I Don’t Know

*TW: Suicide

I need to write…but I can’t. Why is this so hard. My OCD is ratcheted way up; I’ve been struggling with resurgence of strength of symptoms for a few years now. I guess the Zoloft’s efficacy was waning so gradually I didn’t realize what was happening at first. I thought it was just like stress…namely Trump’s disastrous election to office, and all the accompanying fact deficient bullshit it’s emboldened. Existential stress over climate change and Congress’s inaction. And then the Covid pandemic that, much as some would like to pretend otherwise, is STILL going on, and is quite serious. Worries about my daughter’s safety in a red state, the majority of whose politicians and residents have bucked every safety, mask, and vaccine mandate, whenever possible, despite their relatives and friend dying in record numbers. Money woes, because it feels like one step forward, two steps back so much of the time. When I finally accepted that it wasn’t getting better, I started working with a new doctor to change medications and get me back to an “even” keel. Anyone who has been treated long term for anxiety is probably familiar with the ebbs and flows of these particular afflictions. And the rollercoaster that is “Med changes.”

See, this isn’t what I intended to write about. It just seemed worth mentioning that I’ve already been struggling a bit with my own personal demons. I’m not trying to whine, because I don’t need validation. I’m just setting up the background, so to speak. Because I’ve been feeling ill in one way or another for at least three months. UTI. Sinus infection. Something that feels like GERD or an ulcer, for the past month and a half that persists despite RX strength medical intervention. The chest pain was such that I would have thought it was my heart (heart issues are a family legacy and thus always in the back of my mind whenever I get chest pain) if not for the belching that accompanied it so frequently.

And then about three weeks ago my mother committed suicide. It’s hard to write about, and not just because it’s still fresh. There’s a stigma to suicide. It’s not something you tell everyone, and naturally people’s first response when you mention your mother has “passed” is condolences. Well meant and appreciated, but also uncomfortable, because you want to explain to them, yes it sucks, but it sucks even more than they realize, because of HOW she went…what she did to herself. But that’s not something you just blurt out to anybody. It’s “private.” Both because society says it’s “supposed” to be, and because you’re still trying to convince yourself it happened some days. Sometimes multiple times in the same day. You say it in your head over and over again, trying to wrap your mind around it. “My mother killed herself.” And then when you do tell someone the quiet part, the “taboo” secret, the next predictable reaction is an uncomfortable sympathy that comes with an implicit idea that she was just another victim of suicidal depression. And she was. But…but they don’t know about the manipulation and the lashing out, the years and years you’ve suffered as a result of her mental issues, all while still trying to manage your own shit. They don’t know that her final act seemed not just one of desperation but one of vindictiveness, and it breaks your heart. And you feel guilty telling them anything about that, because it feels like badmouthing. It feels like “speaking ill of the dead.” But it’s just the truth.

“Were you close?” What difference does it make? My mother killed herself. Besides, how do I answer that. We talked all the time. We also argued all the time. I worried about her. I needed “breaks” from her. I tried to help her, but she couldn’t help herself.
“Why?” Why does anybody do this sort of thing? Why are you asking me???

“It’s not your fault.” No it’s not. Intellectually I know it. Emotionally I’m still not sure how much that matters.

How much information is too much? What’s mine to keep and mine to give away (because I have to have respect for my sister’s privacy as well as mine?) Then there’s the constant push and pull of me grilling myself over what my motivations are for talking about this. I don’t want to be one of those people that talks about things for attention. And I don’t want to be the gossipy topic of other people’s discussions either, but still that mantra in my head “My mother killed herself” and some times it feels like it’s screaming to get out.

And when it’s complicated with family drama and bad feelings, then you get to hear other people (namely other family members) opinions about “why” they think it happened, and who they blame. I try to remind myself they are also grieving, but then I get pissed. She was MY MOTHER. I lived with her for almost twenty years before moving out. And even when they manage not to piss me off, I feel like I have to console their grief as well. And it’s exhausting. I want to be selfish. The only person I don’t seem to mind “consoling” and commiserating with is my sister. And she’s the only relative whose opinion I care to hear about Mom’s death, because she’s been through the shit with me. We aren’t close, but she knows all the facts leading up to Mom’s death, the good, bad, and the ugly. And some of it was really ugly. But I can’t talk about that yet.

