What did I mean to my father

I don’t know what I meant to my father. 

That is a tragedy.

I should know what his hopes and dreams were for me. I should know how much he loved me and how much I meant to him. I should know, on some level, what I meant to him. Because as it stands, I am pretty certain that I just didn’t matter. I existed for him twice a year when he visited me and tried to catch up on an entire year of events and moments he missed. But this isn’t about my father’s presence or his lack there of. It is about what he felt it meant to be a father to me, and that I will never know. 

I often asked him how he could spend so much time with his step son and none with me. His reply was always that I had a husband and his step son had nobody. I was married young and had a child young. I may not have still needed my father but I still wanted a father. Time and circumstance do not lessen  a daughter’s want to have her father in her life. My mother in law is a prime example of that. At 60 years old she moved back in with her mother and father to help take care of her mother after a stroke. After her mother passed she stayed with her father to help take care of him. He was in his 90’s and still playing 18 holes of golf, but he was limited in his driving the car, and as her father, he wanted her there. They didnt’ necessarily need each other. They just chose each other. They wanted to be with each other. Father and daughter at 70 and 90. That is pretty telling of how he felt about his daughter. To be told that I had a husband which meant my father felt no obligation to me felt, just that, I was an obligation passed on to another man. 

My father will tell you that he loved me. But people who live by words are often left very empty inside. His words meant nothing because his actions didn’t follow through. If love is not an action, then it is a love that matters not to me. 

I let my father go 2 years ago when I knew he would never change. I knew he would just keep disappointing me and hurting my heart. The sad part is, I don’t think it even mattered to him. My father is burned in my mind as a coward. A happy go lucky, cheerful, flirty, everyone loves him, life of the party, coward. I never once saw emotion from him regarding me. I was an afterthought. I knew it. I ended it. 

I don’t think of him very often. Rarely. Today I wondered, what did I really even mean to him. As a father he failed me. But why. Why did he choose that. And why does everyone else in his life give him a pass. Why does the facade matter more than the man? I will never know. And that is ok. Because my pondering over him has passed as it quickly does, every time. I don’t believe he truly wanted to be my father. It was apparent in his actions. His words were empty, always.

I was not privileged

I was not privileged.

I was abused and the “system” failed me.

I got no special rights or advantages.

I got overlooked and dismissed.

I was not privileged.

I slept in my car,

I ate 10 cent noodles every day,

I was lost and afraid,

I got no special opportunities.

I was not privileged.

I lived on food stamps and medicaid,

I prostituted my body for rent money,

I had a boyfriend try to shoot me.

I was not privileged.

I was forgotten by society,

I was put in a mental hospital so I didn’t kill myself,

I was put there so no one had to do what needed to be done.

I was a second thought if a thought at all.

I was not privileged.

I had no immunities,

I had no silver spoon or silver linings.

I was a body to be used, discarded, and disregarded.

I was nothing.

I was not privileged.

I was discriminated against for my disease,

I was bullied relentlessly by the cruel,

I was abandoned by my privileged family.

But I,

I am a Caucasian girl.

And I was not privileged.

I was raped.

I was molested by a monster as a little girl.

I was silenced,

And no one ever fought for me.

Ever. 

Because I was not

Privileged. 

 

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SOCIAL MEDIA IV PICTURE…

Social media is full of these pictures:


The “I am in the hospital and here is the IV to prove it.” This particular picture is of my daughter’s arm. But this was not a one time picture. For someone chronically ill, these pictures are all too familiar. I have over 50 of them just from  my daughter’s ER and hospital stays.People post these pictures and get immediate attention, that is well deserved, being in the hospital is scary. But what happens when this is the norm for you?  When life doesn’t get better 3 days after your hospital IV picture!

Chronically ill are forgotten.

 There is no “IV” hospital picture that embodies the daily struggle and emotionally beaten down human being. 

Friends fall away. Family falls away. You find friends online that are chronically ill or have a child that is ill and you find understanding from them, someone you don’t even know. Social media connections become your only real solace. The people who you thought would be there for you have disappeared behind excuses.

