Archive for the ‘confessional’ Category

Im/Permanence of Words

August 17, 2012

A weird thing just happened – I don’t know WHY I do this – but I was browsing through my high school boyfriend’s profile pictures on Facebook (we’re not actually FB friends but I can see all his profile pictures) and one had his handwriting on it. I had an immediate and visceral reaction to seeing his handwriting – after all these years (we broke up in 1992) – because for the most part, our relationship was long-distance.

This was before e-mail (well, not technically, I guess, but nobody I knew used it yet) so all our correspondence was hand-written. We used to fill up entire notebook/journals and send them to each other. I think he sent me around nine, over the course of three years, and I sent him a lot more than that – maybe two dozen.

Here’s the part where I invite your judgement. After we broke up, I didn’t know what to do with all those notebooks. For a couple of years I hauled them around in a box between college and my grandma’s house, along with all the paraphernalia/detritus from our relationship (mix tapes – remember those? – a T-shirt with a photo of the 2 of us printed on it, the half-heart necklace pendant). My parents didn’t have a home in the US where it would have been practical to keep them, and we were all trying to reduce the amount of stuff we had in storage at Grandma’s. So finally I decided I was going to read through them all and then get rid of them. I didn’t even make it through one. It was too annoying, somehow. I wrote and asked him if he wanted them back and never got a response. So I buried them in a cardboard box, along with all the other detritus, under an apple tree by the abandoned chicken house on the farm.

A few years later – I think around the time I graduated from college – I sent him a copy of a paper I’d written for my senior seminar class in English Lit because I knew he’d be interested in the subject matter (and because I wanted to show off a little as it was a kick-ass paper) and he and his wife both wrote back very kind, very surprised letters. He offered to send my all my old journal/notebook/letters because he still had them…

Oops…

Well, I had to tell him I didn’t have his anymore. And I didn’t want mine back. Honestly, I have very little interest in reliving those years through those journals, knowing how entangled everything would be with the drama of our relationship. It’s bad enough reading through my college journals. Gah. But I feel really, really awful about effectively destroying his. I know he valued the little drawings he sent me, for example.

Our correspondence did not continue so I have no idea what he ended up doing with my old journals, and I don’t really care.

I have more thoughts about this but not much more time to write today so I thought I’d just toss out a couple questions – how heinous a sin did I commit by destroying the journals he sent me? Were they mine to do with as I pleased? Or not? And how does this whole thing compare to the implications of deleted blogs?

 

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Rainbow

July 3, 2012

I’m struggling through the interview transcript that I need to parse for themes and insights. The subject matter is dark and difficult, but even beyond that there’s a level of dramatic irony (literarily speaking) that is hard to stomach. The person I interviewed is a good friend, and I found out just weeks after talking with her – the night before we left the US for Albania – that her marriage was imploding. Knowing what I know now, it’s incredibly hard to read the transcript of our conversation, which took place at a point in time when neither of us knew what was happening in her husband’s life, or how it would shortly unravel her world, or how hard it was to find a way to support her emotionally as I adapted to a new life 6 time zones away.

I need to maintain a professional detachment – but my stomach is uneasy and I need to take a break.

I’m also feeling a little queasy because my kids are at the pool with the babysitter, and it’s their first time going there, and I can’t help but fret just a little. It’s a kids’ wading pool, of course, and I know they are in excellent hands, but I just worry – is Illyria allowing herself to be sunblocked? How are they faring with the new nap-free zone we’re experimenting with?

And I got my period last night, early, and with it the splitting headache that seems to develop in the day or so leading up to the start of a new cycle. This aging thing, wow. I can feel it.

~::~

So I’ve been wrestling with something recently. I can’t remember now when exactly it was – mid-March, maybe? It was a rainy day, and I had scheduled Oz for his vaccines which is a really complicated process in Albania if you’re not an Albanian citizen, so I wasn’t about to re-schedule. But I found out that the same day there was going to be a Celebration of Diversity on the main boulevard, where every important public event takes place.

Generally speaking, Albania is not a very welcoming or friendly place for LGBTQ people. In fact, when the Pink Embassy announced this event, one of the government ministers said publicly that the only right response to the event would be to beat all the participants with truncheons. Immediately afterwards, the Prime Minister made a very strong statement against this minister, most likely in hopes of preserving Albania’s chances (which are rather slim at the moment) of joining the EU someday.

I saw the announcements about the event linked on Facebook, though in a backhanded kind of way – members of the church we attend making very strong anti-LGBTQ statements like “what’s next, equal rights for pedophiles?” and the like.