We still haven’t had a memorial, because the funeral home is so backed up with COVID deaths that her ashes will take some time to process. And when I do have to go “home” for the service, it’s entirely possible I’ll lose my shit on the next relative that gives me an unsolicited opinion about my mother’s death.

Aside from any attending guilt over my mothers suicide, I also have this guilt about not doing things. Not using my talents. Not writing. Not drawing. But the anxiety I feel when I think about starting a new writing or art project is immobilizing. I have even stopped taking clients (dog training) for an indefinite period of time. Sometimes I feel immobilized by choices, caught between two choices. Even simple ones. Which show to watch. Should I write about this? What to title it. Sometimes I just force myself to make a choice. That’s why the title of this post is “I Don’t Know”. Because I fucking don’t, but I know if I just sit here worrying over a title, I’ll never write the post. I know some of this is a symptom of my anxiety disorder. The indecision. The anxiety about decisions. That’s normal, but lately I’m in a fairly constant state of low grade anxiety. It’s always there, thrumming in my body like a low note plucked on a string instrument, or an electric current through powerlines. Sometimes I just force myself to make a choice and I tell myself it doesn’t matter which choice I make, as long as I make one. I can’t sit here immobilized forever.

Fly Sweetly, Chris Cornell

This beautiful spring morning brought with it two things; a head cold and news of the death of Chris Cornell.  His death was sudden and unexpected, and at least one source alludes to the possibility of suicide. Although I won’t speculate here, that particular prospect makes me immeasurably more sad.  My friends and regular readers will likely know how important music is to me.  I find it a daunting prospect, the idea of fleshing out my feelings in a detailed post, so I’ll just say that Soundgarden was with me throughout my adolescence, my formative years, as it were.  Many, many nights I fell asleep listening to the B side of Superunknown (yes, I actually had the album on cassette tape before I got the disc.)  At the time it occured, I was mildly bummed when Soundgarden broke up, but the older I got, the more important the music of my teenage years became to me, so I was totally psyched when they got back together.  Maybe one day, fate willing, I would even get to see them perform live.  Not now, not ever.

Although it’s not as if I knew this man personally, his words, his voice, meant something to me.  I never met him, never spoke a word to him, and aside from the usual fangirl musings, I never thought much about it.  Just him being in the world, making music, was enough.  Just as now, knowing he is no longer is the world, will never grace us with his voice again, fills me with a formless sense of loss.  How do we mourn someone we didn’t know, but who still managed to make an emotional mark on our souls?    I guess you either get it or you don’t.  For all of my friends and readers who do, I leave you with my all time favorite Soundgarden song.

Edit:  With Chris Cornell’s death officially being ruled suicide, I want to just mention here, there was NO snark or disrespect intended by my selection of song.  It just has been my favorite for years.  Blessed be to his family and bandmates in this sad time. ❤


Here’s Your Sign; Bad Habit

I want to tell you a story…

I am currently on my second cup of coffee, but I may actually need to exercise some of this anxiety out of me before I can finish this post.  Yesterday, I had to travel to a town about four hours away for a wedding.  What should have been a long but easy drive ended up being a stressful mess.  I have never encountered so many awful drivers in one day (actually, not even a full 24 hours.)

