Of mourning and brokenness

I am listening to The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. I wanted it sung at my mother’s memorial service, but her brother, who isn’t paying for a goddamn thing, inserted a vocalist from his church along with his church’s minister without my consent. I am so angry with him I could throw him through a window and not give a good damn. He is a fucking hypocrite. He stood in front of a church full of people and broke down in tears to the point where I went up to comfort him even though I had an internal shield of numbness holding back the deepest pit of grief. He and Mom were as tight as two people can be. In a dispute, she’d take his side over mine any day. For that matter, she’d take any of her brothers’ side over mine any day. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, but that’s the way it was. So now, this tearful brother is going around telling anyone who will listen that I got a large insurance payment when Mom died and, therefore, he doesn’t feel he ought to chip in the remaining $250 owed to the church that graciously agreed to host Mom’s memorial service even though it had been many decades since we/she attended. She would have been there if we’d known the congregation was still in existence. We didn’t. We thought that the local presbytery had closed the church’s doors. Instead, it simply moved to a newer building out in the suburbs. At any rate, I am now stuck with a $250 bill that the minister “forgave,” but that I feel has to be paid because it’s just bad karma not to do so.

I exist thanks to minimal Social Security Disability payments that I just barely had enough working quarters to get; a small stipend from my mother’s retirement fund; Medicare; Medicaid, and, in all probability; food stamps when I get over my embarrassment and get real. Yet, I am the one who bore the FULL cost of my mother’s cremation and memorial service. I will make the payments in honor of my mother and make sure that it says that I am the one who contributed in her memory. That hypocritical, ass of a brother and his social-climbing witch of a wife will get no credit.

I do not agree with the minister’s take on Christianity at all. Through means of which I am totally unaware, this Presbyterian minister is a fundamentalist. She actually believes that the Bible should be taken literally. That isn’t the Presbyterian way that I am used to. What’s important is that she would not allow Mom’s BFF, an ordained minister, to give the eulogy because she wasn’t “Christian enough.” What the FUCK?!?! That’s another thing that happened behind my back. The BFF and I were really ticked as hell about that. When I casually mentioned that I don’t take the Bible literally and neither did my mother, the minister and the social climbing twit wife of my mother’s brother laughed at me AND my mother’s beliefs. I think that was a little inappropriate given that we’d just held a memorial service for her. That made no difference, it would seem. These are “good Christians.” Yeah, they are about as good Christians as I am an observant orthodox Jew. In fact, hell, under two different branches of Judaism, I was BORN Jewish because my father converted before I was even conceived. So, theoretically, all I’d need is a bat mitzvah and I’d be considered a full-fledged member of the tribe. I guess that makes me more Jewish than these women ever were Christians. No wonder they act as if they have no judgement as human beings or as supposed benevolent, almighty Christian zealots. The social-climbing witch was no surprise. She affects a pious air, but has been seen for what she is by the larger family. She is what she is. However, the minister is quite another story. She was just wrong. There are no two ways about it. I shook my head when it happened and turned to talk to the other people at my table. Pa-the-tic.

In case it isn’t apparent, I am angry. I have reason to be angry, but I am also tired of it. I know that part of my anger is from the mourning process. My mother shouldn’t be dead. I strongly suspect malpractice, but it will cost hundreds of dollars I don’t have simply to get my hands on her medical records. So, the cardiologist who supposedly said that there was no need to do anything about my mother’s aortic aneurysm will get off scott free. A vital, if confused, woman is sitting in my china cabinet on a shelf instead of walking around. I could also look at it another way. My mother had some form of dementia. If she were forced to face that fact, she would be devastated. Perhaps her relatively early death–and 86 years old is young for a death in our family–was a secret blessing. I don’t look at it that way, but someone else could.

I find myself wishing for days of old when my great-uncles, Mom’s uncles, were alive and were active heads of this branch of the clan. So much shit wouldn’t happen. For one thing, I wouldn’t be forced to leave town because I get absolutely no respect from the second generation of the clan here even though there would be no family reunions without all of the work and money that I put into them. I could plan one practically in my sleep with only six months lead time. There are certain things at which I am extremely good and there are some things I know very little about. I know my limitations. That’s why it is rare that I fall flat on my face. I admit what I don’t know and I either learn that skill on my own or ask someone to teach me. However, more often than not, I ask someone who knows what they are doing to help. My momma didn’t raise no fool. I wish I could say the same of everyone in the clan. My blood relatives are all incredibly smart and talented. The step-children we inherited due to the hypocritical brother’s marriage to the social-climbing witch are . . . well, let’s just say that they leave a lot to be desired intellectually. For that matter, if I really think about it, even his natural children have their issues. They are still smart and talented, but they get themselves into screwed up situations. I’m hardly the one to pass judgement on them, though. I’ve been in one fucked up situation after another. At least that’s the way it seems.

