Another Storm’s On Its Way

I awoke to loud music again this afternoon, as has become the custom for the last 2 weeks solid. It’s like an alarm clock every-single-day. It’s like my mattress acts as some sort of amplifier to the “boom-boom” sound of the base. Maybe, it’s the springs in the box springs that causes the reverberation; I don’t know; but this is like psychological torture for me! I ran across an article last week on Mashable, titled “5 Autism Simulations to Help You Experience Sensory Overload” that does an excellent job at showing what “sensory overload” looks like to someone who experiences it. Nothing can show exactly what this is like. The videos are a good start, though. I’m not autistic. Otherwise, I would have been diagnosed as a child, right? Granted, both my kindergarten and first grade teachers tried to hold me back a year because they felt I wasn’t “emotionally” ready to move on; but that’s another story for another day. I have, however, experienced sensory overload my entire life. It was the main reason why I cried so frequently as a child because the world, to me, was an overwhelming place. Not reacting to every little thing, as perceived by others, takes every ounce of control I possess. It’s exhausting.

In times of stress, this sensory overload is much, much worse. The remainder of last week and into the weekend was frustrating and infuriating after the incident with my car. Even though the child’s father said he would pay for the repairs, he has not. Honestly, given the irresponsible nature of my neighbors, I would have been more surprised had he actually done so. However, the problem still remains, how do we pay to repair this windshield so that my car is drive-able again? From what we can tell, we have 3 options:

  1. This first option will happen, but it’s really not an option for getting the car repaired now. We’re going to have to take the children’s parents to court and file a civil lawsuit to get restitution. However, that will take a long time. The sheriff’s department told us it would take at least 3 years! There’s also the cost of an attorney and court fees, which will probably be added to the amount they owe us should we win the case. There was no doubt in the deputies’ minds that we would win, considering the children confessed and given their history; but considering none of these people work, I’m not so sure that either me or the court will receive a penny from them. I hate to waste the court’s time on this because $400 might not sound like a lot of money to some people, but $400 is the difference between having a place to live and NOT having a place to live for us. And the second option could cost us that.
  2. The second option is to use our rent money to pay for the repairs since that is exactly how much we need. Considering our landlord has told us on multiple occasions that this child’s mother is not supposed to be living next door, this is as much his problem as it is the entire neighborhood’s. Maybe, withholding rent would finally make him do something about it. I doubt it, but one can hope. Granted, the other neighbors are all rallying to have both of these trailers condemned, as they should be. There’s no doubt in my mind that should these trailers be inspected that they would, indeed, be condemned (unless our landlord paid off the inspector, as I’m sure he’s done in the past since there are more code violations here than anywhere I’ve ever seen in my life). Even though we’ve made multiple complaints with our mutual landlord about the problems here, I’m still not so sure that this option is even an option. I need to speak with an attorney.
  3. Finally, the third and most likely option is to take out a small loan in order to pay for the repairs. I really hate to do this because I find the idea of credit abhorring; and it will end up costing us a lot more than $400 in the long run, not to mention a $100 payment for the next 4 months is really going to hurt. That’s money we could be saving to move, and I just want to get the hell out of here! Given this financial set-back, I doubt it will be anytime soon.

Can anyone think of any other options? That’s all I’ve got. We had thunderstorms and rain showers ALL day yesterday. We’re expecting more today, through tomorrow. I fear my car will be completely ruined. It’s covered in a tarp, but that’s no guarantee in keeping out the rain or the damage excessive rain might cause. I need my car. We live in a rural community. There aren’t a whole lot of options for getting around, not like larger cities. When these children busted out my windshield, they didn’t just damage my car. They stole my freedom, my ability to escape the hell that has become my home-life as a result of these neighbors. Hell, even the arguments KR and I experienced at the first of the year were a result of the extreme stress we’ve been under. Now, I’m worried that even if when I do repair my car, what will they do next?