To begin with we had only been in the car a bit under two hours.  But the trip started poorly from the get go, mainly due to the fact that we should have left at least an hour earlier; I had miscalculated our departure time due to a time zone change from Central to Eastern.  That said, it would not have mattered because due to traffic and assholes, we were actually about two hours late to the wedding, missing the ceremony entirely.  I have no idea why, but already, I was feeling as if my bullshit meter was tipping dangerously into the red.  For some reason, cars in the two lanes could not stomach the idea of riding behind anyone…yet instead of passing, they were content to ride side by side, disallowing anyone else to pass or make progress in a timely fashion.  It was like this off and on the whole way there.  It was extremely irritating, but not dangerous, which is my prime concern when my child is in the car.  Until I noticed this one jackass in little hamster-mobile.  Actually, hubby noticed him first, because he remarked on the fact that said jackass was looking down at a phone instead of the road and his driving was suffering.  Apparently he’d drive at a snail’s pace when looking at the phone, then try to recover lost time and gain ground when he he could be bothered to watch the road, flying up on people’s asses and slamming on his brakes, before cutting over to the next lane.  At one point he passed and I noticed a female passenger.  Then the lane weaving commenced anew in front of us.  Twice he cut people off, seemingly narrowly avoiding clipping their front bumpers, and I sat there with mute fury.  I think I hit my limit then.  Not for the day, because the day was young, but my cumulative limit.  Ask just about anyone in our town and they will tell you people around this areas either drive like the rules of the road (stop signs and red lights...what??) don’t apply to them, or like they aren’t even aware there ARE rules.  And I am tired of people getting away with it.  Not just because of the lack of courtesy but because it’s dangerous!  But as usual, the cops are never around when this shit happens, and I feel impotent in these situations.

“When I go driving I stay in my lane
But getting cut off it makes me insane
I open the glove box
Reach inside
I’m gonna wreck this fucker’s ride”

The Offspring- Bad Habit

I wanted to call that driver out, let him know someone had noticed his horrendously dangerous antics, and perhaps shame him into being more careful.  So, in an act of singular passive aggressive brilliance, I pulled out a giant document envelope that had been folded up and jammed in the side compartment of the door and made a sign.  In pen and block letters gone over several times to darken them:


As we rode past in the left lane, I held the sign to my window.  The reaction was immediate and, frankly, insane.

This utter douchebag jammed the gas and then cut across our front bumper, then slamming on his brakes.  In the seconds that followed, I remembered thinking that if we rear-ended him, it would technically be our “fault.”  How could we prove he cut us off in a deliberate and aggressive maneuver.  My husband managed to brake enough to avoid collision and as the DB in the hamster-mobile sped up again and began to pull over to the side of the road, my husband followed.

This was actually happening.  Shit, what had I started?  And yet part of me felt vindicated. The look on my husband’s face was enough to tell me he had left reason behind.  He was smiling.

 I sat in indecision.  I did not want to leave my kid in the car, but I knew there were at least two people in that vehicle.  I wanted to back my husband up if he needed it.

“Be careful, ” I told him.  “He might have a gun.”  Hubby made it halfway to the other vehicle when the other driver punked out; their brake lights went out and they took off.  My husband was still smiling, a shark’s smile, when he got back in the vehicle.  I wonder if the other guy’s girl saw him coming and yelled at her husband to let it go…  It’s what I would have done if the roles were reversed.  Of course, I’d have already been yelling at Hubs to stop driving like a dick in the first place.

“Drivers are rude
Such attitudes
But when I show my piece
Complaints cease
Something’s odd
I feel like I’m god
You stupid dumb shit goddamn motherfucker!” (Bad Habit)

My kid is in the backseat… “Why did we stop?”

ME:  “Daddy needed to have a talk with another driver…”  Daddy was gonna throat check another driver and beat his ass …and he’d have deserved it.  

Having an argument or disagreement is one thing… Using a 2 ton vehicle to bully other people in a way that could have a catastrophic outcome is something completely different.  Of course my sign was ill-advised, but the other driver’s actions were criminal.

After the initial confrontation, we saw them farther up the road a few times.  Once we passed them, and apparently, the DB’s big brass balls were back and he began gesticulating.  Hubs merely looked in the rear view and reaffirmed, by pointing to the shoulder, his continued willingness to meet on the side of the road and “talk things out.”  No dice.  Eventually, we took an exit and DB went along his way.

If this were where the story ended, I might not even be writing this today.

It felt like barely ten minutes later when we spied red and blue strobing lights ahead of us and traffic slowed to a crawl.  One vehicle was pulled to the shoulder and a girl who looked to be barely out of her teens stood with the door open, feet on the bottom part of the car door frame, looking at something in the distance.  In front of their vehicle another care was parked.  Had there been a fender bender and the usual rubberneckers were slowing traffic?  Was the girl’s boyfriend perhaps involved?

