Archive for the ‘deep(ish) thoughts’ Category

I feel like I’m circling the drain.

I can’t exactly explain it.

I’m at the conflux of several perfect storms – to wit:

aging parents


health (or lack thereof)

money (or lack thereof)

I can’t even seem to wrap my head around everything that’s going on. It’s just that I’m feeling dead inside and overwhelmed.

I do think I may have a touch of depression.

Just a touch.

I miss the things that made me feel alive.

Ordinarily I love spring.

This year I’m not feeling that “lift” that I usually get.

I mean – I still love the daffodils. I still find beauty in the tiny green buds on the trees.The emerald in the field is a welcome sight.

But I can’t seem to get on board with it all.

I’m doing the usual springtime garden chores just because they need to be done. I’m not making plans. I’m giving up the work on a lot of things. I just don’t feel like doing it anymore.

There are a lot of things I’m just not feeling anymore.

I think I need to get off social media for a while. Everyone else’s lives seem to be so much fuller than mine.

I’m at risk of fading away.

I’ve got three boxes of books yet to be read and I can’t seem to make myself start any of them. That is just so not me.

I like to think of myself as a pragmatist, but even the most pragmatic of us have a seed of optimism. I don’t feel optimistic.

I don’t sleep. Much. I’m groggy during the day and wide awake at night.

My parents both seem to be looking to me to “fix” things for them, but I don’t know how or what to fix.

My kid will be in high school next year. Four more years and out of the nest.

One of my dearest friends is getting remarried and she has asked me to be her matron of honor. Which of course I am going to do, but I am feeling a little reluctant about it.

Where is my energy?

Where is my desire?

Where is my zest for life?

I don’t usually feel this way at this time of year. This is more of a fall feeling.

I think I need a vacation.

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My Grandmother, my mom’s mom, was a large woman.  And a short woman, which contributed to her largeness.  She had all kinds of theories about why she was so large, including the one about being made to eat everything on her plate at every meal.  Which makes sense when you consider that she was a young girl when the Depression hit, and every morsel of food counted.  And I sort of buy into that theory, because what you do as a child has a tendency to stick with you as an adult.  You eat everything you can because that’s what you’ve always done.

My mother, who is fortunate enough to at least have some height on her frame, is a large woman, too.  The reasons my mother is heavy are fairly easy to pinpoint – genetics, poor food choices, lack of exercise.  And she eats when she’s dealing with her emotions.  Good day?  Let’s get ice cream!  Frustrated?  Have some cobbler.

I recognize this tendency in myself, too.  While my mother never rewarded me with food (for I am not a dog), I was witness to the kitchen capers that came about as her way to deal.  I try really hard to not repeat this because she’s fat, and she’s unhappy that she’s fat, and so she eats because she’s unhappy.  I don’t want that future for myself.  Adding to the complexity of this tendency is that I really like wine.  I’ve been known to have a conversation with myself about how early is too early for a glass of wine.  Alcohol at 9am isn’t a good idea, even though a lot of the world’s best literature was conceived in a bottle.  It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.  It doesn’t end well, is what I’m saying.

I have a theory about it, of course.  It’s like picking a scab – you know better than to do it, that it’s just going to prolong the healing process, and maybe leave a scar to boot – but you do it anyway because at least it’s something to do.

We don’t do a great job of sitting quietly with our emotions.  Our emotions scare us, particularly the ones that are on the darker end of the scale.  And our emotions are reactions to things that are going on in our lives, and a lot of that stuff we’ve got no control over.  So we eat, or we sleep, or we drink, or we shop, or we do any of a number of things that have become our medication of choice.

They say that recognition of a problem is half the battle.  I’m not so sure.  I think it may be a battle in and of itself.


— Mox

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So I’ve had a couple of questions put to me in the past couple of months that I answered fairly definitively at the time, and yet my mind keeps circling back to them.

My doctor (nurse practitioner):  “Do you think you’re depressed?”

Me:  “I don’t think so.  I mean, I think I would feel kind of blue, or something, right?”

And that’s sort of eaten at me.  I mean, I went to see her for what I hoped wasn’t a heart/lung issue and really thought were panic attacks (pounding heart, shortness of breath, etc) and she gave me a little something to try and that’s been pretty solid.  So, yay (I guess) for panic attacks.

