herstory, history, ourstory

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circa 1994

My sister and her Conservative, religious, homophobic, intolerant, and selfish husband recently decided that neither me or my mother are allowed to see my niece Zora. Because we are toxic individuals who are going to negatively impact the young life of their child. Because I am emotionally abusive and have said “hurtful” things about their marriage like the fact that my sister is an actual hostage in her own “home”. Because I have a mental illness they don’t feel comfortable leaving me alone with their precious little human.

It’s a lot to process and even after you process it, none of it makes sense.

My mom continuously wants to talk about it. She wants to understand where and how my sister became this stranger that stands before us all. And I admit that, I too, would like to understand. But I have also come to accept that I don’t need to understand.

I lived with my sister for nearly eighteen years. She has known me since the day I was born and she has seen the highs and the lows and we were both raised by two of the most amazing humans to ever grace this planet.

And yet here we are, my father is dead and my mom is a widow who is just trying to make it from day to day without collapsing under the weight of her grief.

And yet here we are, my sister’s husband has decided and she has agreed that the people who merely want to love and care for her child are horrible people.

Goddess, I wish I could lie to myself so soundly that I begin to believe it so wholeheartedly.

I am not perfect. I accepted long ago that perfection is impossible and my mom is no exception to that rule. But we are good, if not exceptional, people. We want nothing from either my sister or her husband except to help them and love them and their young family.

But apparently speaking the truth and living honestly is too much for good Christians. Apparently that’s one of the commandments they glossed over.

Thou shalt not lie.

Thou shalt not lie.

Thou. Shalt. Not. Lie.

Richard Yates once wrote, “No one forgets the truth; they just get better at lying.”

I don’t know what truth my sister is living, or her husband, or what truth they plan to share with my niece but it breaks my heart to know that whatever truth they share it won’t be one that helps Zora grow or learn or become the human our ancestors hoped we’d become.

I would never ask my sister to live for anyone else or to allow anyone else to tell her the way she should live her life but my parents sacrificed and did so, so much in order for her to be free to choose and I just hope that at some point she chooses the side of love and kindness.

I don’t even care if I never see her again. She made very clear that I am not welcome in her life or her home as a result of my mental illness and various other life choices. But it kills me to see her cut my mom out of her life. It kills me to see her keep a child away from a woman who has done nothing but love and care for everyone around her.

I was conflicted as to how I wanted this essay to unfold but I am pleased with the end result and I stand behind everything I have shared. My sister is off somewhere in the universe telling people I’m crazy or that I don’t respect her marriage (hostage situation) but I genuinely don’t care what she says about me because the people who need to know the truth know and everyone is entitled to tell their side of the story.

I believe it was Ernest Hemingway who said, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

Well, this hurts. It hurts more than losing my father because my niece and my sister are alive and well, but I am not welcome in their life because of factors outside of my control.

I have done the self-care. I have seen the doctors. I have worked on myself for years now and as a mental health professional I find it astonishing that my sister has made this decision.

But like I said, there are a hundred different stories. I just needed to tell mine in the only way I know how. And regardless of the choices my sister and her husband make, I will always, always pick up the phone or book a flight to see my niece and support her no matter what.

So this is my truth.

And this is my story.

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the divorce is final and i don’t have to pay alimony

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break up letters by wastedrita

I recently made the very adult decision to break up with my best friend. Well, we broke up six years ago but we have been in each other’s lives in one way or another for eight years. He took care of me when I couldn’t get out of bed. I did my best to take care of him whenever he allowed me to.  But the time has come and we are no longer growing together…we have grown apart.

I thought it would be harder than this but it’s kinda like getting a haircut. At first it’s weird and you don’t know if you like the person reflected back at you but then a few days pass and life goes on and hair grows back or it doesn’t or it does.

WHATEVER.

I think he loved me in his own way but he never loved me the way I needed him to and that’s ultimately why I am choosing to leave. I am choosing to close the chapter on our life together in order to love myself more completely and not shoulder the guilt of years of toxic love.

I should have known a white dude from the Northwest suburbs and I couldn’t be best friends for life. But I tried anyway because that’s the only way you learn. And my god, did I learn.

