Tag Archives: courage

Eli Writes

(Note from Susan: I am completely ok with profanity on my blog, but I wanted to just put up a note here to let readers know that today’s post from Eli is from the heart and contains profanity.)

Lately I’ve been feeling depressed and weirdly optimistic in almost equal measure, though not at the same time. My unending slog through my county’s (and the neighboring county’s) justice system inspires a nice big dose of anxiety and despair every now and then, usually a few times per day, and then the fact that I’m not in jail right NOW makes me feel great for a few minutes. These pesky emotions are not only unpredictable but wildly oscillating. It’s as if my drug consumption gave me artificial bipolar disorder for a time. From past experience I know it eventually gets better, but the road there is pretty long and daunting. Especially right now.

I was actually going to write down all the stuff I have to do in this blog post just to keep track of it and it was so fucking overwhelming that I deleted everything and started over. There’s so much going on and I feel like I’m falling down a waterfall without any control over pretty much anything. I have fines and bills to pay – more than I can ever hope to pay in the time allotted – and no job to pay for them. I can most likely get a great job, but then I’ll probably just lose it in less than two weeks at my next court date (if they do indeed decide to ship me off to a locked-down inpatient rehab). I do yard work to raise money for my fees, which are monumental and will remain while I am in inpatient. To get out of inpatient you have to have a full time job and a place to stay – which requires transportation and a good amount of money. But if I get confined to inpatient, I’ll lose my job, my car, and get my credit absolutely fucked for good measure. How is that going to help me? Am I expected to go out into the world (like the people in their late 20s and 30s I go to Outpatient with) without a car, living in a halfway house and taking a bus all over town to go to my shitty minimum-wage fast food job while every spare cent goes toward bills, fines and food? How the fuck is that setting me up for success?

Today I feel trapped. I feel trapped by time, which marches relentlessly forward to my dreaded August 14th court date. I feel trapped by the court, which demands my compliance with every rule without ever extending grace. I feel trapped by my addiction, which continues to tell me literally all goddamn day every goddamn day that since I’m probably getting taken away anyway I might as well take narcotics until I forget my own fucking name.

I won’t pretend I have a better answer to drug addiction, necessarily, than what my local county offers. All I know is that being treated like a defective criminal is one of the most likely things in the world to turn me into a defective criminal. I don’t want to turn into someone who is 26, works at Taco Bell, and alternates between struggling to catch the bus all over our ghetto of a downtown and relapsing on heroin. But that’s what I see in my treatment here. I was locked up with THREE other guys from my intensive outpatient, for christ’s sake, who all got high too. More are getting high and just aren’t caught yet. Relapsing is rampant, and if it’s not the simple fact that we’re all drug addicts, it’s the simple fact that a tone of hopelessness pervades the entire experience.

I know I need some of this stuff. I just wish I knew which I needed. I’m trying to make the best of it but it’s like I get cut down at every turn. If nobody else wants to cut me down, I often take the reins and do it myself. I remember when I was in high school and I just didn’t give enough of a shit to bring a pencil to a makeup test in my AP English class. The teacher obviously took the subject seriously, and she sighed wistfully, watching me with a sad look on her face as she asked me, “do you always self-sabotage like this?”

I told her yes. And that was the first time I realized it was true. If it’s not self-harm, it’s drugs. And if it’s not any of that it tends to be apathy. Being in my head, at this point, is tortuous, constantly demanding me to ruminate over all the fucking ridiculous shit in my life that was NEVER supposed to happen, and this thing I’ve awoken inside me that refuses to be vanquished. I used to love being so different. Now I wish I was normal. “But Eli,” you frantically stab your keyboard to drive the point home. “There’s no such thing as normal.” Yeah, I’ve heard that and I raise you a heroin addiction and a complete squandering of intellect while literally EVERYONE else my age goes on to college to actually continue their goddamn lives, keeps their fucking jobs and doesn’t get arrested.

Today I’d rather not be me.

If I were Brave

It’s been awhile since I have attended a Sunday morning service at my last church. This place is really top-drawer when it comes to quality of video and music, but I still found myself aggravated within about a minute of the service starting. This place is really directed to twenty-somethings, and the stage is full of young people earnestly singing, playing instruments, and giving the standard Sunday morning routine at this particular church, talking up the upcoming events and how many people they need and how to sign up, and then showing some crash hot stats about the big effects the Financial Peace University has been having on the group members, and finally segueing from there into a time “to be generous, to fuel the life-changes that happen around here” (i.e., give an offering).

Texted my Christian, non-church-going sister and said pray for me to get through this service, sort of tongue in cheek. She reminded me that if I was looking for things to be irritated about, I would most definitely find them, so she encouraged me to focus on whatever good I could see in the service. I agreed and signed off.

Oh, by the way, the reason I was even there is because I wanted Kepler to be able to attend his class, and Greg had left this morning for his next business trip. Either I had to go, or Kepler wouldn’t get to.

So I listened to the message, which was presented by the senior pastor from a place in Israel. (similar to a destination wedding, I suppose). I’m not exactly sure what the theme of the message was today, but I did notice that the call to action was basically to do a brave thing. He mentioned several things, including have a child, and ask a girl out. Although those are the only two I remember, I am not suggesting that his suggestions were frivolous. The main point I came away from it with was that anybody with any beliefs at all could suggest that their listeners be brave and do the brave thing.

The brave thing that came to mind for me is to embrace parenting Kepler like I did parenting the big kids. But I don’t want to. I worked so so so so hard with my older kids, having certain expectations and a clear attachment to the outcome, and all that has happened is that I have had to discover more and more how to allow them to be their own unique individuals, accepting that each of them are on their own journeys, and that their journeys look different than I thought they would.

(Some of my kids occasionally read my blog, and I want to clarify that even though my expectations and attachments to outcome were foiled, I believe that it is a good thing that each of them is on their own journey. I believe it is right that part of my learning is to allow each of them to walk their own path. I an thrilled with the people that they are. I just recognize that there was a just a lot that young mother me did not know.)

I believed back then. I believed that what I was teaching them was right, that homeschooling was a fabulous idea, that church involvement was a pre-requisite for a satisfying, upright life. I believed in black and white back then. I believed I knew what was black and what was white.

I trust the Universe enough to recognize that there are no doubt aspects to embracing parenting Kepler wholeheartedly that would change me for the better, and few that could possibly change me for the worse. But I haven’t figured out my why for this. I guess with the big kids, my why was so unconsciously strong, I never had to stop and think about it much. I believed in self-improvement and perfection, to the detriment of understanding the importance of contributing to the greater good. It sucks pretty much to look back now and think I was lacking in such basic understandings.

There are ways in which parenting Kepler feels like it is something more than I can actually handle on my own. I have no idea how to fight for inclusion for him in the school system. I have no idea how to persevere with teaching a child who learns so much more slowly. I really have no idea how to motivate myself to be enthusiastic about teaching him, to be enthusiastic about trying new and different things to help him learn information. How to continue to set boundaries and enforce them over and over and over and over again.

I might have missed a terribly important window back when he was tiny and I was reeling from his birth. Basically, I think I’m probably just going about this all wrong. But I really don’t know how else to approach it.

No tidy lesson today. No breakthrough yet. Just some honest wrestlings with the circumstances I am in. But I’ll leave you with a song by Jana Stanfield that continues to inspire me, even in the midst of these questions: