go along are not weak. They’re not lesser than those who fight back. They’re just tired. It can be so exhausting to fight, constantly, against what other believe is right, that sometimes you just have to let go. I can’t know why anyone else does what they do, and it’s not my place to judge why any woman would choose to live her life as she does. That’s not what this is about. This is about the anger I have that we’ve had this programming in the first place, that it’s even necessary to fight.

Divorce is an ugly thing, even between just two people, no children involved. Saying “oh I’ll just get a divorce if it doesn’t work out” is like saying “well I’m gonna put my hand in this bear trap, and if it springs I’ll just hack off my arm”. It’s never that easy.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Thoughts

Glassy-eyed stare.

 

Braindead.

Today is… well. I’m not having the best day today. Or the best week.

Okay, let’s start from the beginning. On Monday, while on the way home, I got rear-ended. My rear door (it’s a station wagon) won’t open and my driver’s seat is broken, stuck in reclined position and thus undriveable.

Tuesday and Wednesday I got rides from friends to and from work, finally on Thursday I got a rental car courtesy of the other person’s insurance company. So I have that until it is figured out what will happen with my car. It’s very nice too, way nicer than my car, but it makes me nervous to drive it because I don’t have much experience driving diverse cars (I learned to drive in my car and have driven it since I got my license four years ago at 21).

So now I have a rental car. Awesome. And today I took the afternoon off work to go to the doctor. The doctor says aside from the enormous bruise on my leg (where it hit the dashboard) and the slight muscle pain in my neck, I seem fine, but to wait a couple weeks to make sure nothing else surfaces.

And by sheer coincidence, my mom and brother drove up this weekend to help me move all my stuff that was in storage because of the bed bugs into my apartment. Hopefully sans bed-bugs (well there’s probably a couple in there, but they should be 100% dead because they can only live 18 months without being fed and they were in that storage unit for 20 months). So my mom looked at my car and she thinks it might be totaled (because totaled, in insurance lingo, means “costs more to fix car than car is worth”, and the car is only worth maybe $2500). Which frightens the hell out of me, because I really can’t afford a new car right now.

So right now I’m frustrated, nervous, and frightened. My apartment is full of boxes I don’t want to unpack by myself because of the possibility of finding dead bugs (or worse, live ones) and I can’t get comfortable enough with them here to even contemplate sitting and knitting or watching TV or something relaxing. Plus my family is in town so I kind of want to see them but since they spent all morning moving my shit they might not want to see me. And I know my anxiety is shooting through the ROOF but I can’t help it and AUGH I JUST WANT MY LIFE TO GO BACK TO NORMAL.

 

There are some big storm clouds gathering outside!

 

But I have some exciting pics for you guys!

I forgot to post these, which is funny because I am SO proud of them and showed them off everywhere else.

This was my first little shawlette.

This is called the Holden Shawlette, which was designed by the pattern maker after visiting Holden Beach, NC. It was a gift for a shawl swap, so I didn’t get to keep it, sadly, but I had a lot of fun making it! I’m supposed to get a shawl in return from someone else, but no sign of my package yet.

My second shawlette.

This was my first big colorwork project. The pattern is called Chadwick, and was designed by Stephen West, who is a famous knitwear designer (at least most knitters know who he is). The picture really doesn’t do it justice, it’s much more vibrant and lovely in person. 😀

And the third one!

And this is my favorite one so far! The pattern is called Clothilde, and is part of a set of two patterns called “Two Ladies”. The other pattern is Arabella, and is one of the next patterns I’m going to knit. 😀 I named the project “Dramatic Lady”, and the other shawl is going to be called “Romantic Lady”. Because I like naming things! I wore it to the opera on Thursday night and it made me feel quite lovely and stylish.

I’m working on another shawl right now that’s going to be lovely, I’ll definitely post pics when it’s done. 😀 That’s all for now!

Fathers

No shower today, so a little rough-looking.

Apologies for such a long time between posts. I’m still figuring out what I want to do with this blog in general, and while thinking about it I’ve been sort of keeping away. But I just got a really nice compliment from a reader that made me want to make a post so you guys know the blog isn’t dead. Anyway, on to the actual post.

A while back, when I first started this blog, I made a couple posts about my parents. At the time I was mildly worried about posting too much personal info because it was the first time I’d had a blog I shared with most of my family (I sent the link to all of them when I started, and everything is cross-posted to Facebook). I sort of stifled myself a little in regards to my real feelings, because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or share too much. But as time has gone on, I’ve learned a lot from this project, and I now feel pretty safe saying this, so here goes.

I won’t be calling my father tomorrow. I won’t email him, or send him a card. And I’m going to tell you guys why.

When I was a small child, I adored my father. Not only did he play with me as much as he was able, he seemed to know everything and was always willing to answer any question I had. I thought he was just about the coolest person in the world. I actually went through a period of time where I was afraid of men who didn’t have beards because my dad had one the entire time I was growing up (and still does). In short, I thought he could do no wrong.

As I grew, though, he started becoming distant. At first I just thought it was his job. He is a doctor, and was still in medical school when I was very young, and working on his residency when I was in elementary school. He was always tired and never seemed to have time for us, which made me sad, but I tried to understand (as a kid it’s hard, but my mom did a good job explaining why Papa couldn’t come play with us when he got home). I spent more time bugging my older brothers and mom as a result, no big deal. As I grew up, though, it just got worse. I couldn’t understand why the father I adored couldn’t come to my choir concerts, or spend time with me after school when he was home. We kept moving around to different houses, to different states, because of his jobs, and I began to resent that.

