A World of Chaos

The last month of my life has been one big up and down, one after another. It started with a documentary that I am participating in. I began the month preparing for this woman who was coming in all the way from New York to my tiny little corner of the desert to film my life. She wanted to film me interacting with people and doing normal things in Las Cruces, New Mexico. “No one lives in a vacuum,” she reasoned. While I agree with her I actually do live in one because I don’t go out and do anything. I like staying at home writing. So, I prepared for this woman to come and show her all the things I would do if only I were the type to leave the house.

Not two days before this woman is supposed to show up on my doorstep my roommate and I get a letter stating that we had to be out in three days. Apparently giving your roommate $800 for rent doesn’t necessarily mean that they will actually pay the rent. I now have to deal with the fact that I am packing for more than just a week up north. I have to also go through my stuff and downsize so that I can travel with everything I own because I have nowhere else to live. One might ask where my brothers were for this situation. My eldest brother was giving me the only option of going to the homeless shelter where I would not be allowed to take my medical cannabis despite the fact that I have a prescription for it because it is still a level one narcotic. My younger brother was trying to allow me to sleep on his couch but was having trouble convincing his wife. My roommate moved back in with his own parents leaving me with nowhere to go and a lady at my door with a camera ready to film my life.

I spent that weekend in the hotel with the lady and her assistant. I took them around to the places I used to haunt. I even showed off the few little gems that could be found in this corner of the desert. They know the place where I find the most peace. They’ve seen the view I love the most. They took me back to the place where my nightmares dwell. Overall it was a very emotional weekend. I didn’t allow myself to settle onto anyone moment and just kept moving forward through everything.

Monday comes around and I am heading on a plane to go and see my daughters. L had purchased tickets for me to come out and see our daughters at the beginning of summer and I couldn’t back out at the last minute just because my life had suddenly burst into chaos. The lady doing the documentary on the adoption of our daughters and the family that sprung out of that decision flew with me giving me support for that initial flight out to Pennsylvania. I traveled with my entire wardrobe, my books and furniture had been placed in storage by the roommate that had screwed me over. I honestly didn’t want to return to the town where I had nowhere to live. I still had to face L and tell her the truth about what was going on in my life.

The first thing L asks is, “What can I do to help? What is it that you need?” Honestly, that threw me back a little bit because all I got from anyone was, “What are you going to do now?” It was weird for me to be asked what they could do to help. I didn’t know what to tell her and had to think for a little bit on how she could help. Together we went over job options and living options that I had. In the end, no matter what I tried to do otherwise, it was decided that at the end of the trip I would return to my little desert town and start the job that I had waiting for me.

Knowing the next step of where I was going to live allowed me to enjoy my time with our daughters. I saw for myself the spoiled lives the twins now live with their little sister. They have wanted for nothing since L and N adopted them. As a family, we went out to a restaurant where L and N showed me northern Indian cuisine. I met aunts, uncles, cousins, and even L’s own mother. The twins were in high spirits talking with their cousins and hugging everyone. While N was at work everyone went to the zoo where we fed giraffes. I’ve walked the neighborhood with L at night where we shared hopes, fears, and writing ideas. I’ve seen the school where our twins attend classes. The youngest child constantly got my attention and daughters were tickled excessively. It was a very loving and relaxing time in my moment of chaos.

I leave Pennsylvania with a writing project that L and I will both be working on and a loan to help me find a place to live. There is a place for me to stay now. I also passed the interview for my prospective job and started training within the first week of returning home. My Month was utter chaos and I am still reeling from the effects. Everything is working out now but there was a moment when I wasn’t sure it would’ve. All because I got help from an unexpected source.

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Perspective

“When you’re nothing a’tall you can’t be afraid of anything.”

– Samwell Tarly

Game of Thrones

Season 4 Episode 9 – 20:54

 

I have finally caved to an insistent friend who keeps swearing up and down that I would like Game of Thrones. I have started the series at the beginning of the week and am muddling through doing my best to watch this show from their perspective. The show has it’s good points and I do find it humorous on the overall. The interactions of each of the Five Kings fighting for a chair made of swords seems more about a popularity contest than a true fight for power. And unbeknownst to them the last of the Targaryens is winning that battle across the sea because she found someone to fight for. I even admire Tyrion who does his best for his family despite all of them being shits. And yet despite all of this intrigue I am captivated by the words of a fat bastard stationed at The Wall. “When you’re nothing a’tall you can’t be afraid of anything,” Samwell Tarly, GOT (2014).