It hurt my heart. And I wanted to go to the event. But I had this medical appointment for Oz. So in the end, I kept the appointment. Actually I walked along the main boulevard on the way to the appointment, and saw the miniscule handful of people – maybe thirty – standing in the rain or sheltering under the festive summer tents where tables were stacked with books and pamphlets. A balloon rainbow arced rather sadly over the park where they were set up, and a line of policemen stood facing outward, scanning the faces of passers-by implacably.

And I thought how incredibly brave these people were to come out in the rain in such a hostile environment, making a statement for tolerance and peace.

And what a coward I am that I couldn’t even say something affirming this group in my Facebook status, for fear of being rejected by the church people.

Two blocks down, another group was gathering. Coming back from our appointment I saw that probably around 200 people – many visibly Islamic – were gathering at another park, with huge red-lettered signs that I couldn’t translate for you because I didn’t know all the words, although the intent was clear enough. It was the anti-rainbow. It was the thundercloud. And it was scary to me. I pushed Oscar’s stroller past them quickly.

I am still ashamed that I did nothing that day or that week. That I didn’t even walk over and say hello to the people standing with their umbrellas under the rainbow, behind the police. According to my belief system, that makes me complicit in the violence against people of different sexual orientations.

I am confessing this to you not so that you can absolve me, nor excuse me, but because I want to come clean, and I want to draw strength from somewhere to have more courage next time, to be clear about my convictions. I want to continue to belong to the Christian community, and it can be hard when I disagree with so many of them about things that are actually really important. That are, sometimes, matters of life and death.

And all for the want of a little gray cat

May 23, 2012

Okay, so this post is just way, way, way too long and anyone who reads it to the end gets an automatic jewel in your crown in heaven. Any armchair therapists who want to take a stab at helping me deal with my neuroses get a whole palace.

Here’s the Story:

Sunday afternoon, late, after naps, we took the kids to the park. Illyria has been sick with a nasty cough, but she lit up once we were there, laughing and running and climbing and sliding. I asked her at one point if she needed to go to the bathroom and she said yes, so I took her to an adjoining café, but then she didn’t actually need to go after all.

The walk to the café is lined with twin hedges, and long ago (we go there a lot) she learned that tossing a toy into them is endlessly amusing – it might land on top, magically suspended on the leaves, or sink into the bushes and huddle around the roots. We used to use a brightly colored Very Hungry Caterpillar, but this time she had her cat.

It’s a gray beanie baby cat, called “Silver” on the tag, but she calls it Tom Cat and for the last three months or so it has been her constant companion.  She sleeps with it, goes to the bathroom with it, wipes her tears on it (it was getting so manky I recently washed it, and it was so sweet to see her carefully hanging him up on the drying rack by the ears. It took long enough to dry that she had to substitute in a Corduroy Bear for about 18 hours and then it was back to the still-slightly-damp cat).

I was a little annoyed, and bored, not really wanting to play toss-the-kitty-into-the-bushes with her, so I pulled out my cell phone and called Gimli to tell him where we were, and then started playing a stupid little game (kind of like Bejeweled, but more boring), pausing intermittently to retrieve the cat from the bushes for her. I suggested several times we go play something else but this was what she wanted to do. And then, on the fourth or fifth toss, I didn’t see where the cat landed. So, annoyed, I started at one end of the shrubs and worked my way down to the other end, parting the leaves at the top and looking to the very roots of each individual plant. I didn’t find it, so I started up the other side.

I was on my third or so round of the shrubs when I started to get that feeling in the pit of my stomach, that sick, slightly panicked feeling you get when it begins to dawn on you that something is missing, really and truly missing. Your keys, your wallet, your Tom Cat. Gimli came over and I sort of snapped at him, “I have to keep looking until I find it.” He began to question Illyria and me – where was she when I looked up and saw her? – and to hunt in a wider circle around the overgrown garden there – and he was clearly angry with me, I could see it in the set of his mouth and shoulders.

I found a number of silver-dollar-sized snails, but no gray beanie baby cat. I looked again. I joined Gimli in the hunt through the grass, around rosebushes, into small palm trees, around the fountain. He tried to see onto the roof of the café. A waiter came out to ask us what we were looking for.

Oz ran off to the slides nearby, and I went after him to supervise, and then Illyria came too, saying “let’s go play, that will make it all better.”