But I’m finding that things that I used to get pleasure in, I don’t have a whole lot of feeling for any longer.  Which if I remember correctly, is one of the symptoms presented by one of those interminable commercials on TV for depression drugs.

So there’s that.


My husband:  “Are you happy?”

Me:  “What, like in general?  In life?  Yeah, I guess so.  Well, except for feeling like I’m trapped here in this godforsaken podunk town.  But yeah.”

And we went on our merry little way.  But in the back of my mind, I’m asking, where the hell did that question come from?  And is the answer really “no”?

And there’s that.


If you do the research you’ll find that the vast majority of people in the writing business — heck, in any creative field — have some sort of misfire in their wiring.  The successful and celebrated ones don’t get described as “happy-go-lucky” or “nicest person ever.”  There’s a reason the brooding artist is a stereotype.  It may be romantic to some, but that faulty wiring, whatever form it takes, is the reason for bloodletting via creative field of choice.

So again I return to the two questions that have been poking at me since the day they were asked.  And I wonder if I answered them honestly or if I just said whatever I was “supposed” to say.

And I also wonder that if the yeses are nos and the nos are yesses, does that mean I have finally begun to achieve tortured soul status, that I might actually be on to something here?

And does that make me happy?  Which negates it all, anyway.

Clearly, overthinking is a talent of mine.


— Mox

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I’m going to do a little something new and different here.  I tend to live in this space as if it were my whole world, and that means that my whole world is abnormally small from that perspective.  But today I’m going to do something I’ve never done here (at least not in recent memory, my memory really isn’t all that reliable).

I’m going to link to a post from another blog.

Here it is:  http://allietown.blogspot.com/2013/03/end-word-please.html

The reason I haven’t ever done this sort of thing is that it would blow my cover.  I am purposely anonymous and want to keep it that way.  But this is worth viewing.

I have a passing acquaintance with the person who wrote this, in a second-hand kind of way, and while my own child has nowhere near the issues her child has, I can so relate.

I know what it’s like to suspect that “something” about your child isn’t quite right.

I know what it’s like to think “maybe it’s this,” “maybe it’s that” and seek out experts in this or that field.

I know what it’s like to have to sit and listen to a doctor tell you things that confirm your thinking and yet you don’t want to hear.

I know what it’s like to have your spirit wither with this new knowledge.

I know what it’s like to make the decision whether to accept or reject what you’ve been told.

I know what it’s like to be pea green with envy when others from your/your child’s peer group brag about their kids’ accomplishments.

I know what it’s like to become a researching maniac, a tester, a tryer, an adopter, a label-reader, a crusader for that one bit of Rosetta Stone that will readjust the skewed world you live in.

I know what it’s like to love your child with a fierceness that surprises you, to take great offense at anyone who doesn’t see how amazing your kid is.

I know what it’s like to feel defeated, even on the most ordinary of days.

I know what it’s like.

And while I know all of this, what I can’t begin to know is why others can be so cruel.  For most people it takes a watershed moment, something that resets your vision by affecting your life in the most personal of ways, before that cruelty falls away.  Count me guilty.

Why is it that cruelty comes so easily to mankind?  Why don’t love and understanding rise to the top instead?

Are we so afraid of being viewed as weak that we strong-arm our way through life, glossing over our compassion for others?  It’s not a question of eat or be eaten in most cases, so why do we hit first and ask questions later?  Why are we so harsh towards the things we don’t understand?

I must say that by far the best thing about being in my 40’s is the clarity that comes with each passing year.  I better understand the phrase “the folly of youth.”

It’s one thing to be young and foolish.  It’s quite another to be old and foolish.  You really don’t have much of an excuse beyond willful ignorance, and that’s not all that excusable.

One thing’s certain:  regardless of where you fall on the disability parenting spectrum, the slings and arrows of others’ cruelty sting just the same across the board.  Doesn’t matter if your child is severely handicapped or mildly challenged.  It all hurts.

It. All. Hurts.


— Mox





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Things are unfair, y’all.

A month ago, I posted about a family preparing to lose their son to a rare form of cancer, which had invaded his brain.  And as a month has gone by, the parents are still preparing themselves for this horrible thing.  Which is worse, a young person dying quickly, or a young person dying slowly?  Is there not grief and agony either way?

A little closer to home, a family in Spawn’s school is reeling from grief today, for much the same reason.  And as much as the first story stabs at my heart, this one is particularly painful because of the proximity.  And because I am trying to find the words to help Spawn understand why and how an 11-year-old boy can die from a brain tumor.  The how part is actually pretty easy, because hard facts and science are on my side.  The why is much trickier, particularly since it involves the inconsistencies endemic to theology — why does God let these things happen, isn’t God in the miracles business, doesn’t God have the power to do anything He wants, etc.

And we go to a Catholic school.  I am ill-equipped for this.  Someone call a priest, stat!

I can talk about the family in the first story with some objectivity, since what I know is derived from information posted on Facebook.  I don’t personally know them.  But objectivity flies out the window in this second case, because this boy was in the grade below Spawn, he had triplet siblings, Spawn knows the family, I sent Spawn’s hand-me-downs to the family when the kids were babies.  How can I be objective about this?

In the midst of the regular chaos that reigns at our house most days, I’ve stopped numerous times and thought about that family, what their house must feel like right now.  I’ve reached out and hugged my kid, tightly, even though we’re at the point where all that mushy stuff is pretty much verboten.  Spawn has allowed it.  I suspect the kid needs it as much as I do.

I can pretty well say that in the grand scheme of things, it matters very little that I’m late on my car payment, that Spawn has a D in Spelling, that my house is a wreck, and that we’re nearly out of toilet paper.  All of these things will get resolved one way or another, and will likely reoccur.

I keep thinking there is a lesson in all of this, but I’ll be damned if I can tell you what it is right now.

— Mox

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Twenty-five years ago today, I donned a frilly lavender taffeta dress and stood up with my best friend as she made the biggest mistake of her life. 

I suppose that’s a bit melodramatic, but considering that we were both 18 at the time and supposedly adults, we didn’t have that first clue as to what we were doing.  I stood up there in the front of that little country church with a heavy heart and a confused mind.  Why on earth was my best friend, with one year of college behind her, jumping into the shark tank that is marriage to a man seven years her senior?  A man from another country, mind you, whom I didn’t quite like. 

You do what you do under the guise of supporting your friend, when under your skin you know that this is not going to be all it’s cracked up to be.  The differences were so great between those two — age, culture, maturity level — and I tried to talk her out of it, I tried to get her mother to talk some sense into her, and everyone was hurtling forward toward this conclusion and all I can tell you is, even at the age of 18 I knew something was not right about the whole thing. 

They married, moved all the way to Texas, and I did not see her again for seven years, other than her occasional visit home to see her family.  It felt like an amputation to me, losing the one friend who knew everything about me, whom I’d seen daily since first grade, who since third grade had been my best friend and the sister I’d never had.  Yeah, it hurt. 

In 25 years their marriage has been full of ups and downs, just like anyone else’s, but I can honestly say that in those 25 years my gut feeling has never changed.  And I don’t feel the least bit vindicated that my gut appears to be right.   

It hurts my heart to see how my friend’s husband treats her.  I can’t even be objective enough here in the anonymous space to enumerate the many ways he grinds her under his boot.  I suppose the most objective thing I can say is that he is emotionally and mentally abusive.  He has managed to take an intelligent and lively girl and compress her spirit to the point that she appears and feels to be ten years older than her 43 years.  His one saving grace had been that he had always been a good provider, and even that has fallen away; he’s two years unemployed and apparently making no real effort to reenter the job market. 

I find it hard to honestly wish her a happy anniversary today, knowing what I know and feeling how I feel.  While I would wholeheartedly support her if she decided to end the marriage, I know that for whatever reason she won’t do it.  People divorce for far lighter reasons than the ones she could muster up, and I think maybe she might just be a glutton for punishment. 

I want to grab her by the shoulders and shake her until her teeth rattle, and I’d do it, too, if I thought that would shake some sense into her. 

If I could turn back the clock, if that would make things any different, I’d go back and try harder to talk her out of it.  I’d tell her again and again what I felt in my gut, until one of us dropped from the sheer exhaustion of it all. I supposed I’d even sacrifice our friendship for the sake of her happiness, if that meant she wouldn’t take that step. 

Trust your gut, folks. 

— Mox

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Spawn turned 10 over the weekend. 

