Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: The Holiday Season Broke and Mentally Ill Style

Today is the eighth anniversary of my father's passing. I thought about that day early this morning. I didn't appear to be grieving because I wasn't wailing and gnashing my teeth. I had already grieved watching him deteriorate as he did. There wasn't anything left in me. I've felt for a long time that there isn't anything left in me. I'm not cold, which I've been accused of a lot. I just don't have anything to offer.
The memory that comes to the forefront of my mind is my mother leaving two messages on my phone. The ringer wasn't working on my phone; I would be soon to get a new one. I was sleeping with the phone under my hand, but I didn't feel the vibration. The first message was her telling me that my father had died. The second was her telling me that again, demanding that I call her back, and finishing off the message with "you're never there when I need you." She didn't apologize for saying that, which doesn't surprise me. I informed her that my phone's ringer wasn't working correctly, that I had tried to be aware if a call came, but hadn't felt the vibration. Well, she never apologizes when she says hurtful things, so I guess she and I are even.
I fucking hate this new YouTube push to force people to pay for the service by pausing the playlist every so often to ask "are you still there?" No, Bitch, I died, but my zombified body keeps responding by saying I'm still here. The joke's on you.
In other frustrating news, I guess I paid the price for thinking I could buy yarn and get away with it. I ordered three skeins of yarn to keep working on my blanket, and some payment clashed with another, so I ended up getting an overdraft charge and am now $36 in the hole. Those fucking overdraft charges should be criminal. They only ever harm people who are struggling financially anyway.
Tonight's supper will be turkey chili and baked potatoes. At least those are two things I can ensure that my son will actually eat. My mother's right that he's kind of fussy, but there again, she refuses to believe that he's actually autistic. People with autism tend to have issues with food textures far more than people who don't have the condition. But, of course, my mother is always right.
I was just talking to my son about how we are both, in spite of what has been drilled into us by members of the extended family, very productive. However, we are not productive in the ways they deem worthy. We are terrible with housework--absolutely rubbish, let's be real. We are unable to work the kinds of jobs that they deem worthy. 
If I had ever been able to make my writing pay, they might be proud of me. A little. But it still wouldn't have been the kind of work that they would truly have deemed worthy.
All I'm doing as far as holiday decorations this year is putting a string of lights up on the fence at my son's townhome. We can't have a tree because the four-legged dumbasses will knock it over. When I was a kid, my father became a kid again every December 24, because that was when we decorated the tree. He loved decorating the tree so much and went way overboard. We had so many decorations. Now they never see the light of day.
Maybe one day I will decorate for the holidays again. I don't know. The first year we had a really nice tree was when I was ten years old. That was the year my father got a good position as a professor at a small college and we moved from Albuquerque to a suburb of Denver. Everything was so wonderful on that Christmas when I was ten years old. 
I realize now that my bipolar disorder onset when I hit puberty, which is why I was an emotional wreck during the holidays when I was eleven and trying to hide it so I wouldn't fuck things up for the rest of my family. 
We always took the tree down on the day after New Year's. The year when I was twelve years old, I was once again in a tailspin but trying to hide it. We got the call that my paternal grandfather had died from a massive heart attack while he was out feeding his horses. I burst into tears. I thought it was my fault that he was dead because I hadn't been grateful enough, so God took my grandfather.
I learned a lot about my father's side of the family that year. I wrote a cheeky poem about it recently, which is titled "My Family Skeletons." You can read it here
At the time, it was actually very traumatic. My twelfth year of life was not a lot of fun. It seemed like everything was falling apart. There was a lot of contention surrounding my grandfather's will, and I was being bullied mercilessly. I started self-harming, and on one occasion, I swallowed a bottle of aspirin. I ended up with a sick stomach and throwing up. I didn't tell anybody what I'd done.
So, I guess what I'm getting to in my long-winded fashion is that the holidays are not happy-happy-joy-joy for some people. I tend to have kind of a neutral approach to them at this point, but that's because I'm emotionally numb. For some people, the holidays are extremely difficult. It's supposed to be a happy time, and people who are already struggling get added guilt heaped on them for not presenting a happy face to the world.
Please do not shame or berate people who aren't "in the spirit" during the holidays. The joy is not universal.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It Festively~

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