On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Sissy has been out of hospitalizations for more than two years and it is due in large part to the very heavy medications they put her on during her last stay. She's still had her moments and she is very much a difficult person, but the hours of endless rages and the need for a safe room with padded walls have disappeared.  Until recently.

I'm currently emotionally eating.  (Hey, at least I know that's what I'm doing.) I'm mad.  I'm frustrated.  I'm annoyed. I'm fed up.  She'll be 18 in December and tonight?  I'm shaking my head at myself because I should have gone with my gut instinct and called 911 but I didn't.  Why didn't I?  *sigh* 

Because I've been living life as an impostor for the past year.

For about eighteen months now, despite being in the throes of graduate school, I decided to live my life.  I started making attempts at dating, I went out, I made new friends, I broadened my horizons, I did new things, went on new adventures, stayed out late, let the kids be home by themselves, I tried new restaurants, and best of all, I learned to laugh, sing, and be happy again.  

No harm, you say.  All good, therapeutic even.  A wise choice.  

Except I haven't really told people about Sissy.  Or our struggles.  Or about any of it.  I let the past stay in the past.  I pretended it didn't happen any more.  For my new friends, that part of my life never happened at all.  I'm just a happy single mom and science teacher.  Sure, I mentioned that Sissy and AB had challenges, but I never said to what extent.  I pretended.  I ignored.  I let people tell me how awesome WG is and how they wish they had a kid just like her.  I imagined I was like all the other moms out there, trying to enjoy their single 40's. (yeah I know, they're are mostly all married.  shut up.  this is MY story.  lol) 

So there it is.  I've let what happens at home, stay at home and except for one or two new friends that I've felt were safe to be a little more honest, in part because they understood my struggles for similar reasons, I've let it remain a mystery.  Jokes that Sissy is like "Tina" from the TV show Bob's Burgers, bribes to Sissy so she would stay in her room when my friends came over, chuckles about her odd behaviors, shrugging it off, smiling, waving it away, dismissing it, and dare I say, running away from my home reality for little snippets of time, have all been... blissful, addicting, a balm to a weary soul, enticing, and simply too delightful to pass up.  For those moments when I'm away with my single friends, I get to pretend I'm normal too.

There is the minor stings from time to time, when men prefer not to date me because of the kids, or when I can't join the fun because I have responsibilities they don't have.  Or when I WANT to be open and honest about my personal realities but feel like I can't because it won't be understood or worse, for fear that I will be deemed no longer worthy of the new found friend status.  Some people have said that Sissy intimidates them.  Others have said that my strength to do what I do every day intimidates them.  The undercurrent of truth about my life, my "running away," my intentional role as an impostor, is strong.  It catches up with me when I go home and the kids are there and I'm reminded time and again - oh yeah.  That's right.  I'm a single mom in her 40s raising these kids on her own and damnit, it is impossibly hard, lonely, and I HATE IT!

I cry myself to sleep and I cry myself awake.  I don't let people know that though because life is actually so much better, especially since grad school is over.  The loneliness is like a plague that consumes me.  The burden is weight that is crushing me.  So what do I do?  I lie on facebook too.  Everyone is loving my new positive outlook and my cheery posts.  They are a ruse.  I'm trying to cheer myself, I'm reaching for what isn't present in my soul.  I'm being intentional about positivism because what the hell else am I going to do?  I'm already lying to all my new friends about the truth of who I am and what my life is like, I might as well continue the charade on facebook.

Going out fills me up. It makes me feel better.  Sometimes I don't want to go home.  Sometimes I find reasons to stay out longer.  Sometimes I intentionally have a second drink so I have to sit at the bar longer to sober up before I can drive.  Sometimes I sing and I don't want to stop because I get lost in the music and nothing else exists but the song and the microphone.  True, it's nice to get the compliments afterward, but the real joy for me is in the moment when it's me and the lyrics and melody and my soul.  I enjoy spending time with men but I can't seem to get them to do more than one date.  Seems I'm excellent friend material.  Sure, they like to tell me I'm beautiful and lots tell me they like my big tits.  *roll eyes* but I'm never more than that unless they are hoping to get some, then I'm exactly what they want in that moment.  Sometimes even that is enticing.

But then everyone goes out with their special someones and they post pictures of couple selfies and facebook status updates and anniversaries and happy family outings and I go home to Sissy. And pacing AB who talks at you never with you.  And poor WG who is trying very hard to stay positive because I am trying to do the same and all the while it is a facade because I'm living life as an impostor.  I want what everyone else wants or has.  When I pretend that I do, it feels so nice for a little while.

Sissy is still Sissy.  She had a huge tantrum this evening complete with head banging and screaming for 45 minutes.  WG didn't say, but I bet she raised her fist to strike.  WG hid in my room behind a locked door and AB went to his room until I got home and Sissy was walking about when I got there acting like everyone else was in the wrong and I laid into her.  Walked through the door and went off like a cannon.  Didn't physically hit her but I hit her hard with words of truth about her actions, her choices and where they were going to land her happy little ass because yes I WILL call 911 and demand they take her if she pulls this stunt again.  And she will. She's been doing this shit all along while I've been gaily pretending I'm living someone else's life. While I've hoped and dreamed that there would be a man strong enough to love me despite the truth of my family.  And oh, the hurt that these aren't even MY kids, except they are, but yeah, I'm quick to let people know I didn't birth this. And that is real shitty too, isn't it?

So there it is.  Truth.  I've been playing everyone, especially myself.  It's not happy.  It's not pretty.  It sucks, I hate it, I'm lonely, and Sissy can hurry up and turn 18 so she can be gone and I can be free finally.  I hope we can still be friends because I really like the amazing new people in my life but there it is.  I'm not so amazing.  I'm floundering, struggling, shrinking, trying, grasping at straws, barely staying afloat, hating, hurting, all of the above and more. I'm an impostor.