Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


Leave a comment

Dead Phone

My daughter managed to kill another phone.

This is a problem because now there is no way to get in touch with her and she is going through a rough time. I worry. I worry a lot.

In the meantime, I had a bit weirdness. I was doing laundry and I opened the washer, and there was a white plastic rectangle on top of the wet clothes. It was a driver’s license. It belonged to my daughter’s ex. So I tried to reach my daughter, which like I said, is difficult right now. I ended up texting her ex. We met up at the 7-Eleven near Elm and Good-Latimer. She called me “mom”. I know she thinks I am a great mom because her own mom is, well, less than accepting. She told me she is going back to school to get her diploma. I’m proud of her for that, but she really hurt my daughter. My daughter could deal with the break up, but she hasn’t seen her in days. I think that’s so true for my daughter, that it’s not about the sex but the emotional connection. I feel that she is so alone right now. See? Mom brain. It keeps coming back to my daughter.

Finances are crap. I have to tell K that I can’t go to Alaska with her. I really wanted to go. I never take a vacation for myself and this would have been the thing. But I own less than $100 so I just have to suck it up. Plus K will basically remember this every time it comes up about taking a trip together. Assuming it comes up again. But I will babysit Archie the cat while she is gone, as good as a vacation for me. Well, almost.

I applied for food stamps today. I don’t know what kind of documentation they’ll want. I really have none. How do you prove a negative? I can’t prove I have no income, nobody documents that. In Texas, as a single adult, there is a lifetime limit on what you can get in food stamps as well. So I am out of unemployment money until June, and I don’t know how long it will be if I even qualify for food stamps.

On Saturday I really need to go down to the local food bank. I may not be able to bring money home but I can sure bring food. Us unemployed people can get food almost anywhere.

Someone, one of the animals, tried to tangle my yarn up. I left a half-crocheted hat and its ball of yarn on the back of the sofa. I got up in the morning and it was all over the floor. At least the hat was intact. The yarn had to be untangled and rewound. I assumed the culprit was Charli the kitty because she has a long history with yarn. But while I was working, Jack the dog kept grabbing mouthfuls of yarn and pulling it to the floor. I think Charli knocked it off the back of the sofa and Jack pulled it apart. Good teamwork. Sort of.

Well, back to the job hunt. Maybe I can find something I’m qualified to do.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The Right to Fail

I’m thinking about this in terms of parenting, but I think it’s bigger than that.

My daughter is 21. When I was 21, I had been on my own for 2 years, having been orphaned when I was 19. I knew a lot more than when I was 19 but I still knew almost nothing. My daughter, well, she’s had a hard life and she knows a lot, but she seems to make bad decisions. It’s okay, she’s young and has time to recover from an stupidity she may commit.

I have to keep reminding myself of that. She is an adult. She has the right to make her own decisions, good or bad. She also has the right to bear the consequences. I keep wanting to save her, to make her life easy, to rescue her. She, of course, does not want this from me. So I have to remind myself, she is an autonomous being, she has the opportunity to succeed, and also the right to fail.

We don’t think of failure as a right, but if you want to make your own decisions, failure is simply going to happen from time to time. Some decisions are bad from the get go, others are reasonable at the time but turn sour, some are positively brilliant. If I rescue her from negative consequences, she never learns. She is never fully autonomous, she is simply a human avatar for my ego. And at the end of the day, I want her to be a functional adult. After all, she will outlive me, she has to be able to get along without me.

I got to thinking of this with regards to mental health. So often we who have a diagnosis are treated like children. We have decisions made for us, supposedly in our best interest, but without our input. We lose agency by admitting to our difference. We are seen as so impaired that we cannot decide whether to take medications that have such dangerous and unpleasant side effects.

Now I take meds and I am happy with them, but there was a time when the dose was too high and it flattened me. I had long pauses in conversations before I responded, and I was so slow that I didn’t even know it. Freaked out my friends. I felt fine, but they were worried. Then I had a family member die and I couldn’t cry about it. I told the doctor and he tweaked my dosage. I have the right to cry when things are sad. I have the right to be miserable, actually, though I don’t choose it.

I, however, have never been suicidal or psychotic. Both of those are potential states I could experience with bipolar. So I have been up and I have been down, but I haven’t been truly out of my head. I have mild symptoms. I’m lucky.

But even if I had intense symptoms, I don’t know that someone should be able to take agency away from me. If I am dangerous to other people, sure, but we do that with anyone who becomes dangerous, like the guy who robs a convenience store with a gun, or a mugger with a knife. If I am simply not in consensual reality, well, does that require forced medication? I mean, we as a society assume it’s a sign of health to acknowledge the same reality as everyone else, but maybe it’s not a necessity.

