You Have Everything You Want, Now What?

Just a general life update post.

I seem to be keeping my job, despite my constant oversleeping. There’s a meme on Facebook that I’ve seen a few times. “How do I sleep so much? DEPRESSION” with an image of a cool guy looking rad, or something. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so real. The tug of the bed when I wake up in the morning is intense, and I immediately smooth over any concerns that I should get up, go to work. The siren call of going back to sleep is powerful, the feeling of relief when I just turn my face back into the pillow too great.

Feeling overwhelmed by the tiniest sh1t is pretty much every day. Early next month, I finally get in to talk to someone at TCN Behavioral near my house. I get the feeling they’re more for addicts and lower income folks, but they can help. I don’t feel like I deserve the things in life I have right now, I am severely taking them for granted. Part of me just wants to fall down, to return to something familiar, being impoverished and scrambling for money to stay afloat one more month; that is what is familiar. Being constantly employed by the same employer for almost five years, having little to no worries about money, that is strange. That is something I don’t know how to deal with. ::dabs tears with fifty dollar bill::

I doubt anyone reading this feels sorry for me, well, you shouldn’t feel sorry. I worked hard to get where I am and my inner demons are now encouraging me to sh1t all over it. Waste it all. Go back to normal. How did I think I could keep this up, once I got there? I was so dogged in climbing up out of sh1t poverty that I reached the top of the mountain, said “Welp, I made it” and didn’t have any plan or motivations for what followed afterwards.

Being an ugly weirdo who preferred books and computers to people has gotten me to where I am. Being the opposite of what my father and stepmother wanted got me there. I’m proud of that. But maybe I need to start looking beyond succeeding just to spite them, start succeeding in life because it’s what I deserve.

Becoming Me

I’ve warred with myself for years. Be what other people want and they’ll like you, and they’ll approve of you; you’ll have that sense of connection you crave. No, don’t become that person, it’s not who you are and it’s fake; it’ll kill you inside even if it does mean more people might like you.

Each side has a down side. But I’ve started to choose the winner, because I have accepted the following revelation: it’s okay if some people don’t like me. It’s okay if no one likes me. People don’t like me even when I’m trying as hard as possible. So why kill myself trying to be what they want?

If people just don’t like you, then just do and be what you want. Within reason. Validation from others is something rare and special, the unicorn of emotions. The boost from just doing what you want can make up for a lot of it.

You’re with yourself far more than you are with other people, so why not like the person you’re with the most?

I feel like I’m just spouting a cliche in a round-about way. “Just be yourself.” No one ever just accepts those words when they hear them. I certainly never did. You have to come to the notion yourself, and it’s a hard-fought battle to get there. Learning to deal with the discomfort of rejection, of not being liked, is the hardest part. It’s a sort of zen feeling, knowing that other people will dislike you no matter what. In the end, you don’t have much control over it. If, at all.

Stand up for yourself. Go out fearlessly. Walk with your head high. Give ’em hell.

Schadenfreude Part 6: Rehearsal

So, time for the wedding update. Just the rehearsal bit now, setting the stage for the next post.

Saturday, the day of rehearsal, was a day of anxiety. I found myself unable to do anything but surf reddit, mindlessly clicking to pass the time, fixating on constant novelty.

When I got to the church where the rehearsal was taking place, my step-aunt was there with her daughter. To my relief, she treated me normally.

Then my father arrived. He and my step-aunt talked in the hallway, dropping bombshell after bombshell about my ex-stepmother, their only connection. It had been a while since they talked, and they were catching up. During the conversation, my step-aunt revealed that I was not the only one on blast on Facebook, but that my stepmother had been sending long rants to her as well, and as a result my step-aunt had had to block her several times. “You can tell when she’s using,” was the common phrase. My step-aunt had apparently stepped in to ask my ex-stepmother and their brother to help take care of their father, who was always a kind man to me, and who is getting increasingly frail. My ex-stepmother flew off the handle and ranted that my step-aunt was trying to take over the family and be in charge.

Also revealed was that my ex-stepmother was not doing well financially. Not surprising she can’t keep a job when she’s drunk/high most of the time.

My husband and I sat in the conference room where the rehearsal was taking place, listening to the conversation floating down to us from the hallway. Both of us were kind of on edge, wondering how my father was going to act when he saw me.

Finally, it came. He walked in with his new wife and saw me. He approached me and I stood up. He put his arms out towards me and I took two steps back.

“Queen Legbeard. My baby girl. I was there when you were born, I was the first person to hold you.”

Let me say this. To anyone else reading this, this might seem like some sort of tender reunion. Like my father is some sort of.. nice man. It was emotional blackmail, appealing to a sense of familial duty that was never instilled in me. Can’t have that if no one had that towards you.

Regardless, I was there for my sister. I let him hug me as two tears ran down his face. I didn’t really feel anything. I just stood there and let him hug me.

“I’m sorry,” he said as he pulled away. I looked at him and said,”It’s a start. We have a lot to talk about. But not here, not on Sister’s wedding.”

And to my relief, he agreed. His new wife, a slight woman with brown hair, looked on.

My Husband, later on, stated he should have stepped in, stopped my father from hugging me. I would have preferred that, really. Nothing like being forced into touching someone that let you be abused. But it’s not Husband’s fault. He’s not really prepared for this kind of thing.

Other people showed up. And finally, 20 minutes or so late, my sister and her fiance showed up. When my sister got there, she looked around. “Where’s my mom?”

Apparently, they had gone over to get her for the rehearsal, but sat and waited while my ex-stepmother was in the bathroom. Presumably, drinking or something. My sister and her fiance were forced to leave her behind.

Well, in ex-stepmother’s fashion, she sent messages and posts to everyone on Facebook. Thank the gods for Facebook, it helps people see how insane and unreasonable she is, when no one would believe me before.

Who has a rehearsal dinner before the night of their daughter’s wedding and does not invite their mother. I’m not going. Wasn’t invited! I’m just dropping off decorations and I hope somebody will be kind enough to send me a picture. Yes [My Father], that is being clearly passive aggressive! And by the way I don’t care how smart your wife is don’t tell me what passive aggressive means.

Oh dear, my father said something nice about his new wife. So anyways, ex-stepmother didn’t show up to the rehearsal. Poor sister was forced to hear about this message, as people were talking it. Her sister, my step-aunt, was forced to step in and run it, and it went fairly smoothly. Given my ex-stepmother’s behavior at the wedding the next day, I’m glad she didn’t come to the rehearsal.

At one point, people gathered together and started discussing my ex-stepmother again. How pleased she would have been. Other bombshells dropped: My ex-stepmother had proclaimed she still loved my father before he married his new-wife. Poor woman. New-wife, that is.

I’ll post the wedding update tomorrow. And boy, it’s a doozy.

The Unwanted

When I was 15 or 16, my stepmother told me quite casually that I was unwanted.

To be precise, her words were,”Your mother had you to save the marriage.”

I was born. And god help me, I wasn’t born male. If I had been born male, maybe my father would have wanted me.

Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t have let her treat me like she did.

Maybe he would have cared.

My stepmother’s facebook messages go on and on about how I was a burden, how weird I was, how they occasionally had to spend money on me.

Good to know that what I had intuited was right all along.

But that vindication doesn’t really feel good. Not really.

How do people do it? Move past a broken childhood, knowing that the only help and support they can get in life is from a romantic partner? That if your parents are sh1t, you’re straight out of luck for platonic warmth and love. True unconditional love.

In my life situation, children to love and support, to give what I wasn’t given, isn’t an option. My husband sees children in terms of cost. That’s reasonable, but it just resonates with my past. It’s not about love, it’s not about legacy, it’s not about giving back to the world by raising healthy, vibrant children. It’s all about money.

It’s not even that we couldn’t afford them. We make a more than healthy income. And I’m not dead-set on wanting kids, either. I’d just like to know the option is available. A door left cracked, rather than slammed shut.

I’m left to deal with the fallout of my life alone. My mother is in serious denial that I ever suffered. My father, the same, though his is a nastier, self-suited denial. My stepmother? Jesus loves her, so how could she have done anything wrong.

How do I function? How can I see past the fact that the basic pillars of my life were broken or even non-existent from the second I was conceived? I have to lift myself up. And for a while, I had a serious drive to do so and I did. Pulling myself out of poverty and marrying someone I don’t really deserve, those are things I can say I did for myself, by myself.

I wonder if most of my life I have pushed these feelings away, like a slingshot pulled back at maximum effort. But now in my thirties, it’s hit me at full force. I’m finally putting it all into words. For what good it does. My words, like myself, have never been valued much.

I don’t have the strength to lift myself up anymore. But there’s no one to carry me.

Preparation for the Gauntlet

I’ve been in a dull gray state the last couple of days. The wedding is getting closer and closer and my anxiety is only getting worse.

I’ve been practicing things to say in my mind. What to do if my father and ex-stepmother push me. I’m not going to be the one to start something. I will persistently remind them that we’re here for Sister, not for soothing their butthurt ego.

Deep breaths. At the wedding and reception, spend time with Sister, her husband, my aunt and cousin. Maybe husband’s family as well. Avoid conflict.

If they bring up how much money they think I owe them for feeding and housing me, ask for a bill and walk away. Or, for funsies, bill them for the therapy I’ve needed from my time with them. (Not actually going to do the latter, though I want to.)

If they attempt to emotionally blackmail me, bring up the fact this is not the time for this conversation, and that we are here for Sister.

If my ex-stepmother starts her false crooning about how “pretty” she thinks I am, just nod and say thank you. No need to point out she’s a shallow c*nt.

Keep an eye on my husband. He’s my backup. He has inherited my anger towards my father and ex-stepmother though, so I should watch to make sure he’s not going to react to their sh1t.

React to any slights or attempts to start sh1t with dignity and grace. I have it in me. They don’t.

Protect myself. I have been pondering keeping a sound recorder on me at all times during the wedding and reception. I have one that will record for hours.

I’m not the weak, silent little girl I used to be. I’m 31 years old, and they have no control or power over me. They haven’t had any for years. It’ll be funny to watch them appeal to emotions I don’t have towards them. I will get through this.

They are children in adult’s body. They have no self-reflection. They have no empathy. I will be disappointed if I expect better from them. I must remember.

Maybe I’ll be surprised. Maybe they will behave politely and like adults. That would be a nice surprise. But it’s not likely.

Gaslighting

Reading my stepmother’s private messages from three years ago has messed me up.

I should have never read them. Though, it did give me confirmation of her views concerning me.

She’s very religious now. She likes friending Muslim men on Facebook who seem very religious as well. Nearly every post and comment she makes namedrops God, Jesus, Allah, you name it.

It’s amazing how hypocritical she is. I have always been a non-believer. I have had poor experiences with religious people and I can’t shake the association in my mind between unwarranted moral righteousness and bad behavior. She genuinely doesn’t believe her sh1t doesn’t stink because Jesus loves her. She doesn’t seek forgiveness and she has shown no indication whatsoever that she has ever considered me and my feelings. And yet, she demands that I treat her as a victim of my existence. “You were a child, you caused me hardship with your sheer being-there-ness. You were strange and unlikeable to me. Where is your slavish gratitude for my doing the bare minimums? Let’s not mention the physical and emotional abuse I leveled upon you because I’ve probably forgotten I did it anyway.”

And that’s where the disconnect comes from. I begin to question myself. “Was constant, random, unwarranted, and hateful screaming at me that bad? Was sitting at the dinner table with cold food while she screamed and dumped drinks on my head that bad? Was being forced to walk to the end of the driveway with my pants down that bad? Was constantly reading my diary and punishing me for it that bad? Was being dragged by the hair down the hallway for forgetting a baseball cap that bad? Was having things thrown at me that bad? Was my grinding, constant fear of her that bad? Was having my appearance constantly criticized that bad? Was knowing that no one was my advocate and that no one encouraged or protected me that bad?”

I need support. I need someone to say, it was that bad. I need someone to care. I try to talk to my husband about it, but he finds it unpleasant and paying attention detracts from whatever cool new project he has on his mind. My mother just.. I get the feeling she is in denial that I ever suffered. She is broken in that suffering and being nice to people who have caused you suffering is natural to her, part of her background day-to-day life. She was never my advocate, and something my stepmother told me rings true: “She is more like a sister to you than a mother.” Even a broken clock can be right once a day. The difference being, that my mother never treated me like a burden. Not even once.