Hubby had already seen in the distance what I had yet to notice.  I discovered shortly that the girl I saw looking was likely just that, a spectator.  Or perhaps the driver of her vehicle had stopped to help.   As we made our way by, I saw the gasoline tanker off the road, semi-jack-knifed, the cab’s nose, elevated slightly over a small road side ditch and buried in the side of a tree.  The undercarriage had been ripped from the cab and was in an exhaust-covered tangle below it. I can only hope the tanker was empty.  No HazMat team was on scene.  Some men were standing there looking up, as if assessing the situation and I had a split second to wonder if they were EMS attempting to rescue the driver when I saw said driver.  He was hanging upside down out of the canted cab, half in and half out, dangling with his arms hanging limply.  He wore a blue chambray-looking shirt, a typical blue-collar uniform shirt.  And I realized he was probably already dead, if the men below were merely standing there and not actively “rescuing.”

I whispered quietly to Hubs, asking if he had seen what I had, but he said once he saw the wreck, he had looked away, not wanting to see more.   He’s seen worse.  There was no blood or anything, but I couldn’t help but feel a sort of shocked sadness.  Seeing someone dead, and not in the setting of a funeral parlor, is a very disconcerting thing.

Those were the two major events.  All through the rest of the trip, people continued to clog up the highway by riding side by side.  We were already running late when we got lost shortly.  We spent two hours at the wedding venue only to get back in the car and follow two vehicles to an after party in a cabin on the mountain.  It was an hour away, the last leg of the journey full of steep switchbacks and gravel and rocks.  We had to practically crawl the last part up the mountain.  We’d have been better off in second gear probably.

I knew I’d never sleep well there, and I desperately needed sleep.  I know myself enough to know that.  The combination of early morning departure and extreme stress had me worn out, and I knew my child would never settle down to rest if there were other kids there to play with.  The party was great, the company made us feel like part of the family.  The cabin and fall foliage was phenomenal.  But I was done.  We initially had planned to take a room down the mountain but ended up deciding to muscle through so we could sleep in our own beds.  The ride home was full of assholes with their brights on, however, the decision to drive home ended up being a good one,  as a hour away from home, the girl who was supposed to be taking care of my dog for the evening messaged me to inform me she had lost my apartment key.

You can’t lock my apartment without the key.


Update*  The truck driver, 40 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene, however it looks as if we passed the wreck before EMS or Fire arrived.  According to the report I just read, one lane of the road was later closed off to traffic while they worked the scene.

Good-bye, Robin. I’m Sorry.

I’m sure people will be posting ad nauseam on here about Robin William’s apparent suicide…and that’s okay.  It has occurred to me more than once how Facebook and other social media have come to play a big part in our grieving process, from sharing memories, to revelling in our loved one’s presence for just a bit longer, to sharing our grief with others…

But I just want to say one thing, and it’s about mental illness…depression….anxiety.

It’s amazing how many people do not have a full understanding of what true clinical depression and anxiety are like.  These illnesses are diagnosed now more than ever before, and I’m sure their inevitable over-diagnosis leads some people to believe they are not that serious.  True clinical depression and anxiety are not situational.  “Why are you sad?  Why are you anxious? Did something happen? Are you unhappy?” or by extension “What reason do you have to be depressed?”

As someone who suffers from both anxiety and depression since early childhood, I don’t mind answering honest questions, but I am tired of the stereotypes, and especially tired of the use of the term “mental illness” as a buzz word or scapegoat for every dirtbag that would walk into a school with a gun and blow through a clip before shooting himself, thus putting us out of his misery.

This, what happened to Robin Williams, is the true face of mental illness in this country.  For me personally, having grown up always with this man in the periphery, his voice talents, his acting, always with good cheer and humor, (not to mention the fact that he reminds me of my Dad in some ways,) the idea that someone so warm and (by all accounts) genuine and caring, felt low enough to take his own life is unutterably sad.

