Warrior Princess

November 24, 2004

Having Come Full Circle

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, The Trouble with Boys — ggirl @ 3:31 pm

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”~Albert Schweitzer

After my father’s marriage was over, he started taking medication. This may have been a result of the arrest for child kidnapping (and whatever else). He did go through a period when we all had to regularly go to the emergency room with him because he thought he was having a heart attack. I’m talking twice a weekend, every weekend, at least. Sometimes more. I

t’s possible that the Court made the suggestion that he seek psychiatric help. Otherwise, I can’t imagine him even acknowledging he had a problem. The medication seemed to diminish his proclivity for violence, but we were engaged in a cold war. I had to spend time in the same room with my father, but I wasn’t interested in engaging in any kind of dialog with him.

He had regularly scheduled visitation with his daughter. Of course, I was fearful that all of this contact might result in the return of his wife to my life. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Many years later, I learned that he’d given his daughter up for adoption to whatever man his ex-wife married. They moved to Minnesota, I think.

Backing up a bit, I started dating when i was a junior in high school. That year i went to various school dances, but never had a relationship of any sort with my dates. They were all in accelerated classes and, even though I might have found their minds interesting, I wasn’t interested at all in their hearts or bodies. I didn’t have any particular interest in relationships until around Christmas of my junior year when I just woke up one day and decided I was in love with someone who participated in the literary magazine. He was not interested.  I pined away for him for the rest of the year.

Michael and I did get together at Christmas of my senior year and started dating as regularly as possible. He was attending college in another city about 5 hours away. The problem with Michael was that he was a lot more interested in my body than my mind. However, he was making a valiant stab at improving my mind, too, by sending me books to read. I was not charmed by that behavior. I knew that I was his intellectual equal, whether he knew it or not. also, I believe(d) that sort of relationship was inherently unequal. I’d had a pretty good look at unequal relationships in which one party believed themselves to be brighter than the other half and I had absolutely no intention of having that kind of relationship with Michael or anyone else.

Since he was away at school, I started hanging out with some guys who were also in my literary magazine meetings. I had something of a romantic relationship with one of them, but I think my motivation was simply to see if I could make someone fall in love with me. Thus began the practice of having two boyfriends, one in the city where I lived and one who lived somewhere else. It wasn’t until just recently that I came to see the parallels to my father’s relationships.

There were some profound differences, though. I only slept with one person at a time, usually the one who lived out of town. I didn’t play them against each other and I was very open about the fact that I had a “serious” boyfriend with the person I was having a non-sexual relationship with. There was no violence in my relationships.

At the end of my senior year, I broke up with Michael. I could see that, the way things were going, we’d be having sex by the end of the summer. I was very aware of the possible ramifications from my sexual abuse. I was afraid that if we had sex, I would hate him. In the meantime, my other boyfriend had found greener pastures. I worked and prepared to leave for college in the fall.

I think I’ve now come full circle from where I started this history. I may continue to tell the tale a bit more, because my childhood never ends. It’s a living part of my life even now and I suppose it would be silly for me to assume it would ever be otherwise. There are darker stories I haven’t told yet; I have to find additional courage to speak those truths.  That’s for another day, though.

Since it’s thanksgiving tomorrow, here are some of the things I’m grateful for today. I’m grateful for sunshine (it stopped raining finally yesterday). I’m grateful for all of the people who have loved me or been kind to me. I’m grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had to love other people. I’m grateful for hitting the genetic jackpot and surviving my hellhole childhood. I’m grateful for being able to hang on to compassion. Probably enough for today.

November 23, 2004

The End of the Marriage

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 3:20 pm

“Lying is done with words and also with silence.”~Adrienne Rich

After the ninth grade, I transferred to another school. My dad insisted that I do it because, he said, it was a better school. I thought it was because he wanted to get me away from my friend. As much as I hate to admit it, he was right, it was a better school.