It was getting dark. We hadn’t really had supper. Gimli had bought some souflaqe (can’t remember offhand what they’re called in English – gyro meat, French fries, tzatziki sauce, ketchup, wrapped in a pita) but they weren’t very good and he ate most of them. Oz ate the French fries and some meat. I was worried about bedtime. Illyria wanted popcorn, which we bought from an ambulant vendor.

Gimli was really mad at me.

Finally I explained to Illyria that we were going to have to go home without the cat, but that I would come back in the morning to keep looking for it. Gimli and I agreed it was probably in the fountain – which wasn’t turned on, but was filled with murky green water, soggy fluff from the cottonwoods floating all over it. We also agreed that the loss of the cat was, ultimately, my fault, and I felt absolutely sick over it.

Illyria didn’t cry, but I did, the whole walk home. Gimli and I didn’t speak to each other. Illyria actually seemed ok. In fact, I asked her that night, “do you feel sad that we came home without Tom Cat, or do you feel ok?” And she said, “ok.” That night before she had to go pee, she picked up a beanie baby bunny, and has been holding it ever since.

So Monday morning I went off to “work,” without my laptop. I asked at the café if it was all right for me to poke around in the fountain, and they actually came out then and unplugged it to let the water drain out. (It was so, so gross.) I pulled up a small, young sapling – I think a volunteer cottonwood, actually – and stripped off the leaves to poke around as the water drained. It took a long time. Periodically, I went off and looked again throughout both long hedges, every nook and cranny, and around the whole garden area. It was a lot easier to see in the bright morning light. All I turned up were snails and some empty plastic water bottles. Eventually, I could see orange-brown lumps appearing under the water in the fountain – fruit that had fallen in and was rotting at the bottom – but nothing that even resembled a small gray cat. When the water was gone, I did another look around, then sat on a bench deep in the shade and cried.

When I saw a waiter come out and start poking in the bushes, I went and thanked him for their help and said “it’s not here, I think a child must have taken it.” I’m sure he could see I’d been crying. Then there was nothing to do but leave.

I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I walked around and around city blocks, only stopping when I was too tired to keep walking. I didn’t want to go anywhere I usually go, do the things I usually do. I didn’t eat lunch. I went home when I was sure the kids were asleep and took a fitful nap, waking up with a pounding headache that lasted into the next morning when I think I finally managed to get rehydrated.

I’m not sure why I took this so hard – honestly, harder than Illyria did – although today she did say she’s sad that she doesn’t have the cat. But she hasn’t cried for him (at least not directly – she has cried over other things, although she’s also sick, and that makes her more sensitive). Sunday night when I was trying to fall asleep, I realized the feeling in my body was exactly the same as after breaking up with someone. That kind of sick feeling of loss and deep, deep regret. I thought about Mel’s post on The Undoing of Things and all I wanted was to PUT DOWN THE DAMN CELL PHONE AND KEEP MY EYES ON MY CHILD. Or even not push her to go use the bathroom when she really didn’t need to. Or have gone to a different park. Or, maybe, never have been born.

~::~

Yup, that’s how I felt, pretty much until Tuesday afternoon. It seems so melodramatic and ridiculous and poor-me and narcissistic. Because it’s not deriving entirely from Illyria’s sadness over losing her cat, and my guilt over not being able to prevent its loss or find it then later; a LOT of it is deriving from Gimli being mad at me.

I don’t know why I can’t handle his being mad at me, why I take it so deeply to heart, why I just fall apart. I suspect it has to do with how my family of origin doesn’t know how to handle or process anger. When my mom was angry, she’d shout at us and spank us. When my dad was angry – which was very, very rarely – he’d get really quiet, say something cutting, and then leave the room.

But there’s another side of it, too, and that’s this feeling I have that there’s something in our relationship that isn’t quite as it should be, for me to have this extreme reaction. It doesn’t seem healthy. Obviously, he’s my life partner and best friend, my confidante and companion – and here, where I don’t really have close friends outside the family, my dependence on him is exacerbated. And it’s not like he’s violent or anything – all it takes, really, is just KNOWING he’s mad at me and I get upset. A word, a look. If I think it’s unjust, that I shouldn’t be blamed for whatever he’s mad about, then I get really mad myself (also out of proportion, usually, to whatever the issue is) but if I also blame myself… then I sink into this hopeless depression and fits of crying like with the kitty incident.

~::~

Tuesday afternoon when I put the kids down for naps they both fell asleep really quickly, and for some reason my ability to get them down for naps has become in my heart a measure of my parenting. Days when they go to sleep easily on schedule I feel like a good mom. Days when they don’t…. well. So my heart was lifted, and Gimli commented when he got home from work that I seemed to be in a good mood.