The neighbor who had his windshield shot with a BB by this same child who shattered mine came over to talk at the end of last week. Somehow or another, the two “muddin'” tires, as KR called them, made their way over into the neighbor’s yard. KR was saving them, tucked safely under a tarp by our porch in case he needed them for his truck. They’ve been there for months, even after the two others were stolen. How they got all the way over there, I’m sure I’ll never know. The neighbor was returning them to us when I just happened to walk out to take out some trash. He told me that the sheriff was out here that day, too – again, next door. I hadn’t even noticed because I was so depressed that day that I barely moved from my computer chair (staring blankly at nothing on my computer screen as I attempted to process the overwhelming anxiety I’ve been feeling between waves of tears – this has been the case since last Tuesday). Neither of us knew why the two sheriff’s vehicles were there, and both of us agreed that we couldn’t care less. He asked me for our landlord’s phone number, which I gave to him because I truly feel they (he and his wife) have the right as home-owners to voice their multitude of complaints. Heck, at this point, ALL the neighbors do.

I stay inside my home. I’m rarely outside here. I keep to myself. I want to be left alone. I would love some privacy. All of these things are true for both KR and myself. We would love to be able to enjoy our yard, but we realized pretty early on that this just is not an option here. The insanity of our “living situation” has me feeling completely hopeless, in a desperate state of despair. I’m catastrophizing. When I catastrophize, my thoughts always end up obsessing over death and ruminating on thoughts of suicide. I’ve felt hopelessness and despair so many times throughout my life, to the point of feeling suicidal, which is how I know this. My obsessive thoughts about suicide and death never completely go away. I, and I alone, have to deal with these thoughts in my own way, hoping that I never give in; but the fact that I understand why people do – that terrifies me most. I had to learn to analyze myself because this is how I process emotions. This past week was truly a test of my will to live. Thankfully, whatever part of my mind shuts me down in times of distress, still does its job because this past week overwhelmed me. No distraction helped. I tried my best to understand “why” this week was so much more difficult. I’ve been putting up with the neighbor’s crap for right at 3 years, now.

Tell me the body doesn’t remember, even if the mind can’t.

I dare you.

At around 1:30 am on April 27th, I broke down. I cried and cried. It wasn’t until KR came into the living room asking what was wrong… as I sat staring out the opened living room window… staring out into the darkness… tears streaming down my face… the thought occurred to me…. “What’s today’s date?” I got up and checked my computer.

April 27th. [The child I gave up for adoption]’s birthday. At 2:04 am, he would be 15 years old.

Oh, god, the pain of that realization. Every doubt, every painful memory from that time-period of my life. All the second-guessing of leaving my first son with my ex-husband…. The torture of not knowing who the father of my second child was – a rapist or a man who cared nothing for me, except as the conquest of a naive white woman. Everything hit me like a ton of bricks. Writing this out, I can’t hold back the tears. The pain, the sorrow, the pure self-loathing that comes with knowing that I left behind not just one child, but two…. Knowing that neither of these children will ever know the anguish I felt in my decisions. Knowing that no other person could ever understand this pain, this sorrow.

My own bizarre thoughts as a very young child, “I must have been adopted. This isn’t my ‘real’ family. I should run away and find my ‘real’ family. They don’t love me. I’m not worthy of being loved.” And the same questions that accompany these thoughts, “Where did that come from? Why would I possibly think that?”

Pure RAGE.

An indeterminate amount of time passes…. Was I was an unfit mother?

I felt like I was an unfit mother. I felt that I couldn’t give my children the love and attention they deserved. Isn’t that the very definition of an “unfit mother?” I was not emotionally prepared to deal with life, let alone children of my own. I made the “correct” decision, right? The best decision for my children? Will they forgive me?

And, yeah, thisTHIS is what my neighbors trigger for me. Particularly, seeing the maltreatment and neglect of children, triggers this for me. It takes a neglected child to see, to understand, what a neglected child is going through and feeling. Or maybe, I’m just completely fucked up and don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. I don’t know. But this is what I’m dealing with right now, what I couldn’t get out yesterday. I’ve actually been writing on this one for 3 days; so I apologize for the length.

It’s thundering again. A storm’s on its way. God, I’ll be glad when this life is over.

When Words Aren’t Enough

MAD

 

I couldn’t get out what’s on my mind through words. This isn’t my usual style, but I had to do something to get it OUT of my head…. I have no words to express this last week.

Update: See Another Storm’s On Its Way for somewhat of an explanation of this post.