 

This quote hit me hard because I thought it was a state of mind martial arts instructors try to drill into their students. A state of non being in which there is no fear only movement. Students would drill for hours so that everything became a fluid movement and they didn’t have to think about that at all. I realized that this wasn’t a state of non being because you are supposed to be present in the moment. You just can’t be thinking about your moves before you make them because then you’d lose the fight. So I was initially wrong about my assessment of non being and non thinking.

 

It took me a while to realize that the part I agreed with was being nothing at all. It was how I got through my childhood. You see I was raised in the projects of El Paso, Texas among a bunch of people who didn’t speak the same language as me most of the time. I stood out like a sore thumb with my blonde hair and white skin in my neighborhood. So naturally I was bullied for being different. Luckily my father taught me to read before I even started school so when the bullying started I found an escape in books. I read everything that I could get my hands on and I didn’t have to deal with anyone around me. Eventually I started to become whatever book I read giving me an inconsistent personality and making me even weirder to my peers feeding into the bullying in it’s own way. Hearing Sam say those words at that moment on the wall I realized that there was more than one way to be ‘nothing a’tall’. I became nothing in my books so that I wasn’t afraid of the people around me.

 

I have long since changed the habit of hiding in books by expressing myself in writing. It was in starting this blog at the suggestion of another friend of mine that I found a voice of my own so that I could be me. Samwell Tarly is right that there is no reason to be afraid if you are nothing but that isn’t living either. Watching Game of Thrones has been tedious for me but it has shown me that the world isn’t exactly how I’ve always viewed either.

 

“The Watchers On The Wall”, Game of Thrones, HBO, 06/08/2014; S4, Ep9, 20:54

Growing Up (short story)

Of course, it would happen this way! Lydia dropped her book bag onto the floor as her arms went numb; it was all she could do not to sink to the floor herself. Sandra lay in bed staring at nothing, foam crusted at the corner of her mouth. There was a grey tinge to the skin that couldn’t be mistaken for anything but the color of death. Shakily she crossed the room to close the curtains effectively covering the room in darkness. It couldn’t hide the stench of burnt plastic or the acrid smell of decay. Lydia snatched up her bag and quickly left the room closing the door behind her.

In her own room she turned on the record player so Ozzy could fill the empty spaces. The image of Sandra’s corpse stayed with her clogging up her mind so she could think of nothing else. Desperately she reached for The Prince on the shelf above her desk. She took it over to her bed where she carefully lifted the cover. Nestled inside the cutout pages was a joint and a lighter. At this moment she was grateful for Leo’s insistence to preroll all of her weed ahead of time. Her hands were shaking so much she knew she wouldn’t have been able to accomplish that process. She sparked the joint and breathed in deep pulling smoke all the way into the bottom of her lungs.

How could Sandra have done this to her? Sure their’s wasn’t a relationship based on love like most mothers and daughters. It was more of a mutual hatred. Lydia needed a roof over her head and someone to pay the bills. Sandra seemed to like to have someone around to yell at when the drugs finally left her system. Not that Lydia was home when Sandra became sober. It still rankled that Sandra would just overdose like, that leaving Lydia to deal with everything on her own. She should’ve just filled out the emancipation forms a long time ago and rid herself of the burden of having to care for her mother. Now she was stuck with a dead body and the possibility of ending up in the system. Which is what Lydia was trying to avoid by staying with Sandra.

The doorbell rang startling Lydia out of her daze. She quickly snuffed out the joint cursing the entire time. Positive that one of Sandra’s “friends” was at the door looking for a good time, she yanked the door open with a sneer. Unless the guy was into necrophilia, that was unlikely happen tonight. Still she had to deal with this problem before whoever it was decided to get belligerent. She didn’t need the neighbors calling the cops till she figured out what to do about Sandra. “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?” she demanded.

“Just, you.” was the smirked response from a crowded shadow, where a lit cigarette took a drag, and a man slumped against the wall one ebony shoulder exposed from his bright purple top. A bulging backpack lay against his legs like a drunken toddler. “What’s wrong Baby Girl?” He asked tenderly reaching for her face.

Lydia forced on a watery smile, “What makes you think anything is wrong?” She turned her back on her friend and walked away from the door forcing back the frustration of the last few moments.

“Because I know you to damn well, Sweetheart.” Leo closed the door behind him and placed his backpack onto the oriental coffee table Sandra got at a garage sale. It settled there with a clink of glass as Leo turned his focus to his friend who seemed to be trying to hold herself together by wrapping her arms around her stomach. “That and you opened the door yelling at me. Now tell me what is wrong.”