It is not his fault he is willfully ignorant and selfish and insensitive but at the same time, it is his fault. Because I had every opportunity to remain ignorant and selfish and insensitive but I chose life. I chose to open my heart up to the world and get hurt and learn and love people the best way I can.

I know a lot of you are probably wide-eyed as you read this scathing review but I honestly, truly, legitimately do not give a flying fuck.

Because when I was fifteen my sister looked me dead in the eyes and said, “You are a waste of god given talent.”

And I never forgot those words. I never, ever, ever let those words go.

Because I would rather have a serpent in my home that I can talk to than a fucking panda bear that lies all the time.

I firmly believe that the things which are the most difficult to hear are the things which need to be repeated over and over and over. Only then can we live authentically. Only then can we move forward and make America……………………………great?

Yeah, I did that.

WHATEVER.

So I am moving on with my life. I have decades left and I haven’t the energy to waste it on people who add nothing to my experience. It’s as plain and as simple as that.

Who wants to be my new best friend?

Nah, I’ll be my own best friend.

change is overrated

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art by wastedrita

I was sold pretty early on the promise of change. Of growth. Of morphing into something or someone different, new, or more evolved. Your entire youth is spent with people commenting on how much you’ve grown or how much you’ve changed since the last time you saw them.

This constant process of changing into something…anything.

You begin to believe that you’re not making progress in life if you aren’t changing or transforming some aspect of your existence. But one day it all slows down doesn’t it? You eventually plateau into adulthood and the changes aren’t readily apparent and more often than not, they are entirely non-existent. You are just you for weeks, months, years at a time.

Those little quirks you thought you would grow out of remain. Your coping mechanisms become amplified times a thousand. Your day to day life remains pretty much unchanged and that’s when doubt creeps in.

And you begin to wonder if change is as imperative now as it was decades ago. As a child you had to grow and change in order for doctors and other adults to map your progress but maybe, maybe adulthood isn’t so much about change as we thought.

Perhaps being an adult is accepting that some days you’re just here. Stuck. Overwhelmed. And none the wiser for any of your trouble but at least, at least, you’re fucking here.

But it seems like such an awful and cruel joke to build someone’s entire life on this premise of change and progress only one day to completely disregard the entire thing. To stress growth for so long only to flip the script on us all.

I guess in some ways it’s a relief. To finally see that no one is watching me as closely as they were ten years ago. But sometimes I wonder if that is also the reason why I’ve made such little progress…because if no one is watching then why the hell does it even matter? I don’t have to hold up a report card of my life to anyone except myself and depending on how tough a critic I feel like being that day…well, lethargy suits me just fine.

Change.

Who put such a high premium on the entire experience? Maybe I was born who I am and who I will always be and that’s the beginning and end of it.

 

 

DHS 4N6: IRUS

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January 2009

My favorite time of the year in high school was just after winter break when we started the long road to the State Series. Regionals, Sectionals, and if you were lucky, State. I remember Junior Year I was particularly obsessed with being on the Regional team after a year long hiatus in Kenya. I thought of nothing else from the first tournament until the final regular season competition.

I think it was one of the few times in my life where I was certain that I was good at something. That I was not only good but that I could potentially win every time I stood up to speak. As I’m getting older those moments become few and far between so it’s difficult not to drown in the nostalgia even now.

But besides the overwhelming feeling of self-confidence that being apart of the speech team brought me, today I am also reminded of the man who made all of that possible, for me and hundreds of other young minds before and after my time at DeKalb High School.

Anyone who was able to take the journey through Regionals-Sectionals-State during the time that Mr. Solomon was head coach of the team can probably remember what memory in particular I am referring to.

Before the final rounds Mr. Solomon would take those who were advancing into a room and right before our very eyes become Willy Wonka himself. I admit that I was often anxious and impatient thinking about my upcoming round so some of the magic may have been lost on me…but that does negate the fact that the moment was indeed magical.

Mr. Solomon, in his suspenders and bright blue eyes, would recite the entire boat scene from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. All of us sitting in that room, all nerves and high hopes, as he guided us through the ‘wondrous boat ride’ that was the end of the forensics season.

There’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going…

We’d all open our eyes after he was finished and walk out of the room, readjusting our eyes to the light, ready to conquer whatever the universe had in store.