2016: Is it over yet?

Hi. It’s been a while. Whoops. Well, let’s get to my list of excu–er, I mean my list of events from the past ten months:

  • Left Maine and returned to Tennessee.
  • Spent six weeks in my in-laws house trying to make healthy life choices and failing.
  • Bought a travel trailer.
  • Took a three month assignment in Missoula, Montana.
  • Nearly died four or five times driving through early spring weather on the high plains.
  • Fell in love with the Mission Mountains and many of the people we met.
  • Got pregnant.
  • Lost the baby.
  • Began adapting, maybe even thriving, in our new gypsy way of life.
  • Bought a motorcycle to celebrate.
  • Days later, a friend of twenty years took his own life.
  • Devastated, we dropped everything and headed to Florida.
  • While in the Sunshine State, we made irrational heartfelt promises we couldn’t keep, buried old hatchets at least minimally, and reconnected with many folk, most of whom didn’t stay connected.
  • Then off to Kalamazoo for the summer.
  • A Michigan summer in one word: MOSQUITOES.
  • Before leaving Michigan, we took a brief trip to Tennessee to see the in-laws.
  • I bought my Father-in-law a puppy. They are now best friends.
  • Come October we left Michigan and headed to the Left Coast.
  • Oregon brought my husband greater understanding of me as a person through his sudden exposure to the culture I grew up in. I’ve found his bewilderment entertaining.
  • Being out here has actually made me homesick for Tennessee. Never saw that coming.
  • We discovered I’m pregnant.
  • This kid plans to stick around. We can tell because I’m nailed by Hyperemesis Gravidarum again.
  • Everyone we know wonders if we know where babies come from. We do. And we’re really good at it.
  • We are exhausted.

I guess this is where I put some meaningful observations about life as I learned from our experiences, and I suppose over the course of the year I’ve had more than one moment worthy of the Doogie Howser treatment. But I don’t wanna. 2016 has been so full of highs and lows that I’m nauseous just thinking about thinking about it.

Instead of thinking about it, I’ll be spending the rest of the month worrying about the speed of my internet connection and whether we have enough hot cocoa and not one damned thing more. I might even buy some footie pajamas.

I hope that the last few weeks of 2016 are gentle with us all.

Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine!

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2016: Is it over yet?

Time to go go go.

I’m a big fan of big changes.

When I divorced my nogoodnik first husband in 2007 I went to Florida to try to clean up my excessively bad act. It took some time, but I got my shit together eventually, and I met my badass husband and we started our badass family together as well.

When Mister Dude and I realized we hated Florida, like actually, we left. Sure, it took multiple tries to finally get it, but we managed to make our departure from the land of swamps and Viagra a permanent reality last year.

And when we realized that we like Tennessee but really, we just want to do something else besides go to work and pay bills until we die there, we sold all our worldly possessions and took a travel assignment in Maine for three months. Now we can go back to Tennessee considering it our home base, not our prison, while we live the less ordinary life we’ve always wanted.

All of these big changes were not in and of themselves the solution. There were plenty of times where we’d try to leave but end up right back where we started because we were running from our problems and our pain. We lost two children to miscarriage and moved after both losses, but only physically, not emotionally or mentally where it really counts. That sort of relocation doesn’t help. It’s expensive and costly. It keeps you BUSY. But it never gets you anywhere. Moving to solve your existential dilemmas is just as effective as a running a marathon on a tread mill: you exhaust yourself just to stay the same.

Repentance, that old fashioned word that modern folks thinks means to feel guilty about being imperfect, is about honestly admitting that the road you are on might not be the one you should be on. That the viewpoints you hold might be hurting you. That your justifications might not be the foundation you want to build your house upon. Repentance is at it’s core self-examination and humility. No physical, psychological, or spiritual journey undertaken without repentance will be worth a damn, and such adventures are doomed to end in a place worse than where they began.

When the Hubs and I moved through our lives absent of repentance our physical location could change a half a dozen times in a year, but we as people were just stuck in the same old shit. We didn’t start seeing change until we realized as individuals and as a couple the mistakes we had made. Sometimes we fucked up first, but most of the time, we fucked up because of someone else inflicted some of their pain upon us.

homiegkThe world is an interconnected place. It is impossible to “take responsibility for yourself” without having some context to what you did and why. If anybody ever tells you what someone else did to you doesn’t matter, stop listening to them. They mean well, but they’re wrong. Very few people wake up in the morning and just decide to be fucking pricks all day long, okay? Humans transmit injury and pain with greater frequency than we swap germs. What someone visits upon you most certainly colors your actions. What we are responsible for is our REACTIONS to others, not their actions inflicted upon us, okay?

This matters in the big scheme of things because understanding the interconnected way we touch one another is vital to understanding what the fuck we have done to hurt others. If we cannot allow ourselves to admit that our behavior is colored so readily by the people in our lives, then we will deny any and all influence on the people that we can touch. Then it’s just a short skip and a hop to refusing to take responsibility for any influence we can have on others, short of stabbing someone.

Vulnerability, self-examination, repentance, in that order. Without these things, no movement, no staying still, will ever bear good fruit.