I am surrounded by people who care, but don’t.. care. If caring costs them something, then suddenly it’s too much. It doesn’t do much to support my floundering sense of hope that one day I will find happiness in other people. I am, perhaps, broken too. There’s a reason I turn to objects, to fiction, to substances to find relief and release. Life has trained me to turn away from others when seeking comfort. It doesn’t help that when I do turn to others it is never what I hope it will be. Rather than connection, there is discomfort on their part. It indicates to me what I’ve always known deep down; that I will never find what I am looking for in others.

I haven’t yet fully committed to that notion, however. But I’m on a journey to that conclusion, and I’ve been forced along the path far faster than is healthy. I want to say that my husband’s love slows it down. Maybe it does, a little.

But it’s not enough.

Sudden Incendiary Rage

It’s amazing how quickly I am triggered by certain things.

My former stepmother is FB friends with my mother. My mother posted a “Share if your daughter is beautiful and smart” meme. And my ex-stepmother posted “OH YES QUEEN LEGBEARD IS SO PRETTY AND SMART, SHE AND [My Sister] ARE THE ONLY GOOD THINGS THAT CAME FROM [My father].”

I’m paraphrasing. She didn’t post in all caps either.

But when I saw it, my vision went red. This woman who spent eight years of my life letting me know how inadequate I was and how unwanted I was, now acting like we were family, now acting like she never treated me this way?

I am still seething thirty minutes later. My heart is still pounding.

This is why I should have blocked her. She tried messaging me two-three years ago on FB acting the same way. Buddy-buddy. I told her in no uncertain terms that I didn’t want her messaging me on Facebook and that she should apologize to me for how she treated me.

Well. I just went back and looked at the messages she sent me that I never read. I wish I hadn’t read them. No, I’m glad. I finally have her perspective. And I was right. I was just an unwanted burden. An “ungrateful brat.” God forbid she had to drive a child to doctor’s appointments or do anything else.

One relevation was that she and my dad had me tested for schizophrenia, or.. maybe not. That sounds like it might have cost them *money*, gasp. Or as she puts it: “ It was recommended that you have extensive testing done because they thought you might be in the early stages of a certain mental condition that runs in your family. Like always your mom and dad didn’t want to ever talk about it.
Well, now I’m 31. I don’t hear voices. I don’t see things that aren’t there. I haven’t harmed myself or anyone else. I may have untreated depression and anxiety but those are not schizophrenia.
Sigh.
Deep breath. Hold. Release.

Capillus Brevus es Libertas

So in love with my shorn head right now.

I really do feel liberated. When I cut away my hair I cut away my anxiety over how my hair looks. Can’t worry about having bouncy perfect thick hair if you don’t have much at all. I dealt the death stroke to my insecurity and fear over it.

I’m trying to restrict my feelings of “I can do anything” right now because I worry I might be a bit manic. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was bipolar, I do have mood swings. But for right now, everything feels right with the world. And that is a rare feeling for me to have.

Just.. knowing that I don’t have to poorly pretend I am a feminine female to others and that I can do what I want now, free of fear of judgement.. It’s amazing. Because judgement will happen no matter what I do, no matter how I look. It’s about judgement not even entering my mind. Not even a concern. Giving no facks.

I wear my hairpiece when I leave the house. But I honestly think I could get to a place where I could just out myself as having short hair. I’d like to drop some weight first, with my large build I could easily be mistaken as male. Surprisingly, I don’t really want to look butch, in fact in the last two days I’ve worn more makeup than I have in months. Which is fine. My hair was really the worst thing on my head. And now it’s gone. ::wiggles::

Capillus brevus es libertas. I decide what being a woman means, for me. No one else does. Not magazines, not commercials, not ads, not glamorous women in TV and movies, not the cruelty of other people, not my stepmother, not anyone.

I decide.

Having My Cake and Eating It Too (Chop Chop)

Well, I did it. I finally did it.

I got allll my hair cut off.

PIXIE CUT!

I definitely don’t have the face for it. I commented to the stylist that with my face and build I could be mistaken as a dude. But, I love it! It feels so strange that my head is so light.

