Uncomfortable Conversations

Just now I slipped into morbidity and thought, maybe my eulogy or my headstone, might say ” She got too mentally involved with shit that didn’t relate to her actual life, and missed out on a shit ton that was awesome.”

I promptly went outside, pulled weeds and watched the sunset… Who the hell does Future Mandie appoint as their sponsored voice in something like a eulogy or a head stone?   Hopefully, they are more poignant than my reckless imagination.

I have been thinking and talking about death quite a bit in the last couple of weeks.  It brings my attention to the ways I avoid administrative type tasks in my adulthood.  The shit no one wants to deal with.

A couple of weeks ago, my uncle forgot to tell me that he would be late coming over in the morning.  He basically has consistent “AM Grandma (or in his case MOM) duty.”  He is single, without kids, and structured, but creative.  He understands I stay up late, to capture some hours with out responsibility.  It works out well.

Anyway, he forgets to tell me he will be late, and at 9:30 am, I walk out into a dark hallway, and hear my grandma’s dog scratching on her door.  I get the dog out to pee, and open the curtains, and immediately ponder why the hell my Uncle isn’t here yet.

He is anal retentive about making sure if one of us has “schedule changes”, that the other one is up to date on what the what is.  So… THE FIRST THING that comes to my mind is ; “How long do you wait to do a welfare check on someone who you see everyday, but lives alone, so far as you know single and basically shares little to nothing about their personal life?”

I mean… “He seems healthy, but what the fuck do I know?”

I tried calling.  I send a couple of text messages.  I got grandma up, and made breakfast… He finally got a hold of me around 11:30, saying he was “on his way.”  I didn’t bring it up.  He didn’t offer to explain.  But, since then, I have been going through some adult administrative mental anxiety starting with that question… how long do you wait to call for welfare checks?

Would one of his friend/bandmates do it before me?

How exactly does he structure his time to commitments?  Who relies on his reliability?  (He is really reliable, but sometimes unexpected.)

Who are his Emergency Contacts?  Should I at least be acquainted to them?

What do I do about……..?

He holds the vault for my grandma both financially and medically…  I buy the groceries, but I am not on the bank account.  I make sure my grandma takes her PM pills, but I don’t know what they are all for.. though I know I could google it easily.  He attends her appointments, and fills prescriptions that don’t arrive by mail.

What if?  What if one day, my Uncle is driving to band practice down the road from Cheyenne, into Colorado, on the highway, and he is in a fatal accident?  Worst-fucking-case-scenario; am I able to step up or in, or do I have to just pass administration over to the last surviving son, who only shows up once a week and never seems to bring anything helpful to the table, when it actually comes to CARE?

Then I think about HAVING to force communication with a person who has no respect for me as a human, and has done just about everything possible in their power to treat me like I don’t exist; all while training his family to act in accordance…. and I damn near shit my pants.

That’s it.  That’s all.

I need to have some serious and uncomfortable conversations with people who avoid conversations like this, at all costs.  Fuck.

A Subconscious Heavy Weight: Twelve Years of Running

I’ve been running from myself since June 21, 2005.  That was the day I went to court, and stood in front of a jury for Domestic Violence and Assault charges in Bend, Oregon.   That was the day I was branded guilty by a bunch of people I didn’t know.

It didn’t matter that he hit me several times before.  It didn’t matter that he was emotionally destructive.  I took the fall.  The thing is, I don’t think that is the totality of who he is, and I know I am a challenging person to deal with. I basically chalk it up to, two passionate people with incompatible support skills. I’d invite him to tell his side, but I am sure he has no desire to rehash.  And since all boyfriends move on, it’s kind of better to just get the hell out of the way, unless their current person/wife, is curious about you, and makes the initiative.

We were young and emotional. I will accuse him of not wanting to meet me at the level I need for communication; and because, as my readers know; I am kind of wordy,  I want to break it all down to get to the grit.

Anyway… That day I had a woman judge.  I hoped the cop wouldn’t come to testify.  Neither one of us had support to back us up.  It was just “us” against “us”.  Two people in love, but failing at making it work, being represented by strangers.

