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The 10 Things I know About My Dad

I grew up knowing nothing about my real father. My mom had a new boyfriend around, seemingly monthly, and acted like information about my real dad was hers and hers alone. Either that or her narcissism kept her from ever asking him anything about himself. She claimed he was Native American but didn’t know what tribe/region. She didn’t know anything about his parents and basically told me he grew pot, played piano (not sure what kind) and rode a motorcycle.

You’ll be my dad, Right Danny?

My half brother (8 years older) hated him because he apparently beat him with belts and wooden spoons before I was born (which was my fault of course, so he hated me too). He called my dad, and by proxy me, “Apache” and “Navajo”, which were supposed to be insults but really my thought was “Really? cool, that’s more than mom ever told me”. I always paid close attention to whatever horrible things my brother said about him, trying to stay objective (because I had no love for the man either), but observant. He was “a drunk”, which my mom would have never admitted because she was too (and since, my paternal half brother has repeated this when we met in 2019). He had been in prison, I believe it was implied for drunk driving, more than once.

Up until my late teens my brother would still insult my dad. He must have traumatized him pretty good because by then my brother was in his late 20s. After the movie Desperado came out, he told me my dad basically looked like Danny Trejo. Which again,, internally, I was like “cool!” but knew it wasn’t really true. In desperado Trejo was a knife throwing assassin, his rugged face and muscular arms are probably exactly what my dad with a belt looked like to a 6 year old boy.

From my own memories and my brother, I gathered a few things my mom wouldn’t have told me.

  1. I made him uncomfortable, and he never spoke directly to me that I remember.
  2. He had a cool car, a big 70s boat, and a cool dog, a Doberman. On that instance, my mom needed to get or give him something. They briefly argued and I had come along to see if he would acknowledge me but he didn’t even look at me, I was 4. He later raised Great Danes.
  3. He had paper and coloring pens/crayons in his house because my mom dumped me on him once for an afternoon and that’s what he gave me before he left for the bar. I mention this because although he didn’t have any toys or books, he had something for kids to do which made me wonder at the time if my other half siblings were ever left there. I was jealous of them potentially getting to see him, even if it was only for a few minutes before he left for the bar. Now I wonder if that’s when drawing became my thing and really never played with toys, mostly drew whenever I got the chance, all the way through high school – then I got too busy with working.
  4. He had a Grandma Bilodeau from the Midwest who was in his life and came to visit him, at least once stopping by my mom’s house when I was about 4 or 5. I remember her at the door with a big head of fluffy grey hair; me “shy” as always and my mom rude to her, as she is to most people. I don’t even think she came in the house. She wrote me every Christmas and sent me a few dollars to spend. I still have the letters, however, they don’t say much.
  5. He was an alcoholic and ex con – as verified by both half brothers and one of his ex wives. I don’t judge so I have no opinion on this really but I am surprised I don’t have a tendency to drink a lot, given my mom and dad were both avid drinkers.
Most of them say “Hi, Hope you’re well, I didn’t know you moved again – I never know if my letters will reach you” (because we moved yearly or less).

As an adult I learned…

6. He probably resented me because my mom wasn’t even sure if he was the father – apparently it could have been some blonde guy – which actually made more sense because I was blonde. Until Sarah found me on a DNA site I was sure he probably wasn’t even my dad. She also had possibly manipulated him by adopting me out to a couple who ran a milk farm (as a baby), then “changing her mind” to get him back (?) story unclear. She is generally an awful person and everyone eventually realizes it and hates her, based on my siblings, their dad, and my step dad’s reactions to the very mention of her later in life.

7. He owned a house, no idea how, from who it had come, or how he bought it, but once, while my mom and step dad were getting a divorce, we came to Spokane for a job she had (taking care of an old man. another story), she decided to see if my dad still lived there. I was about 11 and of course uncomfortable with the idea of meeting the dad who didn’t want anything to do with me. She doesn’t want to see him so of course the decent thing to do is send your 11 year old daughter to go knock on the door and deal a “hi I’m your long lost daughter” blow to his face. Thanks mom.
I’m scared shitless and go to the door, under some kind of threat I can’t remember. I’m relieved when a woman answers the door and I ask after “Dave”. She’s confused for a minute then realized I’m talking about the owner from whom she is renting the house from. He’s in Oregon is all she says and I happily go back to the car fatherless yet again.

8. He made turquoise jewelry. When I finally met my sister Sarah I find out more about him, a little via her but mostly via her mom. She doesn’t remember much either but is a couple years older than I am and saw him a little more. He was apparently raised partly on a reservation by his grandmother Rose, my great grandmother. Another person I have had 0 luck finding information about. Some of her letters came from Wisconsin I believe. I’ve had a ring for a very long time and I remember getting it from my mom at some point. I have no idea under what circumstances because she’s not the giving type, she’s the pawning type. Its source was unknown but I had the impression my dad gave it to her for some reason, Sarah’s mom saw a photo and verified that he most likely made it. Then I remembered a knife my brother had when I was little that had a stone encrusted antler handle made by my dad, so then it all made sense. I wish he’d have taught me that.

9. The Piano he played, was ragtime. I wish he’d taught me that too.

10. He truly and genuinely believed he was native American and so did everyone else. He isn’t much, but we have lived in a “one drop” society anyway. And that’s not to say that there aren’t dominate genes because he certainly looked the part. All my siblings on his side have tan skin and none of us burn. I may be the palest because of my lifelong anemia, or just bad luck, but despite us having a very low percentage it’s still there. My haplogroup is also a very rare native American haplogroup with a dominate female ancestor 16k years ago. He was raised to believe he was indigenous, he was treated as if he were based on his looks and personal beliefs, and therefore he was. Before he died he was known to locals as “Indian Dave”, an affectionate if not semi-derogatory nickname – but hopefully it was never used out of spite. I wish I knew more about his life there and life growing up. Based on his child beating practices he probably didn’t have a great childhood himself.

Overall I still know nothing. I know his grandmother’s name and that she’s from the Midwest. His name is too common – to the point where strange coincidences happen like, a David Wayne Smith, born around the same time in North Carolina, had a father named Emory – which is my paternal half brother’s name, however that Dave Smith died in his 20s in North Carolina. What the hell are the chances of that? See what I have to worth with? If someone really doesn’t want to exist, they don’t have to.

This is where my Great Grandmother lived in the 80s. She died in 1992 and my mother never told me as far as I can recall.

Fucking 2021, Finally

What 2020 was like.

We survived the year. I even bought a photo book from google to commemorate our almost 100% alone year. Just like old times in the RV really so no biggy, but I think it annoyed other people more than us. My new sister for example seems to feel blown off. We didn’t go to her mom’s for Christmas and went on one hike that didn’t feel very socially distanced due to heavy breathing. We should hike something flat next time I guess.

I didn’t talk to my mom or sister all year really, til near the very end. My sister left her husband (😊) and came back to Spokane (😖), got covid and lives in a Homeless shelter for homeless people with Covid. I had to write her to find out if she was alive. Even if I wanted to see her I can’t just visit a homeless shelter for people with Covid anyway, so I spent a week thinking she was probably dead. Her health is awful, sometimes I wonder how she’s alive at all. She’s overweight (up to 300 lbs), has seizures and doesn’t medicate properly, she has drank mostly Mountain Dew for a liquid, upwards of 64oz a day and has been hospitalized for dehydration. She eats terrible, doesn’t really cook and she’s been homeless most her adult life. When I found out she was alive it was a relief but she still can’t stay with us, not only because she has covid but because it won’t help her in the long run anyway. She needs to use the system to get a place and on her feet, and I hope she does.

Nothing much else for now. We just hiked, played video games, watched Star Trek, the usual.

Hurrah 2021! No more trump!

All Downhill From Here (cont): Hunger

Wherever my sister disappeared to she didn’t take her cat. I called a week after everyone moved out to see what she did with her… long pause on the phone….”I haven’t had a chance to go get her”. She left her INSIDE so she wouldn’t run away but never went back for her. As soon as I possibly could, I took a backpack and a leftover turkey leg to the house. Sure enough a terrified cat runs up to me meowing frantically – even the toilet seat was down so she didn’t have any water! I’m the fucking kid here and I’m doing this shit for my 23 year old sister. After she calmed down and had some food and water, I put her in the backpack and snuck her on the bus, sitting next to an elderly man who wet himself, puddle in seat. I felt so bad for him, and decided to pretend I didn’t notice but I could see his embarrassment. So it was that kind of a sad day for everyone I guess…

The studio my mom rented was tiny, like maybe a master bedroom size and small bathroom. I had a black pleather hide-a-bed couch that I had gotten somewhere for free. I’m not sure if my mom slept in that place once. It was really close to downtown and my school was literally across the street. I could get to my first class 5 minutes after waking up by taking a fire escape that started directly across from the front of the apartment complex door (indoor apartments) and climbing in a window. The front door of the school was down a steep hill and a block away. In the winter I didn’t have shoes with any traction so my options were to slide down on my ass in the snow or take the fire escape. I think I got away with it for half a year before I found someone had finally locked it.