I made a couple of new friends after I’d been going there for a couple of months. We weren’t particularly like one another, but then none of my friends had ever been very much like me. My home life was just the same as always. Dad still married to the girl, mom still sleeping with me. No furniture. By that time, I had devoted myself to school work because it meant I could phase out and forget how it felt to be living my life. I didn’t want to be around my father or his wife. The smell of baby shit depressed the fuck out of me. Furthermore, if my father could see me, there was a good possibility he’d start harassing me. Occasionally, he’d make me hang out with him. I always wondered why. I assumed he was aware of how much I hated him. I don’t know why I thought that; I did my dead level best to keep my feelings to myself. To this day, when i’m angry I frequently adopt a distant, preoccupied look. I was never aware of it until my therapist mentioned it.

By the time I was a junior, I had found a true friend. She was my english teacher. I met her because I wanted to be in the accelerated english program. I went to speak with her and she encouraged me to give it a try. I was also submitting poetry to the high school literary magazine she sponsored.

She came to give me safe haven when I couldn’t stand my life anymore. She kept me alive when I was suicidal. She gave me hope. She loved me. The world was a little less lonely.

Somewhere before christmas of my senior year, my father’s wife once again decided she’d had enough. She left and I believe she took her daughter with her. Somehow my father got her in his clutches and absconded with her. He finally had to acknowledge she was his child. Even though I already knew that, his admission just further enraged me.

My dad left the state with the child and went to see his mom. I don’t recall how long he stayed there, but I’m sure it wasn’t long enough, as far as I was concerned. I actually hoped never to see him again. Wrong again. He decided the coast was clear, apparently, and returned with his mother and child in tow to a small town not far away from where we lived. My mother started visiting him (brilliant, right?), but I refused.

At some point in that period of time, my father’s wife, her brother and sister and maybe a couple of other people broke into our house in the middle of the night. They were fortunate that I was unable to get to the gun I knew was in the house. I was also fortunate because I might well have killed someone. We left the house and returned another day to find that all of my stuff had been taken. Since there wasn’t much else in the house, they just decided to steal things from me.

I’ve always read a lot and kept those books which were meaningful to me for one reason or another. They took my books. Trust me, they did not take them to read them. No one in her family was bright enough to read them. My mom and I moved into a garage apartment.

Also about that time, my dad’s wife and sister in law would show up at my school in the afternoons. I lived outside the area the school bus served, so I would wait for my mom till she got off of work. Walking out to my car, they would surround me and threaten me.

All of that ended when they figured out where my dad was. He was arrested and put in jail. My mother and i were required (by my father) to show up for his court date. I’m not sure what good that was supposed to do, but I didn’t have any control over the situation, as usual. once again, I was humiliated by the circumstances in which I lived.

November 22, 2004

Isolation

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Uncategorized — ggirl @ 2:55 pm

“You can have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power.”~Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

It’s still raining. It’s been raining off and on all weekend. I’m talking downpours. Right now there’s a break in the rain, but the skies are still gray and there’s more rain to come.

So when I was 13 I met two friends. I actually had a couple of other friends, but only two with whom I was very close and knew about my home life (to some extent). I later learned that my friend Gale had been sexually abused by her father for years and years. She was also a Jehovah’s Witness, which didn’t matter to me, but became a means to an end for my father.

Gale had a kind and gentle heart. She was also hilarious and far more outgoing than I. of course, even then I brought new meaning to the word “introverted.” I can’t tell you how it cheered me up that she thought I was worthy of being her friend. Remember that I had had no friends for quite some time. At that point, I was just pleased that people would allow me to sit in the same room with them. I think of Gale frequently even now, hoping she’s found a safe and loving place to be.

I was also hanging out with another girl, Kathryn, who had a very bad reputation. It was 1967 and she was a hippie. I smile now to think about it. She was pretty comfortable with broadcasting around the school that she had a lover, a 13-year old boy named Clifford. Clifford was kind of a mess. In retrospect, he was quite clearly a neglected child and, perhaps abused in other ways, too. Given the fact that she was sexually active so early, I’d be willing to bet anything that she was sexually abused, too.

One of my favorite things about her, aside from her intelligence and artistic abilities, was that she was rebellious. I had worked up a serious distaste for virtually every adult I met. I just wasn’t as vocal about it as Kathryn. With her,Ii could allow that part of myself to come out and play.