Shattered

Shattered

 

KR is going to be furious when he gets home from work tonight and sees this. Well, he won’t see this. He’ll see a blue tarp draped over my car in case it rains and know something’s amiss. But I guarantee you, he won’t be nearly as furious as I was when the neighbor came over and knocked on my door, asking “What year and model is your car?”

I rambled off the year, make, and model before thinking to ask, “Wait, what? Why?!”

“Oh, the kids busted your back windshield.” He said calmly, as if it was nothing.

“OH MY GOD!!! Are you fucking kidding me?!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. Yes, I tend to swear worse than a drunken sailor when I’m angry. It’s like I have Tourette syndrome or something. I was beyond livid and didn’t even wait for them to explain. I simply yelled, “I’m calling the cops!” I couldn’t see straight and waited inside for the sheriff’s department to show up.

Thankfully, by the time they got here, I was calm enough to give a proper statement and listen to reason. I didn’t see it happen. I was inside working on a blog post for my other blog, which is sidetracked yet again. I heard a commotion outside and the usual yelling and swearing at the kids that I’ve heard so often come from over there; but I was trying to concentrate on what I was doing and ignore it. I had no idea what it was about until the neighbor came knocking on my door a little while later.

The deputies I spoke with were kind and understanding. From what they gathered, the children were playing basketball and one made another mad which resulted in throwing rocks that bounced off the fence and hit my car. That’s an awfully big hole to have been made by driveway gravel, not to mention there were NO rocks inside my car. Well, none where there should have been. The deputy noticed some small gravel on the passenger side up front. KR’s work boots that he so often wears tracked those into my car, but I made a note of them days ago when I saw them and realized I needed to vacuum out my car again. I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I’m as obsessive over my car being clean as I am about my house being clean.

Anyway, a police report will be filed on my behalf this time. I expressed my concerns to these deputies that I truly think these kids are completely out of control given so many recent complaints. I vented to them about the struggles we’ve been having in this neighborhood due to this particular family; and they stated that they were well aware of the issues. They asked me if it would be okay to have the children in question come over to properly apologize, attempting an exercise in discipline that the parents have failed to teach. I was all for it, telling them that I thought it was good idea to try this approach.

Even though the parents pointed the finger at one particular child prior to the deputies getting there, two different children approached and simply said, “Sorry.”

The deputies said, “You can do better than that.” They made another attempt at an apology, and the boy said he was the one who threw the rocks. I asked him, “Why?”

“She pushed me and I got mad; so I threw rocks at her.” The 8-year-old child said.

I bent down, looked him square in the eye, and gently said, “When you get that angry, you have to use your words, not your behavior.”

With what seemed like heartfelt sadness, he finally said, “I’m sorry. I won’t ever do it again.”

The 11-year-old girl, on the other hand, never indicated any remorse whatsoever. The smirk on her face was a disturbing reminder that this particular child has much deeper issues than what can be fixed by insisting upon a much less than willing apology.

As a result of this “bad behavior,” I doubt the children will suffer any consequences. I, on the other hand, can no longer drive my car until it is repaired. The glass on the back windshield is completely shattered. Even closing the car doors after the deputy and I inspected the inside of the car for rocks was a danger in the whole window falling out. The parents told me that they would pay for the damages. I truly hope this is the case because I don’t have $400 for a new back windshield.

Obsessive, Compulsive, Or Just Stubborn?

Today, I got to thinking about the obsessive nature of my cleaning rituals after KR said to me, “You’re washing the dishes before you wash the dishes? No wonder it takes you so long.” I promptly allowed him to take over dish duty and went to do something else, without saying a word. It’s because of comments like this that I’ve pretty much given up cleaning on weekends or anytime KR is at home. When KR makes comments like these, I feel inadequate, even stupid, for feeling compelled to perform these cleaning rituals in a certain way. This has been a regular occurrence throughout 3 different relationships. In each relationship, my significant other felt the need to criticize my “mad” methods.

Every single day (at least, when KR is not home), I must clean the kitchen in a particular order, wash dishes in a particular order, sweep the floors in a particular direction, clean out the litter boxes in a particular order. Weekly and monthly tasks follow the same compulsory habits that I just can’t seem to break. Doing it any other way feels “wrong.” However, I couldn’t care less how KR does these tasks should he choose to do them. I have no control over how he does them and want no control over how he does them. I get that my methods of distraction are less than efficient, even somewhat irrational at times; but it would be nice to not feel criticized for something that I feel I have no control over.