But with them you can get your shit together, son.

So get your shit together.

 

Time to go go go.

Family: Sometimes they blow.

Hi, I’m Fat Goth Mom and I’m related to a bunch of toxic people. I bet, if you’re honest with yourself, you are too.

Sucks, doesn’t it?

In the worst cases with the worst offenders I have stopped all contact, but I still have a small collection of less than optimal people in my life who share space with me and mine on at least a quarterly basis. The remaining parties are your run of the mill American Dysfunctional: the “We had it SO MUCH WORSE than you” in-laws who can’t see how not subjecting their son to the barbaric cruelties of their own upbringing does not mean they’ve sacrificed everything for him though they will not tolerate any suggestion to the contrary; gossiping relatives who think terrible things about us because somebody (coughcoughinlawscough) tells them all our wrongdoings, a few of which aren’t entirely fabricated; and bringing up the rear is my emotionally unavailable sister who’s so hung up on her personal version of our shared childhood that she remains incapable of talking to me like a person instead of one of her psych patients.

These folks remain in the picture when so many others have been excised from our lives because they aren’t evil. Troubled, selfish, irritating and perpetually outside our sphere of influence, yes, but they aren’t evil. Sure, we can’t talk with these folks about our plans for the future, or Chevy’s job, or my job, or things we like, or people we admire, or God, or science, or fucking pie for Christ’s sake, but they aren’t evil. And what do we do with that, hmm? What do any of us do with it? What do you do with it?

For many years I tried to remove everyone from my life who didn’t add something positive to my existence. That seems safe, right? Check any social media and that’s the preachy mcpreaching going on all over the fucking place, so it’s gotta be true, right? Well, no.

When we only want “positive people” in our lives we are saying in a very pretty way that we only want people who give us stuff we want around us. That’s the very selfish behavior we’re refusing to let others do to US.

So while it irks me to no end to have a small collection of negative people in my life in any degree, I realize that I’m being given the chance to model for these folks the sort of emotionally healthy relationship that I want to have with them. Most of time I suck at it, but every now and again I say or do the right thing at the right time and I can see the little light bulb behind their eyes click on for a minute and for a little while the insides of their heads aren’t so dark.

I can’t fix anyone, and I can’t make others want to be better. All I can do is practice being a healthy person as hard as I possibly can and let others do their thing. Maybe my example helps them, maybe they recoil from it so hard that they cross over from being a miserable fuck-up like me into being truly dangerous to my family. If that happens, they’re out. Either way, my peace of mind isn’t up for sale, and that’s best for us all.

Even my crazyass mother-in-law.

 

Family: Sometimes they blow.

Nerd Block: a solid monthly box if you aren’t an assbag like me.

So I had this monthly box subscription for my kids through Nerd Block called the Nerd Block Jr. It is what is sounds like: a subscription box for your kids. The toys aren’t jump up and down incredible, but the service is solid. In all honesty, these guys provide a small box each month to your kids for fourteen bucks a month full of the little knick-knack kid toys you don’t wanna buy for five bucks a piece at Target. The box is cheaper than buying them separately, and I don’t feel bad when my gremlins break them inside a week because another box of disposable crap is coming in a month anyway.

The service isn’t fancy, but it’s solid, and so are the people who I’ve talked to that work there. Unfortunately for them, something about this subscription service brings out my inner psycho customer from Hell. I’ve had a few run-ins with their customer service department where I would write with questions and I’d decide they were being shitbags for no reason whatsoever and act accordingly. The latest example of this was a seven e-mail exchange where I was Queen Plug of the Butt People because I misread the answer to my question.

I don’t know what it is about Nerd Block that brings out my worst. Maybe it’s because this is my first box subscription ever and I was so worried about getting hosed. Maybe it’s because they’re Canadian and Americans like me just go into a biggie-fry fueled frenzy of large-gunned dickery whenever we smell Canadian blood.

What I do know is that I owed Drew over at Nerd Block an apology. So I wrote Drew this email:

Hey Drew, I owe you an apology.
I went back and reread everything and I was a total cunt to you. I’m sorry for being an ass-bag for seven emails when I misread your response in the first place.
I worked retail and customer service for years, and I know better than to stick my head up my ass and assume I’m being misunderstood by somebody who’s job it is to help me. I guess in my day to day life I just stopped paying attention to others the way I ought because I’ve been swamped with my own responsibilities, and I became one of those people I wanted to stab in the face when I was a customer service rep.
My behavior with you had put me in  “I’d like to speak to the manager” bad haircut territory and I’m sorry for shitting all over your work day.
Please forgive me.
Thank you for talking the time to do your job even when I deserved to be kicked in the crotch instead. If you got snide with me back I wouldn’t have realized I was the problem.
With great embarrassment and sincere mortification,
Fat Goth Mom

Obviously my real name went here. It’s not like “Fat Goth Mom” is on my checks or anything. It should be, but I digress.

So in conclusion. Nerd Block is a pretty damned good subscription box if you’re not looking for miracles and you aren’t a rabid shit monster. If you are a rabid shit monster, please don’t be one to Drew. He’s been through enough, thanks.