My mom would leave me with $15 a week for food (tuna and ramen is what I usually bought). She’d be gone working hospice for people an hour away in Idaho and didn’t want to commute. Plus, I think she got the jobs because she told them she can stay overnight. Also, better to not commute and leave your teenager alone all week (not the first time she had this arrangement) with barely enough food. A short drive really and all she had to do was listen to music a little longer every day, because it was her goddamn responsibility to return. With the $15 I had to get dog food for Otis, lettuce for my Iguana and mice for my python (don’t ask me where I got these pets but they kept me sane and she never stopped me – or warned me I’d be feeding them all, and myself, off $15) – so there was very little left over, hence the tuna and ramen.

It was about a month before she was fed up with the weekend drive to bring me $15. She stopped paying rent and I started to find homes for my reptiles, taking them to pet stores to trying to scrape together some cash. I would have had Otis forever, but between my situation and the fact that I was technically hiding him (my mom didn’t tell me there was a $350 deposit for pets). I found him a home with a family who bred Boxers and wanted a smaller house sized Boxer. I’m still a little bitter about that, but at least he was probably happy and lived on a farm (a real farm btw).

On my mom’s last visit, where she abruptly broke the news that I was being abandoned, she left my brother a note. I took it to him the next day, embarrassed, knowing he didn’t want to take care of me either. It basically said “you owe me” and passed me off to him like a disease. He ranted and raved about it with no clear answer about my future. I went back to the studio and waited to get evicted, which surprisingly was about another month. A month of being hungry (my brother never fed me any of the times I stayed with him, aside from when he worked at Burger King, if I walked 2 miles each way to get a burger, which I didn’t often) and a month of bronchitis so bad the school paid for me to get a TB test after finding out my dad had TB. Finally, my friend’s mom had started to notice and took me to the Dr for antibiotics. Malnutrition was probably a factor.

I refused to talk to my mom after that, successfully for a few years even. I remember she called the school once trying to get ahold of me for something. I got to treat the school like my personal secretary and tell them I didn’t want to talk to her. Most of my teachers knew I didn’t have parents and I was usually either squatting, or staying in an unfinished basement with a “friend” (she didn’t like me much but her mom offered me to live with them once I turned 18 – still in high school – and pretend I was their nanny to help her win her divorce). I wrote my own sick notes, got acceptable “I refuse to try but I’ll pass” grades, and skipped classes on my birthday, Until I graduated.

All Downhill From Here: Concussions and Circus Dogs

I used to wonder sometimes if I lost any intelligence after I slammed my head on the pavement when I was 15. I swear I used to be smarter and more talented before that.

I was 15 and I had been out of the girls home for a few months. After a long summer of living in Billing, Yellowstone, Seattle and Mead Washington, our mom finally got a house and for the first time since I was 9, we all lived together. My brother had gotten into legal trouble in Seattle and moved to Spokane to start fresh. My sister, I don’t know, decided to show up from somewhere, and I went to LC (Lewis and Clark) Highschool downtown. I even had my own bedroom. It was surreal but short lived of course.

I had a job at a concession stand and would fund my own music, video games (pretty much just Sonic) and art, and I adopted a dog somewhere. He was a goofy looking, bug eyed, Boston Terrier named Otis and he was super smart and agile. We would practice ‘circus tricks’ in the back yard so they my plans of buying a school bus, building a stage on the side, and picking up hitchhikers to have a traveling crew, would be successful. I knew I didn’t have any real skills so my dog would.

I taught him to run up my back, jumping off into the grass, bow when I bowed and walk on the top of the wooden fence in the yard. When I’d take him for a walk I’d let him walk up and down people’s cars, more of his acrobatics, and my cat would follow us on the walks for at least a block. I even got him to do a backflip once but only once. Basically I’m a dork ad should be embarrassed but as far as I was concerned he was all I had and all my plans for the future included him.

When I was at school, Otis would regularly escape the yard and come back covered in another dogs pee, like he must have been going up to fences and getting doggy golden showers because I don’t know how else that happened – every time. I had to give him baths at least once a week and it’s a good thing the only thing I cared about in the world was animals, because he was a lot of work for a teenager.

One day, mid summer, I was riding my bike, deciding for the first time that he needed to run to get rid of some energy and a bike was the best way – Knowing it wasn’t a wise decision but sure I could pull it off. Well,.. it wasn’t a half a block from the house, on a small hill to the next street, when he bolted after something and directly in front of my tire. I was going pretty fast, full dog run speed when I slammed on both brakes as hard as I could. I knew I would crash, but better than killing or breaking Otis. Between the handlebars, and leash, my hands weren’t available and I smacked my forehead about as hard as possible on the street.