Later he told me, that while he was on the stand, he was secretly hoping I would do some Basic Instinct flash under the table.  Little did he know, I thought about it.  We were really attracted to each other.  And when stuff was great, it was amazing.  He was far more in his body; and I was far more into my mind.  Neither of us lacked heart, communication was  a huge issue, despite how much we had in common.

I don’t recall any of that coming up in court.  Verdict by Jury, Guilty of one count Domestic Violence, One count Assault and Harassment.

I felt very strongly that this was an improper representation of who I actually am, as a person, and the majority of my actions.  I knew what was on the table ahead of time, from the police charges.  I did EVERYTHING and MORE, than the Court could have asked for with out going back to jail as a sentence.  I did it ALL before the Court asked me to.

Shortly after my arrest, I went to the Court Assessor, and I asked, point blank “What is the most the Court will want from me?”

He said, “Drug, Alcohol, Domestic Violence Classes, counseling, and Community Service.”

I got on it immediately.  I had insurance through my job, and I found a Mental Health provider. I payed the co-pays of $25 dollars a visit.  I enrolled in the DADV classes, and paid $25.00 for each of the twelve classes (max sentence).  I found a lovely non-profit art gallery, and volunteered my time, and met some really lovely humans.

I “paid my dues” in full, without request.   I asked my boyfriend to come to the DADV classes with me (because they encourage it, ) but he wouldn’t go.

In my free creative time, I kept performing Slam Poetry, to meet people, so I didn’t feel so isolated.

The Judge and I talked “off the record” after the verdict.  She asked “Were you two living together, despite the mandated restraining order?”

I replied with, “Yes, your honor.  We are both, kind of, all we’ve got, here. We have only been here a year.  I actually wanted to defend myself, and the Court Assessor, really discouraged that idea… but I am a writer, and I do feel this situation doesn’t really represent who I am or what I am about;  I wrote a poem shortly after the incident, that I wanted to use as my defense. I wanted to share with you that I do take responsibility for myself.  Can I share that with you?”

She says “Yes.”

And I recite this piece of poetry, that I had been performing for months at Poetry Slam events.  Reveling in being raw and vulnerable, because my boyfriend never went to the events, and no one really knew who he was anyway, so I was somewhat anonymous.

She is moved to tears.  “Can I get a copy of that?  I work with a lot of women in domestic violence situations.”

I tell her, “It is my pleasure to give you a copy, right now.”

This is when she basically tells me that if I don’t fuck up again; I can have my record expunged.  And she makes note on my PERMANENT Record.

Inside, I know I have learned my lesson, and this kind of thing WILL NEVER happen again, under my watch.

And I liked the idea of it.  I felt somewhat empowered and emboldened.  But I also felt kind of fearful, because, many times in that relationship, the only thing I felt like I did wrong, was trigger emotional reactions my boyfriend wanted to avoid.  I was guilty of asking intimate questions to a person who wanted to keep secrets, and assumed I was keeping secrets as well.  I was an open book, willing to be torn apart, just so he could make sure I was legit.

That didn’t keep us together.  Shortly after the trial, he said he needed to think things over, and get some space. He rode his motorcycle back to Colorado to celebrate his birthday, and see his friends. ( I always felt like he met his wife, on that trip.  My intuition is rarely wrong, but he never owned up to it.)  He didn’t come back on time, and I got worried, and then I got angry… He was back for maybe a month, and then I went and did something to piss him off.. and he was done.  He packed his car, and planned a date to leave.

His chosen departure date was my 25th birthday.  He asked,  “Do you want me to stay around for your birthday?”  I said, “You don’t want to be here, and you don’t want to be with me.  I know that.  Staying isn’t doing me any favors.”

So he left, and I threw myself a birthday party with co-workers from the pizza shop I worked at.  I felt sad, and independent.  Our lease was up a few days later, and I closed a chapter of my life, with my longest (admitted) serious relationship to date.

In the meantime… maybe I felt like I needed to hide a little bit.  I couldn’t stick out in a bad way.  I couldn’t be in a relationship, because I started to believe that I am too volatile and I lead people to anger, aggression, and violence.  And how could I be loved if I was such a beast of a human.

So much pain for a three year relationship- 2000 mile move-one year of living together in a foreign place-kind of situation.