Yes, he left behind a wife and grown children who will grieve him, but he didn’t take it to a public place with the intent to harm others or to garner attention or fifteen minutes more in the spot light.  He went quietly, and in the end the person who suffered the most was him.

Not with a bang but a whimper. 





Good-bye to Another Friend

Got word today via Facebook (again! Damn you with your double edged sword of keeping me in touch with people/always being the “first” to break bad news.)  I suppose I should just be glad I found out at all, living as far away from most of my high school friends as I do.    We lost another person from our graduating class.  It feels like our class has lost quite a few people these past few years.  We’re only 32-34 years old.  We’ve lost friends to epilepsy, cancer, suicide, even murder.

My friend Scott passed this weekend.  He was one of my homeroom buddies back in high school, and unlike a lot of Facebook “acquaintances,” we actually did still interact with one another on Facebook.  Oddly, in some ways I learned more about him from Facebook than our time back in high school– like, for instance, what a sensitive soul he actually was.  This is so weird because…and I know it sounds so obvious it’s stupid, but…  he was just here not too long ago.  Now he’s not.

It seems most of us (that is, the people in our class, our “mutual friends” on Facebook,) don’t know cause of death; it’s being kept quiet right now…which for me tends to rule out accident, illness, etc.  And I guess it doesn’t really matter how he died.  He is just as gone.  And yet, knowing seems to be a piece in coming to terms with the loss…and in some cases, satisfying a sort of morbid curiosity many of us feel towards the death of someone we know who is not necessarily in our immediate circle of friends.  Along the same vein, I can’t help but be annoyed by the requisite number of busybodies and drama mongers (online), attempting to put themselves in the middle of everything, trying to make the loss somehow more about them.  (You disgust me, but this isn’t the time for me to call you out on it.)

Because of the internet and social networking, we are now highly in tune with the everyday goings-on of people we might not get to otherwise interact with regularly.  We get our news fast (sometimes too fast, and in a less than sensitive manner.)  It makes me wonder, are all these losses just a normal part of “growing up,” aging?  Are the amount of deaths in our age group just the relatively normal “fall off” of people, and we are only so aware of it because of the internet?

It’s also weird to think about it…like I said, he was here, now he’s not.  Chances are, he didn’t know he wouldn’t be here today.  Did he know how many people would miss him?  Tag his name in Facebook statuses and say nice things about him…


And (quietly) *to myself*…

One day will I be just a tagged name on Facebook? 


In Memory Of Scott (1981-2014)



Rest In Peace, Jer and Ricky

Things Not to Say/Rest in Peace, Greg

Goodbye, H.R. (nsfw)

The renowned Swiss artist H.R. Giger has died at the age of 74, as a result of injuries sustained in a fall. Giger, who passed away in a Zurich hospital, was most famous for the alien monster he created for the movie of the same name. (source)

Even if many people aren’t familiar with the vast majority of Giger’s work, almost everyone would recognize the frightening yet somehow vicious beauty of the Xenomorph creature from the Alien films.


However the vast body of his work is explicitly erotic, what some might consider as bordering on pornographic.

Giger’s so-called biomechanoids represent a large share of his work. His representations of these creatures is a mixture of human and mechanical parts, with a strong focus on sexuality that can be disturbing for the viewer.





While not all of his art is sexual and explicit (okay, most of it is…), all of it is darkly unique, thought-provoking, and emotionally stimulating.




Love it or leave it, the world has lost an incredible artist.  The king is dead.  Long live the Alien King.

It’s Over Now…

It seems odd to celebrate someone’s “death day.”  Given my love of Layne Staley and his music, it would seem more appropriate to celebrate his birthday.  But I can’t help thinking of Layne’s personal struggle with drugs not only every April 5, but almost every time I hear his music.  And I would likely have my “Grunge” card revoked if I didn’t also mention Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, whose suicide ironically occurred on this same day, eight years before, also after a struggle with heroin, which he claimed to have tried in order to help cope with a painful stomach condition.  (It is interesting to note that in both cases, the musicians’s bodies were not discovered immediately after their deaths, so the date of their death was determined by medical professionals.)