I had lost the leash and the dog was running off. I tried to stand as quickly as possible and couldn’t see straight, dizzy and in pain. I swear I remember an old man witnessing the whole thing and trying not to get involved. I don’t remember what I did next, chase the dog or go home but I remember trying to tell my mom what happened and showing her the bump and scape on my head. I felt horrible, out of it, half present. She did was she always did “oh it’s not that bad, you’re fine. It’s not a concussion”. But I knew it was. She hadn’t taken me to a Dr since I was at least 5, and undoubtedly then, only because of peer pressure. She only ever did anything parent like if someone was watching, which is why she was sure to disappear fast from people’s lives if they caught on and we would move or cut off family.

Based on rumors about people with concussions dying if they fall asleep, I slept believing I would die, and I wanted to. As a 15 year old who had never had insurance and wasn’t used to going to Drs anyway, and with a mother who didn’t care, neither did I.

I had the creepiest dreams for a week or more and the feeling followed me for years after, giving me the chills. Basically the “dream” was a sand waterfall…or, you know those sand and water filled pieces of glass on a spinner than you can make cascade and layer beautifully? Except that was my brain being sloshed around and it felt like some form of hell. I had to go to school in a fog, ride the city bus, and I tried to avoid sleep to avoid those dreams. After the knot on my head healed I was left with a dent in my skull.

I was reminded of this story today because when I’m dehydrated you can see the dent in my forehead. A lovely feature I’m sure.

I wouldn’t doubt for a minute that I’m dumber after that than before. I don’t know what Drs could have done for me, but even my mom caring a little and handing me an ice pack would have been something.

We stayed in that house for maybe 6 months – my mom probably stopped paying rent, as she does. My brother and sister remembered why they hated our mom and moved on, Sunni with a boyfriend probably and Travis got his own place in an apartment complex. My mom got a studio apartment in the same building as his and lived in Idaho while I stayed there alone. She checked in on weekends though so it was “ok” ;).

Gallbladder Surgery Solved Everything

So I don’t remember if I mentioned my gallbladder in my previous string of mystery stomach issues, but during a lul in the pandemic I had my gallbladder removed. The Dr told my partner it looked “terrible” and he later described it to me as “opaque white like scar tissue and full of gallstones”. It was attached to my upper intestines, pulling on them basically.

The Reason

For years really my stomach has slowly been getting worse, in more ways than one. Most recently and the tipping point was in May of 2019 when my stomach was so painful I could barely take steps. I went to urgent care and was given a couple acid related medications and sent home. I scheduled a checkup with a Gastroenterologist who scheduled an endoscopy to check out what was going on. After a month or 2 I went in for that procedure and they found that I did have GERD, basically acid reflux, and was kept on Omeprozole. None of the reasons behind my ‘stomach area’ pain were discovered and everyone seemed at a loss. I went into for a follow up with my continued issues and was put on a low Fodmap diet (easy on digestion) and finally after my Dr poked around at my stomach and I had physical pain, suggested my gallbladder be looked at via ultrasound.

Weeks later I got an email in the online system that I DID have gallstones but for some reason I read it as DID NOT and thought she was suggesting I schedule with a surgeon for an exploratory surgery, no thanks. It wasn’t til a month or so later that I wen’t back and read the email again and noticed she said I DID have them. One of them about 3cm (about an inch) which is associated with gallbladder cancer. I think I probably read it while subconsciously assuming they again won’t have an answer. Had I noticed I might have gotten in before the pandemic, doh!

The Surgery

The surgery itself went smoothly. Since it was during a pandemic I was rushed out of the hospital pretty quickly, groggy and sore, and sent home with a prescription for pain killers. The surgery was laparoscopic so I only had a few incisions but I would find out in my follow up about a stitch put inside where the gallbladder had attached itself to my intestines. This stick may have been the reason for the intense pain I experienced the first night.

They told me, and the bottle repeated, that the pills should only be taken every 6 hours, 1-2. However, it got significantly more difficult to manage the pain after 4. I tried though. I took a couple before I went to bed and woke up in more pain than I had ever been in before. Not because of the incisions themselves but my muscles on the right side were spasming uncontrollably. It felt like I was being shivved. All I could do was bite down on a sheet and wait for it to stop. I thought we might have to go to the emergency room, though I couldn’t even remotely imagine walking to the car and getting to the hospital – and if there’s any time you should examine the level of an emergency, its when the city is mid pandemic. I took more pain killers and used an ice pack to try and ease the spasms, and made it through the night.

For the next day or so, if the pills even wore off a bit, the spasming would return. By the end of the third day I started to replace one pill with ibuprofen and by the third day I was taking only ibuprofen. On the 3rd day in the evening however some really severe nausea kicked in after we had an asian noodle soup. I never knew nausea could be so bad, and even after I lost my lunch and my partner ran off to the store to get me Dramamine and Pepto-Bismol, just the smell of food made me horribly nauseous again.