And before anyone reaches out and makes the invalidating comment, “But you do have control over your behaviors,” let me just say, “NO! You are wrong!

I have never really considered myself obsessive-compulsive to a fault; but that is how I feel when KR or anyone else, for that matter, makes a comment that seemingly attacks something that I can only call self-soothing. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely hate cleaning, with a passion; but it’s mind-numbingly boring tasks like cleaning that help me feel in control of my environment when nothing else feels within my control. And obsessively cleaning is better than obsessively thinking about suicide or other self-harming behaviors that are, quite frankly, frightening. Cleaning is a more productive use of time regardless of how long it takes.

Stress and anxiety certainly increase these thoughts and make the rituals non-negotiable. Should I not be able to perform them exactly the way I intend to, I won’t do them at all (until I am alone, which seems to be the only negotiable aspect since the anxiety of being criticized outweighs the anxiety of not performing the cleaning tasks). Maybe, that just makes me stubborn; but undoubtedly, it feels more like an anxiety issue than a character flaw. And stubbornness is not always a bad thing.

This isn’t even about finding perfection or doing something perfectly (though, I’ll admit to being a perfectionist in many respects). It’s more about finding order out of chaos. And right now, life is feeling a little chaotic due to circumstances beyond my control with the neighbors (by the way, the neighbors have already bought their kids a new BB gun <sigh>).

Thinking about all of this makes me wonder why I have to be the one who is always expected to change her behavior? Why can’t other people just be nice? Show kindness and understanding? Show a little freakin’ compassion and respect?

My thoughts return to my neighbors and their odd behavior. It’s not “right” for me to judge them or to be critical of them, no matter how badly they get on my nerves. In my heart, I truly believe that everyone deserves kindness, understanding, compassion, and respect, regardless of my perception of that person because no one knows the struggles of another. And perhaps, that is where the conflict with my neighbors is coming from. Of course, KR’s negativity in this situation surely isn’t helping matters any. After the ball hit the side of the house for the umpteen-billionth time yesterday, KR went outside and confiscated the ball from the kids. Not sure if he had the right to do that, but none of the adults came over complaining….

Stick a fork in me… I’m done.

Radio Wars

Tonight, I find myself sitting here relishing heavenly silence — well, other than the clock ticking, the occasional passing vehicle, or one of the cats crunching food. My hypersensitivity will be the death of me. Actually, I’ve sat here for the better part of an hour. Doing nothing, just lost in thought, trying to process my day and the strong emotions that had me contemplating going out to buy a bottle of vodka (Yes, I refrained). I awakened much earlier this morning than I would have liked due to neighborhood dogs barking and loud, blaring music coming from outside. Even though I got 7.5 hours of sleep last night, I still woke up feeling tired, cranky, and like I haven’t slept in days. The previous night, I only got 5 hours sleep because I struggled to get to sleep. I awoke after only 5 hours sleep on Sunday, too, due to the disturbance of my neighbor yelling at her kids at the top of her lungs and slamming the door.

For the past two days in a row, I have had to endure loud country music for most of the day, provided by the neighbors. Even my case manager exclaimed, “That would drive me crazy,” when she stopped by yesterday for our appointment. After KR left for work this morning, I used exercise to take out my frustrations, 30 minutes of cardio and about 15 minutes of yoga. That calmed my nerves until the kids got home from school. By late afternoon today, the ball bouncing off the side of the house had my nerves shot with hands shaking. Somehow, after drinking a cup of hot tea and listening to Linkin Park and Metallica to drown out the neighbor nonsense while drawing, I managed to escape into my own mind, leaving everything else behind. Who says you can’t purposefully dissociate? It works. And at this point, I’ll take it. This is probably the reason I enjoy meditation so much. They’re virtually the same thing, except when I can’t control it or stop it from happening. Then… I just feel kind of… lost.

I think I need to get out of the house tomorrow.