Right after my freshman year of high school, my father decided the job he’d had for only a year wasn’t what he wanted, so he found another one a few hours away. However, my mother didn’t want to move us so soon after the last one (especially because my older brother would then have gone to high school in three different places), so my dad moved away and we stayed. And that’s when things really started getting bad for all of us.

I was desperate for my father’s love and attention. And it seemed like the more I tried to get close to him, the less I was able. My mother struggled to help us connect more, suggesting joint guitar lessons, trying to get us to have a shared interest, but nothing seemed to work.

Finally, after a year of living apart, my mom and I (my brother having graduated and gone to college) sold the house and moved to live with my dad. That summer was one of the longest of my life. I hated the new house we had, and my parents just fought all the time. Finally, after a vacation to visit family, the other shoe dropped. My father wanted a divorce. My mother was absolutely blindsided and crushed. He refused to go to counseling, refused to do anything but insist on a divorce. So my mother and I left.

There was no custody fight. There was fighting about money, fighting about assets, a lot of stuff I didn’t understand. At one point my dad’s lawyer was going to try to negotiate for ending child support for me (the only minor kid at that point) when I entered college as opposed to when I turned eighteen, which would cheat my mom out of two months of money that we both knew she needed. I solved that by telling her that I’d be happy to take a year off before college. My father kept breaking his promises to her, changing his mind about what he would provide, and meanwhile my mother was heartbroken that the man she loved so much was leaving her. I watched my mother cry every day for several months. I tried not to be angry with my father, but it seemed like he kept doing things to hurt her, over and over again, and it made me furious. And part of me was angry there was no custody fight. Despite the fact that everyone knew I was better off with my mother, I still felt like he didn’t want me. They agreed that two weekends out of the month I would spend with him, but that just meant I spent hours on the train each way, since he was rarely willing to meet my mother halfway to pick me up or even (goodness forbid) come all the way to see me. And when I arrived? We would go out to dinner. Go back to his house, the house I had hated since I first set foot in it and now hated even more because of the bad memories in it, and watch TV. We’d go see a movie, we’d go shopping. I would prattle on nervously about inane things because I had no idea what to say to him, and he hardly ever talked to me. He would sometimes seem to resent spending money on me, but if I said we didn’t have to go shopping or something then he’d act mad that I vetoed something to do. I know he spent money because he felt guilty. And I liked being able to get things my mom could no longer afford. But it was empty.

My mom and I grew closer and closer and my dad and I grew further and further apart. And when my dad decided to remarry, mere months after the divorce was finalized, that made me and my brothers furious. His wife wasn’t a bad person, although she seemed to resent me and my brothers and go out of her way to not spend time with us. But he was so wrapped up in his feelings for her that he had no interest in what we wanted, and it only got worse from there.

When I finally went off to college, I was relieved I would no longer be forced to see him, but hurt because I never saw him. He never came to visit me. He never came to my concerts unless I was a lead in an opera, or if it was my recital, which meant he only came to maybe five of my performances the entire time I was in college (it could’ve been more than that, but either way it was less than ten). He never came to my performances in high school either. And at my senior recital, the culmination of all the work I had done in college up to that point, he arrived halfway through. I was about to start “Stride la vampa”, an aria about the character’s mother being burned at the stake, and full of vitriol and anger. I had no trouble being angry right then, and you may be able to guess why.

When I did visit him, he was never without his wife. I never got to spend any time with him alone, always with her as well. I always felt unwelcome in her house, uncomfortable, so it was never a long visit either.

I can’t really relate any specific stories about my relationship with my father, other than what I’ve already shared. There have been dozens of things he’s done and said that have hurt me deeply and made me wish I could cut off contact with him. Some days he will seem to act normal and I’ll almost feel like he’s my dad again. Other times he’ll act like someone I don’t even know and say something awful. He complains that I only call him to ask for money, but if I call to say hi and chat about stuff he says he’s busy and doesn’t have time.

All in all, I know my father isn’t a bad person. He’s a good doctor, and a good husband. He just isn’t a good father. He’s good with children, but after a certain age he doesn’t know what to do with them if he doesn’t have stuff in common with them. He doesn’t seem to understand that a relationship is a two-way street. And it hurts me every time he says or does something thoughtless, because he IS my father.

So that’s why I won’t be calling him tomorrow. Or emailing, or texting, or sending a card. Truth be told I’m a little scared of him actually reading this blog entry and calling me up to ream me about it. But I know that’s only because I wish he actually read this blog. I sent him the link, you see, back when I started it. I sent him the link to the post I made forever ago about him. But I know he didn’t read it. And I know he won’t read this one either.

And that’s why I don’t celebrate Father’s Day.

 

Oh noes, my neck disappeared!

 

I am happy it's Friday!

Wow, I ate a lot of cookies today. XD My coworkers did too! Many cookies were eaten by all. And I just finished baking the rest of the dough so I can send out cookies in my packages tomorrow too. For tonight I shall vegetate, and tomorrow I shall go to the post office!