Well. This is awkward.

I think it speaks to my seasonal depression, my 11 posts in January, the 6 in February. Just one in March. I guess it’s still early in April. But lately (especially this past week) I have felt exceptionally more creative. So I try to expend all creative writing energy on something that’s much less depressing than this. Well either that or enraging. But those are pretty much my two options. Which, if i had to pick two emotions to describe my parents throughout my childhood…it would definitely be those two. For certain.

Also, I guess I’m sort of a tool for warmth and sunshine, so I do feel genuinely happier in the spring and summer. I don’t know why, my life isn’t any different. I am certainly not in a profession with summer breaks. IF YOU CAN IMAGINE, my summers as a kid were normally quite terrible. I just remember being really lonely and bored as a kid. I appreciated them more as a teenager because I hated school that much. But it’s not like being at my home was any treat. I’ll admit, I’ve been trying not to think about it a lot lately. Mostly because I’m trying to think about my other writing, which if it’s ever published it’ll be under this name so…watch out. I don’t mean that in a negative way.

But, despite the improving weather, I am still plagued by the past. My past. Sometimes I think about how there’s probably people who do adult things they’re going to regret and lament and feel degraded by because they already have so many of those memories when they were innocent, it’s gratifying to do that sort of thing again when you’re orchestrating it. Or something like that.

I really am lucky that things turned out as well as they have. There have definitely been times before and after my wedding where my relationship with my husband was in serious jeopardy. Honestly, you can probably see from how I was feeling this winter that I was getting REALLY worn thin. And when I get worn thin I snap and start doing things I refuse to feel regret for later. A lot of things wear me thin, it would seem, but only figuratively.

Actually, let’s think about it. It was actually four weeks ago today. I lied to my friend from work and my coworkers about what I was doing on my lunch break. I kept saying I had to run some errands, but I wouldn’t elaborate and one of them joked I was conducting  drug deal. I do my best to come off as a narc so I feel like most people would be really surprised if I talked about how I budget weed into my weekly income deductions and have been smoking every day for yeeeeears now. If it’s made me less intelligent, I can assure you that you don’t notice it. Drinking is by FAR more destructive and detrimental to doing healthy things in your life (in whatever aspect).

But on the lunch break that I told so many lies about, I spent most of it writing a really long note in my phone, which I then texted to my husband with a preface that pretty much said this is how i feel and I’m not attacking you but I feel like we’ll never be able to talk about all this at once.

It’s not healthy, but even when we’re in a bad place, we do this thing where we try to pretend like it’s all good, and we are civil and loving towards one another because we don’t feel like fighting about whatever is upsetting

So then we never resolve anything, and I start feeling insane. Then I start suspecting someone else is making me feel this way (A trick I learned growing up). And lo and behold. I was pretty much right. Because we live in this day and age, i emailed the note to myself and will paste it below – read it if you’re so inclined. I’m not going to because I will be caught up in its emotional overtone. I want to actually bother to do this for once.

iPhone note from 3-10-17:

I don’t want to be the one who has to make the conciliatory gesture every time. Why am I always the forgiving one? Profusely apologizing to end an argument is not the same

