Me and My Girl

What is worse than living with depression? It’s trying to explain your depression to someone who truly doesn’t understand what it means. That has got to be the worst thing, right? Again, no. What is worse than explaining depression is having a daughter that experiences the same thing as you do and worse. As I was growing up, I had bits and pieces of rays of happiness, but they were overshadowed by dark clouds of sadness. I wanted to be invisible. I wanted to be wrapped up in the warmth of love. I didn’t feel as if I belonged anywhere or to anyone. I ran away at the first chance I got. I searched for belonging. Each place that I went, I wanted to belong to something or someone. I can see the same longing in my daughter. I see her seeking friends and relationships that have meaning and fulfill her. This is happening when she is only 13. I feel pain for her because I know how relationships turn out. They are never stable and people are selfish. She is going to get hurt.

I feel that have done a great disservice to her by moving her around so much. I haven’t allowed her to develop that root system that feeds the heart and soul. Maybe if we would have stayed in one place, she would have developed those friends that she needs. She is so sad. She is so sad all the time. She has some coping skills and therapy is helping her, but there are days when children and life are so cruel that it brings her to the point of questioning her life and how it will ever get better. Today, a young boy told her to go make the world a better place and kill herself. What kind of response does that elicit from a girl who is already on the brink of not wanting to exist anymore?

Talking about depression may give a little relief, but explaining depression is more frustrating than anything. I know what it feels like because I struggle with it every day of my life. I understand what my daughter is battling, but that isn’t good enough. It’s not okay to just say, “I understand.” Depression eats at your happiness and desire. Depression whispers to you that you are not good enough. You are ugly and no one wants to be around you. Depression makes you want to dig a hole and hide inside because it would be less painful than having to be around everyone that hates you. Suicide seems like a light in a cloud of black ink spit. It’s the soft, warm embrace of your mother after a nightmare. Depression makes you want to crawl away and rid the world of the ugliness that is you, and suicide tells you how you can accomplish that. How do I explain that I know how she feels, but she has to fight it?  How do I tell her that I fight for her…she has to fight for me?

I can’t help her cope because my coping skills are ridiculous for a child. I wanna teach her to love herself and her body. I want to teach her to run and sing and dance, but how do I get up off the floor to do the same for me?

“Hold on baby. I’ll hold on too.”

The Day of Peace

I had the best day ever! It was a day punctuated by laughter and filled with hope. I had never before experienced such a carefree time. I love being with both of my children and experiencing joy through their eyes. I think that’s what people gloss over when they become too busy or overwhelmed by their everyday lives.

We woke up early one morning and the three of us had breakfast at our tiny apartment. We spoke nicely to each other and enjoyed the food without any whining or moaning in reference to the meager amount that was given. We were smiling as we climbed into the car and immediately rolled down the windows. That car, with its heater always on, and its happy face paint job smoothly transported us toward the other side of the island. We were sweating before we made it out of town. (I wonder what that car would be like where we live now. Would it melt the snow without me having to sweep it off?) We were off on another free adventure (except for the expense of the gas), and we were excited for a blissful day in the sun and warm waters that surrounded our island home.

We got to Lanikai and met our friend that explained the rules of using the stand-up-paddle (SUP) boards.

1.We had to carry them a specific way.

2.We had to use the older ones. (Which I didn’t mind)

3. We had to make sure that we didn’t damage the older boards, even though they were already damaged. Oh, to live under the eye of constant criticism. I’m so glad that I’m not in that situation.

4. We had to make sure that the boards were returned to the exact position that they were in before we touched them.

But, then we got to the water and it was amazing. The sand on that beach draws you to it and invites you to lay down and never get back up. The water caresses your skin and washes all your cares completely away. There isn’t another place where I have been that happy. The kids and I laughed as we were instructed how to get up on the boards and start moving. I freaked out when I saw the reef under me, thinking that it was much closer than it was and wondering what would happen when I inevitably would fall off the board. When my son raised his strong body onto the board, he took off. It was as if he was a natural. I wish that he had shown more interest in water sports during the 4 years that we had been on this island. K was great too. When she finally got onto the board and started paddling, she moved as if she were silk gliding across skin. She had been like a fish since we moved to the island..of course she would be perfect on a board too. Anything water related, count her in. I was more hesitant, but I loved it once I got going. I felt that I could have paddled that board all day and watched the sun kiss the ocean that evening. As we glided across the water and enjoyed the day, I felt more close to my children than I had during the entire summer. I wish all days could have been that way. It’s heartbreaking to have your children fight against you when all you want is for them to smile and laugh with you.