I remember once in algebra class, my teacher told me that I should pick my friends more carefully because it was on the basis of my friends that people judged me. Once again, this information was imparted in front of everyone in the class. Thanks, dickhead. He seemed to believe I could just pick and choose who I hung out with. The “nice” kids didn’t want to have anything to do with me. What the hell was I supposed to do, just continue to be completely alone so that the idiotic adults around me would think better of me? I was contemptuous.

The problem with Gale began in the summer of the seventh grade. My father had done something that enraged me–I no longer know what it was. I wrote a letter to Gale in which I told her I thought he was insane. Before I had a chance to send it, he managed to read the letter. He was enraged with me, of course,  because I had hit upon the truth and he knew it. He forbade me to have any further contact. Once again, I was totally isolated. Worse yet, he decided not to speak to me for the rest of the summer. You would think that would have been a good thing, but when my dad wasn’t talking to you, there was no telling when things might escalate into a situation where I could be physically hurt. I had already decided that I’d had about enough of the hitting and that the next time he hit me would be the last. I have no idea what I thought I would do. I had considered running away from home, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out that wasn’t a workable plan. I had nowhere to go, no money, no friends. Leaving was out of the question. Luckily, the need never arose because he never hit me again.

Nonetheless, it was like living in a prison. My father was not a guy who could let things go. I wasn’t in much of a mood to apologize and it wouldn’t have done me any good anyway. He wanted me to believe that the reason he didn’t want me to see Gale was because he was afraid I would become a Jehovah’s Witness. I recognized that for exactly what it was. A lie. The latest self-serving lie in a long line of them. I just learned how to be a little sneakier. I appeared to comply, but I continued to see my friend. That incident marked a further deterioration in my relationship with him.

November 19, 2004

What Do You Mean, Depressed?

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 2:34 pm

“The voice of parents is the voice of gods, for to their children they are heaven’s lieutenants.”~William Shakespeare

I guess it’s worth mentioning here that all this old stuff I’m dredging up is making me depressed as hell. My therapist suggested that it might be why I’ve been so down lately. Oddly enough, I hadn’t considered that.

I had also not considered that one of the (many) sources of my depression is my recognition that no one ever considered my needs important. Sometimes I felt like Athena, sprung from my father’s forehead. He thought me into existence. When i was younger, I had a lot of trouble determining what I might be other than what my parents wished me to be. of course, I’ve figured it out since then.

Nonetheless, I have to acknowledge that neither of my parents–for different reasons, probably–was capable of seeing me as a small human. If they told me I was supposed to sit somewhere, they expected to find me there when they came back, irrespective of how long they stayed away. I was like a doll for them. They were actually the only important people, only their needs and desires were worth noting. Do I find that depressing? Well, I guess so. The problem is that one can only have one’s own life. Had i had a different, better life before I lived with my family, I’m certain I would have recognized the problem for what it was.

I have some friends who had good childhoods, but I can’t really compare. I have no real idea what it is to have a sane family. I have no idea what it must be like to have a mother and father who acknowledge your humanity on a daily basis. I have no clue as to what it would be like to have my parents do something for me when they couldn’t see how it would directly benefit them.

That’s about enough for today.

November 17, 2004

The Baby Comes and My Father Finds Someone Else He Likes More Than Me

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 1:20 pm

“It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.”~ H.L. Mencken

Before I begin my continuing litany of what went wrong with my life, just an update on what’s going wrong now. My hubby is somewhat bipolar, I think, and he’s in the midst of a slight upswing into the manic mode. Unfortunately, this is not the type of mania that leads to euphoria. He’s been in a bad mood for at least a couple of days now. I’m much better about dealing with it than ever before. I pretty much leave him alone to work out his own mood disorder. I try not to get anxious. Unfortunately, he has this nasty habit of slamming doors when he’s irritable. Every time he does it, I can feel a tremor run through my nervous system. I consider it a triumph that I’m able to recognize what’s going on and detach from it a little. I guess this is really just desserts after my little tirade about triggers yesterday. Yes, boys and girls, I do have triggers. I have many. I generally just manage to carry on, nonetheless. As i am doing now. It’s just a little blip on the radar screen of unpleasantness. It is unpleasant, though, and maybe a little scary.