Because for us with a diagnosis, success is seen as partaking in society as it is, as the constituents agree it is and opting out is failure. The person has failed to adapt, to present as typical. There is no suggestion that there is a failure of society to accommodate the other experience. Or that adaptation to an unwell society is not a sign of mental health. And make no mistake, there are aspects of our culture that are not healthy. Which is true of any culture.

So the standard of success is how much I can pass for neurotypical. If I can’t pass, I must be medicated, even though many of the medicines used are no more effective than placebo. I must be medicated until I comply, then I am a success.

What if I don’t comply? What if I am happy with my ups and downs, my creativity and deep thoughts, my highs and lows? Then I would fail to pass. And I have that right. I have the right to fail. I have the right to make my own choices about my health. I have agency over what happens to my body. Or I should.

Except that I am mentally ill, so I must pass as “sane” or “normal”.

We call them “average people”. I am not insane. I am not abnormal. I am not typical. But I might be average. I might have higher highs and lower lows, but you have ups and downs and nobody feels the need to medicate you out of a range of emotions. Average people have the right to fail. I want the right to fail.

I fail miserably at 40 hour a week jobs. I simply don’t have the stamina to keep it up beyond a certain length of time. I want the opportunity to make other choices. I want the right to choose other paths even if it means I fail. I don’t want to be medicated into compliance. I don’t want a job that I need to take happy pills and valium to go into an office every day. It doesn’t sound like a life, even though it would look successful. I want the right to fail.

So here is my daughter, with all the drive of a young person, all the fire, all the dreams. And the best I can do is let her go, and hope she fails gloriously.

Don’t conform, daughter, unless it’s a game you enjoy playing. Do your best. Make different choices. I hope you succeed, but you have the right to fail.


Leave a comment

Home and Homeless

My daughter E has been on a month-long road trip.  She went to Rainbow Gathering in Georgia, then Naples, Florida.  I believe I posted about the incidents in Pensacola in another entry.  She’s been in New Orleans for several days and is finally back in the Dallas area.  I have missed her and I am glad she’s home.

The problem is, the place where she was staying is no longer available for her.  Apparently the homeowner decided that before E left, but nobody told her until she was on the way home.  Considering what a vagabond she is, they probably didn’t expect her to come back.

I rent a room from someone else so I don’t have a place for her.  Her dad has passed away so he’s not an option.  She won’t stay with my extended family.  So there isn’t even anything I can do for her, she’s on her own about this.

It does make it more likely that she’ll hit the road and work renaissance faires though.  She was loving being on the road and we’ve talked about her working ren faires before, this might be just the thing for her.  I’ll have to figure out paying for her phone and her meds, but other than that she can figure it out herself.

I can’t tell if I am being reasonable as a parent or neglectful.  I mean there’s only so much I can do for her, she’s an adult now.

I wish I could fix it though.


Leave a comment

Letting Go

I am a mother.  About 22 years ago, I gave birth to the world’s most perfect child.  Which, of course, every mother probably thinks.

Only now she isn’t a child any more, she is an adult.  A YOUNG adult, but an adult nonetheless.  And probably not that young, come to think of it.

When I was 19, my parents died.  I was thrust into the world on my own.  By 22, I had gotten myself under control.  I can’t say I was a hugely successful adult, but I was working on it.  I don’t feel like my daughter is nearly as adult as I was.  Maybe that’s my own nearsightedness.  Maybe we always think too highly of ourselves.

My daughter has taken off on a road trip for a month.  A month!  Three girls and two dogs in a car with no money for a month.  She is loving it.  I am scared to death.

Okay, not scared to death but nervous as hell.  What about phone or meds?  Well those things are on me, actually.  I said I would pay her phone for her so she has that security.  Meds are more on her.  There isn’t much I can do about that.  She’s going to have to find a Kroger and come up with the money.  I might have to pay by phone, I don’t know.  I can’t help worrying.

What about the other people on the road?  What if she has a fight with her travel companions or something happens to one of the dogs?  Who will she meet, that might hurt her.  She is going to Rainbow Gathering, where there will be drugs and alcohol, no doubt.  She isn’t clean, she’ll try stuff.  What if something goes wrong with the experiment?

And yet, this is exactly what’s supposed to happen.  She’s supposed to grow up and build a life apart from me.  Take the trip while she’s young and optimistic.  Do the stupid things while there’s time to recover.  Live!  Live the life she dreams of, before reality sets in and she has to sell out to pay for the daily needs.   How many of us work a job that doesn’t make us happy just to pay for rent and food?

I am supposed to let her go.  Push her out of the nest and watch her fly away.  I wonder if mother owls go through that.  “Get out, get out, get out, no, don’t go!”  Probably not.  Nature doesn’t second guess itself.

So she goes and I chew my fingernails.  I hope she never sees me do that.  I want a strong brave adventurous girl, not a wimpy little person afraid to take a risk.   I want her to fly strong and swift.

In about 25 years, I won’t be able to live alone any more.  I’ll have to come home to her nest and wait out my days.  Separation isn’t forever and the roles will reverse.