As is my nature, I spent some quiet time in reflection over the past ten years.  Namely, wondering where they all went.  Who in the hell was I at 33?  I’m certainly not that same person today. 

Spawn amazes and exhausts me, much in the same way my husband amazes and exhausts me.  Often I wonder if maybe I’m the one who’s a little out of step with the world.  At ten years of age, Spawn has demonstrated a capacity for compassion that I have only recently grown into myself.  Instead of birthday gifts, this year Spawn asked party invitees to bring gifts for the local animal rescue group that we volunteer for.  Spawn has great gifts and passions, and most of them revolve around animals, and I am continually amazed at what goes through that noggin when it comes to helpless little critters.  “Mom, if someone mistreats an animal, they might mistreat a kid.  And animals can’t talk for themselves.  Animals and kids are sometimes kinda like the same.” 

Indeed.  Indeed. 

Couple of things happened over the weekend that sort of made me weepy.  I’m normally not much on the weepy, so it took me by surprise.   

First off, I was at the local Walmart, finishing up some last minute birthday stuff, and behind me in the checkout line was a young couple and their small child.  He was talking to the cashier as I gathered up my things to leave, and I heard him tell her, “I’m four years old!  I used to be three and now I’m four!”  And it cut me like a knife, how quickly I was just there.  I walked out of Walmart with tears in my eyes. 

Secondly, I attended a baby shower for a cousin on Sunday.  The very last gift was a small step-stool that the mother-to-be had used as a child at her grandmother’s house.  We all burst into tears.  Her grandmother was my dad’s oldest sister and my aunt, and it pointed up how keenly we still feel her loss.  I wish that Spawn were able to remember her. 

I look back at the path I’ve traveled over the past ten years and oh, how I wish I could go back.  Some things I would change, and some things I would savor.  Oh, the things I would change.  Oh, the things I would savor. 

I don’t know if it’s the never-ceasing events of the past couple of months, or if it’s my annual bout of seasonal depression, but emotionally I am wrung out. 

— Mox

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I went to a wedding over the weekend.  I wasn’t particularly enthused about it, not knowing the bride or the groom, but as it was someone my husband works with — and an opportunity to get the hell out of Dodge — I packed a nice dress and heels and my good manners and we went. 

It also absolved me of any commitment to my 25th class reunion, so bonus. 

I know a little of the backstory of the bride and groom, considering that my husband is not only a coworker of the groom, but also a former coworker of the groom’s father and stepmother (who, incidentally, is younger than the groom).  You could make yourself crazy trying to unknot the various familial relationships in this particular group of people, but suffice it to say it’s a Jerry Springer show.  I made up my mind that I would be pleasant as long as I could, which would then end right about the time the booze got flowing good and everyone else became unpleasant. 

There are times to be the sober one.  This was one of them. 

But before all that, there was the wedding ceremony.  It was an outdoor wedding, which in the month of August in this part of the country can be pretty dicey.  We had the advantage of a nice breeze off the lake.  Since I didn’t know the bride or the groom or any of the members of the wedding party, I took the opportunity to be an impartial observer to the whole thing.  I always find it interesting to hear the vows, because the vows tend to reflect the personalities of the couple.  For instance, my own vows omitted the word “obey,” because there was not going to be any of that archaic nonsense in my marriage… much to the chagrin of my father.  The difference between the 50’s and the 90’s, I suppose. 

The vows at this wedding were pretty typical — love, cherish, honor, richer, poorer, etc.  Having been married a few years myself, I know how hard it is to uphold these sorts of vows, and how we all start off with good intentions.  And yet I’ve seen marriages fold like a cheap tent when minor things happen.  It’s easy to commit, and hard to be committed. 

Every time I read a news story about someone who’s fighting a major illness or disability, nine times out of ten, if there’s a marriage, it ends up kaput.  Loving, honoring, cherishing… all seem fall prey to the sickness part of “in sickness and in health.”  Does that mean they were any less committed?  Or does it mean that they didn’t know just how hard things would be? 

For all my griping about living here in Podunk Central, I at least have had the advantage here of seeing so many commitments played out over the course of lifetimes.  So many people here living marriages of 50 years or more, many in my own family.  Some remaining committed through the most horrible things imaginable, the loss of a home, the loss of health, the loss of limb, the loss of a child.  What does that say about their personal reserves of strength?  What does it say about the vows they took, and how seriously they took them?   What does it say about the expectations that surround them? 