Lydia leaned back against the wall still hugging herself.  She looked away from Leo not wanting to see his reaction as she said, “Sandra is dead. She overdosed in her bedroom.”

“Is that all?” Leo asked smirking. His friend should’ve been relieved to be rid of the burden that was her mother. Something wasn’t adding up. Lydia wanted to wipe the smug look off his dumb face.

“She’s still in her room,” Lydia confessed in a whisper, “I don’t know what to do.”  The enormity of the next few moments began to weigh on her and she sank to the ground rubbing her arms. Leo walked passed her and the family photos Sandra took when they were still happy. While they covered the walls they only showed Lydia when she was baby til she was five. When the pictures stopped is when Sandra lost the battle against the meth that took her.

Eventually, Leo made his way back into the living room where Lydia stayed huddled against the wall. He sank down next to her and placed a hand on her head. “Well, we are going to have to do something,” he began gently. “We can’t let her rot in there.”

“I know,” Lydia sniffed. She rubbed her nose against her arm, refusing to raise her head.

“We should call the cops,” Leo’s tone remained gentle as he began to stroke her hair.

“No!” Lydia jerked away horrified. “We can’t do that! They’ll find a way to blame me and put me in Juvie or worse foster care!”

“Foster Care isn’t that bad,” Leo tried to reason, getting an arm around her shoulders.

“Can you guarantee that?” Lydia demanded, pushing his arm off.

Leo wanted to say yes but he knew better. He knew that sometimes you ended up in a bad house where the ‘parents’ there were just gathering kids to collect paychecks from the government. In those home the kids were always neglected and left to their own devices. Leo found himself the butt of every joke other boys would play on him for being different. Sometimes he was even bullied by the adults themselves. Not everyone was like the Hendersons who Leo currently lived with. He couldn’t be sure that Lydia wouldn’t end up in a bad home.

Leo sighed, “Well, we can’t just sit here and mope.” He got up and held out his hand. “We have to do something about Sandra.”

“We aren’t calling the cops,” Lydia insisted as she used Leo to haul herself up.

“Let’s think about this rationally,” Leo huffed. “Your Mom has overdosed in her own bedroom. If you don’t do anything she will rot and the neighbors will call the cops.”

Lydia considered what Leo said. He had a point. It wouldn’t be long before the smell got too much and the neighbors noticed. Her and Sandra had lived in peace on their quiet street because the neighbors didn’t pay attention to what went on in the house. She had to do something and quickly if she wanted to live unnoticed like she had for the first sixteen years of her life. “What if Sandra just disappeared?” She wondered aloud.

“You can’t just make someone disappear,” Leo pointed out logically.

“Sure you can,” Lydia declared optimistically. “We just need to pick up a few things. Wanna do some shopping?” Leo shrugged. He didn’t know what Lydia had in mind but he knew better than to leave her by herself. Lydia went over to the decorative vase Sandra threw the car keys thinking that she was hiding them from her daughter. That didn’t stop Lydia from taking the car when Sandra was knocked out so that she could buy food to eat.

It was a quick trip to the office supply store to pick up goods. Leo quietly worked with her when they got home to prepare.  With a curse Lydia began to quickly seal up the windows closest to Sandra’s bathroom to keep the smell in the room. They left her there for a while as they gathered a few of her belongings and threw them into a duffle. Lydia placed the duffle into the trunk of the car so she could deal with it later.

Sitting in the living room, Leo opened his backpack and pulled out a couple bottles of liquor, a bag of weed, and a pink and blue silicone bong. “I’d figured you could use a little pick me up. I just didn’t know how much.”

“Oooh, you brought Willie Nelson” Lydia cooed. “You are the best Leo.” She went to the kitchen and brought back a couple of shot glasses and two cans of pop to use as chasers while Leo packed the bong. They took large rips off of the bong in between shots letting the last couple of hours disappear from their minds.

“What are you going to do next?” Leo asked from the floor. A few minutes ago he took a bong rip that didn’t settle well and caused him to cough himself off of the couch. Instead of getting back up he figured it would be best to slide on the floor for the time being. Lydia took advantage of the empty couch and had laid down herself.

She rolled over on her side to look at her friend. “What do you mean?”

“Well, Sandra is slowly becoming necrotic, leaving you without a parental figure.” he cleared his throat. “Eventually someone is going to notice.”

Lydia carefully considered what he said. He only stated what she had been thinking for the past hour but she still didn’t want to rush to a decision. “I guess I am going to have to file for emancipation,” she began slowly. “I can do it when I file a missing person’s report in 48 hours.” She sighed heavily and rolled onto her back to stare at the ceiling. She realized that it was time she started taking care of herself instead of taking the easy way out. “I guess we all have to grow up sometime.”