Turns out he moved on quickly.  Now he is married with a child.  I hope he is healthy and happy;  we don’t keep in touch.

His life went on, emotionally.  While mine, kind of stunted.  He was the only person, I felt like I was really willing to lay it out on the line for, and he wasn’t willing to take it, or give it back.  I felt like, I broke him in, for some other woman.  That I got nothing out of it… and what am I?  Just some set of training wheels for men to use, in order to learn how to respect and communicate with women?  Then they get to go on to have loving, intimate relationships with other people, while I exist as some sort of emotional Dakini?

If so,  so lame.  I want a long lasting love, too.

So, I did what anyone who wants to guard themselves from further emotional disaster would do; I further reinforced the fortress around my heart and my intimacies grew even more casual, short term, and brutally honest.  I refused to be anyone’s girlfriend.  I would hook up with one guy for a month or two (tops) seasonally. I didn’t like the idea of  being with many people at once… so occasionally, I would give some one a chance, and “feel it out.”  I would get bored or frustrated easily.  Occasionally the men I was interested in, were not very interested in me.

With every one I would try to be with, I kept feeling this dissonance, like “I shouldn’t be with this person”, but I would let it “run it’s course” until things got awkward, and eventually just faded into a “somebody that I use to know” situation.

I kept running.

Four years, before I could expunge my record… Mugshots.com uploaded my mugshot to their website.  As did a couple of other sites.  Four years, before, I could just pay the court eighty dollars for an expungement and seal off my records… Some dumb dotcom is out to make money off of people with public criminal records.  I was horrified.

When I googled my name… my horrible head shot was the first thing you would see.   To have it removed I would have to send proof of expungement ($80.00), and then send proof of the expungement with an additional payment to the website of $237.00 to take it down.  The catch?  I read the small print, and it states , “that there is no guarantee that it wouldn’t be re-uploaded” because it is PUBLIC RECORD.

Welcome to the times.  Public Records are all over the internet.

What the actual FUCK, people?

My record, and mug shot were now potential internet fodder.

So I went to my mug shot page, and I left a comment, saying that the picture is ME and how I feel about the whole matter, and that if anyone felt like discussing it, I would fill them in.

I took on the moniker, Madge Midgely Laycock.  I created a personality, so that I could release my artistic stuff, and not have it directly tied to the top google search of my name, leading to that humbling mug shot, my criminal record.

If I do say so, I honestly did a really good job with redirecting myself, from myself, to “protect” myself.

I haven’t checked on my appeal.  I haven’t paid for expungement, because now it is already out there on the internet, and the court won’t be responsible to make sure all public accounts on the web are sealed.  I have written about it more than once.  As open as I have been, publicly, for myself… I have continued to run.

I’ve been running for almost a dozen years, because of one night.

I don’t want to run any more.





Mother Pluckin Mothers Day

I’ve never really thought about being a mother, or what it actually means to be a mother.

I suppose more likely that I have given it some severe criticism over my days.

You know that moment when you just submit to how things are; how you are sure they will always be in the midst of knowing, while STILL trying, somehow,  to make it better – perhaps over compensating in some mentality that had served you for a good long while; but has become such a self identifying characteristic, that letting go is hard, and humbling and tough to move beyond?

Yep.  That is me.

I could blame the anti-mom game on my early life; social programming, feminism, Disney, and the World In General… but I won’t.

I made a choice of self preservation due to trauma in early life… and I have unabashedly  stuck to it.  I empowered myself by it;  I gave it life and definition.  I fed it by ignorantly and fyoulishly adhering to my trauma blinders.

HA!  Like I think I have always known things!

When I was a child, I wanted to be a Grandma, above all…but, I also knew I never wanted to be a mom- so being a grandma, was probably out of the question.

I grew out of attempting to age quickly, and clung to the idea of being “The cool Aunt.”    My tag line is “When you can’t handle the transitions, save your sanity and send them to me.”  I believed I could be the bridging gap between generations, despite being a decade older than my sister.

Somehow, being single and childless, in my mind, equaled freedom which directly translated to “more room to comprehend and connect.”  It also meant “choosing ones own connections” aka “being exclusive and reclusive, mysterious and confused.”   “Appearing more purposeful than I actually feel.”