On the flip side, I also know quite a number of people who would need both hands to count the number of former spouses.  Podunk has its Peyton Place, too. 

I’m not going to lie.  I’ve had those thoughts, the ones that say “run.”  I can’t really put my finger on the reason I don’t run. 

What goes on inside a marriage is not for the faint of heart, usually.  Nearly 25 years ago I stood and watched my best friend make a committment to a man neither one of us knew well, and over they years I have come to believe that I was witness to a very large mistake.  And yet she remains.  The why of it is a mystery to me.  Is it the words spoken during the vows?  Is it the expectations of others around them?   

At the end of the day, the words we speak to one another in a wedding ceremony in front of our friends and family are really only words.  We agree to things and declare things during the high of the moment, and once the rose petals are swept up and the caterer’s bill is paid, we begin to live our lives within the framework of these words we’ve spoken.  What makes some of us march through the mud and others of us stop when our feet get wet?  Are some of us just quitters? 

I wish the happy couple all the best, of course.  But closer examination of the familial ties surrounding them would suggest they have a tough row to hoe. 

— Mox

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One of the things I love about living in the small-town south is the way people pull over on the side of the road, stop traffic on the streets in town, for a funeral procession. 

Granted, I haven’t been to too many funerals elsewhere, but here, it’s a little old fashioned thing we do.  My husband, who’s from a big city, thinks the whole process is ridiculous.  But I was always taught that when someone dies, there is a certain protocol that dictates your response.  If you know them well, or members of their family, you show up to the funeral home.  If you do not know them well, but have a passing acquaintance with them or their family, you send flowers, food, or a card.  If you send food, homemade is best.  (Unless you are a lousy cook, then you get a pass.)  If the family requests no flowers and instead suggests a donation to a charity, do what you’re asked. 

The biggest rule of all is this:  it ain’t about you. 

That’s something we tend to forget from time to time, being all wrapped up in our own worlds.  But nowhere is it more apparent than when we’re called to grieve.  Personally I had to stop myself a few times, dial down the Mox Show, in favor of a more somber line of thinking today.  It’s hard, for me, because I don’t do tears well.  I’m not a weepy sort and I don’t have a lot of patience for high drama.  I don’t wear my emotions too close to the surface, and instead will opt every time to go for the chuckle. 

Funeral homes are not the place to bring your stand-up act.  I’m just sayin’. 

As I watched my best friend say goodbye to her father today, a man who she had a strained and stressful relationship with all of her 42 years, I saw that she was finally beginning to grieve for her mother.  Because her father required so much attention and care, and the responsibility of it fell squarely on her, the youngest, the grief she felt for her mother had to be put on a low simmer these past four years.  And it made my heart hurt for her, because I knew the tears she cried today were double. 

On the trip out to the country cemetery, with traffic pulling over respectfully for our procession, I realized the truth of that Hallmark-worthy saying:  be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting some kind of battle. 

— Mox

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My best friend Eileen lost her father last night. 

While this was not completely unexpected, I do think that once things settle down she will feel the loss, perhaps more keenly than she will expect. 

Is it difficult to lose a parent?  Undoubtedly.  But does the degree of difficulty vary in proportion to the relationship you did or didn’t have?  That remains to be seen. 

Eileen’s dad was a difficult man, and there’s no two ways about it.  He struggled for a good deal of his life with bipolar disorder, which alternately made him preachy and grouchy.  Never did I see the high highs, only the dark lows.  The high highs, according to Eileen, were evangelical in nature.  Mostly, though, what I saw of him was a man who grunted answers at you and snarled a lot. 

And is it any wonder Eileen is married to a difficult man herself? 

Eileen is the first of my closest friends to have lost both parents.  It’s a new territory for me, too, to feel conscious of still having both of mine.  Since Eileen’s mother passed two years ago, I have been very aware that all the time I have been complaining about this thing or that other about my mother, she has probably wished to be able to join in.  And too, with her father, when I’ve shown her the handmade clock he gave me for Christmas (pretty spiffy for a man with only one eye), I’ve been conscious of the fact that her father never did, never would have, make such a thing for her. 

So Eileen becomes the first of my friends to stand on the front lines between here and There.  It’s like peeling an onion; there will be tears. 

— Mox

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