I wish I could go back and have 60 more days just like that. Pictures don’t do that day justice. My memory will fade with time, I’m sure. So, I write something that no one will read so I can relive the most wonderful day of peace that I had on my beautiful island home.

Wednesday moaning

“Oh, please, would you just shut up! There is way too much sharing happening right now”. That’s what I wanna say. Instead, I think I’ll have to start wearing ear plugs. There is a point where I would assume that the fire exploding from the intense stares that I give would be enough for people to get that it is directed toward them and they should just shut the fuck up!

The white stuff falling from the sky has either affected my mood or it has developed a chameleon like skill in order to match it exactly. “Oh! There is more snow predicted for this week. This weekend, the snow will start on Sunday and continue into the weekday. Our school may have another snow day!”

“Perfect.” (My tone is punctuated by rolling my eyes along with the drawn-out sigh of the word escaping my lips). Another snow day means prolonging my torture another few days in June. I just wanna get away from these moronic people who think I cannot see that they throw daggers toward me when I turn my back! Has there ever been a time when life was not a competition with someone for popularity? Because even though we are no longer in grade school and have become adults responsible for our own lives, some of us are still acting as if we are in high school. Mature, grown-up, back-stabbing, two-faced, high school kids. Nice. Smile to my face and then whisper and point. Yep, that! Just there…perfect. You got it. A perfect picture of a damn high school kid. I feel like I’ve come out of the bathroom with my skirt turned around and the zipper in the front. The loveless smiles and empty stares are really getting on my nerves. There is too much snow. I need the sun to lighten my mood and darken my pale skin. Go away, snow! Just leave me.

Bits and Pieces

Her name was China. She broke as easy as a doll by the same name. She hit the floor and fell apart, she opened her eyes and would see the world through cracked lenses, she walked through crumbling hallways watching with wary eyes the pieces that came crashing toward her. There was never a guaranteed way of keeping her whole.

At times, there would be bubbling laughter that would burst uncontrollably from her throat or anger would rise and spill through her like hot lava, and then there were times when there was nothing. Those times she was just the china doll on the shelf, sitting there not making a sound, taking in all that surrounded her.  Never was there was consistency to her, or within her. One moment she was furious and the next she was laughing. The cracks crawled along her skin like a dry sponge soaking up water. She understood, for the most part, what was happening when she fell apart. She knew it was unavoidable, and she knew now how to mend herself. She could hide under the covers, or maybe lose herself in a silly new book; perhaps she would create a picture today. Whatever she did, she could carve out some comfort for herself. Piece after piece would fall away, and the glue would come, sparingly, but expertly placed.

Now, she was being forced to be more than what she felt she could be. There were days upon days where she tried to glue herself back together and she failed. The glue wasn’t sticking. She couldn’t hide. She couldn’t keep herself together. She would put one piece back and another would fall. She was a mess of jagged pieces and sloppy glue and it was becoming more and more difficult to keep her fingers from getting caught in the sticky mess. She needed help. She needed a reset button that she could slam her broken hands into and make everything okay for a minute.

There was a tiny bit of hope that she could see and she shakily reached out for it.  “Grab it and hold on tight!”, she thought to herself. “Make sure that your grip is strong enough to lift yourself up and out. Wrap yourself in that light and comfort enough so that you’re strong again. Get out of this place that makes you fall apart everyday. Take those bits and pieces and make yourself whole!”

What Happens on the Inside.

The things I hear and the things that I see, within this environment for the Deaf, make me chuckle. There are so many times when I catch someone signing something incorrectly, or when I hear something that hasn’t been interpreted. I have already been called a condescending bitch, so I dare not correct the person. I’m doomed to sit back and not say what should be said, not interpret that which should be interpreted. I shouldn’t chuckle, really, but I do. I think it’ a way of coping with the fact that I’m missing being within a competent environment.