The compatriots pulled the emancipation papers out of Lydia’s room and spread them across the floor, weighing out the gravity of their forgery. Lydia had perfected Sandra’s signature in kindergarten, she had already been so tired of waiting for a lucid moment from her would be mother. The seals and stamps were a piece of gold tin carefully matched to the logos needed and glued and hit with a hairdryer.  The dates they left for last, and set the dates to Lydia’s last birthday.

Confused, Lydia asked why. That was like 8 months ago.

“The cops will find it in the room after a more thorough inspection. We did not file it. She did. It’ll solve what happens to you net.” She watched as he slipped into the room to leave the papers, and she called the police, to report her mother’s death. As she hung up, they walked out front to light a cigarette and wait for the inevitable flood of red and blue lights screaming into the neighborhood.

The New Place

I finally got up the nerve to have a conversation with my little brother about finances and where I am going to go. We hashed out what he wanted from me which was more financial help. All he wanted was for any extra money I got to go towards living expenses keeping me from buying extra things in my life that would make it less boring. Basically I wasn’t able to buy video games or books because he wanted more money in rent and utilities. I was getting frustrated because he was always coming home with a new video game or a new tattoo. We couldn’t come to an agreement as to why this was unfair to me. Considering the fact that I didn’t get that much money to begin with so daily living was hard enough.

So I left over the weekend to a place that is more with in my price range. Granted I am still living with people but I only have to pay for the room, utilities included, and purchase my own food. Which is completely fine with me. I still have my own space and I get along with the people I am living with now. Today is going to be an adventure buying the medication that I use and getting a new tattoo. I finally feel like I have a freedom to be me that isn’t tied down by ideals that my family has. I hope that this means blogging more and finding more adventures to go on. There really is hope for my future.

Making Changes

I haven’t been writing much anymore. I haven’t really been doing much of anything actually. I still do my school work and turn it in relatively on time. I have had a few new experiences in this new year but I am still stagnating in my room not even writing anymore. It has been this way since my little brother got married in December. To clarify I live with my little brother in a two bedroom apartment in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His new wife moved in with us from a three bedroom house where she lived with her grandparents. I can honestly say the transition has not been easy for her. There was a lot of crying in the first week from her because the change was so drastic. Eventually everything leveled out and we started living a somewhat normal life with dinners at 4-5 pm.

Living with my little brother before his wife moved in wasn’t bad. It was me mostly keeping to myself and working on my writing. We never really had any issues with the way the house was kept. Each of us doing out own cleaning on our own time. We weren’t messy, nothing ever piled up past two days. We just put cleaning off for our respective jobs, his was working in a factory, mine was going to school and writing. I took care of the dogs since my little brother worked. I was allowed to buy myself extra things each month like books and video games. Life was pretty simple then. My little brother gets married and everything changes.

First of all I stopped taking care of the dogs because I was being yelled at that the dogs weren’t mine. The whole neighborhood called them my dogs while I was taking care of them. I never did but I think my brother developed a complex about it. I got yelled at, by my brother, for not doing anything around the house. According to him his wife cleans up after me and that wasn’t cool. I would agree that she was doing my dishes because she took over cleaning the kitchen. I disagree that she was cleaning up after me. I clean my own bathroom and I live in my bedroom, which is also clean. They are responsible for the areas of the apartment they live in. At least that is how it should be. I started to do my own dishes so that they couldn’t complain about it. I’m still considered messy even though I don’t spend anytime in the common areas of the apartment. There is also the fact that my room smells like weed because I am perscribed marijuana for my PTSD and anxiety disorders. The new wife is against weed even if it is perscribed legally.

The next thing I am getting in trouble for is how much money I contribute each month. For full disclosure my two bedroom apartment costs $685 a month, electric costs roughly $100. We don’t have to pay for water which is nice. Since I go to school we do have a $60 internet bill that I need to help with and a $50 cell phone bill shared by my brother. That makes is $895 a month for expenses. I get $975 every two months through student loans and General Assistance while I wait for SSI to kick in. My brother makes $1,200 a month working at the factory he works at. My student loans have to go for books so I am only able to contribute $440 when I get those every two months and give them all of my $240 that I get from the government every month. That’s $295 that I get to use for hygiene, school books, clothes, and my medicine every two months. My brother and his wife want to take that money away from me. They want more money out of me each month because they have car payments and loans they have to pay back so they don’t have enough to cover the everyday bills. Part of the argument my brother makes is that they pay %90 of the bills and I should be contributing more to the household expensises.