I don’t want to be the only one working.
I don’t want to be the source of 80%+ of our income
I don’t always always always have to be the one who works harder.
I don’t want to feel like I need to repress every negative emotion I have because it’s too much for you to handle. Why is it I can always accept and move on from your greatest transgressions but you seem like you’re deliberately taking offense to as much as possible so you can feel victimized bc you need that. Because if you’re the victim you can’t be guilty of anything. Do you notice how you always have a ready excuse or explanation complete w a total brush off? There’s a reason you seem like you HAVE to think that way. Because you can’t let it get to you, so you have to flip it around fast and make me the bad one because you don’t seem capable of processing that you need to change things about yourself (like the things in bringing up)
I don’t want to live a life that consists entirely of just getting through each day at work to have an even worse time of it at home. I have no happy place. I have no safe space. I am continually taught not to express any negative emotion around you. You’ll refute that of course but please objectively look at how you respond to any bad mood of mine. They’re not allowed. Yet I am to be an unending font of patience and forgiveness and understanding 100% of the time regarding your actions.
I’m not saying this to be hateful or hurtful, but it has been months since I’ve felt that you genuinely love me. Since before Christmas. I keep trying to tell myself something different but what scares me is that we both seem like we’re afraid to admit that.
If you don’t feel the same way about me anymore, you need to tell me. You can’t pretend it’s not an issue if it is.
If that’s not the case, then I simply ask you to consider why I would feel that way.
I don’t want to go on like this.
I can’t
I feel like I’m about to have a breakdown and it’s starting to scare me.
Do you realize or appreciate how alone I am?
I have no one.
END OF QUOTE FROM LAST MONTH
What’s quite…idk I guess funny,  is that I would NEVER EVER be able to say all of this in person. Long ago my husband suggested my writing out what I was upset about, but I finally get around to doing it now.
We both definitely had to forgive each other for a lot, and maybe that’s for the best.
BUT, in the 4 weeks it’s been since I sent him that message, things have been really great.
It doesn’t hurt that he got a job (!) and today was actually his first payday. First time this year (since mid December) that we’re getting $ in that isn’t mine or from his parents. Of course his parents assist with any great pinches but they’ve been helping us so long it’s fucking shameful. Plus I truly do hate being so dependent on them. But I simply don’t make enough at my job to fully support two adults. I don’t feel like I should have to, given our circumstances. But anyway, now things are finally moving in the right direction. Which is good because we’ve accrued like extra debt lately.
Also, unwisely and quite white-trashly I am getting myself an expensive birthday gift, because in 13 days I’ll be 29 and idk treat yo self and stuff. I guess it won’t give anything away if I mention it. I’m getting permanent eyeliner (top lid only). They tattoo it right on. I am so excited. I’ve been blackening my upper lashlines for mmmm let’s say 15 years or so, it’s time to be drastic. Plus I’ve had some original piercings for longer than that, so I am not at all afraid to commit to one look.
Have I mentioned my weird piercing thing? OMG it was one of the things I was actually known for in high school. Like really I was perceived as so different from what I really am. I don’t need to know what that is to know that others were wrong. If that makes sense.
Well, things have been drastically happier with my husband for the past month, I think mostly because he’s found employment and I got all that out of my head. Off of my chest. Whichever. SO, that coupled with the spring euphoria, I’ve actually been writing. I can’t tell you on what because it had yet to formulate a title. The file name if My Great Unfinished Novel. I’m like that. My files at work all have funny (yet HR-friendly) names. You’ve got to amuse yourself and surround yourself with things you find lovely, that’s what I always say. Or rather, that’s a phrase I hope to coin. Also – Between chaos and calm there is certainly something. Those are my two things I made up. The chaos/calm line actually has three small paintings that accompany it. If that makes sense.
There were times, when at 29 I felt bad about myself because I didn’t own a house or have kids. But I work with people who are homeowners and parents and…uh…..Nooooooo. It all  sounds like such a horrible hassle and HUGE expense.
And so I’m like well if I think about those two things super negatively (which for me is no hard task) it’s easy to be like pft don’t want that anyway.