But there’s something there, still, this dark cloud hanging over me. I haven’t talked about this with him yet. I haven’t told him how deeply awful I felt about the whole thing. There was just a quick “so you’re not mad at me anymore?” exchange, a hug, a gift of chocolate and I think for him it’s all in the past. But I feel wrung out and exhausted. I will probably write him an e-mail later today – or direct him to this post – since we never really have time to talk away from the kids unless we schedule a date night, and somehow the restaurants we go to aren’t really conducive for heavy conversation.

He’s not mad at me anymore; I found “Silver” on Amazon for $5 and am going to order two so we have a backup. (I’ll have to cover his pink nose with purple thread like I did the other one at her request – don’t know why, she has some funny little quirks.) Strangely enough, a few days before this incident she unearthed a book we have about a little girl who goes on a trip in an airplane and en route loses her teddy bear. A man in a light plane finds it and brings it to her, meeting her on the runway with her beloved bear. We told Illyria that Tom Cat had to go to the States and we’ll find him there when we go in a few weeks (a 2-week trip related to the job in Colombia – dreading the jet lag, but maybe it will make the new job seem real). I think that for her it’s actually a valuable lesson in resilience and responsibility and not entirely a bad thing. I wish Gimli saw it the same way.

~::~

But here’s the armchair therapist thing – How do I fix this? Why am I so destroyed by Gimli’s anger, and how can I change?

Apropos of Nothing

December 21, 2011

Sigh.

Deep thoughts.

::

Here’s something for pure entertainment – the new trailer for The Hobbit! I get chills every time I watch it, hearing the dwarfs sing (I didn’t nickname my husband Gimli for nothing) 😉 Though I might have to change it to Thoren Oakenshield now 🙂

::

In a similar vein – you know that thing where someone in a committed relationship will pick out a celebrity (or five) who they supposedly could have sex with and their partner/spouse would give them a guiltless “free pass” if this would to occur (supposedly because it would never actually happen in this reality)? When I actually think about it in literal terms – like if it actually COULD happen – I find it totally creepy and gross as an idea. But if it’s just an exercise in rating relative hotness, then it seems ok. But my top three all seem kind of icky to me now, I wonder why? And those would be, in no particular order, Jon Hamm, Robert Downey Jr, and Johnny Depp. Jude Law used to be on the list but since the whole nanny cheating thing he has fallen from grace. And Jake Gyllenhaal, or alternately Joaquin Phoenix, but somehow that spark has died as well. I don’t know why I waste brain and blog space on this ridiculous question.

::

Since Gimli left for Cyprus on Sunday, after spending 24 hours with us at the close of his time in Armenia, the kids have been exceptionally cranky and clingy. EXCEPTIONALLY. I can’t wait til he gets back.

Which is weird, because I’ve realized it’s a pattern – I am way more tense and stressed interacting with the kids when he’s around than when he’s not. And I can’t figure out WHY. I can sort of partly figure it out – the same reasons we absolutely could not co-teach a college course together – but it’s awkward and inconvenient, because we can easily avoid co-teaching a course, not so easily avoid parenting together. It seems like when we divide the labor in certain ways (like taking turns watching the kids so we can each get some time off by ourselves) things go smoothly, but anytime we try to do something fun all together – even at home! It’s not just when we go out! – I get really tense and he gets frustrated with me. I need to get this sorted out somehow.

I have not bought or made any gifts for anybody whatsoever. I’m thinking of making a full English breakfast for the family on the morning of the 26th and letting that be my gift to them all this year. I dunno – my family has never been much into gifts and I have a hard time getting up the energy to get into it myself. If I plan way ahead and can knit everyone socks, that feels satisfying to both me and to the receivers, but I no longer make time for knitting anymore. Maybe next year.

::

If you had to find one word to describe 2011, what would it be?

Found!

October 14, 2011

We found Pooh!

He was stuffed into Illyria’s dollhouse. So relieved. I’d told her last night when she asked for him at bedtime that I couldn’t find him anywhere, and that I thought we left him at the playground, and maybe another kid who doesn’t have as many toys as she does found him and took him home.

She seemed ok with it. When I asked her this morning if she misses Pooh she said “No!” And she didn’t seem upset. I was the one who couldn’t keep back a tear last night when I told her – so lame.

But I’m glad we found him. And she was really happy too.