Luckily I am social enough to have a small group of diverse friends. These friends don’t really hang out with each other even though we all live in the same apartment. I have stoner friends, drinking friends, and southern friends. The point I am making is even though my friends are very different from each other they all agree on the same thing. I need to move out. To be clear they know exactly what is going on because they are my brother’s friends too. He used to hang out with them then he got married and hasn’t hung out with anybody except for when his wife spends the night somewhere esle, probably with her grandparents. My brother told them his side of the expensises and what he has to pay for (it is the only reason why I know how much he makes). My friends and I calculated it out and they told me that it is unfairly skwed in their favor, my brother and his wife I mean. All of my friends agree that I need to find some place better to live that is affordable. Every single one of them has also offered me a better choice than living with my brother. Two of my friends have offered me their couch while one friend has a whole bedroom that I can take over, so I have places to go. I just haven’t left yet. I am not looking forward to the argument I am going to have with my brother as to why I need to leave.

What I do know is that I need to make changes in my life. I can’t keep living the same life where I stay in my room all day typing on a computer because I’m afraid to leave my room. I can’t afford my medicine, I can barely afford the hygiene products I get every month. I have places to go. I need to make up my mind and go.

A Look In

I opened an email from L that only held a brief message and several attachments. I click on the link and watched pictures load on my computer screen. Two blonde little girls followed a cow down narrow street ways of India their darker skinned cousins with them. Another of the same two girls reading a book with their darker skinned little sister. A family photo loads this time and I see the two little girls smiling brightly, two beautiful white lilies among carnations.

Each photo is a tiny window into the lives of the daughters I cherish. Seven years ago I decided to give them a better life and found a lovely couple who would cherish them as much as I do. It was a difficult decision to give up my twin daughters but I wasn’t in a position to raise them properly. So I went on a search to find the two people in this world who will love the little lights of my life.

I found L and N through an adoption agency and they were perfect. I didn’t care that they were from a different country than me or that they practiced Hindi. It didn’t matter that they lived halfway across the country. What I cared about the most was how much they loved my daughters. In the first interview I had with them they showed more love and interest in my daughters than any other couple before them. They were exactly what I wanted.

They came down to New Mexico on several connecting flights just so that they could carry our daughters home. My heart broke to see my little girls carried away by two people I barely knew. I had to let them go though because life with me wasn’t stable or healthy by any means. Such precious little children needed to be loved and adored. They should never have to see the harsher side of life. By giving them up I gave them a better life.

It wasn’t until after my daughters were safely in the care of their new parents that I started to worry about the little things. Where will they go to school? Will they make any friends? How will they adjust to the new situation? Will they understand why their skin color is different from their parents?  Would they hate me for giving them up? Over and over these questions circled around in my mind. I told myself that I was worrying over nothing but felt it was best to reach out anyway.

As it turns out L was worried about the same things. We bonded first over how we felt that our daughters should be raised. We both believed in a well rounded education. We both believed that our daughters should be encouraged to pursue whatever made them happiest. We both loved watching our daughters explore the world around them. So L and I kept in touch. She would tell me what the girls were up to and would, try, to update her on what I was doing. I had a hard time relating how my life was going because I felt that I didn’t deserve any of the good stuff that was happening to me because I couldn’t raise my daughters. L seemed to understand what I was going through and encouraged me to open up even a little bit. She kept sending updates and pictures even though I never really wrote back. I will always be grateful to her for this look in on their perfect lives.  

Bah Humbug

Much like the crotchety old Mr. Scrooge I curse this holiday. And there aren’t three ghosts to save me. Christmas has been hard for me since 1999 when Grandma Provines died on December 20th. That Christmas was the best Christmas we ever had. The presents were amazing and the dinner was perfect. And yes, everyone was sad despite the awesomeness that surrounded them. I say that this was the best because every Chrstmas after that always seemed half done. The tree was put up last minute instead of at Thanksgiving. Christmas dinner always had something missing. Nobody was sure what but something wasn’t there. I don’t even want to go into the presents situation. Then I my Mom and Christmas became unbearable.

I had a great plan to fall in love with Christmas again. I came up with it the first Christmas I had with my daughters. We would watch the Christmas movies I watched with my Mom. The tree would be put up on Thanksgiving and sing Christmas music while we decorated the house. My daughters were going to know what a good Christmas was.  Except I never got another Christmas with them. I couldn’t be a single Mom of twins and give them a good life. So I gave them to parents who will love them as much as I do. So Christmas pretty much sucks for me now, filled with bad memories and unfufilled dreams as it is.