So then it’s like well if you don’t want all that normal people shit, what do you want?
And I’m like, I want to write. I want to publish a book. A series of books. Different series and different books. One gets afterlived into a TV series (preferrably HBO to follow in the footsteps of my heroes Charlaine Harris and George RR Martin, I just want to be the hot one of those type of people, the author behind the heavily franchised thing). That’s like the ultimate dream I’ve ever had. But no one besides my husband would know that about me. I feel like you have to feel comfortable to tell your spouse something like this. We also always in all seriousness discuss a restaurant we’ll have one day. But if I had book/TV show money I would totally start a restaurant just to immortalize some family recipes. There’s not much else I can do for either sides reputation. It’s usually the only thing Germans are good at expressing themselves through – food/eating. Or maybe lack of expression leads to the eating. Certainly does with some members of my family. But anyway. There’s just not that many people on either side of my family tree, and it makes me sad. It’s bound to. But anyway.
I’ve been writing. I’ve done nearly 21 pages this week. I’ve gotten a little time each evening to work on it but it can be difficult to work in sometimes. Plus anything creative has to be done before dinner. After eating I’m on a straight path to bed in T-minus 1 hour. I can’t help it my office job is conditioning me to live like an old woman. It’s not that bad though, I sleep a lot, and it’s really regular, and I even shit on a regular schedule now. I take multi vitamins. I don’t smoke OR drink soda (I used to drink SO MUCH diet coke it was fucking disgusting). I drink MODERATELY now. I do smoke weed every day, you’ve got me, but other than that I’m doing so well.  I’m  fucking perfect girl scout version of my younger self. I’ll be honest I was more motivated by worry that I was looking fat and old prematurely than I was for basic health reasons. I’m one of the few people who was successful using Chantix, that quit smoking drug. I had no bad dreams (that I can remember).  I had no side effects except it made cigarette smoking seem DISGUSTING. I literally threw away an unfinished pack, and I’d never been able to do that when I ‘quit’ before any other time. I was definitely a douche with an ecig for a long time. I used one when we got married. So ridiculous. But now I don’t smoke at all so it’s cool. My husband and I went to a trendy downtown nearby to a hookah lounge, and after a few hits off that thing I felt like SUPER terrible. Like did I just contract the flu terrible.
But I’m just saying I’m making positive strides.
Nothing has changed family wise really. I still communicate with my mother via email only. I have nothing to do with either my brother or my dad. Everything is still the same with my in-laws and their many extended relatives. Easter is coming up and being Lutheran we’re expected to go to our in-laws. It’s unfair because there’s no extra time off but you have to do all this extra stuff. PLUS my husband will do this thing were he eats then passes out at his parents, and I’m alone with my in-laws for awkward hours on end. Last time I took my 2DS and played Pokemon Sun the whole time, but still…it’s awkward because at one point my father in law cornered me into conversation and started lecturing me about how marijuana causes ADHD and cancer.  I’m just like….please….please stop.
I mean he’s a good guy, and trust me I know what the exact opposite fucking smells like, but AUAHGHGUGH! That’s my general interior demeanor for the holidays. and they keep their house really cold so my feet are numb the whole time and I FUCKING HATE IT. I know that seems like a weird thing to be weird about but it’s how I feel.
But oh well, it could be worse. At least their house is clean and there’s a spare bedroom for us (but it’s a filled with dolls. yes, exactly as creepy as it sounds).
So I’ve been happier and writing which makes me even happier
But then something happened last night, and I thought about it a few times during my long workday and I felt this sort of elation I’ve never known before.
I don’t mean to be dramatic, but someone (I have no idea who, and I don’t necessarily need to) started following this blog. That I made anonymously and never told anyone about. Well not anonymous but it’s my nom de plume like i said. So there’s the possibility someone’s read all this.
I don’t think you can understand (anyone) if you’ve never been robbed of your voice.
If I’d ever gone to doctorate school for my line of study (no to that), my thesis would have been on giving a voice to the silent because that’s what I feel like literature is here to do. And if you’ve been paying attention to me at all i think you know how much I feel about literature. It’s a deeper calling than getting a B.A. and M.A. though I do so obviously love mentioning I have those.