Getting into bed was pretty painful but getting out was nearly impossible for about a week and I usually needed help. The pain regularly kept me up part of the night and I dreaded the act of getting up as much as getting shivved again. Not lying down at all was the least painful.

I thought our entire summer would be ruined but after a month or so I was mostly able to hike and do normal things. I reinjured myself for a few days trying to stretch my back. My incisions weren’t ready apparently. Even until last week, months after the surgery, I had “biodegradable stitches” finding their way out of my body and sticking out of my healed incisions. Ew. I left them a day or so and they were easily removable. Weird.

The Results

The constant dull pain and aching that I’ve lived with for years (of increasing intensity) has almost completely gone. Once in a while I feel a little shadow of it, more like a hunger pain, and get scared it’s coming back however nothing has really returned. I knew something more than ‘stomach acid’ was the problem. I do have to take Omeprozol every day, at least once, or I do notice feeling acidy, and my digestion still doesn’t enjoy wheat much so I’ve been just having it here and there and experimenting with my tolerance. Coffee still isn’t super compatible with me but it never really has been, even low acid or cold brew.

I have more energy and less back pain which was a surprising side effect. I know chronic pain can cause a myriad of problems but didn’t know how much it was affecting my overall life, energy and comfort. If you have any inkling that your gallbladder might be an issue for you, ask for an ultrasound because when this stupid little organ causes issues, it can be systemic apparently. As far as side effects, I haven’t noticed anything major that makes it not worth it. Eventually I’ll feel more comfortable getting back to my physical therapy for my back and getting back in shape a bit.

HUZZAH!

DNA Update

So DNA results change and mind has changed again. 23 and me finally added in the Iberian (Spanish/Portuguese) and also added a little north African. Cool af. So I have pinned down to my dad’s side, those things, the bit of Native American and probably some Welsh/Irish that’s in that big pool that my aunt doesn’t have as much as. What this made me think after reading some history of what “hispanic” means, why some people from Spain are darker than others, etc, is that my dad was probably 1/2 South American/Mexican, something like that.

I already knew most of this but it clicked when the north African came up. Spain was occupied at one time or another by people from both Africa and the Middle East, hundreds of years ago, giving some people in some regions darker hair and skin than Spaniards who lived farther inland. So some people in spain are as white as French or German people and some are not. These traits were taken to “the new world” by assholes and as they didn’t take women they hooked up with south americans, which were indigenous and hence the ‘native american’. Upon more Spanish immigrants moving to South America and Mexico you get people who are even more Spanish than indigenous and the mixing and diluting continues. It is surprising to some people to learn that there are many ‘white’ Mexicans and South Americans, Argentina is a huge example of that – to the point where it’s a race based caste system in Buenos Aires practically. Very white. Anyway, because of the native american, I’m now assuming one of his parents was from Mexico or South America (or their parents were or whatever). It helps very little directly but on the My Heritage site, because my sister by the same dad is on there I can find our shared relatives and then track down people with the spanish side (although she shows Italian nor Spanish and that website doesn’t have any data for native American or north African which might really pin down this grandparent). I wish she was on 23 and me for this to work right.

I may be way off and his relative came straight from spain and the native american is the teeny bit on my mom’s side but AGH so frustrating not knowing your dad people. Seriously.

Pan-fucking-demic

I really just need to write something here. I think of things constantly, from my past, from the realities of the new world, and I never write them down because it’s not convenient. I work on stuff, must work on stuff, then in my “free time” I work on some more stuff, volunteer for Biden/dems, make masks or watch something educational. I usually take a bath most evenings and watch something less educational, like Norsemen, or semi-educational, like Time Team..it’s always like “I’ll write something tomorrow” or “I’ll remember and write it all down all at once,.. when I magically have time to write a book about it”. Funny.

So I’m writing something now.

So, this pandemic, right? I’m definitely ok with the rules of a global pandemic world. I like wearing a mask, I feel like people don’t know how ugly I am, which is nice, I also don’t want to get anyone sick or get sick of course. I don’t mind staying away from people I know because I generally assume they don’t want to be around me anyway. Instead of me coming up with excuses or not contacting people and then felling guilty (but also like I’m doing them a favor), it’s just out of my hands, Hurrah! And I definitely don’t mind not going to the store very often. Most things we need are online and we can schedule grocery pickup for everything else. It’s almost like our lives pre living here, immobile, extremely rural, surrounded by strangers and/or hicks. We were always alone, together, observers of the fascinating world and not participants except in our own activities. Great. I feel a little bad saying I don’t miss people any more if I see them in person or online, but that’s what’s been normal and comfortable for me for the last 13 years.

p.s. If I see one fucking comment about “but masks don’t werk tho becuz my aunt is nurse and says so” – I’ll burn this whole website to the ground if I ever have to hear one more ignorant mother fucker say anything about masks or hoaxes or “but they’re skewing the numbers because…!”.