Well, not that anyone at work will know! I got my new hairpiece, a full wig, the same day. I needed the pixie cut to keep the hair on the back of my head from distorting the back of the wig, and creating a telling hump. And I wanted the pixie cut because I’m sick of my thin, fine natural hair. Two birds, one stone.

I love leading a double life. At home, I am a masculine female with mild gender dysphoria (aka myself) and at work I am a presentable, feminine-looking woman (aka, a more employable woman.) Fool all the people!

The new piece is fantastic. Chin length, dark brown with golden highlights, wavy on the sides. Visually similar to my natural hair but 1000% better looking. Fuller, with more height on the top, and styled. Maybe a little darker than I wanted, but it suits me, still. I’ll probably go a bit lighter on the shade next time. And, I want more pieces. Variety of looks is incredible and achievable with wigs. The notion that a woman must have great natural hair is damaging. Every time I spot a woman with bad thinning hair on the crown like mine I want to evangelize the wonder of toppers and wigs, but I don’t. Because who knows, they may be comfortable with it.

I feel delightful in the current moment. Able to have both things that I want in life; to be accepted by others (hairpiece) but with the freedom of also having very short hair.

::performs legbeard dance of joy::

Schadenfreude Pt 5: Wedding Hells

So, a few days ago my half-sister abruptly put out that she was getting married.

She’s joining the air force in a month or so, and though she and her fiance have been talking about getting married for a few years, they decided that they’d marry before she has to go off to basic. Which will be late May or June.

I’m happy for her, thrilled, but the wedding will be.. difficult, to say the least.

Mainly because my father and stepmother will be there.

If you’re bored and want to read about dysfunction and abuse, here’s some of the back-history.

An Unbelievable Person
Schadenfreude Part 1: The “Happy Family”
Schadenfreude Part 2: Just Like Him to Ruin My Day
Schadenfreude Pt. 3: The Public Downward Spiral (The Facebookening)
Schadenfreude Pt. 4: Apathy and Bitter Things

TL;DR: Narcissist father allowed cruel trophy wife to destroy me emotionally, after I left the home at 16 trophy wife went off the rails with addictions and damaged my sister as well. Have not spoken to father in nearly five years.

In the last year or so, there’s been some drama I haven’t posted. Mainly, my father went apeshit that my sister asked me to be matron of honor at her wedding. Claimed she was choosing me over him. Now, I’m an adult but I have serious doubts about whether he is. I never stated that I wouldn’t go to her wedding because he was there. But he, as a giant emo baby man, couldn’t take that I would be there. A fierce argument amongst him, sister’s fiancé, and fiancé’s friends and family spiraled until my father posted this gem. A slight intended for my sister’s fiancé, who has a nerve problem with his leg that makes it hard to walk.

My father, a quality man.

For good reason, my sister’s fiancé doesn’t like our father. And for a little while, he was out of the wedding. Only, since my sister is kindhearted she.. of course.. sigh.. let him back in. I wonder how Fiancé feels about this. Probably not great.

I don’t know if I’m still the matron of honor. I’ve been avoiding chatting with my sister, overwhelmed by the prospect of uncomfortable conversations and possible confrontations.

I need a game plan. My husband will back me up at the wedding, of course. It will be hard for him to be in this situation and I’ll do my best to help him. First, I need to talk to my sister and maybe Fiancé and his mother, figure out what my role is and if they have any thoughts about father-dearest being a manchild at the wedding. Honestly, my immediate idea is that if he zeroes in and targets me, I will simply leave. I don’t want husband to challenge him, just back me up. I won’t be the one that ruins my sister’s wedding and I will do everything in my power to avoid conflict there. To the point I will offer to my sister to simply not come to the wedding, but be involved in planning.

Not going would relieve a lot of tension. It would mean not having to pretend and play nice to my ex-stepmother, who is so brain damaged from huffing spray paint she thinks we’re friends. It would also mean not walking on egg shells around my father in order to give my sister the wedding she deserves. It’s an option.

Both options are kind of shite. Part of me just hopes Father-dearest has another nuclear meltdown and gets banned right before the wedding. Part of me hopes sister-chan just elopes. The first is more likely than the other.

Whoo. I love weddings. So much. So. Much. /s