NO Trespassing

When I spoke of my neighbors in the post, The End of Silence, a few weeks ago, I had no idea how quickly things on my street would turn to chaos. I am not the only person in our area who is complaining about the privacy issues, bizarre behavior, and downright trashiness of this piece of property. KR and I have long-since realized that we have very little, if no, control over what goes on here due to the lack of responsibility shown by the people with whom we share the property. Last summer, I was told by the sheriff’s department not to clean up their messes, not to interact with them at all. And I don’t, if I can keep from it; but because they are always out in the yard, it’s increasingly difficult to have no interaction with them at all. They also told me that unless our mutual landlord made a complaint, there was very little they could do (in reference to the graffiti).

These last 4 weeks have been trying, at best. Twice already this month alone, the sheriff’s department has been out here to handle complaints made by a kind, older couple who live next door to us. He came over this afternoon prior to KR leaving for work to explain to us what has been going on and that all the new “No Trespassing” signs he has placed around his yard have nothing to do with the two of us, but the aggravation he and his wife are experiencing due to all the children in the neighborhood. Apparently, these kids shot the windshield of one of his vehicles (and, also, his workshop) with a BB gun! Thankfully, the deputy who was here this time confiscated the BB gun and filed a report on behalf of this neighbor. I’m not sure if it was an idle threat or simply a scare tactic, but he also told the children that they could be taken to juvenile detention for such acts.

I have to wonder how many times this threat will be made before it’s actually carried out, if ever. For the last three years, the sheriff’s department has regularly threatened fines to these neighbors over their dogs who are constantly allowed to roam the neighborhood; yet to my knowledge, they’ve never been fined. Believe me. We would hear about it… whether we wanted to or not.

The weekend before last, I heard one of the neighbors in front of us, from the townhouses, yelling at these kids. She was saying something like, “I’ve asked you people time and time again to stay out of this yard!” She yelled at them for a good long while, exasperated and from the sounds of it, completely overwhelmed, much like I was last summer by them. Even the neighbors across the road from us have put up a “No Trespassing” sign at their driveway.

So, it’s not just me!

It amazes me how one family – one household of people – can cause so many problems and added stress for an entire neighborhood. This “family” has NO respect for privacy or property. They refuse to take responsibility for their children, their pets, their behavior, or their messes. For three years I have watched helplessly as things have gotten worse and worse here. For three years I’ve witnessed the countless times the sheriff’s department has been called out here to handle disputes due to this one family. The saddest part is that for three years I have watched as the behavior of these children began to match the behavior of the adults. It’s like some messed up psychological/social experiment gone awry.

Seriously.

It really is.

Anniversary Triggers

Have you ever come across one of those self-help/seemingly-meant-to-be-inspirational articles or positivity memes that feels “wrong” in some way? They’re usually an overgeneralization that actually invalidates what a person is feeling. Most of the time, I perceive these as trite and contradictory. I get that my perception of life and a lot of other things is skewed and sometimes illogical and/or irrational; but there are plenty of concepts that make absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. No manner of explaining them to me has ever made them “click.” I’ve experienced that “click” before (it’s exactly that, a click in my brain), usually with mathematical concepts, but never with emotional or other types of abstract ideas.

For instance, the acts of “letting go” or forgiveness are two concepts that baffle me to no end. I don’t understand the action involved in either of those. They seem like abstract, intangible notions that have no real end or meaning. Does that make sense? I’m not sure if my words express the level of confusion I feel when trying to grasp something so vague, so incomprehensible to me. And my perplexity is not limited to those two concepts alone. Those are just the two that popped into my head at the moment.

Maybe, these two concepts popped into my head at this moment because I’m struggling to understand how to leave the past in the past and move forward. The anniversary of the first rape is coming up, April 11/12. Because I associate Easter (April 12th was Easter Sunday in 1998) with that rape, even Easter Sunday each year is particularly difficult for me, which prolongs the turmoil I feel around this time of year. Throw in the anniversaries of 1.) April 27th — the birth date of the child I gave up for adoption from the second rape and 2.) April 14th — my dad’s death a few years later, and it just makes April a month of bad memories.

Every year, I tell myself, “I’m over that. It’s in the past. No sense in dwelling on it.” And every year, despite my best efforts, I feel so helpless in the power each event holds over my mind. Maybe, that’s why I’m feeling so exhausted… so spacey… so numb. I’m filling my days with distractions — obsessive distractions — in the hope that I’ll make it through another year.

I will.

I always do.

It just doesn’t make it any less painful when the flashes of memories come whether I want them to or not.