Tuesday, January 03, 2023

They Aren’t Her

 To say the last couple of years have been the worst in my life would be an understatement. 

Yes, I have fantastic children, an amazing Stephen, precious friends who fill in the missing places, and the most Earth shattering grandson that ever existed; but, at the end of every day, I lay down, and my heart literally hurts because my sister isn't here.

I know I should be gratefu,l and at times I am, but most times I'm just mad. Combined with other losses, it feels most times impossible. Combined with my literally begging people for "normal" I genuinely cannot find enough tears. 

It's all made worse because I really do have all those people and things above, and I know that I have hurt all of them in this place. They are trying, they are some really phenomenal people, but they are not my Andreana. Or Andramada, as I called her, well, because. 

They are not the baby I spent countless hours wrapping their broken leg in Saran wrap before I bathed her. 

They aren't the little red headed baby I grieved heavily over as I bounced through foster care. 

They aren't the funny little barefooted girl who hid amongst my pile of stuffed animals for photos. 

They aren't the young woman who worked so hard to rise above her circumstances. 

They aren't the Mama who chose life for her babies when she knew it might kill her. 

They aren't my saving grace when life broke me, who gave me one cheddar round, and a sweet tea, every morning when she drove my babies to school. 

They aren't the ones who laughed as I cut all the chocolate off my Snickers bars and ate it because the chocolate ratio was off. 

They aren't the one who waxed places we should not have waxed, when we clearly should not have been waxing. 

They aren't the ones who did the Cupid shuffle with my parrot with me. 

They aren't the one who drove way too fast to Gatlinburg to rescue my babies, and piled way too many people in their little ass car, because they could get there faster than me. 

They aren't the ones who grabbed my Mama and drove to Charlotte when they knew I had reached my breaking point. 

They aren't the ones who sat up with me all night, for days, when I hurt too much to see morning.

They aren’t and can’t be. I don’t know how to navigate feeling this way. 

Friday, December 16, 2022

What you need to know about suicide

 As most know, I work in the mental health field and have spent the last two years taking calls, all day long, from people in crisis, many of whom are suicidal. Here are some things you need to know.

1. Every single caller I have spoken to thinks that everyone else is ok. I will say to them, “Listen, I’m sure your company loves and appreciates you. BUT, I’m expensive. Your company would not hire an entire staff of counselors like me if you were the only one who needed help.” Most give a little nervous laugh but still don’t believe me because when they look around they see everyone else doing great.” So, I’ll ask them, Who knows you are talking to me right now? No one. Right, and in the same way, you don’t know who else is calling either.” 

2. There are sometimes delays with the National Suicide Hotline (988) or Crisis Text Line (741741). If you are giving out resources to someone you know that is struggling, give multiple options. An easy way to find resources is to search the topic they are dealing with or their demographics + crisis line. An example, for a new mom, you could search new parent crisis hotline. 

3. Be nice to people calling you, yes, even unwanted calls.  You really don’t know what the person is going through behind the scenes. I have been on calls with customer service employees who were in hysterics and would get a call and have to put me on hold. I would hear them take a breath and switch on their professional voice to get through the call. I would wait on the wailing that comes after suffocating oneself for the sake of security. That customer had no idea their actions or words could be what pushes that person to suicide. 

4. Do NOT be afraid to ask hard questions. People want to talk. They are silently begging for someone to see them.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Do you hear me, even now?

 I’m sure it is no surprise to you that we aren’t friends right now. 

I forgave you for him, and him, and so many hims, most days,  my heart can’t breathe.

I forgave you for lost babies.

I forgave you for repeated patterns,  loneliness, and even still….

You took my Andramada.

Fuck you for that. 

And with that, most of your people just stopped listening. 

Jessi said bad words. 

They can’t handle bad words or big brokenness. They have somehow deluded themselves into thinking it is what you said.

They forgot about what it must feel like to have nails hammered through your wrists while your people said nothing.

They forgot how much your heart broke knowing he could have stopped this, but didn’t.

So many things I could say, but…..

But NOWHERE did you ever preach a prosperity gospel.