But for those of us who have been rendered incommunicado, the longing to re-express, to learn to feel, it’s fucking there. At least it was for me. It took me a long time. To use “through the wringer” would be quite accurate. But I did it. I’ve always impressed myself with my perseverance. Well that’s one of the things.

See, I don’t know what it was, it was something, but something kept me realizing how shitty things were, and how one day I’d figure a way out. I think my brother got the first part, but his second part was like “and now the world owes me everything.” Which…I mean imagine what having that sort of attitude would get you, and you sort of have my brother.

Have I told you about him, completely? Okay, rough timeline. He’s three years older than me. When I was working at one of my pet store jobs when I was 17, my mom called the store (it was a Sunday) and said my brother was in the ER because he was in a car accident, but it wasn’t so dire I needed to leave work. He was driving to the APPROVED church my father attended in a nearby city, it involved using the highway a short while. He and my father drove separately because my dad went to work afterwards. He only attended this church because a few of his trashy coworkers did. It was raining. A girl, driving a car-full, on her way to work as a counselor a a Lutheran summer camp I actually went to and HATED one year before all this happened, was speeding in the rain, in a hurry to get to the camp. She lost control, hit my brother’s beloved car, he spun out and hit an overpass. The damage wasn’t so terrible, but there was a compression fracture in his back that caused his to be bed ridden in a back brace for months.

and oh…during this time…let me tell you what happened….

My dad decided this was a golden opportunity to quit his job because he could get the health insurance company to pay him to be the ‘at home caregiver’ for my brother, who like I said was in a back brace/bedridden more or less. HE DID NOTHING. HE DID NOTHING. He was being PAID by an insurance company to take care of his injured, bedridden (ONLY) son, and he STILL WOULDN’T DO IT. He literally wouldn’t even pour a can of soda into a glass for him, and if you can’t it up in bed you can’t drink from a can all too easily. And my poor mom would have to bathe him when she came home from work.  I would pick up the slack around the house A LOT. I would cook dinner, clean the bathroom, gather and do the laundry….my mom really did have a free part time maid when I lived there. But I was also working so there were times I couldn’t help out as much, plus i was still in high school. But yeah, so my dad quits what would be his last real job to basically scam money for doing nothing. Which I guess with someone like him that’s the ultimate goal. And before the accident my brother had been working a decent paying factory-type job, but of course he couldn’t go back after such an injury. And, in almost like a cliche moment, he developed a vicodin problem.

Then, of course, out of greed and a desire to personally benefit from it, my dad urged my brother to file a lawsuit against the girl driver camp counselor cunt bitch’s insurance. And he did. And he got $100,000.

Now most people would not do well with getting THAT much money at the age of…20/21 and my brother was especially unsuited. Plus not long after the money he was dating this girl who’d emotionally destroy him. I mean I don’t blame her for not wanting to be with my brother but she really didn’t have to suck SO bad when it came to their break up.

But oh, before they broke up for good, for the year or so they dated, my did they live. That’s my brother’s problem, he only considers the here and now. It’s like he doesn’t have what-will-happen-in-5-years anxiety. I never don’t have that anxiety. But really my only true fear is never writing the story I’ve been forming my mind for so long. Any other failure is pebbles in a pond. So what if people hate me and I never make any more friends? At least I’m married to someone who genuinely loves me. Plus most people I’ve known in my life haven’t liked me. So whatever. Fine.

 

But back to my brother. So he has a lot of expenable money, and for a year he and his GF (then fiancee) live the high life, going to concerts, they went to the virgin islands with her family once, shopping, NOT WORKING, and later I would find out my brother was also abusing vicodin really badly the whole while. Of course she knew and did nothing. It’s so easy to just be an enabler, I kind of understand I guess. Well when you have constant bills and you’re not working, you’re going to run out of money. Once that happened it was the beginning of the end, of course. The break up was long and messy. They’d moved in together, and actually moved once into a new place. But by the end of things, she was living in the same house as my brother (in separate bedrooms) and fucking someone else.

She had my brother thrown in jail. She claimed he was threatening her. He claims that wasn’t the case but I’d say 50/50 she actually was afraid. He’s too much like my dad to not give her that benefit of the doubt. But still….idk she went about shit wrong. Like she stole her jewelry back from him after she’d given it to him. Because she’d gotten him thrown in jail. After he got out they broke up for good and he moved into a different place with a roommate.

There was a day, a bitterly cold winter day. I was…19 or 20, I think 20….it was a Saturday. I worked at my job in one city and was driving home to the city I lived in, I (stupidly) answered an “UNKNOWN” call and it was my dumb brother, telling me he’d been arrested and was in jail and I needed to tell our mom.