This is the world we live in. A world of people who are willing to try and get through this and people who are fighting it with every fiber of their being and making life worse for everyone. This would literally be over if it weren’t for stupid, stubborn people. They have dragged this out so long they’ve forced us to depend on a vaccine to come out, that half of them won’t even take. We cannot have nice things, go places and feel safe, eat out without being a piece of shit for doing so, and their kids can’t go to school because it will spread like wildfire because kids are kids. Unfortunately in a few weeks their kids will go to school in most states and the numbers will spike even more. I wouldn’t be surprised if this went on so long that our entire way of doing things is permanently altered in major ways, and I don’t just mean the obvious ways like – that maybe ‘essential workers’ will be treated like humans and paid a living wage (unlikely even if Biden is elected but we’ll see) – I’m talking no more shaking hands ever again and robots run half the shit people used to (which is already inevitable but could happen much faster). I already watch things from the past with the new world in mind; “should they be doing that” – “that’s not realistic or safe” – “what about covid?!” – “aw, that’s how things used to be, sigh”.

Our culture is already permanently affected. There’s music that will never be made, seasons of shows that will never continue, movies have been put off or will lose funding, sports…wait I don’t care about sports, small businesses will dwindle into the night unnoticed and forgotten, forever not contributing to the little bit of handmade quaintness left in our world. At least independent and gig workers were able to collect unemployment and my student loan payments were suspended. However I’m not worried about us as much as the thousands of other people I know aren’t as fortunate as we are.

Short and long term, our society will be trashed even more than trump has ushered in (though this is in a huge part his fault too) and it will likely be blamed on the democrats if we win this next election. The mess we’ll be left with will be unheard of. Homelessness will get even worse than it’s already been getting over the last decade because republicans think giving people enough money to live on when they lose their job in a pandemic is ‘spoiling them’. Wouldn’t want those workers to think they’re as worthy of comfort and security as the rich, right? Police are already willing to get more lethal, and at this rate will continue to if the republicans get to keep any power. The Right choose nationalism and racism over humanity which will puts stress on the positive awakening people are having because of the Black Lives Matter movement. Dividing and hating each other more and more because they won’t tolerate “socialism” and we won’t tolerate racism. A long running civil war will ensue in one way or another until this country finally falls apart. The national debt, important programs that were cut by trump and we might not be able to restart, or it could take years of legal battles to undo the damage. Thank you fucking GOP for ruining literally everything, Literally Everything.

And we used to joke that nothing interesting will ever happen in our lifetime. What a time to be alive.

I wish we lived in Argentina, South Africa, anywhere in the southern hemisphere. To be thousands of miles away from the US would be gold to me. No more gun culture, no more trumps (directly), no more masses of ignorant, anti-intellectual, anti-vax, conspiracy loving idiots. Ok, not entirely “none”, I’m not that naive, but they won’t be americans and that will be worth dealing with a few chads.


Once in a while I get angry for a short time, like seconds, about the pandemic even happening. Not angry because it’s out of control because of idiots, not angry because it’s killing so many people and trump’s politicizing of the mask making it 100 times worse – those are the constant angers; no I get angry because this is reality and it’s not fair. People weren’t designed for this many stressors at once. It’s going to permanently affect our DNA, like many traumas our ancestors endured have done. I think about being old and telling people about this time, looking back at it as if it were history and what it will feel like to have lived through it. It’s alien to me because I don’t have that yet, like a grandparent might – in fact I didn’t even grow up with grand parents so I have no idea what they would say or feel when talking about WWII or the previous pandemic. I don’t read about the Mr Yuck campaign of 1983 and go into a flashback about Mr Yuck stickers being on every bottle in the house and a sense of danger being instilled upon me by the media. Although, I do still remember my safe word from the “don’t talk to strangers” campaign of that time. It was pineapple. Most American’s from the last 40 years don’t have a lot of collective traumas (that we all experienced) to look back on. No world wars with domestic bombings, no mass pandemics until this one. Some of us have been in hurricanes and tornadoes, some of us have been held at gunpoint, many of us have personal traumas, but collectively we don’t have much to share before this.