I have been, successful.

Successful at avoiding certain responsibilities by “opting out.”  Successful at using the word “No”, even when it’s too much, going too far.  Successful at building a very strong fortress around my totality of being-ness.  Successful at giving out selective passage with time limits, to those who dare venture these walls.

But hey, what is your definition of  “Success”? Is it at all defined by your MOM?

Mothers, just…they just aren’t suppose to just leave, ya know?

I don’t know… I mean… based off Disney, they are bound to. Moms exist as a memory with Disney.  Why is it all the girls and boys who love Disney movies the MOST, still have their mom‘s?

Right?!?  They not only HAVE them… they are CLOSE to them…

I guess, I should admit, I never really “bonded with my step mom in a way that  would ever give me a real “Mommy” vibe.  In the same breath, I will admit, I gave that woman hell with solidified child thoughts.


“Why did you choose HER?”

“She WILL NEVER understand me!”

What wasn’t childish, and I didn’t understand back then, was the fact that I was unknowingly competing with an adult woman for my fathers’ attention.

Whoa, right?!?  No one tells you that at 9 years old, even if you are going to a therapist who is SUPPOSE to help you navigate shit exactly like this; why?  Because you are STRONG, you are RESILIENT, you are SMART, and if an adult explains it properly, YOU WILL COMPREHEND AND OUT DO EXPECTATIONS!

On the other hand, you can still carry all those attributes and go on like a bumbling fool because the adults around you are afraid of breaking a child who has already broken.  A child seeking security, and finding everything around themselves a suspect.  A child adapting, but never REALLY feeling like they are trusted or heard.  Ho, Hum.

I don’t blame the effect of this on any one but myself these days.  And, I am hard on myself, so I ask myself things like  “Why didn’t you see this and understand this dynamic earlier?  What is wrong with you?  Why do you continue to fixate on things that are more easily accepted AS IS, instead of ruminating solutions to the past free-will decisions and actions of others?  If that is what they would have thought was best, they would have.  You know they are doing their best just like you, but you STILL SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT and KNOWN.”

UGH.  Someone please bring me a 2×4 to beat my own head in.

That has been my life on repeat in variations for TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS!

Coincidentally, my step mom married my dad at the age of 28, in May, nineteen years ago this year.

I had just finished up my first grade year.  And let me tell you, it was an EPIC year.  I went to Ireland with my grandparents, my brother and my dad.  I felt like I landed in a place made just for me, except for my sensitive stomach.  We traveled in a rented van and stayed at B&B’s and I felt like the magic of my heritage was upon me. During the school year  I had a beautiful and kind first grade teacher, Miss Rolfe, who was super nice and magical.

Then The End of The Year came.  A week before the last day of first grade, I found out my Miss Rolfe was getting married, and on the last day of school we made a celebratory field trip to Brimmer Park, down the road from Baggs Elementary.  I remember my grandma took me to buy  a gift, and I chose two silver candle holders.  I was excited to show her how much I adored her.

We had a child like bridal shower in the park.  We all brought gifts, and over sized white t-shirts for her to sign in magic marker. On mine she drew an eye + heart+ you.  I felt that inscription in my heart.  She was beautiful, she taught with kindness and I thought she would be there forever.

At the end of our picnic park party, Miss Rolfe broke the news; the man she was marrying had something happening in Arizona.  She wouldn’t be at the school the next year; she was moving.

My heart broke, and I am sure my attitude showed it. My grandpa picked me up from school and we walked the three blocks home.  I was miffed.

I remember being home a while and my dad came in.  I was in the kitchen, and he knelled down to me sitting at the table.  He asked me something like “What do you think about me marrying Karen?”

And my heart sunk lower in my chest, but given the opportunity to express, I said “No…No.”

I received an answer that culminated in “It’s too late.”  I had no “real choice” in the matter.

So finding out I was getting a “new mom” with no choice, and realizing I wouldn’t be returning to Baggs Elementary; I was hit with the realization that  I lost a teacher, a school and all my friends; but, hey, I was gaining a step mom and a move to the country west of town, to a new school and house.

I stayed mad for two decades, and anything I deemed my step mothers doing in my misery, went into my brain archive.

How DARE you ask me, what I think and feel, if in the end, it matters, not?

I have always fallen victim to my observations and opinions.

How does one become malleable?  Roll with the punches and keep your mouth shut.  Make up your mind and keep it to yourself.  Suffer in silence.

I looked for my dead mother until I was fifteen; thinking somehow, someway, she could get away faking her death and continue living with another family in the same town.  I looked for her in the aisles of stores, and in the  clouds when I flew on planes.  I thought, in my youth, that you could just put a bouquet of flowers on the roof on birthdays and Mothers day, and she would just float down and get it.  It all continues to give me cognitive dissonance.

But… you know what pulls me out of that dissonance?

I am THIRTY SIX FUCKING YEARS OLD!  This shit is old hat.  I graduated  high school half of my life ago.  Life has moved on.  Everyone is moving on in their own way.

If I am honest with myself and my observations, these truths are undeniable… I have kept myself stuck despite knowing the evolving truths….

My dad has someone who loves him, and her loves her back.

My sister has an attentive mother that adores her, and she deserves that.

They all have done the best they can with me, but I kind of scare them.

Everybody is fighting to comprehend the day to day, and it’s changing swiftly.

My step-mom has always done the best that she can with no guide book, she is brave and resilient; but most like me, adaptable.

I wish I came upon all this alone, but I didn’t.

I have been really blessed in my adulthood to have surrogate mothers.  Women, regardless of age, whose lives seemed to somehow collide into mine.

I haven’t had the same “call and check in every day” or “pop in unexpected” or “care for you when you are sick” kind of relationships; but I have had some eye opening realizations and some heart felt growth.  But honestly, I mean, in my own experience the one thing you have to face about a surrogate is, they will always be there MORE for their own in the most natural and organic way.  You are not really the Fruit of Their Loom, er Womb.

Kind of the same thing with my “step” situation.

She has my sister, and my sister has her; and in no way would I ever wish a woman to grow up motherless. They have a pact I will never truly understand.  And I would never do anything to keep them from it.

I hypothesize that maybe if you have enough surrogate moms, you can actually plan that into your schedule and hug more frequently, and have a reason to make lots of handmade cards?  I don’t know.   What I do know, is, they are there when I need them,most times.  But I don’t ask for, or expect much, and that makes it easier for everyone.  Life is like that.  Sometimes, you have to just figure it out on your own because no one is there to pick up the call or rescue you.. or just soothe you.

And that is okay too.

Some of us have to learn to “Mother” ourselves.

My surrogates and my step mom have taught me more about themselves and myself in regard to the life around me by their unique perspectives and my willingness to listen and observe.  They present perspectives I don’t have on my own, unless I really try.  They DO HAVE birth children! They understand love on a level that I don’t They have  and continue to ride that roller-coaster which may not be ending soon when it comes to life transitions and need.

Rumor has it, “You always want and need your mother… no matter how old you are.”

What do they want in return? These Mothers?  Proof of existence?  Proof that their pain and turmoil and worry isn’t in vain?  Proof that their best attributes can rub off and be impactful and important through progeny?… Justification to a certain degree, that the risk was worth it?  The worry has worth?

Honestly, I don’t fucking know.  I am not even going to pretend right now.  Tell me.

The best I can come up with, is, they are like me; care taking spirits.  I took a different angle, and I know that the out come will be different.  I have no expectation than to have to deal with the most gruesome parts of mortality alone.  They probably expect or at least hope their children will be there to hold their hands through it, when it is their time.

I need to work on honoring this, because quite honestly I have previously just shat upon a Mothers purpose, Their purpose.   We don’t have life without Mothers.  We do not have balance without Women… and care taking humanity would be a lost cause without that energy.

But, I’m not a feminist…?!?

I don’t have to be, because regardless, Mothers gonna keep Mothering.  I apologize if I wasn’t appreciative before.  You all impact the totality of the past,present and future.  We need your love and attentiveness.  We need your kindness and structure.  We need your support, and your presence.  We need your fearless protective nature.

You are a TREASURE.

Thank you.

May all you Mothers, have a Mother Pluckin Mothers Day.