Yesterday, we had a meeting where the interpreter left out relevant information and she was paid for that. The clients were sadly missing a lot of the info, but I couldn’t relay that. The reason? I started signing and explaining to my student and I was given a “go dig a hole and get buried” look. Yes, I have learned that sometimes it is best to keep my mouth shut. Maybe I should take my own advice more often. I think I piss people off too often. This morning, I told someone that I appreciate their given me a days notice that something which is due in April has to be turned in next week. “Thank you for letting me know that tomorrow is the last day which I will be able to get my shit together.” That superpower of knowing what others are thinking would be so handy right now. I think I’d really get a kick out of it. My skin has finally gotten thick enough.

Tonight, I’m going to go home and drown myself in wine and Chinese food.

Don’t Take Candy From That Strange Man

That phrase that your parents or elders always say, “don’t take candy from that strange man!” sometimes resonates so loudly though in completely different situations. Those strange men come in such friendly dress now. 

Meeting someone from a dating site is a ridiculous task filled with dread, wonder, and excitement. Really, the mix of feelings is enough to make someone nauseous even if they are really smitten with the idea of the person. Pictures, text messages, and phone calls do nothing to prepare a person for the experience of being face to face with someone you know that has the end goal of getting into your pants. After all, dating sites are just a modern day match-maker, right? Isn’t that the point of the whole thing? Love and happiness for the rest of your days would be awesome, but realistically, most people start out on this journey in the hopes of getting laid. Loneliness can cause even the smartest person to do something they would typically balk at. That person that shrinks against the wall and doesn’t want to go anywhere near that attractive guy or girl in a bar can get up enough nerve to develop an online profile and attract a suitor. I wonder though…what happens when that time comes that they have to meet? Does the wallflower suddenly feel better, or do they freak out and their insides bubble and then they hide under the covers?

The horror that has been online dating is both amusing, and a good reason to become a nun. A man claims he is single and looking for a “relationship” so you give him a chance. You meet in a public place and things go so nicely that you decide to meet him again, but this time he drives you to a park. What follows is an hour of small talk and little kisses. When he drops you off though, he shoves his tongue into your throat and suddenly you are running away. But, maybe you shouldn’t have reacted that way. So, you give him another chance. But this time, you are lured to his house by the promise of swimming in his heated pool. A small town girl that grew up swimming in a muddy river would jump at the chance of swimming in a heated pool! What southern girl would not jump at the chance of swimming in a heated pool? Of course you go.  After enjoying a lovely swim, you take a tour of his house where you see some strappy sandals. “Hey…do you enjoy dressing up with sandals?” “No..those belong to my wife. I mean, my ex-wife.” “Oh, why do you have them here, and is that your lipstick on that wine glass?” “Oh, I had a party.” You walk through the very richly decorated house and are shown the master bedroom that has a view of the ocean. A bra is nicely thrown on the floor in plain view of the door.  “Oh, so you do enjoy dressing up like a woman?” “Oh, no. That is my ex-wifes” “Seriously? Wow…when did she leave and why haven’t you cleaned up yet?” When all of that was over, who should pull into the driveway but a nicely dressed woman. “So, there is a woman here.” “Oh! Shit! That’s my wife! You have to leave the back way.” But, see there is a problem. Where is the car in which you are to make your escape? Outside, next to the wife’s car. Then, shortly after he realizes that, there is a scene in which he introduces you to his wife…(WTF!?) and then she follows you to your car and threatens you.

“Well, that was amusing.”, you think. Certainly, now you have learned that you should not take candy from that strange man right? try it again.