JUST like abuse. It doesn’t go away. You don’t just experience this trauma and go right back to living the next day. People go on with their lives and forget that your life stopped. Family and friends couldn’t even hang on for my sick daughter. They became frustrated that when they were available, when they could fit her in, that she was vomitting and couldn’t see them. They never really asked, never really checked in, never really knew the daily truth of living with an illness. Then they blamed her because they “tried” but she just couldn’t do it. Nope, that one day she couldn’t. Sometimes with someone who is fighting an illness you have to work around them, actually choose to be selfless. I’ve seen some incredibly selfish people after my daughter became ill. My sweet girl would have someone come over, barely able to sit up, and support THEM through whatever current issue THEY were facing. She wasn’t able to go to her own prom because she was so sick and YET she did her friend’s make up for them for their prom. Their terms. It took my daughter a month to recover from sitting up that long. But my daughter is the most unselfish person that I have ever known. Her friends, they may show up after the “IV social media picture” but it’s pretty simple to visit someone in the hospital on your own terms. I have been more broken hearted for my daughter than anyone else. Because for most people, because she is ill, she has been forgotten. She has 2 friends that stuck by her among countless that hurt her while she was already down. 

I know the feeling. As soon as I became unable to drive, it was painfully clear who only saw me when I visited them. 99% of people I considered friends and family, I rarely saw anymore because I was common denominator in keeping that relationship afloat.

I know the feeling. As soon as I was abused I became forgotten. 

My daughter and I deserve better. For me, I am a big girl, I can handle it. I shouldn’t have had to when I was a teenager but I grew up knowing what forgotten feels like. But I am not my mother. I will not forget my daughter. I will not stop fighting for her, standing up for her, being her strength when she has none. I will do all I can until my body cannot do anymore. Because she deserves that and SO much more. Heaven help anyone who hurts her. Her two current friends have seen my wrath at protecting my child. She can be 2, 20 or 40, I will always have her back. 

THAT IS WHAT MOTHERS ARE SUPPOSED TO DO! 

Abuse victims and chronically ill are forgotten. But not by me. I see you.

Itty-bitty-teeny-tiny

When my mom still lived in the lake house I grew up in, I took my daughter to swim all summer. When my daughter was 4 months old, my mom’s neighbor got a Boston Terrier. They named her Itty Bitty Teeny Tiny One. She was the runt of the liter. Itty Bitty had two homes, her own, and my mother’s house. She was welcome at mom’s house any time she wanted. My daughter and I would drive up to the house and Itty Bitty would run and greet us like we were her family too. She would come in the house with us and lounge on the couch. My mom never cared if Itty had been swimming or was sandy from the lake, Itty just came right on in. When my daughter turned 7 we got a puppy named Molly. Itty was Molly’s only friend EVER. When my brother bought my mom’s house we stopped being able to bring Molly out to play with Itty. We got another dog Jessy to be Molly’s companion but I have to say she never loved another like she loved Itty. Itty smiled at you, wiggled her entire body with excitement over seeing you, and made you feel like you were the most special person in the world. We continued to go to the lake house that my brother owned until a few years ago. Itty had a LONG and happy life.  Crazy that all those emotions can come from one litte Itty Bitty Teeny Tiny One. I love that so many people have such fond memories of Itty. My mom’s neighbor’s dog. Sometimes you find love in the most unexpected places and make memories from the most unexpected things. Itty was and will always be a great memory.

Stark contrasts.


Watching the Oscars, I immediately wondered about how much those dresses were. I immediately found this picture I posted on the Oscar outfits worn last year. In reading, I learned some of the actors were paid a million dollars just to say whose dress they were wearing. A name is worth a million dollars? A dress is worth 100,000 dollars? I just…can’t.  I flipped the channel to see that Vanderbilt had spent 30 million dollars on a multipurpose facility. 30 MILLION for sports. And I do understand that people do love their sports and athletes love to compete, I was an athlete myself! I understand that we like to watch movies. But is a dress or a name or a sports facility really worth spending THAT much money on? 