You knew it was nonsense created by the comfortable

NOWHERE did you ever say things would be ok, you just promised we wouldn’t be alone.

So here I am, the most screwed up of these, begging your people to show up, because people are dying.

People are smiling on TikTok, being snarky on instagram, and dying in the darkness.

So if they won’t, I have reached a point where my love for them is bigger than my anger for you. My guess is that is how you may have felt. 

This should be interesting. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

You are That Person

 Take a moment and think about that person. The one who you cringe when you hear their name. The one who, in one way or another, betrayed, hurt, or broke you. The one who you at one time loved or cared for deeply. The one who no matter what, you could not ever allow back in your life.

Now, guess what? You are that to someone else. 

A very hard learned lesson for me over the last year, as I have learned to value and protect me, as I have put down solid boundaries, and let go. 

It isn’t about restoration,  forgiveness, or healing. It just isn’t.

If your heartfelt apology, or more, wasn’t enough, it won’t be, and that’s ok. 

They need you as far away as you need those who have hurt you.

For me, it’s been accepting siblings and people I cared for deeply were lost to me. Not because anyone is bad or unforgiving or hateful, but because I have done things that they have decided are too much, in the exact same way I have decided about others.

And, it’s honestly the best. In distance and boundaries healing can finally happen. Not of relationships but of the wounds left by those relationships. 

Stop trying to repair things or go back to places that no longer hold a safe space for you. Move forward into the beauty that is your tomorrow’s.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Safety Plans Or Bike Rides and Other Things I Missed

When my kids were younger, I spent years caring for and trying to help others in need. People who never appreciated it, never apologized for the things they did, never tried to do better. I grew up in need and felt I was giving back, doing good, making the world a better place. I thought I was teaching my children to be kind, generous, loving. I gave and gave while they took all these beautiful moments and opportunities I had been given and sucked them into the endless void of narcissism. 

I missed holidays and school events sitting in psyc ERs or meetings. My kids learned safety plans instead of how to ride their bike.  Therapist and case managers became family and friends because I did not have time or energy for establishing and maintaining real relationships. 

It took me far too long to realize that I mattered too, that my kids mattered, that safety and peace mattered. 

I meant to teach love and what I taught them was that other people’s needs mattered more. 

I’m truly grateful that as adults my kids are slowly unlearning and growing beyond the damage I allowed. I’m grateful they are learning boundaries and self care. I’m grateful for their forgiveness and patience as I am learning too. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Where I’m From

Something I wrote using the "Where I'm From," a poem by George Ella Lyon, as a template.

Where I'm From

I’m from empty grocery bags from Walmart and being disposable.

I’m from the beautiful chaos of a blended family.

I’m from the mountains, the darkness, the stars that only show up when all light disappears.

I’m from the creativity of the Sutphins, the tenacity of the Freemans, and names recorded in police records instead of bibles.

I am from mistakes and misunderstandings but never giving up.

From, “It’s our little secret” and a God who didn’t see me.

I’m from the Appalachians, soup beans, cornbread, and hobo packs.

From the one time we tied fish to our feet for shoes and other crazy stories we joked about to keep from crying about the truth.

I’m from photos piled in bags left on sidewalks with the trash sorted through in desperation looking for home.

I’m from yesterday, a constant longing for everydays, and dreams of tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

His Name is Stephen

His name is Stephen.
He is kind,
Curious and brave,
He draws her out of her hiding place.
His name is Stephen,
and it seems he has found keys
to doors and places
buried so deeply within her,
she had forgotten they even existed.
His name is Stephen
and he makes her smile,
and laugh,
and her eyes dance.
His name is Stephen
he makes yesterday irrelevant,
today lovely,
and tomorrow hopeful.
Her name is Jessica
and she has one foot stuck in the mire of society,
the failure of ambitions,
the tears of dreams lost.
But no worries my sweet friend,
because her other foot is holding fast in. . .
and all that means
His name is Stephen,
Her name is Jessica,
and together
they will conquor the atmosphere.
They have time.

They Aren’t Her

 To say the last couple of years have been the worst in my life would be an understatement.  Yes, I have fantastic children, an amazing Step...