This time, you think you are gonna be smarter than you were before. This time though, timing really is a bitch. Your depression is so great that you allow someone to bring you a bottle of wine..TO YOUR HOUSE! Seriously? (SMH) You had just received really bad news and were supposed to meet this guy at a restaurant, but when you call and cancel and explain why, he proposes that he brings you a bottle of wine. The resulting conversation is part manipulation and part guilt. He says that he just wants to play with an idea and says that he wants to show how his seduction would go. (Oh please…you aren’t this dumb are you? Yes. You are.) He goes much further than what you are comfortable with and when you finally are able to pull away from him, you run into the other room. Where are you gonna go? It’s a house. Your house…He knows where you live now! Suddenly, you start freaking out and stand with your back against the wall and beg him to just leave you alone. He says perhaps the funniest line you have heard so far and says, “You aren’t even going to let me feel it?” Screaming, you reply, “FEEL IT!? NO!” As you are crying your eyes out, he finally leaves and you lock the door behind him. You think to yourself, “How stupid can you possibly be? You really are a moron!”  Then you text a friend that is searching for a man on an online dating site. You say, “You don’t need a man. You are perfect in who you are. I know it’s hard when you are lonely, but I love you.” and then you realize…that’s exactly what you need to hear. Don’t take candy from that strange man!


She found it amusing that all these people thought she was awesome, but she just thought she was an average single mother who had been through some seriously strange shit. Everyone has their stories. All those eyes staring at her had their own tragedies. The idea that she deserved some special consideration because there were bad men out there was ludicrous. There wasn’t a particularly unique quality to her horror stories that gave her the right to receive any more sympathy or consideration than others. Comparing her stories to the poor woman who struggled to raise four children on the wage of a cleaning woman seemed unfair. In the silence of the night, she would think about where she was and be grateful. True, her life was not spectacular now. She struggled to pay the bills and take care of her children. She sometimes went hungry and wondered how she would survive until the next paycheck, but it wasn’t something that she felt was particularly alone in. All single parents faced this struggle, right?

She sang along with her Pandora station and washed dishes. She laughed with her daughter while watching Hulu and eating popcorn. She tried to advise her son on his traumatic high school problems. She relived happy moments and she was thankful for what she had experienced. You can’t have the good without a little bad, right? For the most part, everything was normal. Sometimes though, she would sink into the memories and let them pull her down, drowning her in the swirling blackness for a few days. She had experienced horror.

Because there was that pain that lurked beneath the surface of the calm exterior, she watched the world through cautious eyes and listened to the world with much more sensitive ears. She was accustomed to hearing lies dressed with perfumes and roses. She knew that smiles to the face were typically sneers behind the back. This fact didn’t bother her anymore, but oh how it hurt her in the past. All of that deceit from her past sometimes wriggled into her head and demanded that she relive it.  All of the sweetness that was used to mask evil intentions haunted her dreams, but she was determined not to allow the haunting to continue into her days. She would go through the motions, regardless of the intentions of others. She pushed the sad memories down into that place that was reserved for nightmares. Sometimes she wore a smile, but often she was seen with a vacant look, just lost in her own thoughts while going about her day and accomplishing the tasks given to her.

Some days people approached her and asked what was wrong. It seemed like a common greeting. She would reply with a nonchalant wave and say, “Oh, nothing is wrong.” which she hoped would allow them to be satisfied with their attempt at being amiable. There was this one man who would not let the response satisfy him. He countered by claiming that something was in fact wrong and he knew he had been lied to. It was hard to determine if this offended him and she could leave, or if he still wanted to worm his way into a conversation. She rolled her eyes and confessed that sometimes life was a bit overwhelming. If this guy wanted a statement of what was wrong, she could give him a tale that would satisfy him for years. She could verbally vomit all over him. She explained that her daughter was recently diagnosed with depression and there was nothing that could be done. Therapy appointments had to be kept and doctors had to have detailed explanations of the life they had led. There was no one around to give moral support and money was short. She detailed the story of love being ripped from her and how it had slipped through her fingers. She shared that there had never been another man with whom she had been so in love, but she lost that love. Family was brought up and the difficulties that her family faced were painfully described. Hunger plagued her and life trampled her. She ended her rant with an explanation of her naiveté. She had happened to be in situations where men had taken advantage of her and countless of those situations had ended in rape. Those rapes though, she felt she deserved, but she was no longer an innocent little thing that allowed men to trample her. She was strong and knew how to spot their bullshit before they could hurt her again. She was not a victim anymore. She hoped she could silence him with that thought and stared into his eyes as she said, “I will NEVER trust another man because the majority of the ones that I have met have given me enough evidence to say with certainty that they all suck.” That was the end of that conversation. She turned and walked away from him, hoping that she had driven the curiosity out of him.  Of course, she had said that all men suck, but she had met some good ones. There were men that treated their wives with love and men that took care of their families. Maybe her generalization and horror stories would stop this one from demanding that something needed to be shared. This distance was her way to keep safe and keep more horror from attaching itself to her.