It’s been raining here for two days now. The sun has been out for about half an hour now and I’m so thrilled to see it. Relentlessly gray skies wear me down emotionally. It’s supposed to be clear for a couple of days, so maybe I can regain my emotional equilibrium.

Okay, so where was I in the saga of trauma? Oh yeah, the baby. When i was around 13, I noticed what appeared to be a growing pregnancy in my father’s wife (yes, that would be the 15 year old). There was, of course, general denial, although I don’t think I ever actually mentioned it to anyone. You know, what would have been the point? After the baby was born and returned to my house, my dad told me it was someone else’s kid. Yes, this pisses me off even today. I endured. what else can I say? I was enraged and contemptuous of him. Somewhere in there, before the whole baby thing, my father decided he’d found someone else he liked more than me.

We went to visit his family in Hillbilly USA because, I guess, he wanted to demonstrate to his mother and siblings what a cool thing he was doing. He took the wife with us, along with my mom. If you’d buried me in a hill of fire ants, you could not have caused me any more torture than sitting in a fucking car with all of them for a good 7 hours (one way). While we were visiting the folks, my father dropped in on his oldest sister at her house. She had several kids, including a girl who was my age. Se seemed to hit it off. Of course, it’s easy to hit it off when you’re looking for any distraction available so you don’t have to think about what a huge fucking mess your life is through no fault of your own.

My dad’s great idea was to bring her back with us for a visit. I don’t know how long the visit was supposed to last, but in retrospect, it seems like several months. Well, guess what? Once she got there, my dad used every opportunity to point out how she was better than I was. She dressed better. She had less acne. She was smarter. Goddamn it. Just in case I wasn’t getting the message already that he thought I was just a huge piece of shit, here was further evidence.

Have i mentioned how much I hated him? I worked up a pretty fair hatred of my cousin, too. By the time she left, I never wanted to see her again and, in fact, I never have. I understand that she’s been living with another cousin of ours for about the past 15 years or so. Just to be clear, the cousin is a male and yes, they’re having a sexual relationship. No children, luckily. It’s the scandal of the family. That would make me laugh if it weren’t so grim. Let’s see now. We have a father (my grandfather) who definitely sexually abused at least one of his daughters, but I’m guessing all of them. He also allegedly sexually abused his sons. It’s my own personal guess that his wife (my grandmother) also sexually abused the boys.

I have at least one uncle who sexually abused at least three of his nieces. he may or may not have raped someone. He definitely sexually abused his own daughter. I have a father who’s also a pedophile and a sadist. My father said that he once caught his mother in bed with some guy who wasn’t his dad. I don’t know about that…it’s definitely possible, but with my dad you could just never be sure whether he imagined it. He also told me he’d interrupted a conversation between my grandmother and one of my aunts about murdering my grandfather. My personal take on this is, wouldn’t you? So given all of this, they all consider it surprising and scandalous that my two cousins are cohabitating? I also have a cousin who’s gay. He’s been officially excommunicated from the family. He might actually be one of the lucky ones. There are more fun stories from my father’s family, but no time now to delve into them.

November 16, 2004

Okay, I’m a Bitch

Filed under: Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 2:32 pm

I can’t believe how mean spirited I was being about people suffering from ptsd. It must be the root canal talking….

Could You Possibly Just Buck Up?

“I seldom think of my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.”~Helen Keller

I had part 2 of the root canal today, so I’m feeling a little worn out already and it’s only mid-afternoon.

I’ve been reading some more messages from folks in my complex post traumatic stress disorder group. I’m once again struck by how many of them have found themselves completely unable to function normally. (Whatever “normal” means.) A few of them have been homeless off and on, most are unable to hold a regular job. It sort of takes my breath away. I mentioned this to my therapist a couple of weeks ago and she was also surprised at the number of people who’ve given up.

Even though I can appreciate the extreme difficulty of finding and keeping a job, there is defintely some part of me that thinks people should just pull themselves together and try hard to function. They speak of being triggered on a regular basis. Hell, life itself is triggering. I mean, sometimes the way light fills a room can trigger flashbacks or dissociation for me. People being angry is triggering. People startling me is triggering. Anyting and everything carries some terrible memory; nothing is untouched.