Until then, I watch her head out and miss her.


Leave a comment

I Have No Words

Let’s see if I can even wrap my brain around these things that are floating around the politisphere.

The president has commissioned 5 new child detention centers.  Private of course.  So now there is a money trail for what’s going on.

The US is separating young children from their parents at the border.  Now let’s be clear that these are illegal immigrants, and the illegality is part of the asylum process.  The adults are sent to jail; children can’t go to jail so they go someplace else.  But we are still pulling families apart.  It’s a shame.  Have we done it in the past?  You betcha.  Doesn’t mean we should do it now.  The past is not our destiny.  We can choose to do something different.

We wtihdrew from the UN’s Human Rights Council.  Withdrew.  What are we hiding or embarrassed about?

But apparently we will have a 6th branch of the military.  The other 5 are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.  Number 6 would be the space force.  My gawd, really?  As the meme says, who needs health care (or an infrastructure, or good public transportation or free education) when we can have a space force?  *sigh*

You know, it’s not like I follow politics all that closely.  It’s just things like this that keep coming up again and again.  Fred reads them off the internet.  My Facebook feed is full of pro-Trump propaganda and liberal rebuttals.  The news covers it.  I can’t get away from it..

So here I am, worked up and no idea what to do.  I’m pretty sure I’ll figure it out and then, look out.


Leave a comment

On Being a Mother Hen When Your Chick Needs an Eagle

My daughter is approaching her 19th birthday. Seriously, next week she’ll be 19.

For most of the last year, she has talked about how she doesn’t want to handle things on her own, she wants a parent to do it for her, she isn’t ready to adult.

She says it that way, with “adult” as a verb. I think, but don’t say to her, that most of us are still figuring out how to adult! A lot of us are still faking it until we make it, and are a little nervous that someone might actually discover we don’t really know what we’re doing. At least not all the time.

Now, on the cusp of her 19th birthday, my daughter came to me shyly and asked if she could tell me something. She hemmed and hawed for a minute, then started with “I’ve been thinking about some things . . .” which kind of trailed off. So I cut her some slack, since I am impatient sometimes, and told her to just go ahead and blurt it.

“Would you still be okay if I didn’t live with you?” she asked, all eyes and uncertainty.

No, I thought, no I will not be okay. I haven’t had nearly enough chance to be your mother. I haven’t loved you enough. I haven’t bought you everything you ever wanted. I haven’t been your best friend. I haven’t sat at the dining room table and done homework with you. I’ve been a crappy role model because all I can do is take care of today so you’ve never had someone show you how to plan for the future or pursue a dream. I never even taught you to drive. And when you go, I will be all alone and my world will be smaller and darker and emptier. No I will not be okay.

But that isn’t what I said, because even though it’s true, it isn’t exactly true. For most of her life, she lived with her dad, not with me. I have lived without her before. I will go to work, hang out with friends, go away on weekends, go shopping, read books, feed the cats. Life will go on pretty much the same as it always has, I will just live alone. I’ve done it before. I’ve done it most of my life in fact. It’s normal for me. I’ll be fine.

Plus, well, I’m not young any more myself. I’m 50. It’s not exactly old but I outlived both my parents who were 47 when they died, so this is kind of a milestone. I’m entering the second half of life, and at some point there will come the time when I won’t be able to live alone any more. When that happens, I’ll be back at her door telling her she needs to put her life aside at least a little and make room for me to come home. Not right away, but maybe in 25 years or so.

It sounds like a long time, but when you’re busy having a life, it’s surprisingly short.

I’m looking at my bucket list, culling the list simply because I’m not sure there’ll be enough time to do all of it any more, deciding what adventures I must have and which ones I won’t regret passing up. I’m thinking about, what are the last things I want to get done in life, to be sure they are complete and I am full of memories and experiences. Some of them I need to do now while I still have energy and ability to do them, so I’d better get on with it.

My daughter? She’s just starting out. She’s at the other end of this process. She has a whole wide world out there waiting for her and she doesn’t even know what she wants to do with all the time she has. Not yet fully, anyway, even though I think she has a basic plan.

Tell her to stay here with me, to be limited by my limitations which are only going to increase in coming years? Clip her wings so she can’t see what’s over the horizon? Not a chance. This is her time to go and do and experience. Have adventures. Fall in love. Change her mind. Whatever it is she needs to do to be a full person and a citizen of the world.

“Would you still be okay if I didn’t live with you?” she said.

This is not asking permission, even though it’s phrased that way. This is a declaration that after a year of saying she’s not ready, now she’s ready.

Now she’s ready and I want to fluff my wings around her and say, “No, no, you’re fragile and it’s not safe, and you need to stay here with me.” Instead, I keep my hands in my lap and I don’t get emotional.

“Of course I’ll be okay,” I say.