::

I feel like I’ve sort of jumped into mental crisis mode with Rose’s situation. Like I have to sort out all these loose threads right this minute. Maybe I shouldn’t go to the doom-and-gloom place right now. Think positive. I guess in a larger sense I feel like since Illyria was born I’ve been very self-absorbed and haven’t given as much of myself to my friendships as I did before. Like I left a lot of people dangling. I’m not sure how to change that.

Rose

October 13, 2011

I learned from a church e-mail that she had her thyroid removed recently; I didn’t know until another friend told that it was cancer. And that there might be more.

Rose’s daughter Violet is what, 10? 11? and has never met her father, although he’s been sending checks more-or-less monthly since she was born.

It’s hard to know what to do from so far away. I imagine she is scared out of her mind, probably more for Violet than for herself.

And then there’s this silly thing I’ve been sitting on, meaning to talk with her about it when we get home, now wondering if maybe I shouldn’t wait – several years ago, when Rose was dating a guy I’ll call Ron, whom Violet adored and asked repeatedly to be her daddy, I ran into him out with another woman (also, oh rock and a hard place, a good  friend of mine!) one afternoon – and I never told Rose about it.

She found out eventually, from someone else, shortly after Ron stopped returning her phone calls. He ended up knocking up and then marrying the other woman (Diana); their daughter is about 6 months younger than Illyria. We continued to socialize with them as well as with Rose and Violet, just not at the same time. When Illyria turned two, I debated whom to invite to her party, and ended up choosing Ron and Diana mostly because their daughter is closer in age to Illyria than Violet is.

And…. I feel horribly guilty, still, about never telling Rose that I knew about Ron and Diana, and about not inviting her and Violet to Illyria’s birthday party. It seems like silly stuff, but it also seems important.

So, is it worth bringing up now? Because really, at this point it’s more about ME seeking absolution, forgiveness, and relief from the guilty feelings, than about what Rose might be needing right now.

Thoughts?

Abuelita

January 6, 2011

My last living grandparent died December 30; my mother’s mother.

Although I remember her with great fondness, I wasn’t as close to her as I was to my paternal grandmother, and the last 5-6 years she has been declining with senile dementia.  The last few times I saw her Abuelita didn’t know me, and asked my mother who “that young lady” was.  And during the past year or so she’d even forgotten my mother, who cared for her daily.

Her life was so different from mine – she was pregnant and married at 16, and bore 10 children – two died in infancy, leaving gaps that nobody ever talks about.  I don’t think she ever finished high school.  She was raised Catholic and married to a Buddhist.  When my mother was very small, my grandmother converted to evangelical Christianity and as she went so did her family.

My grandfather owned a watch repair and jewelry shop just off the main plaza in Cuzco – you couldn’t ask for a better location.  In a recent moment of lucidity, while my father was singing hymns to Abuelita at bedtime (she became more and  more childlike in the last year), she prayed out loud, “thank you Lord… for the store.”  It made all the difference in their lives.

::

She was my mother’s mother.  Whenever my sister and I would chafe at some maternal decision or strategy that we deemed unfair or misled, we would remind ourselves of how our mom was raised, and of the vast distance between her own upbringing and how she was trying to raise us.  There was a braided leather whip behind the door of the house my mother grew up in, with three strands: “for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” she said; the threat of discipline constant.  When young men came to serenade my aunts under their windows my grandfather would throw cold water on them and my uncles would threaten to beat them with sticks.  So our 10:00 p.m. curfew began to seem more reasonable.

Ironically – or perhaps fittingly – during a long virtual family reunion we had via skype after the funeral for those scattered all over the globe, my mom talked about how difficult her mother’s childhood was (Abuelita and her half-sisters were raised by her single mom; she never knew her dad) and how my mom had to take that into consideration when chafing at things Abuelita did – “she just wanted us to be safe.”  And the wheel keeps on turning…

::

Once my mother took me to see where they’d lived when she was a small child.  In 1952, Cuzco was shaken by a tremendous earthquake.  My mother’s family had gone, on a sudden whim (attributed to intuition of Divine origin) of my grandmother’s, on a picnic outside the city and so their lives were spared.  Their home was in ruins.  My mom took me there, a colonial-style building on what used to be the rim of the city.  Huge double doors over stone steps opened into a square courtyard; through matching doors on the opposite side we could see a second inner courtyard, all rubble.  “It hasn’t changed in forty years,” my mother whispered in awe.