She was able to go about her simple life and play with her daughter. She bought the groceries, she did the laundry, she took care of what she needed to take care of. She survived.


Who else will control this mess?

I’ve been wondering, during the struggles of my adulthood, if selecting the career field which I did was my brightest decision. I remember being with my mother, driving through town and gazing down and my protruding belly wondering what the hell I was going to do to support this child that was on the way. I turned to her and said that I wanted to be a photographer. I’ve always been fascinated by nature and the beauty that surrounds us. I thought that would be the career where I would really enjoy myself. I’d enjoy my job and wouldn’t really think of it as a job. It would be a blissful way to entertain myself and maybe I’d earn some money while doing it. Smiling, I turned to her and confessed that I wanted to be an artist like she was except that I wanted to be a photographer.

I became a teacher. I became a teacher because really, that was the most logical recourse. I’d have the same holidays and this child within me and I’d be at home when he had come home from school. I became one of the most underpaid and overworked employees of this country. YAY! Being a single mother, a teacher, and someone who tends to move on the spur of the moment turned out to be fun, but a challenging way of life. My children are my life and the reason for my life. I love teaching too. It’s another major part of my life that does, consistently, bring me smiles. My children and my students. Those have been the consistencies in my life. If I didn’t have those constants, I’d be living in a shack on the edge of a beach surviving off of what I could find from the water and the land.

This past year, I made a mistake. It’s one of many that I’ve made in my lifetime, but it separated my family and the reason for my existence. I decided to move away from Hawaii and to the frigid land of Massachusetts. I moved for important reasons. I’d have insurance and could help my daughter with her mental health, finally. I would not live in the most expensive place in the world and would be able to provide more for my kids, and I’d be back on the continent and be able to visit my family without paying $1,500. I was doing it for important reasons, but I did it too early. You see, my son is a senior this year and he is staying in Hawaii until he graduates. He is living a fabulous life; he has a life I could never have provided for him. He is living with his best friend in a huge house with a room that overlooks the ocean and has a view of magnificent sunsets. I’d give anything to see his face and give him a hug. Before my daughter and I left the island, I made sure that he had everything he would need to get through the next 8 months. My daughter and I made a promise that we would see him again in June when he graduates. Ah life..always complications. Of those important reasons to move, I’ve only been able to have one of them become an actuality. My daughter has mental health care. I still can’t visit my family. They are too far away and I can’t drive it in on a holiday. And, the most exciting part of what I was promised turned out to be over estimated. I’m not making more money and I’m just as broke as before. SHHH! Now, the bills and the needs that have come up since moving here have overwhelmed me and I find it now hard to imagine that we will be able to fly for Drake’s graduation. This morning, I found myself wishing that I could just push all my responsibilities aside and stay in bed all day. That happens often, but today was different. I feel like I’ve failed my family. I’ve broken us apart and I don’t know how I’m going to get us back together.

Each day brings new challenges to everyone. To me, what gets me out of bed and beyond my depression is the knowledge that if I remain in my cocoon, no one will be able to do my job. No one is here to help my daughter get to school. No one is here to clean up the mess of life, and no one is at school that can come up with what to teach the kids. I’m basically screwed and I have to get up and carry on. I mean, who else will able to control this mess that is my life? I need some help though. I made one of those GoFundMe things to ask my friends if they could help get my family back together. Know what though? There are two reasons why I won’t post it on my Facebook. 1. I think other people deserve help much more than I do. 2.  I’m too worried about what my family will think to post it on Facebook. Isn’t that ridiculous? Oh, what a mess I’ve found myself in.

My messy life…and I’m in charge! Oh, I find myself with my head in my hands wondering about my capability.