With this pandemic the blame is on my own neighbours for partying in their back yard LITERALLY every weekend before and during this pandemic, like they live in a different reality. The 80 year old lady across the street having her kids and grand kids over from the next state nearly every day. It’s the “leader” of our country acting like a traitorous child, being so anti-science and making masks into a political statement “against him” (like the child he is). I already knew about the many people I didn’t trust because of their love of “god, guns and trump”, but we also can’t trust our 25 year old normal looking neighbours who welds grills for Subarus, and 80 year old friendly old ladies across the street to think about the collective.

And this is why I have no faith in this country.

Picture: Montezuma’s Castle, Arizona. When once people lived communally and many decisions meant life or death for them all (until those decisions were out of their hands due to assholes like us).

Disaster

I truly wish I had never met any of my extended family or new siblings. I can’t handle it. Sarah has lost all interest in me. If she’s not excited to know more about me then why should I pursue the relationship? I guess it was exciting for a couple days and then she met me and decided I wasn’t what she expected.

I’m not excitable or nostalgic. I won’t cry when I see someone I have one memory of when I was 4 but that doesn’t mean I don’t want a big sister.

Makes me wonder if I should at least attempt a relationship with my niece Deja by taking my boyfriend and his brother to her work for some drinks. Probably also a bad idea, she too will be like “big deal” and the no plans “see you around”‘s will follow. I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know how to handle this and I wish we lived in Coasta Rica.

Celiac’s Disease or No Celiac’s disease?

It’s been a weird year so far. I’ve had a bunch of Drs visits, trying to get my stomach sorted out. After my endoscopy they forgot to draw 2 of the 5 blood tests so I have to go back on wheat for a few weeks and return to the lab. I don’t think she’d have bothered if my existing blood tests weren’t so suspicious. I’m anemic again after 6 weeks on gluten over the holidays and my immunoglobulin a levels are very low, like, new born baby low. Apparently it’s genetic, and when it’s low it’s almost always associated with celiacs. This is suspicious because my biopsy was negative. I’ll find out more soon hopefully.

My mom and sister have horrid health (mostly their bad diets) so if I can avoid that mess I’ll be good. I’m taking Vitamin D and calcium for my bones so I don’t get osteopenia, stopping gluten asap, something I know they’ve both had issues with already (too shitty of insurance or no insurance either really).

My wrists hurt, I’m gassy and bloated and would like to get off gluten now plz.

Oh yeah, the original reason I went to see a gastroenterologist was because of my stomach feeling like I had an ulcer. That’s apparently GERD or basically acid reflux, but apparently chronic “let’s have this for like 8 months” acid reflux. It doesn’t feel like acid, just a painful stabbing pit in my stomach, but hey, they took a camera in there, who am I to say. I just know it sucks ass.

Pointless Conversations

My mom wrote me an email asking why we’re not great friends anymore. She at least admitted to us not having a perfect history and said sorry (first time ever), then proceeded to tell me about her relationship with her step mother and how she can’t forgive her because “she wasn’t a mother when she needed her to be”. It felt incredibly ironic.

I’ve been avoiding the conversation for a long while now. The last time I tried to confront her about our awful childhood and continued cruelty, she told me “I went to therapy and dealt with it, now you just have to get over it”… so I’m ready to be on the defense. Her email almost sounded sincere but given all the things she’s done and all the chances I’ve given her, I’ve been unable too protect myself from her and feel like I get easily sucked into her manipulation. Since she’s been in homes, I don’t have to worry about as much, like a 6 day eviction notice *I was renting her den to help her cover the mortgage but she still screwed that up and lost everything. Or her taking me off her car insurance because she didn’t trust me to pay it – even though I had my own for years til she moved in and she was the one who suggested combining them to save me money. That completely screwed my life for years when I got into a fender bender and found I had been taken off the insurance. Years of overpriced insurance and a suspended license after that (because of the fender bender) made it impossible to drive to school and work across Portland, legally. Given I didn’t have to drive illegally, I could have just not driven at all, but I didn’t want to have to drop out of college or quit my job because of her bullshit. My campuses would have taken many hours on the bus to get to and I wouldn’t have been able to work at all. It all started with her unwarranted mistrust of me.