Nerd Block: a solid monthly box if you aren’t an assbag like me.

Ruminating on my college education.

I have enrolled myself in college again, and I haven’t dropped out like I did the last five times I went. In fact I’ve completed two semesters and I’m enrolled in a third; now I feel like I might actually be getting something of value for my investment and I can’t bring myself to turn back. This is a lie of course, but I’ve heard the Sirens song that is a Bachelor’s degree and I cannot find the strength to flee.

Once I’m done I will be slapped in the face with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt and a piece of paper which claims I’m skilled in a field I actually know nothing about. At that time my husband will foot the bill while I hang my degree in our bathroom, unlike the other Americans I will be graduating with who upon receiving their degrees will acquire a few part-time jobs and a new Xanax prescription.

I wish what I was studying was of greater value–I’m sure the rest of America does, too–but as a product of the modern public school system I can’t do basic math without using my fingers, so I’m really not qualified.

I guess I could still go into the hard sciences and pitch a fit until the standards are lowered to nothing, but as a mother of three I just don’t have the time to devote to shrieking and screaming on the floor like I used to. And besides, I’m sure there’s already a feisty group of young women ready and waiting to wreck the standards of all the engineering programs in the nation. If I did it, I’d be robbing them of their chance to shine.

Sure, once I’m done with this degree I could use it to get an entry-level office job at a bank or firm somewhere where I’d pass along Facebook memes and gossip about my coworkers just like everyone else, but I feel drawn to bigger things.

I’ve always wanted to get my MBA and use my status as a natural woman to leverage myself into a position of importance at a small to mid-sized corporation. Once established, I’ll sue them for discrimination and settle out of court for an impressive six figure sum which should be just enough to cover all my student loan debt. Then I’ll do what any other highly unqualified person lacking an ethical compass would do and get into politics. I’d try for the media, but they actually expect women to wax their eyebrows regularly, and I just can’t handle that kind of expectation.

But seriously folks. I’m getting a degree. I don’t know why I’m getting a degree, but I’m getting it. I’m told it’s a good thing, and I should have one. That it means something and reflects on me as a person, but nobody really can tell me what that meaning is.

I’m hoping that a degree in business will prepare me to have my own, but I’m getting the growing sensation that it doesn’t, and everyone knows it doesn’t, but we’re pretending as a society that it does because no one wants to admit that they got conned also. Or at least I hope society is pretending, otherwise we’re a nation of morons who actually believe this stuff and we’re just that much closer to crumpling up our civilization and throwing a three-pointer into the wastebasket of history.

But hey, at least I got a college degree first.

Ruminating on my college education.

I hate introductions.

Can I just skip writing the introductory post where I tell the wide open internet what I’m doing here and why I’m deluded enough to think it’ll go anywhere and just get to the bitching?

I can? Good.

I hate Tumblr. It’s like LiveJournal for people who can’t spell and are obsessed with making up slang words like proper English just isn’t fucking good enough for them. Fuck you, Tumblr. Everybody who uses you is 12 or wants to be.

I also hate Facebook groups. You wanna be insta-offended, getting into fights with a new stranger every five minutes? Join a Facebook group and never have another peaceful hour of your life ever again. Make everything from using the crapper to sitting in traffic a stressful experience and have a heart attack by forty. Who gives a shit about your crappy ass parenting tricks, anyway?

I’m at the part of my life where I’m too damned busy doing shit to bother with other less important shit that wastes my time, like cat videos, or deciphering the moral implications of pop music. I’ve got three kids to care for and a house to run, I don’t have time to worry about whether others think I’m appropriate. Chances are they don’t.

It took me a long time to embrace that I am under no obligation to make others like me. Misunderstandings and hurt feelings happen. It’s the right thing to apologize when you hurt others intentionally, but I don’t subscribe to this culture of perpetual apology for every tinge of gas another human being might experience while hanging around you. I am not vanilla ice cream or blue jeans; I will most certainly not set well with everyone. Maybe I won’t set well with you. Oh well.

I am not a professional blogger. I am not here to turn my daily life into a job where every outing is an article waiting to happen. I have no ad revenue to worry about, no dreams of being discovered and published, no Bachelors in English to direct every semicolon. I am just a chick who grew up when the internet was young, before Tumblr, Instagram, and the deluge of humanity rushing to proclaim themselves internet famous. I was a regular on IRC; I had ICQ and AIM; my first blog was a LiveJournal I kept for ten years; I can still code a website in basic HTML. I’m over 30 and on the internet. I’m a god damned dinosaur.

I have plans for this blog, and I expect all of them to fall short of their intended glories because I have to go be a Mom. I’m not a mommy blogger making one more post about my “littles”. I’m not mining the childhoods of my kids for essay topics or turning their milestones into traffic numbers. It’s exploitative to them and minimizing to me. I can and will mention my brood from time to time because they are my job. They are what I do day in and day out. But this is my space. Mine. For me. Fat Goth Mom.

So yeah. There you go. I’ve successfully written over 500 words of introduction without introducing a god damned thing. I count that as a win.

Welcome to Fat Goth Mom. Enjoy the ride.

I hate introductions.