Nonetheless, I’ve been employed for most of my adult life. Furthermore, I’ve been employed in highly demanding jobs. I never thought there was an option. I need to eat and I’d prefer not to live under a bridge somewhere. I’m incredibly independent and would never be able to tolerate depending on someone else’s charity. (Several of the people are staying with friends while they await word on their disability status.)

I know this sounds like I’m denigrating people who are in more difficult places in their lives. I guess maybe I am, as much as I hate to admit it. I’m a very compassionate person and I’m a little surprised at my reaction. I know it’s exhausting to continually push yourself forward when all you want to do is lie down somewhere and sleep for about a decade. If you decide to give up, though, there’s no hope you’ll ever be able to care for yourself. Caring for one’s self is critical. If you depend on others, you invite continued abuse (of many different types).

The members of the group also tend to discount what “normal” people say because they believe that no one understands ptsd unless they’ve lived through it. Well, okay. I suppose it’s true that most people don’t know what it feels like to have images of incredible violence arise in their heads because they just picked up a stick from their front yard. Do I need for them to understand? It would probably be nice, but it’s certainly not mandatory for adequate treatment. When their therapists tell them to buck up, they get really pissed off about it. When their psychiatrists prescribe anti-depressants/anti-anxiety/anti-whatever, it pisses them off that the doctor is only “masking” the underlying pain. Hey, take what you can get. If masking the pain helps you to get out of bed and go to work, then use it.

I know i’ve been blessed with an extremely hardy constitution and an iron will. They’ve propelled me through life and helped me to live a normal life even though deep inside I’m in great pain. My compadres talk about wanting to be strong and independent…but only if they can be on ssi. I wish them luck, but i don’t think that’s how it works. Instead of being dependent on family and friends, they’re dependent on THE STATE. That might be even worse.

Well I’m clearly not feeling very charitable today and I’m in no mood to go traipsing through old memories.

November 15, 2004

Root Canal and Distrust

Filed under: Marriage, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 2:15 pm

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.”~Alfred Adler

I had a root canal on Thursday afternoon and I’m just now feeling better. I haven’t been able to open my mouth more than about half an inch all weekend…makes it a little difficult to eat. I have part two tomorrow at 11:00, so I may be missing a couple of days this week, too.

When I saw my therapist on Friday, we spent most of the session talking about my early sexual abuse. Sexual abuse in my life came in many forms, but we were specifically addressing that perpetrated by my uncle. I noticed sometime last week (maybe Wednesday) that whenever there were moments that my mind wasn’t actively engaged, a nasty little internal voice would jump right in with, “I hate myself” “I’m a terrible person.” You get the drift. when I noticed it happening, I tried to counter it with more loving messages. They were completely ineffective. My brain just completely disregarded those thoughts in favor of the destructive ones. I also noticed at some point that I seemed to be disengaged from my body. The feeling was somewhat different from my usual dissociative state. It’s difficult to really describe the difference.

Once I realized I was slipping into a sort of hypnotic state, I was able to shake it off for the most part.  had to force myself to really focus on the physical surroundings, in addition to focusing on re-establishing the mind/body connection. I’ve never noticed any similar states of mind.

My therapist suggested that it sounded like it might be related to my sexual abuse. Any mention of traumatic episodes guarantees that I’ll have some flashbacks. We spoke about those flashbacks as they arose. It’s been a very long time since I’ve discussed those memories with anyone. Just talking about it makes me feel like I’m going to implode.

My stepson and his wife were in town briefly on Sunday. They came by to have lunch, but I was doing grocery shopping for the week. I only got to see them for about ten minutes. Just as well, really. I’m very ambivalent about that relationship at the moment, but I need to be able to conceal my distrust and anger with my daughter-in-law. She told my step-son that she’d divorce him If he doesn’t address his alcohol problem. My husband and I never knew about him abusing alcohol, but both of us support her decision. Since that time, she’s taken a couple of trips out of town. The critical information here is that, before she married my stepson, she was married to someone else. My stepson and she began dating while she was still married. Her behavior now is very similar to her behavior then. If she doesn’t wish to be married to my stepson, I can understand and accept that. I’m just having some difficulty trusting her at the moment. Of course, since this is completely between her and my stepson, all I can do is pray for them both. I don’t wish to betray my feelings to either of them. Okay, I’m actually boring myself at this point. must be time to go.