After a brief stop to see another equally miserable place they’d lived before moving permanently into a subsidized high-rise for earthquake victims (wires criss-crossed over a muddy courtyard with a privy in one corner) we went to meet a friend of mine at a 4-star tourist hotel in the center of the city.  We sat in the lobby waiting for him, leaning back on extravagantly comfortable sofas, looking at artwork and chandeliers, and I almost couldn’t bear the disjuncture.

I know Abuelita, I see her, through my mother.  My direct memories of her are soft and faded, like her hands.  She made soup and hot tea for us when we would visit.  She had a thin, high voice and diminutive stature.  She sat with her heels together and her hands folded on her lap and always worried that we might feel cold.  She always made her bed.  I’m not sure what else I can say about her – we didn’t converse, but exchanged pleasantries.  I feel her passing most through its impact and reverberation on the rest of the family, especially her children.

::

I haven’t talked with my mom since Abuelita’s death; she’s been terribly busy hosting a slew of house guests and working through a tangle of legal documents dotted with misspelled names.  And evidently their downstairs bathroom sprang a leak and is out of commission.

There was no question of me going, really, although we went through the paces of considering how it might work out.  Airfare for one person would be $4000.  It would take about 25 hours to get there.  And I didn’t really want to go.  So I feel like I need to write all this out, somewhere, to mark her passing, to scrutinize my reaction to her death, to remember her, to honor her life.  This is all I’ve got right now.

Well

January 1, 2010

Well.

Where to start?

Thank you to whoever put me up on the LFCA, sorry there was nothing to see here for all 14 people who clicked over 🙂  (Well, NOW there is!)

So.  Um, yeah.

(Deep breath)

I’M PREGNANT!

… not only that, I’m 11 FUCKING WEEKS PREGNANT! And three days!  Apparently!

How?!?!?!??!?!  The heck!?!?!??!?!  Did THAT happen????????  And why did I wait so long to tell y’all?

Stay tuned….

Depression, much?

November 13, 2009

When Mel asked us to make a wish in her comments, I read through all the ones before mine with alternating smiles and tears.  I think this was one of my favorite posts of all time.  Then I went to write my own wish, and to my surprise I found myself writing this:

I wish I didn’t hate my life.  I don’t know why I feel this way; I have everything I ever wanted, including my baby.  It’s just that most mornings I wake up thinking “I hate my life.”  I don’t know why.

I think I might be depressed.

I’ve been chalking it up to the sleep deprivation, to the stress of mothering while working on a graduate degree, to the daily challenges of balancing those two commitments with friendships and marriage.  But this ever-present sadness is starting to feel more like that Bad Time when I would sometimes stay in bed all day and cry.  When it felt like a dark, heavy cloud had settled in over me and there was no joy.

It’s not that bad, now.  There’s not the same degree of heaviness.  Not the same intensity of pain.  But there is a sadness that feels like it’s growing.

The visual image I have is of a stormy sky when the sun breaks through the clouds in what they call “God beams,” except I keep trying to get into the patch of sunlight but by the time I get there it’s always gone, the clouds have shifted again and there is only the dreary rain and mud.

Maybe I should stop and take stock once my period is over and once my head cold has abated, maybe I’ll feel better then. And if not, I’ll call my therapist and see what she can do for me.

Teeth

February 12, 2009

Yesterday I had dental impressions made for a night guard.  One tooth in particular has been really sensitive to heat and cold over the past few weeks.  There was no sign of decay, but the dentist said it looked worn down, and the hygienist asked me if I’ve been grinding my teeth at all.  I suddenly remembered – because it had been a few nights, I’d almost forgotten.  I’ve been waking up with aching teeth and clenched jaw since the new year.

Not only that – I have bruises on my wrist and a callous on my knuckle from biting myself in frustration.  The day I called my therapist was the day I started to wonder what I could do that would hurt more, because biting wasn’t enough to relieve the stress I was feeling, and that scared me.

It started when V. was still in our bed, comfort-nursing in her sleep (not feeding – no swallows, just the little fluttery-tongue).  I would try to unlatch her, but she’d just lunge for me again.  Three, four, five times until finally she’d drift off to sleep.   Then again an hour later.  I can’t get comfortable enough to sleep myself while nursing her in bed.  I like to sleep curled up in a ball or lying on my stomach, not with my back arched and my top arm awkwardly trying to find a place to rest without upsetting my balance to far forward or back.  So I would endure her suckling, and release the frustration I felt by sinking my teeth into my skin.

I think we were overdue for a change.