“We chase misprinted lies
We face the path of time…

If I can’t be my own, I’d feel better dead”


“Chaos and hate shadow me, pain it fills me up…Only one thing makes me feel, missing better half of me.”



*related: https://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/in-chains-music-and-drug-addiction/


Kurt Donald Cobain~ 2/20/1967-4/5/1994

Layne Thomas Staley~ 8/22/1967- 4/5/2002





Of Dreams and Nightmares and Waking Life

It’s supposed to be a pretty day today (59 and partially cloudy beats all the snow and rain and cold any day.)  I have stuff to do today, which includes shelter work and (hopefully) finally taking that injured stray with me that’s been wandering around the apartment complex.

But I have a pretty good headache, which started yesterday around noon and was nicely exacerbated by laying practically upside down, mouth open for an hour, having a cavity filled.  When the Novocaine wore off, I was in less than optimal shape.  I went to bed at 8 last night, hoping to ward off the impending migraine.

But then I had nightmares most of the night.   Dreams fraught with tension, but some sort of epic adventure… * Dreams of wanting but never quite being able to reach…  Dreams of confused desire… Dreams of frustration, where my every attempt to affect some sort of change is thwarted or ignored.

Dreams of needing to be onstage but forgetting my lines.  David Lynch-esque dreams where the events and the characters change but are the same.

And dreams of yearning sadness.  I had a dream last night about a friend of mine who OD’d a few months ago. He was alive and I kept trying to tell him I loved him and he could smoke all the weed he wanted, but for God’s sake, stay away from the heroin!  When I awoke and remembered he was already gone, I was struck by the usual feeling of quiet despair at not being able to change things.

Once, I woke up screaming.  I woke my kid too.  My husband slept on peacefully, so I guess it’s a good thing it was a nightmare and not a masked murderer in my bedroom.  I know myself enough by now to know that when I awaken screaming from nightmares, it’s often because I am so stressed out in my waking life that it spills over into my sleep.  Once, when I was still with a particularly troublesome ex, I awoke screaming every night for about a week.  I still lived with my parents at the time, and by the third night or so, my mom and stopped coming in to check on me when it happened. (Ironically, for the short but extremely stressful four months my husband and I had to live with my mother and step-father while I was pregnant, it was my husband who had the night terrors almost every night, often kicking out– and kicking me– in the middle of the night.)

And then this morning I get on Facebook and am greeted immediately with the sad but not unexpected news that my friend’s cat has passed away.  I kind of got attached to this cat because for some reason, even though they did not really look alike at all, she reminded me of my own girl who passed away 2 years ago.

Anyway, I’m not writing all this looking for sympathy or anything.  It’s just life…how things are.  But, since this is my blog, every once in a while I indulge in a post that has no real point except catharsis for me.  Thanks for coming along with me, readers.




Things Will Never Be The Same

Sorry to be all doomy and gloomy, but that’s how I feel right now.  I know I’ve written before about how time passes and things change.  Especially from childhood to adulthood.  We can never get back our childish naivety or carefreeness.

There are so many beautiful things in life, but there are also times when life feels like nothing but watching the people around you die.

We moved out here several years ago.  There are many friends I fell out of contact with.  A few months ago I found out that one of them, someone with whom I had once been very close (and had since tried in vain to get back in touch with) had passed away.  Technically liver disease, but he wasn’t in the best health when I knew him, and he had some…bad habits.  Ever since, I’ve felt this sense of loss that goes not only with losing a friend, but with feeling like I never got to tell him how much he meant to me.

Tonight, I found out his son, also my friend, has died of an overdose.  I knew they both been in some trouble off and on the past few years.  I had asked after them, trying to get phone numbers from some of our mutual friends, from time to time.

But they had mostly gone their separate ways too.

Our little band of misfits grew apart a bit at a time a few years ago, I think.   I guess life got in the way…and lifestyle choices.  No more movies at the Senator. No more Halloween parties.  No more camping out and car shows together.

And now I guess there never will be.