YEAH. THAT’S MY BIG BROTHER ALL RIGHT. He mad ME be the one to have to deal with her very distressed “WHAT?!?!” And she was at my Grandma’s Memory Care nursing home room decorating for Christmas. But then she had to leave and deal with my brother. He’d been arrested because he physically attacked his new roommate. Not surprising at all, knowing him as well as I do. To strike out in this rage-fueled fury, it’s very much a part of who we both are. I’m obviously much better at controlling it. My brother attacked his new roommate as they were moving in to a place together. So, now that he was in jail, it was up to my parents and I to pack up the rest of his possessions and move them, or else they’d be lost forever because he had to be out to the place he’d once shared with his ex-fiancee.

That evening/night, it was dark as fuck, it was COLD as fuck, and I had to help my parents (who were both in SUCH stellar moods by this point) pack up my brother’s possessions and move them to a different place nearby. I’d already worked a 6 hour Saturday shift, but there I was instantly sucked in to the drama AND treated as free slave labor. Like always.

My brother was OBSESSED with this 2007 Mustang GT that he had, and he had MILLIONS of things in his garage for it. I remember my dad insisting I accompany him as he moved a truckload of things to the new rental. I honestly don’t have many other memories of him being scarier than he was that night. He RANTED and RAVED the entire car ride over to the new place, and we had four huge Mustang tires to take into the new place, he THREW one down a 2-90 degree-angle staircase and I thought it was going to bounce over and kill me at one point. The next time he was driving a load over, he told me to “C’mon!” and I was like “I’m staying here.” And he stormed off, obviously in no mood to convince anyone.

I remember that night so distinctly. It was miserable, and it was misery I didn’t need in my life. I was already a full time undergrad student who also worked full time at a pet store and was perpetually single. But that night I went home and smoked some weed and watched South Park on my laptop and ate a shit ton of Lucky Charms…and I felt better…by myself and super fucked up. That’s always the way, isn’t it?

Then….my brother obviously soon after getting out of jail ended up moving back to my parents’ house, to their basement.

Then, I guess a few years passed. I met my future husband, we moved in together almost immediately. I finished my bachelor’s degree. The summer when I was 22, my mom had to have back surgery. I hadn’t seen my brother in months. When I did, right before my mom went into the prep room or whatever they call it, I saw him and I was fucking horrified.

He looked exactly like Harry from Requiem for a Dream. He’d become skeletally thin, there was something about his pallor and overall demeanor that screamed FUCKING JUNKIE. That’s always the way. The pills get expensive, but you know what’s not expensive and very easy to get? Heroin.

When my mom was in recovery from the surgery, my brother was nodding off, nose running like a fountain (as Grandma would say) in the waiting room next to me. My dad informed me he was fucked up, as if I was blind and deaf and couldn’t see that. I told my dad he was obviously a heroin addict.

That night my dad confronted my brother, insisted he take the hoodie he was ALWAYS wearing off. He was fucking covered in track marks.

Yeah.

My mom’s first day home from the hospital, my brother is threatening to kill himself if she doesn’t give him money for “pills.” (That’s what she calls it). I arrive, as I was coming over to check on my mom home fresh from the hospital. She tells me what he said. He seems very embarrassed and won’t even look at me. My dad shows up a short while after, he’d been running some errand. He walks into the living room, takes off his glasses and just starts bitch-slapping my brother. He sat there and took it too, he didn’t even raise his hands in defense. My mom told him to stop, of course, my dad very hatefully told my mom to STAY OUT OF IT. I was sitting on the couch, possibly the world’s MOST neutral expression encompassing me. Their dog ran to me for shelter during this storm (his name was Storm). Whatever that means. My brother said he felt hopeless, my dad screamed back that he WAS hopeless. My brother left shortly afterwards, this time not claiming he was about to jump off a bridge (true story from before). He went to his dealer’s house, of course.

He didn’t get better until later, and by get better i mean he takes methadone 4 times a week and he smokes more weed than I could in 5 years in 1 month. He lives in my parents basement and grows dope. He dated my sister in law for like a year and that ended with gore, I can’t just say it was messy. It was fucking gory. But we fucking told her.

So that’s my brother’s story. 100% truth, I promise. I’d never lie to you. This is possibly my last honest space. But it’s time to go, before even I think this is too long.

 

~Cassie

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