I was told one time that I am not depressed. Apparently, I am a good faker. I wonder if I should have insisted and explained. Instead I just let it go and said that I must be better, and wasn’t that cool. Idiot.

It’s so hard to remain up all the time. I try to push down the sadness and go through my day as if everything is fine, but it’s not fine. It’s never fine. I wake up each morning and push down the desire to just remain in bed, sleeping away the day. I don’t wanna get up, but who else will take care of my daughter and make sure that everything is done for the day? Who else is going to go to work and make sure that we are able to survive? I don’t want to move. I want to let sleep take me again. I want to curl up and allow dreams to come, because even the dreams of sadness and heartache are better than living through the reality of it. Eventually (everyday), I do have to crawl out from under the warmth of my quilts and blankets and be a part of the cold world. I have to put on a face of strength and strictness with my students. I have to be un-sad for my daughter. I can’t fall apart, because if I do, who will be there for her? I cry silently. If I had a room in which to escape where I could be confident that she would be unable to hear my sobs, I would. For now, I sit at my table and silently weep. The tears sting at my eyes until they eventually roll down my cheeks and fall onto my clothes. I raise my arms and try to embrace myself, but I of course fail at that. The redness of my face and eyes betray me and she would know that I had been crying if she saw me. I can’t let that be because she will try her best to make it okay and comfort me. I hate that she feels she has to comfort me. That’s not her job. That’s my job, and I’m failing at it. I’m supposed to be the strong one. I’m supposed to be the one to comfort her. No twelve-year-old should have to wrap her mother up in her arms and wish that she could take away her pain. No one else has ever been able to take away my pain, but she takes that responsibility onto herself. I’m afraid that I’m causing her to be depressed too. Is it passed on? Does it have to be a burden she has to suffer with all her life? Her father was something…he was involuntarily committed to a hospital for observation after an attempt on our lives and his. He was supposed to go to therapy and take medication. I have no idea what his diagnosis was though. Is this pain unavoidable for her? I pray that she doesn’t have to experience this, but sometimes I can see it. I wonder if she is copying me.

Each day, I wake with the struggle to remain in control and do what needs to be done for life. God, life sucks. I don’t want to be here, but here I am fighting to survive each day. I’m fighting without it being observable to other people. I’m a silent warrior! I wish I could raise my sword and yell charge!! “Yo! Depression! Get the hell out of my life! Would you just leave me alone? Why are you picking on me!? EN GARDE!”  I want to have an army of support. I can clearly imagine it! A jumble of fierce people gathered with swords and galea helmets by my side ready to fight with me. I’m all alone though. Where is my army? Can I recruit one? Imagine the battle! All of these warriors, with me in the lead…attacking a huge, hairy monster that is bringing despair to people. Let’s get him..or her..whatever.

What’s it like to live with this everyday? Depression is pushing against me, but most days, I push back. I drag myself out of bed and just go on with what I have to do. I do my work, my homework, my housework. I survive. I figure it out. I don’t allow myself to be forced into the deep pit that is always right there. It’s right there…I can see it, but no one else can see it. I whirl and teeter  around it, like a Mexican Hat Dance. Sometimes, I find myself swinging my arms, desperately trying to right myself and not fall in. Then, there are mornings like today. Mornings when I find myself staring at the light way at the top of the pit and say to myself, “Oh hell. How am I going to make it out today?”, but I have to do it. I’d give anything not to, but I’ll pick up my heavy sword, crawl out of the pit, and yell at the darkness “I’m coming, ya’ fucker, I’m coming. Get out of my way!!” I look forward to the day when I’ll crawl out of that pit and have my army beside me! Together, we will fight that monster back and kick him into the pit. (THIS IS SPARTA!)  We will seal it with a gigantic metal plate and secure a sign into the top with a warning not to uncover it.  I imagine it to be kind of like Pandora’s Box. But, no one sees my struggle. Maybe I’m just too good at trying to disguise it. If no one sees it, does that mean that I won’t be able to find my army? I’ll just go on about my invisible, lonely battle, surviving until I don’t have to anymore. When will that be? When can I just lay down and not fight anymore? I guess it will be when my monster is safely sealed within that pit and the flag is waving under a blue sky for all to see. “Don’t open!”