I sit here thinking about “Ansley is Fancy” who I follow on Facebook and Instagram. Her parents adopted her knowing that she had multiple disabilities and are struggling financially to get her an accessible van, therapy, etc. I can list too many to count that are hard working people, struggling to get the basic necessities. I personally would love an accessible van. My scooter is hard to lift and unless the person driving me can lift it, then I can’t go. But there are people in far greater need than I am. What could I do with a million dollars…build shelters for abuse victims to  go to.  Help get clean drinking water to others. I look at war torn countries and children starving to death and then I see 30 million dollars for a sports facility. Really?!!! These are the priorities? This is what is important to us? It is not what is important to me.

As an actor I would be ashamed to be so wasteful when so many are in need. I am not at all saying that individuals don’t deserve to be pampered sometimes. I would love it if we could all live in nice homes and have cooks and cleaners and helpers. I know nice clothes are important to many people. But 25,000 dollars for one dress? I couldn’t in good faith buy that dress unless, maybe, perhaps, I donated 25,000 to someone in need. Maybe. Nope, I couldn’t. Who am I trying to kid. I bought my Ann Taylor pants at a consignment shop because I am not going to spend $200 on a pair of pants just because of their name. 

I went to a party. I looked around the room. There were some people wearing jeans. Some wearing dresses. Some wearing suits. Some wearing nice slacks. My husband wore jeans and a nice shirt. I wore a pair of nice pants and a sweater. There was a mix of what people wore but it was a nice balance. There wasn’t a person in shorts and a t-shirt and a person in a tux. Looking at the Oscar dresses and the starving children feels like a t-shirt and a tux. There is no balance. And that is very disheartening to me. I wish there were a balance because the stark contrast makes my heart heavy. I don’t walk around with blinders on. I see the truth everywhere. It is hard to see the truth. But in that truth we can, if we choose, create a balance. There just shouldn’t be a 30 million dollar facility when a school teacher is on food stamps. Worth is evident as i look around, and tragic, and balance I do not see.

Patience.

Two flowers bloomed today. Each one I planted 12 years ago. I dug the hole myself, watered it until it was established. Then I waited. Each spring. I waited for them to bloom. They didn’t. I didn’t give up on them. I didn’t dig them up and plant something else. I just left them, watered them, and waited. For twelve years. Today, they bloomed. I gasped. Outloud, gasped! Twelve years is a long time to wait for something to bloom. 

I have waited 11 years for answers and resolutions to my health. I have waited 3 years for answers and resolutions to my daughter’s health. But I haven’t just sat back and done nothing. You cannot just pray, sit back, do nothing, and expect answers. You have to listen to where you are led, you have to act, you have to seek, you have to do everything you can, and then be patient. I have been patient. I have also sought out doctor’s around the world for my daughter and for me. I have also prayed for guidance. One thing I cannot be labeled is: impatient. I waited twelve years for my plants to bloom. I rejoiced when they did! I will keep waiting for answers for us and hope that our “bloom” will be restored health. I didn’t give up on my plants. I won’t give up on finding answers for my daughter. I keep getting frustrated with my own recovery process from sexual abuse. Thinking: oh my gosh how long is this going to last, keeping taking steps backwards! I think if I can  be patient with a plant for TWELVE YEARS, I can practice that patience on myself as well. Those plants were nourished with manure, sunlight, well water, and me talking to them! I was not so nourished along the way. It may take longer than expected for me. There just is no set time limit on healing and recovery. I just need to keep being patient.

Hanging on.

Before having a muscle disease things were much simpler….let me count the ways! Today, I was very excited to go to a banquet for my husband’s job. BUT my hand had a tremor and my left leg was not cooperating. Fortunately, I have my scooter to take with with us but I really did not have the strength to go to the party AND get ready for the party. In comes my little helper! This we call spoiling the mama! And by a daughter who is fighting her own health battle! Her strength truly helps me hang on.


She takes at least 15 years off with her make up skill!!! And next we have the bronzer and the highlighter. Things I would have no clue how to use or put on my face!


Thanks to my sweet girl I was able to go out tonight! 


I even had a total stranger comment on his love of my socks! 


I have no clue how much longer my body will last. If you look at my atrophied leg you will understand. 

I feel like most days it is hanging on by a thread. I feel a constant stream of mixed emotions of fear and grateful. Fear of what I will lose when my body breaks from this bone deterioration and muscle atrophy. Grateful that in spite of how much it has already broken down, it is still holding me up!