November 10, 2004

Dreams of Bridges

Filed under: Marriage, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 2:11 pm

I rarely remember my dreams, so when I do, I think there must be powerful meaning behind it. Last night I dreamed my husband and I were going over a very high bridge. He was driving. Once we got on the bridge, a dense fog wrapped around us, making it impossible to see anything. I was very afraid. It seemed to me that we were driving in a straight line, but I couldn’t be sure. I recall trying to sense with my physical being how far we had come and how far we had left to go. There is no end to this dream. I think I must have been so frightened that I woke up briefly, which would explain why I remember the dream.

I’ve dreamed of bridges for as long as I can remember. Bridge dreams generally follow the same trajectory. I’m driving up a tall bridge, but when I arrive at the top, I find that the bridge ends and I fall into empty space. One of the dreams I frequently had as a child involved arriving at my home to find that my parents had moved out. They did not leave a note saying where they went or why they left. I would set off on foot to find them and, inevitably, have to cross a tall bridge. The bridge ended at the top and I would begin a freefall.

I can think of several interpretations to my dream last night, but I’m going to meditate upon it for a while. Sometimes things are not as simple as they appear.

You Just Can’t Make This Shit Up

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 1:19 pm

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”~Winston Churchill

Well I might as well just get on with this. I’m already actively depressed, so what the hell. Actively depressed means I recognize that I’m feeling sad and maybe worthless. I’m depressed a lot and don’t even recognize it.) I actually watched the news this morning for the first time since the Bush debacle. Of course, I was getting dressed for work etc., so they may have had something about him, but I missed it. i don’t wish to look at him and I certainly do not wish to hear him. I know this guy really well. He’s just like hundreds of other good old boys I’ve met before. A lot of those good old boys were just a rich as W, but without the long record of abject failure that propels someone into politics. Remember that old axiom, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach?” It actually really applies to politics.

Now the hard stuff. I’m not sure exactly where in time these events occurred. I know that they were sometime between the ages of 13 and 15. As I said before, time is quite mutable when you’re living in hell. i may have neglected to say that my father’s wife had been getting beaten up for a couple of years on a fairly regular basis. if there was an up side to this whole situation, it was that my dad no longer beat up my mom. ( also recognize that ‘ve neglected to talk about the actual wedding between my dad and his 13 year old girlfriend. that will take some working up to, but eventually I hope to steel myself enough to write about it.)

At some point, I guess she got tired of it or maybe she thought he might kill her (that would have been a reasonable fear). She went back to her mother’s house and everything was in chaos. My father knew it was wrong to hit women. In addition to being actively psychotic, he just didn’t give a shit.

I remember riding in his truck with him around this time and he was urging me to lie on his behalf. I clearly remember him saying that we needed to “stick together.” I think he may have even cried. He did that a lot when he was afraid, but I never saw him cry for anyone other than himself. I’d already determined that he was my enemy, so I was not feeling very much like doing anything for him. However, I realized that letting him see how I felt could be dangerous.

After she’d been gone for several days, I was actually starting to cheer up. I thought maybe we could go back to being “normal” again. (That’s just sad, isn’t it?) But then she came back. My father broke the news to me in the garage. I have no idea what the deal was with his family and garages. Anyway, I just completely fell apart. I started crying hysterically and I couldn’t stop. I almost fainted, but my dad caught me before I could injure myself falling on the concrete floor.

Leave it to my father to come up with the perfect antidote to my despair. He asked me if I’d like to go get an ice cream cone. (Let’s just pause for a moment and contemplate the sheer lunacy of that suggestion.) This is one of those many fragmented memories and I don’t remember how the garage scene ended, but I know it didn’t end with ice cream. She stayed and I focused my energies on not killing myself or anyone else.

I was going to talk about the baby, but I just can’t manage that today. I’m feeling a strong need to start screaming and breaking things. Of course, I won’t. I’m going to need to calm myself down now, so I’ll continue this dreary tale tomorrow.

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