I wrote her back telling her about the irony of her statement about her stepmom. She was never a mother to any of us after I was about 5. Many boyfriends, sex through the walls, nights out at bars, moving every 6 months to a year so I was always in new school – never had friends. Sending my sister off to group homes and her dad’s house in Montana, anywhere but with us. My brother was stuck with watching me all the time and resented me because of it. By the time I was 11 I was by myself almost all the time, homeschooling myself and taught nothing so the only thing I could cook was scrambled eggs and toast. My stepdad (of only 2 years) gone all summer doing construction or hunting or gambling and my mom who knows where. He was home for many football games though where I had to give foot rubs, fetch drinks and make perfect raspberry jam and peanut butter sandwiches. By 12 they divorced and she was gone all week working 40 miles away where they gave her a cabin to stay in. She only came back on Saturdays and left Sunday. She sent to my brother’s house in Seattle for the summer where he did drugs and drank and had me sleeping on the floor or couch next to creepy 20 somethings. By 13 I was in trouble with the law because I hated her so much, and by the winter before I turned 14, and right before Christmas, she handed me over to the state and I was in a girls home until I was almost 16. When she finally got an apartment so I could get out of the girls home (she had been living in hotels so they couldn’t release me) she sent me to my brother’s again as part of the deal I proposed to her – that I would get out of her hair asap. I lived with her for less than a year when school started again and soon enough I was already alone all week. She came on the weekend, not even staying a night, to give me a few dollars for food, I bought ramen and tuna mostly and food for my pets. After a few months of that she decided she didn’t want to pay for the studio apartment anymore and by the winter before my 17th birthday I was on my own, with severe bronchitis, waiting to get evicted.

I stayed in school, lived with my brother for a while, then he decided he didn’t want to take care of me either, so I moved into a friend’s basement and finished up my senior year. I got a job at a call center, moved to Portland and took care of my damn self, like always really.

So I don’t know why I should forgive her. People like to say “but she’s your mother”, and although I can’t help but have emotional attachments, she is not my mother. I didn’t ask to be born and she had one fucking job.

She didn’t respond to my email. I tried to be pleasant enough, explaining how I haven’t talked about it because I don’t want her to get depressed over it and that I know she’s trying to change. But, I also included how she has always made my problems, be it physical of emotional pain, into nothing, saying “it’s not that bad” or “you’ll get over it” (even when a horse walked on me when I was 5) – and as she reads the letter that’s all I can hear her saying about anything I could ever say to her.

A week later she responded to another email from months ago and changed the subject, and again, asked for money. Fuck. Her. I don’t care if she has her own issues with dealing with problems and confrontation, that’s not my problem anymore. I am not the parent here.

Like an 11 year old lost at a train station

When I was 11 my mother and step dad put me on an Amtrack to Seattle, alone. Outside Seattle, near Tacoma, was where my much older brother lived and where I was to spend that summer.

I hadn’t seen him since he was about 16, maybe once for Christmas, because like my sister as well, he moved in with my aunt and uncle at 16.

He was about 21 now and living in an apartment complex managed by his dad (different from my own). I don’t know what possessed my step father to agree to such a scheme, that was no doubt my mother’s idea. He was usually so by the book. Who ever thought an 11 year old should spend the summer with a 21 year old?

On the way to Seattle I remember seeing bison for the first time, grazing in a field early that morning. I was terrified. I had never been to a larger city than Spokane, and definitely not alone. 

I brought my boombox and some clothes and was sure I’d get mugged or kidnapped as soon as I got off the train. But no, my brother would be there waiting, right? I got off the train and wandered aimless, clutching my boombox close and looking for my brother, hoping I would recognize him. I wanted to avoid anyone official who might find out my age and that I’m not actually old enough to ride alone. He was an hour late and I remember being so angry. He had no idea what it was like growing up in podunk towns and just thrown into a big city alone at 11. He didn’t answer the phone and I had no one else to call. Alone.

London tube station, 2017.

I often feel like that in public. Scared, confused, ignorant of every right thing to do or say. I look at people like “I don’t know you, but save me.” I see people as uncomfortable with my awkwardness and wanting to get away from me, so I just do it for them and try to stay away. But not after saying something stupid first usually.

I don’t know how to interact with people. Do I look at their eyes? How long? do I look like I’m not interested? I’m trying to be interested, but I can’t stop thinking about what I’m doing. Am I acting noticeably weird? How can I relate to what they say?

I will never be well adjusted, social, personable, just weird. Say weird things, die inside every time I meet a stranger. Since I’m the age I am and still feel like this, Its hard to feel like it can change.

That summer was awful. My brother had people over partying just about every night. He got me drunk on cheap wine, which I puked up every night because, as I would find out years later, I’m allergic to red dye. His friends had sex next to me as I slept on the couch. One of his friends tried to get me to give him a handjob while I was drunk (I’m 11 remember). He didn’t buy food so I rarely ate and when I did it was Burger King, where he worked.

I stayed with him at 15 as well as part of an agreement with my mom to get me out of the girl’s home (another lying story). Repeat that same summer, except replace booze with cocaine and other drugs. Add self mutilation and multiple food poisonings. Thanks big bro. We haven’t talked in 20 years and I don’t miss him a bit. Sounds harsh but it’s not two shitty summers that prompted that. A childhood of him torturing me and berating me helped, followed by some trust breaking in my late teens.