I don’t want to leave town at all. I keep telling myself that even if I change location, I can’t run from myself. The thing is, I’m not running from myself as much as I’m running from people who disrespect me at every turn. I can’t stand it anymore. I am not valued as a human being, much less as part of the clan. For example, I asked the only cousin I could if I could have/borrow $3,000 to pay lawyers to keep fighting foreclosure on the house for a few months while my credit improves. He left me dangling and waiting. I’m sure he knew that he was putting me through hell because that’s his specialty. He loves it when I squirm or hurt thanks to something he’s done. He’s tried to destroy me for over a decade. I didn’t want to ask him for the money, but I was desperate. In some way I have yet to discern, I was told by another cousin that I’d alienated the one I’d asked for money. She said it was something I said on Facebook. I’ve looked through all of my posts and I can’t find anything. I did make a distinction between “family” and “relatives.” I did say in a letter that I thought I wrote after I’d withdrawn my request that he was a relative but that I’d wanted him to be family. He knows what he did to me. How else am I supposed to feel about him? I forgave him some time ago. But I will never forget. I can’t. What he did to me over a decade ago easily falls within the Top 5 most influential events of my life. The first thing is being born. The second is dying (which we all eventually do). That leaves three open spots and I can fill one of those three, thereby really leaving two. That’s fairly profound.

Why stay in a place where there aren’t people who see me as intelligent, capable, imaginative, talented, etc.? All the cousin from whom I’d asked the money said was that my plan to pay him back would fall through and that I’d better have a “Plan B.” Since I didn’t give him the specifics of my plan at all, he has no basis on which to make that judgement. He also assumed that I didn’t have another way of getting my business off the ground. Is it me or is it men? They seem to feel they have all the answers to questions that haven’t even been asked. In their eyes, I couldn’t possibly know what I’m doing. That’s not to say I don’t take advice because I do. It’s just that the advice has to be from a credible source and the criticism be constructive and valid. As I painstakingly said above, I know my limitations.

What does this have to do with mourning? Well, as I said, I’ve been really angry lately. There are days when I feel as though I will boil over with rage. I have less patience for people, but definitely have patience with my girls. Even when the oldest of my resident master thieves, my middle child, stole a steak I’d delicately prepared for over two hours until it was finally broiled just the way I like it, I yelled at her and put her in a time out in her crate. I didn’t hit her at all. She has since gone on to steal my cereal by quickly standing on her hind legs and copping a couple of licks out of the bowl or knocking the bowl out of my hands from underneath. She’s getting more and more daring and I honestly don’t know what to do to stop her. I think she’s doing this as her way of saying that she needs more intellectual stimulation. We need to get back outside on our favorite trails, just the two of us. I don’t know how to fit the other two in, though, and I feel guilty leaving them here.

I don’t want to leave my home. My mother, in her dementia, put me in this position. Truthfully, I’m not sure this house will last another six months it’s in such bad shape. She took out a predatory home equity loan for half of the appraised value. Well, the appraisal was inflated by at least $20,000. She refused to see that. She also said that she wouldn’t die and leave me holding the bag. I was so furious with her when she did that. I tried to stop her using reason, pointing out that the loan officer was not her friend but was working for the bank, had a hissy fit and said that the bank would not see one dime from me. They won’t. I don’t want this house, but I need a place to live while I fix the good credit that was ruined trying to keep the house running on my measly SSD check. My bills didn’t get paid. I could barely feed the girls and me. Then, to have her brother spread the malicious lie that I got a lot of insurance money when Mom died? That puts a period at the end of my desire to have anything to do with 90% of the clan. I want out and away from their toxicity. I will end up sad, bitter and broken-hearted if I stay here. I’m sad, bitter and broken-hearted now. I don’t want to feel this way for the rest of my life.

In an earlier post, I asked for help making a decision about using this blog to promote my “character” when I begin shooting and submitting photos of myself to devotees of amputees. I’ve decided that I will keep this blog as is. Few know it’s here and I want to keep it that way. I can easily start another one specifically for the character I’ve named “Velvet Mocha.” I thank all of you who’ve at least read the blog entry even if your only comment was to say that you “Liked” it. I finally have all of the equipment and costumes/underwear/nightgowns I need for the first set of photos. However, I have to clean my bedroom from top to bottom so that I can use it as a set. I have to vacuum another room that has very fine sawdust on the floor that will get on the fabric I intend to buy as a backdrop that’s going to cost about $100. Needless to say, if I’m going to spend that kind of money, I don’t want to ruin it the first time it’s used.

I have some misgivings about taking advantage of a fluke of biochemistry. It’s not so much that as it is that I don’t want to get too explicit in the photos. I am all for erotica that celebrates the sexuality of disabled people. I do not want to be a porn star. I am deeply concerned that I’ll end up having to get more and more explicit in order to make the money I need to move. But, it’s always been women who do what we must for the good of our families. I’ll just have to suck it up and be as explicit as I need to be to sell photos and site memberships. I don’t want to look back one day and say to myself, “What have I done?” That is, I must admit, putting the cart before the horse. For now, I plan to make the experience fun, sensual and sexy. I can do that and not feel badly about myself at all. In fact, I would like to tap into my suppressed sexuality and allow it freedom once again. I can be proud of that even if this entire situation is one that should not be.

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